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Ga proverbial wisdom holds that “hate has no medicine,” but there is a sacred court in Accra where people can calm the animosity that emerges from social conflicts. A unique form of vernacular jurisprudence has emerged at the Nae We Shrine Tribunal, which manages the consequences of civil, criminal, and supernatural crimes without raising the ire of human rights activists. Using records from this shrine court, the authors of this article demonstrate how the Tribunal offers social and spiritual wellbeing in a manner that cannot be provided by the chiefly and state judicial systems.
The importance of parasites as a selective force in host evolution is a topic of current interest. However, short-term ecological studies of host–parasite systems, on which such studies are usually based, provide only snap-shots of what may be dynamic systems. We report here on four surveys, carried out over a period of 12 years, of helminths of spiny mice (Acomys dimidiatus), the numerically dominant rodents inhabiting dry montane wadis in the Sinai Peninsula. With host age (age-dependent effects on prevalence and abundance were prominent) and sex (female bias in abundance in helminth diversity and in several taxa including Cestoda) taken into consideration, we focus on the relative importance of temporal and spatial effects on helminth infracommunities. We show that site of capture is the major determinant of prevalence and abundance of species (and higher taxa) contributing to helminth community structure, the only exceptions being Streptopharaus spp. and Dentostomella kuntzi. We provide evidence that most (notably the Spiruroidea, Protospirura muricola, Mastophorus muris and Gongylonema aegypti, but with exceptions among the Oxyuroidae, e.g. Syphacia minuta), show elements of temporal-site stability, with a rank order of measures among sites remaining similar over successive surveys. Hence, there are some elements of predictability in these systems.
Diurnal preference is an individual's preference for daily activities and sleep timing and is strongly correlated with the underlying circadian clock and the sleep-wake cycle validating its use as an indirect circadian measure in humans. Recent research has implicated DNA methylation as a mechanism involved in the regulation of the circadian clock system in humans and other mammals. In order to evaluate the extent of epigenetic differences associated with diurnal preference, we examined genome-wide patterns of DNA methylation in DNA from monozygotic (MZ) twin-pairs discordant for diurnal preference. MZ twins were selected from a longitudinal twin study designed to investigate the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in the development of emotional and behavioral difficulties. Fifteen pairs of MZ twins were identified in which one member scored considerably higher on the Horne–Ostberg Morningness–Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ) than the other. Genome-wide DNA methylation patterns were assessed in twins’ buccal cell DNA using the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChips. Quality control and data pre-processing was undertaken using the wateRmelon package. Differentially methylated probes (DMPs) were identified using an analysis strategy taking into account both the significance and the magnitude of DNA methylation differences. Our data indicate that DNA methylation differences are detectable in MZ twins discordant for diurnal preference. Moreover, downstream gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis on the top-ranked diurnal preference associated DMPs revealed significant enrichment of pathways that have been previously associated with circadian rhythm regulation, including cell adhesion processes and calcium ion binding.
This paper presents multilevel findings on adolescents' victimization exposure from a large longitudinal cohort of twins. Data were obtained from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, an epidemiological study of 2,232 children (1,116 twin pairs) followed to 18 years of age (with 93% retention). To assess adolescent victimization, we combined best practices in survey research on victimization with optimal approaches to measuring life stress and traumatic experiences, and introduce a reliable system for coding severity of victimization. One in three children experienced at least one type of severe victimization during adolescence (crime victimization, peer/sibling victimization, Internet/mobile phone victimization, sexual victimization, family violence, maltreatment, or neglect), and most types of victimization were more prevalent among children from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Exposure to multiple victimization types was common, as was revictimization; over half of those physically maltreated in childhood were also exposed to severe physical violence in adolescence. Biometric twin analyses revealed that environmental factors had the greatest influence on most types of victimization, while severe physical maltreatment from caregivers during adolescence was predominantly influenced by heritable factors. The findings from this study showcase how distinct levels of victimization measurement can be harmonized in large-scale studies of health and development.
We present the results of two 2.3 μm near-infrared (NIR) radial velocity (RV) surveys to detect exoplanets around 36 nearby and young M dwarfs. We use the CSHELL spectrograph (R ~ 46,000) at the NASA InfraRed Telescope Facility (IRTF), combined with an isotopic methane absorption gas cell for common optical path relative wavelength calibration. We have developed a sophisticated RV forward modeling code that accounts for fringing and other instrumental artifacts present in the spectra. With a spectral grasp of only 5 nm, we are able to reach long-term radial velocity dispersions of ~20–30 m s−1 on our survey targets.
