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15 Sep 2019 at 01:35
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Bibliography on: Corvids (crows, jays, etc)


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 15 Sep 2019 at 01:35 Created: 

Corvids (crows, jays, etc)

Wikipedia: Corvidae (crows, jays, etc) is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers. In common English, they are known as the crow family, or, more technically, corvids. Over 120 species are described. The genus Corvus, including the jackdaws, crows, rooks, and ravens, makes up over a third of the entire family. Corvids display remarkable intelligence for animals of their size and are among the most intelligent birds thus far studied. Specifically, members of the family have demonstrated self-awareness in mirror tests (European magpies) and tool-making ability (crows, rooks), skills which until recently were thought to be possessed only by humans and a few other higher mammals. Their total brain-to-body mass ratio is equal to that of great apes and cetaceans, and only slightly lower than in humans. They are medium to large in size, with strong feet and bills, rictal bristles, and a single moult each year (most passerines moult twice). Corvids are found worldwide except for the tip of South America and the polar ice caps. The majority of the species are found in tropical South and Central America, southern Asia and Eurasia, with fewer than 10 species each in Africa and Australasia. The genus Corvus has re-entered Australia in relatively recent geological prehistory, with five species and one subspecies there. Several species of raven have reached oceanic islands, and some of these species are now highly threatened with extinction or have already gone extinct.

Created with PubMed® Query: (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: 2019-09-13

Sense F, Maaß S, Gluck K, et al (2019)

Within-Subject Performance on a Real-Life, Complex Task and Traditional Lab Experiments: Measures of Word Learning, Raven Matrices, Tapping, and CPR.

Journal of cognition, 2(1):12.

In this data report, we describe a three-session experiment spanning six months. Several well-controlled laboratory tasks (Word Learning, Raven Matrices, and Tapping) and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), a complex but well-defined real-world task, were administered. Data are reported from 50 participants for the first session, 40 for the second, and 34 for the third. CPR is a useful domain for studying real-world performance inside the laboratory because clear performance standards can be applied to quantifying learners' proficiency covering both the first steps that need to be taken prior to the initiation of CPR (declarative knowledge) as well as the compressions and ventilations themselves (procedural skill). This research resulted in a rich dataset with a range of different measures for all participants. For all tasks, the complete set of raw data are made available along with relevant aggregate performance scores (see https://osf.io/m8bxe/). The raw data in particular will enable other researchers to explore potential analyses and modeling beyond the scope of our own. The details of the data collection protocol and available data are documented here to facilitate this process.

RevDate: 2019-09-13

Shekhawat S, A Saxena (2019)

Development and applications of an intelligent crow search algorithm based on opposition based learning.

ISA transactions pii:S0019-0578(19)30419-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Metaheuristics are proven beneficial tools for solving complex, hard optimization problems. Recently, a plethora of work has been reported on bio inspired optimization algorithms. These algorithms are mimicry of behavior of animals, plants and processes into mathematical paradigms. With these developments, a new entrant in this group is Crow Search Algorithm (CSA). CSA is based on the strategic behavior of crows while searching food, thievery and chasing behavior. This algorithm sometimes suffers with local minima stagnation and unbalance exploration and exploitation phases. To overcome this problem, a cosine function is proposed first, to accelerate the exploration and retard the exploitation process with due course of the iterative process. Secondly the opposition based learning concept is incorporated for enhancing the exploration virtue of CSA. The evolved variant with the inculcation of these two concepts is named as Intelligent Crow Search Algorithm (ICSA). The algorithm is benchmarked on two benchmark function sets, one is the set of 23 standard test functions and another is set of latest benchmark function CEC-2017. Further, the applicability of this variant is tested over structural design problem, frequency wave synthesis problem and Model Order Reduction (MOR). Results reveal that ICSA exhibits competitive performance on benchmarks and real applications when compared with some contemporary optimizers.

RevDate: 2019-09-12

Mustelin T, Ukadike K, LaCava J, et al (2019)

To the editor in reply to Dr. Crow's letter.

Arthritis & rheumatology (Hoboken, N.J.) [Epub ahead of print].

We are delighted that our discovery of autoantibodies directed against LINE-1 retroelement-encoded p40/ORF1p in SLE patients (1) has been so rapidly replicated and we thank Dr. Crow for her excellent summary of our findings. Her group's detection of LINE-1 mRNA and immunoreactive p40 protein in salivary gland biopsies from primary Sjögren's syndrome patients and in kidney biopsies from SLE patients (2) was an important impetus for our study. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-09-12

Anonymous (2019)

"Inquiry into the correlation between burnout and depression": Correction to Schonfeld et al. (2019).

Journal of occupational health psychology pii:2019-54511-001 [Epub ahead of print].

Reports an error in "Inquiry into the correlation between burnout and depression" by Irvin Sam Schonfeld, Jay Verkuilen and Renzo Bianchi (Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Advanced Online Publication, Apr 04, 2019, np). In the article, there were wording errors in the Results section. Specifically, we referred to imposing "constraints" when we meant the opposite, namely, relaxing constraints, such as allowing residuals to correlate. We corrected the wording errors, added chi-square statistics, and corrected four small typographic errors bearing on fit statistics (three changes of .001 and one change of .003). The results remain fundamentally the same. All versions of this article have been corrected. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2019-18074-001.) The extent to which burnout refers to anything other than a depressive condition remains an object of controversy among occupational health specialists. In three studies conducted in two different countries and two different languages, we investigated the discriminant validity of burnout scales by evaluating the magnitude of the correlation between (latent) burnout and (latent) depression. In Study 1 (N = 911), burnout was assessed with the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey's Exhaustion subscale and depression with the depression module of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). In Study 2 (N = 1,386), the Shirom-Melamed Burnout Measure was used to assess burnout and the PHQ, depression. In Study 3 (N = 734), burnout was assessed with the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educators Survey and depression, with the PHQ and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale; additionally, anxiety was measured with the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale. In each study, we examined the burnout-depression association based on confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), controlling for item-level content overlap. In the three studies, latent exhaustion, the core of burnout, and latent depression were highly correlated (correlations ranging from .83 to .88). In Studies 2 and 3, second-order CFAs indicated that depressive (and anxiety) symptoms and the exhaustion and depersonalization components of burnout are reflective of the same second-order distress/dysphoria factor. Our findings, with their replication across samples, languages, and measures, together with meta-analytic findings, cast serious doubt on the discriminant validity of the burnout construct. The implications of burnout's problematic discriminant validity are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2019-09-10

Mugal CF, Kutschera VE, Botero-Castro F, et al (2019)

Polymorphism data assist estimation of the non-synonymous over synonymous fixation rate ratio ω for closely related species.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5556818 [Epub ahead of print].

The ratio of non-synonymous over synonymous sequence divergence, dN/dS, is a widely-used estimate of the non-synonymous over synonymous fixation rate ratio ω, which measures the extent to which natural selection modulates protein sequence evolution. Its computation is based on a phylogenetic approach and computes sequence divergence of protein-coding DNA between species, traditionally using a single representative DNA sequence per species. This approach ignores the presence of polymorphisms and relies on the indirect assumption that new mutations fix instantaneously, an assumption which is generally violated and reasonable only for distantly related species. The violation of the underlying assumption leads to a time-dependence of sequence divergence, and biased estimates of ω in particular for closely related species, where the contribution of ancestral and lineage-specific polymorphisms to sequence divergence is substantial. We here use a time-dependent Poisson random field model to derive an analytical expression of dN/dS as a function of divergence time and sample size. We then extend our framework to the estimation of the proportion of adaptive protein evolution α. This mathematical treatment enables us to show that the joint usage of polymorphism and divergence data can assist the inference of selection for closely related species. Moreover, our analytical results provide the basis for a protocol for the estimation of ω and α for closely related species. We illustrate the performance of this protocol by studying a population dataset of four corvid species, which involves the estimation of ω and α at different time-scales and for several choices of sample sizes.

RevDate: 2019-09-10

Tiukova IA, Prigent S, Nielsen J, et al (2019)

Genome-scale model of Rhodotorula toruloides metabolism.

Biotechnology and bioengineering [Epub ahead of print].

The basidiomycete red yeast Rhodotorula toruloides is a promising platform organism for production of biooils. We present rhto-GEM, the first genome-scale model (GEM) of R. toruloides metabolism, that was largely reconstructed using RAVEN toolbox. The model includes 852 genes, 2731 reactions, and 2277 metabolites, while lipid metabolism is described using the SLIMEr formalism allowing direct integration of lipid class and acyl chain experimental distribution data. The simulation results confirmed that the R. toruloides model provides valid growth predictions on glucose, xylose and glycerol, while prediction of genetic engineering targets to increase production of linolenic acid, triacylglycerols and carotenoids identified genes - some of which have previously been engineered to successfully increase production. This renders rtho-GEM valuable for future studies to improve the production of other oleochemicals of industrial relevance including value-added fatty acids and carotenoids, in addition to facilitate system-wide omics-data analysis in R. toruloides. Expanding the portfolio of GEMs for lipid accumulating fungi contributes to both understanding of metabolic mechanisms of the oleaginous phenotype but also uncover particularities of the lipid production machinery in R. toruloides. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-09-10

Mikhailyuk T, Vinogradova O, Holzinger A, et al (2019)

New record of the rare genus Crinalium Crow (Oscillatoriales, Cyanobacteria) from sand dunes of the Baltic Sea, Germany: epitypification and emendation of Crinalium magnum Fritsch et John based on an integrative approach.

Phytotaxa, 400(3):165-179.

Representatives of the Gomontiellaceae (Oscillatoriales) are rare and hence unstudied cyanobacteria with unusual morphology, distributed in terrestrial and aquatic habitats all over the world. Investigation of the group based on an integrative approach is only beginning, and to understand the actual biodiversity and ecology, a greater number of cultivated strains is necessary. However, some ecological traits of these cyanobacteria (e.g. low population densities, the absence of conspicuous growth in nature) led to methodological difficulties during isolation in culture. One species in the family Gomontiellaceae, Crinalium magnum Fritsch et John, is characterized by prominent wide and flattened trichomes, and represented by the non-authentic strain SAG 34.87. Detailed previous investigation of this strain clearly showed its morphological discrepancy with the original description of C. magnum and the genus Crinalium in general. The new isolate from maritime sand dunes of the Baltic Sea coast (Germany), however, revealed morphological characters completely corresponding with the diagnosis of C. magnum. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA sequences indicated a position of the new strain inside Gomontiellaceae. Both morphology and ultrastructure of the strain are congruous with characters of the family. Epitypification and emendation of C. magnum are proposed since the ecology and habitat of the original strain are congruent with the type locality of this rare species (sand, Irish Sea coast, North Wales, UK). We expanded the description of C. magnum by details of the filament development and specified dimensional ranges for trichomes and cells, as well as by new data about the transversely striated structure of mucilaginous sheath.

RevDate: 2019-09-06

Story SM, Vila FD, Kas JJ, et al (2019)

Corvus: a framework for interfacing scientific software for spectroscopic and materials science applications.

Journal of synchrotron radiation, 26(Pt 5):1694-1704.

Corvus, a Python-based package designed for managing workflows of physical simulations that utilize multiple scientific software packages, is presented. Corvus can be run as an executable script with an input file and automatically generated or custom workflows, or interactively, in order to build custom workflows with a set of Corvus-specific tools. Several prototypical examples are presented that link density functional, vibrational and X-ray spectroscopy software packages and are of interest to the synchrotron community. These examples highlight the simplification of complex spectroscopy calculations that were previously limited to expert users, and demonstrate the flexibility of the Corvus infrastructure to tackle more general problems in other research areas.

RevDate: 2019-09-05

Arabkhazaeli F, Madani SA, A Ghorbani (2019)

Parasitological and molecular survey of scattered parasitism by trichomonads in some avian species in Iran.

Avian pathology : journal of the W.V.P.A [Epub ahead of print].

Outbreaks of avian trichomonosis are being reported worldwide meanwhile the genetic and virulence variations are under investigation. In this study, the occurrence and genetic variability of oral or fecal trichomonads among various avian species were investigated. Samples obtained from either the oropharyngeal cavity, crop/esophagus, droppings/cloaca, or conjunctival swabs of avian species were inspected for flagellates. Phylogenetic analysis of partial ITS1-5.8s rRNA-ITS2 sequences from selected samples was performed to investigate the genetic diversity of the isolates. Investigation of 737 birds, revealed the infection rate of 15.7% in the upper gastrointestinal tract, 7.3% in the fecal samples and 0.7% involvement of the conjunctiva. Phylogenetic analysis of partial ITS1-5.8s rRNA-ITS2 sequences from selected samples, identified genotypes A and B of T. gallinae and genogroups A-C and E of Tetratrichomonas gallinarum. Novel ITS genotype of intestinal trichomonads was also detected in hooded crow (Corvus cornix) and common mynah (Acridotheres tristis). In the present study, in addition to Columbiformes and Falconiformes, trichomonads were detected in Passeriformes and Galliformes with the involvement of organs other than the gastrointestinal tract. Genotype A T. gallinae has been detected in domestic pigeons (Columba livia domestica), a laughing dove (Spilopelia senegalensis), a common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), a budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulates), and a canary (Serinus canaria). Distinct genotype B has been detected in a common mynah and a budgerigar. Genogroups A-C of T. gallinarum was also demonstrated in Galliformes and Anseriformes. Furthermore, two novel trichomonad ITS genotypes were detected in hooded crows and a common mynah warranting detailed multi-loci molecular analysis. Research highlights: ITS diversity of trichomonads in various avian species Diversity of the parasites' target organ and clinical manifestations Two novel ITS genotype trichomonads from common mynah and hooded crow.

