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Blood biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease (AD) may allow for the early detection of AD pathology in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD (MCI-AD) and as a co-pathology in MCI with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB). However not all cases of MCI-LB will feature AD pathology. Disease-general biomarkers of neurodegeneration, such as glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) or neurofilament light (NfL), may therefore provide a useful supplement to AD biomarkers. We aimed to compare the relative utility of plasma Aβ42/40, p-tau181, GFAP and NfL in differentiating MCI-AD and MCI-LB from cognitively healthy older adults, and from one another.
Plasma samples were analysed for 172 participants (31 healthy controls, 48 MCI-AD, 28 possible MCI-LB and 65 probable MCI-LB) at baseline, and a subset (n = 55) who provided repeated samples after ≥1 year. Samples were analysed with a Simoa 4-plex assay for Aβ42, Aβ40, GFAP and NfL, and incorporated previously-collected p-tau181 from this same cohort.
Probable MCI-LB had elevated GFAP (p < 0.001) and NfL (p = 0.012) relative to controls, but not significantly lower Aβ42/40 (p = 0.06). GFAP and p-tau181 were higher in MCI-AD than MCI-LB. GFAP discriminated all MCI subgroups, from controls (AUC of 0.75), but no plasma-based marker effectively differentiated MCI-AD from MCI-LB. NfL correlated with disease severity and increased with MCI progression over time (p = 0.011).
Markers of AD and astrocytosis/neurodegeneration are elevated in MCI-LB. GFAP offered similar utility to p-tau181 in distinguishing MCI overall, and its subgroups, from healthy controls.
Milk and beef derived from pasture-based systems have been characterized by higher nutritional values and a lower environmental footprint than their equivalents obtained via indoor systems. However, intensification of pasture-based production can have adverse impacts on biodiversity and the environment. To date, studies on pro-environmental diversification options leading to improvement of environmental performance of pasture-based dairy and beef production have rarely been synthesized. The present study sought to review current on-farm pro-environmental measures with the potential for enhancing biodiversity status and/or reducing the environmental impacts of pasture-based agriculture. Literature on farmer attitudes toward these measures was also reviewed to identify potential obstacles and opportunities for transitioning to pro-environmental agriculture. A systematic search of published research from high-income island countries characterized by oceanic temperate climate with a high dependence on pasture-based agriculture—the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, was conducted. Thirty studies that assessed the impact of pro-environmental measures, eight ‘attitudinal’ studies of dairy and beef farmers and one study covering both aspects were identified. Inductive thematical analysis was subsequently undertaken. Environmentally sensitive management practices such as hedgerows and field margins management, mixed grazing (where two or more herbivorous animals graze the same land), rare livestock breeds, multispecies swards, organic farming and agroforestry were identified as primary themes studied under the auspices of pro-environmental diversification, while forestry, bioenergy crops and organic farming were the main themes identified within attitudinal research studies. Findings suggest that environmentally sensitive practices have varied effects on biodiversity. Mixed grazing was found to improve livestock production, while studies of organic farming reported multiple positive impacts on biodiversity and animal welfare. Effect of multispecies swards on methane emissions and urinary nitrogen extraction were found to be inconsistent. Attitudinal research suggests that the main barrier to implementing afforestation is its lack of attractiveness compared to ‘traditional’ farming and that organic farmer decisions regarding agricultural management practices might be less profit-oriented and influenced by ecological beliefs to a greater extent than decisions of conventional farmers. The results of this study confirm that pro-environmental diversification inherently encompasses multiple scientific disciplines; however, previous study designs and outcomes were found to be fragmented and narrowly focused. Considering the urgency and importance of climate and biodiversity crises, pro-environmental diversification of pasture-based dairy and beef production has rarely been holistically approached and remains understudied. The development of practical, sustainable solutions for farming based on circular economy and respect to nature and additional strategies to increase farmer and consumer environmental awareness should be prioritized by policymakers, advisory and scientific bodies.
