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Ecosystem modeling, a pillar of the systems ecology paradigm (SEP), addresses questions such as, how much carbon and nitrogen are cycled within ecological sites, landscapes, or indeed the earth system? Or how are human activities modifying these flows? Modeling, when coupled with field and laboratory studies, represents the essence of the SEP in that they embody accumulated knowledge and generate hypotheses to test understanding of ecosystem processes and behavior. Initially, ecosystem models were primarily used to improve our understanding about how biophysical aspects of ecosystems operate. However, current ecosystem models are widely used to make accurate predictions about how large-scale phenomena such as climate change and management practices impact ecosystem dynamics and assess potential effects of these changes on economic activity and policy making. In sum, ecosystem models embedded in the SEP remain our best mechanism to integrate diverse types of knowledge regarding how the earth system functions and to make quantitative predictions that can be confronted with observations of reality. Modeling efforts discussed are the Century ecosystem model, DayCent ecosystem model, Grassland Ecosystem Model ELM, food web models, Savanna model, agent-based and coupled systems modeling, and Bayesian modeling.
Objective. To identify clinically useful predictors of adherence to medication among persons with schizophrenia. Method. We evaluated levels of compliance with neuroleptic medication among 32 consecutive admissions with DSM-III-R schizophrenia from a geographically defined catchment area using a compliance interview. We also assessed symptomatology, insight, neurological status and memory. Results. Less than 25% of consecutive admissions reported being fully compliant. Drug attitudes were the best predictor of regular compliance, symptomatology the best predictor of noncompliance, and memory the best predictor of partial compliance with neuroleptic medication. Conclusions. These data emphasise the complexity of factors that influence whether a person adheres to his medication regimen. Furthermore, they suggest that these factors may vary within the same person over time.
Evidence suggests that dietary intake of UK children is currently suboptimal. It is therefore imperative to identify effective and sustainable methods of improving dietary habits and knowledge in this population, whilst also promoting the value of healthiness of food products beyond price. Schools are ideally placed to influence children's knowledge and health, and Project Daire, in partnership with schools, food industry partners and stakeholders, aims to improve children's knowledge of, and interest in, food to improve health, wellbeing and educational attainment.
Daire is a randomised-controlled, factorial design trial evaluating two interventions. In total, n = 880 Key Stage (KS) 1 and 2 pupils have been recruited from 18 primary schools in the North West of Northern Ireland and will be randomised to one of four 6-month intervention arms: i) ‘Engage’, ii) ‘Nourish’, iii) ‘Engage’ and ‘Nourish’ and iv) Delayed. ‘Engage’ is an age-appropriate, cross-curricular educational intervention on food, agriculture, science and careers linked to the current curriculum. ‘Nourish’ is an intervention aiming to alter schools’ food environments and increase exposure to local foods. Study outcomes include food knowledge, attitudes, trust, diet, behaviour, health and wellbeing and will be collected at baseline and six months. Qualitative data on teacher/pupil opinions will also be collected. The intervention phase is currently ongoing. We present baseline results from our involvement and food attitudes measure from all participating schools. Results were compared by Key Stage and sex using Pearson Chi-Squared test.
Baseline results from our food involvement and attitudes measure are presented for n = 880 KS1 (n = 454) and KS2 (n = 426) pupils. KS1 pupils were more likely to always or sometimes help with food shopping (89.0%) whilst KS2 pupils were more likely to always or sometimes help with food preparation (69.0%). A higher proportion of KS1 pupils reported liking to try new foods (66.1%) and that it was important that food looked (64.5%), tasted (71.1%) and smelled good (60.6%) compared with KS2 children (P < 0.01). Girls were more likely to always or sometimes help with food shopping (96.2%) and preparation (73%) when compared with boys; whilst a higher proportion of girls reported they liked to try new foods (48.2%) and that it was important that food looked (68%) smelled (50.5%) and tasted (71.8%) good compared with boys (P < 0.01).
