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This contribution explores the application of data science and artificial intelligence to legal research, more specifically an element that has not received much attention: the research infrastructure required to make such analysis possible. In recent years, EU law has become increasingly digitised and published in online databases such as EUR-Lex and HUDOC. However, the main barrier inhibiting legal scholars from analysing this information is lack of training in data analytics. Legal analytics software can mitigate this problem to an extent. However, current systems are dominated by the commercial sector. In addition, most systems focus on search of legal information but do not facilitate advanced visualisation and analytics. Finally, free to use systems that do provide such features are either too complex to use for general legal scholars, or are not rich enough in their analytics tools. In this paper, we motivate the case for building a software platform that addresses these limitations. Such software can provide a powerful platform for visualising and exploring connections and correlations in EU case law, helping to unravel the “DNA” behind EU legal systems. It will also serve to train researchers and students in schools and universities to analyse legal information using state-of-the-art methods in data science, without requiring technical proficiency in the underlying methods. We also suggest that the software should be powered by a data infrastructure and management paradigm following the seminal FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) principles.
Many school-based interventions for obesity prevention have been proposed with positive changes in behaviour, but with unsatisfactory results on weight change. The objective was to verify the effectiveness of a combined school- and home-based obesity prevention programme on excessive weight gain in adolescents. Teachers delivered the school-based primary prevention programme to fifth- and sixth-graders (nine schools, forty-eight control classes, forty-nine intervention classes), which included encouraging healthy eating habits and physical activity. A subgroup of overweight or obese adolescents also received a home-based secondary prevention programme delivered by community health professionals. Schools were randomised to intervention or control group. Intent-to-treat analysis used mixed models for repeated continuous measures and considered the cluster effect. The main outcomes were changes in BMI and percentage body fat (%body fat) after one school-year of intervention and follow-up. Against our hypothesis, BMI increased more in the intervention group than in the control group (Δ = 0·3 kg/m2; P = 0·05) with a greater decrease in %body fat among boys (Δ = –0·6 %; P = 0·03) in the control group. The intervention group increased physical activity by 12·5 min per week compared with the control group. Female adolescents in the intervention group ate healthier items more frequently than in the control group. The subgroup that received both the school and home interventions had an increase in %body fat than in the control group (Δ = 0·89 %; P = 0·01). In the present study, a behavioural change led to a small increase in physical activity and healthy eating habits but also to an overall increase in food intake.
Dietary behaviour is influenced by a complex web of biological, psychological, physiological, social, economic and cultural factors. Understanding socio-demographic and anthropometric characteristics that influence food choice may be important in guiding dietary interventions. The present study aimed to identify whether socio-demographic and anthropometric characteristics influence food choice in an Irish working population. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2014 as part of the Food Choice at Work Study, a large clustered non-randomised, controlled trial based in county Cork, Ireland. Information regarding food motives was collected at the 3–4 months follow-up. The ‘Food Choice Questionnaire’ was used to measure food motives. Multiple linear regression was conducted to test the association between socio-demographic and anthropometric characteristics (age, sex, BMI, education, type of accommodation, living situation, marital status, parental status) and worksite and food motives. A total of 678 employees were included in the analysis. Overall, only a small percentage of food choice was influenced by the characteristics included in this analysis (1·6 to 8·8 %). Sensory appeal and satisfaction were scored most important by all sub-populations. Sex was most often associated with differences in food motives (i.e. all food motives except for familiarity and ethical concern were significantly more important to females compared with males; P = 0·001/P < 0·001). Worksite, age, BMI and marital status also seemed to play a small role in influencing food choice. The results show that food choice is complex and not easily explained by differences in socio-demographic or anthropometric population characteristics.
This paper presents a simple and intuitive syntax for proof nets of the multiplicative cyclic fragment (McyLL) of linear logic (LL). The main technical achievement of this work is to propose a correctness criterion that allows for sequentialization (recovering a proof from a proof net) for all McyLL proof nets, including those containing cut links. This is achieved by adapting the idea of contractibility (originally introduced by Danos to give a quadratic time procedure for proof nets correctness) to cyclic LL. This paper also gives a characterization of McyLL proof nets for Lambek Calculus and thus a geometrical (i.e., non-inductive) way to parse phrases or sentences by means of Lambek proof nets.
