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Perinatal light exposure predisposes towards health and behaviour in adulthood. Season of birth is associated with psychiatric, allergic, cardiovascular and metabolic problems. It has been proposed that early-life environmental light disrupts the development of biological rhythms which, in turn, influence later-life health. However, the mechanisms linking perinatal seasonal light to later-life biological rhythm and health in humans are unknown. In this study, we investigated the association between season of birth and epigenome-wide DNA methylation of two postmortem human brain regions (16 hypothalamus, 14 temporal cortex). We did not find statistically significant differences at the whole epigenome level, either because we lacked statistical power or that no association exists. However, when we examined 24 CpG sites that had the highest significance or differential methylation, we identified regions which may be associated with circadian rhythm entrainment, cholinergic neurotransmission and neural development. Amongst methylation of the core clock genes, we identified that hypothalamus Neuronal PAS Domain Protein 2 (NPAS2) gene has hypermethylated regions in long photoperiod-born individuals. In addition, we found nominal associations between season of birth and genes linked to chronotype and narcolepsy. Season of birth-related brain DNA methylation profile was different than a previously reported blood methylation profile, suggesting a tissue-specific mechanism of perinatal light programming. Overall, we are the first to analyse the relationship between season of birth and human brain DNA methylation. Further studies with larger sample sizes are required to confirm an imprinting effect of perinatal light on the circadian clock.
In England and Wales there are four types of collective redress or multiparty claim: (1) test case litigation, supported by the staying of related individual actions; (2) consolidation or joinder, that is, procedural adjustment to accommodate multiparty actions; the result is that multiple parties are coupled together in a single case; (3) opt-in claims coordinated as a Group Litigation Order; and (4) representative proceedings. As for (4), there are two manifestations. First there is a general mechanism, not restricted to any particular context, but aggregated damages have not been available and the relief is normally confined to declarations or injunctions.
Health technology assessment conducted to inform decisions during technology development (development-focused or DF-HTA) has a number of distinct features compared with HTA conducted to inform reimbursement and usage decisions. In particular, there are a broad range of decisions to be informed related to the development of a technology; multiple markets and decision makers to be considered; a limited (and developing) evidence base; and constrained resources for analysis. These features impact upon methods adopted by analysts. In this paper, we (i) set out methods of DF-HTA against a timeline of technology development; (ii) provide examples of the methods’ use; and (iii) explain how they have been adapted as a result of the features of DF-HTA. We present a toolkit of methods for analysts working with developers of medical technologies. Three categories of methods are described: literature review, stakeholder consultation, and decision analytic modeling. Literature review and stakeholder consultation are often used to fill evidence gaps. Decision analytic modeling is used to synthesize available evidence alongside plausible assumptions to inform developers about price or performance requirements. Methods increase in formality and complexity as the development and evidence base progresses and more resources are available for assessment. We hope this toolkit will be used in conjunction with the framework of features of DF-HTA presented in our earlier article in order to improve the clarity and appropriateness of methods of HTA used in DF-HTA. We also seek to contribute to a continuing dialogue about the nature of, and the best approach to, DF-HTA.
Health technology assessment (HTA) conducted to inform developers of health technologies (development-focused HTA, DF-HTA) has a number of distinct features when compared to HTA conducted to inform usage decisions (use-focused HTA). To conduct effective DF-HTA, it is important that analysts are aware of its distinct features as analyses are often not published. We set out a framework of ten features, drawn from the literature and our own experience: a target audience of developers and investors; an underlying user objective to maximize return on investment; a broad range of decisions to inform; wide decision space; reduced evidence available; earlier timing of analysis; fluid business model; constrained resources for analysis; a positive stance of analysis; and a “consumer”-specific burden of proof. This paper presents a framework of ten features of DF-HTA intended to initiate debate as well as provide an introduction for analysts unfamiliar with the field.
Subclinical Narcissism (SN) is part of the Dark Triad (DT), which includes also Subclinical Psychopathy (SP) and Machiavellianism. SN comprises facets retained from the clinical syndrome, such as grandiosity and dominance. Previous cross-sectional and longitudinal research indicates that SN may increase Mental Toughness (MT) resulting in various positive outcomes, including lower levels of psychopathy.
The researchers conducted three studies (N = 364, 244 and 144 for Study 1, 2 and 3 respectively) to test if the path model from SN to higher MT predicted lower symptoms of depression (DS). An extension to the model considered Openness to Experience (OE) as a possible mediator. Participants completed self-report measures of SN, MT, OE and DS. In Study 3, participants responded to an additional measure of SN to allow differentiation between grandiose and vulnerable aspects.
SN exerted a negative indirect effect on DS through MT across studies; and a negative indirect effect on DS through MT and OE in Study 2. In Study 3, Grandiose SN increased MT contributing to lower DS. Vulnerable SN demonstrated the reverse pattern. MT subfactors of Control and Confidence had a mediating effect across studies.
