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The Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) Project accessed Mercer Subglacial Lake using environmentally clean hot-water drilling to examine interactions among ice, water, sediment, rock, microbes and carbon reservoirs within the lake water column and underlying sediments. A ~0.4 m diameter borehole was melted through 1087 m of ice and maintained over ~10 days, allowing observation of ice properties and collection of water and sediment with various tools. Over this period, SALSA collected: 60 L of lake water and 10 L of deep borehole water; microbes >0.2 μm in diameter from in situ filtration of ~100 L of lake water; 10 multicores 0.32–0.49 m long; 1.0 and 1.76 m long gravity cores; three conductivity–temperature–depth profiles of borehole and lake water; five discrete depth current meter measurements in the lake and images of ice, the lake water–ice interface and lake sediments. Temperature and conductivity data showed the hydrodynamic character of water mixing between the borehole and lake after entry. Models simulating melting of the ~6 m thick basal accreted ice layer imply that debris fall-out through the ~15 m water column to the lake sediments from borehole melting had little effect on the stratigraphy of surficial sediment cores.
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.
While involving patients in health technology assessment (HTA) has become increasingly common and important around the world, little is known about the optimal methods of evaluating patients’ involvement (PI) in HTA. This scoping review was undertaken to provide an overview of currently available methods for the evaluation of PI, specifically the impact of PI on HTA recommendations.
A literature search was conducted using nine databases as well as a grey literature search of the websites of 26 organizations related to the conduct, practice or research of HTA to identify articles, reports and abstracts related to the evaluation of PI impact in HTA.
We identified 1,248 unique citations, six of which met our eligibility criteria. These six records (five articles, and one report) were all published after 2012. Four assessed the impact of patient experience submissions on final HTA recommendations; one evaluated the impact of direct involvement on HTA committees, and one assessed impact of multiple forms of involvement. Methods of evaluation included quantitative analyses of reimbursement decisions, qualitative interviews with those directly involved in an assessment, surveys of patient groups and committee members, and the review of HTA reports.
Quantitative evaluation of PI based on associations with funding decisions may not be feasible or fully capture the relevant impact of PI in the assessment of health technologies. Rather, a combination of both qualitative and quantitative strategies may allow for the most comprehensive assessment of the impact of PI on HTA recommendations when possible.
The science of studying diamond inclusions for understanding Earth history has developed significantly over the past decades, with new instrumentation and techniques applied to diamond sample archives revealing the stories contained within diamond inclusions. This chapter reviews what diamonds can tell us about the deep carbon cycle over the course of Earth’s history. It reviews how the geochemistry of diamonds and their inclusions inform us about the deep carbon cycle, the origin of the diamonds in Earth’s mantle, and the evolution of diamonds through time.
Prenatal adversity shapes child neurodevelopment and risk for later mental health problems. The quality of the early care environment can buffer some of the negative effects of prenatal adversity on child development. Retrospective studies, in adult samples, highlight epigenetic modifications as sentinel markers of the quality of the early care environment; however, comparable data from pediatric cohorts are lacking. Participants were drawn from the Maternal Adversity Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment (MAVAN) study, a longitudinal cohort with measures of infant attachment, infant development, and child mental health. Children provided buccal epithelial samples (mean age = 6.99, SD = 1.33 years, n = 226), which were used for analyses of genome-wide DNA methylation and genetic variation. We used a series of linear models to describe the association between infant attachment and (a) measures of child outcome and (b) DNA methylation across the genome. Paired genetic data was used to determine the genetic contribution to DNA methylation at attachment-associated sites. Infant attachment style was associated with infant cognitive development (Mental Development Index) and behavior (Behavior Rating Scale) assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development at 36 months. Infant attachment style moderated the effects of prenatal adversity on Behavior Rating Scale scores at 36 months. Infant attachment was also significantly associated with a principal component that accounted for 11.9% of the variation in genome-wide DNA methylation. These effects were most apparent when comparing children with a secure versus a disorganized attachment style and most pronounced in females. The availability of paired genetic data revealed that DNA methylation at approximately half of all infant attachment-associated sites was best explained by considering both infant attachment and child genetic variation. This study provides further evidence that infant attachment can buffer some of the negative effects of early adversity on measures of infant behavior. We also highlight the interplay between infant attachment and child genotype in shaping variation in DNA methylation. Such findings provide preliminary evidence for a molecular signature of infant attachment and may help inform attachment-focused early intervention programs.