Upper Necaxa Totonac is a Totonacan language spoken in the Necaxa River valley in the Sierra Norte of Puebla State, Mexico. While the Totonacan languages historically have three phonemic vowel qualities, the Upper Necaxa system consists of five vowels that contrast length and laryngealization. With acoustic data from six native speakers from the Totonacan communities of Patla and Chicontla, we explore the phonetic properties of vowels with respect to the first and second formant frequencies, quantity (duration), vowel phonation (modal vs. laryngeal), and stress. The data indicate that long, short, modal and laryngeal vowels occupy a similar formant space and that duration is the primary phonetic correlate of phonemic vowel length. A shift in vowel quality and an increase in duration and pitch were shown to be the acoustic characteristics of stress. The study provides a first acoustic analysis of vowels in Upper Necaxa, and contributes to typological descriptions of the properties of vowels connected with quality, quantity, stress, and phonation.
There is an urgent need to find effective methods of supporting individuals to make dietary behaviour changes. Peer-supported interventions (PSI) have been suggested as a cost-effective strategy to support chronic disease self-management. However, the effect of PSI on dietary behaviour is unclear. The present systematic review aimed to assess the effectiveness of PSI for encouraging dietary behaviour change in adults and to consider intervention characteristics linked with effectiveness.
Electronic databases were searched until June 2018 for randomised controlled trials assessing the effectiveness of PSI compared with an alternative intervention and/or control on a dietary related outcome in adults. Following title and abstract screening, two reviewers independently screened full texts and data were extracted by one reviewer and independently checked by another. Results were synthesised narratively.
Randomised controlled trials.
The fifty-four included studies varied in participants, intervention details and results. More PSI reported a positive or mixed effect on diet than no effect. Most interventions used a group model and were lay-led by peer supporters. Several studies did not report intervention intensity, fidelity and peer training and support in detail. Studies reporting positive effects employed more behaviour change techniques (BCT) than studies reporting no effect; however, heterogeneity between studies was considerable.
As evidence was mixed, further interventions need to assess the effect of PSI on dietary behaviour, describe intervention content (theoretical basis, BCT, intensity and peer training/support) and include a detailed process evaluation.
Diet has been investigated in relation to its ability to promote cognitive function. However, evidence is currently limited and has rarely been systematically reviewed, particularly in a mild cognitive impairment (MCI) population. This review examined the effect of diet on cognitive outcomes in MCI patients. A total of five databases were searched to find randomised controlled trial (RCT) studies, with diet as the main focus, in MCI participants. The primary outcome was incident dementia and/or Alzheimer's disease (AD) and secondary outcomes included cognitive function across different domains using validated neuropsychological tests. Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria. There was a high degree of heterogeneity relating to the nature of the dietary intervention and cognitive outcomes measured, thus making study comparisons difficult. Supplementation with vitamin E (one study, n 516), ginkgo biloba (one study, n 482) or Fortasyn Connect (one study, n 311) had no significant effect on progression from MCI to dementia and/or AD. For cognitive function, the findings showed some improvements in performance, particularly in memory, with the most consistent results shown by B vitamins, including folic acid (one study, n 266), folic acid alone (one study, n 180), DHA and EPA (two studies, n 36 and n 86), DHA (one study, n 240) and flavonol supplementation (one study, n 90). The findings indicate that dietary factors may have a potential benefit for cognitive function in MCI patients. Further well-designed trials are needed, with standardised and robust measures of cognition to investigate the influence of diet on cognitive status.
Entamoeba histolytica is an enteric parasite that infects approximately 50 million people worldwide. Although E. histolytica is a zoonotic parasite that has the potential to infect nonhuman primates, such transmission is poorly understood. Consequently, this study examined whether E. histolytica is present among humans, chimpanzees and baboons living in the Greater Gombe Ecosystem (GGE), Tanzania. The primary aims were to determine patterns of E. histolytica infection in a system with human-nonhuman primate overlap and to test associations between infection status and potential risk factors of disease. Entamoeba spp. occurred in 60.3% of human, 65.6% of chimpanzee and 88.6% of baboon samples. Entamoeba histolytica occurred in 12.1% of human, 34.1% of chimpanzee and 10.9% of baboon samples. Human E. histolytica infection was associated with gastrointestinal symptoms. This was the first study to confirm the presence of E. histolytica in the GGE. The high sample prevalence of E. histolytica in three sympatric primates suggests that zoonotic transmission is possible and stresses the need for further phylogenetic studies. Interventions targeting better sanitation and hygiene practices for humans living in the GGE can help prevent E. histolytica infection in humans, while also protecting the endangered chimpanzees and other primates in this region.