To examine the costs and cost-effectiveness of mirtazapine compared to placebo over 12-week follow-up.
Economic evaluation in a double-blind randomized controlled trial of mirtazapine vs. placebo.
Community settings and care homes in 26 UK centers.
People with probable or possible Alzheimer’s disease and agitation.
Primary outcome included incremental cost of participants’ health and social care per 6-point difference in CMAI score at 12 weeks. Secondary cost-utility analyses examined participants’ and unpaid carers’ gain in quality-adjusted life years (derived from EQ-5D-5L, DEMQOL-Proxy-U, and DEMQOL-U) from the health and social care and societal perspectives.
One hundred and two participants were allocated to each group; 81 mirtazapine and 90 placebo participants completed a 12-week assessment (87 and 95, respectively, completed a 6-week assessment). Mirtazapine and placebo groups did not differ on mean CMAI scores or health and social care costs over the study period, before or after adjustment for center and living arrangement (independent living/care home). On the primary outcome, neither mirtazapine nor placebo could be considered a cost-effective strategy with a high level of confidence. Groups did not differ in terms of participant self- or proxy-rated or carer self-rated quality of life scores, health and social care or societal costs, before or after adjustment.
On cost-effectiveness grounds, the use of mirtazapine cannot be recommended for agitated behaviors in people living with dementia. Effective and cost-effective medications for agitation in dementia remain to be identified in cases where non-pharmacological strategies for managing agitation have been unsuccessful.
Magnetite is a common mineral in the Paleoproterozoic Stollberg Zn–Pb–Ag plus magnetite ore field (~6.6 Mt of production), which occurs in 1.9 Ga metamorphosed felsic and mafic rocks. Mineralisation at Stollberg consists of magnetite bodies and massive to semi-massive sphalerite–galena and pyrrhotite (with subordinate pyrite, chalcopyrite, arsenopyrite and magnetite) hosted by metavolcanic rocks and skarn. Magnetite occurs in sulfides, skarn, amphibolite and altered metamorphosed rhyolitic ash–siltstone that consists of garnet–biotite, quartz–garnet–pyroxene, gedrite–albite, and sericitic rocks. Magnetite probably formed from hydrothermal ore-bearing fluids (~250–400°C) that replaced limestone and rhyolitic ash–siltstone, and subsequently recrystallised during metamorphism. The composition of magnetite from these rock types was measured using electron microprobe analysis and LA–ICP–MS. Utilisation of discrimination plots (Ca+Al+Mn vs. Ti+V, Ni/(Cr+Mn) vs. Ti+V, and trace-element variation diagrams (median concentration of Mg, Al, Ti, V, Co, Mn, Zn and Ga) suggest that the composition of magnetite in sulfides from the Stollberg ore field more closely resembles that from skarns found elsewhere rather than previously published compositions of magnetite in metamorphosed volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits. Although the variation diagrams show that magnetite compositions from various rock types have similar patterns, principal component analyses and element–element variation diagrams indicate that its composition from the same rock type in different sulfide deposits can be distinguished. This suggests that bulk-rock composition also has a strong influence on magnetite composition. Principal component analyses also show that magnetite in sulfides has a distinctive compositional signature which allows it to be a prospective pathfinder mineral for sulfide deposits in the Stollberg ore field.
Impaired olfaction may be a biomarker for early Lewy body disease, but its value in mild cognitive impairment with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) is unknown. We compared olfaction in MCI-LB with MCI due to Alzheimer’s disease (MCI-AD) and healthy older adults. We hypothesized that olfactory function would be worse in probable MCI-LB than in both MCI-AD and healthy comparison subjects (HC).
Cross-sectional study assessing olfaction using Sniffin’ Sticks 16 (SS-16) in MCI-LB, MCI-AD, and HC with longitudinal follow-up. Differences were adjusted for age, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used for discriminating MCI-LB from MCI-AD and HC.
Participants were recruited from Memory Services in the North East of England.
