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04 Dec 2023 at 01:39
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Bibliography on: Corvids: Behavior


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 04 Dec 2023 at 01:39 Created: 

Corvids: Behavior

Audubon Magazine: Members of the crow family, known as the corvids, are among the smartest birds in the world. Some are capable of using tools, playing tricks, teaching each other new things, even holding "funerals." And yet there's still much we don't know about these fascinating, sometimes confounding creatures. All corvids have relatively big brains for their size. But while a seed storer like a Pinyon Jay or a nutcracker has a huge hippocampus — a region involved in memory — crows and ravens are more like primates. They have exceptionally large forebrains, the domain of analytical thought, higher-level sensory processing, and flexible behavior.

Created with PubMed® Query: ( (behavior OR behaviour OR ethology) AND \(corvus[TIAB] OR corvid[TIAB] OR OR corvids[TIAB] OR corvidae[TIAB] OR crow[TIAB] OR crows[TIAB] OR raven[TIAB] OR ravens[TIAB] OR jay[TIAB] OR jays[TIAB] OR magpie[TIAB] OR magpies[TIAB] OR jackdaw[TIAB] OR jackdaws[TIAB]) ) NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2023-11-29

Felin Fochesatto C, Cristi-Montero C, Ribeiro Bandeira PF, et al (2023)

A network analysis involving mental difficulties, cognition, physical fitness, 24-hour movement components, fatness, and sociodemographic factors in children.

Journal of exercise science and fitness, 21(4):416-423.

BACKGROUND: Evidence supports the beneficial linear influence of diverse lifestyle behaviors on brain health since childhood; however, multiple behaviors -and not only one-simultaneously affect such outcomes. Therefore, the aim was to explore the multivariate relationship through a network analysis among mental difficulty and cognitive function with physical fitness (PF), 24-h movement components, fatness, and sociodemographic factors in children.

METHODS: Cross-sectional study involved 226 children (52.2 % boys) aged between six and 11 years. Mental difficulties were evaluated through the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and cognitive function by the Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices Test. The body mass index and PF were assessed according to the procedures suggested by the Proesp-Br, while moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) using accelerometry. The socioeconomic level, sleep, and screen time were evaluated by questionnaires. A network analysis was carried out to evaluate the associations among variables and establish centrality measures.

RESULTS: Age and PF moderated the negative relationship between cognitive function and MVPA. Furthermore, the direct and inverse relationship between cognitive function and mental difficulties appears to be affected by the 24-h movement components. Finally, age, PF, and screen time are the nodes with higher values of expected influence, indicating more sensitivity to interventions for decreasing mental difficulty and improving cognitive function.

CONCLUSION: Mental health and cognitive function were moderated by the multivariate interaction among age, PF, and the three 24-h movement components. Nonetheless, centrality measures from the network analysis suggest that PF, MVPA, and screen time are crucial nodes in order to implement future interventions.

RevDate: 2023-11-28

Rolando A, Basso C, Brunelli N, et al (2023)

The foraging ecology of yellow-billed and red- billed choughs changed between two climatically different years.

Scientific reports, 13(1):20908.

Climate change is affecting the alpine ecosystem at an unprecedented rate, with marked changes in spring phenology and the elevation distribution of birds. Changes in the European Alps are happening rapidly, and it is possible behaviours stand to change from one year to the next. The year 2022 was characterised by climatic extremes: Italy experienced its hottest year ever, and it was the driest since 1800. Here, we assessed whether the foraging ecology of two coexisting upland bird species, the yellow-billed and the red-billed chough, changed from 2021 to 2022. We assessed foraging stay times, flock size, propensity to mixed flocking, foraging home ranges and altitudinal distribution. Stay times of both species when foraging in monospecific flocks significantly shortened in 2022, especially in the case of the red-billed chough. The two corvids are known to influence each other when foraging together. In 2021, as expected, the stay times of the red-billed chough decreased when in the presence of the congener, but this did not occur in 2022. Instead, the yellow-billed chough increased its altitudinal foraging distribution in 2022. The results are in line with the hypothesis that large climate variations may disrupt the foraging ecology of mountain birds. However, as it is not possible to draw solid conclusions from just two years of observations, further field research will have to be planned in the future.

RevDate: 2023-11-25

Parameshwaran D, TC Thiagarajan (2023)

High Variability Periods in the EEG Distinguish Cognitive Brain States.

Brain sciences, 13(11): pii:brainsci13111528.

OBJECTIVE: To describe a novel measure of EEG signal variability that distinguishes cognitive brain states.

METHOD: We describe a novel characterization of amplitude variability in the EEG signal termed "High Variability Periods" or "HVPs", defined as segments when the standard deviation of a moving window is continuously higher than the quartile cutoff. We characterize the parameter space of the metric in terms of window size, overlap, and threshold to suggest ideal parameter choice and compare its performance as a discriminator of brain state to alternate single channel measures of variability such as entropy, complexity, harmonic regression fit, and spectral measures.

RESULTS: We show that the average HVP duration provides a substantially distinct view of the signal relative to alternate metrics of variability and, when used in combination with these metrics, significantly enhances the ability to predict whether an individual has their eyes open or closed and is performing a working memory and Raven's pattern completion task. In addition, HVPs disappear under anesthesia and do not reappear in early periods of recovery.

CONCLUSIONS: HVP metrics enhance the discrimination of various brain states and are fast to estimate.

SIGNIFICANCE: HVP metrics can provide an additional view of signal variability that has potential clinical application in the rapid discrimination of brain states.

RevDate: 2023-11-21

Harrington KJ, Folkertsma R, Auersperg AMI, et al (2023)

Innovative problem solving by wild falcons.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(23)01462-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Innovation (i.e., a new solution to a familiar problem, or applying an existing behavior to a novel problem[1][,][2]) plays a fundamental role in species' ecology and evolution. It can be a useful measure for cross-group comparisons of behavioral and cognitive flexibility and a proxy for general intelligence.[3][,][4][,][5] Among birds, experimental studies of innovation (and cognition more generally) are largely from captive corvids and parrots,[6][,][7][,][8][,][9][,][10][,][11][,][12] though we lack serious models for avian technical intelligence outside these taxa. Striated caracaras (Phalcoboenus australis) are Falconiformes, sister clade to parrots and passerines,[13][,][14][,][15] and those endemic to the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) show curiosity and neophilia similar to notoriously neophilic kea parrots[16][,][17] and face similar socio-ecological pressures to corvids and parrots.[18][,][19] We tested wild striated caracaras as a new avian model for technical cognition and innovation using a field-applicable 8-task comparative paradigm (adapted from Rössler et al.[20] and Auersperg et al.[21]). The setup allowed us to assess behavior, rate, and flexibility of problem solving over repeated exposure in a natural setting. Like other generalist species with low neophobia,[21][,][22] we predicted caracaras to demonstrate a haptic approach to solving tasks, flexibly switching to new, unsolved problems and improving their performance over time. Striated caracaras performed comparably to tool-using parrots,[20] nearly reaching ceiling levels of innovation in few trials, repeatedly and flexibly solving tasks, and rapidly learning. We attribute our findings to the birds' ecology, including geographic restriction, resource unpredictability, and opportunistic generalism,[23][,][24][,][25] and encourage future work investigating their cognitive abilities in the wild.

RevDate: 2023-11-15

Otieno B, Elson L, Matharu AK, et al (2023)

Neurocognitive and mental health outcomes in children with tungiasis: a cross-sectional study in rural Kenya and Uganda.

Infectious diseases of poverty, 12(1):100.

BACKGROUND: Tungiasis, a neglected tropical parasitosis, disproportionately affects children. Few empirical studies have reported neurocognitive and mental health outcomes of children with ectoparasitic skin diseases like tungiasis. Pathophysiology of tungiasis suggests it could detrimentally affect cognition and behaviour. This study pioneered the investigation of neurocognitive and mental health outcomes in children with tungiasis.

METHODS: This was a multi-site cross-sectional study including 454 quasi-randomly sampled school-children aged 8-14 from 48 randomly selected schools in two counties in Kenya and a district in Uganda. The participants were stratified into infected and uninfected based on the presence of tungiasis. The infected were further classified into mild and severe infection groups based on the intensity of the infection. Adapted, validated, and standardized measures of cognition and mental health such as Raven Matrices and Child Behaviour Checklist were used to collect data. Statistical tests including a multilevel, generalized mixed-effects linear models with family link set to identity were used to compare the scores of uninfected and infected children and to identify other potential risk factors for neurocognitive and behavioural outcomes.

RESULTS: When adjusted for covariates, mild infection was associated with lower scores in literacy [adjusted β(aβ) = - 8.9; 95% confidence interval (CI) - 17.2, - 0.6], language (aβ = - 1.7; 95% CI - 3.2, - 0.3), cognitive flexibility (aβ = - 6.1; 95% CI - 10.4, - 1.7) and working memory (aβ = - 0.3; 95% CI - 0.6, - 0.1). Severe infection was associated with lower scores in literacy (aβ = - 11.0; 95% CI - 19.3, - 2.8), response inhibition, (aβ = - 2.2; 95% CI - 4.2, - 0.2), fine motor control (aβ = - 0.7; 95% CI - 1.1, - 0.4) and numeracy (aβ = - 3; 95% CI - 5.5, - 0.4).

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides first evidence that tungiasis is associated with poor neurocognitive functioning in children. Since tungiasis is a chronic disease with frequent reinfections, such negative effects may potentially impair their development and life achievements.

RevDate: 2023-11-12

Gutema BT, Levecke B, Sorrie MB, et al (2023)

Effectiveness of Intermittent Iron and High-Dose Vitamin A Supplementation on Cognitive Development of Schoolchildren in Southern Ethiopia: A Randomized Placebo Controlled Trial.

The American journal of clinical nutrition pii:S0002-9165(23)66242-2 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Iron is an essential mineral whose deficiency results in cognitive alteration, impaired emotional behaviors, and altered myelination and neurotransmission. In animal models it has been shown that vitamin A (VA) could affect cognition.

OBJECTIVES: The study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of intermittent iron and VA supplementation on cognitive development of schoolchildren, and to assess the interaction between these supplementations.

METHODS: Considering a 2x2 factorial design, 504 children were randomly assigned to one of the four arms: placebo VA and placebo iron supplement; high-dose vitamin VA and placebo iron supplement; iron supplement and placebo VA; and iron and high-dose vitamin VA supplements. Cognitive development was assessed using Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices, digit span, Tower of London, and visual search tasks.

RESULTS: The mean (± standard deviation (SD)) age of the enrolled children was 9.6 (±1.6) years. One-fifth of the children had iron deficiency or anemia, while 2.9%, 3.9% and 12.1% of children had low iron stores, iron deficiency anemia or VA deficiency, respectively. Intermittent iron supplementation did not result in any significant improvement of children's cognitive development and had a negative effect on the performance index of the visual search task compared to placebo (-0.17 SD, 95% confidence interval: -0.32, -0.02). Effects were evident among children with stunting, thinness, or children coming from under-simulating home environments. High-dose VA supplementation resulted in a significant improvement of digit span z-score with a mean difference of 0.30 SD (95% confidence interval: 0.14, 0.46) compared to placebo VA. VA had a more beneficial impact for girls, children infected with helminths and those from food secure households.

CONCLUSION: In a population where the prevalence of iron deficiency is low, intermittent iron supplementation did not have any or negative effect on the child's cognitive development outcomes. Whereas VA supplementation improved the child's working memory.

RevDate: 2023-11-10

Keene S, Allen S, McCormick AKHG, et al (2023)

Developing and Implementing a Culturally Consonant Treatment Fidelity Support Plan with the Apsáalooke Nation.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 20(21): pii:ijerph20216989.

Treatment fidelity remains underreported in health intervention research, particularly among Indigenous communities. One explanation for this gap is the lack of culturally consonant strategies listed in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Behavior Change Consortium (BCC) treatment fidelity framework, the gold standard for understanding and measuring fidelity. This paper focuses on the development and implementation of a culturally consonant treatment fidelity support plan across two of the five BCC fidelity areas, provider training and treatment delivery, within a chronic illness self-management program for the Apsáalooke (Crow) Nation. Our team selected and adapted strategies from, and added strategies to, the BCC framework, that centered on relational accountability and the Apsáalooke culture. To be culturally consonant, we approached treatment fidelity as supporting Aakbaabaaniilea (Apsáalooke program facilitators) rather than monitoring them. This resulted in the development of a fifth treatment fidelity area: building and fostering relationships. We propose that fidelity to relational accountability is the foundation of successful programs in Indigenous communities. This suggests an important shift from tracking what was conducted in an intervention to prioritizing how things were conducted. We encourage others to view the BCC framework as a starting point in developing fidelity strategies that are consonant with local cultures.

RevDate: 2023-11-10
CmpDate: 2023-11-10

Taffs L, Kerridge I, W Lipworth (2023)

The silent world of assisted reproduction: A qualitative account of communication between doctors and patients undergoing in vitro fertilisation in Australia.

Health expectations : an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy, 26(6):2340-2348.

CONTEXT: In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is now a common assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure globally, with 8 million children alive today having been conceived utilising IVF. For many patients, IVF is a difficult experience with many discontinuing treatment because of emotional, relationship and financial stress, or intolerable physical side effects of hormone treatments.

DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: A qualitative study, in which 31 professionals and 25 patients from the ART sector in Australia were interviewed. The interviews were analysed using codebook thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Our data indicates there are 'silences' within the therapeutic relationship of IVF, which may limit the capacity for patients to prepare emotionally, financially, or medically for the procedure, and may contribute to psychological distress and dissatisfaction with care. These 'silences' include what the patient 'is not told' by their clinician or 'does not hear' and what the patient feels they 'cannot say'.

DISCUSSION: Drawing upon the work of Jay Katz, Charis Thompson, and Miles Little on 'silences' and performance in clinical practice, we argue that although IVF is a complex and multifaceted procedure that is often conducted in a commercial setting, the clinical and therapeutic relationship between doctor and patient remains pivotal to the experiences of patients. The 'silences' within this relationship may impact negatively on decision-making, and on the delivery and experience of care.

CONCLUSIONS: Careful attention to the realities of IVF treatment in the clinic room (and awareness of the performances that hide them) should allow for more present and compassionate care. Such care may leave patients more satisfied with their experience and their choices, regardless of treatment outcomes.

This article draws on interviews with patients who had undergone or were currently undergoing IVF, as well as a range of representatives from the ART community (including reproductive medicine specialists, general practitioners, fertility nurses, counsellors, administrators in ART businesses and embryologists).

RevDate: 2023-11-06

Apostel A, Panichello M, Buschman TJ, et al (2023)

Corvids optimize working memory by categorizing continuous stimuli.

Communications biology, 6(1):1122.

Working memory (WM) is a crucial element of the higher cognition of primates and corvid songbirds. Despite its importance, WM has a severely limited capacity and is vulnerable to noise. In primates, attractor dynamics mitigate the effect of noise by discretizing continuous information. Yet, it remains unclear whether similar dynamics are seen in avian brains. Here, we show jackdaws (Corvus monedula) have similar behavioral biases as humans; memories are less precise and more biased as memory demands increase. Model-based analysis reveal discrete attractors are evenly spread across the stimulus space. Altogether, our comparative approach suggests attractor dynamics in primates and corvids mitigate the effect of noise by systematically drifting towards specific attractors. By demonstrating this effect in an evolutionary distant species, our results strengthen attractor dynamics as general, adaptive biological principle to efficiently use WM.

RevDate: 2023-11-01
CmpDate: 2023-11-01

Pendergraft LT, Marzluff JM, Cross DJ, et al (2023)

American crows that excel at tool use activate neural circuits distinct from less talented individuals.

Nature communications, 14(1):6539.

Tools enable animals to exploit and command new resources. However, the neural circuits underpinning tool use and how neural activity varies with an animal's tool proficiency, are only known for humans and some other primates. We use 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography to image the brain activity of naïve vs trained American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) when presented with a task requiring the use of stone tools. As in humans, talent affects the neural circuits activated by crows as they prepare to execute the task. Naïve and less proficient crows use neural circuits associated with sensory- and higher-order processing centers (the mesopallium and nidopallium), while highly proficient individuals increase activity in circuits associated with motor learning and tactile control (hippocampus, tegmentum, nucleus basorostralis, and cerebellum). Greater proficiency is found primarily in adult female crows and may reflect their need to use more cognitively complex strategies, like tool use, to obtain food.

RevDate: 2023-10-30

Kirschhock ME, A Nieder (2023)

Association neurons in the crow telencephalon link visual signs to numerical values.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(45):e2313923120.

Many animals can associate signs with numerical values and use these signs in a goal-directed way during task performance. However, the neuronal basis of this semantic association has only rarely been investigated, and so far only in primates. How mechanisms of number associations are implemented in the distinctly evolved brains of other animal taxa such as birds is currently unknown. Here, we explored this semantic number-sign mapping by recording single-neuron activity in the crows' nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL), a brain structure critically involved in avian numerical cognition. Crows were trained to associate visual shapes with varying numbers of items in a number production task. The responses of many NCL neurons during stimulus presentation reflected the numerical values associated with visual shapes in a behaviorally relevant way. Consistent with the crow's better behavioral performance with signs, neuronal representations of numerical values extracted from shapes were more selective compared to those from dot arrays. The existence of number association neurons in crows points to a phylogenetic preadaptation of the brains of cognitively advanced vertebrates to link visual shapes with numerical meaning.

RevDate: 2023-10-27

Mirzaghavami M, Sadraei J, Pirestani M, et al (2023)

The Role of Some Free-Ranging Animals in the Transmission of Multi-Host Species of Cryptosporidium Spp.

Iranian journal of parasitology, 18(3):313-323.

BACKGROUND: We aimed to characterize Cryptosporidium spp. in rats, cats, pigeons, and crows.

METHODS: Fifty-five animal origin Cryptosporidium spp. genome were identified, genotyped and confirmed by nested PCR and of RFLP-PCR analysis as well as sequenced based on 18s rRNA and gp60 genes in Tehran (2012-2019). Finally, the phylogenetic analysis was performed by MEGA software (version 7).

