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As demonstrated by neuroimaging data, the human brain contains systems that control responses to threat. The revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of personality predicts that individual differences in the reactivity of these brain systems produce anxiety and fear-related personality traits. Here we discuss some of the challenges in testing this theory and, as an example, present a pilot study that aimed to dissociate brain activity during pursuit by threat and goal conflict. We did this by translating the Mouse Defense Test Battery for human fMRI use. In this version, dubbed the Joystick Operated Runway Task (JORT), we repeatedly exposed 24 participants to pursuit and goal conflict, with and without threat of electric shock. The runway design of JORT allowed the effect of threat distance on brain activation to be evaluated independently of context. Goal conflict plus threat of electric shock caused deactivation in a network of brain areas that included the fusiform and middle temporal gyri, as well as the default mode network core, including medial frontal regions, precuneus and posterior cingulate gyrus, and laterally the inferior parietal and angular gyri. Consistent with earlier research, we also found that imminent threat activated the midbrain and that this effect was significantly stronger during the simple pursuit condition than during goal conflict. Also consistent with earlier research, we found significantly greater hippocampal activation during goal conflict than pursuit by imminent threat. In conclusion, our results contribute knowledge to theories linking anxiety disorders to altered functioning in defensive brain systems and also highlight challenges in this research domain.
As the concept of ecosystem services is applied more widely in conservation, its users will encounter the issue of poverty alleviation. Policy initiatives involving ecosystem services are often marked by their use of win-win narratives that conceal the trade-offs they must entail. Modelling this paper on an earlier essay about conservation and poverty, we explore the different views that underlie apparent agreement. We identify five positions that reflect different mixes of concern for ecosystem condition, poverty and economic growth, and we suggest that acknowledging these helps to uncover the subjacent goals of policy interventions and the trade-offs they involve in practice. Recognizing their existence and foundations can ultimately support the emergence of more legitimate and robust policies.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants that offers unique opportunities to investigate multiple diseases and risk factors.
An online mental health questionnaire completed by UK Biobank participants was expected to expand the potential for research into mental disorders.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting with a patient group regarding acceptability. Case definitions were defined using operational criteria for lifetime depression, mania, anxiety disorder, psychotic-like experiences and self-harm, as well as current post-traumatic stress and alcohol use disorders.
157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status than the general population across a range of indicators. Thirty-five per cent (55 750) of participants had at least one defined syndrome, of which lifetime depression was the most common at 24% (37 434). There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed owing to selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Declaration of interest
G.B. received grants from the National Institute for Health Research during the study; and support from Illumina Ltd. and the European Commission outside the submitted work. B.C. received grants from the Scottish Executive Chief Scientist Office and from The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation during the study. C.S. received grants from the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust during the study, and is the Chief Scientist for UK Biobank. M.H. received grants from the Innovative Medicines Initiative via the RADAR-CNS programme and personal fees as an expert witness outside the submitted work.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
To determine the impact of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (RCDI) on patient behaviors following illness.
Using a computer algorithm, we searched the electronic medical records of 7 Chicago-area hospitals to identify patients with RCDI (2 episodes of CDI within 15 to 56 days of each other). RCDI was validated by medical record review. Patients were asked to complete a telephone survey. The survey included questions regarding general health, social isolation, symptom severity, emotional distress, and prevention behaviors.
In total, 119 patients completed the survey (32%). On average, respondents were 57.4 years old (standard deviation, 16.8); 57% were white, and ~50% reported hospitalization for CDI. At the time of their most recent illness, patients rated their diarrhea as high severity (58.5%) and their exhaustion as extreme (30.7%). Respondents indicated that they were very worried about getting sick again (41.5%) and about infecting others (31%). Almost 50% said that they have washed their hands more frequently (47%) and have increased their use of soap and water (45%) since their illness. Some of these patients (22%–32%) reported eating out less, avoiding certain medications and public areas, and increasing probiotic use. Most behavioral changes were unrelated to disease severity.
Having had RCDI appears to increase prevention-related behaviors in some patients. While some behaviors are appropriate (eg, handwashing), others are not supported by evidence of decreased risk and may negatively impact patient quality of life. Providers should discuss appropriate prevention behaviors with their patients and should clarify that other behaviors (eg, eating out less) will not affect their risk of future illness.
