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While environmental reconstruction has been a staple in the study of past societies, underused tools from ecology, such as food webs, can enable a more thorough understanding of the human place within ecosystems. Drawing on two recent studies, this article describes the types of questions that can be addressed using this approach. The authors demonstrate how food webs that include archaeological data can provide insights into the effects of extinctions, invasion and ecosystem change on communities, and can address key questions of the structure and dynamics of past societies. This article highlights examples of best practice for the compilation of archaeo-ecological networks, and suggest ways of developing a synthetic understanding of past environments.
Analyses of ancient food webs reveal important paleoecological processes and responses to a range of perturbations throughout Earth's history, such as climate change. These responses can inform our forecasts of future biotic responses to similar perturbations. However, previous analyses of ancient food webs rarely accounted for key differences between modern and ancient community data, particularly selective loss of soft-bodied taxa during fossilization. To consider how fossilization impacts inferences of ancient community structure, we (1) analyzed node-level attributes to identify correlations between ecological roles and fossilization potential and (2) applied selective information loss procedures to food web data for extant systems. We found that selective loss of soft-bodied organisms has predictable effects on the trophic structure of “artificially fossilized” food webs because these organisms occupy unique, consistent food web positions. Fossilized food webs misleadingly appear less stable (i.e., more prone to trophic cascades), with less predation and an overrepresentation of generalist consumers. We also found that ecological differences between soft- and hard-bodied taxa—indicated by distinct positions in modern food webs—are recorded in an early Eocene web, but not in Cambrian webs. This suggests that ecological differences between the groups have existed for ≥48 Myr. Our results indicate that accounting for soft-bodied taxa is vital for accurate depictions of ancient food webs. However, the consistency of information loss trends across the analyzed food webs means it is possible to predict how the selective loss of soft-bodied taxa affects food web metrics, which can permit better modeling of ancient communities.
False-positives can occur when a medication has a cross-reactivity with the immunoassay, often due to similarity in structure of the parent medication or one of its metabolites to the tested drug. The occurrence of false-positives is mostly affected by the type of immunoassay used and the particular agent being tested. We present a case of a 13 year old female who was status post overdose with lamotrigine with positive urine toxicology with PCP (Phencyclidine.)
Ms. A is a 13 year old female, with significant psychiatric history of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. She denied any psychoactive substances of abuse including PCP. Her history was collaborated by her mother. History revealed that patient was found unresponsive in bed with a suicide note and bottles at her bedside with 13 of 100mg pills of lamotrigine missing and 13 of 50mg pills sertraline. She was brought to pediatric emergency room by ambulance activated by her mother. On arrival to the hospital, the patient was not verbally responsive; she was responsive only to tactile stimuli. Her vital signs were within normal limits. Her urine toxicology was positive for PCP. Her Basic Metabolic Panel, Liver Function Test, and Complete Blood Count were within normal. She was stabilized after two days and was transferred to child and adolescent psychiatry unit for continued treatment. She was treated with Zoloft 100mg daily, Seroquel 150mg daily, and Valproic Acid of 750mg po total daily dose (blood level 68.1 μg/mL) with good effects on her impulse control and mood lability.
The literature describes that lamotrigine can cause false positive urine toxicology for PCP. In Our case report, our patient denied any history of substance abuse and it was known that she overdosed on lamotrigine. Although a repeat urine toxicology was not done because of patient refusal to cooperate at that time, the suspicion that the positive urine toxicology for PCP was most likely from medication cross reactivity in a patient who has no clinical history of PCP use.
The objective of this systematic review was to evaluate the efficacy of antibiotics to prevent or control colibacillosis in broilers. Studies found eligible were conducted controlled trials in broilers that evaluated an antibiotic intervention, with at least one of the following outcomes: mortality, feed conversion ratio (FCR), condemnations at slaughter, or total antibiotic use. Four electronic databases plus the gray literature were searched. Abstracts were screened for eligibility and data were extracted from eligible trials. Risk of bias was evaluated.
Seven trials reported eligible outcomes in a format that allowed data extraction; all reported results for FCR and one also reported mortality. Due to the heterogeneity in the interventions and outcomes evaluated, it was not feasible to conduct meta-analysis.
