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When people have the freedom to further their own personal interests in politics, the results may be disastrous. Chaos? Tyranny? Can a political system be set up to avoid these pitfalls, while still granting citizens and politicians the freedom to pursue their interests? Republic at Risk is a concise and engaging introduction to American politics. The guiding theme is the problem of self-interest in politics, which James Madison took as his starting point in his defense of representative government in Federalist 10 and 51. Madison believed that unchecked self-interest in politics was a risk to a well-ordered and free society. But he also held that political institutions could be designed to harness self-interest for the greater good. Putting Madison's theory to the test, the authors examine modern challenges to the integrity and effectiveness of US policy-making institutions, inviting readers to determine how best to respond to these risks.
The world is astoundingly variable, and organisms – from individuals to whole communities – must respond to variability to survive. One example of nature’s variability is the fluctuations in populations of spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana Clemens (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), which cycle every 35 years. In this study, we examined how a parasitoid community altered its parasitism of budworm and other caterpillar species in response to these fluctuations. Budworm and other caterpillar species were sampled from balsam fir (Pinaceae) in three plots for 14 years in Atlantic Canada, then were reared to identify any emerging parasitoids. We found that the parasitoid community generally showed an indiscriminate response (i.e., no preference, where frequencies dictated parasitism rates) to changes in budworm frequencies relative to other caterpillar species on balsam fir. We also observed changes in topology and distributions of interaction strengths between the parasitoids, budworm, and other caterpillar species as budworm frequencies fluctuated. Our study contributes to the hypothesis that hardwood trees are a critical part of the budworm–parasitoid food web, where parasitoids attack other caterpillar species on hardwood trees when budworm populations are low. Taken together, our results show that a parasitoid community collectively alters species interactions in response to variable budworm frequencies, thereby fundamentally shifting food-web pathways.
To analyse nutritional and packaging characteristics of toddler-specific foods and milks in the Australian retail food environment to identify how such products fit within the Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) and the NOVA classification.
Cross-sectional retail audit of toddler foods and milks. On-pack product attributes were recorded. Products were categorised as (1) food or milk; (2) snack food or meal and (3) snacks sub-categorised depending on main ingredients. Products were classified as a discretionary or core food as per the ADG and level of processing according to NOVA classification.
Supermarkets and pharmacies in Australia.
A total of 154 foods and thirty-two milks were identified. Eighty percentage of foods were snacks, and 60 % of foods were classified as core foods, while 85 % were ultraprocessed (UP). Per 100 g, discretionary foods provided significantly more energy, protein, total and saturated fat, carbohydrate, total sugar and Na (P < 0·001) than core foods. Total sugars were significantly higher (P < 0·001) and Na significantly lower (P < 0·001) in minimally processed foods than in UP foods. All toddler milks (n 32) were found to have higher energy, carbohydrate and total sugar levels than full-fat cow’s milk per 100 ml. Claims and messages were present on 99 % of foods and all milks.
The majority of toddler foods available in Australia are UP snack foods and do not align with the ADG. Toddler milks, despite being UP, do align with the ADG. A strengthened regulatory approach may address this issue.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) have a theoretically increased risk of contracting severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) given their occupational exposure. We tested 2,167 HCWs in a London Acute Integrated Care Organisation for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in May and June 2020 to evaluate seroprevalence. We found a seropositivity rate of 31.6% among HCWs.
Micronutrient deficiencies are of growing public health concern. An understanding of how micronutrient deficiencies affect health and measures that can be taken to improve micronutrient status are essential to improve population health. The main purpose of the 2018 Irish Section Meeting ‘Targeted approaches to tackling current nutritional issues’ was to provide an overview of current issues in relation to micronutrient status at various stages of the lifecycle. Novel biomarkers of nutrient status, global strategies to improve micronutrient status and implications for policy were also considered. The papers presented demonstrated recent advancements in this field and highlighted areas that warrant priority at the public health level, on both a national and global scale. Novel methods and biomarkers are being developed that will enhance the assessment of micronutrient status in specific population groups. It is evident that mild-to-moderate deficiency, or low status (in the absence of deficiency), of some micronutrients have important ramifications for public health that should be considered alongside the implications of severe deficiency. It is imperative that policy makers, public health workers and scientists work together to ensure that sustainable programmes are implemented to address micronutrient deficiencies at the population level.