RESULTS: By the molecular method, Cryptosporidium spp. were detected in 24 (15.2%), 15 (15%), 2 (2%) and 13 (13%) cases of wild rats, cat, pigeon, and crow, respectively. Among the identified species by the RFLP pattern, most isolates were identified as C. parvum (24/157) 17.8% in rats, (15/100) 15% in cats, (13/100) 13%in crew and (2/100) 2% in pigeons; and the rest of the cases were C. muris and C. felis. The results of sequencing did not prove the existence of C. parvum, C. felis, C. muris, and rat genotype. Subtyping of C. parvum was indicated that the dominant subtype family belongs to the IId family and the subtype A20G1 was the most common subtype detected in all hosts while A19G1 was detected in one isolate of cat and pigeon.

CONCLUSION: Free-ranging animals are infected by species/subtype of Cryptosporidium, which can infect humans. This shows by itself the hygienic importance of the free-ranging animals in urban ecosystems. In the transmission of human cryptosporidiosis, the multi-host Cryptosporidium species such as C. parvum, C. felis, and C. muris can be transferred potentially from these animals to humans.

RevDate: 2023-10-26

Kirschhock ME, A Nieder (2023)

Numerical Representation for Action in Crows Obeys the Weber-Fechner Law.

Psychological science [Epub ahead of print].

The psychophysical laws governing the judgment of perceived numbers of objects or events, called the number sense, have been studied in detail. However, the behavioral principles of equally important numerical representations for action are largely unexplored in both humans and animals. We trained two male carrion crows (Corvus corone) to judge numerical values of instruction stimuli from one to five and to flexibly perform a matching number of pecks. Our quantitative analysis of the crows' number production performance shows the same behavioral regularities that have previously been demonstrated for the judgment of sensory numerosity, such as the numerical distance effect, the numerical magnitude effect, and the logarithmical compression of the number line. The presence of these psychophysical phenomena in crows producing number of pecks suggests a unified sensorimotor number representation system underlying the judgment of the number of external stimuli and internally generated actions.

RevDate: 2023-10-20

Bahafid E, Bradtmöller I, Thies AM, et al (2023)

The Arabidopsis SHORTROOT network coordinates shoot apical meristem development with auxin dependent lateral organ initiation.

eLife, 12: pii:83334 [Epub ahead of print].

Plants produce new organs post-embryonically throughout their entire life cycle. This is due to stem cells present in the shoot and root apical meristems, the SAM and RAM, respectively. In the SAM, stem cells are located in the central zone where they divide slowly. Stem cell daughters are displaced laterally and enter the peripheral zone, where their mitotic activity increases and lateral organ primordia are formed. How the spatial arrangement of these different domains is initiated and controlled during SAM growth and development, and how sites of lateral organ primordia are determined in the peripheral zone is not yet completely understood. We found that the SHORTROOT (SHR) transcription factor together with its target transcription factors SCARECROW (SCR), SCARECROW-LIKE23 (SCL23) and JACKDAW (JKD), promotes formation of lateral organs and controls shoot meristem size. SHR, SCR, SCL23 and JKD are expressed in distinct, but partially overlapping patterns in the SAM. They can physically interact and activate expression of key cell cycle regulators such as CYCLIND6;1 (CYCD6;1) to promote the formation of new cell layers. In the peripheral zone, auxin accumulates at sites of lateral organ primordia initiation and activates SHR expression via the auxin response factor MONOPTEROS (MP) and auxin response elements in the SHR promoter. In the central zone, the SHR-target SCL23 physically interacts with the key stem cell regulator WUSCHEL (WUS) to promote stem cell fate. Both SCL23 and WUS expression are subject to negative feedback regulation from stem cells through the CLAVATA signaling pathway. Together, our findings illustrate how SHR-dependent transcription factor complexes act in different domains of the shoot meristem to mediate cell division and auxin dependent organ initiation in the peripheral zone, and coordinate this activity with stem cell maintenance in the central zone of the SAM.

RevDate: 2023-10-19

Prinja S, Bahuguna P, Singh MP, et al (2023)

Refining the provider payment system of India's government-funded health insurance programme: an econometric analysis.

BMJ open, 13(10):e076155 pii:bmjopen-2023-076155.

OBJECTIVES: Reimbursement rates in national health insurance schemes are frequently weighted to account for differences in the costs of service provision. To determine weights for a differential case-based payment system under India's publicly financed national health insurance scheme, the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), by exploring and quantifying the influence of supply-side factors on the costs of inpatient admissions and surgical procedures.

DESIGN: Exploratory analysis using regression-based cost function on data from a multisite health facility costing study-the Cost of Health Services in India (CHSI) Study.

SETTING: The CHSI Study sample included 11 public sector tertiary care hospitals, 27 public sector district hospitals providing secondary care and 16 private hospitals, from 11 Indian states.

PARTICIPANTS: 521 sites from 57 healthcare facilities in 11 states of India.

INTERVENTIONS: Medical and surgical packages of PM-JAY.

The cost per bed-day and cost per surgical procedure were regressed against a range of factors to be considered as weights including hospital location, presence of a teaching function and ownership. In addition, capacity utilisation, number of beds, specialist mix, state gross domestic product, State Health Index ranking and volume of patients across the sample were included as variables in the models. Given the skewed data, cost variables were log-transformed for some models.

RESULTS: The estimated mean costs per inpatient bed-day and per procedure were 2307 and 10 686 Indian rupees, respectively. Teaching status, annual hospitalisation, bed size, location of hospital and average length of hospitalisation significantly determine the inpatient bed-day cost, while location of hospital and teaching status determine the procedure costs. Cost per bed-day of teaching hospitals was 38-143.4% higher than in non-teaching hospitals. Similarly, cost per bed-day was 1.3-89.7% higher in tier 1 cities, and 19.5-77.3% higher in tier 2 cities relative to tier 3 cities, respectively. Finally, cost per surgical procedure was higher by 10.6-144.6% in teaching hospitals than non-teaching hospitals; 12.9-171.7% higher in tier 1 cities; and 33.4-140.9% higher in tier 2 cities compared with tier 3 cities, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Our study findings support and validate the recently introduced differential provider payment system under the PM-JAY. While our results are indicative of heterogeneity in hospital costs, other considerations of how these weights will affect coverage, quality, cost containment, as well as create incentives and disincentives for provider and consumer behaviour, and integrate with existing price mark-ups for other factors, should be considered to determine the future revisions in the differential pricing scheme.

RevDate: 2023-10-17

Blackburn G, Ashton BJ, Thornton A, et al (2023)

Cognition mediates response to anthropogenic noise in wild Western Australian magpies (Gmynorhina tibicen dorsalis).

Global change biology [Epub ahead of print].

Anthropogenic noise is a pollutant of growing concern, with wide-ranging effects on taxa across ecosystems. Until recently, studies investigating the effects of anthropogenic noise on animals focused primarily on population-level consequences, rather than individual-level impacts. Individual variation in response to anthropogenic noise may result from extrinsic or intrinsic factors. One such intrinsic factor, cognitive performance, varies between individuals and is hypothesised to aid behavioural response to novel stressors. Here, we combine cognitive testing, behavioural focals and playback experiments to investigate how anthropogenic noise affects the behaviour and anti-predator response of Western Australian magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen dorsalis), and to determine whether this response is linked to cognitive performance. We found a significant population-level effect of anthropogenic noise on the foraging effort, foraging efficiency, vigilance, vocalisation rate and anti-predator response of magpies, with birds decreasing their foraging, vocalisation behaviours and anti-predator response, and increasing vigilance when loud anthropogenic noise was present. We also found that individuals varied in their response to playbacks depending on their cognitive performance, with individuals that performed better in an associative learning task maintaining their anti-predator response when an alarm call was played in anthropogenic noise. Our results add to the growing body of literature documenting the adverse effects of anthropogenic noise on wildlife and provide the first evidence for an association between individual cognitive performance and behavioural responses to anthropogenic noise.

RevDate: 2023-10-12

Toyoshima M, Nakaoji K, Hamada K, et al (2023)

Analysis of skin aging patterns using a facial imaging system in patients with atopic dermatitis.

European journal of dermatology : EJD, 33(4):383-393.

BACKGROUND: There are few studies on skin aging in patients with atopic dermatitis (AD).

OBJECTIVES: To clarify the characteristics of facial skin aging in AD patients.

MATERIALS & METHODS: Using facial images obtained by a digital imaging system (VISIA evolution), we compared the severity scores for 10 aging signs in 53 women in the AD group and 29 women in the healthy control group, all 35-49 years old.

RESULTS: The severity scores for fine lines on the forehead, periorbital wrinkles, nasolabial folds, and texture of the mouth contour were significantly higher in the AD group than in the controls. However, in order to exclude a direct effect of dermatitis at the time of measurement, cases with signs of AD at the evaluation site were excluded from the AD group (defined as the AD [non-lesion] group), revealing no statistical significance between the AD (non-lesion) group and the healthy control group for any of the 10 facial signs. Age subset analysis showed that for individuals in their late 40s, the AD (non-lesion) group exhibited significantly higher scores for crow's feet wrinkle and nasolabial fold compared to the healthy control group. Furthermore, these two scores correlated with one other, suggesting that they may be induced by the same factors.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study show that skin aging associated with AD is prominent in areas prone to transient wrinkling by frequent blinking and speaking or facial expressions. Understanding of the need for appropriate AD treatment from a cosmetic perspective may increase patient adherence.

RevDate: 2023-10-09

Graham BA, Szabo I, Cicero C, et al (2023)

Habitat and climate influence hybridization among three genetically distinct Canada jay (Perisoreus canadensis) morphotypes in an avian hybrid zone complex.

Heredity [Epub ahead of print].

Examining the frequency and distribution of hybrids across contact zones provide insights into the factors mediating hybridization. In this study, we examined the effect of habitat and climate on hybridization patterns for three phenotypically, genetically, and ecologically distinct groups of the Canada jay (Perisoreus canadensis) in a secondary contact zone in western North America. Additionally, we tested whether the frequency of hybridization involving the three groups (referred to as Boreal, Pacific and Rocky Mountain morphotypes) is similar across the hybrid zones or whether some pairs have hybridized more frequently than others. We reanalyzed microsatellite, mtDNA and plumage data, and new microsatellite and plumage data for 526 individuals to identify putative genetic and phenotypic hybrids. The genetically and phenotypically distinct groups are associated with different habitats and occupy distinct climate niches across the contact zone. Most putative genetic hybrids (86%) had Rocky Mountain ancestry. Hybrids were observed most commonly in intermediate climate niches and in habitats where Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) overlaps broadly with boreal and subalpine tree species. Our finding that hybrids occupy intermediate climate niches relative to parental morphotypes matches patterns for other plant and animal species found in this region. This study demonstrates how habitat and climate influence hybridization patterns in areas of secondary contact and adds to the growing body of research on tri-species hybrid zones.

RevDate: 2023-10-05

Abou El Ela AA, El-Sehiemy RA, Shaheen AM, et al (2023)

Reliability constrained dynamic generation expansion planning using honey badger algorithm.

Scientific reports, 13(1):16765.

Generation expansion planning (GEP) is a complex, highly constrained, non-linear, discrete and dynamic optimization task aimed at determining the optimum generation technology mix of the best expansion alternative for long-term planning horizon. This paper presents a new framework to study the GEP in a multi-stage horizon with reliability constrained. GEP problem is presented to minimize the capital investment costs, salvage value cost, operation and maintenance, and outage cost under several constraints over planning horizon. Added to that, the spinning reserve, fuel mix ratio and reliability in terms of Loss of Load Probability are maintained. Moreover, to decrease the GEP problem search space and reduce the computational time, some modifications are proposed such as the Virtual mapping procedure, penalty factor approach, and the modified of intelligent initial population generation. For solving the proposed reliability constrained GEP problem, a novel honey badger algorithm (HBA) is developed. It is a meta-heuristic search algorithm inspired from the intelligent foraging behavior of honey badger to reach its prey. In HBA, the dynamic search behavior of honey badger with digging and honey finding approaches is formulated into exploration and exploitation phases. Added to that, several modern meta-heuristic optimization algorithms are employed which are crow search algorithm, aquila optimizer, bald eagle search and particle swarm optimization. These algorithms are applied, in a comparative manner, for three test case studies for 6-year, 12-year, and 24-year of short- and long-term planning horizon having five types of candidate units. The obtained results by all these proposed algorithms are compared and validated the effectiveness and superiority of the HBA over the other applied algorithms.

RevDate: 2023-10-04
CmpDate: 2023-10-04

Jahn JL, Zubizarreta D, Chen JT, et al (2023)

Legislating Inequity: Structural Racism In Groups Of State Laws And Associations With Premature Mortality Rates.

Health affairs (Project Hope), 42(10):1325-1333.

Most evaluations of health equity policy have focused on the effects of individual laws. However, multiple laws' combined effects better reflect the crosscutting nature of structurally racist legal regimes. To measure the combined effects of multiple laws, we used latent class analysis, a method for detecting unobserved "subgroups" in a population, to identify clusters of US states based on thirteen structural racism-related legal domains in 2013. We identified three classes of states: one with predominantly harmful laws ([Formula: see text]), another with predominantly protective laws ([Formula: see text]), and a third with a mix of both ([Formula: see text]). Premature mortality rates overall-defined as deaths before age seventy-five per 100,000 population-were highest in states with predominantly harmful laws, which included eighteen states with past Jim Crow laws. This study offers a new method for measuring structural racism on the basis of how groups of laws are associated with premature mortality rates.

RevDate: 2023-10-03

van Hasselt SJ, Coscia M, Allocca G, et al (2023)

Seasonal variation in sleep time: jackdaws sleep when it is dark, but do they really need it?.

Journal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology [Epub ahead of print].

Sleep is an important behavioural and physiological state that is ubiquitous throughout the animal kingdom. Birds are an interesting group to study sleep since they share similar sleep features with mammals. Interestingly, sleep time in birds has been shown to vary greatly amongst seasons. To understand the mechanisms behind these variations in sleep time, we did an electro-encephalogram (EEG) study in eight European jackdaws (Coloeus monedula) in winter and summer under outdoor seminatural conditions. To assess whether the amount and pattern of sleep is determined by the outdoor seasonal state of the animals or directly determined by the indoor light-dark cycle, we individually housed them indoors where we manipulated the light-dark (LD) cycles to mimic long winter nights (8:16 LD) and short summer nights (16:8 LD) within both seasons. Jackdaws showed under seminatural outdoor conditions 5 h less sleep in summer compared to winter. During the indoor conditions, the birds rapidly adjusted their sleep time to the new LD cycle. Although they swiftly increased or decreased their sleep time, sleep intensity did not vary. The results indicate that the strong seasonal differences in sleep time are largely and directly driven by the available dark time, rather than an endogenous annual clock. Importantly, these findings confirm that sleep in birds is not a rigid phenomenon but highly sensitive to environmental factors.

RevDate: 2023-10-03

Wang X, Kostrzewa C, Reiner A, et al (2023)

Adaptation of a Mutual Exclusivity Framework to Identify Driver Mutations within Biological Pathways.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.09.19.558469.

Distinguishing genomic alterations in cancer genes that have functional impact on tumor growth and disease progression from the ones that are passengers and confer no fitness advantage has important clinical implications. Evidence-based methods for nominating drivers are limited by existing knowledge on the oncogenic effects and therapeutic benefits of specific variants from clinical trials or experimental settings. As clinical sequencing becomes a mainstay of patient care, applying computational methods to mine the rapidly growing clinical genomic data holds promise in uncovering novel functional candidates beyond the existing knowledge-base and expanding the patient population that could potentially benefit from genetically targeted therapies. We propose a statistical and computational method (MAGPIE) that builds on a likelihood approach leveraging the mutual exclusivity pattern within an oncogenic pathway for identifying probabilistically both the specific genes within a pathway and the individual mutations within such genes that are truly the drivers. Alterations in a cancer gene are assumed to be a mixture of driver and passenger mutations with the passenger rates modeled in relationship to tumor mutational burden. A limited memory BFGS algorithm is used to facilitate large scale optimization. We use simulations to study the operating characteristics of the method and assess false positive and false negative rates in driver nomination. When applied to a large study of primary melanomas the method accurately identified the known driver genes within the RTK-RAS pathway and nominated a number of rare variants with previously unknown biological and clinical relevance as prime candidates for functional validation.

RevDate: 2023-09-30

Ręk P, RD Magrath (2023)

The quality of avian vocal duets can be assessed independently of the spatial separation of signallers.

Scientific reports, 13(1):16438.

Interactions among groups are often mediated through signals, including coordinated calls such as duets, and the degree of temporal coordination within a group can affect signal efficacy. However, in addition to intrinsic duet quality, the spatial arrangement of callers also affects the timing of calls. So, can listeners discriminate temporal effects caused by intrinsic duet quality compared to spatial arrangement? Such discrimination would allow assessment of quality of duets produced by a pair, as distinct from transient extrinsic spatial effects. To address this issue, we studied experimentally the influence of intrinsic duet quality and spatial arrangement on the efficacy of Australian magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) vocal duets. Breeding pairs duet at varying distances from each other and to multiple neighbours. Coordinated duets are more effective territorial signals than uncoordinated duets, but it remains unclear whether listeners can discriminate the effects of quality and spatial arrangement. Our playback experiment showed that any deviation from perfect regularity of partners' notes reduced duet efficacy, but that lack of coordination due to spatial separation (slower tempo and offset of notes) had a lower effect on efficacy than effects due to intrinsic quality (irregularity). Our results therefore provide experimental evidence that the temporal organisation of group vocalisations could signal coalition quality independently of spatial effects.

RevDate: 2023-09-27

Fan Y, Yang H, Wang Y, et al (2023)

A Variable Step Crow Search Algorithm and Its Application in Function Problems.

Biomimetics (Basel, Switzerland), 8(5): pii:biomimetics8050395.

Optimization algorithms are popular to solve different problems in many fields, and are inspired by natural principles, animal living habits, plant pollinations, chemistry principles, and physic principles. Optimization algorithm performances will directly impact on solving accuracy. The Crow Search Algorithm (CSA) is a simple and efficient algorithm inspired by the natural behaviors of crows. However, the flight length of CSA is a fixed value, which makes the algorithm fall into the local optimum, severely limiting the algorithm solving ability. To solve this problem, this paper proposes a Variable Step Crow Search Algorithm (VSCSA). The proposed algorithm uses the cosine function to enhance CSA searching abilities, which greatly improves both the solution quality of the population and the convergence speed. In the update phase, the VSCSA increases population diversities and enhances the global searching ability of the basic CSA. The experiment used 14 test functions,2017 CEC functions, and engineering application problems to compare VSCSA with different algorithms. The experiment results showed that VSCSA performs better in fitness values, iteration curves, box plots, searching paths, and the Wilcoxon test results, which indicates that VSCSA has strong competitiveness and sufficient superiority. The VSCSA has outstanding performances in various test functions and the searching accuracy has been greatly improved.