Qualitatively, for FCR, comparisons between an antibiotic and an alternative product did not show a significant benefit for either. Some of the comparisons between an antibiotic and a no-treatment placebo showed a numerical benefit to antibiotics, but with wide confidence intervals. The risk-of-bias assessment revealed concerns with reporting of key trial features.
The results of this review do not provide compelling evidence for or against the efficacy of antibiotics for the control of colibacillosis.
A systematic review and network meta-analysis (NMA) were conducted to address the question, ‘What is the efficacy of litter management strategies to reduce morbidity, mortality, condemnation at slaughter, or total antibiotic use in broilers?’ Eligible studies were clinical trials published in English evaluating the efficacy of litter management in broilers on morbidity, condemnations at slaughter, mortality, or total antibiotic use. Multiple databases and two conference proceedings were searched for relevant literature. After relevance screening and data extraction, there were 50 trials evaluating litter type, 22 trials evaluating litter additives, 10 trials comparing fresh to re-used litter, and six trials evaluating floor type. NMAs were conducted for mortality (61 trials) and for the presence or absence of footpad lesions (15 trials). There were no differences in mortality among the litter types, floor types, or additives. For footpad lesions, peat moss appeared beneficial compared to straw, based on a small number of comparisons. In a pairwise meta-analysis, there was no association between fresh versus used litter on the risk of mortality, although there was considerable heterogeneity among studies (I2 = 66%). There was poor reporting of key design features in many studies, and analyses rarely accounted for non-independence of observations within flocks.
Prevention and control of respiratory disease is a major contributor to antibiotic use in swine. A systematic review was conducted to address the question, ‘What is the comparative efficacy of antimicrobials for the prevention of swine respiratory disease?’ Eligible studies were controlled trials published in English evaluating prophylactic antibiotics in swine, where clinical morbidity, mortality, or total antibiotic use was assessed. Four databases and the gray literature were searched for relevant articles. Two reviewers working independently screened titles and abstracts for eligibility followed by full-text articles, and then extracted data and evaluated risk of bias for eligible trials. There were 44 eligible trials from 36 publications. Clinical morbidity was evaluated in eight trials where antibiotics were used in nursery pigs and 10 trials where antibiotics were used in grower pigs. Mortality was measured in 22 trials in nursery pigs and 12 trials in grower pigs. There was heterogeneity in the antibiotic interventions and comparisons published in the literature; thus, there was insufficient evidence to allow quantification of the efficacy, or relative efficacy, of antibiotic interventions. Concerns related to statistical non-independence and quality of reporting were noted in the included trials.
A systematic review and network meta-analysis (MA) was conducted to address the question, ‘What is the efficacy of bacterial vaccines to prevent respiratory disease in swine?’ Four electronic databases and the grey literature were searched to identify clinical trials in healthy swine where at least one intervention arm was a commercially available vaccine for one or more bacterial pathogens associated with respiratory disease in swine, including Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, Actinobacillus pleuropneumonia, Actinobacillus suis, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Pasteurella multocida, Stretococcus suis, Haemophils parasuis, and Mycoplasma hyorhinis. To be eligible, trials had to measure at least one of the following outcomes: incidence of clinical morbidity, mortality, lung lesions, or total antibiotic use. There were 179 eligible trials identified in 146 publications. Network MA was undertaken for morbidity, mortality, and the presence or absence of non-specific lung lesions. However, there was not a sufficient body of research evaluating the same interventions and outcomes to allow a meaningful synthesis of the comparative efficacy of the vaccines. To build this body of research, additional rigor in trial design and analysis, and detailed reporting of trial methods and results are warranted.
To characterize nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) associated with case clusters at 3 medical facilities.
Retrospective cohort study using molecular typing of patient and water isolates.
Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs).
Isolation and identification of NTM from clinical and water samples using culture, MALDI-TOF, and gene population sequencing to determine species and genetic relatedness. Clinical data were abstracted from electronic health records.
An identical strain of Mycobacterium conceptionense was isolated from 41 patients at VA Medical Centers (VAMCs A, B, and D), and from VAMC A’s ICU ice machine. Isolates were initially identified as other NTM species within the M. fortuitum clade. Sequencing analyses revealed that they were identical M. conceptionense strains. Overall, 7 patients (17%) met the criteria for pulmonary or nonpulmonary infection with NTM, and 13 of 41 (32%) were treated with effective antimicrobials regardless of infection or colonization status. Separately, a M. mucogenicum patient strain from VAMC A matched a strain isolated from a VAMC B ICU ice machine. VAMC C, in a different state, had a 4-patient cluster with Mycobacterium porcinum. Strains were identical to those isolated from sink-water samples at this facility.