Thirty-eight probable MCI-LB, 33 MCI-AD, 19 possible MCI-LB, and 32HC.
Olfaction was assessed using SS-16 and a questionnaire.
Participants with probable MCI-LB had worse olfaction than both MCI-AD (age-adjusted mean difference (B) = 2.05, 95% CI: 0.62–3.49, p = 0.005) and HC (B = 3.96, 95% CI: 2.51–5.40, p < 0.001). The previously identified cutoff score for the SS-16 of ≤ 10 had 84% sensitivity for probable MCI-LB (95% CI: 69–94%), but 30% specificity versus MCI-AD. ROC analysis found a lower cutoff of ≤ 7 was better (63% sensitivity for MCI-LB, with 73% specificity vs MCI-AD and 97% vs HC). Asking about olfactory impairments was not useful in identifying them.
MCI-LB had worse olfaction than MCI-AD and normal aging. A lower cutoff score of ≤ 7 is required when using SS-16 in such patients. Olfactory testing may have value in identifying early LB disease in memory services.
The present study aimed to clarify the neuropsychological profile of the emergent diagnostic category of Mild Cognitive Impairment with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) and determine whether domain-specific impairments such as in memory were related to deficits in domain-general cognitive processes (executive function or processing speed).
Patients (n = 83) and healthy age- and sex-matched controls (n = 34) underwent clinical and imaging assessments. Probable MCI-LB (n = 44) and MCI-Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (n = 39) were diagnosed following National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer’s Association (NIA-AA) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) consortium criteria. Neuropsychological measures included cognitive and psychomotor speed, executive function, working memory, and verbal and visuospatial recall.
MCI-LB scored significantly lower than MCI-AD on processing speed [Trail Making Test B: p = .03, g = .45; Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST): p = .04, g = .47; DSST Error Check: p < .001, g = .68] and executive function [Trail Making Test Ratio (A/B): p = .04, g = .52] tasks. MCI-AD performed worse than MCI-LB on memory tasks, specifically visuospatial (Modified Taylor Complex Figure: p = .01, g = .46) and verbal (Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test: p = .04, g = .42) delayed recall measures. Stepwise discriminant analysis correctly classified the subtype in 65.1% of MCI patients (72.7% specificity, 56.4% sensitivity). Processing speed accounted for more group-associated variance in visuospatial and verbal memory in both MCI subtypes than executive function, while no significant relationships between measures were observed in controls (all ps > .05)
MCI-LB was characterized by executive dysfunction and slowed processing speed but did not show the visuospatial dysfunction expected, while MCI-AD displayed an amnestic profile. However, there was considerable neuropsychological profile overlap and processing speed mediated performance in both MCI subtypes.
Electroencephalographic (EEG) abnormalities are greater in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) than in MCI due to Alzheimer’s disease (MCI-AD) and may anticipate the onset of dementia. We aimed to assess whether quantitative EEG (qEEG) slowing would predict a higher annual hazard of dementia in MCI across these etiologies. MCI patients (n = 92) and healthy comparators (n = 31) provided qEEG recording and underwent longitudinal clinical and cognitive follow-up. Associations between qEEG slowing, measured by increased theta/alpha ratio, and clinical progression from MCI to dementia were estimated with a multistate transition model to account for death as a competing risk, while controlling for age, cognitive function, and etiology classified by an expert consensus panel.