RevDate: 2019-08-27

Brecht KF, Hage SR, Gavrilov N, et al (2019)

Volitional control of vocalizations in corvid songbirds.

PLoS biology, 17(8):e3000375 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-19-00036.

Songbirds are renowned for their acoustically elaborate songs. However, it is unclear whether songbirds can cognitively control their vocal output. Here, we show that crows, songbirds of the corvid family, can be trained to exert control over their vocalizations. In a detection task, three male carrion crows rapidly learned to emit vocalizations in response to a visual cue with no inherent meaning (go trials) and to withhold vocalizations in response to another cue (catch trials). Two of these crows were then trained on a go/nogo task, with the cue colors reversed, in addition to being rewarded for withholding vocalizations to yet another cue (nogo trials). Vocalizations in response to the detection of the go cue were temporally precise and highly reliable in all three crows. Crows also quickly learned to withhold vocal output in nogo trials, showing that vocalizations were not produced by an anticipation of a food reward in correct trials. The results demonstrate that corvids can volitionally control the release and onset of their vocalizations, suggesting that songbird vocalizations are under cognitive control and can be decoupled from affective states.

RevDate: 2019-08-23

Fung KW, Xu J, Ameye F, et al (2019)

Map-Assisted Generation of Procedure and Intervention Encoding (Magpie): An Innovative Approach for ICD-10-PCS Coding.

Studies in health technology and informatics, 264:428-432.

ICD-10-PCS coding is challenging because of the large number of codes, non-intuitive terms and paucity of the ICD-10-PCS index. We previously repurposed the richer ICD-9-CM procedure index for ICD-10-PCS coding. We have developed the MAGPIE tool based on the repurposed ICD-9-CM index with other lexical and mapping resources. MAGPIE helps the user to identify SNOMED CT and ICD-10-PCS codes for medical procedures. MAGPIE uses three innovative search approaches: cascading search (SNOMED CT to ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-PCS), hybrid lexical and map-assisted matching, and semantic filtering of ICD-10-PCS codes. Our evaluation showed that MAGPIE found the correct SNOMED CT code and ICD-10-PCS table in 70% and 85% of cases respectively, without any user intervention. MAGPIE is available online from the NLM website: magpie.nlm.nih.gov.

RevDate: 2019-08-21

Vonk J (2019)

Emotional contagion or sensitivity to behavior in ravens?.

RevDate: 2019-08-20

Colombo M (2019)

Avian Brains: Primate-like Functions of Neurons in the Crow Brain.

Current biology : CB, 29(16):R794-R796.

Despite the negative connotations of the term 'birdbrain', birds possess cognitive abilities on par with primates. A new study finds that neurons in the crow's brain display characteristics similar to those displayed by neurons in the primate's brain.

RevDate: 2019-08-18

Keyes CA (2019)

How reliable is the charred body scale? An interobserver reliability study on scoring burned remains.

Burns : journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries pii:S0305-4179(18)30611-9 [Epub ahead of print].

The error rates of forensic techniques need to be evaluated. The charred body scale is a method for quantifying the level of decomposition in burned remains. 51 files containing photographs of burned pigs at different stages of decomposition were scored by nine participants. Each pig in the photographs was uniformly burned to a different level (Crow Glassman Scale levels 1 to 3). The Crow Glassman Scale describes five levels of burns that include singing of hair and epidermal blistering (CGS level 1) up to complete cremation of the body reducing it to ash (CGS level 5). The three CGS levels were selected to isolate potential scoring errors that may be caused by different burn levels (not accounted for in the development of the charred body scale). Each of the 51 photograph files was scored by participants using the charred body scale as if it were a unique forensic case at an unknown initial burn level and decomposition stage. Interobserver error, hence reliability, of the scores was tested using individual and average absolute agreement interclass correlations. The charred body scale is reliable for remains burned to a Crow Glassman Scale level 1 but not in higher burn levels. It is suggested that a universal scoring method be developed that accounts for multiple burn levels in a single case.

RevDate: 2019-08-18

Agnoli S, Mancini G, Andrei F, et al (2019)

The Relationship Between Trait Emotional Intelligence, Cognition, and Emotional Awareness: An Interpretative Model.

Frontiers in psychology, 10:1711.

Emotional awareness (EA) has been defined as the cognitive skill devoted to the identification and description of one's own and others' emotional experiences, an ability that has usually been conceptualized along with the development of cognitive intelligence. Despite this, EA has also been deemed a central constituent of Emotional Intelligence (EI), a construct that captures individual differences in how we perceive, communicate, regulate, and understand our own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. The overlap between the cognitive and the emotional domain in the definition of the EA construct has created several difficulties in both its understanding and its usage, so much so that several questions regarding its nature and structure remain unanswered. The aim of the present work was to test in a unique model the explanatory role of both trait EI and fluid nonverbal intelligence on EA variability in children, controlling for the effect of age, a variable strictly related to cognitive development, as well as gender, which is highly associated with trait EI during childhood. Four hundred and eighty-eight pupils (258 females and 230 males) ranging from 8 to 12 years old completed the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale for Children, the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire - Child Form, and a measure of pure non-verbal reasoning ability, the Raven's Progressive Matrices. The results of a structural equation model showed a positive explanatory power of both Raven and TEIQue scores on EA, revealing that both cognitive intelligence and trait EI significantly explained EA. The same model also showed an indirect effect of age, via intelligence scores, on EA, suggesting that the increase of EA with age could be partially imputed to the development of intelligence. Finally, a relation between gender and TEIQue scores confirmed higher trait EI scores in girls than in boys. The implications emerging from this model are discussed.

RevDate: 2019-08-18

Wang L, Luo Y, Wang X, et al (2019)

Azure-winged magpies solve string-pulling tasks by partial understanding of the physical cognition.

Current zoology, 65(4):385-392.

String-pulling is one of the most widely used paradigms in animal cognition research. We investigated how azure-winged magpies Cyanopica cyanus solve multiple-string problems that they have never encountered before. In Experiment 1, the strings were arranged in parallel, slanted, or crossed to investigate what rules azure-winged magpies use to solve multiple spatial relations of strings. Experiment 2 assessed whether the subjects understood the connection between the string and the bait while taking advantage of broken strings. In Experiment 3, the subjects were confronted with strings of different lengths attached to rewards in order to explore whether the string length, as a proxy for the pulling efficiency or reward distance, was crucial for the birds' choice of which string to pull. Generally, the birds were successful in tasks where the reward was close to the correct string's end, and they relied on a "proximity rule" in most cases. The results showed that azure-winged magpies had a partial understanding of the physical principles underlying the string-pulling but were stumped by complex spatial relations. They likely relied on simple strategies such as the proximity rule to solve the tasks. The effects of individual difference and experiential learning on string-pulling performance are also discussed.

RevDate: 2019-08-13

Probst C, Gethmann J, Amler S, et al (2019)

The potential role of scavengers in spreading African swine fever among wild boar.

Scientific reports, 9(1):11450 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-47623-5.

Understanding the transmission patterns of African swine fever (ASF) among wild boar (Sus scrofa) is an issue of major interest, especially in the wake of the current ASF epidemic. Given the high stability of ASF-virus, there is concern about scavengers spreading infectious carcass material in the environment. Here, we describe scavenging activities on 32 wild boar carcasses in their natural habitat in Germany. Using digital cameras, we detected 22 vertebrates at the study sites, thereof two mammal and three bird species scavenging. The most frequently detected species was the raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides (44% of all visits). Raccoon dogs, red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), and buzzards (Buteo buteo) scavenged in the warm and the cold season, while ravens (Corvus corax) and white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) scavenged only in the cold season. In summer, however, insects removed most of the carcass biomass. Although most of the material was consumed on the spot, foxes, raccoon dogs and ravens left the study sites in rare cases with a small piece of meat in their mouths or beaks. We conclude that scavengers represent a minor risk factor for spreading ASF, but may contribute to reducing local virus persistence by metabolizing infected carcasses.

RevDate: 2019-08-07

Napp S, Montalvo T, Piñol-Baena C, et al (2019)

Usefulness of Eurasian Magpies (Pica pica) for West Nile virus Surveillance in Non-Endemic and Endemic Situations.

Viruses, 11(8): pii:v11080716.

: In September 2017, passive surveillance allowed the detection of West Nile virus (WNV) lineage 2 for the first time in northern Spain in a northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). However, a cross sectional study carried out in Eurasian magpies (Pica pica) in a nearby area evidenced that WNV had been circulating two months earlier. Therefore, active surveillance in Eurasian magpies proved its effectiveness for the early detection of WNV in a non-endemic area. Further surveys in 2018 and the beginning of 2019 using young magpies (i.e., born after 2017) showed the repeated circulation of WNV in the same region in the following transmission season. Therefore, active surveillance in Eurasian magpies as well proved to be useful for the detection of WNV circulation in areas that may be considered as endemic. In this manuscript we present the results of those studies and discuss reasons that make the Eurasian magpies an ideal species for the surveillance of WNV, both in endemic and non-endemic areas.

RevDate: 2019-08-05

Johann V, Könen T, J Karbach (2019)

The unique contribution of working memory, inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and intelligence to reading comprehension and reading speed.

Child neuropsychology : a journal on normal and abnormal development in childhood and adolescence [Epub ahead of print].

There are several studies showing that executive functions such as working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility are related to reading abilities. However, most of these studies did not simultaneously take different executive functions and intelligence into account. Therefore, the aim of our study was to investigate if working memory, inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and fluid intelligence uniquely contribute to reading. Furthermore, we tested the hypothesis that reading comprehension and reading speed are correlated but separable reading abilities with different relations to other cognitive functions. To test this assumption, we examined if executive functions and fluid intelligence unequally relate to reading comprehension and reading speed. A total of 186 school children (mean age = 9.31 years) participated in our study and performed a complex span task (working memory), task switching (cognitive flexibility), a stroop-like task (inhibition), raven matrices (fluid intelligence), a reading speed task and three reading comprehension tasks. Structural equation modeling (SEM) showed that working memory, inhibition, cognitive flexibility and fluid intelligence differently contributed to reading speed and reading comprehension. Working memory, inhibition and fluid intelligence were related to reading speed, indicating that a higher working memory capacity, better inhibitory abilities and higher fluid intelligence were associated with higher reading speed. Moreover, cognitive flexibility and fluid intelligence were related to reading comprehension, suggesting that higher cognitive flexibility and fluid intelligence were associated with better reading comprehension. Thus, our results point to differential contributions of executive functions to reading comprehension and reading speed.

RevDate: 2019-08-20

McCoy DE, Schiestl M, Neilands P, et al (2019)

New Caledonian Crows Behave Optimistically after Using Tools.

Current biology : CB, 29(16):2737-2742.e3.

Are complex, species-specific behaviors in animals reinforced by material reward alone or do they also induce positive emotions? Many adaptive human behaviors are intrinsically motivated: they not only improve our material outcomes, but improve our affect as well [1-8]. Work to date on animal optimism, as an indicator of positive affect, has generally focused on how animals react to change in their circumstances, such as when their environment is enriched [9-14] or they are manipulated by humans [15-23], rather than whether complex actions improve emotional state. Here, we show that wild New Caledonian crows are optimistic after tool use, a complex, species-specific behavior. We further demonstrate that this finding cannot be explained by the crows needing to put more effort into gaining food. Our findings therefore raise the possibility that intrinsic motivation (enjoyment) may be a fundamental proximate cause in the evolution of tool use and other complex behaviors. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

RevDate: 2019-08-20

Rinnert P, Kirschhock ME, A Nieder (2019)

Neuronal Correlates of Spatial Working Memory in the Endbrain of Crows.

Current biology : CB, 29(16):2616-2624.e4.

Birds are renowned for their excellent spatial cognition. Corvid songbirds, in particular, rely on explicit representation of spatial cues in memory when caching food and retrieving caches for later consumption. However, the neuronal correlates of flexible spatial memory abilities are largely unknown in birds. We therefore trained carrion crows (Corvus corone) on a spatial delayed-response task in which they had to maintain the variable location of a visual item for a few seconds in working memory. After the crows performed this task with high precision, we recorded single-cell activity from the associative endbrain area Nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL) in the behaving crows. A large fraction of NCL neurons were tuned to individual preferred locations and selectively maintained the spatial location of items in working memory. A comparison of firing rates with reaction times suggested that the majority of delay-selective neurons represented stored location information rather than motor preparation. Almost 30% of all recorded neurons were tuned during both visual presentation and memory delay, and their spatial tuning was significantly correlated. The population of recorded neurons stably maintained spatial information over the course of the working memory period. Importantly, the neural responses of spatially tuned neurons were relevant for the crows' choices and allowed a statistical classifier to predict the subsequently chosen target location in free-choice trials. Our findings demonstrate the pivotal role of the avian NCL in spatial working memory that is reminiscent of the function of the convergently evolved primate prefrontal cortex in spatial working memory.