NTM from hospital water systems are found in hospitalized patients, often during workup for other infections, making attribution of NTM infection problematic. Variable NTM identification methods and changing taxonomy create challenges for epidemiologic investigation and linkage to environmental sources.
The smr and qacA/B genes in Staphylococcus aureus confer tolerance to antiseptics and are associated with nosocomial acquisition of infection and underlying medical conditions. Such antiseptic tolerance (AT) genes have also been reported in coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) and enterococci, however, few data are available regarding their prevalence. We sought to describe the frequency of AT genes among bloodstream isolates of S. aureus, CoNS and enterococci at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH).
Banked CoNS, S. aureus and enterococci isolated from blood cultures collected bewteen October 1, 2016, and October 1, 2017, were obtained from the TCH clinical microbiology laboratory. All isolates underwent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the qacA/B and smr genes. Medical records were reviewed for all cases.
In total, 103 CoNS, 19 Enterococcus spp, and 119 S. aureus isolates were included in the study, and 80.6% of the CoNS possessed at least 1 AT gene compared to 37% of S. aureus and 43.8% of E. faecalis isolates (P < .001). Among CoNS bloodstream isolates, the presence of either AT gene was strongly associated with nosocomial infection (P < .001). The AT genes in S. aureus were associated with nosocomial infection (P = .025) as well as the diagnosis of central-line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI; P = .04) and recent hospitalizations (P < .001). We found no correlation with genotypic AT in E. faecalis and any clinical variable we examined.
Antiseptic tolerance is common among bloodstream staphylococci and E. faecalis isolates at TCH. Among CoNS, the presence of AT genes is strongly correlated with nosocomial acquisition of infection, consistent with previous studies in S. aureus. These data suggest that the healthcare environment contributes to AT among staphylococci.
To investigate the association of policy, systems and environmental factors with improvement in household food security among low-income Indiana households with children after a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) direct nutrition education intervention.
Household food security scores measured by the eighteen-item US Household Food Security Survey Module in a longitudinal randomized and controlled SNAP-Ed intervention study conducted from August 2013 to April 2015 were the response variable. Metrics to quantify environmental factors including classification of urban or rural county status; the number of SNAP-authorized stores, food pantries and recreational facilities; average fair market housing rental price; and natural amenity rank were collected from government websites and data sets covering the years 2012–2016 and used as covariates in mixed multiple linear regression modelling.
Thirty-seven Indiana counties, USA, 2012–2016.
SNAP-Ed eligible adults from households with children (n 328).
None of the environmental factors investigated were significantly associated with changes in household food security in this exploratory study.
SNAP-Ed improves food security regardless of urban or rural location or the environmental factors investigated. Expansion of SNAP-Ed in rural areas may support food access among the low-income population and reduce the prevalence of food insecurity in rural compared with urban areas. Further investigation into policy, systems and environmental factors of the Social Ecological Model are warranted to better understand their relationship with direct SNAP-Ed and their impact on diet-related behaviours and food security.
Studies of blood parasite infection in nestling birds rarely find a high prevalence of infection. This is likely due to a combination of short nestling periods (limiting the age at which nestlings can be sampled) and long parasite prepatent periods before gametocytes can be detected in peripheral blood. Here we examine rates of blood parasite infection in nestlings from three Columbid species in the UK. We use this system to address two key hypotheses in the epidemiology of avian haemoparasites: first, that nestlings in open nests have a higher prevalence of infection; and second, that nestlings sampled at 14 days old have a higher apparent infection rate than those sampled at 7 days old. Open-nesting individuals had a 54% infection rate compared with 25% for box-nesters, probably due to an increased exposure of open-nesting species to dipteran vectors. Nestlings sampled at 14 days had a 68% infection rate compared with 32% in nestlings sampled at 7 days, suggesting that rates of infection in the nest are high. Further work should examine nestlings post-fledging to identify rates of successful parasite infection (as opposed to abortive development within a dead-end host) as well as impacts on host post-fledging survival and behaviour.