Measurements of basal ice deformation at the margin of Russell Glacier, West Greenland, have provided an opportunity to gain more insight into basal processes occurring near the margin. The basal ice layer comprises a debris-rich, heterogeneous stratified facies, overlain by a comparatively debris-poor dispersed facies. Ice velocities were obtained from anchors placed in both ice facies, at three sites under 5–15 m ice depth. Mean velocities ranged from 20 to 43 m a–1, and velocity gradients indicate high shear strain rates within the basal ice. Stick–slip motion and diurnal variations were observed during measurements at short (1–5 min) time intervals. Vertical gradients in horizontal ice velocity indicate two modes of deformation: (1) viscous deformation within the stratified ice facies, and (2) shear at the interface between the two basal ice facies. Deformation mode 1 may contribute to the folding and shear structures observed in the stratified facies. Deformation mode 2 may generate the stick–slip motion and be associated with the formation of debris bands. Active deformation close to the margin suggests that structures observed within the basal ice are only partially representative of processes occurring near the bed in areas away from the glacier margin.
We question whether the increasingly popular, radical idea of turning half the Earth into a network of protected areas is either feasible or just. We argue that this Half-Earth plan would have widespread negative consequences for human populations and would not meet its conservation objectives. It offers no agenda for managing biodiversity within a human half of Earth. We call instead for alternative radical action that is both more effective and more equitable, focused directly on the main drivers of biodiversity loss by shifting the global economy from its current foundation in growth while simultaneously redressing inequality.
We are grateful to ten Kate & von Hase (2016) and Dempsey & Collard (2016) for their insightful and constructive responses to our article on biodiversity offsetting (Apostolopoulou & Adams, 2015a). They agree with us that conservationists need to think very carefully about offsetting and its implications for nature conservation. They differ substantially in where that thinking should lead. Ten Kate & von Hase believe that offsetting is fine if it is done properly. Dempsey & Collard are profoundly uneasy about its implications, and go deeper into the way conservation is folded into economic development, ‘smoothing the way for new industrial scale projects’.
U–Pb ages of zircon from bentonites within the upper Cretaceous Bastion Ridge and Kanguk formations, Sverdrup Basin, provide constraints on sedimentation rates, biostratigraphic correlations, timing of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE2) in the High Arctic, and the late magmatic history of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province (HALIP). A late Cenomanian to early Turonian age for the base of the Kanguk Formation is confirmed that supports correlations of the global OAE2 in the High Arctic. Sedimentation rates varied from 19 m Ma−1 between 93 and 91 Ma to 26 m Ma−1 between 91 and 83 Ma at Axel Heiberg Island. At Ellef Ringnes Island, the lower Kanguk Formation records high rates of ~70 m Ma−1 between 94 and 93 Ma, which decrease to rates comparable to those of the upper Axel Heiberg section. Differences in sedimentation rates may reflect differences in setting prior to the major transgression in the latest Cenomanian to early Turonian. The timing of Arctic occurrences of the Scaphites nigricollensis and Scaphites depressus ammonite zones is shown to be broadly comparable to that of lower-latitude occurrences within the Western Interior Seaway. An eruption frequency of 0.5–2.5 Ma characterizes the late alkaline phase of HALIP magmatism. Volcanic bed thicknesses of 10–50 cm suggest ash transport distances of less than 1000 km. Long-lived volcanic centres, in the area of the Alpha Ridge, northern Ellesmere Island or northern Greenland, were the likely source of volcanic ash over a period of 10–15 Ma.
Giant ragweed has been increasing as a major weed of row crops in the last 30 yr, but quantitative data regarding its pattern and mechanisms of spread in crop fields are lacking. To address this gap, we conducted a Web-based survey of certified crop advisors in the U.S. Corn Belt and Ontario, Canada. Participants were asked questions regarding giant ragweed and crop production practices for the county of their choice. Responses were mapped and correlation analyses were conducted among the responses to determine factors associated with giant ragweed populations. Respondents rated giant ragweed as the most or one of the most difficult weeds to manage in 45% of 421 U.S. counties responding, and 57% of responding counties reported giant ragweed populations with herbicide resistance to acetolactate synthase inhibitors, glyphosate, or both herbicides. Results suggest that giant ragweed is increasing in crop fields outward from the east-central U.S. Corn Belt in most directions. Crop production practices associated with giant ragweed populations included minimum tillage, continuous soybean, and multiple-application herbicide programs; ecological factors included giant ragweed presence in noncrop edge habitats, early and prolonged emergence, and presence of the seed-burying common earthworm in crop fields. Managing giant ragweed in noncrop areas could reduce giant ragweed migration from noncrop habitats into crop fields and slow its spread. Where giant ragweed is already established in crop fields, including a more diverse combination of crop species, tillage practices, and herbicide sites of action will be critical to reduce populations, disrupt emergence patterns, and select against herbicide-resistant giant ragweed genotypes. Incorporation of a cereal grain into the crop rotation may help suppress early giant ragweed emergence and provide chemical or mechanical control options for late-emerging giant ragweed.