RevDate: 2023-09-14

Becker D, Meisenberg G, Dutton E, et al (2023)

International differences in the speed of cognitive development: A systematic examination of the existence of the Simber Effect.

Acta psychologica, 240:104015 pii:S0001-6918(23)00191-9 [Epub ahead of print].

The Simber Effect refers to the phenomenon whereby, in Arabic countries, young children have an IQ that is little different from that of Western children but that these differences increase throughout childhood culminating in a difference of around 20 points by adulthood. The true nature of this phenomenon is revealed by an examination of 125 samples from all around the globe measured with Raven's Progressive Matrices. We show that in many cases different speeds of cognitive development increase the IQ score differences between countries mostly between 4 and 9 years of age, and that these increases can in part be explained by poor environmental conditions. However, the patterns are not completely clear, either in terms of regularity or strengths. Methodological problems, in particular the cross-sectional designs of the included samples, as well as the significance of the Simber Effect for country comparisons in intelligence are discussed.

RevDate: 2023-08-28

Mohanty SK, Upadhyay AK, Maiti S, et al (2023)

Public health insurance coverage in India before and after PM-JAY: repeated cross-sectional analysis of nationally representative survey data.

BMJ global health, 8(8):.

INTRODUCTION: The provision of non-contributory public health insurance (NPHI) to marginalised populations is a critical step along the path to universal health coverage. We aimed to assess the extent to which Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY)-potentially, the world's largest NPHI programme-has succeeded in raising health insurance coverage of the poorest two-fifths of the population of India.

METHODS: We used nationally representative data from the National Family Health Survey on 633 699 and 601 509 households in 2015-2016 (pre-PM-JAY) and 2019-2021 (mostly, post PM-JAY), respectively. We stratified by urban/rural and estimated NPHI coverage nationally, and by state, district and socioeconomic categories. We decomposed coverage variance between states, districts, and households and measured socioeconomic inequality in coverage. For Uttar Pradesh, we tested whether coverage increased most in districts where PM-JAY had been implemented before the second survey and whether coverage increased most for targeted poorer households in these districts.

RESULTS: We estimated that NPHI coverage increased by 11.7 percentage points (pp) (95% CI 11.0% to 12.4%) and 8.0 pp (95% CI 7.3% to 8.7%) in rural and urban India, respectively. In rural areas, coverage increased most for targeted households and pro-rich inequality decreased. Geographical inequalities in coverage narrowed. Coverage did not increase more in states that implemented PM-JAY. In Uttar Pradesh, the coverage increase was larger by 3.4 pp (95% CI 0.9% to 6.0%) and 4.2 pp (95% CI 1.2% to 7.1%) in rural and urban areas, respectively, in districts exposed to PM-JAY and the increase was 3.5 pp (95% CI 0.9% to 6.1%) larger for targeted households in these districts.

CONCLUSION: The introduction of PM-JAY coincided with increased public health insurance coverage and decreased inequality in coverage. But the gains cannot all be plausibly attributed to PM-JAY, and they are insufficient to reach the goal of universal coverage of the poor.

RevDate: 2023-08-28

Hutton HE, Aggarwal S, Gillani A, et al (2023)

A Digital Counselor-Delivered Intervention for Substance Use Among People With HIV: Development and Usability Study.

JMIR formative research, 7:e40260 pii:v7i1e40260.

BACKGROUND: Substance use disorders are prevalent and undertreated among people with HIV. Computer-delivered interventions (CDIs) show promise in expanding reach, delivering evidence-based care, and offering anonymity. Use in HIV clinic settings may overcome access barriers. Incorporating digital counselors may increase CDI engagement, and thereby improve health outcomes.

OBJECTIVE: We aim to develop and pilot a digital counselor-delivered brief intervention for people with HIV who use drugs, called "C-Raven," which is theory grounded and uses evidence-based practices for behavior change.

METHODS: Intervention mapping was used to develop the CDI including a review of the behavior change research in substance use, HIV, and digital counselors. We conducted in-depth interviews applying the situated-information, motivation, and behavior skills model and culturally adapting the content for local use with people with HIV. With a user interaction designer, we created various digital counselors and CDI interfaces. Finally, a mixed methods approach using in-depth interviews and quantitative assessments was used to assess the usability, acceptability, and cultural relevance of the intervention content and the digital counselor.

RESULTS: Participants found CDI easy to use, useful, relevant, and motivating. A consistent suggestion was to provide more information about the negative impacts of drug use and the interaction of drug use with HIV. Participants also reported that they learned new information about drug use and its health effects. The CDI was delivered by a "Raven," digital counselor, programmed to interact in a motivational interviewing style. The Raven was perceived to be nonjudgmental, understanding, and emotionally responsive. The appearance and images in the intervention were perceived as relevant and acceptable. Participants noted that they could be more truthful with a digital counselor, however, it was not unanimously endorsed as a replacement for a human counselor. The C-Raven Satisfaction Scale showed that all participants rated their satisfaction at either a 4 (n=2) or a 5 (n=8) on a 5-point Likert scale and all endorsed using the C-Raven program again.

CONCLUSIONS: CDIs show promise in extending access to care and improving health outcomes but their development necessarily requires integration from multiple disciplines including behavioral medicine and computer science. We developed a cross-platform compatible CDI led by a digital counselor that interacts in a motivational interviewing style and (1) uses evidence-based behavioral change methods, (2) is culturally adapted to people with HIV who use drugs, (3) has an engaging and interactive user interface, and (4) presents personalized content based on participants' ongoing responses to a series of menu-driven conversations. To advance the continued development of this and other CDIs, we recommend expanded testing, standardized measures to evaluate user experience, integration with clinician-delivered substance use treatment, and if effective, implementation into HIV clinical care.

RevDate: 2023-08-24

Zhu ZQ, Zi SM, Gao LF, et al (2023)

A diagnosis model of parental care: How parents optimize their provisioning strategy in brood reduction?.

Current zoology, 69(4):385-392.

Altricial birds often display biased preferences in providing parental care for their dependent offspring, especially during food shortages. During this process, such inflexible rules may result in provisioning errors. To demonstrate how parents optimize their provisioning strategies, we proposed a "diagnosis model" of parental care to posit that parents will undergo a diagnosis procedure to test whether selecting against some particular offspring based on phenotype is an optimal strategy. We tested this model in an asynchronous hatching bird, the Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyanus, based on 10 years of data about demography and parental provisioning behaviors. Given their higher daily survival rates, core offspring (those hatched on the first day) merits an investment priority compared with their marginal brood mates (those hatched on later days). However, a marginal offspring also merited a priority if it displayed greater weight gain than the expected value at the early post-hatching days. Parents could detect such a marginal offspring via a diagnosis strategy, in which they provisioned the brood at the diagnosis stage by delivering food to every nestling that begged, then biased food toward high-value nestlings at the subsequent decision stage by making a negative response to the begging of low-value nestlings. In this provisioning strategy, the growth performance of a nestling became a more reliable indicator of its investment value than its hatching order or competitive ability. Our findings provide evidence for this "diagnosis model of parental care" wherein parents use a diagnosis method to optimize their provisioning strategy in brood reduction.

RevDate: 2023-08-22
CmpDate: 2023-08-22

Lu C, Gudowska A, J Rutkowska (2023)

What do zebra finches learn besides singing? Systematic mapping of the literature and presentation of an efficient associative learning test.

Animal cognition, 26(5):1489-1503.

The process of learning in birds has been extensively studied, with a focus on species such as pigeons, parrots, chickens, and crows. In recent years, the zebra finch has emerged as a model species in avian cognition, particularly in song learning. However, other cognitive domains such as spatial memory and associative learning could also be critical to fitness and survival, particularly during the intensive juvenile period. In this systematic review, we provide an overview of cognitive studies on zebra finches, with a focus on domains other than song learning. Our findings indicate that spatial, associative, and social learning are the most frequently studied domains, while motoric learning and inhibitory control have been examined less frequently over 30 years of research. All of the 60 studies included in this review were conducted on captive birds, limiting the generalizability of the findings to wild populations. Moreover, only two of the studies were conducted on juveniles, highlighting the need for more research on this critical period of learning. To address this research gap, we propose a high-throughput method for testing associative learning performance in a large number of both juvenile and adult zebra finches. Our results demonstrate that learning can occur in both age groups, thus encouraging researchers to also perform cognitive tests on juveniles. We also note the heterogeneity of methodologies, protocols, and subject exclusion criteria applied by different researchers, which makes it difficult to compare results across studies. Therefore, we call for better communication among researchers to develop standardised methodologies for studying each cognitive domain at different life stages and also in their natural conditions.

RevDate: 2023-08-21

Holzinger A, Saranti A, Angerschmid A, et al (2023)

Toward human-level concept learning: Pattern benchmarking for AI algorithms.

Patterns (New York, N.Y.), 4(8):100788.

Artificial intelligence (AI) today is very successful at standard pattern-recognition tasks due to the availability of large amounts of data and advances in statistical data-driven machine learning. However, there is still a large gap between AI pattern recognition and human-level concept learning. Humans can learn amazingly well even under uncertainty from just a few examples and are capable of generalizing these concepts to solve new conceptual problems. The growing interest in explainable machine intelligence requires experimental environments and diagnostic/benchmark datasets to analyze existing approaches and drive progress in pattern analysis and machine intelligence. In this paper, we provide an overview of current AI solutions for benchmarking concept learning, reasoning, and generalization; discuss the state-of-the-art of existing diagnostic/benchmark datasets (such as CLEVR, CLEVRER, CLOSURE, CURI, Bongard-LOGO, V-PROM, RAVEN, Kandinsky Patterns, CLEVR-Humans, CLEVRER-Humans, and their extension containing human language); and provide an outlook of some future research directions in this exciting research domain.

RevDate: 2023-08-21

Matsuda K, Shinohara M, Ii Y, et al (2023)

Magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological findings for predicting of cognitive deterioration in memory clinic patients.

Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 15:1155122.

OBJECTIVE: The severity of cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been assessed using hypertensive arteriopathy SVD and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA)-SVD scores. In addition, we reported the modified CAA-SVD score including cortical microinfarcts and posterior dominant white matter hyperintensity. Each SVD score has been associated with cognitive function, but the longitudinal changes remain unclear. Therefore, this study prospectively examined the prognostic value of each SVD score, imaging findings of cerebral SVD, and neuropsychological assessment.

METHODS: This study included 29 patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia at memory clinic in our hospital, who underwent clinical dementia rating (CDR) and brain MRI (3D-fluid attenuated inversion recovery, 3D-double inversion recovery, and susceptibility-weighted imaging) at baseline and 1 year later. Each SVD score and neuropsychological tests including the Mini-Mental State Examination, Japanese Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices, Trail Making Test -A/-B, and the Rivermead Behavioral Memory Test were evaluated at baseline and 1 year later.

RESULTS: Twenty patients had unchanged CDR (group A), while nine patients had worsened CDR (group B) after 1 year. At baseline, there was no significant difference in each SVD score; after 1 year, group B had significantly increased CAA-SVD and modified CAA-SVD scores. Group B also showed a significantly higher number of lobar microbleeds than group A at baseline. Furthermore, group B had significantly longer Japanese Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices and Trail Making test-A times at baseline. After 1 year, group B had significantly lower Mini-Mental State Examination, Japanese Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices, and Rivermead Behavioral Memory Test scores and significantly fewer word fluency (letters).

CONCLUSION: Patients with worsened CDR 1 year after had a higher number of lobar microbleeds and prolonged psychomotor speed at baseline. These findings may become predictors of cognitive deterioration in patients who visit memory clinics.

RevDate: 2023-08-18

Hahner L, A Nieder (2023)

Costs and benefits of voluntary attention in crows.

Royal Society open science, 10(8):230517.

Behavioural signatures of voluntary, endogenous selective attention have been found in both mammals and birds, but the relationship between performance benefits at attended and costs at unattended locations remains unclear. We trained two carrion crows (Corvus corone) on a Posner-like spatial cueing task with dissociated cue and target locations, using both highly predictive and neutral central cues to compare reaction time (RT) and detection accuracy for validly, invalidly and neutrally cued targets. We found robust RT effects of predictive cueing at varying stimulus-onset asynchronies (SOA) that resulted from both advantages at cued locations and costs at un-cued locations. Both crows showed cueing effects around 15-25 ms with an early onset at 100 ms SOA, comparable to macaques. Our results provide a direct assessment of costs and benefits of voluntary attention in a bird species. They show that crows are able to guide spatial attention using associative cues, and that the processing advantage at attended locations impairs performance at unattended locations.

RevDate: 2023-08-11

Zhu G, Zheng M, Lyu S, et al (2023)

Report of a magpie preying on a post-fledgling Daurian redstart.

Ecology and evolution, 13(8):e10412.

A magpie (Pica pica) preying on a fledgling of Daurian redstart (Phoenicurus auroreus) was incidentally recorded with a video shot by mobile phone on 26 May 2021, providing direct evidence for magpie predation. It also shows that predation is an important factor that affects the survival of fledglings, indicating that survival of fledglings should be considered in evaluating breeding success of birds. The fledgling was about 13-day-old posthatching, and it was on its first day of leaving the nest when the incident occurred. It was preyed upon by a magpie 10 m away from the nest by two attempts under strong defensive behaviour from the female.

RevDate: 2023-08-10

Xu M, Yu X, Fan B, et al (2023)

Influence of Mode of Delivery on Children's Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Childhood Intelligence.

Psychiatry investigation pii:pi.2022.0310 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether differences exist in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and intelligence between children born by cesarean delivery and those born by vaginal delivery.

METHODS: This retrospective study included singleton children that were born between January 2013 and December 2014. The Chinese version of the Conners' Parent Rating Scale-Revised (CPRS-48) was required on the probability of psychological and behavioral problems. The China-Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (C-WIRS) was used for evaluation of crystallized intelligence and Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices for evaluation of fluid intelligence.

RESULTS: A total of 10,568 valid questionnaires were obtained. CPRS-48 ADHD index and detection rate were higher in cesarean delivery group than those in vaginal delivery group. Cesarean delivery groups had a lower performance intelligence quotient score according to C-WISC.

CONCLUSION: Children born by cesarean delivery were more likely to have a risk of ADHD and a lower performance intelligence quotient compared with those born by vaginal delivery.

RevDate: 2023-08-10
CmpDate: 2023-08-10

Arbon JJ, Hahn LG, McIvor GE, et al (2023)

Competition and generalization impede cultural formation in wild jackdaws.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 290(2004):20230705.

Animal cultures have now been demonstrated experimentally in diverse taxa from flies to great apes. However, experiments commonly use tasks with unrestricted access to equal pay-offs and innovations seeded by demonstrators who are trained to exhibit strong preferences. Such conditions may not reflect those typically found in nature. For example, the learned preferences of natural innovators may be weaker, while competition for depleting resources can favour switching between strategies and generalizing from past experience. Here we show that in experiments where wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula) can freely discover depleting supplies of novel foods, generalization has a powerful effect on learning, allowing individuals to exploit multiple new opportunities through both social and individual learning. Further, in contrast to studies with trained demonstrators, individuals that were first to innovate showed weak preferences. As a consequence, many individuals ate all available novel foods, displaying no strong preference and no group-level culture emerged. Individuals followed a 'learn from adults' strategy, but other demographic factors played a minimal role in shaping social transmission. These results demonstrate the importance of generalization in allowing animals to exploit new opportunities and highlight how natural competitive dynamics may impede the formation of culture.

RevDate: 2023-08-09

Naveed S, Sallinen T, Eloranta AM, et al (2023)

Effects of 2-year dietary and physical activity intervention on cognition in children-a nonrandomized controlled trial.

Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: We investigated the effects of a combined dietary and PA intervention on cognition in children and whether changes in diet quality, PA, sedentary behavior (SB), and sedentary time (ST) are associated with changes in cognition.

METHODS: We conducted a 2-year nonrandomized controlled trial in 504 children aged 6-9 years at baseline. The children were allocated to a combined dietary and PA intervention group (n = 237) or a control group (n = 160) without blinding.

INTERVENTIONS: The children and their parents allocated to the intervention group had six dietary counseling sessions of 30-45 min and six PA counseling sessions of 30-45 min during the 2-year intervention period. The children were also encouraged to participate in after-school exercise clubs. Cognition was assessed by the Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices. We assessed dietary factors by 4 days food records and computed the Baltic Sea Diet Score (BSDS) as a measure of diet quality. PA and ST were assessed by a combined heart rate and body movement monitor, types of PA and SB by a questionnaire.

RESULTS: The intervention had no effect on cognition. Increased BSDS and consumption of low-fat milk and decreased consumption of red meat and sausages were associated with improved cognition over 2 years. Increased organized sports, ST, and reading were positively, while unsupervised PA, computer use, and writing were negatively associated with cognition.

CONCLUSION: Combined dietary and PA intervention had no effect on cognition. Improved diet quality and increased organized sports and reading were associated with improved cognition.

RevDate: 2023-08-03

Webb T, Holyoak KJ, H Lu (2023)

Emergent analogical reasoning in large language models.

Nature human behaviour [Epub ahead of print].

The recent advent of large language models has reinvigorated debate over whether human cognitive capacities might emerge in such generic models given sufficient training data. Of particular interest is the ability of these models to reason about novel problems zero-shot, without any direct training. In human cognition, this capacity is closely tied to an ability to reason by analogy. Here we performed a direct comparison between human reasoners and a large language model (the text-davinci-003 variant of Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT)-3) on a range of analogical tasks, including a non-visual matrix reasoning task based on the rule structure of Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices. We found that GPT-3 displayed a surprisingly strong capacity for abstract pattern induction, matching or even surpassing human capabilities in most settings; preliminary tests of GPT-4 indicated even better performance. Our results indicate that large language models such as GPT-3 have acquired an emergent ability to find zero-shot solutions to a broad range of analogy problems.

RevDate: 2023-07-31

Nieder A (2023)

Neuroscience of cognitive control in crows.

Trends in neurosciences pii:S0166-2236(23)00162-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Crows, a group of corvid songbird species, show superb behavioral flexibility largely stemming from their advanced cognitive control functions. These functions mainly originate from the associative avian pallium that evolved independently from the mammalian cerebral cortex. This article presents a brief overview of cognitive control functions and their neuronal foundation in crows.