RevDate: 2019-08-02

Domingues P, Eletto D, Magnus C, et al (2019)

Profiling host ANP32A splicing landscapes to predict influenza A virus polymerase adaptation.

Nature communications, 10(1):3396 pii:10.1038/s41467-019-11388-2.

Species' differences in cellular factors limit avian influenza A virus (IAV) zoonoses and human pandemics. The IAV polymerase, vPol, harbors evolutionary sites to overcome restriction and determines virulence. Here, we establish host ANP32A as a critical driver of selection, and identify host-specific ANP32A splicing landscapes that predict viral evolution. We find that avian species differentially express three ANP32A isoforms diverging in a vPol-promoting insert. ANP32As with shorter inserts interact poorly with vPol, are compromised in supporting avian-like IAV replication, and drive selection of mammalian-adaptive vPol sequences with distinct kinetics. By integrating selection data with multi-species ANP32A splice variant profiling, we develop a mathematical model to predict avian species potentially driving (swallow, magpie) or maintaining (goose, swan) mammalian-adaptive vPol signatures. Supporting these predictions, surveillance data confirm enrichment of several mammalian-adaptive vPol substitutions in magpie IAVs. Profiling host ANP32A splicing could enhance surveillance and eradication efforts against IAVs with pandemic potential.

RevDate: 2019-07-29

S R SC, H Rajaguru (2019)

Lung Cancer Detection using Probabilistic Neural Network with modified Crow-Search Algorithm.

Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention : APJCP, 20(7):2159-2166.

RevDate: 2019-08-02

Vinciguerra NT, Tsai WLE, Faircloth BC, et al (2019)

Comparison of ultraconserved elements (UCEs) to microsatellite markers for the study of avian hybrid zones: a test in Aphelocoma jays.

BMC research notes, 12(1):456 pii:10.1186/s13104-019-4481-z.

OBJECTIVE: Hybrid zones are geographic regions where genetically distinct taxa interbreed, resulting in offspring of mixed ancestry. California Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma californica) and Woodhouse's Scrub-Jays (A. woodhouseii) come into secondary contact and hybridize in western Nevada. Although previous work investigated divergence and gene flow between these species using a handful of microsatellite markers, the hybrid zone has not been studied using genome-scale markers, providing an opportunity to assess genome-wide introgression, test for a genetic basis for ecomorphological traits, and compare these estimates to those derived from microsatellites.

RESULTS: Using variant sites flanking ultraconserved elements (UCEs), we performed population assignment and quantified hybrid ancestry for 16 individuals across the zone of secondary contact. Our study included 2468 SNPs distributed throughout the genome, allowing discrimination of genetic affinities of hybrid individuals that were similar to estimates from microsatellites. We show a relationship between bill and wing length and the genetic composition of individuals that was not found in prior work using microsatellites, suggesting a genetic basis for these traits. Our analyses demonstrate the utility of UCEs for the analysis of hybrid zones and provide a basis for future studies to identify the genomic architecture of speciation and phenotypic differences between these incipient species.

RevDate: 2019-08-15

Moberly AC, J Reed (2019)

Making Sense of Sentences: Top-Down Processing of Speech by Adult Cochlear Implant Users.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 62(8):2895-2905.

Purpose Speech recognition relies upon a listener's successful pairing of the acoustic-phonetic details from the bottom-up input with top-down linguistic processing of the incoming speech stream. When the speech is spectrally degraded, such as through a cochlear implant (CI), this role of top-down processing is poorly understood. This study explored the interactions of top-down processing, specifically the use of semantic context during sentence recognition, and the relative contributions of different neurocognitive functions during speech recognition in adult CI users. Method Data from 41 experienced adult CI users were collected and used in analyses. Participants were tested for recognition and immediate repetition of speech materials in the clear. They were asked to repeat 2 sets of sentence materials, 1 that was semantically meaningful and 1 that was syntactically appropriate but semantically anomalous. Participants also were tested on 4 visual measures of neurocognitive functioning to assess working memory capacity (Digit Span; Wechsler, 2004), speed of lexical access (Test of Word Reading Efficiency; Torgeson, Wagner, & Rashotte, 1999), inhibitory control (Stroop; Stroop, 1935), and nonverbal fluid reasoning (Raven's Progressive Matrices; Raven, 2000). Results Individual listeners' inhibitory control predicted recognition of meaningful sentences when controlling for performance on anomalous sentences, our proxy for the quality of the bottom-up input. Additionally, speed of lexical access and nonverbal reasoning predicted recognition of anomalous sentences. Conclusions Findings from this study identified inhibitory control as a potential mechanism at work when listeners make use of semantic context during sentence recognition. Moreover, speed of lexical access and nonverbal reasoning were associated with recognition of sentences that lacked semantic context. These results motivate the development of improved comprehensive rehabilitative approaches for adult patients with CIs to optimize use of top-down processing and underlying core neurocognitive functions.

RevDate: 2019-07-22

Lazareva OF, Gould K, Linert J, et al (2019)

Smaller on the left? Flexible association between space and magnitude in pigeons (Columba livia) and blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata).

Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983) pii:2019-41901-001 [Epub ahead of print].

Humans and other apes represent magnitudes spatially, demonstrated by their responding faster and more accurately to one side of space when presented with small quantities and to the other side of space when presented with large quantities. This representation is flexible and shows substantial variability between cultural groups in humans and between and within individuals in great apes. In contrast, recent findings suggest that chicks show a spatial representation of magnitude that is highly lateralized and inflexible, implying a qualitatively different underlying representation than in primates. Using methods similar to those used with great apes and humans, we trained adult domestic pigeons (Columba livia) and blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata) to select the smaller (or larger) of two nonadjacent quantity arrays; later, this task was reversed. At test, birds were presented with novel probe pairs consisting of adjacent quantity pairs (e.g., 2 vs. 3). Both species showed robust evidence for a flexible spatial representation of magnitude with considerable individual variability in the orientation of this representation. These results are not consistent with an inflexible, lateralized, left-to-right representation of magnitude in birds, but are consistent with the flexible spatial representation of magnitude observed in apes and humans. We conclude that the tendency to organize quantities spatially may be a fundamental and evolutionarily ancient feature of cognition that is widespread among vertebrates. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2019-07-21

Chang BP, Rostanski S, Willey J, et al (2019)

Safety and Feasibility of a Rapid Outpatient Management Strategy for Transient Ischemic Attack and Minor Stroke: The Rapid Access Vascular Evaluation-Neurology (RAVEN) Approach.

Annals of emergency medicine pii:S0196-0644(19)30437-8 [Epub ahead of print].

STUDY OBJECTIVE: Although most transient ischemic attack and minor stroke patients in US emergency departments (EDs) are admitted, experience in other countries suggests that timely outpatient evaluation of transient ischemic attack and minor stroke can be safe. We assess the feasibility and safety of a rapid outpatient stroke clinic for transient ischemic attack and minor stroke: Rapid Access Vascular Evaluation-Neurology (RAVEN).

METHODS: Transient ischemic attack and minor stroke patients presenting to the ED with a National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score of 5 or less and nondisabling deficit were assessed for potential discharge to RAVEN with a protocol incorporating social and medical criteria. Outpatient evaluation by a vascular neurologist, including vessel imaging, was performed within 24 hours at the RAVEN clinic. Participants were evaluated for compliance with clinic attendance and 90-day recurrent transient ischemic attack and minor stroke and hospitalization rates.

RESULTS: Between December 2016 and June 2018, 162 transient ischemic attack and minor stroke patients were discharged to RAVEN. One hundred fifty-four patients (95.1%) appeared as scheduled and 101 (66%) had a final diagnosis of transient ischemic attack and minor stroke. Two patients (1.3%) required hospitalization (one for worsening symptoms and another for intracranial arterial stenosis caused by zoster) at RAVEN evaluation. Among the 101 patients with confirmed transient ischemic attack and minor stroke, 18 (19.1%) had returned to an ED or been admitted at 90 days. Five were noted to have had recurrent neurologic symptoms diagnosed as transient ischemic attack (4.9%), whereas one had a recurrent stroke (0.9%). No individuals with transient ischemic attack and minor stroke died, and none received thrombolytics or thrombectomy, during the interval period. These 90-day outcomes were similar to historical published data on transient ischemic attack and minor stroke.

CONCLUSION: Rapid outpatient management appears a feasible and safe strategy for transient ischemic attack and minor stroke patients evaluated in the ED, with recurrent stroke and transient ischemic attack rates comparable to historical published data.

RevDate: 2019-07-25

Williams K, Colquhoun A, Munday R, et al (2019)

Antibiotic dispensation rates among participants in community-driven health research projects in Arctic Canada.

BMC public health, 19(1):949 pii:10.1186/s12889-019-7193-3.

BACKGROUND: Community-driven projects that aim to address public concerns about health risks from H. pylori infection in Indigenous Arctic communities (estimated H. pylori prevalence = 64%) show frequent failure of treatment to eliminate the bacterium. Among project participants, treatment effectiveness is reduced by antibiotic resistance of infecting H. pylori strains, which in turn, is associated with frequent exposure to antibiotics used to treat other infections. This analysis compares antibiotic dispensation rates in Canadian Arctic communities to rates in urban and rural populations in Alberta, a southern Canadian province.

METHODS: Project staff collected antibiotic exposure histories for 297 participants enrolled during 2007-2012 in Aklavik, Tuktoyaktuk, and Fort McPherson in the Northwest Territories, and Old Crow, Yukon. Medical chart reviews collected data on systemic antibiotic dispensations for the 5-year period before enrolment for each participant. Antibiotic dispensation data for urban Edmonton, Alberta (average population ~ 860,000) and rural northern Alberta (average population ~ 450,000) during 2010-2013 were obtained from the Alberta Government Interactive Health Data Application.

RESULTS: Antibiotic dispensation rates, estimated as dispensations/person-years (95% confidence interval) were: in Arctic communities, 0.89 (0.84, 0.94); in Edmonton, 0.55 (0.55, 0.56); in rural northern Alberta, 0.63 (0.62, 0.63). Antibiotic dispensation rates were higher in women and older age groups in all regions. In all regions, the highest dispensation rates occurred for β-lactam and macrolide antibiotic classes.

CONCLUSIONS: These results show more frequent antibiotic dispensation in Arctic communities relative to an urban and rural southern Canadian population.

RevDate: 2019-08-07

Maharaj PD, Langevin SA, Bolling BG, et al (2019)

N-linked glycosylation of the West Nile virus envelope protein is not a requisite for avian virulence or vector competence.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 13(7):e0007473 pii:PNTD-D-19-00105.

The N-linked glycosylation motif at amino acid position 154-156 of the envelope (E) protein of West Nile virus (WNV) is linked to enhanced murine neuroinvasiveness, avian pathogenicity and vector competence. Naturally occurring isolates with altered E protein glycosylation patterns have been observed in WNV isolates; however, the specific effects of these polymorphisms on avian host pathogenesis and vector competence have not been investigated before. In the present study, amino acid polymorphisms, NYT, NYP, NYF, SYP, SYS, KYS and deletion (A'DEL), were reverse engineered into a parental WNV (NYS) cDNA infectious clone to generate WNV glycosylation mutant viruses. These WNV glycosylation mutant viruses were characterized for in vitro growth, pH-sensitivity, temperature-sensitivity and host competence in American crows (AMCR), house sparrows (HOSP) and Culex quinquefasciatus. The NYS and NYT glycosylated viruses showed higher viral replication, and lower pH and temperature sensitivity than NYP, NYF, SYP, SYS, KYS and A'DEL viruses in vitro. Interestingly, in vivo results demonstrated asymmetric effects in avian and mosquito competence that were independent of the E-protein glycosylation status. In AMCRs and HOSPs, all viruses showed comparable viremias with the exception of NYP and KYS viruses that showed attenuated phenotypes. Only NYP showed reduced vector competence in both Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. tarsalis. Glycosylated NYT exhibited similar avian virulence properties as NYS, but resulted in higher mosquito oral infectivity than glycosylated NYS and nonglycosylated, NYP, NYF, SYP and KYS mutants. These data demonstrated that amino acid polymorphisms at E154/156 dictate differential avian host and vector competence phenotypes independent of E-protein glycosylation status.

RevDate: 2019-07-11

Parvathy VS, S Pothiraj (2019)

Multi-modality medical image fusion using hybridization of binary crow search optimization.

Health care management science pii:10.1007/s10729-019-09492-2 [Epub ahead of print].

In clinical applications, single modality images do not provide sufficient diagnostic information. Therefore, it is necessary to combine the advantages or complementarities of different modalities of images. In this paper, we propose an efficient medical image fusion system based on discrete wavelet transform and binary crow search optimization (BCSO) algorithm. Here, we consider two different patterns of images as the input of the system and the output is the fused image. In this approach, at first, to enhance the image, we apply a median filter which is used to remove the noise present in the input image. Then, we apply a discrete wavelet transform on both the input modalities. Then, the approximation coefficients of modality 1 and detailed coefficients of modality 2 are combined. Similarly, approximation coefficients of modality 2 and detailed coefficients of modality 1 are combined. Finally, we fuse the two modality information using novel fusion rule. The fusion rule parameters are optimally selected using binary crow search optimization (BCSO) algorithm. To evaluate the performance of the proposed method, we used different quality metrics such as structural similarity index measure (SSIM), Fusion Factor (FF), and entropy. The presented model shows superior results with 6.63 of entropy, 0.849 of SSIM and 5.9 of FF.

