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We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding of Earth's sensitivity to carbon dioxide, finds that permafrost thaw could release more carbon emissions than expected and that the uptake of carbon in tropical ecosystems is weakening. Adverse impacts on human society include increasing water shortages and impacts on mental health. Options for solutions emerge from rethinking economic models, rights-based litigation, strengthened governance systems and a new social contract. The disruption caused by COVID-19 could be seized as an opportunity for positive change, directing economic stimulus towards sustainable investments.
A synthesis is made of ten fields within climate science where there have been significant advances since mid-2019, through an expert elicitation process with broad disciplinary scope. Findings include: (1) a better understanding of equilibrium climate sensitivity; (2) abrupt thaw as an accelerator of carbon release from permafrost; (3) changes to global and regional land carbon sinks; (4) impacts of climate change on water crises, including equity perspectives; (5) adverse effects on mental health from climate change; (6) immediate effects on climate of the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements for recovery packages to deliver on the Paris Agreement; (7) suggested long-term changes to governance and a social contract to address climate change, learning from the current pandemic, (8) updated positive cost–benefit ratio and new perspectives on the potential for green growth in the short- and long-term perspective; (9) urban electrification as a strategy to move towards low-carbon energy systems and (10) rights-based litigation as an increasingly important method to address climate change, with recent clarifications on the legal standing and representation of future generations.
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Stronger permafrost thaw, COVID-19 effects and growing mental health impacts among highlights of latest climate science.
Economic hardship (EH) may link to poorer child diet, however whether this association is due to resource limitations or effects on family functioning is unknown. This study examines whether parenting stress mediates the association between EH and child consumption of foods high in saturated fats and added sugars (SFAS).
Data were collected from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study. EH was assessed using eight items collected when children were between 1–9 years old. Mothers reported parenting stress and frequency of child consumption of high SFAS foods when children were 9 years old. Latent growth curve modelling (LGCM) and structural equation modelling tested direct associations between the starting level/rate of change in EH and high SFAS food consumption, and parenting stress as a mediator of the association.
Twenty US cities.
Mothers/children (n 3846) followed birth through age 9 years, oversampled ‘high-risk’, unmarried mothers.
LGCM indicated a curvilinear trend in EH from ages 1–9, with steeper increases from ages 3–9 years. EH did not directly predict the frequency of high SFAS foods. Average EH at 3 and 5 years and change in EH from ages 1–9 predicted higher parenting stress, which in turn predicted more frequent consumption of high SFAS foods.
Findings suggest it may be important to consider parenting stress in early prevention efforts given potential lasting effects of early life EH on child consumption of high SFAS foods. Future research should explore how supports and resources may buffer effects of EH-related stress on parents and children.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is an example of an integrated assessment study. The study is well known because of its use of the now-common, but also contested concept of Ecosystem Services. The case illustrates the advantages and challenging of integrating different forms of knowledge, including natural sciences, social sciences, and indigenous and local knowledge, using a conceptual framework; it also illustrates the barriers to and political implications of knowledge integration.
While striving to succeed in the face of adversity may provide individuals with outward benefits, it may come at a cost to individuals’ physical health. The current study examines whether striving predicts greater physiological or psychosocial costs among those who experienced child maltreatment, a stressor that disrupts the caregiving environment and threatens relationship security. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, we tested whether greater striving after childhood maltreatment would come at a cost, increasing underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and depressive symptoms despite showing outward success via income and college degree attainment. The study included 13,341 Black, Hispanic, and White adolescents who self-reported striving and their experiences of childhood neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. As young adults, participants reported depressive symptoms, income, and college degree attainment and completed a health assessment from which a 30-year Framingham-based CVD risk score was calculated. Higher striving was associated with lower CVD risk and depressive symptoms, and higher income and college degree attainment, regardless of maltreatment history. These findings highlight the potential for striving as a target for interventions and support the need to examine multiple biological and behavioral outcomes to understand the multifaceted nature of resilience.
Contact precautions are a traditional strategy to prevent transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Chlorhexidine bathing is increasingly used to decrease MRSA burden and transmission in intensive care units (ICUs). We sought to evaluate a hospital policy change from routine contact precautions for MRSA compared with universal chlorhexidine bathing, without contact precautions. We measured new MRSA acquisition in ICU patients and surveyed for MRSA environmental contamination in common areas and non-MRSA patient rooms before and after the policy change. During the baseline and chlorhexidine bathing periods, the number of patients (453 vs. 417), ICU days (1999 vs. 1703) and MRSA days/1000 ICU days (109 vs. 102) were similar. MRSA acquisition (2/453 vs. 2/457, P = 0·93) and environmental MRSA contamination (9/474 vs. 7/500, P = 0·53) were not significantly different between time periods. There were 58% fewer contact precaution days in the ICU during the chlorhexidine period (241/1993 vs. 102/1730, P < 0·01). We found no evidence that discontinuation of contact precautions for patients with MRSA in conjunction with adoption of daily chlorhexidine bathing in ICUs is associated with increased MRSA acquisition among ICU patients or increased MRSA contamination of ICU fomites. Although underpowered, our findings suggest this strategy, which has the potential to reduce costs and improve patient safety, should be assessed in similar but larger studies.