In September 2016, the annual meeting of the International Union for Quaternary Research’s Loess and Pedostratigraphy Focus Group, traditionally referred to as a LoessFest, met in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA. The 2016 LoessFest focused on “thin” loess deposits and loess transportation surfaces. This LoessFest included 75 registered participants from 10 countries. Almost half of the participants were from outside the United States, and 18 of the participants were students. This review is the introduction to the special issue for Quaternary Research that originated from presentations and discussions at the 2016 LoessFest. This introduction highlights current understanding and ongoing work on loess in various regions of the world and provides brief summaries of some of the current approaches/strategies used to study loess deposits.
The Kulshan caldera formed at ∼1.15 Ma on the present-day site of Mt. Baker, Washington State, northwest USA and erupted a compositionally zoned (dacite-rhyolite) magma and a correlative eruptive, the Lake Tapps tephra. This tephra has previously been described, but only from the Puget Lowland of NW Washington. Here an occurrence of a Kulshan caldera correlative tephra is described from the Quaternary Palouse loess at the Washtucna site (WA-3). Site WA-3 is located in east-central Washington, ∼340 km southeast of the Kulshan caldera and ∼300 km east-southeast of the Lake Tapps occurrence in the Puget Lowland. Major- and trace element chemistry and location of the deposit at Washtucna within reversed polarity sediments indicates that it is not correlative with the Mesa Falls, Rockland, Bishop Ash, Lava Creek B or Huckleberry Ridge tephras. Instead the Washtucna deposit is related to the Lake Tapps tephra by fractional crystallisation, but is chemically distinct, a consequence of its eruption from a compositionally zoned magma chamber. The correlation of the Washtucna occurrence to the Kulshan caldera-forming eruption indicates that it had an eruptive volume exceeding 100 km3, and that its tephra could provide a valuable early-Pleistocene chronostratigraphic marker in the Pacific Northwest.
The bran and particularly the aleurone fraction of wheat are high in betaine and other physiological methyl donors, which may exert beneficial physiological effects. We conducted two randomised, controlled, cross-over postprandial studies to assess and compare plasma betaine and other methyl donor-related responses following the consumption of minimally processed bran and aleurone fractions (study A) and aleurone bread (study B). For both studies, standard pharmacokinetic parameters were derived for betaine, choline, folate, dimethylglycine (DMG), total homocysteine and methionine from plasma samples taken at 0, 0·5, 1, 2 and 3 h. In study A (n 14), plasma betaine concentrations were significantly and substantially elevated from 0·5 to 3 h following the consumption of both bran and aleurone compared with the control; however, aleurone gave significantly higher responses than bran. Small, but significant, increases were also observed in DMG measures; however, no significant responses were observed in other analytes. In study B (n 13), plasma betaine concentrations were significantly and substantially higher following consumption of the aleurone bread compared with the control bread; small, but significant, increases were also observed in DMG and folate measures in response to consumption of the aleurone bread; however, no significant responses were observed in other analytes. Peak plasma betaine concentrations, which were 1·7–1·8 times the baseline levels, were attained earlier following the consumption of minimally processed aleurone compared with the aleurone bread (time taken to reach peak concentration 1·2 v. 2·1 h). These results showed that the consumption of minimally processed wheat bran, and particularly the aleurone fraction, yielded substantial postprandial increases in plasma betaine concentrations. Furthermore, these effects appear to be maintained when aleurone was incorporated into bread.