RevDate: 2023-08-01
CmpDate: 2023-08-01

Hernández MC, Lara RA, AJ Redondo (2023)

To Mob or Not to Mob: Habitat and Time of Day Influence in Mobbing Behavior in the Azure-Winged Magpie (Cyanopica cookii).

Zoological science, 40(4):273-277.

While mobbing, individuals utter distinctive calls and perform visual threatening displays. Like any other antipredatory strategies, it involves some costs (time, energy, injuries, and even death). Therefore, mobbing would be expected to vary depending on the perceived magnitude of the predation risk. Moreover, harassment behavior can also serve as a demonstration of social status and to teach juveniles to recognize predators and related behaviors. Therefore, mobbing could also persist even when predation risk is particularly low. To test our hypotheses, we used tawny owl playbacks and a taxidermy mount to elicit the mobbing response in azure-winged magpies throughout the daylight period. To classify mobbing intensity, we created five categories depending on the proximity to the owl model at which the mobbing was performed. The results revealed that mobbing behavior in azure-winged magpies was more intense where predation risk was higher: in the most suitable habitat for the tawny owl, the forest, although considerable levels of mobbing were found in the dehesa and the ecotone, which indicate that mobbing has different purposes. However, we did not find statistically significant differences in mobbing intensity depending on the time of the day. We could not show a daily adjustment of antipredator response, but magpies modulated mobbing depending on the perceived risk linked to the habitat.

RevDate: 2023-08-01

Tabei KI, Ogawa JI, Kamikawa C, et al (2023)

Online physical exercise program with music improves working memory.

Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 15:1146060.

OBJECTIVE: The spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has limited the implementation of face-to-face non-pharmacological treatment for the prevention of dementia. As a result, online non-pharmacological treatment has become increasingly important. In this study, we used an online conferencing system to implement an online version of a physical exercise program with music, and examined its effect on cognitive function.

METHODS: The participants were 114 healthy older adults [63 men and 51 women; mean age of 70.7 years (standard deviation = 4.6)]. Seventy-five participants were allocated to the physical exercise with music group (60 min, once a week, total 20 sessions), while the remaining 39 participants were assigned to the control group, and only underwent the examinations. In the physical exercise with music group, we performed neuropsychological examinations and brain tests both before and after the exercise program. Neuropsychological tests included the Mini-Mental State Examination, Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM), the Rivermead Behavioral Memory Test, graphic imitation, word fluency (WF) (animal names and initial sounds), and the Trail Making Test-A/B. As an assessment of brain function, we developed an online examination of subtle cognitive decline, including tests of number and word memory, spatial grasp, the N-back task, and change inference.

RESULTS: In the N-back task, the physical exercise with music group improved significantly relative to the control group (p = 0.008).

DISCUSSION: The present findings suggest that the online version of the physical exercise with music program improved working memory, which mainly involves the frontal lobe.

RevDate: 2023-08-04

Bravo C, Sarasa M, Bretagnolle V, et al (2023)

Hedgerows interact with forests to shape the abundance of mesopredators and their predation rate on eggs in farmland landscapes.

The Science of the total environment, 901:165712 pii:S0048-9697(23)04335-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Nest predation is the main cause of reproductive failure, particularly in ground-nesting birds on farmlands. Understanding the links between nest predation and habitat change can help design effective management schemes to constrain the negative impact of predation pressure on birds. However, the mechanisms underlying the relationships between landscape attributes, predator distribution, and nest predation are still unclear. Here, we use an experimental approach to examine the effects of distance to the hedgerow as well as hedgerow and forest densities on the abundance of major mesopredators of ground nests of our study area (i.e., corvids) and on the predation rate of artificial ground nests (n = 2576). We found evidence that landscape configuration influenced predation patterns differently depending on the predator species. Nest predation by corvids was more likely in homogeneous and open agricultural landscapes with a low density of forest and hedgerows, whereas predation by other predators was more likely close to hedgerows. Nest predation by corvids and the abundance of corvids also tended to be lower in landscapes dominated by grasslands. Other variables such as road density and distance to human settlements had contrasted effects on the likelihood of a nest being depredated by corvids, i.e., no effect with proximity to human settlements and decreasing trend with road density. Altogether, our results suggest that landscape features interact with mesopredator distribution and their predation rates of ground nests. Therefore, from a conservation and management perspective, a heterogeneous agricultural landscape that includes a mixture of crops associated with patches of forests, hedgerows, and grasslands offering alternative food to generalist predators should contribute to reducing ground-nesting bird predation.

RevDate: 2023-07-31

Saati AA, HM Adly (2023)

Assessing the Correlation between Blood Trace Element Concentrations, Picky Eating Habits, and Intelligence Quotient in School-Aged Children.

Children (Basel, Switzerland), 10(7):.

INTRODUCTION: Inadequate levels of iron, zinc, and copper have been linked to growth impairment and cognitive and motor development deficits. The objective of this study is to examine the deficiencies of trace elements and their correlation with selective eating patterns and the intelligence quotient (IQ) of children.

METHODS AND PATIENTS: The cross-sectional analysis involved 430 children aged between 7 and 10 years. Blood samples were analyzed using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) to measure the trace elements levels. Children's IQs were assessed using Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices.

RESULTS: Among the sample group, 20.3% exhibited iron deficiency, 42.5% had zinc deficiency, and 14% had insufficient copper levels. Single trace element deficiency was observed in 56.9% of the children, while 66.7% showed coexisting deficiencies of iron and zinc. Children with lower development levels exhibited significantly lower serum zinc levels compared to those with higher development levels (76.78 ± 10.67 vs. 81.14 ± 10.19 μg/dL). The analysis reveals that picky eaters had lower serum iron levels (76.59 ± 10.42 μg/dL) and higher serum copper levels (123.74 ± 13.45 μg/dL).

CONCLUSION: A strong association was observed between zinc deficiency, picky eating habits, and lower developmental stages. The findings underscore the importance of monitoring nutritional status in children, given the significant implications for their cognitive development.

RevDate: 2023-07-31
CmpDate: 2023-07-31

Carruthers A, Carruthers J, De Boulle K, et al (2023)

Treatment of crow's feet lines and forehead lines with Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA): Development, insights, and impact.

Medicine, 102(S1):e32496.

Extrinsic and age-related intrinsic factors contribute to the development of facial lines, including lateral canthal lines (called crow's feet lines [CFL]) and horizontal forehead lines (FHL). OnabotulinumtoxinA is a highly effective treatment for facial lines that inhibits acetylcholine release at the neuromuscular junction. This temporary chemical denervation leads to localized muscle relaxation and subsequent wrinkle reduction. Early studies of onabotulinumtoxinA treatment for facial neuronal disorders such as dystonia documented improvements in FHL and CFL. After the neurotoxin was approved for treating frown lines (glabellar lines [GL]), individuals requested treatment for other rhytids, and physicians continued assessing use in new areas. Once onabotulinumtoxinA was in clinical trial development, its efficacy and safety for CFL and FHL were successively evaluated as required by the US Food and Drug Administration and by key global health authorities, including those in the European Union, Japan, and China. Allergan, collaborating with leading physicians, established clinical programs that included novel safety and efficacy measures to meet regulatory requirements. Global, phase 3, randomized, controlled studies of CFL and FHL met rigorous primary endpoints. Some countries mandated clinical trial data beyond US and European regulations, and Allergan conducted 11 studies in total, fulfilling diverse regulatory and study population data requirements. Adverse events associated with local spread, including brow and eyelid ptosis, diplopia, headache, and eyelid sensory disorder, were infrequent and well tolerated. Consequently, onabotulinumtoxinA treatment of upper facial lines is now established globally as a highly effective, minimally invasive treatment for patients to achieve a natural appearance and look younger.

RevDate: 2023-07-26

Trapote E, Canestrari D, V Baglione (2023)

Effects of meteorological conditions on brood care in cooperatively breeding carrion crow and consequences on reproductive success.

Frontiers in zoology, 20(1):24.

Meteorological stressors (e.g., temperature and rain shortage) constrain brood provisioning in some bird species, but the consequences on reproductive success have been rarely quantified. Here we show, in a cooperatively breeding population of carrion crow Corvus corone in Spain, that individual feeding rates decreased significantly with rising air temperatures both in breeders and helpers, while lack of rain was associated with a significant reduction in the effort of the male helpers as compared to the other social categories. Group coordination, measured as the degree of alternation of nest visits by carers, was also negatively affected by rising temperature. Furthermore, we found that the body condition of the nestlings worsened when temperatures were high during the rearing period. Interestingly, the analysis of a long-term data set on crow reproduction showed that nestling body condition steadily deteriorated over the last 26-years. Although many factors may concur in causing population changes, our data suggest a possible causal link between global warming, brood caring behaviour and the decline of carrion crow population in the Mediterranean climatic region of Spain.

RevDate: 2023-07-26
CmpDate: 2023-07-26

Carlón-Beltrán Ó, Viloria-Gómora L, Urbán R J, et al (2023)

Whistle characterization of long-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis bairdii) in La Paz Bay, Gulf of California.

PeerJ, 11:e15687.

Long-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis bairdii) distribution is limited to the Eastern North Pacific Ocean. Its whistle repertoire is poorly investigated, with no studies in the Gulf of California. The aim of the present study is to characterize the whistles of this species and compare their parameters with different populations. Acoustic monitoring was conducted in La Paz Bay, Gulf of California. Recordings were inspected in spectrogram view in Raven Pro, selecting good quality whistles (n = 270). In the software Luscinia, contours were manually traced to obtain whistle frequencies and duration. Number of steps, inflection points and contour type were visually determined. We calculated the descriptive statistics of the selected whistle parameters and we compared the results with a dolphins population from the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) was performed to test the intraspecific variation of the whistle parameters among groups. In the present study the mean values (±SD) of the whistle parameters were: maximum frequency = 14.13 ± 3.71 kHz, minimum frequency = 8.44 ± 2.58 kHz and duration = 0.44 ± 0.31 s. Whistles with the upsweep contour were the most common ones (34.44%). The coefficient of variation (CV) values for modulation parameters were high (>100%), in accordance with other studies on dolphins. Whistle parameters showed significant differences among groups. Finally, ending and maximum frequencies, duration and inflection points of the whistles recorded in the present study were lower compared with the parameters of the long-beaked common dolphins from the Eastern Pacific Ocean. This study provides the first whistle characterization of long-beaked common dolphin from the Gulf of California and it will help future passive acoustic monitoring applications in the study area.

RevDate: 2023-07-06

Braccini F, Catoni I, Belfkira F, et al (2023)

SAMCEP Society consensus on the treatment of upper facial lines with botulinum neurotoxin type A: A tailored approach.

Journal of cosmetic dermatology [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The safety and efficacy of botulinum neurotoxin type A (BoNTA) treatments are well established, but injection techniques, target muscles, and toxin doses continue to evolve, with each refinement producing improvements in treatment outcomes. The recommendations in this consensus move away from standard templates and illustrate how to tailor treatments to individual patterns and strengths of muscle activity, and patient preferences.

METHODS: Seventeen experts in the fields of plastic surgery, dermatology, ophthalmology, otorhinolaryngology, and neurology convened in 2022 to develop consensus-based recommendations for the use of botulinum toxin A for the treatment of horizontal forehead lines, glabellar frown lines, and crow's feet lines that reflect current clinical practice. The focus was on how to tailor injections to individual patients to optimize treatment outcomes.

RESULTS: For each upper face indication, consensus members describe how to perform a dynamic assessment to optimize the dose and injection technique for each patient. A tailored treatment protocol is presented for commonly observed patterns of dynamic lines. Units of Inco are defined and the precise location of injection points, illustrated with the use of anatomical images.

CONCLUSION: This consensus provides up-to-date recommendations on the tailored treatment of upper facial lines based on the latest research and collective clinical experience of the expert injectors. Optimal outcomes require thorough patient evaluation, both at rest and during animation, using both visual and tactile cues; detailed understanding of facial muscular anatomy and how opposing muscles interact; and use of a BoNTA with high precision to target identified zones of excess muscle activity.

RevDate: 2023-07-18
CmpDate: 2023-07-07

Prinja S, Dixit J, Gupta N, et al (2023)

Financial toxicity of cancer treatment in India: towards closing the cancer care gap.

Frontiers in public health, 11:1065737.

BACKGROUND: The rising economic burden of cancer on patients is an important determinant of access to treatment initiation and adherence in India. Several publicly financed health insurance (PFHI) schemes have been launched in India, with treatment for cancer as an explicit inclusion in the health benefit packages (HBPs). Although, financial toxicity is widely acknowledged to be a potential consequence of costly cancer treatment, little is known about its prevalence and determinants among the Indian population. There is a need to determine the optimal strategy for clinicians and cancer care centers to address the issue of high costs of care in order to minimize the financial toxicity, promote access to high value care and reduce health disparities.

METHODS: A total of 12,148 cancer patients were recruited at seven purposively selected cancer centres in India, to assess the out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) and financial toxicity among cancer patients. Mean OOPE incurred for outpatient treatment and hospitalization, was estimated by cancer site, stage, type of treatment and socio-demographic characteristics. Economic impact of cancer care on household financial risk protection was assessed using standard indicators of catastrophic health expenditures (CHE) and impoverishment, along with the determinants using logistic regression.

RESULTS: Mean direct OOPE per outpatient consultation and per episode of hospitalization was estimated as ₹8,053 (US$ 101) and ₹39,085 (US$ 492) respectively. Per patient annual direct OOPE incurred on cancer treatment was estimated as ₹331,177 (US$ 4,171). Diagnostics (36.4%) and medicines (45%) are major contributors of OOPE for outpatient treatment and hospitalization, respectively. The overall prevalence of CHE and impoverishment was higher among patients seeking outpatient treatment (80.4% and 67%, respectively) than hospitalization (29.8% and 17.2%, respectively). The odds of incurring CHE was 7.4 times higher among poorer patients [Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR): 7.414] than richest. Enrolment in PM-JAY (CHE AOR = 0.426, and impoverishment AOR = 0.395) or a state sponsored scheme (CHE AOR = 0.304 and impoverishment AOR = 0.371) resulted in a significant reduction in CHE and impoverishment for an episode of hospitalization. The prevalence of CHE and impoverishment was significantly higher with hospitalization in private hospitals and longer duration of hospital stay (p < 0.001). The extent of CHE and impoverishment due to direct costs incurred on outpatient treatment increased from 83% to 99.7% and, 63.9% to 97.1% after considering both direct and indirect costs borne by the patient and caregivers, respectively. In case of hospitalization, the extent of CHE increased from 23.6% (direct cost) to 59.4% (direct+ indirect costs) and impoverishment increased from 14.1% (direct cost) to 27% due to both direct and indirect cost of cancer treatment.

CONCLUSION: There is high economic burden on patients and their families due to cancer treatment. The increase in population and cancer services coverage of PFHI schemes, creating prepayment mechanisms like E-RUPI for outpatient diagnostic and staging services, and strengthening public hospitals can potentially reduce the financial burden among cancer patients in India. The disaggregated OOPE estimates could be useful input for future health technology analyses to determine cost-effective treatment strategies.

RevDate: 2023-07-06

Talmi-Frank D, Byas AD, Murrieta R, et al (2023)

Intracellular Diversity of WNV within Circulating Avian Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells Reveals Host-Dependent Patterns of Polyinfection.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 12(6):.

Arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) populations exist as mutant swarms that are maintained between arthropods and vertebrates. West Nile virus (WNV) population dynamics are host-dependent. In American crows, purifying selection is weak and population diversity is high compared to American robins, which have 100- to 1000-fold lower viremia. WNV passed in robins leads to fitness gains, whereas that passed in crows does not. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that high crow viremia allows for higher genetic diversity within individual avian peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), reasoning that this could have produced the previously observed host-specific differences in genetic diversity and fitness. Specifically, we infected cells and birds with a molecularly barcoded WNV and sequenced viral RNA from single cells to quantify the number of WNV barcodes in each. Our results demonstrate that the richness of WNV populations within crows far exceeds that in robins. Similarly, rare WNV variants were maintained by crows more frequently than by robins. Our results suggest that increased viremia in crows relative to robins leads to the maintenance of defective genomes and less prevalent variants, presumably through complementation. Our findings further suggest that weaker purifying selection in highly susceptible crows is attributable to this higher viremia, polyinfections and complementation.

RevDate: 2023-06-27

Johnston M, Brecht KF, A Nieder (2023)

Crows flexibly apply statistical inferences based on previous experience.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(23)00774-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Statistical inference, the ability to use limited information to draw conclusions about the likelihood of an event, is critical for decision-making during uncertainty. The ability to make statistical inferences was thought to be a uniquely human skill requiring verbal instruction and mathematical reasoning.[1] However, basic inferences have been demonstrated in both preliterate and pre-numerate individuals,[2][,][3][,][4][,][5][,][6][,][7] as well as non-human primates.[8] More recently, the ability to make statistical inferences has been extended to members outside of the primate lineage in birds.[9][,][10] True statistical inference requires subjects use relative rather than absolute frequency of previously experienced events. Here, we show that crows can relate memorized reward probabilities to infer reward-maximizing decisions. Two crows were trained to associate multiple reward probabilities ranging from 10% to 90% to arbitrary stimuli. When later faced with the choice between various stimulus combinations, crows retrieved the reward probabilities associated with individual stimuli from memory and used them to gain maximum reward. The crows showed behavioral distance and size effects when judging reward values, indicating that the crows represented probabilities as abstract magnitudes. When controlling for absolute reward frequency, crows still made reward-maximizing choices, which is the signature of true statistical inference. Our study provides compelling evidence of decision-making by relative reward frequency in a statistical inference task.

RevDate: 2023-07-01

He J, Peng Z, Zhang L, et al (2023)

Enhanced crow search algorithm with multi-stage search integration for global optimization problems.

Soft computing [Epub ahead of print].

