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Analyses of macroscopic charcoal, sediment geochemistry (%C, %N, C/N, δ13C, δ15N), and fossil pollen were conducted on a sediment core recovered from Stella Lake, Nevada, establishing a 2000 year record of fire history and vegetation change for the Great Basin. Charcoal accumulation rates (CHAR) indicate that fire activity, which was minimal from the beginning of the first millennium to AD 750, increased slightly at the onset of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA). Observed changes in catchment vegetation were driven by hydroclimate variability during the early MCA. Two notable increases in CHAR, which occurred during the Little Ice Age (LIA), were identified as major fire events within the catchment. Increased C/N, enriched δ15N, and depleted δ13C values correspond with these events, providing additional evidence for the occurrence of catchment-scale fire events during the late fifteenth and late sixteenth centuries. Shifts in the vegetation community composition and structure accompanied these fires, with Pinus and Picea decreasing in relative abundance and Poaceae increasing in relative abundance following the fire events. During the LIA, the vegetation change and lacustrine geochemical response was most directly influenced by the occurrence of catchment-scale fires, not regional hydroclimate.
The ‘16Up’ study conducted at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute from January 2014 to December 2018 aimed to examine the physical and mental health of young Australian twins aged 16−18 years (N = 876; 371 twin pairs and 18 triplet sets). Measurements included online questionnaires covering physical and mental health as well as information and communication technology (ICT) use, actigraphy, sleep diaries and hair samples to determine cortisol concentrations. Study participants generally rated themselves as being in good physical (79%) and mental (73%) health and reported lower rates of psychological distress and exposure to alcohol, tobacco products or other substances than previously reported for this age group in the Australian population. Daily or near-daily online activity was almost universal among study participants, with no differences noted between males and females in terms of frequency or duration of internet access. Patterns of ICT use in this sample indicated that the respondents were more likely to use online information sources for researching physical health issues than for mental health or substance use issues, and that they generally reported partial levels of satisfaction with the mental health information they found online. This suggests that internet-based mental health resources can be readily accessed by adolescent Australians, and their computer literacy augurs well for future access to online health resources. In combination with other data collected as part of the ongoing Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study, the 16Up project provides a valuable resource for the longitudinal investigation of genetic and environmental contributions to phenotypic variation in a variety of human traits.
Psychiatric disorders, including eating disorders (EDs), have clinical outcomes that range widely in severity and chronicity. The ability to predict such outcomes is extremely limited. Machine-learning (ML) approaches that model complexity may optimize the prediction of multifaceted psychiatric behaviors. However, the investigations of many psychiatric concerns have not capitalized on ML to improve prognosis. This study conducted the first comparison of an ML approach (elastic net regularized logistic regression) to traditional regression to longitudinally predict ED outcomes.
Females with heterogeneous ED diagnoses completed demographic and psychiatric assessments at baseline (n = 415) and Year 1 (n = 320) and 2 (n = 277) follow-ups. Elastic net and traditional logistic regression models comprising the same baseline variables were compared in ability to longitudinally predict ED diagnosis, binge eating, compensatory behavior, and underweight BMI at Years 1 and 2.
Elastic net models had higher accuracy for all outcomes at Years 1 and 2 [average Area Under the Receiving Operating Characteristics Curve (AUC) = 0.78] compared to logistic regression (average AUC = 0.67). Model performance did not deteriorate when the most important predictor was removed or an alternative ML algorithm (random forests) was applied. Baseline ED (e.g. diagnosis), psychiatric (e.g. hospitalization), and demographic (e.g. ethnicity) characteristics emerged as important predictors in exploratory predictor importance analyses.
ML algorithms can enhance the prediction of ED symptoms for 2 years and may identify important risk markers. The superior accuracy of ML for predicting complex outcomes suggests that these approaches may ultimately aid in advancing precision medicine for serious psychiatric disorders.
The Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research (MCTFR) comprises multiple longitudinal, community-representative investigations of twin and adoptive families that focus on psychological adjustment, personality, cognitive ability and brain function, with a special emphasis on substance use and related psychopathology. The MCTFR includes the Minnesota Twin Registry (MTR), a cohort of twins who have completed assessments in middle and older adulthood; the Minnesota Twin Family Study (MTFS) of twins assessed from childhood and adolescence into middle adulthood; the Enrichment Study (ES) of twins oversampled for high risk for substance-use disorders assessed from childhood into young adulthood; the Adolescent Brain (AdBrain) study, a neuroimaging study of adolescent twins; and the Siblings Interaction and Behavior Study (SIBS), a study of adoptive and nonadoptive families assessed from adolescence into young adulthood. Here we provide a brief overview of key features of these established studies and describe new MCTFR investigations that follow up and expand upon existing studies or recruit and assess new samples, including the MTR Study of Relationships, Personality, and Health (MTR-RPH); the Colorado-Minnesota (COMN) Marijuana Study; the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study; the Colorado Online Twins (CoTwins) study and the Children of Twins (CoT) study.