Studies incorporating the ecology of clinical and sub-clinical disease in wild populations of conservation concern are rare. Here we examine sub-clinical infection by Trichomonas gallinae in a declining population of free-living European Turtle Doves and suggest caseous lesions cause mortality in adults and nestlings through subsequent starvation and/or suffocation. We found a 100% infection rate by T. gallinae in adult and nestling Turtle Doves (n = 25) and observed clinical signs in three adults and four nestlings (28%). Adults with clinical signs displayed no differences in any skeletal measures of size but had a mean 3·7% reduction in wing length, with no overlap compared to those without clinical signs. We also identified T. gallinae as the suggested cause of mortality in one Red-legged Partridge although disease presentation was different. A minimum of four strains of T. gallinae, characterized at the ITS/5·8S/ITS2 ribosomal region, were isolated from Turtle Doves. However, all birds with clinical signs (Turtle Doves and the Red-legged Partridge) carried a single strain of T. gallinae, suggesting that parasite spill over between Columbidae and Galliformes is a possibility that should be further investigated. Overall, we highlight the importance of monitoring populations for sub-clinical infection rather than just clinical disease.
Trichomonas gallinae is an emerging pathogen in wild birds, linked to recent declines in finch (Fringillidae) populations across Europe. Globally, the main hosts for this parasite are species of Columbidae (doves and pigeons); here we carry out the first investigation into the presence and incidence of Trichomonas in four species of Columbidae in the UK, through live sampling of wild-caught birds and subsequent PCR. We report the first known UK cases of Trichomonas infection in 86% of European Turtle Doves Streptopelia turtur sampled, along with 86% of Eurasian Collared Doves Streptopelia decaocto, 47% of Woodpigeons Columba palumbus and 40% of Stock Doves Columba oenas. Birds were more likely to be infected if the farm provided supplementary food for gamebirds. We found three strains of T. gallinae and one strain clustering within the Trichomonas tenax clade, not previously associated with avian hosts in the UK. One T. gallinae strain was identical at the ITS/5.8S/ITS2 ribosomal region to that responsible for the finch trichomonosis epizootic. We highlight the importance of increasing our knowledge of the diversity and ecological implications of Trichomonas parasites in order further to understand the sub-clinical impacts of parasite infection.
Aggression and violence are serious problems in schizophrenia. Cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to be an effective treatment for psychosis although there have been no studies to date evaluating the impact of CBT for people with psychosis and a history of violence.
To investigate the effectiveness of CBT on violence, anger, psychosis and risk outcomes with people who had a diagnosis of schizophrenia and a history of violence.
This was a single-blind randomised controlled trial of CBT v. social activity therapy (SAT) with a primary outcome of violence and secondary outcomes of anger, symptoms, functioning and risk. Outcomes were evaluated by masked assessors at 6 and 12 months (trial registration: NRR NO50087441).
Significant benefits were shown for CBT compared with control over the intervention and follow-up period on violence, delusions and risk management.
Cognitive–behavioural therapy targeted at psychosis and anger may be an effective treatment for reducing the occurrence of violence and further investigation of its benefits is warranted.
Since the fundamental challenge that I laid at the doorstep of the pluralists was to defend, with nonderivative models, a strong notion of genic cause, it is fatal that Waters has failed to meet that challenge. Waters agrees with me that there is only a single cause operating in these models, but he argues for a notion of causal ‘parsing’ to sustain the viability of some form of pluralism. Waters and his colleagues have some very interesting and important ideas about the sciences, involving pluralism and parsing or partitioning causes, but they are ideas in search of an example. He thinks he has found an example in the case of hierarchical and genic selection. I think he has not.
Children in stepfamilies and single-parent families exhibit elevated levels of behavioural and emotional problems compared with children in intact (biological) families, but there is variation within and across these family types.
To examine the sources of variation in children's behavioural and emotional problems across diverse family settings.
Levels of behavioural and emotional problems in children from diverse stepfamilies and single-parent families were compared with children living with both biological parents. Psychosocial risks were measured at the individual child and family levels.
Behavioural and emotional problems were elevated in children in stepmother/complex stepfamilies and single-parent families, but not in simple stepfather families, relative to ‘biological’ families. Psychopathology associated with family type was explained by compromised quality of the parent–child relationship, parental depression and socio-economic adversity. Sibling similarity in behavioural and emotional problems was most pronounced in high-risk family settings.
Family type is a proxy for exposure to psychosocial risks; the extent of family-wide influence on children's development may be strongest in high-stress settings.