Crow search algorithm (CSA), as a new swarm intelligence algorithm that simulates the crows' behaviors of hiding and tracking food in nature, performs well in solving many optimization problems. However, while handling complex and high-dimensional global optimization problems, CSA is apt to fall into evolutionary stagnation and has slow convergence speed, low accuracy, and weak robustness. This is mainly because it only utilizes a single search stage, where position updating relies on random following among individuals or arbitrary flight of individuals. To address these deficiencies, a CSA with multi-stage search integration (MSCSA) is presented. Chaos and multiple opposition-based learning techniques are first introduced to improve original population quality and ergodicity. The free foraging stage based on normal random distribution and Lévy flight is designed to conduct local search for enhancing the solution accuracy. And the following stage using mixed guiding individuals is presented to perform global search for expanding the search space through tracing each other among individuals. Finally, the large-scale migration stage based on the best individual and mixed guiding individuals concentrates on increasing the population diversity and helping the population jump out of local optima by moving the population to a promising area. All of these strategies form multi-level and multi-granularity balances between global exploration and local exploitation throughout the evolution. The proposed MSCSA is compared with a range of other algorithms, including original CSA, three outstanding variants of CSA, two classical meta-heuristics, and six state-of-the-art meta-heuristics covering different categories. The experiments are conducted based on the complex and high-dimensional benchmark functions CEC 2017 and CEC 2010, respectively. The experimental and statistical results demonstrate that MSCSA is competitive for tackling large-scale complicated problems, and is significantly superior to the competitors.

RevDate: 2023-07-18
CmpDate: 2023-07-07

Martín-Turrero I, Sureda X, Escobar F, et al (2023)

How Can We Measure Alcohol Outlet Density Around Schools? A Comparison Between Two Buffer-Based Methods.

Journal of urban health : bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 100(3):627-637.

Measuring the density of alcohol outlets around schools is a critical step towards understanding the drivers of drinking among adolescents. Different methodologies have been used in the literature for this purpose, but the implications of using one methodology or another have not been clearly assessed. Our aim was to compare different methods to measure alcohol outlet density and highlight under which characteristics of the environment might be best using each approach. We used Geographic Information Systems to geolocate schools (n = 576) and alcohol outlets (n = 21,732) in Madrid. We defined the density of alcohol outlets as the number of establishments within an area of 400 m around schools measured using two buffering methods: crow flies' and street network distances. We evaluated the agreement between both methods visually and through regression models, including street connectivity, population density, and density of recreational venues as predictors of disagreement. The density of alcohol outlets around schools was higher using crow flies' distances compared to street network distances. The differences between methodologies were wider in areas of higher density of outlets, especially in the downtown areas, where there are higher population density and street connectivity. Our results suggest that the spatial characteristics and morphology of the study area (e.g., street connectivity and population density) should be considered when deciding the methodology to be used to measure alcohol outlet density. Future studies should explore the implications of different exposure measures in their association with drinking prevalence and consumption patterns among different geographical contexts.

RevDate: 2023-08-07

Baumann C, Hussain ST, Roblíčková M, et al (2023)

Evidence for hunter-gatherer impacts on raven diet and ecology in the Gravettian of Southern Moravia.

Nature ecology & evolution, 7(8):1302-1314.

The earlier Gravettian of Southern Moravia-the Pavlovian-is notable for the many raven bones (Corvus corax) documented in its faunal assemblages. On the basis of the rich zooarchaeological and settlement data from the Pavlovian, previous work suggested that common ravens were attracted by human domestic activities and subsequently captured by Pavlovian people, presumably for feathers and perhaps food. Here, we report independent δ[15]N, δ[13]C and δ[34]S stable isotope data obtained from 12 adult ravens from the Pavlovian key sites of Předmostí I, Pavlov I and Dolní Věstonice I to test this idea. We show that Pavlovian ravens regularly fed on larger herbivores and especially mammoths, aligning in feeding preferences with contemporaneous Gravettian foragers. We argue that opportunistic-generalist ravens were encouraged by human settlement and carcass provisioning. Our data may thus provide surprisingly early evidence for incipient synanthropism among Palaeolithic ravens. We suggest that anthropogenic manipulation of carrion supply dynamics furnished unique contexts for the emergence of human-oriented animal behaviours, in turn promoting novel human foraging opportunities-dynamics which are therefore important for understanding early hunter-gatherer ecosystem impacts.

RevDate: 2023-06-21

Flanagan AM, Masuda B, Komarczyk L, et al (2023)

Adapting conservation breeding techniques using a data-driven approach to restore the 'Alalā (Hawaiian crow, Corvus hawaiiensis).

Zoo biology [Epub ahead of print].

For some critically endangered species, conservation breeding is a vital steppingstone toward re-establishing wild populations. The 'Alalā (Hawaiian crow, Corvus hawaiiensis), currently extinct in the wild, exists today only in a conservation breeding program, which, for many years, utilized successful hands-on husbandry approaches such as separating and resocializing pairs, providing partially manmade nests, artificially incubating eggs, and puppet rearing nestlings. Yet, a top priority of any conservation breeding program is to retain natural behaviors essential to postrelease survival and reproduction, to achieve successful reintroduction and restoration to the wild. We describe how we are adapting 'Alalā husbandry techniques to strengthen pair bonds through full-time socialization, enable pairs to build robust nests, encourage females to incubate eggs to hatch, and provide pairs and their offspring with vital parental rearing experiences. We discuss the use of standardized, data-driven methods to objectively track our progress towards successful parental breeding and to select release candidates based on their likelihood to survive and breed in the wild. The information shared in this report can be applied to other conservation breeding programs, particularly those implementing or transitioning to husbandry techniques geared towards preparing species to thrive in the wild.

RevDate: 2023-06-19

Rostami M, Faridi F, R Khosrowabadi (2022)

Brain Functional Correlates of Intelligence Score in ADHD Based on EEG.

Basic and clinical neuroscience, 13(6):883-900.

INTRODUCTION: It has been shown that intelligence as a general mental ability is related to the structure and function of the brain regions. However, the specificity of these regional dependencies to the intelligence scores in the typical and atypical developed individuals needs to be well understood. In this study, we hypothesized that neural correlates of IQ should not have a fixed pattern rather they must follow a dynamic pattern to compensate for the functional deficits caused by a neurodevelopmental disorder. Therefore, electroencephalography (EEG) correlates of normal IQ in various subtypes of attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) were compared with a group of healthy controls.

METHODS: Sixty-three ADHD subjects comprising combined, inattentive, and hyperactive individuals diagnosed by a psychiatrist using structural clinical interview for DSM-V, and 46 healthy controls with similar normal IQ scores were recruited in this study. The subjects' EEG data were then recorded during an eye-closed resting condition. The subjects' intelligence level was measured by Raven's standard progressive matrices. Then, the association between IQ and the power of the EEG signal was computed in the conventional frequency bands. Subsequently, topographical representations of these associations were compared between the groups.

RESULTS: Our results demonstrated that the association between IQ score and EEG power is not the same in various ADHD subtypes and healthy controls.

CONCLUSION: This finding suggests a compensatory mechanism in ADHD individuals for changing the regional oscillatory pattern to maintain the IQ within a normal range.

RevDate: 2023-06-14
CmpDate: 2023-06-13

Costello JH, Colin SP, Gemmell BJ, et al (2023)

A fundamental propulsive mechanism employed by swimmers and flyers throughout the animal kingdom.

The Journal of experimental biology, 226(11):.

Even casual observations of a crow in flight or a shark swimming demonstrate that animal propulsive structures bend in patterned sequences during movement. Detailed engineering studies using controlled models in combination with analysis of flows left in the wakes of moving animals or objects have largely confirmed that flexibility can confer speed and efficiency advantages. These studies have generally focused on the material properties of propulsive structures (propulsors). However, recent developments provide a different perspective on the operation of nature's flexible propulsors, which we consider in this Commentary. First, we discuss how comparative animal mechanics have demonstrated that natural propulsors constructed with very different material properties bend with remarkably similar kinematic patterns. This suggests that ordering principles beyond basic material properties govern natural propulsor bending. Second, we consider advances in hydrodynamic measurements demonstrating suction forces that dramatically enhance overall thrust produced by natural bending patterns. This is a previously unrecognized source of thrust production at bending surfaces that may dominate total thrust production. Together, these advances provide a new mechanistic perspective on bending by animal propulsors operating in fluids - either water or air. This shift in perspective offers new opportunities for understanding animal motion as well as new avenues for investigation into engineered designs of vehicles operating in fluids.

RevDate: 2023-06-13

Angiolillo A, Leccese D, Ciccotelli S, et al (2023)

Effects of Nordic walking in Alzheimer's disease: A single-blind randomized controlled clinical trial.

Heliyon, 9(5):e15865.

Non-pharmacological approaches, including exercise programs, have been proposed to improve cognitive function and behavioral symptoms, such as depression, agitation, or aggression, in the management of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Indeed, physical inactivity is one of the main modifiable risk factors in patients with AD, as well as in the development of cardiovascular diseases and related pathologies. Although Nordic Walking (NW), a particular type of aerobic exercise, is known to benefit the health of aging populations, there is little evidence that patients with AD may benefit from this non-pharmacological treatment. In this context, we performed a pilot study in 30 patients with mild/moderate AD to evaluate whether NW influences different cognitive domains, including executive functions, visual-spatial abilities, and verbal episodic memory. To this aim, 15 patients (Control group, CG) underwent reality orientation therapy, music therapy, motor, proprioceptive and postural rehabilitation, and 15 patients (experimental group, EG) in addition to the activities performed by the CG also had the NW with a frequency of twice a week. Neuropsychological assessments and evaluations of daily activities and quality of life were performed at baseline and after 24 weeks. Twenty-two patients, including 13 in the CG and nine in the EG completed the activity program after 24 weeks. The EG showed a significant improvement in the Frontal Assessment Battery, Rey's auditory Verbal Learning Test Delayed Recall, Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices, and completion time for the Stroop Word-Color Interference test, compared to the CG. NW was able to improve cognitive domains like visual-spatial reasoning abilities, verbal episodic memory, selective attention, and processing speed in AD patients. These results, if confirmed by further studies with a larger number of patients and a longer training period, may prospect NW as a safe and likely useful strategy to slow down cognitive impairment in mild/moderate AD.

RevDate: 2023-06-13
CmpDate: 2023-06-13

Doumari SA, Berahmand K, MJ Ebadi (2023)

Early and High-Accuracy Diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease: Outcomes of a New Model.

Computational and mathematical methods in medicine, 2023:1493676.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is one of the significant common neurological disorders of the current age that causes uncontrollable movements like shaking, stiffness, and difficulty. The early clinical diagnosis of this disease is essential for preventing the progression of PD. Hence, an innovative method is proposed here based on combining the crow search algorithm and decision tree (CSADT) for the early PD diagnosis. This approach is used on four crucial Parkinson's datasets, including meander, spiral, voice, and speech-Sakar. Using the presented method, PD is effectively diagnosed by evaluating each dataset's critical features and extracting the primary practical outcomes. The used algorithm was compared with other machine learning algorithms of k-nearest neighbor (KNN), support vector machine (SVM), naive Baye (NB), multilayer perceptron (MLP), decision tree (DT), random tree, logistic regression, support vector machine of radial base functions (SVM of RBFs), and combined classifier in terms of accuracy, recall, and combination measure F1. The analytical results emphasize the used algorithm's superiority over the other selected ones. The proposed model yields nearly 100% accuracy through various trials on the datasets. Notably, a high detection speed achieved the lowest detection time of 2.6 seconds. The main novelty of this paper is attributed to the accuracy of the presented PD diagnosis method, which is much higher than its counterparts.

RevDate: 2023-06-01

Apostel A, Hahn LA, J Rose (2023)

Jackdaws form categorical prototypes based on experience with category exemplars.

Brain structure & function [Epub ahead of print].

Categorization represents one cognitive ability fundamental to animal behavior. Grouping of elements based on perceptual or semantic features helps to reduce processing resources and facilitates appropriate behavior. Corvids master complex categorization, yet the detailed categorization learning strategies are less well understood. We trained two jackdaws on a delayed match to category paradigm using a novel, artificial stimulus type, RUBubbles. Both birds learned to differentiate between two session-unique categories following two distinct learning protocols. Categories were either introduced via central category prototypes (low variability approach) or using a subset of diverse category exemplars from which diagnostic features had to be identified (high variability approach). In both versions, the stimulus similarity relative to a central category prototype explained categorization performance best. Jackdaws consistently used a central prototype to judge category membership, regardless of whether this prototype was used to introduce distinct categories or had to be inferred from multiple exemplars. Reliance on a category prototype occurred already after experiencing only a few trials with different category exemplars. High stimulus set variability prolonged initial learning but showed no consistent beneficial effect on later generalization performance. High numbers of stimuli, their perceptual similarity, and coherent category structure resulted in a prototype-based strategy, reflecting the most adaptive, efficient, and parsimonious way to represent RUBubble categories. Thus, our birds represent a valuable comparative animal model that permits further study of category representations throughout learning in different regions of a brain producing highly cognitive behavior.

RevDate: 2023-05-31

Jensen TR, Zeiträg C, M Osvath (2023)

The selfish preen: absence of allopreening in Palaeognathae and its socio-cognitive implications.

Animal cognition [Epub ahead of print].

Preening behaviours are widespread in extant birds. While most birds appear to autopreen (self-directed preening), allopreening (preening directed at conspecifics) seems to have emerged only in certain species, but across many families. Allopreening has been hypothesised to reinforce mutual relationships and cooperation between individuals, and to underpin various socio-cognitive abilities. Palaeognathae is a bird group exhibiting neurocognitively plesiomorphic traits compared to other birds. They share many features with non-avian paravian dinosaurs and are thus important for the study of cognitive evolution in birds. Despite this, and the important correlation of allopreening with many complicated social behaviours, allopreening has not been systematically studied in Palaeognathae. Therefore, we examined the preening behaviours in four species of palaeognaths: common ostriches (Struthio camelus), greater rheas (Rhea americana), emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae), and elegant crested tinamous (Eudromia elegans). We compared findings with common ravens (Corvus corax), a neognath species known for its allopreening and complex social cognition. We found autopreening, but no allopreening, in the palaeognath species, while both autopreening and allopreening was found in common ravens. The absence of allopreening in Palaeognathae suggests an emergence of this behaviour within Neognathae. We contextualise our results in relation to the socio-cognitive underpinnings of allopreening and its implications for the understanding of the evolution of socio-cognitive abilities in non-avian paravian dinosaurs and early birds.

RevDate: 2023-06-02
CmpDate: 2023-05-31

Rachel M, Jia H, Amina A, et al (2023)

Psychometric evaluation of the computerized battery for neuropsychological evaluation of children (BENCI) among school aged children in the context of HIV in an urban Kenyan setting.

BMC psychiatry, 23(1):373.

INTRODUCTION: Culturally validated neurocognitive measures for children in Low- and Middle-Income Countries are important in the timely and correct identification of neurocognitive impairments. Such measures can inform development of interventions for children exposed to additional vulnerabilities like HIV infection. The Battery for Neuropsychological Evaluation of Children (BENCI) is an openly available, computerized neuropsychological battery specifically developed to evaluate neurocognitive impairment. This study adapted the BENCI and evaluated its reliability and validity in Kenya.

METHODOLOGY: The BENCI was adapted using translation and back-translation from Spanish to English. The psychometric properties were evaluated in a case-control study of 328 children (aged 6 - 14 years) living with HIV and 260 children not living with HIV in Kenya. We assessed reliability, factor structure, and measurement invariance with respect to HIV. Additionally, we examined convergent validity of the BENCI using tests from the Kilifi Toolkit.

RESULTS: Internal consistencies (0.49 < α < 0.97) and test-retest reliabilities (-.34 to .81) were sufficient-to-good for most of the subtests. Convergent validity was supported by significant correlations between the BENCI's Verbal memory and Kilifi's Verbal List Learning (r = .41), the BENCI's Visual memory and Kilifi's Verbal List Learning (r = .32) and the BENCI's Planning total time test and Kilifi's Tower Test (r = -.21) and the BENCI's Abstract Reasoning test and Kilifi's Raven's Progressive Matrix (r = .21). The BENCI subtests highlighted meaningful differences between children living with HIV and those not living with HIV. After some minor adaptions, a confirmatory four-factor model consisting of flexibility, fluency, reasoning and working memory fitted well (χ[2] = 135.57, DF = 51, N = 604, p < .001, RMSEA = .052, CFI = .944, TLI = .914) and was partially scalar invariant between HIV positive and negative groups.

CONCLUSION: The English version of the BENCI formally translated for use in Kenya can be further adapted and integrated in clinical and research settings as a valid and reliable cognitive test battery.

RevDate: 2023-08-07

Majji R, G OPP, Rajeswari R, et al (2023)

Smart IoT in Breast Cancer Detection Using Optimal Deep Learning.

Journal of digital imaging, 36(4):1489-1506.

IoT in healthcare systems is currently a viable option for providing higher-quality medical care for contemporary e-healthcare. Using an Internet of Things (IoT)-based smart healthcare system, a trustworthy breast cancer classification method called Feedback Artificial Crow Search (FACS)-based Shepherd Convolutional Neural Network (ShCNN) is developed in this research. To choose the best routes, the secure routing operation is first carried out using the recommended FACS while taking fitness measures such as distance, energy, link quality, and latency into account. Then, by merging the Crow Search Algorithm (CSA) and Feedback Artificial Tree, the produced FACS is put into practice (FAT). After the completion of routing phase, the breast cancer categorization process is started at the base station. The feature extraction step is then introduced to the pre-processed input mammography image. As a result, it is possible to successfully get features including area, mean, variance, energy, contrast, correlation, skewness, homogeneity, Gray Level Co-occurrence Matrix (GLCM), and Local Gabor Binary Pattern (LGBP). The quality of the image is next enhanced through data augmentation, and finally, the developed FACS algorithm's ShCNN is used to classify breast cancer. The performance of FACS-based ShCNN is examined using six metrics, including energy, delay, accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, and True Positive Rate (TPR), with the maximum energy of 0.562 J, the least delay of 0.452 s, the highest accuracy of 91.56%, the higher sensitivity of 96.10%, the highest specificity of 91.80%, and the maximum TPR of 99.45%.

RevDate: 2023-06-12
CmpDate: 2023-05-25

Brea J, Clayton NS, W Gerstner (2023)

Computational models of episodic-like memory in food-caching birds.

Nature communications, 14(1):2979.

Birds of the crow family adapt food-caching strategies to anticipated needs at the time of cache recovery and rely on memory of the what, where and when of previous caching events to recover their hidden food. It is unclear if this behavior can be explained by simple associative learning or if it relies on higher cognitive processes like mental time-travel. We present a computational model and propose a neural implementation of food-caching behavior. The model has hunger variables for motivational control, reward-modulated update of retrieval and caching policies and an associative neural network for remembering caching events with a memory consolidation mechanism for flexible decoding of the age of a memory. Our methodology of formalizing experimental protocols is transferable to other domains and facilitates model evaluation and experiment design. Here, we show that memory-augmented, associative reinforcement learning without mental time-travel is sufficient to explain the results of 28 behavioral experiments with food-caching birds.