Results suggest that involvement in food preparation and shopping, willingness to try new foods and attitudes towards food presentation varied by KS and sex in this cohort.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
There is an urgent need to find effective methods of supporting individuals to make dietary behaviour changes. Peer-supported interventions (PSI) have been suggested as a cost-effective strategy to support chronic disease self-management. However, the effect of PSI on dietary behaviour is unclear. The present systematic review aimed to assess the effectiveness of PSI for encouraging dietary behaviour change in adults and to consider intervention characteristics linked with effectiveness.
Electronic databases were searched until June 2018 for randomised controlled trials assessing the effectiveness of PSI compared with an alternative intervention and/or control on a dietary related outcome in adults. Following title and abstract screening, two reviewers independently screened full texts and data were extracted by one reviewer and independently checked by another. Results were synthesised narratively.
Randomised controlled trials.
The fifty-four included studies varied in participants, intervention details and results. More PSI reported a positive or mixed effect on diet than no effect. Most interventions used a group model and were lay-led by peer supporters. Several studies did not report intervention intensity, fidelity and peer training and support in detail. Studies reporting positive effects employed more behaviour change techniques (BCT) than studies reporting no effect; however, heterogeneity between studies was considerable.
As evidence was mixed, further interventions need to assess the effect of PSI on dietary behaviour, describe intervention content (theoretical basis, BCT, intensity and peer training/support) and include a detailed process evaluation.
Identifying genetic relationships between complex traits in emerging adulthood can provide useful etiological insights into risk for psychopathology. College-age individuals are under-represented in genomic analyses thus far, and the majority of work has focused on the clinical disorder or cognitive abilities rather than normal-range behavioral outcomes.
This study examined a sample of emerging adults 18–22 years of age (N = 5947) to construct an atlas of polygenic risk for 33 traits predicting relevant phenotypic outcomes. Twenty-eight hypotheses were tested based on the previous literature on samples of European ancestry, and the availability of rich assessment data allowed for polygenic predictions across 55 psychological and medical phenotypes.
Polygenic risk for schizophrenia (SZ) in emerging adults predicted anxiety, depression, nicotine use, trauma, and family history of psychological disorders. Polygenic risk for neuroticism predicted anxiety, depression, phobia, panic, neuroticism, and was correlated with polygenic risk for cardiovascular disease.
These results demonstrate the extensive impact of genetic risk for SZ, neuroticism, and major depression on a range of health outcomes in early adulthood. Minimal cross-ancestry replication of these phenomic patterns of polygenic influence underscores the need for more genome-wide association studies of non-European populations.
We performed a spatial-temporal analysis to assess household risk factors for Ebola virus disease (Ebola) in a remote, severely-affected village. We defined a household as a family's shared living space and a case-household as a household with at least one resident who became a suspect, probable, or confirmed Ebola case from 1 August 2014 to 10 October 2014. We used Geographic Information System (GIS) software to calculate inter-household distances, performed space-time cluster analyses, and developed Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE). Village X consisted of 64 households; 42% of households became case-households over the observation period. Two significant space-time clusters occurred among households in the village; temporal effects outweighed spatial effects. GEE demonstrated that the odds of becoming a case-household increased by 4·0% for each additional person per household (P < 0·02) and 2·6% per day (P < 0·07). An increasing number of persons per household, and to a lesser extent, the passage of time after onset of the outbreak were risk factors for household Ebola acquisition, emphasizing the importance of prompt public health interventions that prioritize the most populated households. Using GIS with GEE can reveal complex spatial-temporal risk factors, which can inform prioritization of response activities in future outbreaks.