Recent cases of acute kidney injury due to Seoul hantavirus infection from exposure to wild or pet fancy rats suggest this infection is increasing in prevalence in the UK. We conducted a seroprevalence study in England to estimate cumulative exposure in at-risk groups with contact with domesticated and wild rats to assess risk and inform public health advice. From October 2013 to June 2014, 844 individual blood samples were collected. Hantavirus seroprevalence amongst the pet fancy rat owner group was 34.1% (95% CI 23·9–45·7%) compared with 3·3% (95% CI 1·6–6·0) in a baseline control group, 2·4% in those with occupational exposure to pet fancy rats (95% CI 0·6–5·9) and 1·7% with occupational exposure to wild rats (95% CI 0·2–5·9). Variation in seroprevalence across groups with different exposure suggests that occupational exposure to pet and wild rats carries a very low risk, if any. However incidence of hantavirus infection among pet fancy rat owners/breeders, whether asymptomatic, undiagnosed mild viral illness or more severe disease may be very common and public health advice needs to be targeted to this at-risk group.
Se is an essential micronutrient for human health, and fluctuations in Se levels and the potential cellular dysfunction associated with it may increase the risk for disease. Although Se has been shown to influence several biological pathways important in health, little is known about the effect of Se on the expression of microRNA (miRNA) molecules regulating these pathways. To explore the potential role of Se-sensitive miRNA in regulating pathways linked with colon cancer, we profiled the expression of 800 miRNA in the CaCo-2 human adenocarcinoma cell line in response to a low-Se (72 h at <40 nm) environment using nCounter direct quantification. These data were then examined using a range of in silico databases to identify experimentally validated miRNA–mRNA interactions and the biological pathways involved. We identified ten Se-sensitive miRNA (hsa-miR-93-5p, hsa-miR-106a-5p, hsa-miR-205-5p, hsa-miR-200c-3p, hsa-miR-99b-5p, hsa-miR-302d-3p, hsa-miR-373-3p, hsa-miR-483-3p, hsa-miR-512-5p and hsa-miR-4454), which regulate 3588 mRNA in key pathways such as the cell cycle, the cellular response to stress, and the canonical Wnt/β-catenin, p53 and ERK/MAPK signalling pathways. Our data show that the effects of low Se on biological pathways may, in part, be due to these ten Se-sensitive miRNA. Dysregulation of the cell cycle and of the stress response pathways due to low Se may influence key genes involved in carcinogenesis.
In an effort to better understand the consequences of early weaning (EW) for replacement beef heifers, a two-phase experiment was conducted investigating the impact on metabolic function and documenting reproductive characteristics. In phase 1, Angus×Simmental heifers (n=35) were stratified by BW and sire, and randomly assigned to either a normal weaning (NW, n=18) or EW (n=17) treatment. EW heifers were weaned at 107±3 days of age and provided access to a concentrate-based ration ad libitum with limit-fed mixed grass hay. NW heifers remained with their dams until 232±3 days of age, at which point heifers from both treatments were comingled and grazed on mixed summer pasture. Following NW, weekly blood samples were collected from all heifers for progesterone analyses used to determine the onset of puberty. Pelvic and ovarian size was measured before breeding. All heifers were subjected to an estrous synchronization protocol with timed artificial insemination (AI) at 437±4 days of age. During phase 2 of the experiment, a subset of pregnant heifers (n=16) were divided into two replicates and subjected to a glucose tolerance test, epinephrine challenge and progesterone clearance analysis. Neither age nor BW at puberty differed between EW and NW heifers. Likewise, no differences in pelvic area or ovarian size were observed. Thus, it appears that the reproductive maturity of EW and NW heifers was similar. Heifers studied during phase 2 of the experiment were restricted to those that had become pregnant to their first AI. Within this cohort, EW heifers tended to have lower overall circulating progesterone concentrations than those that were NW (P=0.14). Aspects of glucose and insulin dynamics were also altered, as EW heifers tended to have lower baseline glucose concentrations (P=0.10) despite similar baseline insulin concentrations. Compared with NW heifers, EW heifers had lower insulin area under the curve (P<0.05), which was partly the result of a tendency for lower peak insulin concentrations (P=0.11). Results of the glucose tolerance test indicate that a lesser insulin response was necessary to properly clear the glucose in the EW heifers, suggesting enhanced insulin sensitivity. Collectively, these results indicate that EW is not detrimental for the growth or reproductive development of replacement beef heifers, although some differences in glucose and insulin dynamics persist into adulthood.