Designing materials for application as electrodes in sodium-ion batteries may require the use of unconventional materials to realize acceptable reversible sodium insertion/extraction capabilities. To design new materials simple electrochemical methods need to be coupled with other techniques such as in situ x-ray diffraction (XRD) to correlate the influence of electrochemical performance on a parameter that can be modified, e.g., the crystal structure of the material. Here we use in situ synchrotron XRD data on Gd2TiO5-containing cells to show the minor changes in reflection positions during discharge/charge that illustrates minimal volume expansion and contraction due to insertion/extraction reactions. These small changes correlate to the Gd2TiO5 anode material in both lithium- and sodium-ion batteries showing reversible capacities of ∼45 and ∼23 mA h/g after 20 cycles, respectively. Analysis of sodium location in the crystal structure shows a preference for sodium in the smaller channels along the c axis direction during the first discharge before moving to the larger channels at the charged state. Therefore, in this work, in situ studies highlight minimal structural changes with respect to volume expansion during electrochemical cycling and illustrate where sodium ions locate within the Gd2TiO5 structure.
Psychological stress is implicated in the development of schizophrenia, but little is known about experiences of stress among children at elevated risk for the disorder.
To examine stressor exposure and reactivity in children with different vulnerability profiles for schizophrenia: (a) children presenting multiple antecedents of schizophrenia (ASz group), (b) children with a family history of schizophrenia (FHx group) and (c) typically developing low-risk (TD) children.
Ninety-five children (ASz = 29; FHx = 19; ASz+FHx = 5; TD = 42), identified aged 9–12 years using a community-based screening procedure or as relatives of individuals with schizophrenia, completed questionnaires assessing environmental stressors and psychopathology at age 11–14 years.
Relative to their typically developing peers, children in the FHx and ASz groups were exposed to a greater number of negative life events and a higher frequency of daily stressors, respectively; and were more distressed by these experiences.
Stress exposure and reactivity may constitute useful targets of early intervention for psychosis.
Geologic archives show that the Earth was dustier during the last glacial period. One model suggests that increased gustiness (stronger, more frequent winds) enhanced dustiness. We tested this at Loveland, Iowa, one of the thickest deposits of last-glacial-age (Peoria) loess in the world. Based on K/Rb and Ba/Rb, loess was derived not only from glaciogenic sources of the Missouri River, but also distal loess from non-glacial sources in Nebraska. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages provide the first detailed chronology of Peoria Loess at Loveland. Deposition began after ~ 27 ka and continued until ~ 17 ka. OSL ages also indicate that mass accumulation rates (MARs) of loess were not constant. MARs were highest and grain size was coarsest during the time of middle Peoria Loess accretion, ~ 23 ka, when ~ 10 m of loess accumulated in no more than ~ 2000 yr and possibly much less. The timing of coarsest grain size and highest MAR, indicating strongest winds, coincides with a summer-insolation minimum at high latitudes in North America and the maximum southward extent of the Laurentide ice sheet. These observations suggest that increased dustiness during the last glacial period was driven largely by enhanced gustiness, forced by a steepened meridional temperature gradient.
To identify predictors of increased adiposity for different measures of adiposity.
Prospective cohort study, the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study (MCCS), with data at baseline (1990–1994) and wave 2 (2003–2007).
Participants recruited from the community.
Australian-born participants (n 5879) aged 40 to 69 years who were not current smokers and who were free from common chronic diseases at recruitment. At baseline and at wave 2, weight and waist circumference were measured; while demographic and lifestyle variables were obtained at baseline via structured interviews.
Participants who reported any recreational physical activity at baseline had lower weight and smaller waist circumference at wave 2 than those who did not, particularly for younger participants and for vigorous physical activity. Walking for leisure was not associated, and greater physical activity at work was associated, with greater adiposity measures at wave 2. A diet low in carbohydrates and fibre, but high in fat and protein, predicted greater weight and waist circumference at wave 2. Participants were less likely to have elevated weight or waist circumference at wave 2 if they consumed low to moderate amounts of alcohol.
Our findings indicate that promoting vigorous physical activity, encouraging a diet high in carbohydrate and fibre but low in fat and protein, and limiting alcohol intake could be promising approaches for preventing obesity in middle-aged adults. Similar interventions should successfully address the management of both weight and waist circumference, as they were predicted by similar factors.