Introduction: Redirecting low acuity patients from emergency departments to primary care walk-in clinics has been identified as a priority by many health authorities. Promoting family physicians for the management of ambulatory patients with urgent health concerns reflects the assumption that primary care facilities can offer high-quality and more affordable ambulatory emergency care. However, no performance assessment framework has been developed for ambulatory emergency care and consequently, quality of care provided in these alternate settings has never been formally compared. Primary objective: To identify structure, process and outcome indicators for ambulatory emergency care. Methods: We will identify and develop quality indicators (QIs) for ambulatory emergency care using a RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method (RAM) composed of three different steps. First, we will perform a scoping literature review to inventory 1) all previously recommended QIs assessing care provided to ambulatory emergency patients in the ED or the primary care settings; 2) all conditions evaluated with the retrieved QIs; and 3) all outcomes measured by the same QIs. Second, a steering committee composed of the research team and of international experts in performance assessment in emergency and primary care will be presented with the lists of QI-related conditions and outcomes. They will be asked to identify potential outcome indicators for ambulatory emergency care by generating any relevant combinations of one condition and one outcome (e.g. acute asthma exacerbation/re-consultation). Committee members will be given the latitude to use and pair any conditions or outcomes not included in the lists as long as they think the resulting indicators are compatible with the study objectives. Using a structured nominal group approach, they will combine their suggestions and refine the list of potential QIs. This list of potential outcome indicators composed of pairs “condition/outcome” will be merged with the list of already published QIs identified during the literature review. Third, as per the RAM standards, we will assemble an international multidisciplinary panel (n=20) of patients, emergency and primary care providers, researchers and decision makers, after recommendations from international emergency and primary care associations, and from the Canadian Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Support Units. Through iterative rounds of ratings using both web-based survey tools and videoconferencing, panelists will independently assess all candidate QIs. They will be asked to rate on a nine-level scale to what extent each QI is a relevant and useful measure of ambulatory emergency care quality. From one round to the next, QIs with a median panelist rating score of one to three will be excluded. Those with a median score of seven or more will be automatically included in the final list. QIs with median score of four to six will be retained for future deliberations among the panelists. Rounds of ratings will be conducted until all QIs are classified. Impact: The QIs identified will be used to develop a performance assessment framework for ambulatory emergency care. This will represent an essential step toward testing the assumption that EDs and primary care walk-in clinics provide equivalent care quality to low acuity patients.
We use the TGAS proper motions and parallaxes as well as published and new radial velocities to study the dynamics of nearby moving groups. In particular we try to determine their age using backtracing of the individual members to a common origin. We find that the current data, probably the radial velocities, do not allow to reach a successful conclusion.
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.
The contribution of ‘environment’ has been investigated across diverse and multiple domains related to health. However, in the context of large-scale genomic studies the focus has been on obtaining individual-level endophenotypes with environment left for future decomposition. Geo-social research has indicated that environment-level variables can be reduced, and these composites can then be used with other variables as intuitive, precise representations of environment in research.
Using a large community sample (N = 9498) from the Philadelphia area, participant addresses were linked to 2010 census and crime data. These were then factor analyzed (exploratory factor analysis; EFA) to arrive at social and criminal dimensions of participants' environments. These were used to calculate environment-level scores, which were merged with individual-level variables. We estimated an exploratory multilevel structural equation model (MSEM) exploring associations among environment- and individual-level variables in diverse communities.
The EFAs revealed that census data was best represented by two factors, one socioeconomic status and one household/language. Crime data was best represented by a single crime factor. The MSEM variables had good fit (e.g. comparative fit index = 0.98), and revealed that environment had the largest association with neurocognitive performance (β = 0.41, p < 0.0005), followed by parent education (β = 0.23, p < 0.0005).
Environment-level variables can be combined to create factor scores or composites for use in larger statistical models. Our results are consistent with literature indicating that individual-level socio-demographic characteristics (e.g. race and gender) and aspects of familial social capital (e.g. parental education) have statistical relationships with neurocognitive performance.
In this work, we report on development of one-dimensional reaction-diffusion simulator needed to understand the kinetics of Cu-related metastabilities observed in CdTe PV devices. Evolution of intrinsic and Cu-related defects in CdTe solar cells has been studied in time-space domain self-consistently with free carrier transport. Resulting device performance was simulated as a function of stress time, thus showing pronounced effect that the evolution of associated acceptor and donor states can cause on device characteristics. Although 1D simulation has intrinsic limitations when applied to poly-crystalline films, the results presented confirm the validity and the potential of the approach presented in better understanding of the performance and metastabilities of CdTe photovoltaic devices.