RevDate: 2019-08-09

Schlötelburg A, Plekat A, Bellingrath-Kimura S, et al (2019)

Self-service traps inspected by avian and terrestrial predators as a management option for rodents.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Worldwide, serval rodent species are major pests in agricultural landscapes. A vole-specific tub-trap combining trapping and natural predators was developed to minimize the migration of rodents into agricultural crops. The trap was tested in enclosures in terms of its trapability of common voles (Microtus arvalis Pallas) and in the field regarding predator access and removal of voles, both in comparison to a commercially available self-service trap (standby-box).

RESULTS: The trapability of voles was equal for tub-traps and standby-boxes. The removal of voles occurred four times more often from tub-traps by a wider variety of predators (e.g. smaller terrestrial predators, birds of prey). Visits by predators were most likely if study sites were not surrounded by artificial surfaces (70% visit probability by terrestrial predators) or if they were in areas that were more than 25% (semi)natural (95% visit probability by avian predators). Furthermore, visits by avian predators increased with time and a learning effect could be demonstrated for magpies (Pica pica L.). From the first to the fifth day, the visit probability of magpies quadrupled.

CONCLUSIONS: Visits by predators decreased with increasing cover of artificial surfaces or decreasing cover of (semi)natural areas, proving the importance of (semi)natural areas in the agricultural landscape. Long-term trials with different baiting techniques and in landscapes characterized by organic farming should be conducted to ensure the regular removal of voles. The use of tub-traps that are frequently visited by predators could support crop protection, which might limit the use of rodenticide and the associated exposure risk of non-target wildlife. © 2019 Society of Chemical Industry.

RevDate: 2019-08-29

Valdés Hernández MDC, Abu-Hussain J, Qiu X, et al (2019)

Structural neuroimaging differentiates vulnerability from disease manifestation in colombian families with Huntington's disease.

Brain and behavior, 9(8):e01343.

INTRODUCTION: The volume of the striatal structures has been associated with disease progression in individuals with Huntington's disease (HD) from North America, Europe, and Australia. However, it is not known whether the gray matter (GM) volume in the striatum is also sensitive in differentiating vulnerability from disease manifestation in HD families from a South-American region known to have high incidence of the disease. In addition, the association of enlarged brain perivascular spaces (PVS) with cognitive, behavioral, and motor symptoms of HD is unknown.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We have analyzed neuroimaging indicators of global atrophy, PVS burden, and GM tissue volume in the basal ganglia and thalami, in relation to behavioral, motor, and cognitive scores, in 15 HD patients with overt disease manifestation and 14 first-degree relatives not genetically tested, which represent a vulnerable group, from the region of Magdalena, Colombia.

RESULTS: Poor fluid intelligence as per the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices was associated with global brain atrophy (p = 0.002) and PVS burden (p ≤ 0.02) in HD patients, where the GM volume in all subcortical structures, with the exception of the right globus pallidus, was associated with motor or cognitive scores. Only the GM volume in the right putamen was associated with envy and MOCA scores (p = 0.008 and 0.015 respectively) in first-degree relatives.

CONCLUSION: Striatal GM volume, global brain atrophy and PVS burden may serve as differential indicators of disease manifestation in HD. The Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices could be a cognitive test worth to consider in the differentiation of vulnerability versus overt disease in HD.

RevDate: 2019-07-17

Hartshorn S, Barrett MJ, Lyttle MD, et al (2019)

Inhaled methoxyflurane (Penthrox®) versus placebo for injury-associated analgesia in children-the MAGPIE trial (MEOF-002): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.

Trials, 20(1):393 pii:10.1186/s13063-019-3511-4.

BACKGROUND: Pain from injuries is one of the commonest symptoms in children attending emergency departments (EDs), and this is often inadequately treated in both the pre-hospital and ED settings, in part due to challenges of continual assessment and availability of easily administered analgesic options. Pain practices are therefore a key research priority, including within the field of paediatric emergency medicine. Methoxyflurane, delivered via a self-administered Penthrox® inhaler, belongs to the fluorinated hydrocarbon group of volatile anaesthetics and is unique among the group in having analgesic properties at low doses. Despite over 30 years of clinical acute analgesia use, and a large volume of evidence supporting its safety and efficacy, there is a paucity of randomised controlled trial data for Penthrox®.

METHODS: This is an international multi-centre randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial assessing the efficacy and safety of methoxyflurane delivered via the Penthrox® inhaler for the management of moderate to severe acute traumatic pain in children and young people aged 6-17 years. Following written informed consent, eligible participants are randomised to self-administer either inhaled methoxyflurane (maximum dose of 2 × 3 ml) or normal saline placebo (maximum dose 2 × 5 ml). Patients, treating clinicians and research nurses are blinded to the treatment. The primary outcome is the change in pain intensity at 15 min after the commencement of treatment, as measured by the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) or the Wong-Baker FACES® Pain Rating scale, with the latter converted to VAS values. Secondary outcome measures include the number and proportion of responders who achieve a 30% reduction in VAS score compared to baseline, rescue medication requested, time and number of inhalations to first pain relief, global medication performance assessment by the patient, clinician and research nurse, and evaluation of adverse events experienced during treatment and during the subsequent 14 ± 2 days. The primary analysis will be by intention to treat. The total sample size is 110 randomised and treated patients per treatment arm.

DISCUSSION: The Methoxyflurane AnalGesia for Paediatric InjuriEs (MAGPIE) trial will provide efficacy and safety data for methoxyflurane administered via the Penthrox® inhaler, in children and adolescents who present to EDs with moderate to severe injury-related pain.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: EudraCT, 2016-004290-41 . Registered on 11 April 2017. ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03215056 . Registered on 12 July 2017.

RevDate: 2019-07-04

Vonk J (2019)

Sticks and stones: Associative learning alone?.

Learning & behavior pii:10.3758/s13420-019-00387-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Gruber et al. (Current Biology, 29, 686-692, 2019) report that New Caledonian crows engage in mental representation to solve a problem involving a tool. Although the crows' success is impressive, an associative account of their behavior calls into question the extent to which the data reflect representation of future states.

RevDate: 2019-07-30

Ling H, Mclvor GE, van der Vaart K, et al (2019)

Local interactions and their group-level consequences in flocking jackdaws.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 286(1906):20190865.

As one of nature's most striking examples of collective behaviour, bird flocks have attracted extensive research. However, we still lack an understanding of the attractive and repulsive forces that govern interactions between individuals within flocks and how these forces influence neighbours' relative positions and ultimately determine the shape of flocks. We address these issues by analysing the three-dimensional movements of wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula) in flocks containing 2-338 individuals. We quantify the social interaction forces in large, airborne flocks and find that these forces are highly anisotropic. The long-range attraction in the direction perpendicular to the movement direction is stronger than that along it, and the short-range repulsion is generated mainly by turning rather than changing speed. We explain this phenomenon by considering wingbeat frequency and the change in kinetic and gravitational potential energy during flight, and find that changing the direction of movement is less energetically costly than adjusting speed for birds. Furthermore, our data show that collision avoidance by turning can alter local neighbour distributions and ultimately change the group shape. Our results illustrate the macroscopic consequences of anisotropic interaction forces in bird flocks, and help to draw links between group structure, local interactions and the biophysics of animal locomotion.

RevDate: 2019-07-02

Garcia-Garzon E, Abad FJ, LE Garrido (2019)

Searching for G: A New Evaluation of SPM-LS Dimensionality.

Journal of Intelligence, 7(3): pii:jintelligence7030014.

There has been increased interest in assessing the quality and usefulness of short versions of the Raven's Progressive Matrices. A recent proposal, composed of the last twelve matrices of the Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM-LS), has been depicted as a valid measure of g. Nonetheless, the results provided in the initial validation questioned the assumption of essential unidimensionality for SPM-LS scores. We tested this hypothesis through two different statistical techniques. Firstly, we applied exploratory graph analysis to assess SPM-LS dimensionality. Secondly, exploratory bi-factor modelling was employed to understand the extent that potential specific factors represent significant sources of variance after a general factor has been considered. Results evidenced that if modelled appropriately, SPM-LS scores are essentially unidimensional, and that constitute a reliable measure of g. However, an additional specific factor was systematically identified for the last six items of the test. The implications of such findings for future work on the SPM-LS are discussed.

RevDate: 2019-07-01

Congdon JV, Hahn AH, Filippi P, et al (2019)

Hear them roar: A comparison of black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) and human (Homo sapiens) perception of arousal in vocalizations across all classes of terrestrial vertebrates.

Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983) pii:2019-36327-001 [Epub ahead of print].

Recently, evidence for acoustic universals in vocal communication was found by demonstrating that humans can identify levels of arousal in vocalizations produced by species across three biological classes (Filippi et al., 2017). Here, we extend this work by testing whether two vocal learning species, humans and chickadees, can discriminate vocalizations of high and low arousal using operant discrimination go/no-go tasks. Stimuli included vocalizations from nine species: giant panda, American alligator, common raven, hourglass treefrog, African elephant, Barbary macaque, domestic pig, black-capped chickadee, and human. Subjects were trained to respond to high or low arousal vocalizations, then tested with additional high and low arousal vocalizations produced by each species. Chickadees (Experiment 1) and humans (Experiment 2) learned to discriminate between high and low arousal stimuli and significantly transferred the discrimination to additional panda, human, and chickadee vocalizations. Finally, we conducted discriminant function analyses using four acoustic measures, finding evidence suggesting that fundamental frequency played a role in responding during the task. However, these analyses also suggest roles for other acoustic factors as well as familiarity. In sum, the results from these studies provide evidence that chickadees and humans are capable of perceiving arousal in vocalizations produced by multiple species. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2019-06-30

Graham LJ, Spake R, Gillings S, et al (2019)

Incorporating fine-scale environmental heterogeneity into broad-extent models.

Methods in ecology and evolution, 10(6):767-778.

A key aim of ecology is to understand the drivers of ecological patterns, so that we can accurately predict the effects of global environmental change. However, in many cases, predictors are measured at a finer resolution than the ecological response. We therefore require data aggregation methods that avoid loss of information on fine-grain heterogeneity.We present a data aggregation method that, unlike current approaches, reduces the loss of information on fine-grain spatial structure in environmental heterogeneity for use with coarse-grain ecological datasets. Our method contains three steps: (a) define analysis scales (predictor grain, response grain, scale-of-effect); (b) use a moving window to calculate a measure of variability in environment (predictor grain) at the process-relevant scale (scale-of-effect); and (c) aggregate the moving window calculations to the coarsest resolution (response grain). We show the theoretical basis for our method using simulated landscapes and the practical utility with a case study. Our method is available as the grainchanger r package.The simulations show that information about spatial structure is captured that would have been lost using a direct aggregation approach, and that our method is particularly useful in landscapes with spatial autocorrelation in the environmental predictor variable (e.g. fragmented landscapes) and when the scale-of-effect is small relative to the response grain. We use our data aggregation method to find the appropriate scale-of-effect of land cover diversity on Eurasian jay Garrulus glandarius abundance in the UK. We then model the interactive effect of land cover heterogeneity and temperature on G. glandarius abundance. Our method enables us quantify this interaction despite the different scales at which these factors influence G. glandarius abundance.Our data aggregation method allows us to integrate variables that act at varying scales into one model with limited loss of information, which has wide applicability for spatial analyses beyond the specific ecological context considered here. Key ecological applications include being able to estimate the interactive effect of drivers that vary at different scales (such as climate and land cover), and to systematically examine the scale dependence of the effects of environmental heterogeneity in combination with the effects of climate change on biodiversity.

RevDate: 2019-07-31

Walsh JP, G Akopian (2019)

Physiological aging at striatal synapses.

Journal of neuroscience research [Epub ahead of print].

Mike Levine's body of work guides thinking on how the basal ganglia process information to create coordinated movements and skill learning throughout the life span and in disease. This special issue is a nod to Mike's career and a well-deserved gesture by the neuroscience community thanking him for the impact he has made on many people's careers and the field of basal ganglia physiology. This paper reviews how aging impacts basal ganglia processing with a focus on single cell and synaptic physiology. This review begins with the work Mike did with his collaborators Nat Buchwald, Chester Hull and Jay Schneider. These early studies paved the way for subsequent studies on changes in synaptic processing that occur with aging in the basal ganglia. The primary focus of this review is aging at corticostriatal synapses. Corticostriatal synapses show reduced expression of both short-term and long-term synaptic potentiation. The roles of age-related changes in calcium homeostasis, vesicle cycling, dopamine modulation, and NMDA receptor function in aging's effect on synaptic plasticity are discussed. The article ends with a review of mitochondrial aging theory as it applies to age-induced changes in corticostriatal synaptic function.