RevDate: 2023-07-18
CmpDate: 2023-07-17

Federspiel IG, Schmitt V, Schuster R, et al (2023)

Are you better than me? Social comparisons in carrion crows (Corvus corone).

Animal cognition, 26(4):1353-1368.

Comparing oneself to others is a key process in humans that allows individuals to gauge their performances and abilities and thus develop and calibrate their self-image. Little is known about its evolutionary foundations. A key feature of social comparison is the sensitivity to other individuals' performance. Recent studies on primates produced equivocal results, leading us to distinguish between a 'strong' variant of the social comparison hypothesis formulated for humans and a 'weak' variant found in non-human primates that would comprise some elements of human social comparison. Here, we focus on corvids that are distantly related to primates and renowned for their socio-cognitive skills. We were interested in whether crows' task performances were influenced (i) by the presence of a conspecific co-actor performing the same discrimination task and (ii) by the simulated acoustic cues of a putative co-actor performing better or worse than themselves. Crows reached a learning criterion quicker when tested simultaneously as compared to when tested alone, indicating a facilitating effect of social context. The performance of a putative co-actor influenced their performance: crows were better at discriminating familiar images when their co-actor was better than they were. Standard extremity (how pronounced the difference was between the performance of the subject and that of the co-actor), and category membership (affiliation status and sex), of the putative co-actors had no effect on their performance. Our findings are in line with the 'weak' variant of social comparison and indicate that elements of human social comparison can be found outside of primates.

RevDate: 2023-05-27

Peña-Ruiz LS, Unar-Munguía M, Colchero MA, et al (2023)

Breastfeeding is associated with the intelligence of school-age children in Mexico.

Maternal & child nutrition [Epub ahead of print].

Breastfeeding has been consistently associated with higher intelligence since childhood. However, this relation could be confounded due to maternal selection bias. We estimated the association between predominant breastfeeding and intelligence in school-age children considering potential selection bias and we simulated the intelligence gap reduction between low versus higher socioeconomic status children by increasing breastfeeding. We analysed predominant breastfeeding practices (breastmilk and water-based liquids) of children 0-3 years included in the Mexican Family Life Survey (MxFLS-1). Intelligence was estimated as the z-score of the abbreviated Raven score, measured at 6-12 years in the MxFLS-2 or MxFLS-3. We predicted breastfeeding duration among children with censored data with a Poisson model. We used the Heckman selection model to assess the association between breastfeeding and intelligence, correcting for selection bias and stratified by socioeconomic status. Results show after controlling for selection bias, a 1-month increase in predominant breastfeeding duration was associated with a 0.02 SD increase in the Raven z-score (p < 0.05). The children who were predominantly breastfed for 4-6 months versus <1 month had 0.16 SD higher Raven z-score (p < 0.05). No associations were found using multiple linear regression models. Among low socioeconomic status children, increasing predominantly breastfeeding duration to 6 months would increase their mean Raven z-score from -0.14 to -0.07 SD and reduce by 12.5% the intelligence gap with high socioeconomic status children. In conclusion, predominant breastfeeding duration was significantly associated with childhood intelligence after controlling for maternal selection bias. Increased breastfeeding duration may reduce poverty-driven intelligence inequities.

RevDate: 2023-05-19

Radovics D, Szabolcs M, Lengyel S, et al (2023)

Hide or die when the winds bring wings: predator avoidance by activity shift in a mountain snake.

Frontiers in zoology, 20(1):17.

BACKGROUND: Understanding predator-prey relationships is fundamental in many areas of ecology and conservation. In reptiles, basking time often increases the risk of predation and one way to minimise this risk is to reduce activity time and to stay within a refuge. However, this implies costs of lost opportunities for foraging, reproduction, and thermoregulation. We aimed to determine the main potential and observed predators of Vipera graeca, to infer predation pressure by estimating the incidence and the body length and sex distribution of predation events based on body injuries, and to assess whether and how the activity of V. graeca individuals is modified by predation pressure.

RESULTS: We observed n = 12 raptor bird species foraging at the study sites, of which Circaetus gallicus, Falco tinnunculus and Corvus cornix were directly observed as predators of V. graeca. We found injuries and wounds on 12.5% of the studied individuals (n = 319). The occurrence of injuries was significantly positively influenced by the body length of vipers, and was more frequent on females than on males, while the interaction of length and sex showed a significant negative effect. The temporal overlap between predator and viper activity was much greater for the vipers' potential activity than their realised activity. Vipers showed a temporal shift in their bimodal daily activity pattern as they were active earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon than could be expected based on the thermal conditions.

CONCLUSION: The time spent being active on the surface has costs to snakes: predation-related injuries increased in frequency with length, were more frequent in females than in males and occurred in shorter length for males than for females. Our results suggest that vipers do not fully exploit the thermally optimal time window available to them, likely because they shift their activity to periods with fewer avian predators.

RevDate: 2023-07-18
CmpDate: 2023-07-17

Yu F, Wang X, Zhao Y, et al (2023)

Influence of age, breeding state and approach direction on sensitivity to human gaze: a field study on Azure-winged magpies.

Animal cognition, 26(4):1369-1379.

In predator-prey interactions, various factors affect the prey's perception of risk and decision to flee. Gaze sensitivity, the ability to react to the presence, direction, or movement of the head and eyes, has been reported in many birds. However, few studies have focussed on variation in sensitivity to human gaze in relation to other risks and potential breeding costs. Here, we studied the influence of human gaze on the escape behaviour of Azure-winged magpies (Cyanopica cyanus) and investigated the effects of breeding state (breeding season and nonbreeding season) and approach direction on gaze sensitivity. In Experiment 1, we tested whether magpies showed different sensitivities to human gaze according to age class and breeding state when approached directly. The results showed that the breeding state could affect the flight initiation distance (FID), with adults in the breeding season having a shorter FID compared to those in the nonbreeding season. Meanwhile, only adults were found to be averse to direct human gaze and juveniles showed no sensitivity. In Experiment 2, we conducted three different gaze treatments on adult magpies in the breeding season under three bypass distances (0 m, 2.5 m, 5 m). The results showed that approach direction had no effect on FID, while the sensitivity to human gaze differed under three bypass distances. Adults could clearly recognise human head and eye direction at a certain bypass distance (2.5 m). Our study reveals the cognitive ability of Azure-winged magpies to human head and eye direction and the effects of age, breeding state and approach direction, which may provide further insights into human-wildlife interactions, especially for birds in urban habitats.

RevDate: 2023-05-17

Hyeon JY, Helal ZH, Appel A, et al (2023)

Whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of West Nile viruses from animals in New England, United States, 2021.

Frontiers in veterinary science, 10:1085554.

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne Flavivirus which is the leading cause of global arboviral encephalitis. We sequenced WNVs from an American crow found in Connecticut and an alpaca found in Massachusetts which were submitted to the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL). We report here the complete protein-coding sequences (CDS) of the WNVs (WNV 21-3957/USA CT/Crow/2021 and WNV 21-3782/USA MA/Alpaca/2021) and their phylogenetic relationship with other WNVs recovered from across the United States. In the phylogenetic analysis, the WNVs from this study belonged to the WNV lineage 1. The WNV 21-3957/USA CT/Crow/2021 clustered with WNVs from a mosquito and birds in New York during 2007-2013. Interestingly, the virus detected in the alpaca, WNV 21-3782/USA MA/Alpaca/2021 clustered with WNVs from mosquitos in New York, Texas, and Arizona during 2012-2016. The genetic differences between the viruses detected during the same season in an American crow and an alpaca suggest that vector-host feeding preferences are most likely driving viral transmission. The CDS of the WNVs and their phylogenetic relationships with other WNVs established in this study would be useful as reference data for future investigations on WNVs. Seasonal surveillance of WNV in birds and mammals and the genetic characterization of detected viruses are necessary to monitor patterns of disease presentations and viral evolution within a geographical area.

RevDate: 2023-05-15

Beauchamp G, S Barve (2023)

Multiple Sentinels in a Cooperative Breeder Synchronize Rather Than Coordinate Gazing.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 13(9):.

Sentinels can detect predators and rivals early by monitoring their surroundings from vantage points. Multiple sentinels in a group may reduce the perceived predation risk by diluting the risk and increasing collective detection, especially if sentinels monitor different areas at the same time. We investigated sentinel behavior in groups of the Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma caerulescens). Sentinels in this species turn their heads frequently to monitor different areas for threats. As predicted, we found that sentinels turned their heads less frequently in the presence of other sentinels. Multiple sentinels, however, tended to gaze in the same direction at the same time more often than predicted by chance alone. Gaze synchronization reduces the efficiency of collective detection by reducing visual coverage at any one time at the group level. Despite the benefits of the presence of other sentinels, our results highlight the limits to collective detection when multiple individuals are vigilant at the same time.

RevDate: 2023-05-14

Madden JR, Buckley R, S Ratcliffe (2023)

Large-scale correlations between gamebird release and management and animal biodiversity metrics in lowland Great Britain.

Ecology and evolution, 13(5):e10059.

The ecological effects on populations of non-game species driven by the annual release and management of tens of millions of gamebirds for recreational shooting are complex and relatively poorly understood. We investigated these effects at a national scale, considering multiple taxa simultaneously. We used records from the UK National Biodiversity Network Atlas to compare animal species and diversity metrics previously suggested to be affected by behaviors of the released birds, or because resources or habitats are influenced by game management or both processes. We contrasted records from 1 km grid squares where gamebirds were reported released in Great Britain, and control squares with similar land cover but where no releases were reported. There were more records overall reported from release grid squares (RGS) compared with controls (CGS), perhaps due to greater reporting effort or greater biological richness. We found fewer foxes in RGS and fewest in grid squares with largest releases, but more carrion crows in RGS. We found no consistent effects for buzzards, ravens, jays, or magpies. There were more rodents and gray squirrels reported from RGS but no differences for reptiles. There were more butterflies but fewer beetles reported from RGS but no consistent patterns for Orthoptera or ground beetles considered common gamebird prey. Farmland and woodland birds exhibited higher abundance, richness, and diversity in RGS when considering absolute records, but woodland bird abundance and richness were lower when correcting for the relative number of records. These nationwide results, despite crude data resolution, reveal diverse effects of gamebird release and management at a national scale and across trophic levels, increasing some non-game animal populations while decreasing others. This should alert practitioners, opponents, and legislators that a focus on single taxa effects, either positive or negative, may obscure the simultaneous changes in other taxa.

RevDate: 2023-06-20
CmpDate: 2023-06-20

Wagener L, A Nieder (2023)

Categorical representation of abstract spatial magnitudes in the executive telencephalon of crows.

Current biology : CB, 33(11):2151-2162.e5.

The ability to group abstract continuous magnitudes into meaningful categories is cognitively demanding but key to intelligent behavior. To explore its neuronal mechanisms, we trained carrion crows to categorize lines of variable lengths into arbitrary "short" and "long" categories. Single-neuron activity in the nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL) of behaving crows reflected the learned length categories of visual stimuli. The length categories could be reliably decoded from neuronal population activity to predict the crows' conceptual decisions. NCL activity changed with learning when a crow was retrained with the same stimuli assigned to more categories with new boundaries ("short", "medium," and "long"). Categorical neuronal representations emerged dynamically so that sensory length information at the beginning of the trial was transformed into behaviorally relevant categorical representations shortly before the crows' decision making. Our data show malleable categorization capabilities for abstract spatial magnitudes mediated by the flexible networks of the crow NCL.

RevDate: 2023-07-18
CmpDate: 2023-07-17

Zeiträg C, M Osvath (2023)

Differential responses to con- and allospecific visual cues in juvenile ravens (Corvus corax): the ontogeny of gaze following and social predictions.

Animal cognition, 26(4):1251-1258.

Gaze following refers to the ability to co-orient with others' gaze directions. Ontogenetic studies on gaze following in animals have predominantly used human experimenters as demonstrators. It is, however, likely that developing animals are initially more attuned to individuals from their own species, which might result in differences in the ontogenetic onset of gaze following with human and conspecific demonstrators. "Checking back" is a signature behaviour in the gaze following repertoires of humans, apes, and some Old world monkeys. It is commonly interpreted as a representation of the referentiality of gaze and is thus diagnostic of social predictions. Recently, "checking back" has been discovered in four avian species, suggesting a shared skill among birds. To investigate effects of con- and allospecific demonstrators on gaze following responses, we studied visual co-orientations of four hand-raised juvenile common ravens (Corvus corax) with human and conspecific gaze cues. Moreover, we for the first time investigated "checking back" in ravens and compared the effects of con- and allospecific demonstrators on this behaviour. Ravens followed human and conspecific gaze with no apparent differences in ontogenetic onset, but after significantly longer latencies with human demonstrators. Subjects moreover already checked back at 30 days old and did so significantly more often with conspecific demonstrators. Our findings suggest differences in processing speed and social predictions of human and conspecific gazes, indicating an underlying neurocognitive mechanism attuned to social information gathering from conspecifics. We propose more studies using conspecific demonstrators to reveal the full gaze following potential of a species.

RevDate: 2023-04-18
CmpDate: 2023-04-10

Foss L, Feiszli T, Kramer VL, et al (2023)

Epidemic versus endemic West Nile virus dead bird surveillance in California: Changes in sensitivity and focus.

PloS one, 18(4):e0284039.

Since 2003, the California West Nile virus (WNV) dead bird surveillance program (DBSP) has monitored publicly reported dead birds for WNV surveillance and response. In the current paper, we compared DBSP data from early epidemic years (2004-2006) with recent endemic years (2018-2020), with a focus on specimen collection criteria, county report incidence, bird species selection, WNV prevalence in dead birds, and utility of the DBSP as an early environmental indicator of WNV. Although fewer agencies collected dead birds in recent years, most vector control agencies with consistent WNV activity continued to use dead birds as a surveillance tool, with streamlined operations enhancing efficiency. The number of dead bird reports was approximately ten times greater during 2004-2006 compared to 2018-2020, with reports from the Central Valley and portions of Southern California decreasing substantially in recent years; reports from the San Francisco Bay Area decreased less dramatically. Seven of ten counties with high numbers of dead bird reports were also high human WNV case burden areas. Dead corvid, sparrow, and quail reports decreased the most compared to other bird species reports. West Nile virus positive dead birds were the most frequent first indicators of WNV activity by county in 2004-2006, followed by positive mosquitoes; in contrast, during 2018-2020 mosquitoes were the most frequent first indicators followed by dead birds, and initial environmental WNV detections occurred later in the season during 2018-2020. Evidence for WNV impacts on avian populations and susceptibility are discussed. Although patterns of dead bird reports and WNV prevalence in tested dead birds have changed, dead birds have endured as a useful element within our multi-faceted WNV surveillance program.

RevDate: 2023-04-05
CmpDate: 2023-04-05

Santoprete R, Hourblin V, Foucher A, et al (2023)

Reduction of wrinkles: From a computational hypothesis to a clinical, instrumental, and biological proof.

Skin research and technology : official journal of International Society for Bioengineering and the Skin (ISBS) [and] International Society for Digital Imaging of Skin (ISDIS) [and] International Society for Skin Imaging (ISSI), 29(3):e13267.

BACKGROUND: Facial wrinkles are clear markers of the aging process, being chronological, photo-induced, or reflecting repetitive facial expressions. The aim of this study is to provide new insights into the biophysical and biological mechanisms involved in the formation, prevention, or elimination of the expression wrinkles.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We use a computational model to get a better understanding of the wrinkle mechanical behavior and evolution after skin softening and suggesting a possible antiaging mechanism. Then, we provide a clinical demonstration of the anti-wrinkle effect of a long-term application of a 20% glycerol in a moisturizer formula (GBM) versus its vehicle on crow's feet. Skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkles visibility were evaluated by a combination of clinical and instrumental in vivo data, inverse finite element analysis, and proteomic data.

RESULTS: The computational model shows a predominantly compressive stress beneath the wrinkle and its significant decrease by the softening of stratum corneum. The associated clinical study confirmed a significant increase of skin hydration and elasticity as well as a decrease of wrinkle visibility after 2 and 4 months as application for both formulas; this effect being stronger for GBM. A softening effect on stratum corneum and dermis was also observed for the GBM. Furthermore, proteomic data revealed an effect of upregulation of four proteins associated with desquamation, cell-glycan extracellular interactions, and protein glycation/oxidation, functions related to the tissue mechanics and adhesion.

CONCLUSIONS: We provide an in vivo demonstration of the anti-ageing benefit of glycerol at high dose (20%) reflected by a cumulative skin surface softening effect. The use of high moisturizing potent formulations should bring additional performance to other conventional moisturizing formulations.

RevDate: 2023-06-06
CmpDate: 2023-06-06

Zemach M, Vakil E, H Lifshitz (2023)

Brain reserve theory: Are adults with intellectual disability more vulnerable to age than peers with typical development?.

Journal of applied research in intellectual disabilities : JARID, 36(4):796-811.

BACKGROUND: Life expectancy is on rise and the intriguing question is: When does cognitive decline occur among adults with intellectual disability, compared to adults with typical development? This cross-sectional study examined cognitive performance of crystallised/fluid intelligence, working and long-term memory of adults with intellectual disability of etiologies other than Down syndrome (IQ 50-68) and adults with typical development (IQ 85-114) in four age cohorts (30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60-69).

METHOD: The WAIS III[HEB] and the Rey-AVLT were administered to both groups.

RESULTS: Four patterns of cognitive performance were found: (a) Vocabulary (crystallised intelligence), Spatial Span Forward and Retention yielded similar scores across all four age cohorts in participants with typical development and with intellectual disability. (b) Similarities, Raven and Digit Span Backward exhibit lower scores only in 50-59 or 60-69 compared to the 30-39 age cohort in both groups, (c) Digit Span Forward, Spatial Span Backward and Total Leaning (LTM) yielded lower scores in the 50-59 or 60-69 age cohorts in the typical group, but similar scores in participants with intellectual disability along the age cohorts, (d) Block Design (fluid intelligence) yielded a lower score in the 50-59 cohort versus lower scores only at ages 60-69 in participants with typical development.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest a possible parallel trajectory in age-related cognitive performance for individuals with and without intellectual disability in six measures, and a possible more preserved trajectory in fluid intelligence and some memory measures in adults with intellectual disability compared to their peers. Caution should be exercised regarding Digit and Spatial Span Backwards, which yielded a floor effect in participants with intellectual disability. The Cognitive Reserve Theory, the Safeguard Hypothesis and late maturation might serve as explanations for these findings.

