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The archaeological assemblage recovered from the Middle Stone Age (MSA) levels in Blombos Cave, South Africa, is central to our understanding of the development of early modern humans. Here, we demonstrate that the cultural and technological innovations inferred from the Blombos Cave MSA record also correlate with significant shifts in site use and occupational intensity. Through a comprehensive geoarchaeological investigation of three MSA occupation phases, we identified distinct diachronic trends in the frequency of visits and the modes of occupation. During the earliest phases (ca. 88–82 ka), humans inhabited the cave for more extended periods, but cave visits were not frequent. During the later phases (ca. 77–72 ka), the cave was more regularly visited but for shorter periods each time. We argue that these changes in local occupational intensity, which also coincide with shifts in vegetation, sea levels, and subsistence, can best be explained by broader changes in hunter-gatherer mobility strategies and occupation patterns. Fundamental changes in regional settlement dynamics during Marine Oxygen Isotope Stages 5b-4 would have significantly affected the nature and frequency of social interaction within and between prehistoric populations living in the southern Cape, a scenario that ultimately may explain some of the social and technological advances that occurred there during this time frame.
The search for a reliable biological marker in depression is on-going. Visual contrast sensitivity has recently been reported to be lower in depressed patients compared to healthy controls. We aim to examine the consistency of this finding and to explore the underlying retinal electrophysiology.
Pattern electroretinogram and subjective visual contrast test were used to assess visual contrast sensitivity in 20 subjects with major depressive disorder and 20 healthy controls. Full-field electroretinography assessed the general neurophysiology of retinal function. Depression was diagnosed based on DSM-IV criteria and depression severity was measured by MADRS and BDI.
Visual contrast sensitivity was significantly lower in depresssed patients than controls based on Landolt C visual contrast test [Weber 2.25 ± 1.84(SD) vs. 1.20 ± 0.64(SD); p = 0.02]. No difference was found between the groups using PERG. Greater severity of depressive symptoms correlated with poorer visual contrast sensitivity (r = 0.49, p = 0.001).
Although depressed subjects clearly had reduced visual contrast sensitivity, this was not consistently demonstrated using PERG. the neurobiological link between major depressive disorder and visual contrast sensitivity requires further investigation.
The Universe is permeated by hot, turbulent, magnetized plasmas. Turbulent plasma is a major constituent of active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants, the intergalactic and interstellar medium, the solar corona, the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere, just to mention a few examples. Energy dissipation of turbulent fluctuations plays a key role in plasma heating and energization, yet we still do not understand the underlying physical mechanisms involved. THOR is a mission designed to answer the questions of how turbulent plasma is heated and particles accelerated, how the dissipated energy is partitioned and how dissipation operates in different regimes of turbulence. THOR is a single-spacecraft mission with an orbit tuned to maximize data return from regions in near-Earth space – magnetosheath, shock, foreshock and pristine solar wind – featuring different kinds of turbulence. Here we summarize the THOR proposal submitted on 15 January 2015 to the ‘Call for a Medium-size mission opportunity in ESAs Science Programme for a launch in 2025 (M4)’. THOR has been selected by European Space Agency (ESA) for the study phase.
While some of the modifications made to produce the
WAIS–III and WMS–III (Wechsler, 1997a, 1997b) make
sense from a neuropsychological standpoint, there are many
questions still unanswered about the validity and reliability
of these tests and their ultimate utility to neuropsychologists.
The new tests have been criticized for having long administration
times, which is problematic given pressures to decrease rather
than increase the length and cost of neuropsychological evaluations
(Ryan et al., 1998). Clinical neuropsychologists want to know
if these tests can help them evaluate their patients more
accurately with greater sensitivity and specificity than the
alternatives, and experimental neuropsychologists want to know
if they can help answer theoretical questions.
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