RevDate: 2019-06-27

Jiménez de Oya N, Escribano-Romero E, Camacho MC, et al (2019)

A Recombinant Subviral Particle-Based Vaccine Protects Magpie (Pica pica) Against West Nile Virus Infection.

Frontiers in microbiology, 10:1133.

The mosquito-borne West Nile virus (WNV) is a highly neurovirulent Flavivirus currently representing an emergent zoonotic concern. WNV cycles in nature between mosquito vectors and birds that act as amplifier hosts and play an essential role in virus ecology, being, thus, WNV a threat to many species. Availability of an efficient avian vaccine would benefit certain avian populations, both birds grown for hunting and restocking activities, as well as endangered species in captive breeding projects, wildlife reservations, and recreation installations, and would be useful to prevent and contain outbreaks. Avian vaccination would be also of interest to limit WNV spillover to humans or horses from susceptible bird species that live in urbanized landscapes, like magpies. Herein, we have addressed the efficacy of a single dose of a WNV recombinant subviral particle (RSP) vaccine in susceptible magpie (Pica pica). The protective capacity of the RSP-based vaccine was demonstrated upon challenge of magpies with 5 × 103 plaque forming units of a neurovirulent WNV strain. A significant improvement in survival rates of immunized birds was recorded when compared to vehicle-inoculated animals (71.4 vs. 22.2%, respectively). Viremia, which is directly related to the capacity of a host to be competent for virus transmission, was reduced in vaccinated animals, as was the presence of infectious virus in feather follicles. Bird-to-bird transmission was recorded in three of six unchallenged (contact) magpies housed with non-vaccinated WNV-infected birds, but not in contact animals housed with vaccinated WNV-infected magpies. These results demonstrate the protective efficacy of the RSP-based vaccine in susceptible birds against WNV infection and its value in controlling the spread of the virus.

RevDate: 2019-06-22

Lyman RL (2019)

Misunderstanding graphs: The confusion of biological clade diversity diagrams and archaeological frequency seriation diagrams.

Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences pii:S1369-8486(18)30176-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Graph perception involves the accurate decipherment of (often quantitative) data displayed in visual form. Because graph style may reflect discipline-specific tradition, similar graph styles in distinct disciplines can be subject to misinterpretation. Both archaeologist James A. Ford and paleobiologist Stephen Jay Gould confused spindle diagrams representing archaeological frequency seriation and paleontological clade diversity analysis as displaying the same kinds of data and representing the same processes. Similarities between the two kinds of analysis are, however, limited to the use of the same graph style-spindle diagrams-to illustrate the history of frequencies of things. The kinds of frequencies differ in two ways between the two disciplines; frequencies are of low-level Linnaean taxa within a clade representing a higher taxon in paleobiology, and are frequencies of artifact specimens within each of several types in archaeology. Further, frequencies are absolute in clade diversity and relative in frequency seriation. Clade diversity analysis, as practiced by Gould and colleagues, is a time-series analysis that requires knowing the age of taxa prior to analysis of the shape of the spindle diagram. Frequency seriation in archaeology involves ordering multiple collections of artifacts that share at least some types; ordering is based on similar frequencies and a presumed unimodal frequency distribution, and the order is inferred to be a chronology. Different analytical assumptions and goals result in discipline specific rules of graph decipherment, though each of the two kinds of analyses can be performed in each of the two disciplines.

RevDate: 2019-08-05

Liu D, Brice B, Elliot A, et al (2019)

Isospora coronoideae n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from the Australian raven (Corvus coronoides) (Passeriformes: Corvidae) (Linnaeus, 1758) in Western Australia.

Parasitology research, 118(8):2399-2408.

A new Isospora (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) species is described from an Australian raven (Corvus coronoides) in Western Australia. Sporulated oocysts (n = 21) are ovoid, 21.2 (18.4-23.9) μm in length and 18.8 (16.9-20.6) μm in width, with a shape index of 1.13. The bi-layered oocyst wall is smooth and colourless, 1.2 μm thick. A polar granule and oocyst residuum is present, but the micropyle is absent. The sporocysts are ovoid-shaped, 16.3 (13.7-18.9) × 10.7 (8.4-12.9) μm, with a shape index (length/width) of 1.52. Stieda and substieda bodies are present, the Stieda body being small and hemidome-shaped and the substieda being indistinct. Each sporocyst with four vermiform sporozoites arranged head to tail. The sporozoites are crescent-shaped, 9.0 (8.9-9.2) × 2.7 (2.3-3.0) μm, with a shape index (length/width) of 3.33. The sporocyst residuum is present. The isolated oocysts had different morphological characteristics when compared with all known Isospora spp. The coccidian parasite was analysed at the 18S and 28S ribosomal RNA and the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase (COI) loci. At the 18S locus, I. coronoideae n. sp. exhibited 98.9% similarity to I. neochmiae from a captive-bred red-browed finch (KT224380) and Isospora sp. from domestic pigeons (Columba livia domestica) (AB757860), 98.5% similarity to I. gryphoni (AF080613) from an American goldfinch and 98.3% similarity to I. manorinae (KT224379) from a yellow-throated miner. At the 28S locus, it exhibited 95.4% and 94.8% similarity to I. manorinae (KT224381) and I. anthochaerae (KF766053), respectively. At the COI locus, it exhibited 99.8% and 99.7% similarity to I. butcherae (KY801687) and I. neochmiae (KT224378), respectively. Based on morphological and molecular data, this isolate is a new species of Isospora, which is named Isospora coronoideae n. sp. after its host, the Australian raven (Corvus coronoides) (Passeriformes: Corvidae) (Linnaeus, 1758).

RevDate: 2019-06-18

Calabro A (2019)

Obituary A Remembrance of Juan "Jay" Rodrigo MD (1943-2018).

Clinical orthopaedics and related research, 477(7):1760-1761.

RevDate: 2019-07-07

Firooz S, SK Setarehdan (2019)

IQ estimation by means of EEG-fNIRS recordings during a logical-mathematical intelligence test.

Computers in biology and medicine, 110:218-226.

Intelligence differences of individuals are attributed to the structural and functional differences of the brain. Neural processing operations of the human brain vary according to the difficulty level of the problem and the intelligence level of individuals. In this study, we used a bimodal system consisting of functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) and Electroencephalogram (EEG) to investigate these inter-individual differences. A continuous wave 32-channel fNIRS from OxyMonfNIRS device (Artinis) and 19-channel EEG from (g.tec's company) were utilized to study the oxygenation procedure as well as the electrical activity of the brain when doing the problems of Raven's Progressive Matrix (RPM) intelligence test. We used this information to estimate the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of the individual without performing a complete logical-mathematical intelligence test in a long-time period and examining the answers of people to the questions. After EEG preprocessing, different features including Higuchi's fractal dimension, Shannon entropy values from wavelet transform coefficients, and average power of frequency sub-bands were extracted. Clean fNIRS signals were also used to compute features such as slope, mean, variance, kurtosis, skewness, and peak. Then dimension reduction algorithms such as Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) were applied to select an effective feature set from fNIRS and EEG in order to improve the IQ estimation process. We utilized two regression methods, i.e., Linear Regression (LR) and Support Vector Regression (SVR), to extract optimum models for the IQ determination. The best regression models based on fNIRS-EEG and fNIRS presented 3.093% and 3.690% relative error for 11 subjects, respectively.

RevDate: 2019-07-09

Muhammad N, Suleman , Ma J, et al (2019)

Characterization of the complete mitochondrial genome of Sphaerirostris picae (Rudolphi, 1819) (Acanthocephala: Centrorhynchidae), representative of the genus Sphaerirostris.

Parasitology research, 118(7):2213-2221.

The Centrorhynchidae (Acanthocephala: Palaeacanthocephala) is a cosmopolitan family commonly found in various avian and mammalian hosts. Within Centrorhynchidae, species of the genus Sphaerirostris Golvan, 1956 are usually parasitic in the digestive tract of various passerine birds. In the present study, adult specimens of Sphaerirostris picae (Rudolphi, 1819), the type species of this genus, were recovered from the small intestine of Acridotheres tristis (Sturnidae) and Dendrocitta vagabunda (Corvidae) in Pakistan. Molecular data from the nuclear or mitochondrial genome is either very limited or completely absent from this phylogenetically understudied group of acanthocephalans. To fill this knowledge gap, we sequenced and determined the internal transcribed spacers of ribosomal DNA (ITS rDNA) and the complete mitochondrial (mt) genome of S. picae. The ITS rDNA of S. picae was 95.2% similar to that of Sphaerirostris lanceoides which is the only member of the Centrorhynchidae whose ITS rDNA is available in GenBank. The phylogenetic tree based on the amino acid sequences of 12 mt protein-coding genes (PCGs) placed S. picae close to Centrorhynchus aluconis in a monophyletic clade of Polymorphida which also contain members of the families Polymorphidae and Plagiorhynchidae on separate branches. The mt gene arrangement, nucleotide composition and codon usage of 12 PCGs were discussed and compared with those of other acanthocephalan mt genomes. Within the Centrorhynchidae, S. picae and C. aluconis showed 67.7-86.8% similarity in the nucleotide sequences of 12 PCGs and 2 rRNAs, where nad4L is the most conserved gene while atp6 is the least conserved. The similarity in amino acid sequences ranged from 68.1 to 91.8%, where cox1 was recorded as the most conserved gene, while atp6 is highly variable among 12 PCGs. This novel mt genome of S. picae provides genetic resources for further studies of phylogenetics and molecular epidemiology of acanthocephalans.

RevDate: 2019-06-13

Sutton AO, Strickland D, Freeman NE, et al (2019)

Autumn freeze-thaw events carry over to depress late-winter reproductive performance in Canada jays.

Royal Society open science, 6(4):181754 pii:rsos181754.

Evidence suggests that range-edge populations are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, but few studies have examined the specific mechanisms that are driving observed declines. Species that store perishable food for extended periods of time may be particularly susceptible to environmental change because shifts in climatic conditions could accelerate the natural degradation of their cached food. Here, we use 40 years of breeding data from a marked population of Canada jays (Perisoreus canadensis) located at the southern edge of their range in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, to examine whether climatic conditions prior to breeding carry over to influence reproductive performance. We found that multiple measures of Canada jay reproductive performance (brood size, nest success and nestling condition) in the late winter were negatively correlated with the number of freeze-thaw events the previous autumn. Our results suggest that freeze-thaw events have a significant detrimental impact on the quality and/or quantity of cached food available to Canada jays. Future increases in such events, caused by climate change, could pose a serious threat to Canada jays and other food caching species that store perishable foods for long periods of time.

RevDate: 2019-08-07
CmpDate: 2019-08-07

Van Hemert C, Meixell BW, Smith MM, et al (2019)

Prevalence and diversity of avian blood parasites in a resident northern passerine.

Parasites & vectors, 12(1):292 pii:10.1186/s13071-019-3545-1.

BACKGROUND: Climate-related changes are expected to influence the prevalence and distribution of vector-borne haemosporidian parasites at northern latitudes, although baseline information about resident birds is still lacking. In this study, we investigated prevalence and genetic diversity of Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon parasites infecting the northwestern crow (Corvus caurinus), a non-migratory passerine with unique life-history characteristics. This species occupies both intertidal and forested habitats and is subject to high prevalence of avian keratin disorder (AKD), a disease that causes gross beak deformities. Investigation of avian blood parasites in northwestern crows at sites broadly distributed across coastal Alaska provided an opportunity to evaluate specific host factors related to parasite infection status and assess geographical patterns of prevalence.

RESULTS: We used molecular methods to screen for haemosporidian parasites in northwestern crows and estimated genus-specific parasite prevalence with occupancy modeling that accounts for imperfect detection of parasite infection. We observed considerable geographical and annual variation in prevalence of Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon, but these patterns were not correlated with indices of local climatic conditions. Our models also did not provide support for relationships between the probability of parasite infection and body condition or the occurrence of co-infections with other parasite genera or clinical signs of AKD. In our phylogenetic analyses, we identified multiple lineages of each parasite genus, with Leucocytozoon showing greater diversity than Plasmodium or Haemoproteus.

CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study expand our knowledge about the prevalence and diversity of avian blood parasites in northern resident birds as well as corvids worldwide. We detected all three genera of avian haemosporidians in northwestern crows in Alaska, although only Leucocytozoon occurred at all sites in both years. Given the strong geographical and annual variation in parasite prevalence and apparent lack of correlation with climatic variables, it appears that there are other key factors responsible for driving transmission dynamics in this region. Thus, caution is warranted when using standard climatic or geographical attributes in a predictive framework. Our phylogenetic results demonstrate lower host specificity for some lineages of Leucocytozoon than is typically reported and provide insights about genetic diversity of local haemosporidian parasites in Alaska.

RevDate: 2019-06-09

Ramchandran K, Zeien E, NC Andreasen (2019)

Distributed neural efficiency: Intelligence and age modulate adaptive allocation of resources in the brain.

Trends in neuroscience and education, 15:48-61.