The potential for outbreaks of epidemic disease among displaced residents was a significant public health concern in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In response, the Mississippi Department of Health (MDH) and the American Red Cross (ARC) implemented a novel infectious disease surveillance system, in the form of a telephone “hotline”, to detect and rapidly respond to health threats in shelters.
All ARC-managed shelters in Mississippi were included in the surveillance system. A symptom-based, case reporting method was developed and distributed to shelter staff, who were linked with MDH and ARC professionals by a toll-free telephone service. Hotline staff investigated potential infectious disease outbreaks, provided assistance to shelter staff regarding optimal patient care, and helped facilitate the evaluation of ill evacuees by local medical personnel.
Forty-three shelters sheltering 3,520 evacuees participated in the program. Seventeen shelters made 29 calls notifying the hotline of the following cases: (1) fever (6 cases); (2) respiratory infections (37 cases); (3) bloody diarrhea (2 cases); (4) watery diarrhea (15 cases); and (5) other, including rashes (33 cases). Thirty-four of these patients were referred to a local physician or hospital for further diagnosis and disease management. Three cases of chickenpox were identified. No significant infectious disease outbreaks occurred and no deaths were reported.
The surveillance system used direct verbal communication between shelter staff and hotline managers to enable more rapid reporting, mapping, investigation, and intervention, far beyond the capabilities of a more passive or paper-based system. It also allowed for immediate feedback and education for staff unfamiliar with the diseases and reporting process. Replication of this program should be considered during future disasters when health surveillance of a large, disseminated shelter population is necessary.
Mechanistic models of microbial metabolism in the rumen aim at an improved understanding and integration for research purposes or at an improved prediction for practical purposes. The standard way of representing such models is the rate : state formalism. The system is defined by a number of state variables and a set of differential equations describe the change of the state variables with time. Three different types of solution to these dynamic models are distinguished, and examples of these solutions are described to illustrate the applications and contributions of dynamic modelling in the study of the rumen microbial ecosystem. Type I solutions are obtained when the system is in steady state and the differential equations are solved by setting the differentials to zero. An application of the type I solution is the indirect approach to quantifying the fibrolytic anaerobic fungi in the rumen. The solutions of the model describing the alternate life cycle of rumen fungi, with its free-swimming dispersal and particle-attached stages, appear to be consistent with ruminal and faecal observations. Type II solutions are obtained when the system is not in steady state but the differential equations can be integrated analytically. An application of this type of solution is the quantification of the growth and growth yield in batch cultures. Such models help to quantify the degradation of substrates in the rumen and to elucidate the interactions between groups of rumen micro-organisms. Type III solutions are obtained when the system is not in steady state and when the differential equations have to be solved numerically. Applications of the type III solutions are the rumen simulation models that describe substrate degradation, endproduct formation and microbial metabolism in an integrated manner. To illustrate this type III solution, a model of lactic acid metabolism in the rumen is defined, and its contribution to understanding of the paths and rates of lactic acid disappearance described. It is essential that the models are based on sound mathematical and biological principles. However, the various applications described in the paper show that models need not necessarily be complex and very detailed to contribute to better understanding.
Point defects in intermetallic compounds are subjected to significant constraints due to the directional bonding, long-range order and off-stoichiometric deviation of the materials. This leads to a variety of defects with distinct differences in morphology, concentration and mobility. In the present study the implications of these defect characteristics on the mechanical properties of two-phase titanium aluminide alloys will be investigated. The major areas of the study are: (i) deformation induced point defects that contribute to work hardening; (ii) dislocation locking due to the formation of defect atmospheres; (iii) transport processes involved in phase transformation and recrystallization occurring during long-term creep. The applied methods include mechanical testing, static strain aging and structural characterisation by high resolution electron microscopy.
Studies determined the effect of common lambsquarters, goosegrass, and a mixture of these on ‘Beauregard’ and ‘Jewel’ sweetpotato transplant production with or without polyethylene bed covers. Effects of herbicides on Beauregard in propagation beds were also studied. Black and infrared transmissible (IRT) plastic covers gave near 100% control of goosegrass and common lambsquarters, resulting in the greatest number and weight of Jewel transplants per plot. Common lambsquarters reduced transplant number and weight per plot with Jewel under clear plastic covers when compared with black and IRT plastic covers. Beauregard transplant number was not affected by row cover treatment. However, with data combined over all covers, Beauregard transplant weight per plot was lowest for treatments with weeds compared to weed-free plots. With the exception of DCPA, no significant (10% or greater) injury to Beauregard was observed with diphenamid, napropamide, chloramben, or chloramben plus fluazifop.
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