Given their sheer number and evidence for long-term prehistoric occupation, atolls occupy a unique position in the peopling of the Pacific. However, they have frequently been overlooked in favor of larger islands due to a host of logistical and other issues. Once viewed as marginal environments, current research is now showing that small islands like these may have been more attractive to settlers than once thought. A new research program in Micronesia is dedicated to examining atolls to better develop baseline chronologies and investigate long-term human adaptations. As part of the initial stage of the project, we present the first radiocarbon dates (n=10) from Mwoakilloa (Mokil) atoll, which support a continuous occupation beginning between 1700–1560 cal BP (2σ). When compared to the settlement of other atoll groups in Micronesia such as the Marshall Islands—along with the nearby high volcanic islands of Pohnpei and Kosrae at approximately 2000–1800 yr ago—the dates from Mwoakilloa suggest a nearly contemporaneous or only slightly later occupation. The recovery of faunal material also demonstrates the translocation of at least two animals (Pacific rat and dog) to the island by humans that was coeval with early settlement. Additionally, there is evidence of landscape transformation in the form of a relatively large artificial mound created by debris and platform accumulation unseen elsewhere in central-eastern Micronesia, but common to atolls. These new dates reinforce the notion that Mwoakilloa and other atolls are integral to understanding prehistoric adaptations across the vast Pacific, though many questions still remain such as to the degree of interaction that occurred with nearby islands and whether settlement was continuous or intermittent through time.
Biodiversity offsetting involves the balancing of biodiversity loss in one place (and at one time) by an equivalent biodiversity gain elsewhere (an outcome referred to as No Net Loss). The conservation science literature has chiefly addressed the extent to which biodiversity offsets can serve as a conservation tool, focusing on the technical challenges of its implementation. However, offsetting has more profound implications than this technical approach suggests. In this paper we introduce the concept of policy frames, and use it to identify four ways in which non-human nature and its conservation are reframed by offsetting. Firstly, offsetting reframes nature in terms of isolated biodiversity units that can be simply defined, measured and exchanged across time and space to achieve equivalence between ecological losses and gains. Secondly, it reframes biodiversity as lacking locational specificity, ignoring broader dimensions of place and deepening a nature–culture and nature–society divide. Thirdly, it reframes conservation as an exchange of credits implying that the value of non-human nature can be set by price. Fourthly, it ties conservation to land development and economic growth, foreshadowing and bypassing an oppositional position. We conclude that by presenting offsetting as a technical issue, the problem of biodiversity loss due to development is depoliticized. As a result the possibility of opposing and challenging environmental destruction is foreclosed, and a dystopian future of continued biodiversity loss is presented as the only alternative.
Parasites are detrimental to host fitness and therefore should strongly select for host defence mechanisms. Yet, hosts vary considerably in their observed parasite loads. One notable source of inter-individual variation in parasitism is host sex. Such variation could be caused by the immunomodulatory effects of gonadal steroids. Here we assess the influence of gonadal steroids on the ability of guppies (Poecilia reticulata) to defend themselves against a common and deleterious parasite (Gyrodactylus turnbulli). Adult male guppies underwent 31 days of artificial demasculinization with the androgen receptor-antagonist flutamide, or feminization with a combination of flutamide and the synthetic oestrogen 17 β-estradiol, and their parasite loads were compared over time to untreated males and females. Both demasculinized and feminized male guppies had lower G. turnbulli loads than the untreated males and females, but this effect appeared to be mainly the result of demasculinization, with feminization having no additional measurable effect. Furthermore, demasculinized males, feminized males and untreated females all suffered lower Gyrodactylus-induced mortality than untreated males. Together, these results suggest that androgens reduce the ability of guppies to control parasite loads, and modulate resistance to and survival from infection. We discuss the relevance of these findings for understanding constraints on the evolution of resistance in guppies and other vertebrates.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.