Whether superior intelligence is associated with global lower resource consumption in the brain remains unresolved. In order to tap fluid intelligence "Gf" cortical networks, 50 neurologically healthy adults were functionally neuro-imaged while solving a modified version of the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices. "Gf" predicted increased activation of key components of the dorsal attention network (DAN); and age predicted extent of simultaneous deactivation in key components of the default mode network (DMN) during problem-solving. However, there was no significant difference in mean levels of whole brain activation even when cognitively taxed. This suggests that the brain may dynamically switch resource consumption between these anti-correlated DAN and DMN networks, concentrating processing power in regions critical to enhanced cognitive performance. We term this mechanism of activation increase and decrease of these anti-correlated DAN/DMN systems, modulated by "Gf" and age, as "distributed neural efficiency". This may achieve local cost-efficiency trade-offs, while maintaining global energy homeostasis.

RevDate: 2019-06-08

Ghafouri SA, Fallah Mehrabadi MH, Talakesh SF, et al (2019)

Full genome characterization of Iranian H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus from Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix), 2017: The first report.

Comparative immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases, 64:73-80.

During 2014-2017 Clade H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) have spread worldwide. In 2016, an epidemic of HPAIV H5N8 in Iran caused mass deaths among wild birds, and several commercial poultry farms and captive bird holdings were affected and continue to experience problems. Several outbreaks were reported in 2017. One of them is related to Hooded crow (Corvus cornix) in a national park in Esfahan province in 2017. Whole genome sequencing and characterization have been done on the detected H5N8 sample. Based on HA sequencing results, it belongs to clade, and the cleavage site is (PLREKRRKR/G). Phylogenetic analysis of the HA gene showed that the Iran 2017 H5N8 virus clustered within subgroup Russia 2016 b of group B in H5 clade HPAIV. On the other hand, the NA gene of the virus is placed in group C of Eurasian lineage. Complete genome characterization of this virus revealed probable reassortment of the virus with East-Asian low-pathogenic influenza viruses. Furthermore, the virus possessed some phenotypic markers related to the increased potential for transmission and pathogenicity to mammals at internal segments. This study is the first full genome characterization H5N8 HPAIV in Iran. The data complete the puzzle of molecular epidemiology of H5N8 HPAIV in Iran and the region. Our study provides evidence for fast and continuing reassortment of H5 clade viruses, that might lead to changes in virus structural and functional characteristics such as the route and method of transmission of the virus and virus infective, pathogenic and zoonotic potential.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Warne RT, Burton JZ, Gibbons A, et al (2019)

Stephen Jay Gould's Analysis of the Army Beta Test in The Mismeasure of Man: Distortions and Misconceptions Regarding a Pioneering Mental Test.

Journal of Intelligence, 7(1): pii:jintelligence7010006.

In The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould argued that the preconceived beliefs and biases of scientists influence their methods and conclusions. To show the potential consequences of this, Gould used examples from the early days of psychometrics and allied fields, arguing that inappropriate assumptions and an elitist desire to rank individuals and/or groups produced incorrect results. In this article, we investigate a section of The Mismeasure of Man in which Gould evaluated the Army Beta intelligence test for illiterate American draftees in World War I. We evaluated Gould's arguments that the Army Beta (a) had inappropriate content, (b) had unsuitable administration conditions, (c) suffered from short time limits, and (d) could not have measured intelligence. By consulting the historical record and conducting a pre-registered replication of Gould's administration of the test to a sample of college students, we show that Gould mischaracterized the Army Beta in a number of ways. Instead, the Army Beta was a well-designed test by the standards of the time, and all evidence indicates that it measured intelligence a century ago and can, to some extent, do so today.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Wang Y, Guo J, Wang L, et al (2019)

Transcriptome analysis revealed potential mechanisms of differences in physiological stress responses between caged male and female magpies.

BMC genomics, 20(1):447 pii:10.1186/s12864-019-5804-0.

BACKGROUND: Under caged conditions, birds are affected more severely by environmental stressors such as dietary structure, activity space, human disturbances, and pathogens, which may be reflected in the gene expression in peripheral blood or other tissues. Elucidating the molecular mechanism of these stress responses will help improve animal welfare.

RESULTS: In the present study, the blood transcriptomes of six male and five female caged magpies (Pica pica) were sequenced, and a total of ~ 100 Gb in clean reads were generated using the Illumina HiSeq 2000 sequencer. A total of 420,291 unigenes were identified after assembly, of which 179,316 were annotated in five databases, 7471 were assigned to 269 Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways, and 566 were assigned to the Clusters of Orthologous Groups (COG) functional classification "defense mechanisms". Analysis of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) showed that 2657 unigenes were differentially expressed between males and females (q < 0.1), and these DEGs were assigned to 45 KEGG pathways involving stress resistance, immunity, energy metabolism, reproduction, lifespan regulation, and diseases. Further analysis revealed that females might be more sensitive to stress through upregulation of c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) and 5'AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and were also possibly more sensitive to dynamic changes in energy. Females expressed higher major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II levels than males, enhancing resistance to pathogens, and the DEGs related to reproduction included MAPK, CaMK, CPEB, and Cdc25. The genes related to stress, energy, and immunity were also likely related to the regulation of longevity. The upregulated JNKs in females might prolong lifespan and relieve antioxidant stress. Females may also activate the AMPK pathway and implement dietary restrictions to prolong lifespan, whereas males may upregulate SIRT1 and CRAB to increase lifespan.

CONCLUSIONS: Female magpies might be more sensitive to stress and dynamic changes in energy thus enhanced resistance to pathogens, and the genes related to stress, energy, and immunity were also possibly related to the regulation of longevity. Further confirmations with techniques such as RT-qPCR and western blot are necessary to validate the above arguments.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Sen K, Berglund T, Soares MA, et al (2019)

Antibiotic Resistance of E. coli Isolated From a Constructed Wetland Dominated by a Crow Roost, With Emphasis on ESBL and AmpC Containing E. coli.

Frontiers in microbiology, 10:1034.

Information on the dissemination of antibiotic resistance mechanisms in the environment as well as wild life is needed in North America. A constructed wetland (where ∼15,000 American crows roost) was sampled on the University of Washington Bothell Campus for the presence of antibiotic resistant E. coli (ARE). Crow droppings from individual birds and grab samples of water were collected in 2014-2015. E. coli were isolated by selective agar plating. The most frequent antibiotic resistance (AR) of the fecal isolates was to ampicillin (AMP) (53%), followed by amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (AMC) (45%), streptomycin (S) (40%), and nalidixic acid (NA) (33%). Water isolates had similar AR pattern and ∼40% were multidrug resistant. Isolates from water samples collected during storm events showed higher resistance than isolates from no rain days to tetracycline, AMP, AMC, NA, and gentamycin. Extended spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL) containing E. coli with the blactx-M was found in three water and nine fecal isolates while blacmy-2 in 19 water and 16 fecal isolates. Multilocus Sequence Typing analysis (MLST) yielded 13 and 12 different sequence types (STs) amongst fecal and water isolates, many of which could be correlated to livestock, bird, and humans. MLST identified ESBL E. coli belonging to the clinically relevant ST131 clone in six fecal and one water isolate. Three STs found in feces could be found in water on the same dates of collection but not subsequently. Thus, the strains do not appear to survive for long in the wetland. Phylogenetic analysis revealed similar distribution of the water and fecal isolates among the different phylo-groups, with the majority belonging to the commensal B1 phylo-group, followed by the pathogenic B2 phylo-group. This study demonstrates that corvids can be reservoirs and vectors of ARE and pathogenic E. coli, posing a significant environmental threat.

RevDate: 2019-08-22

Federspiel IG, Boeckle M, von Bayern AMP, et al (2019)

Exploring individual and social learning in jackdaws (Corvus monedula).

Learning & behavior, 47(3):258-270.

Information about novel environments or foods can be gathered via individual or social learning. Whereas individual learning is assumed to be more costly and less effective than social learning, it also yields more detailed information. Juveniles are often found to be more explorative than adults. Still under the protection of their parents, this allows them to sample their environment in preparation for later in life. We tested individual and social learning in jackdaws (Corvus monedula) of different age groups in a semi-natural group setting. Juvenile and adult jackdaws differed in their learning propensity. Juveniles spent more time at the test apparatus, were more explorative, and caused the apparatus to open. Almost all the openings at the apparatus matched the demonstrated method. As more observers became available, the juveniles could observe each other. Individuals preferentially watched successful conspecifics and those they could scrounge food from. Lower-ranking individuals tended to watch higher ranking ones; higher ranking individuals preferentially watched conspecifics of similar rank. The control group did not manipulate the apparatus. Due to the lack of this baseline, it was difficult to determine for certain whether the opening technique was acquired via individual or social learning. We conclude that if social learning played a role, the underlying mechanism was most likely local or stimulus enhancement. It is, however, more parsimonious to assume that juveniles were more explorative than adults, and that their opening technique was potentially easier to acquire than the one demonstrated to adults.

RevDate: 2019-07-18

Gellrich J, Dabow ML, Vogelberg C, et al (2019)

Influence of chronic diseases on the olfactory function in children.

European journal of pediatrics, 178(8):1185-1193.

The association between smell impairment and chronic diseases has been reported in some studies in adults. Such information is not available for chronic diseases in children. The aim of this study was to examine olfactory function of children with chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus type 1, hypothyroidism, and bronchial asthma in combination with allergic rhinitis in comparison to healthy controls. The data were obtained from n = 205 participants (104 boys, 101 girls) between the age of 6 and 17 years. Seventy-eight of the participants were healthy controls, n = 43 had diabetes mellitus type 1, n = 50 suffer from allergic rhinitis or bronchial asthma, and 34 presented a reduced function of their thyroid in medical history. All participants underwent olfactory testing including olfactory threshold using "Sniffin' Sticks" and odor identification using the "U-Sniff" test. In addition, a depression inventory and cognitive testing using the Ravens Progressive Matrices was performed. No significant difference in olfactory function was observed for any of the chronic diseases in children in comparison to healthy controls. Further analysis showed a trend in significance for a subpopulation of children with bronchial asthma and comorbidities performed worse on the olfactory threshold test compared to patients with bronchial asthma without comorbidities. Pediatric patients suffering from chronic diseases scored higher on the depression inventory compared to healthy controls.Conclusion: In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the influence of chronic diseases (bronchial asthma, diabetes mellitus type 1 and hypothyroidism) on olfactory function in childhood, if any, seems to be insignificant. This is partly in contrast to adult patients. Further research should be conducted in a subgroup of patients with bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis or other comorbidities to better understand the association of allergic diathesis and olfactory function and the putative pathogenesis of olfactory dysfunction. What is known: • The association between smell impairment and chronic diseases has been reported in some studies in adults. • Such information is not available for chronic diseases in children. What is new: • The influence of chronic diseases (bronchial asthma, diabetes mellitus type 1, and hypothyroidism) on olfactory function in childhood, if any, seems to be insignificant. • In patients with bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis, only a subgroup of patients with additional comorbidity (atopic dermatitis) showed a tendency to a reduced sense of smell.

RevDate: 2019-08-01

Mudry A, RJ Ruben (2019)

The Fox and the Crow: Predatory Open Access Journals in Otolaryngology.

Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 161(2):193-194.

RevDate: 2019-06-18

Adriaense JEC, Martin JS, Schiestl M, et al (2019)

Negative emotional contagion and cognitive bias in common ravens (Corvus corax).

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(23):11547-11552.

Emotional contagion is described as an emotional state matching between subjects, and has been suggested to facilitate communication and coordination in complex social groups. Empirical studies typically focus on the measurement of behavioral contagion and emotional arousal, yet, while highly important, such an approach often disregards an additional evaluation of the underlying emotional valence. Here, we studied emotional contagion in ravens by applying a judgment bias paradigm to assess emotional valence. We experimentally manipulated positive and negative affective states in demonstrator ravens, to which they responded with increased attention and interest in the positive condition, as well as increased redirected behavior and a left-eye lateralization in the negative condition. During this emotion manipulation, another raven observed the demonstrator's behavior, and we used a bias paradigm to assess the emotional valence of the observer to determine whether emotional contagion had occurred. Observers showed a pessimism bias toward the presented ambiguous stimuli after perceiving demonstrators in a negative state, indicating emotional state matching based on the demonstrators' behavioral cues and confirming our prediction of negative emotional contagion. We did not find any judgment bias in the positive condition. This result critically expands upon observational studies of contagious play in ravens, providing experimental evidence that emotional contagion is present not only in mammalian but also in avian species. Importantly, this finding also acts as a stepping stone toward understanding the evolution of empathy, as this essential social skill may have emerged across these taxa in response to similar socioecological challenges.

RevDate: 2019-05-20

Miller R, Boeckle M, Jelbert SA, et al (2019)

Self-control in crows, parrots and nonhuman primates.

Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Cognitive science [Epub ahead of print].

Self-control is critical for both humans and nonhuman animals because it underlies complex cognitive abilities, such as decision-making and future planning, enabling goal-directed behavior. For instance, it is positively associated with social competence and life success measures in humans. We present the first review of delay of gratification as a measure of self-control in nonhuman primates, corvids (crow family) and psittacines (parrot order): disparate groups that show comparable advanced cognitive abilities and similar socio-ecological factors. We compare delay of gratification performance and identify key issues and outstanding areas for future research, including finding the best measures and drivers of delayed gratification. Our review therefore contributes to our understanding of both delayed gratification as a measure of self-control and of complex cognition in animals. This article is categorized under: Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition Psychology > Comparative Psychology.