RevDate: 2023-03-29
CmpDate: 2023-03-07

Albrecht L, KA Kaufeld (2023)

Investigating the impact of environmental factors on West Nile virus human case prediction in Ontario, Canada.

Frontiers in public health, 11:1100543.

West Nile virus is the most common mosquito borne disease in North America and the leading cause of viral encephalitis. West Nile virus is primarily transmitted between birds and mosquitoes while humans are incidental, dead-end hosts. Climate change may increase the risk of human infections as climatic variables have been shown to affect the mosquito life cycle, biting rate, incubation period of the disease in mosquitoes, and bird migration patterns. We develop a zero-inflated Poisson model to investigate how human West Nile virus case counts vary with respect to mosquito abundance and infection rates, bird abundance, and other environmental covariates. We use a Bayesian paradigm to fit our model to data from 2010-2019 in Ontario, Canada. Our results show mosquito infection rate, temperature, precipitation, and crow abundance are positively correlated with human cases while NDVI and robin abundance are negatively correlated with human cases. We find the inclusion of spatial random effects allows for more accurate predictions, particularly in years where cases are higher. Our model is able to accurately predict the magnitude and timing of yearly West Nile virus outbreaks and could be a valuable tool for public health officials to implement prevention strategies to mitigate these outbreaks.

RevDate: 2023-03-04

Asokan S, Pr GP, Mathiazhagan T, et al (2022)

Association between Intelligence Quotient Dental Anxiety and Oral Health-related Quality of Life in Children: A Cross-sectional Study.

International journal of clinical pediatric dentistry, 15(6):745-749.

BACKGROUND: Determining the intelligence quotient (IQ) grades of children help in managing dental anxiety (DA) and maintaining the good oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL).

AIM: To assess the association between IQ, DA, and OHRQoL in children aged 10-11 years.

DESIGN: This cross-sectional study was carried out among 202 children aged 10-11 years in the Southern part of Tamil Nadu, India. The IQ level, DA, and OHRQoL were measured using Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices (RCPM), Children's Fear Survey Schedule-Dental Subscale (CFSS-DS), and Child Oral Health Impact Profile Short Form (COHIP-SF) 19, respectively. Chi-squared test and Spearman rank order correlation test were used for analysis.

RESULTS: The results revealed a significant negative correlation (p < 0.05; r = -0.239) between IQ and OHRQoL. DA was negatively correlated with IQ (r = -0.093) and OHRQoL (r = -0.065), but it was not statistically significant. The gender-based comparison revealed no significant difference in the distribution of girls and boys within different grades of IQ levels (p = 0.74), DA (p = 0.29), and OHRQoL (p = 0.85).

CONCLUSION: Children with higher IQ showed low OHRQoL scores. DA was negatively correlated with IQ and OHRQoL.

HOW TO CITE THIS ARTICLE: Asokan S, PR GP, Mathiazhagan T, et al. Association between Intelligence Quotient Dental Anxiety and Oral Health-related Quality of Life in Children: A Cross-sectional Study. Int J Clin Pediatr Dent 2022;15(6):745-749.

RevDate: 2023-06-26
CmpDate: 2023-04-12

Bootsma JN, Campbell F, McCauley D, et al (2023)

Psychometric properties of the English language version of the C-BiLLT evaluated in typically developing Canadian children.

Journal of pediatric rehabilitation medicine, 16(1):71-81.

PURPOSE: This study aimed to 1) investigate the convergent and discriminant validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability of the Canadian English version of the Computer-Based instrument for Low motor Language Testing (C-BiLLT-CAN), and 2) explore feasibility of the C-BiLLT assessment for children with cerebral palsy (CP) and complex communication needs in the Canadian health care context.

METHODS: Eighty typically developing children between 1.5 and 8.5 years of age completed the C-BiLLT-CAN, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-IV (PPVT-4), the receptive language sub-test of the New Reynell Developmental Language Scales (NRDLS), and/or the Raven's 2. Correlations between raw scores were calculated for estimates of convergent and discriminant validity. Internal consistency was calculated for all items and separately for items pertaining to vocabulary and grammar. To calculate the standard error of measurement (SEM) and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), 33 participants were re-tested with the C-BiLLT within three weeks. Feasibility was explored with nine participants with CP.

RESULTS: C-BiLLT-CAN's convergent validity was good to excellent (Spearman's rho > 0.78) and discriminant validity was higher than hypothesized (Spearman's rho > 0.8). Internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.96), test-retest reliability (ICC > 0.9), and measurement error (SEM < 5%) were excellent. The feasibility study could not be fully completed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Preliminary data demonstrated some technical and practical barriers for using the C-BiLLT in children with CP in Canada.

CONCLUSION: The C-BiLLT-CAN showed good to excellent psychometric properties in a sample of typically developing children, indicating that it is an adequate test for measuring language comprehension in English-speaking Canadian children. Further research is needed to investigate the feasibility of the C-BiLLT-CAN in children with CP.

RevDate: 2023-03-20
CmpDate: 2023-03-20

Covey TJ, Shucard JL, Wang X, et al (2023)

Cognitive skill learning in multiple sclerosis: A meaningful component of the neuropsychological profile.

Brain and cognition, 166:105959.

Cognitive skill learning (CSL) refers to the capacity to improve performance on specific cognitive operations through repeated practice. We hypothesized that high CSL aptitude may promote accumulation of cognitive reserve, and resiliency to cognitive decline, in people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Using an adaptive working memory training paradigm, we obtained CSL aptitude indices (amount of improvement on the training task over time) in MS patients for a single session of practice (25-30 min), and longer-term practice (twenty sessions). Neuropsychological performance was assessed with the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT), and the Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices (RAPM). CSL aptitude measures were positively correlated with neuropsychological performance, and had high diagnostic accuracy for classifying cognitive impairment in MS, defined as 1.5 SD below the demographics-corrected normative mean of the SDMT. Positive relationships between CSL aptitude measures and neuropsychological performance tended to be more pronounced for individuals with high estimated cognitive reserve, suggesting that high CSL aptitude is a a factor that promotes the protective effects of cognitive reserve. Furthermore, regression analyses indicated that CSL aptitude is separable from baseline cognitive capacity. The findings suggest that CSL aptitude impacts the neuropsychological profile in MS, and may be a factor underlying variance in cognitive resiliency.

RevDate: 2023-02-28

Pavlinac Dodig I, Qazzafi A, Lusic Kalcina L, et al (2023)

The Associations between Results in Different Domains of Cognitive and Psychomotor Abilities Measured in Medical Students.

Brain sciences, 13(2):.

We aimed to investigate the associations between intelligence quotient test scores obtained using the Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices (APM) and psychomotor testing using the Complex Reactionmeter Drenovac (CRD) test battery, while taking into account previous theoretical approaches recognizing intelligent behavior as the cumulative result of a general biological speed factor reflected in the reaction time for perceptual detections and motor decisions. A total of 224 medical students at the University of Split School of Medicine were recruited. Their IQ scores were assessed using Raven's APM, while the computerized tests of CRD-series were used for testing the reaction time of perception to visual stimulus (CRD311), psychomotor limbs coordination task (CRD411), and solving simple arithmetic operations (CRD11). The total test-solving (TTST) and the minimum single-task-solving (MinT) times were analyzed. On the CRD11 test, task-solving times were shorter in students with higher APM scores (r = -0.48 for TTST and r = -0.44 for MinT; p < 0.001 for both). Negative associations between task-solving times and APM scores were reported on CRD311 (r = -0.30 for TTST and r = -0.33 for MinT, p < 0.001 for both). Negative associations between task-solving times in CRD411 and APM scores (r = -0.40 for TTST and r = -0.30 for MinT, p < 0.001 for both) were found. Faster reaction time in psychomotor limbs coordination tasks, the reaction time of perception to visual stimulus, and the reaction time of solving simple arithmetic operations were associated with a higher APM score in medical students, indicating the importance of mental speed in intelligence test performance. However, executive system functions, such as attention, planning, and goal weighting, might also impact cognitive abilities and should be considered in future research.

RevDate: 2023-04-08
CmpDate: 2023-04-03

Brecht KF, Westendorff S, A Nieder (2023)

Neural correlates of cognitively controlled vocalizations in a corvid songbird.

Cell reports, 42(3):112113.

The neuronal basis of the songbird's song system is well understood. However, little is known about the neuronal correlates of the executive control of songbird vocalizations. Here, we record single-unit activity from the pallial endbrain region "nidopallium caudolaterale" (NCL) of crows that vocalize to the presentation of a visual go-cue but refrain from vocalizing during trials without a go-cue. We find that the preparatory activity of single vocalization-correlated neurons, but also of the entire population of NCL neurons, before vocal onset predicts whether or not the crows will produce an instructed vocalization. Fluctuations in baseline neuronal activity prior to the go-cue influence the premotor activity of such vocalization-correlated neurons and seemingly bias the crows' decision to vocalize. Neuronal response modulation significantly differs between volitional and task-unrelated vocalizations. This suggests that the NCL can take control over the vocal motor network during the production of volitional vocalizations in a corvid songbird.

RevDate: 2023-04-27
CmpDate: 2023-02-27

Baciadonna L, Cornero FM, Clayton NS, et al (2023)

Mirror stimulation in Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius).

PeerJ, 11:e14729.

Mirror exposure elicits a wide range of behavioral responses, some of which have been considered as part of possible evidence of mirror self-recognition (MSR). These responses can range from social behaviors, indicating that an animal considers its own reflection as a conspecific, to mirror-guided and self-directed actions. Evidence of MSR has been found categorically in only a few species, such as in magpies, chimpanzees, horses, and elephants. Evidence in corvids is currently debated due to inconsistent findings. In this study, we investigated the reaction of Eurasian jays when presenting them with three mirror-stimulation tasks. Based on the overall behavioral patterns across these three tasks, conclusions about birds' understanding of a reflective surface, and their perception of the reflection as either themselves or as a conspecific, appear premature. We highlight how the high neophobia of corvids and other methodological constraints might have hindered the likelihood to approach and explore a mirror, preventing the emergence of behaviors typically associated with MSR. Furthermore, we discuss how motivational factors, methodological constraints and species differences should be considered when interpreting behavioral responses to mirrors.

RevDate: 2023-02-24

Tomasek M, Ravignani A, Boucherie PH, et al (2023)

Spontaneous vocal coordination of vocalizations to water noise in rooks (Corvus frugilegus): An exploratory study.

Ecology and evolution, 13(2):e9791.

The ability to control one's vocal production is a major advantage in acoustic communication. Yet, not all species have the same level of control over their vocal output. Several bird species can interrupt their song upon hearing an external stimulus, but there is no evidence how flexible this behavior is. Most research on corvids focuses on their cognitive abilities, but few studies explore their vocal aptitudes. Recent research shows that crows can be experimentally trained to vocalize in response to a brief visual stimulus. Our study investigated vocal control abilities with a more ecologically embedded approach in rooks. We show that two rooks could spontaneously coordinate their vocalizations to a long-lasting stimulus (the sound of their small bathing pool being filled with a water hose), one of them adjusting roughly (in the second range) its vocalizations as the stimuli began and stopped. This exploratory study adds to the literature showing that corvids, a group of species capable of cognitive prowess, are indeed able to display good vocal control abilities.

RevDate: 2023-04-03
CmpDate: 2023-03-02

Wagener L, Rinnert P, Veit L, et al (2023)

Crows protect visual working memory against interference.

The Journal of experimental biology, 226(5):.

Working memory, the ability to actively maintain and manipulate information across time, is key to intelligent behavior. Because of the limited capacity of working memory, relevant information needs to be protected against distracting representations. Whether birds can resist distractors and safeguard memorized relevant information is unclear. We trained carrion crows in a delayed match-to-sample task to memorize an image while resisting other, interfering stimuli. We found that the repetition of the sample stimulus during the memory delay improved performance accuracy and accelerated reaction time relative to a reference condition with a neutral interfering stimulus. In contrast, the presentation of the image that constituted the subsequent non-match test stimulus mildly weakened performance. However, the crows' robust performance in this most demanding distractor condition indicates that sample information was actively protected from being overwritten by the distractor. These data show that crows can cognitively control and safeguard behaviorally relevant working memory contents.

RevDate: 2023-07-06

Frank DT, Byas AD, Murrieta R, et al (2023)

Intracellular diversity of WNV within circulating avian peripheral blood mononuclear cells reveals host-dependent patterns of polyinfection.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology.

UNLABELLED: Error-prone replication of RNA viruses generates the genetic diversity required for adaptation within rapidly changing environments. Thus, arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) populations exist in nature as mutant swarms that are maintained between arthropods and vertebrates. Previous studies have demonstrated that West Nile virus (WNV) population dynamics are host dependent: In American crows, which experience extremely high viremia, purifying selection is weak and population diversity is high compared to American robins, which have 100 to 1000-fold lower viremia. WNV passed in robins experiences fitness gains, whereas that passed in crows does not. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that high crow viremia allows higher genetic diversity within individual avian peripheral-blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), reasoning that this could have produced the previously observed host-specific differences in genetic diversity and fitness. Specifically, we infected cells and birds with a novel, barcoded version of WNV and sequenced viral RNA from single cells to quantify the number of WNV barcodes that each contained. Our results demonstrate that the richness of WNV populations within crows far exceeds that in robins. Similarly, rare WNV variants were maintained by crows more frequently than by robins. Our results suggest that increased viremia in crows relative to robins leads to maintenance of defective genomes and less prevalent variants, presumably through complementation. Our findings further suggest that weaker purifying selection in highly susceptible crows is attributable to this higher viremia, polyinfections and complementation. These studies further document the role of particular, ecologically relevant hosts in shaping virus population structure.

AUTHOR SUMMARY: WNV mutational diversity in vertebrates is species-dependent. In crows, low frequency variants are common, and viral populations are more diverse. In robins, fewer mutations become permanent fixtures of the overall viral population. We infected crows, robins and a chicken cell line with a genetically marked (barcoded) WNV. Higher levels of virus led to multiple unique WNV genomes infecting individual cells, even when a genotype was present at low levels in the input viral stock. Our findings suggest that higher levels of circulating virus in natural hosts allow less fit viruses to survive in RNA virus populations through complementation by more fit viruses. This is significant as it allows less represented and less fit viruses to be maintained at low levels until they potentially emerge when virus environments change. Overall our data reveal new insights on the relationships between host susceptibility to high viremia and virus evolution.

RevDate: 2023-06-15
CmpDate: 2023-05-08

Egede LE, Walker RJ, Campbell JA, et al (2023)

Modern Day Consequences of Historic Redlining: Finding a Path Forward.

Journal of general internal medicine, 38(6):1534-1537.

There is emerging evidence that structural racism is a major contributor to poor health outcomes for ethnic minorities. Structural racism captures upstream historic racist events (such as slavery, black code, and Jim Crow laws) and more recent state-sanctioned racist laws in the form of redlining. Redlining refers to the practice of systematically denying various services (e.g., credit access) to residents of specific neighborhoods, often based on race/ethnicity and primarily within urban communities. Historical redlining is linked to increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, and early mortality due to heart disease with evidence suggesting it impacts health through suppressing economic opportunity and human capital, or the knowledge, skills, and value one contributes to society. Addressing structural racism has been a rallying call for change in recent years-drawing attention to the racialized impact of historical policies in the USA. Unfortunately, the enormous scope of work has also left people feeling incapable of effecting the very change they seek. This paper highlights a path forward by briefly discussing the origins of historical redlining, highlighting the modern-day consequences both on health and at the societal level, and suggest promising initiatives to address the impact.

RevDate: 2023-02-17
CmpDate: 2023-02-02

Walsh SL, Engesser S, Townsend SW, et al (2023)

Multi-level combinatoriality in magpie non-song vocalizations.

Journal of the Royal Society, Interface, 20(199):20220679.

Comparative studies conducted over the past few decades have provided important insights into the capacity for animals to combine vocal segments at either one of two levels: within- or between-calls. There remains, however, a distinct gap in knowledge as to whether animal combinatoriality can extend beyond one level. Investigating this requires a comprehensive analysis of the combinatorial features characterizing a species' vocal system. Here, we used a nonlinear dimensionality reduction analysis and sequential transition analysis to quantitatively describe the non-song combinatorial repertoire of the Western Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen dorsalis). We found that (i) magpies recombine four distinct acoustic segments to create a larger number of calls, and (ii) the resultant calls are further combined into larger call combinations. Our work demonstrates two levels in the combining of magpie vocal units. These results are incongruous with the notion that a capacity for multi-level combinatoriality is unique to human language, wherein the combining of meaningless sounds and meaningful words interactively occurs across different combinatorial levels. Our study thus provides novel insights into the combinatorial capacities of a non-human species, adding to the growing evidence of analogues of language-specific traits present in the animal kingdom.

RevDate: 2023-04-04
CmpDate: 2023-04-04

Hunt GR, P Villard (2023)

Oscillatory extraction behaviour suggests functional attributes of crows' hooked-stick tools.

Animal cognition, 26(3):1091-1095.

New Caledonian crows are the only nonhuman animals known to craft hooked-sticks for use in foraging. Since their first description over 25 years ago, researchers have been unable to provide a detailed account of how these complex tools function in natural probe sites. Using close-up video footage, we document how a New Caledonian crow operated a hooked-stick to extract a large tree weta from a chamber in a tree trunk. The extraction technique had two distinct, separate components: (1) simultaneous oscillating head rotation and reciprocating bill action, and (2) measured pulling with the tool. Analysis of this first detailed field observation of hooked-stick use suggests a link between hooked-stick tool characteristics, functionality and skilled manipulation in natural prey extraction by these technological birds. Our findings also provide a rare, if not novel, example of tool-associated oscillatory manipulation in nonhuman animals.

RevDate: 2023-02-02

Tatebe LC, Ho VP, Santry HP, et al (2023)

Redefining trauma deserts: novel technique to accurately map prehospital transport time.

Trauma surgery & acute care open, 8(1):e001013.

BACKGROUND: Prehospital transport time has been directly related to mortality for hemorrhaging trauma patients. 'Trauma deserts' were previously defined as being outside of a 5-mile radial distance of an urban trauma center. We postulated that the true 'desert' should be based on transport time rather than transport distance.