The current findings support the model that SN to MT predicts positive outcomes in various domains, including lower levels of psychiatric symptoms. Exploring the link between SN with prosocial traits can be particularly helpful when seeking to identify and promote SN’s adaptive tendencies against symptoms of psychopathology.
Background: Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is the leading cause of spinal cord impairment. In a public healthcare system, wait times to see spine specialists and eventually access surgical treatment for CSM can be substantial. The goals of this study were to determine consultation wait times (CWT) and surgical wait times (SWT), and identify predictors of wait time length. Methods: Consecutive patients enrolled in the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network (CSORN) prospective and observational CSM study from March 2015 to July 2017 were included. A data-splitting technique was used to develop and internally validate multivariable models of potential predictors. Results: A CSORN query returned 264 CSM patients for CWT. The median was 46 days. There were 31% mild, 35% moderate, and 33% severe CSM. There was a statistically significant difference in median CWT between moderate and severe groups; 207 patients underwent surgical treatment. Median SWT was 42 days. There was a statistically significant difference in SWT between mild/moderate and severe groups. Short symptom duration, less pain, lower BMI, and lower physical component score of SF-12 were predictive of shorter CWT. Only baseline pain and medication duration were predictive of SWT. Both CWT and SWT were shorter compared to a concurrent cohort of lumbar stenosis patients (p <0.001). Conclusions: Patients with shorter duration (either symptoms or medication) and less neck pain waited less to see a spine specialist in Canada and to undergo surgical treatment. This study highlights some of the obstacles to overcome in expedited care for this patient population.
Background: Neuroticism is associated with inflated somatic symptom reporting. Worry and rumination are a cognitive concomitant of neuroticism and potentially mediate the neuroticism–somatic complaint relationship. Aims: The present study examined the degree to which worry and rumination mediated the relationship between neuroticism and somatic complaints. Method: A sample of 170 volunteers, recruited via convenience sampling, took part. Participants completed a series of self-report measures: the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire Revised-Short Form, Penn State Worry Questionnaire, the Ruminative Response Scale and the Somatic Symptom Scale-8. Results: Analysis revealed significant positive correlations between neuroticism, rumination and worry. Neuroticism, rumination and worry also correlated positively with somatic complaints. Using structural equation modelling, a mediational model indicated that rumination fully mediated the relationship between neuroticism and somatic complaints. Conclusions: Findings are consistent with the symptom perception hypothesis and have implications for healthcare in terms of managing individuals who present with multiple somatic complaints. Future research would benefit from adopting a longitudinal approach to test how rumination interacts with neuroticism and somatic complaints over time.
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus the conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) requires information on land-use and land-cover changes (LULCCs) and carbon emission trends from the past to the present and into the future. Here, we use the results of participatory scenario development in Tanzania to assess the potential interacting impacts on carbon stock, biodiversity and water yield of alternative scenarios where REDD+ is or is not effectively implemented by 2025, a green economy (GE) scenario and a business as usual (BAU) scenario, respectively. Under the BAU scenario, LULCCs will cause 296 million tonnes of carbon (MtC) national stock loss by 2025, reduce the extent of suitable habitats for endemic and rare species (mainly in encroached protected mountain forests) and change water yields. In the GE scenario, national stock loss decreases to 133 MtC. In this scenario, consistent LULCC impacts occur within small forest patches with high carbon density, water catchment capacity and biodiversity richness. Opportunities for maximizing carbon emission reductions nationally are largely related to sustainable woodland management, but also contain trade-offs with biodiversity conservation and changes in water availability.
Invasive rodents detrimentally affect native bird species on many islands worldwide, and rodent eradication is a useful tool to safeguard endemic and threatened species. However, especially on tropical islands, rodent eradications can fail for various reasons, and it is unclear whether the temporary reduction of a rodent population during an unsuccessful eradication operation has beneficial effects on native birds. Here we examine the response of four endemic land bird species on subtropical Henderson Island in the Pitcairn Island Group, South Pacific Ocean, following an unsuccessful rodent eradication in 2011. We conducted point counts at 25 sampling locations in 14 survey periods between 2011 and 2015, and modelled the abundance trends of all species using binomial mixture models accounting for observer and environmental variation in detection probability. Henderson Reed Warbler Acrocephalus taiti more than doubled in abundance (2015 population estimate: 7,194-28,776), and Henderson Fruit Dove Ptilinopus insularis increased slightly between 2011 and 2015 (2015 population estimate: 4,476–10,072), while we detected no change in abundance of the Henderson Lorikeet Vini stepheni (2015 population estimate: 554–3014). Henderson Crake Zapornia atra increased to pre-eradication levels following anticipated mortality during the operation (2015 population estimate: 4,960–20,783). A temporary reduction of rat predation pressure and rat competition for fruit may have benefitted the reed warbler and the fruit dove, respectively. However, a long drought may have naturally suppressed bird populations prior to the rat eradication operation in 2011, potentially confounding the effects of temporary rat reduction and natural recovery. We therefore cannot unequivocally ascribe the population recovery to the temporary reduction of the rat population. We encourage robust monitoring of island biodiversity both before and after any management operation to better understand responses of endemic species to failed or successful operations.