Over a mean follow-up of 1.5 years (SD = 0.5), 14 cases of incident dementia and 5 deaths were observed. Increased theta/alpha ratio on qEEG was associated with increased annual hazard of dementia (hazard ratio = 1.84, 95% CI: 1.01–3.35). This extends previous findings that MCI-LB features early functional changes, showing that qEEG slowing may anticipate the onset of dementia in prospectively identified MCI.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
Cholinergic deficits are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Lewy body dementia (LBD). The nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM) provides the major source of cortical cholinergic input; studying its functional connectivity might, therefore, provide a tool for probing the cholinergic system and its degeneration in neurodegenerative diseases. Forty-six LBD patients, 29 AD patients, and 31 healthy age-matched controls underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). A seed-based analysis was applied with seeds in the left and right NBM to assess functional connectivity between the NBM and the rest of the brain. We found a shift from anticorrelation in controls to positive correlations in LBD between the right/left NBM and clusters in right/left occipital cortex. Our results indicate that there is an imbalance in functional connectivity between the NBM and primary visual areas in LBD, which provides new insights into alterations within a part of the corticopetal cholinergic system that go beyond structural changes.
Dopaminergic imaging is an established biomarker for dementia with Lewy bodies, but its diagnostic accuracy at the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stage remains uncertain.
To provide robust prospective evidence of the diagnostic accuracy of dopaminergic imaging at the MCI stage to either support or refute its inclusion as a biomarker for the diagnosis of MCI with Lewy bodies.
We conducted a prospective diagnostic accuracy study of baseline dopaminergic imaging with [123I]N-ω-fluoropropyl-2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)nortropane single-photon emission computerised tomography (123I-FP-CIT SPECT) in 144 patients with MCI. Images were rated as normal or abnormal by a panel of experts with access to striatal binding ratio results. Follow-up consensus diagnosis based on the presence of core features of Lewy body disease was used as the reference standard.
At latest assessment (mean 2 years) 61 patients had probable MCI with Lewy bodies, 26 possible MCI with Lewy bodies and 57 MCI due to Alzheimer's disease. The sensitivity of baseline FP-CIT visual rating for probable MCI with Lewy bodies was 66% (95% CI 52–77%), specificity 88% (76–95%) and accuracy 76% (68–84%), with positive likelihood ratio 5.3.
It is over five times as likely for an abnormal scan to be found in probable MCI with Lewy bodies than MCI due to Alzheimer's disease. Dopaminergic imaging appears to be useful at the MCI stage in cases where Lewy body disease is suspected clinically.
Recently published diagnostic criteria for mild cognitive impairment with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) include five neuropsychiatric supportive features (non-visual hallucinations, systematised delusions, apathy, anxiety and depression). We have previously demonstrated that the presence of two or more of these symptoms differentiates MCI-LB from MCI due to Alzheimer's disease (MCI-AD) with a likelihood ratio >4. The aim of this study was to replicate the findings in an independent cohort.
Participants ⩾60 years old with MCI were recruited. Each participant had a detailed clinical, cognitive and imaging assessment including FP-CIT SPECT and cardiac MIBG. The presence of neuropsychiatric supportive symptoms was determined using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). Participants were classified as MCI-AD, possible MCI-LB and probable MCI-LB based on current diagnostic criteria. Participants with possible MCI-LB were excluded from further analysis.
Probable MCI-LB (n = 28) had higher NPI total and distress scores than MCI-AD (n = 30). In total, 59% of MCI-LB had two or more neuropsychiatric supportive symptoms compared with 9% of MCI-AD (likelihood ratio 6.5, p < 0.001). MCI-LB participants also had a significantly greater delayed recall and a lower Trails A:Trails B ratio than MCI-AD.
MCI-LB is associated with significantly greater neuropsychiatric symptoms than MCI-AD. The presence of two or more neuropsychiatric supportive symptoms as defined by MCI-LB diagnostic criteria is highly specific and moderately sensitive for a diagnosis of MCI-LB. The cognitive profile of MCI-LB differs from MCI-AD, with greater executive and lesser memory impairment, but these differences are not sufficient to differentiate MCI-LB from MCI-AD.
Lewy body dementia, consisting of both dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD), is considerably under-recognised clinically compared with its frequency in autopsy series.
This study investigated the clinical diagnostic pathways of patients with Lewy body dementia to assess if difficulties in diagnosis may be contributing to these differences.