A national need is to prepare for and respond to accidental or intentional disasters categorized as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE). These incidents require specific subject-matter expertise, yet have commonalities. We identify 7 core elements comprising CBRNE science that require integration for effective preparedness planning and public health and medical response and recovery. These core elements are (1) basic and clinical sciences, (2) modeling and systems management, (3) planning, (4) response and incident management, (5) recovery and resilience, (6) lessons learned, and (7) continuous improvement. A key feature is the ability of relevant subject matter experts to integrate information into response operations. We propose the CBRNE medical operations science support expert as a professional who (1) understands that CBRNE incidents require an integrated systems approach, (2) understands the key functions and contributions of CBRNE science practitioners, (3) helps direct strategic and tactical CBRNE planning and responses through first-hand experience, and (4) provides advice to senior decision-makers managing response activities. Recognition of both CBRNE science as a distinct competency and the establishment of the CBRNE medical operations science support expert informs the public of the enormous progress made, broadcasts opportunities for new talent, and enhances the sophistication and analytic expertise of senior managers planning for and responding to CBRNE incidents.
Objectives: To evaluate prospective and retrospective memory abilities in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) Veterans with and without a self-reported history of blast-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Methods: Sixty-one OEF/OIF/OND Veterans, including Veterans with a self-reported history of blast-related mTBI (mTBI group; n=42) and Veterans without a self-reported history of TBI (control group; n=19) completed the Memory for Intentions Test, a measure of prospective memory (PM), and two measures of retrospective memory (RM), the California Verbal Learning Test-II and the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised. Results: Veterans in the mTBI group exhibited significantly lower PM performance than the control group, but the groups did not differ in their performance on RM measures. Further analysis revealed that Veterans in the mTBI group with current PTSD (mTBI/PTSD+) demonstrated significantly lower performance on the PM measure than Veterans in the control group. PM performance by Veterans in the mTBI group without current PTSD (mTBI/PTSD-) was intermediate between the mTBI/PTSD+ and control groups, and results for the mTBI/PTSD- group were not significantly different from either of the other two groups. Conclusions: Results suggest that PM performance may be a sensitive marker of cognitive dysfunction among OEF/OIF/OND Veterans with a history of self-reported blast-related mTBI and comorbid PTSD. Reduced PM may account, in part, for complaints of cognitive difficulties in this Veteran cohort, even years post-injury. (JINS, 2018, 24, 324–334)
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
The use of aromatic plants and their essential oils for ectoparasite treatment is a field of growing interest. Several species of birds regularly introduce aromatic herbs into their nests putatively to reduce parasites. The behaviour is most often seen in cavity nesting birds and after nest building has finished. The plants are included in a non-structural manner and are often strongly aromatic. Various different hypotheses have been proposed regarding the function of this behaviour; from the plants altering some non-living factor in the nest (crypsis, water loss and insulation hypotheses) to them being involved in mate selection (mate hypothesis) or even having a beneficial effect, direct or indirect, on chicks (drug or nest protection hypothesis, NPH). Many studies have been carried out over the years observing and experimentally testing these hypotheses. This review focuses on studies involving the most popular of these hypotheses, the NPH: that plants decrease nest parasites or pathogens, thereby conveying positive effects to the chicks, allowing the behaviour to evolve. Studies providing observational evidence towards this hypothesis and those experimentally testing it are discussed.
Perspectives on Patentable Subject Matter brings together leading scholars to offer diverse perspectives on the question of which types of subject matter are even eligible for patent protection, setting aside the widely known requirement that a claimed invention avoid the prior art and be adequately disclosed. Some leading commentators and policy-making bodies and individuals envision patentable subject matter to include anything under the sun made by humans, others envision a range of restrictions for particular fields of endeavor, from business methods and computer software to matters involving life, such as DNA and methods for screening or treating disease. Employing approaches that are both theoretically rigorous and grounded in the real world, this book is well suited for practicing lawyers, managers, lawmakers and analysts, as well as academics researching or teaching in law schools, business schools, public policy schools, and in economics and political science departments.