The controls on rapid surface lake drainage on the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) remain uncertain, making it challenging to incorporate lake drainage into models of GrIS hydrology, and so to determine the ice-dynamic impact of meltwater reaching the ice-sheet bed. Here, we first use a lake area and volume tracking algorithm to identify rapidly draining lakes within West Greenland during summer 2014. Second, we derive hydrological, morphological, glaciological and surface-mass-balance data for various factors that may influence rapid lake drainage. Third, these factors are used within Exploratory Data Analysis to examine existing hypotheses for rapid lake drainage. This involves testing for statistical differences between the rapidly and non-rapidly draining lake types, as well as examining associations between lake size and the potential controlling factors. This study shows that the two lake types are statistically indistinguishable for almost all factors investigated, except lake area. Thus, we are unable to recommend an empirically supported, deterministic alternative to the fracture area threshold parameter for modelling rapid lake drainage within existing surface-hydrology models of the GrIS. However, if improved remotely sensed datasets (e.g. ice-velocity maps, climate model outputs) were included in future research, it may be possible to detect the causes of rapid drainage.
Survival into adult life in patients with aortic coarctation is typical following surgical and catheter-based techniques to relieve obstruction. Late sequelae are recognised, including stroke, hypertension, and intracerebral aneurysm formation, with the underlying mechanisms being unclear. We hypothesised that patients with a history of aortic coarctation may have abnormalities of cerebral blood flow compared with controls.
Patients with a history of aortic coarctation underwent assessment of cerebral vascular function. Vascular responsiveness of intracranial vessels to hypercapnia and degree of cerebral artery stiffness using Doppler-derived pulsatility indices were used. Response to photic stimuli was used to assess neurovascular coupling, which reflects endothelial function in response to neuronal activation. Patient results were compared with age- and sex-matched controls.
A total of 13 adult patients (males=10; 77%) along with 13 controls underwent evaluation. The mean age was 36.1±3.7 years in the patient group. Patients with a background of aortic coarctation were noted to have increased pulse pressure on blood pressure assessment at baseline with increased intracranial artery stiffness compared with controls. Patients with a history of aortic coarctation had less reactive cerebral vasculature to hypercapnic stimuli and impaired neurovascular coupling compared with controls.
Adult patients with aortic coarctation had increased intracranial artery stiffness compared with controls, in addition to cerebral vasculature showing less responsiveness to hypercapnic and photic stimuli. Further studies are required to assess the aetiology and consequences of these documented abnormalities in cerebral blood flow in terms of stroke risk, cerebral aneurysm formation, and cognitive dysfunction.
Military personnel generally under-consume n-3 fatty acids and overconsume n-6 fatty acids. In a placebo-controlled, double-blinded study, we investigated whether a diet suitable for implementation in military dining facilities and civilian cafeterias could benefit n-3/n-6 fatty acid status of consumers. Three volunteer groups were provided different diets for 10 weeks. Control (CON) participants consumed meals from the US Military’s Standard Garrison Dining Facility Menu. Experimental, moderate (EXP-Mod) and experimental-high (EXP-High) participants consumed the same meals, but high n-6 fatty acid and low n-3 fatty acid containing chicken, egg, oils and food ingredients were replaced with products having less n-6 fatty acids and more n-3 fatty acids. The EXP-High participants also consumed smoothies containing 1000 mg n-3 fatty acids per serving, whereas other participants received placebo smoothies. Plasma and erythrocyte EPA and DHA in CON group remained unchanged throughout, whereas EPA, DHA and Omega-3 Index increased in EXP-Mod and EXP-High groups, and were higher than in CON group after 5 weeks. After 10 weeks, Omega-3 Index in EXP-High group had increased further. No participants exhibited changes in fasting plasma TAG, total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, mood or emotional reactivity. Replacing high linoleic acid (LA) containing foods in dining facility menus with similar high oleic acid/low LA and high n-3 fatty acid foods can improve n-6/n-3 blood fatty acid status after 5 weeks. The diets were well accepted and suitable for implementation in group feeding settings like military dining facilities and civilian cafeterias.
A diverse millipede (diplopod) fauna has been recovered from the earliest Carboniferous (Tournaisian) Ballagan Formation of the Scottish Borders, discovered by the late Stan Wood. The material is generally fragmentary; however, six different taxa are present based on seven specimens. Only one displays enough characters for formal description and is named Woodesmus sheari Ross, Edgecombe & Clark gen. & sp. nov. The absence of paranota justifies the erection of Woodesmidae fam. nov. within the Archipolypoda. The diverse fauna supports the theory that an apparent lack of terrestrial animal fossils from ‘Romer's Gap' was due to a lack of collecting and suitable deposits, rather than to low oxygen levels as previously suggested.