It is important to pay attention to weight management before and between pregnancies, as women have an increased risk of weight gain during the reproductive years. Having a baby is a life-changing event for women and the challenge of weight management amidst this period of major physiological, psychological and social change should not be underestimated. However, the postpartum period offers an opportune time for lifestyle interventions, as women may have heightened awareness of their own and their wider families’ health. Systematic reviews indicate that interventions including both diet and physical activity along with individualised support and self-monitoring are more likely to be successful in promoting postpartum weight loss. However, high levels of attrition and poor engagement have been an issue in previous trials in this area. Since postpartum women are difficult to reach and retain, future research must consider how to make weight-management interventions an attractive and attainable proposition for women who are juggling multiple, competing demands on their time. Ideally, intervention approaches need to be flexible and allow sustained contact with women, to facilitate a focus on maintenance of weight loss, as well as opportunities for re-engagement after life events that may disrupt weight-management progress. Using technology to deliver or support interventions holds promise but trials are needed to generate a range of appealing, effective and scalable options for postpartum women. What works at other life stages may not necessarily work here owing to specific barriers to weight management encountered in the postpartum period.
Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) is an invasive perennial weed infesting range and recreational lands of North America. Previous research and omics projects with E. esula have helped develop it as a model for studying many aspects of perennial plant development and response to abiotic stress. However, the lack of an assembled genome for E. esula has limited the power of previous transcriptomics studies to identify functional promoter elements and transcription factor binding sites. An assembled genome for E. esula would enhance our understanding of signaling processes controlling plant development and responses to environmental stress and provide a better understanding of genetic factors impacting weediness traits, evolution, and herbicide resistance. A comprehensive transcriptome database would also assist in analyzing future RNA-seq studies and is needed to annotate and assess genomic sequence assemblies. Here, we assembled and annotated 56,234 unigenes from an assembly of 589,235 RNA-seq-derived contigs and a previously published Sanger-sequenced expressed sequence tag collection. The resulting data indicate that we now have sequence for >90% of the expressed E. esula protein-coding genes. We also assembled the gene space of E. esula by using a limited coverage (18X) genomic sequence database. In this study, the programs Velvet and Trinity produced the best gene-space assemblies based on representation of expressed and conserved eukaryotic genes. The results indicate that E. esula contains as much as 23% repetitive sequences, of which 11% are unique. Our sequence data were also sufficient for assembling a full chloroplast and partial mitochondrial genome. Further, marker analysis identified more than 150,000 high-quality variants in our E. esula L-RNA–scaffolded, whole-genome, Trinity-assembled genome. Based on these results, E. esula appears to have limited heterozygosity. This study provides a blueprint for low-cost genomic assemblies in weed species and new resources for identifying conserved and novel promoter regions among coordinately expressed genes of E. esula.
Recent evidence suggests that exercise plays a role in cognition and that the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) can be divided into dorsal and ventral subregions based on distinct connectivity patterns.
To examine the effect of physical activity and division of the PCC on brain functional connectivity measures in subjective memory complainers (SMC) carrying the epsilon 4 allele of apolipoprotein E (APOE 4) allele.
Participants were 22 SMC carrying the APOE ɛ4 allele (ɛ4+; mean age 72.18 years) and 58 SMC non-carriers (ɛ4–; mean age 72.79 years). Connectivity of four dorsal and ventral seeds was examined. Relationships between PCC connectivity and physical activity measures were explored.
ɛ4+ individuals showed increased connectivity between the dorsal PCC and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and the ventral PCC and supplementary motor area (SMA). Greater levels of physical activity correlated with the magnitude of ventral PCC–SMA connectivity.
The results provide the first evidence that ɛ4+ individuals at increased risk of cognitive decline show distinct alterations in dorsal and ventral PCC functional connectivity.
General life stress has been associated with altered DNA methylation in individuals of African Ancestry, although the relationship between parenting stress and DNA methylation has not been described. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between maternal parenting stress and DNA methylation among African Ancestry mother-child dyads.
We evaluated epigenome-wide DNA methylation relative to parenting stress in 74 mother-child dyads using linear mixed models.
Significant variation in maternal DNA methylation at 95 CpG sites was associated with level of parenting stress. Notably, we identified a change in DNA methylation associated with poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1, which plays a key role in stress signaling. We did not identify any significant variation in child DNA methylation related to maternal parenting stress.
However, DNA methylation patterns observed in children mirrored patterns observed in their mothers. The results suggest that differential maternal DNA methylation is associated with higher levels of parenting stress.
Twin research has offered evidence that monozygotic (MZ) twins are more socially close than dizygotic (DZ) twins, but has not paid much attention to the way twins compare themselves with their co-twin. The few studies in this area suggest that ‘horizontal comparisons’ (social comparison motivated by solidarity or communion with others) matter more for MZ twins than for DZ twins, at least when the co-twin is the social comparison standard. Consistent with this view, we predicted higher interest in MZ twins relative to DZ twins to select their co-twin rather than other people in general as the social comparison standard. The Social Comparison Orientation (SCO) scale, which measures the inclination to compare with others in a horizontal rather than vertical mode (comparing either upward or downward), was administered in 90 MZ pairs and 57 same-sex DZ pairs (63% female; average age 18.06 years) from the Netherlands Twin Register. MZ twin pairs showed significantly higher SCO scores than DZ twin pairs (with a large effect size) on the co-twin SCO, whereas the two groups did not differ from each other on the general SCO excluding the co-twin as social comparison standard. In MZ twin pairs, anxiety was associated with social comparison with others in general, not with their co-twin. For both scales, twin resemblance was explained by additive genetic variance. The present findings provide direct evidence that horizontal comparisons with the co-twin are of particular importance for MZ twins.