METHODS: Using the Chicagoland area that was used to describe 'trauma deserts,' a sequential process to query a commercial travel optimization product to map transport times over coordinates that covered the entire urban area at a particular time of day. This produces a heat map representing prehospital transport times. Travel times were then limited to 15 minutes to represent a temporally based map of transport capabilities. This was repeated during high and low traffic times and for centers across the city.

RESULTS: We demonstrated that the temporally based map for transport to a trauma center in an urban center differs significantly from the radial distance to the trauma center. Primary effects were proximity to highways and the downtown area. Transportation to centers were significantly different when time was considered instead of distance (p<0.001). We were further able to map variations in traffic patterns and thus transport times by time of day. The truly 'closest' trauma center by time changed based on time of day and was not always the closest hospital by distance.

DISCUSSION: As the crow flies is not how the ambulance drives. This novel technique of dynamically mapping transport times can be used to create accurate trauma deserts in an urban setting with multiple trauma centers. Further, this technique can be used to quantify the potential benefit or detriment of adding or removing firehouses or trauma centers.

RevDate: 2023-04-03

Balasubramanian K, Ramya K, K Gayathri Devi (2023)

Optimized adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system based on hybrid grey wolf-bat algorithm for schizophrenia recognition from EEG signals.

Cognitive neurodynamics, 17(1):133-151.

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that impairs a person's thinking capacity, feelings and emotions, behavioural traits, etc., Emotional distortions, delusions, hallucinations, and incoherent speech are all some of the symptoms of schizophrenia, and cause disruption of routine activities. Computer-assisted diagnosis of schizophrenia is significantly needed to give its patients a higher quality of life. Hence, an improved adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system based on the Hybrid Grey Wolf-Bat Algorithm for accurate prediction of schizophrenia from multi-channel EEG signals is presented in this study. The EEG signals are pre-processed using a Butterworth band pass filter and wICA initially, from which statistical, time-domain, frequency-domain, and spectral features are extracted. Discriminating features are selected using the ReliefF algorithm and are then forwarded to ANFIS for classification into either schizophrenic or normal. ANFIS is optimized by the Hybrid Grey Wolf-Bat Algorithm (HWBO) for better efficiency. The method is experimented on two separate EEG datasets-1 and 2, demonstrating an accuracy of 99.54% and 99.35%, respectively, with appreciable F1-score and MCC. Further experiments reveal the efficiency of the Hybrid Wolf-Bat algorithm in optimizing the ANFIS parameters when compared with traditional ANFIS model and other proven algorithms like genetic algorithm-ANFIS, particle optimization-ANFIS, crow search optimization algorithm-ANFIS and ant colony optimization algorithm-ANFIS, showing high R[2] value and low RSME value. To provide a bias free classification, tenfold cross validation is performed which produced an accuracy of 97.8% and 98.5% on the two datasets respectively. Experimental outcomes demonstrate the superiority of the Hybrid Grey Wolf-Bat Algorithm over the similar techniques in predicting schizophrenia.

RevDate: 2023-02-03
CmpDate: 2023-02-03

Likhanov M, Bogdanova O, Alenina E, et al (2023)

No evidence of a positive effect of learning Chinese language as an L2 on spatial ability.

Scientific reports, 13(1):1262.

Spatial ability (SA) was shown to be a robust predictor of success in various educational contexts, including STEM. Thus, ways to improve SA are of interest to educational psychology. There is some evidence that SA might be improved via learning character-based language, e.g. Chinese as a second language (CSL), however, the existing research is quite limited. The study aims to investigate an effect of CSL learning on SA in schoolchildren from Year 2 to Year 7. Current study employs a sample of Russian schoolchildren (N = 283), who learnt: English only, English and Spanish; or English and Chinese. Participants completed Raven's progressive matrices and Mental rotation task at the age of 8 and again at the age of 14. Our data showed negligible group differences in the initial SA level at Year 2 (before learning second language). Similar negligible differences were found at Year 7. Regression analysis showed that SA was predicted by intelligence (Raven's) and gender but not language learnt at both ages. This pattern of results indicates that learning a Chinese as a second language is unlikely to affect SA. Further research is needed to investigate whether other factors, such as length, intensity and context of learning, moderate this link.

RevDate: 2023-04-27
CmpDate: 2023-02-03

Zhou L, Lei J, Zhai X, et al (2023)

Chinese striped-neck turtles vocalize underwater and show differences in peak frequency among different age and sex groups.

PeerJ, 11:e14628.

BACKGROUND: Turtle vocalizations play an important role throughout their lives by expressing individual information (position, emotion, or physiological status), reflecting mating preferences, and synchronizing incubation. The Chinese striped-neck turtle (Mauremys sinensis) is one of the most widely distributed freshwater turtles in China, whose wild population is critically endangered. However, its vocalization has not been studied, which can be the basis for behavioral and ecological studies.

METHODS: Five different sex-age groups of turtles were recorded underwater in a soundproof room. Cluster analysis and principal component analysis for classification of Chinese striped-neck turtle calls were unreasonable. The turtle calls were manually sought using visual and aural inspection of the recordings in Raven Pro 1.5 software and classified according to differences perceived through auditory inspection and the morphological characteristics of the spectrograms. The results of similarity analysis verified the reliability of manual classification. We compared the peak frequency of the calls among different age and sex groups.

RESULTS: We identified ten M. sinensis call types, displayed their spectra and waveforms, and described their auditory characteristics. Most calls produced by the turtles were low-frequency. Some high-frequency call types, that are common in other turtle species were also produced. Similar to other turtles, the Chinese striped-neck turtle generates harmonic vocalizations. Courtship behaviors were observed when one of the call types occurred in the mixed-sex group. Adult females produced more high-frequency call types, and subadult males had higher vocalizations than other groups. These results provide a basis for future research on the function of vocalizations, field monitoring, and conservation of this species.

RevDate: 2023-02-13
CmpDate: 2023-01-17

Salaün JP, Chagnot A, Cachia A, et al (2023)

Consequences of General Anesthesia in Infancy on Behavior and Brain Structure.

Anesthesia and analgesia, 136(2):240-250.

BACKGROUND: One in 7 children will need general anesthesia (GA) before the age of 3. Brain toxicity of anesthetics is controversial. Our objective was to clarify whether exposure of GA to the developing brain could lead to lasting behavioral and structural brain changes.

METHODS: A first study was performed in mice. The behaviors (fear conditioning, Y-maze, and actimetry) and brain anatomy (high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging) of 6- to 8-week-old Swiss mice exposed or not exposed to GA from 4 to 10 days old were evaluated. A second study was a complementary analysis from the preexisting APprentissages EXécutifs et cerveau chez les enfants d'âge scolaire (APEX) cohort to assess the replicability of our data in humans. The behaviors (behavior rating inventory of executive function, emotional control, and working memory score, Backward Digit Span, and Raven 36) and brain anatomy (high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging) were compared in 102 children 9 to 10 years of age exposed or not exposed to a single GA (surgery) during infancy.

RESULTS: The animal study revealed chronic exacerbated fear behavior in the adult mice (95% confidence interval [CI], 4-80; P = .03) exposed to postnatal GA; this was associated with an 11% (95% CI, 7.5-14.5) reduction of the periaqueductal gray matter (P = .046). The study in humans suggested lower emotional control (95% CI, 0.33-9.10; P = .06) and a 6.1% (95% CI, 4.3-7.8) reduction in the posterior part of the right inferior frontal gyrus (P = .019) in the children who had been exposed to a single GA procedure.

CONCLUSIONS: The preclinical and clinical findings of these independent studies suggest lasting effects of early life exposure to anesthetics on later emotional control behaviors and brain structures.

RevDate: 2023-02-02
CmpDate: 2023-01-30

Huber L, L Lonardo (2023)

Canine perspective-taking.

Animal cognition, 26(1):275-298.

An important question in the study of canine cognition is how dogs understand humans, given that they show impressive abilities for interacting and communicating with us. In this review, we describe and discuss studies that have investigated dogs' perspective-taking abilities. There is solid evidence that dogs are not only sensitive to the gaze of others, but also their attention. We specifically address the question whether dogs have the ability to take the perspective of others and thus come to understand what others can or cannot perceive. From the latter, they may then infer what others know and use this representation to anticipate what others do next. Still, dogs might simply rely on directly observable cues and on what they themselves can perceive when they assess what others can perceive. And instead of making inferences from representations of others' mental states, they may have just learned that certain behaviours of ours lead to certain outcomes. However, recent research seems to challenge this low-level explanation. Dogs have solved several perspective-taking tasks instantly and reliably across a large number of variations, including geometrical gaze-following, stealing in the dark, concealing information from others, and Guesser/Knower differentiation. In the latter studies, dogs' choices between two human informants were strongly influenced by cues related to the humans' visual access to the food, even when the two informants behaved identically. And finally, we review a recent study that found dogs reacting differently to misleading suggestions of human informants that have either a true or false belief about the location of food. We discuss this surprising result in terms of the comprehension of reality-incongruent mental states, which is considered as a hallmark of Theory of Mind acquisition in human development. Especially on the basis of the latter findings, we conclude that pet dogs might be sensitive to what others see, know, intend, and believe. Therefore, this ability seems to have evolved not just in the corvid and primate lineages, but also in dogs.

RevDate: 2023-02-27
CmpDate: 2023-02-24

Lima M, Tábuas-Pereira M, Durães J, et al (2023)

Neuropsychological Assessment in the Distinction Between Biomarker Defined Frontal-Variant of Alzheimer's Disease and Behavioral-Variant of Frontotemporal Dementia.

Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD, 91(4):1303-1312.

BACKGROUND: Frontal-variant of Alzheimer's disease (fvAD) was purposed for patients with AD pathology that, despite the typical amnestic presentation, show early and progressive deterioration of behavior and executive functions, closely resembling the behavioral-variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). This leads to a challenging differential diagnosis where neuropsychological evaluation and in vivo pathological evidence are essential.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the contribution of a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment (NP) battery in distinguishing between fvAD-dementia and bvFTD supported by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers.

METHODS: We included 40 patients with a baseline NP profile with prominent early executive and/or behavioral dysfunction, who meet both diagnosis of bvFTD and fvAD-dementia, according to international criteria. All patients underwent comprehensive NP assessment and CSF-AD biomarker evaluation. Neuropsychological domains as well as clinical and sociodemographic features, and APOE genotype were compared between groups.

RESULTS: 21 patients (52.5%) met the biological criteria for AD (decreased Aβ42 together with increased T-tau or P-tau in CSF) and were therefore classified as fvAD (mean age was 64.57, with 47.6% female). There were no differences between groups regarding age/age-at-onset, gender, or educational level. Regarding neuropsychological profile, performances in language and memory functions were equivalent in both groups. Significant differences were found in visuo-constructional abilities (p = 0.004), Trail Making Test A (p < 0.001), and Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices (p = 0.019), with fvAD patients showing worst performances.

CONCLUSION: In patients with an early prominent frontal profile, a higher impairment in attention and visuo-spatial functions, signaling additional right hemisphere fronto-parietal dysfunction, point towards a diagnosis of fvAD-dementia and may be useful in clinical practice.

RevDate: 2023-04-15
CmpDate: 2023-02-14

Parsa FR, Bayley S, Bell F, et al (2023)

Epidemiology of protozoan and helminthic parasites in wild passerine birds of Britain and Ireland.

Parasitology, 150(3):297-310.

Avian endoparasites play important roles in conservation, biodiversity and host evolution. Currently, little is known about the epidemiology of intestinal helminths and protozoans infecting wild birds of Britain and Ireland. This study aimed to determine the rates of parasite prevalence, abundance and infection intensity in wild passerines. Fecal samples (n = 755) from 18 bird families were collected from 13 sites across England, Wales and Ireland from March 2020 to June 2021. A conventional sodium nitrate flotation method allowed morphological identification and abundance estimation of eggs/oocysts. Associations with host family and age were examined alongside spatiotemporal and ecological factors using Bayesian phylogenetically controlled models. Parasites were detected in 20.0% of samples, with corvids and finches having the highest prevalences and intensities, respectively. Syngamus (33%) and Isospora (32%) were the most prevalent genera observed. Parasite prevalence and abundance differed amongst avian families and seasons, while infection intensity varied between families and regions. Prevalence was affected by diet diversity, while abundance differed by host age and habitat diversity. Infection intensity was higher in birds using a wider range of habitats, and doubled in areas with feeders present. The elucidation of these patterns will increase the understanding of parasite fauna in British and Irish birds.

RevDate: 2023-01-03

Rey A, J Fagot (2023)

Associative learning accounts for recursive-structure generation in crows.

Learning & behavior [Epub ahead of print].

Recursive sequence generation (i.e., the ability to transfer recursive patterns to novel items) was recently reported in crows (Liao et al., 2022, Science Advances, 8[44], eabq3356). Here, we argue that although the reported data are certainly compatible with the recursion hypothesis, they can also be explained by other, much simpler mechanisms of associative learning.

RevDate: 2022-12-25

Beauchamp G, R Bowman (2022)

Visual Monitoring Strategies of Sentinels in a Cooperative Breeder.

Biology, 11(12):.

Vigilance is important for early detection of threats. Previous studies have focused on the allocation of time to vigilance but neglected how animals monitor their surroundings during vigilance. Where animals look and how long each look lasts can affect the quality of visual monitoring and thus the ability to detect threats during vigilance. We examined visual monitoring strategies in the Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), a cooperative breeder with sentinel behaviour. Sentinels in this species make head turns from vantage points to detect the arrival of predators and intruding neighbours. We found that sentinels initiated head turns at regular intervals and also returned their gaze to areas previously monitored at regular intervals, which is predicted when predators and intruders rely on surprise rather than stealth to approach. Sentinels made head turns in several directions, but often more frequently on one side of the body than the other, which was not predicted for regular vigilance. Average look duration during sentinel bouts was shorter in smaller groups and in juveniles. We argue that shorter looks are beneficial to increase visual coverage in more threatening situations. Our study highlights how visual monitoring strategies during vigilance reflect the risk posed by predators and intruders.

RevDate: 2023-01-13
CmpDate: 2022-12-23

Mantilla C, Z Murad (2022)

Ego-relevance in team production.

PloS one, 17(12):e0279391.

We study how individuals' effort contribution to a team production task varies depending on whether the task is ego relevant or not. We conduct an experiment to test the effect of ego-relevance when the team production depends on the team's top- or bottom-performer. Ego-relevance is manipulated by calling the Raven IQ Test an "IQ Task" or a "Pattern Task." We find that the effort contributed to the task is affected by ego-relevance and the impact of the team production function on effort contribution is mediated by the teammate's expected effort contribution. Ego-relevance increases the responsiveness to the teammate's expected effort contributions. Similarly, more responsive behavior is noticeable when the team production depends on the bottom-performer. However, we do not observe interaction-effects between ego-relevance and the team production function that affect effort contributions.

RevDate: 2023-03-09
CmpDate: 2022-12-22

O'Coin D, Mclvor GE, Thornton A, et al (2022)

Velocity correlations in jackdaw flocks in different ecological contexts.

Physical biology, 20(1):.

Velocity correlation is an important feature for animal groups performing collective motions. Previous studies have mostly focused on the velocity correlation in a single ecological context. It is unclear whether correlation characteristics vary in a single species in different contexts. Here, we studied the velocity correlations in jackdaw flocks in two different contexts: transit flocks where birds travel from one location to another, and mobbing flocks where birds respond to an external stimulus. We found that in both contexts, although the interaction rules are different, the velocity correlations remain scale-free, i.e. the correlation length (the distance over which the velocity of two individuals is similar) increases linearly with the group size. Furthermore, we found that the correlation length is independent of the group density for transit flocks, but increases with increasing group density in mobbing flocks. This result confirms a previous observation that birds obey topological interactions in transit flocks, but switch to metric interactions in mobbing flocks. Finally, in both contexts, the impact of group polarization on correlation length is not significant. Our results suggest that wild animals are always able to respond coherently to perturbations regardless of context.

RevDate: 2022-12-21

Blum CR, Fitch WT, T Bugnyar (2022)

Social dynamics impact scolding behaviour in captive groups of common ravens (Corvus corax).

Frontiers in zoology, 19(1):32.

BACKGROUND: Predator avoidance can have immense impacts on fitness, yet individual variation in the expression of anti-predator behaviour remains largely unexplained. Existing research investigating learning of novel predators has focused either on individuals or groups, but not both. Testing in individual settings allows evaluations of learning or personality differences, while testing in group settings makes it impossible to distinguish any such individual differences from social dynamics. In this study, we investigate the effect of social dynamics on individual anti-predator behaviour. We trained 15 captive ravens to recognize and respond to a novel experimental predator and then exposed them to this predator in both group and isolation settings across 1.5 years to tease apart individual differences from social effects and evaluate two hypotheses: (1) weaker anti-predator responses of some individuals in the group occurred, because they failed to recognize the experimental predator as a threat, leading to weak responses when separated, or (2) some individuals had learned the new threat, but their scolding intensity was repressed in the group trials due to social dynamics (such as dominance rank), leading to increased scolding intensity when alone.

RESULTS: We found that dominance significantly influences scolding behaviour in the group trials; top-ranked individuals scold more and earlier than lower ranking ones. However, in the separation trials scolding duration is no longer affected by rank.

CONCLUSIONS: We speculate that, while top-ranked individuals use their anti-predator responses to signal status in the group, lower-ranking ravens may be suppressed from, or are less capable of, performing intense anti-predator behaviour while in the group. This suggests that, in addition to its recruitment or predator-deterrent effects, alarm calling may serve as a marker of individual quality to conspecifics.


RJR Experience and Expertise


Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.


Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.


Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.


Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.


While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.


Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.


Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.


Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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This is a must read book for anyone with an interest in invasion biology. The full title of the book lays out the author's premise — The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation. Not only is species movement not bad for ecosystems, it is the way that ecosystems respond to perturbation — it is the way ecosystems heal. Even if you are one of those who is absolutely convinced that invasive species are actually "a blight, pollution, an epidemic, or a cancer on nature", you should read this book to clarify your own thinking. True scientific understanding never comes from just interacting with those with whom you already agree. R. Robbins

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

Reprints and preprints of publications, slide presentations, instructional materials, and data compilations written or prepared by Robert Robbins. Most papers deal with computational biology, genome informatics, using information technology to support biomedical research, and related matters.

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education , it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

short personal version

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

long standard version

RJR Picks from Around the Web (updated 11 MAY 2018 )