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Herbivore distribution throughout Africa is strongly linked to mean annual precipitation. We use that relationship to predict functional group composition of herbivore communities during the last glacial maximum (ca. 21 ka) on the now submerged Palaeo-Agulhas Plain (PAP), South Africa. We used metabolic large herbivore biomass (MLHB) from 39 South African protected areas, in five functional groups (characterized by behavior and physiology). We examined how modern factors influenced MLHB and considered the effects of biome, annual rainfall, percentage winter rainfall, and protected area size. Overall, biome was the most important factor influencing the relationship between MLHB and rainfall. In general, MLHB increased with rainfall, but not for the grassland biome. Outside grasslands, most functional groups’ metabolic biomass increased with increasing rainfall, irrespective of biome, except for medium-sized social mixed feeder species in savanna and thicket. Protected area size was influential for medium-sized social mixed feeders and large browsers and rainfall influenced medium-sized social mixed feeders, offering some perspectives on spatial constraints on past large herbivore biomass densities. These results improve our understanding of the likely herbivore community composition and relative biomass structure on the PAP, an essential driver of how early humans utilized large mammals as a food resource.
We report on the design and first results from experiments looking at the formation of radiative shocks on the Shenguang-II (SG-II) laser at the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics in China. Laser-heating of a two-layer CH/CH–Br foil drives a $\sim 40$ km/s shock inside a gas cell filled with argon at an initial pressure of 1 bar. The use of gas-cell targets with large (several millimetres) lateral and axial extent allows the shock to propagate freely without any wall interactions, and permits a large field of view to image single and colliding counter-propagating shocks with time-resolved, point-projection X-ray backlighting ($\sim 20$ μm source size, 4.3 keV photon energy). Single shocks were imaged up to 100 ns after the onset of the laser drive, allowing to probe the growth of spatial nonuniformities in the shock apex. These results are compared with experiments looking at counter-propagating shocks, showing a symmetric drive that leads to a collision and stagnation from $\sim 40$ ns onward. We present a preliminary comparison with numerical simulations with the radiation hydrodynamics code ARWEN, which provides expected plasma parameters for the design of future experiments in this facility.
The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.
Cerebral multi-morbidity is common in older people with dementia, including people with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We describe the first Australian-based, longitudinal observational biomarker study of DLB.
To investigate the frequency and influence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology (amyloid-β and tau) and cerebrovascular disease on clinical symptoms and disease outcome in DLB.
The study will recruit 100 people with mild to moderate probable DLB, who will undergo comprehensive clinical and cognitive assessments. Scales targeting DLB-specific clinical features (such as cognitive fluctuations and rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder) are administered. Biomarker protocols incorporate blood sampling (including ApoE genotyping and systemic inflammatory markers), molecular imaging (amyloid-β [18F-NAV 4694], tau [18F-MK6240], VMAT2 [18F-AV133] PET scans), 3-tesla magnetic resonance imaging and optional lumbar puncture. Clinical assessments are completed 6 - monthly and imaging 18-monthly. Participants are also invited to register for post-mortem brain tissue donation.
Thirty participants with probable DLB have been enrolled to date (mean age 75.4 years, range 64-82; 87% male). All participants have mild to moderate cognitive impairment (mean MMSE 25, range 17-30). Approximately 64% of the participants were amyloid-β positive. Study procedure tolerability has been excellent with no adverse events reported.
There is significant overlap of AD-related proteinopathies in people with DLB. Understanding the impact of multi-morbidity is essential in the development of effective treatment strategies. This study supports the feasibility of intensive, longitudinal biomarker studies in DLB in the Australian setting.
The criteria for objective memory impairment in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are vaguely defined. Aggregating the number of abnormal memory scores (NAMS) is one way to operationalise memory impairment, which we hypothesised would predict progression to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia.
As part of the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing, 896 older adults who did not have dementia were administered a psychometric battery including three neuropsychological tests of memory, yielding 10 indices of memory. We calculated the number of memory scores corresponding to z ≤ −1.5 (i.e., NAMS) for each participant. Incident diagnosis of AD dementia was established by consensus of an expert panel after 3 years.
Of the 722 (80.6%) participants who were followed up, 54 (7.5%) developed AD dementia. There was a strong correlation between NAMS and probability of developing AD dementia (r = .91, p = .0003). Each abnormal memory score conferred an additional 9.8% risk of progressing to AD dementia. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for NAMS was 0.87 [95% confidence interval (CI) .81–.93, p < .01]. The odds ratio for NAMS was 1.67 (95% CI 1.40–2.01, p < .01) after correcting for age, sex, education, estimated intelligence quotient, subjective memory complaint, Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) score and apolipoprotein E ϵ4 status.
Aggregation of abnormal memory scores may be a useful way of operationalising objective memory impairment, predicting incident AD dementia and providing prognostic stratification for individuals with MCI.