We reviewed the medical notes of 74 people with DLB and 72 with non-DLB dementia matched for age, gender and cognitive performance, together with 38 people with PDD and 35 with Parkinson's disease, matched for age and gender, from two geographically distinct UK regions.
The cases of individuals with DLB took longer to reach a final diagnosis (1.2 v. 0.6 years, P = 0.017), underwent more scans (1.7 v. 1.2, P = 0.002) and had more alternative prior diagnoses (0.8 v. 0.4, P = 0.002), than the cases of those with non-DLB dementia. Individuals diagnosed in one region of the UK had significantly more core features (2.1 v. 1.5, P = 0.007) than those in the other region, and were less likely to have dopamine transporter imaging (P < 0.001). For patients with PDD, more than 1.4 years prior to receiving a dementia diagnosis: 46% (12 of 26) had documented impaired activities of daily living because of cognitive impairment, 57% (16 of 28) had cognitive impairment in multiple domains, with 38% (6 of 16) having both, and 39% (9 of 23) already receiving anti-dementia drugs.
Our results show the pathway to diagnosis of DLB is longer and more complex than for non-DLB dementia. There were also marked differences between regions in the thresholds clinicians adopt for diagnosing DLB and also in the use of dopamine transporter imaging. For PDD, a diagnosis of dementia was delayed well beyond symptom onset and even treatment.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may gradually worsen to dementia, but often remains stable for extended periods of time. Little is known about the predictors of decline to help explain this variation. We aimed to explore whether this heterogeneous course of MCI may be predicted by the presence of Lewy body (LB) symptoms in a prospectively-recruited longitudinal cohort of MCI with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) and Alzheimer's disease (MCI-AD).
A prospective cohort (n = 76) aged ⩾60 years underwent detailed assessment after recent MCI diagnosis, and were followed up annually with repeated neuropsychological testing and clinical review of cognitive status and LB symptoms. Latent class mixture modelling identified data-driven sub-groups with distinct trajectories of global cognitive function.
Three distinct trajectories were identified in the full cohort: slow/stable progression (46%), intermediate progressive decline (41%) and a small group with a much faster decline (13%). The presence of LB symptomology, and visual hallucinations in particular, predicted decline v. a stable cognitive trajectory. With time zeroed on study end (death, dementia or withdrawal) where available (n = 39), the same subgroups were identified. Adjustment for baseline functioning obscured the presence of any latent classes, suggesting that baseline function is an important parameter in prospective decline.
These results highlight some potential signals for impending decline in MCI; poorer baseline function and the presence of probable LB symptoms – particularly visual hallucinations. Identifying people with a rapid decline is important but our findings are preliminary given the modest cohort size.
During pregnancy, changes occur to influence the maternal gut microbiome, and potentially the fetal microbiome. Diet has been shown to impact the gut microbiome. Little research has been conducted examining diet during pregnancy with respect to the gut microbiome. To meet inclusion criteria, dietary analyses must have been conducted as part of the primary aim. The primary outcome was the composition of the gut microbiome (infant or maternal), as assessed using culture-independent sequencing techniques. This review identified seven studies for inclusion, five examining the maternal gut microbiome and two examining the fetal gut microbiome. Microbial data were attained through analysis of stool samples by 16S ribosomal RNA gene-based microbiota assessment. Studies found an association between the maternal diet and gut microbiome. High-fat diets (% fat of total energy), fat-soluble vitamins (mg/d) and fibre (g/d) were the most significant nutrients associated with the gut microbiota composition of both neonates and mothers. High-fat diets were significantly associated with a reduction in microbial diversity. High-fat diets may reduce microbial diversity, while fibre intake may be positively associated with microbial diversity. The results of this review must be interpreted with caution. The number of studies was low, and the risk of observational bias and heterogeneity across the studies must be considered. However, these results show promise for dietary intervention and microbial manipulation in order to favour an increase of health-associated taxa in the gut of the mother and her offspring.