Two new species of Schramocaris from the Viséan, Lower Carboniferous of Scotland and eastern Canada extend the range and distribution of this crustacean along the northwestern coast of the Rheic Ocean. New species from Glencartholm, southern Scotland and Upperton, New Brunswick, Canada represents the first recognised occurrence of this genus in Scotland and Canada. The Scottish species is here named S. clarksoni; it lacks the rugosity of the carinae of Schramocaris gilljonesorum, but has the same relative position of the carinae, as well as similar characteristics of the pleon, such as the relative lengths of the somites and the shape of the telson. The Canadian species is named Schramocaris matthewi on the basis of the papillations on the cuticle and robust second carinae of the carapace. The deposits at both these localities are that of a shallow marine argillaceous environment, although the Glencartholm deposit contains more lime. Schramocaris has previously only been known from the Avon Group (Hastarian) of the Forest of Dean, England.
Antarctic and Southern Ocean science is vital to understanding natural variability, the processes that govern global change and the role of humans in the Earth and climate system. The potential for new knowledge to be gained from future Antarctic science is substantial. Therefore, the international Antarctic community came together to ‘scan the horizon’ to identify the highest priority scientific questions that researchers should aspire to answer in the next two decades and beyond. Wide consultation was a fundamental principle for the development of a collective, international view of the most important future directions in Antarctic science. From the many possibilities, the horizon scan identified 80 key scientific questions through structured debate, discussion, revision and voting. Questions were clustered into seven topics: i) Antarctic atmosphere and global connections, ii) Southern Ocean and sea ice in a warming world, iii) ice sheet and sea level, iv) the dynamic Earth, v) life on the precipice, vi) near-Earth space and beyond, and vii) human presence in Antarctica. Answering the questions identified by the horizon scan will require innovative experimental designs, novel applications of technology, invention of next-generation field and laboratory approaches, and expanded observing systems and networks. Unbiased, non-contaminating procedures will be required to retrieve the requisite air, biota, sediment, rock, ice and water samples. Sustained year-round access to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean will be essential to increase winter-time measurements. Improved models are needed that represent Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in the Earth System, and provide predictions at spatial and temporal resolutions useful for decision making. A co-ordinated portfolio of cross-disciplinary science, based on new models of international collaboration, will be essential as no scientist, programme or nation can realize these aspirations alone.
In two freestanding volumes, Textbook of Neural Repair and Rehabilitation provides comprehensive coverage of the science and practice of neurological rehabilitation. Revised throughout, bringing the book fully up to date, this volume, Medical Neurorehabilitation, can stand alone as a clinical handbook for neurorehabilitation. It covers the practical applications of the basic science principles presented in Volume 1, provides authoritative guidelines on the management of disabling symptoms, and describes comprehensive rehabilitation approaches for the major categories of disabling neurological disorders. New chapters have been added covering genetics in neurorehabilitation, the rehabilitation team and the economics of neurological rehabilitation, and brain stimulation, along with numerous others. Emphasizing the integration of basic and clinical knowledge, this book and its companion are edited and written by leading international authorities. Together they are an essential resource for neuroscientists and provide a foundation of the work of clinical neurorehabilitation professionals.
In two freestanding volumes, the Textbook of Neural Repair and Rehabilitation provides comprehensive coverage of the science and practice of neurological rehabilitation. Revised throughout, bringing the book fully up to date, this volume, Neural Repair and Plasticity, covers the basic sciences relevant to recovery of function following injury to the nervous system, reviewing anatomical and physiological plasticity in the normal central nervous system, mechanisms of neuronal death, axonal regeneration, stem cell biology, and research strategies targeted at axon regeneration and neuron replacement. New chapters have been added covering pathophysiology and plasticity in cerebral palsy, stem cell therapies for brain disorders and neurotrophin repair of spinal cord damage, along with numerous others. Edited and written by leading international authorities, it is an essential resource for neuroscientists and provides a foundation for the work of clinical rehabilitation professionals.