In the 2015 review paper ‘Petawatt Class Lasers Worldwide’ a comprehensive overview of the current status of high-power facilities of
was presented. This was largely based on facility specifications, with some description of their uses, for instance in fundamental ultra-high-intensity interactions, secondary source generation, and inertial confinement fusion (ICF). With the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics being awarded to Professors Donna Strickland and Gerard Mourou for the development of the technique of chirped pulse amplification (CPA), which made these lasers possible, we celebrate by providing a comprehensive update of the current status of ultra-high-power lasers and demonstrate how the technology has developed. We are now in the era of multi-petawatt facilities coming online, with 100 PW lasers being proposed and even under construction. In addition to this there is a pull towards development of industrial and multi-disciplinary applications, which demands much higher repetition rates, delivering high-average powers with higher efficiencies and the use of alternative wavelengths: mid-IR facilities. So apart from a comprehensive update of the current global status, we want to look at what technologies are to be deployed to get to these new regimes, and some of the critical issues facing their development.
Sea surface reservoir ages (R) are reported from radiocarbon (14C) measurements of the annual growth bands of coral Siderastrea siderea collected on the Atlantic coast off Martinique Island, in the Lesser Antilles volcanic arc. Mean values of R are similar between 1835 and 1845 during pre-anthropogenic times at 385±30 yr and between 1895 and 1905 at 382±20 yr when there was a huge eruption from the Montagne Pelée volcano in 1902–1903. Limited 14C aging of sea surface (~40 yr) may be due to enhanced volcanic activity. Variability of R is slightly greater during 1835–1845 than during 1895–1905. It is linked to a moderate increase of ∆14C of 5‰, strengthened by a clear increase of δ18O of 0.4‰. This is attributed to a decrease of the northward advection of the South Atlantic Waters into the western tropical North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea and relative enhanced westward flux of the tropical North Atlantic surface waters, the southern waters having lower values of 14C and δ18O than the North Atlantic ones. From 1835 to 1845, the fraction of the South Atlantic Waters transported up to Martinique Island was reduced from 25% to 15%.
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.
Purpose: We measured anterior cerebral artery (ACA)-middle cerebral artery (MCA) and posterior cerebral artery (PCA)-MCA pial filling on single-phase computed tomography angiograms (sCTAs) in acute ischemic stroke and correlate with the CTA-based Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and digital subtraction angiography (DSA)-based American Society of Interventional and Therapeutic Neuroradiology (ASITN) score. Methods: Patients with acute stroke and M1 MCA±intracranial internal carotid artery occlusion on baseline CTA were included. Baseline sCTA was assessed for phase of image acquisition. An evaluator assessed collaterals using the Calgary Collateral (CC) Score (measures pial arterial filling in ACA-MCA and PCA-MCA regions separately), the CTA-based MGH score, and on DSA using the ASITN score. Infarct volumes were measured on 24- to 48-hour magnetic resonance imaging/ computed tomography. Results: Of 106 patients, baseline sCTA was acquired in early arterial phase in 9.9%, peak arterial in 50.7%, equilibrium in 32.4%, early venous in 5.6%, and late venous in 1.4%. Variance in ACA-MCA collaterals explained only 32% of variance in PCA-MCA collaterals on the CC score (Spearman’s correlation coefficient rho [rho]=0.56). Correlation between ACA-MCA collaterals and the MGH score was strong (rho=0.8); correlation between PCA-MCA collaterals and this score was modest (rho=0.54). Correlation between ACA-MCA collaterals and the ASITN score was modest (n=53, rho=0.43); and correlation between PCA-MCA collaterals and ASITN score was poor (rho=0.33). Of the CTA-based scores, the CC Score (Akaike [AIC] 1022) was better at predicting follow-up infarct volumes than was the MGH score (AIC 1029). Conclusion: Collateral assessments in acute ischemic stroke are best done using CTA with temporal resolution and by assessing regional variability. ACA-MCA and MCA-PCA collaterals should be evaluated separately.
The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism Met allele exacerbates amyloid (Aβ) related decline in episodic memory (EM) and hippocampal volume (HV) over 36–54 months in preclinical Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the extent to which Aβ+ and BDNF Val66Met is related to circulating markers of BDNF (e.g. serum) is unknown. We aimed to determine the effect of Aβ and the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism on levels of serum mBDNF, EM, and HV at baseline and over 18-months.
Non-demented older adults (n = 446) underwent Aβ neuroimaging and BDNF Val66Met genotyping. EM and HV were assessed at baseline and 18 months later. Fasted blood samples were obtained from each participant at baseline and at 18-month follow-up. Aβ PET neuroimaging was used to classify participants as Aβ– or Aβ+.
At baseline, Aβ+ adults showed worse EM impairment and lower serum mBDNF levels relative to Aβ- adults. BDNF Val66Met polymorphism did not affect serum mBDNF, EM, or HV at baseline. When considered over 18-months, compared to Aβ– Val homozygotes, Aβ+ Val homozygotes showed significant decline in EM and HV but not serum mBDNF. Similarly, compared to Aβ+ Val homozygotes, Aβ+ Met carriers showed significant decline in EM and HV over 18-months but showed no change in serum mBDNF.
While allelic variation in BDNF Val66Met may influence Aβ+ related neurodegeneration and memory loss over the short term, this is not related to serum mBDNF. Longer follow-up intervals may be required to further determine any relationships between serum mBDNF, EM, and HV in preclinical AD.