To Investigate the peripheral inflammatory profile in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from three subgroups – probable Lewy body disease (probable MCI-LB), possible Lewy body disease, and probable Alzheimer’s disease (probable MCI-AD) – as well as associations with clinical features.
Memory clinics and dementia services.
Patients were classified based on clinical symptoms as probable MCI-LB (n = 38), possible MCI-LB (n = 18), and probable MCI-AD (n = 21). Healthy comparison subjects were recruited (n = 20).
Ten cytokines were analyzed from plasma samples: interferon (IFN)-gamma, interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. C-reactive protein levels were investigated.
There was a higher level of IL-10, IL-1beta, IL-2, and IL-4 in MCI groups compared to the healthy comparison group (p < 0.0085). In exploratory analyses to understand these findings, the MC-AD group lower IL-1beta (p = 0.04), IL-2 (p = 0.009), and IL-4 (p = 0.012) were associated with increasing duration of memory symptoms, and in the probable MCI-LB group, lower levels of IL-1beta were associated with worsening motor severity (p = 0.002). In the possible MCI-LB, longer duration of memory symptoms was associated with lower levels of IL-1beta (p = 0.003) and IL-4 (p = 0.026).
There is increased peripheral inflammation in patients with MCI compared to healthy comparison subjects regardless of the MCI subtype. These possible associations with clinical features are consistent with other work showing that inflammation is increased in early disease but require replication. Such findings have importance for timing of putative therapeutic strategies aimed at lowering inflammation.
Adding Au to Pd nanoparticles (NPs) can impart high catalytic activity with respect to hydrogenation of a wide range of substances. These materials are often synthesized by reducing metallic precursors; hence, sonochemical and solvothermal processes are commonly used to anchor these bimetals onto thin supports, including graphene. Although similar NPs have been studied reasonably well, a clear understanding of structural characteristics relative to their synthesis parameters is lacking, due to limitations in characterization techniques, which may prevent optimization of this very promising catalyst. In this report, a strategic approach has been used to identify this structural and material synthesis correlation, starting with controlled sample preparation and followed by detailed characterization. This includes advanced scanning transmission electron microscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy; the latter using a state-of-the-art instrumentation to map the distribution of Pd and Au, and to identify chemical state of the Pd NPs, which has not been previously reported. Results show that catalytic bimetal NP clusters were made of small zero-valent Pd NPs aggregating to form a shell around an Au core. Not only can the described characterization approach be applied to similar material systems, but the results can guide the optimization of the synthesis procedures.
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations on the basis of an internationally agreed set of criteria. We present the first review of the development and spread of the IBA concept since it was launched by BirdLife International (then ICBP) in 1979 and examine some of the characteristics of the resulting inventory. Over 13,000 global and regional IBAs have so far been identified and documented in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in almost all of the world’s countries and territories, making this the largest global network of sites of significance for biodiversity. IBAs have been identified using standardised, data-driven criteria that have been developed and applied at global and regional levels. These criteria capture multiple dimensions of a site’s significance for avian biodiversity and relate to populations of globally threatened species (68.6% of the 10,746 IBAs that meet global criteria), restricted-range species (25.4%), biome-restricted species (27.5%) and congregatory species (50.3%); many global IBAs (52.7%) trigger two or more of these criteria. IBAs range in size from < 1 km2 to over 300,000 km2 and have an approximately log-normal size distribution (median = 125.0 km2, mean = 1,202.6 km2). They cover approximately 6.7% of the terrestrial, 1.6% of the marine and 3.1% of the total surface area of the Earth. The launch in 2016 of the KBA Global Standard, which aims to identify, document and conserve sites that contribute to the global persistence of wider biodiversity, and whose criteria for site identification build on those developed for IBAs, is a logical evolution of the IBA concept. The role of IBAs in conservation planning, policy and practice is reviewed elsewhere. Future technical priorities for the IBA initiative include completion of the global inventory, particularly in the marine environment, keeping the dataset up to date, and improving the systematic monitoring of these sites.