In this study, a Leishmania hypothetical protein, LiHyS, was evaluated regarding its antigenicity, immunogenicity and protective efficacy against visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Regarding antigenicity, immunoblottings and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using human and canine sera showed high sensitivity and specificity values for the recombinant protein (rLiHyS) in the diagnosis of VL. When evaluating the immunogenicity of LiHyS, which is possibly located in the parasite's flagellar pocket, proliferative assays using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy subjects or VL patients showed a high proliferative index in both individuals, when compared to the results obtained using rA2 or unstimulated cultures. Later, rLiHyS/saponin was inoculated in BALB/c mice, which were then challenged with Leishmania infantum promastigotes. The vaccine induced an interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-12 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor production, which was maintained after infection and which was associated with high nitrite and IgG2a antibody levels, as well as low IL-4 and IL-10 production. Significant reductions in the parasite load in liver, spleen, bone marrow and draining lymph nodes were found in these animals. In this context, the present study shows that the rLiHyS has the capacity to be evaluated as a diagnostic marker or vaccine candidate against VL.
We study a model of cosmic reionization where quasars (QSOs) are the dominant source of ionizing photons at all relevant epochs. We employ a suite of adaptive hydrodynamical simulations post-processed with a multi-wavelength Monte Carlo radiative-transfer code and calibrate them in order to accurately reproduce the observed quasar luminosity function and emissivity evolution. Our results show that the QSO-only model fails in reproducing key observables linked to the Helium reionization, as the temperature evolution of the inter-galactic medium (IGM) and the HeII effective optical depth in synthetic Lyα spectra. Nevertheless, we find hints that an increased quasar contribution can explain recent measurements of a large inhomogeneity in the IGM at redshift z ≈ 5. Finally, we devise a method capable of constraining the QSOs contribution to the reionization from the properties of the HeII Lyα forest at z ≈ 3.5.
Fruit and vegetable (FV) intake is associated with reduced risk of a number of non-communicable diseases. Research tends to focus on antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols contained in FV as the main beneficial components to health; however, increasing FV may also alter overall diet profile. Extra FV may be substituted for foods thought to be less healthy, therefore altering the overall macronutrient and/or micronutrient content in the diet. This analysis merged dietary data from four intervention studies in participants with varying health conditions and examined the effect of increased FV consumption on diet profile. Dietary intake was assessed by either diet diaries or diet histories used in four FV randomised intervention studies. All food and drink intake recorded was analysed using WISP version 3.0, and FV portions were manually counted using household measures. Regression analysis revealed significant increases in intakes of energy (172 kJ (+41 kcal)), carbohydrate (+3·9 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), total sugars (+6·0 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) and fibre (+0·8 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) and significant decreases in intakes of total fat (−1·4 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), SFA (−0·6 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), MUFA (−0·6 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), PUFA (−0·1 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) and starch (−2·1 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) per one portion increase in FV. Significant percentage increases were also observed in vitamin C (+24 %) and -carotene (+20 %) intake, per one portion increase in FV. In conclusion, pooled analysis of four FV intervention studies, that used similar approaches to achieving dietary change, in participants with varying health conditions, demonstrated an increase in energy, total carbohydrate, sugars and fibre intake, and a decrease in fat intake alongside an expected increase in micronutrient intake.
A high intake of fruit and vegetables (FV) has been associated with reduced risk of a number of chronic diseases, including CVD. The aim of this review is to describe the potential use of biomarkers to assess FV intake. Traditional methods of assessing FV intake have limitations, and this is likely to impact on observed associations with disease outcomes and markers of disease risk. Nutritional biomarkers may offer a more objective and reliable method of assessing dietary FV intake. Some single blood biomarkers, such as plasma vitamin C and serum carotenoids, are well established as indicators of FV intake. Combining potential biomarkers of intake may more accurately predict overall FV intake within intervention studies than the use of any single biomarker. Another promising approach is metabolomic analysis of biological fluids using untargeted approaches to identify potential new biomarkers of FV intake. Using biomarkers to measure FV intake may improve the accuracy of dietary assessment.