RevDate: 2019-05-20

Forzán MJ, Renshaw RW, Bunting EM, et al (2019)


Journal of wildlife diseases pii:10.7589/2019-01-015 [Epub ahead of print].

Epizootic mortalities in American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) during the winter months, referred to as winter mortality of crows, have been recorded in North America for almost two decades. The most common postmortem findings include necrotizing enteritis, colitis, and fibrinous splenic necrosis. These findings are proposed to be due to infection with a Reovirus sp. Our objectives were to characterize the pathology and seasonality of the epizootics in New York State (NYS), confirm the causative role of an Orthoreovirus sp., and determine its phylogeny. On the basis of our proposed case definition for reovirosis, we examined case data collected by the NYS Wildlife Health Program for 16 yr. A total of 558 cases of reovirosis were recorded between 2001 and 2017. Reovirosis had a clear seasonal presentation: cases occurred almost exclusively in winter months (71% in December-January). Detailed data from a 2-yr period (2016 and 2017) demonstrated that reovirosis caused up to 70% of all recorded crow deaths during epizootic months. Crows with positive orthoreovirus isolation from the spleen or intestine were 32 times more likely to die with characteristic histologic lesions of enteritis or enterocolitis and splenic necrosis than crows with negative isolation results. An in situ hybridization probe specific to virus isolated from NYS crow reovirosis cases demonstrated a direct association between viral presence and characteristic histologic lesions. Sigma C (capsid protein) sequences of isolates from NYS crows showed high homology with Tvärminne avian virus, recently proposed as a novel Corvus orthoreovirus clade, and only distantly related to the avian orthoreovirus clade. Our study indicated that a novel orthoreovirus was the cause of winter mortality (or reovirosis) of American Crows and placed the NYS isolates in the newly proposed genus of Corvid orthoreovirus.

RevDate: 2019-05-22

Chuang KY, Chen YH, Balachandran P, et al (2019)

Revealing the Electrophysiological Correlates of Working Memory-Load Effects in Symmetry Span Task With HHT Method.

Frontiers in psychology, 10:855.

Complex span task is one of the commonly used cognitive tasks to evaluate an individual's working memory capacity (WMC). It is a dual task consisting of a distractor subtask and a memory subtask. Though multiple studies have utilized complex span tasks, the electrophysiological correlates underlying the encoding and retrieval processes in working memory span task remain uninvestigated. One previous study that assessed electroencephalographic (EEG) measures utilizing complex span task found no significant difference between its working memory loads, a typical index observed in other working memory tasks (e.g., n-back task and digital span task). The following design constructs of the paradigm might have been the reason. (1) The fixed-time limit of the distractor subtask may have hindered the assessment of individual WMC precisely. (2) Employing a linear-system-favoring EEG data analysis method for a non-linear system such as the human brain. In the current study, the participants perform the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices (RAMP) task on 1 day and the symmetry span (Sspan) task on the other. Prior to the formal Sspan task, the participants were instructed to judge 15 simple symmetry questions as quickly as possible. A participant-specific time-limit is chartered from these symmetry questions. The current study utilizes the Sspan task sequential to a distractor subtask. Instead of the fixed time-limit exercised in the previous study, the distractor subtask of the current study was equipped with the participant-specific time-limit obtained from the symmetry questions. This could provide a precise measure of individual WMC. This study investigates if the complex span task resonates EEG patterns similar to the other working memory tasks in terms of working memory-load by utilizing ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) of Hilbert-Huang transform (HHT). Prior expectations were to observe a decrement in the P300 component of event-related mode (ERM) and a decrement in the power of alpha and beta band frequency with increasing working memory-load. We observed a significantly higher P300 amplitude for the low-load condition compared to the high-load condition over the circumscribed brain network across F4 and C4 electrodes. Time-frequency analysis revealed a significant difference between the high- and low-load conditions at alpha and beta band over the frontal, central, and parietal channels. The results from our study demonstrate precise differences in EEG data pertaining to varied memory-load differences in the complex span task. Thus, assessing complex span tasks with the HHT-based analysis may aid in achieving a better signal to noise ratio and effect size for the results in working memory EEG studies.

RevDate: 2019-05-19

D'Agati D, Beaudry MB, K Swartz (2019)

Thirteen Reasons Why Revisited: A Monograph for Teens, Parents, and Mental Health Professionals.

The Journal of medical humanities pii:10.1007/s10912-019-09548-y [Epub ahead of print].

Jay Asher's novel Thirteen Reasons Why and its Netflix adaptation have enjoyed widespread popularity. While they draw needed attention to issues like bullying and teen estrangement, they may have an unintended effect: they mislead about the etiology of suicide and even glamorize it to a degree. The medical literature has shown that suicide is almost always the result of psychiatric disorder, not provocative stress, in much the same way an asthmatic crisis is primarily the result of an underlying medical condition, not an allergic stimulus. Both the novel and Netflix series ignore this premise and even belittle the idea. Thus, while the story has artistic merits, it also has the potential to be destructive if accessed by young readers and viewers seeking guidance. Approximately ten percent of teens suffer from depression, and suicide recently surpassed homicide as the second-leading cause of death among persons ages ten to twenty-four in the United States. A more balanced view addressing these misconceptions is provided for teens, parents, and mental health professionals.

RevDate: 2019-05-17

Krupenye C, J Call (2019)

Theory of mind in animals: Current and future directions.

Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Cognitive science [Epub ahead of print].

Theory of mind (ToM; a.k.a., mind-reading, mentalizing, mental-state attribution, and perspective-taking) is the ability to ascribe mental states, such as desires and beliefs, to others, and it is central to the unique forms of communication, cooperation, and culture that define our species. As a result, for 40 years, researchers have endeavored to determine whether ToM is itself unique to humans. Investigations in other species (e.g., apes, monkeys, corvids) are essential to understand the mechanistic underpinnings and evolutionary origins of this capacity across taxa, including humans. We review the literature on ToM in nonhuman animals, suggesting that some species share foundational social cognitive mechanisms with humans. We focus principally on innovations of the last decade and pressing directions for future work. Underexplored types of social cognition have been targeted, including ascription of mental states, such as desires and beliefs, that require simultaneously representing one's own and another's conflicting motives or views of the world. Ongoing efforts probe the motivational facets of ToM, how flexibly animals can recruit social cognitive skills across cooperative and competitive settings, and appropriate motivational contexts for comparative inquiry. Finally, novel methodological and empirical approaches have brought new species (e.g., lemurs, dogs) into the lab, implemented critical controls to elucidate underlying mechanisms, and contributed powerful new techniques (e.g., looking-time, eye-tracking) that open the door to unexplored approaches for studying animal minds. These innovations in cognition, motivation, and method promise fruitful progress in the years to come, in understanding the nature and origin of ToM in humans and other species. This article is categorized under: Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition Psychology > Comparative Psychology Neuroscience > Cognition.

RevDate: 2019-08-25

Ong CS, Marcum JA, Zehr KJ, et al (2019)

A Century of Heparin.

The Annals of thoracic surgery, 108(3):955-958.

The year 2018 was the centennial of the naming of heparin by Emmett Holt and William Howell and the 102nd anniversary of Jay McLean's discovery of an anticoagulant heparphosphatide at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. This article discusses recently discovered historical artifacts that shed new light on heparin's christening, including McLean's unpublished letter written in 1950 that represents one of the most complete accounts of heparin's discovery before his untimely death. In addition, the article describes the finding of a plaque dedicated to McLean and explores the circumstances of its removal from public display, as learned from interviews with present and former staff members.

RevDate: 2019-05-07

Pastore RL, Murray JA, Coffman FD, et al (2019)

Physician Review of a Celiac Disease Risk Estimation and Decision-Making Expert System.

Journal of the American College of Nutrition [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: Celiac disease is a genetic disease affecting people of all ages, resulting in small intestine enteropathy. It is considered to be a clinical chameleon. Average prevalence of celiac disease is 1 out of 100 people with data indicating the risk may be as high as 22% for those with first-degree relatives with the disease. Eighty-three percent of people with celiac disease may be undiagnosed. Average duration to diagnosis is 10 years. Data indicate that there is a lack of consensus regarding diagnostics and symptomatology.

METHOD: A clinical decision support system (CDSS) was developed using Exsys Corvid for expert analysis (CD-CDSS). The CD-CDSS was divided into symptoms and manifestations with 80 points of navigation, and a serology section, and was validated by 13 experts in the field of celiac disease using a 10-statement 5-point Likert scale.

RESULTS: This scale was analyzed using Cronbach's alpha reliability coefficient, which was calculated using SPSS and revealed good internal consistency and reliability with a result of 0.813. One hundred percent of experts agreed that the CD-CDSS is capable of guiding a health care professional through the diagnostic process, contains an accurate list of symptoms based on the clinical literature, and can foster improved awareness and education about celiac disease and that there is a need for this system.

CONCLUSIONS: A celiac disease risk estimation and decision-making expert system was successfully developed and evaluated by medical professionals, with 100% agreeing that this CD-CDSS is medically accurate and can guide health care professionals through the diagnostic process.

RevDate: 2019-05-07

Cumbo E, Cumbo S, Torregrossa S, et al (2019)

Treatment Effects of Vortioxetine on Cognitive Functions in Mild Alzheimer's Disease Patients with Depressive Symptoms: A 12 Month, Open-Label, Observational Study.

The journal of prevention of Alzheimer's disease, 6(3):192-197.

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: depressive symptoms are common in Alzheimer's disease(AD). Aim of the study was to investigate the efficacy of vortioxetine compared with other conventional antidepressants on cognitive functions in AD patients with depressive symptoms.

DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, 12 month, parallel-group study.

SETTING: All participants were evaluated on-site at Neurodegenerative Disorders Unit, ASP2 Caltanissetta(Italy).

PARTICIPANTS: 108(71 female, 37 male) AD patients with depression(mean age 76.7 ± 4.3).

INTERVENTION: Randomized subjects received vortioxetine, 15 mg/day(n=36) or other common antidepressants(n=72).

MEASURES: Primary outcome was change from baseline in the MMSE; secondary outcomes were change in Attentive Matrices, Raven Coloured Progressive Matrices, Digit Span, HAM-D and Cornell scale.

RESULTS: Statistically significant improvement vs. controls was observed for vortioxetine on most of the cognitive tests and showed significantly baseline-to-endpoint reduction in both HAM-D and Cornell total scores.The most commonly reported adverse events were nausea and headache for votioxetine; nausea in the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: Vortioxetine had a beneficial effect on cognition and mood in elderly AD patients and was safe and well tolerated.

RevDate: 2019-06-28

Ling H, Mclvor GE, van der Vaart K, et al (2019)

Costs and benefits of social relationships in the collective motion of bird flocks.

Nature ecology & evolution, 3(6):943-948.

Current understanding of collective behaviour in nature is based largely on models that assume that identical agents obey the same interaction rules, but in reality interactions may be influenced by social relationships among group members. Here, we show that social relationships transform local interactions and collective dynamics. We tracked individuals' three-dimensional trajectories within flocks of jackdaws, a species that forms lifelong pair-bonds. Reflecting this social system, we find that flocks contain internal sub-structure, with discrete pairs of individuals tied together by spring-like effective forces. Within flocks, paired birds interacted with fewer neighbours than unpaired birds and flapped their wings more slowly, which may result in energy savings. However, flocks with more paired birds had shorter correlation lengths, which is likely to inhibit efficient information transfer through the flock. Similar changes to group properties emerge naturally from a generic self-propelled particle model. These results reveal a critical tension between individual- and group-level benefits during collective behaviour in species with differentiated social relationships, and have major evolutionary and cognitive implications.

RevDate: 2019-06-18

Preininger D, Schoas B, Kramer D, et al (2019)

Waste Disposal Sites as All-You-Can Eat Buffets for Carrion Crows (Corvus corone).

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(5): pii:ani9050215.

In cities and densely populated areas, several corvid species are considered nuisance animals. In Austria, particularly carrion (Corvus corone) and hooded crows (C. cornix) are regarded as pests by the general public that frequently cause damage to crops, feed on human waste, and thus spread trash. We conducted a detailed one-year field survey to estimate the abundance of carrion crows in relation to potential anthropogenic food sources and reference sites in the Austrian Rhine valley. Our results demonstrated that the number and proximity of waste management facilities, animal feeding areas, and agricultural areas, and the productive capacity of agricultural areas, predominantly influenced habitat choice and abundance of carrion crows. In the current study, the probability of observing more than two carrion crows at a survey site decreased with increasing human population density. Moreover, the abundance of crows increased despite a continuous increase in crow hunting kills registered during the past 25 years. Our study suggests a regionally comprehensive waste management plan could serve as a promising strategy to manage nuisance birds. A reduction in anthropogenic food supply through improved waste management practices is required for long-term, sustainable management to limit the abundance of crow populations in and close to urban environments.

RevDate: 2019-08-21

Lee DH, Killian ML, Torchetti MK, et al (2019)

Intercontinental spread of Asian-origin H7 avian influenza viruses by captive bird trade in 1990's.

Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 73:146-150.

Wild bird migration and illegal trade of infected poultry, eggs, and poultry products have been associated with the spread of avian influenza viruses (AIV). During 1992-1996, H7N1 and H7N8 low pathogenic AIV (LPAIV) were identified from captive wild birds; such as Pekin robin (Leiothrix lutea), magpie robin (Copsychus saularis), flycatcher sp. (genus Empidonax), a species of softbill and parakeet, sun conure (Aratinga solstitialis), painted conure (Pyrrhura picta), fairy bluebird (Irena puella), and common iora (Aegithina tiphia), kept in aviaries or quarantine stations in England, The Netherlands, Singapore and the United States (U.S.). In this study, we sequenced these H7 viruses isolated from quarantine facilities and aviaries using next-generation sequencing and conducted a comparative phylogenetic analysis of complete genome sequences to elucidate spread patterns. The complete genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis suggested that H7 viruses originated from a common source, even though they were obtained from birds in distant geographical regions. All H7N1 and H7N8 viruses were LPAIV, except a H7N1 highly pathogenic AIV (HPAIV), A/Pekin robin/California/30412/1994(H7N1) virus. Our results support the continued need for regulation of the captive wild bird trade to reduce the risk of introduction and dissemination of both LPAIV and HPAIV throughout the world.

RevDate: 2019-05-19

Lee VE, McIvor GE, A Thornton (2019)

Testing relationship recognition in wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula).

Scientific reports, 9(1):6710 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-43247-x.

According to the social intelligence hypothesis, understanding the challenges faced by social animals is key to understanding the evolution of cognition. In structured social groups, recognising the relationships of others is often important for predicting the outcomes of interactions. Third-party relationship recognition has been widely investigated in primates, but studies of other species are limited. Furthermore, few studies test for third-party relationship recognition in the wild, where cognitive abilities are deployed in response to natural socio-ecological pressures. Here, we used playback experiments to investigate whether wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula) track changes in their own relationships and the relationships of others. Females were presented with 'infidelity simulations': playbacks of their male partner copulating with a neighbouring female, and their male neighbour copulating with another female, against a congruent control. Our results showed substantial inter-individual variation in responses, but females did not respond more strongly to infidelity playbacks, indicating that jackdaws may not attend and/or respond to relationship information in this experimental context. Our results highlight the need for further study of relationship recognition and other cognitive traits that facilitate group-living in the wild, particularly in non-primates and in a wider range of social systems.

RevDate: 2019-08-26
CmpDate: 2019-08-26

Hung A, Gedey R, Groeneweg M, et al (2019)

A Primer for Managed Care Residents: How to Conduct Research Using Live Medical and Pharmacy Claims Data.

Journal of managed care & specialty pharmacy, 25(5):538-543.

Managed care organizations are growing more sophisticated in their ability to analyze data. There are increasing numbers of data analysts at managed care organizations, as well as more types of real-time, or "live," data available. These data range from pharmacy claims and enrollment files to medical claims, medical records, and linkages to external data. Moreover, the data are often curated in a way that allows for easier data analysis. Using these data, managed care residents are often required to perform a project to evaluate a utilization management policy or clinical program. Yet, there is a lack of guidance specific to managed care organizations on how to conduct such a research study using "live" claims data. This Viewpoint article provides a primer for managed care residents and other managed care professionals who are seeking to use data to help inform decisions on how to manage their beneficiaries' health and costs. DISCLOSURES: There was no funding source for this manuscript. Hung reports a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and personal fees from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, outside the submitted work. Gedey, Groeneweg, and Jay have nothing to disclose.

RevDate: 2019-04-25

Wang W, Wang A, Yang Y, et al (2019)

Composition, diversity and function of gastrointestinal microbiota in wild red-billed choughs (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).

International microbiology : the official journal of the Spanish Society for Microbiology pii:10.1007/s10123-019-00076-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Hitherto, virtually nothing is known about the microbial communities related to the bird species in the family Corvidae. To fill this gap, the present study was conducted to provide a baseline description of the gut microbiota of wild red-billed choughs (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax). In this study, microbiota from four gastrointestinal locations (oropharynx, gizzard, small intestine, and large intestine) of three wild red-billed choughs were analyzed using the Illumina MiSeq sequencing platform by targeting the V4-V5 regions of the 16S rRNA genes. The gut microbiota of the red-billed choughs were dominated by the phylum Firmicutes (59.56%), followed by Proteobacteria (16.56%), Bacteroidetes (13.86%), and Actinobacteria (7.03%), which were commonly detected in avian gut ecosystems. Genus-level compositions were found to be largely dominated by Lactobacillus (18.21%), Weissella (12.37%), Erysipelatoclostridium (6.94%), Bacteroides (6.63%), Escherichia-Shigella (5.15%), Leuconostoc (4.60%), Proteus (3.33%), Carnobacterium (2.71%), Lactococcus (1.69%), and Enterococcus (1.63%). The overall intestinal microbiota was enriched with functions related to ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, DNA repair and recombination proteins, purine metabolism, ribosome, transcription factors, pyrimidine metabolism, peptidases, and two-component system. In terms of four different gastrointestinal locations, hierarchical clustering analysis and principal coordinate analysis showed that microbial communities of the oropharynx, gizzard, small intestine, and large intestine formed four separated clusters. A total of 825 OTUs and 382 genera were detected in all four gastrointestinal locations, which were considered as the major microbes in the intestines of red-billed choughs. Coexistence of lactic acid bacteria and potential pathogens in the gut environments of red-billed choughs required further investigations.

RevDate: 2019-07-16

Hildebrand J, Pyrka E, Sitko J, et al (2019)

Molecular phylogeny provides new insights on the taxonomy and composition of Lyperosomum Looss, 1899 (Digenea, Dicrocoeliidae) and related genera.

International journal for parasitology. Parasites and wildlife, 9:90-99 pii:S2213-2244(19)30042-2.

Lyperosomum Looss, 1899 is one of the largest genera of the Dicrocoeliidae and is one of the best examples of the systematic complexity and taxonomic instability within this family. We present the molecular analyses based on novel sequences of nuclear and mitochondrial genes obtained from 56 isolates of adult flukes and larval stages of dicrocoeliids belonging to Lyperosomum, Skrjabinus, Zonorchis as well as previously available sequence data. According to obtained results we propose to return Zonorchis clathratus and Z. petiolatus into Lyperosomum, and to recognize L. alagesi as a synonym of L. petiolatum. Our study shows that L. petiolatum commonly occurs in Europe in corvids as well as in several species of migratory songbirds, e.g. Sylvia atricapilla. At the same time, the Turdidae appear to host a distinct species of Lyperosomum. The phylogenetic analysis has clearly demonstrated the paraphylepic nature of Lyperosomum and indicated the need of its thorough revision preferably using specimens from type hosts and type territories of nominal species. In addition, inclusion of numerous not yet sequenced dicrocoeliid genera into future phylogenetic studies is necessary to clarify the interrelationships of taxa within the family and stabilize its system.

RevDate: 2019-04-22

Zurfluh K, Albini S, Mattmann P, et al (2019)

Antimicrobial resistant and extended-spectrum β-lactamase producing Escherichia coli in common wild bird species in Switzerland.

MicrobiologyOpen [Epub ahead of print].

A total of 294 fecal swabs from 294 wild birds in Switzerland were cultivated for antimicrobial resistant (AMR) Escherichia coli. Samples were also subcultivated to detect E. coli with extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBL), carbapenemases, and plasmid-mediated aminoglycoside or colistin resistance, respectively. Samples from 17 (5.8%) of the birds contained 19 AMR E. coli, whereof 26.3% were multidrug resistant. Five (1.7%) ESBL-producing E. coli were detected. The isolates harbored blaCTX-M-1 (two isolated from carrion crows and from one great spotted woodpecker, respectively), blaCTX-M-15 (originating from a grey heron), blaCTX-M-55 (from a carrion crow), and blaCTX-M-65 (from a common blackbird). Phylogenetic analysis assigned three isolates to commensal phylogroups A and B1, one to extraintestinal pathogenic group B2, and one to phylogroup F. Multilocus sequence typing identified sequence types (STs) that have been found previously in ESBL E. coli in wild birds (ST58, ST205, ST540). One isolate harboring blaCTX-M-55 was assigned to the recently emerged fluoroquinolone-resistant, extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli clone ST1193. Wild birds have the potential to disperse AMR, including clinically important resistance genes, from anthropogenic-influenced habitats to diverse areas, including vulnerable natural environments such as surface waters or mountain regions.

RevDate: 2019-04-22

Te Nijenhuis J, Choi YY, van den Hoek M, et al (2019)

Spearman's hypothesis tested comparing Korean young adults with various other groups of young adults on the items of the Advanced Progressive Matrices.

Journal of biosocial science pii:S0021932019000026 [Epub ahead of print].

Spearman's hypothesis tested at the subtest level of an IQ battery states that differences between races on the subtests of an IQ battery are a function of the g loadings of these subtests, such that there are small differences between races on subtests with low g loadings and large differences between races on subtests with high g loadings. Jensen (1998) stated that Spearman's hypothesis is a law-like phenomenon. It has also been confirmed many times at the level of items of the Raven's Progressive Matrices. This study hypothesizes that with concern to Spearman's hypothesis, subtests and items function in fundamentally the same way, and tested whether Spearman's hypothesis is confirmed at the item level for White-East Asian comparisons. A group of Korean young adults (N=205) was compared with other groups of young adults from Canada, the US, Russia, Peru and South Africa (total N=4770) who took the Advanced Progressive Matrices. Spearman's hypothesis was strongly confirmed with a sample-size-weighted r with a value of 0.63. Computing the g loadings of the items of the Raven with either the Raven-g or the Wechsler-g led to the same conclusions. Tests of Spearman's hypothesis yielded less-strong outcomes when the 36-item Advanced Progressive Matrices were used than when the 60-item Standard Progressive Matrices were used. There is a substantial correlation between sample size and the outcome of Spearman's hypothesis. So, all four hypotheses were confirmed, showing that a part of the subtest-level nomological net replicates at the item level, strengthening the position that, with concern to Spearman's hypothesis, subtests and items function fundamentally the same. It is concluded that Spearman's hypothesis is still a law-like phenomenon. Detailed suggestions for follow-up research are made.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Gryz J, D Krauze-Gryz (2019)

Pigeon and Poultry Breeders, Friends or Enemies of the Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis? A Long-Term Study of a Population in Central Poland.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(4): pii:ani9040141.

In this study, we focused on a goshawk population in central Poland (study area 105 km²,forests 24 km², seven small forest complexes) which was monitored long-term (with high densitiesrecorded in the 1980s of 16.3 pairs/100 km² despite persecution by farmers) to analyse howenvironmental factors (prey availability and changes in the forest structure) influenced populationabundance, breeding parameters, and diet composition. The study was undertaken from 2011-2018,and the results were compared with published data from two previous study periods (1982-1992and 2001-2003). The number of breeding pairs dropped from 17.1 to 8.0; the breeding success wasaround 75% in all study periods. The selection of nesting trees followed the changes in stand speciesand age structure. More nesting attempts per one nest were recorded in the current time period (1.7 vs.1.1), which probably reflected lower anthropopressure (i.e., no cases of persecution were recordedin this study). Diet composition seemed to follow changes in the prey availability: The share ofdomestic pigeons and poultry (the main prey in the 1980s) as well as small game dropped, whilethe share of Eurasian jay and wood pigeon increased. Our studies suggested that anthropogenicfood (poultry and domestic pigeons) played a key role for the goshawk population in thetransformed habitats of the field and forest mosaic.

RevDate: 2019-04-14

Vibert N, Braasch JLG, Darles D, et al (2019)

Adolescents' Developing Sensitivity to Orthographic and Semantic Cues During Visual Search for Words.

Frontiers in psychology, 10:642.

Two eye-tracking experiments were conducted to assess the influence of words either looking like the target word (orthographic distractors) or semantically related to the target word (semantic distractors) on visual search for words within lists by adolescents of 11, 13, and 15 years of age. In Experiment 1 (literal search task), participants saw the target word before the search (e.g., "raven"), whereas in Experiment 2 (categorical task) the target word was only defined by its semantic category (e.g., "bird"). In both experiments, participants' search times decreased from fifth to ninth grade, both because older adolescents gazed less often at non-target words during the search and because they could reject non-target words more quickly once they were fixated. Progress in visual search efficiency was associated with a large increase in word identification skills, which were a strong determinant of average gaze durations and search times for the categorical task, but much less for the literal task. In the literal task, the presence of orthographic or semantic distractors in the list increased search times for all age groups. In the categorical task, the impact of semantic distractor words was stronger than in the literal task because participants needed to gaze at the semantic distractors longer than at the other words before rejecting them. Altogether, the data support the assumption that the progressive automation of word decoding up until the age of 12 and the better quality of older adolescents' lexical representations facilitate a flexible use of both the perceptual and semantic features of words for top-down guidance within the displays. In particular, older adolescents were better prepared to aim at or reject words without gazing at them directly. Finally, the overall similar progression of the maturation of single word visual search processes and that of more real-life information search within complex verbal documents suggests that the young adolescents' difficulties in searching the Web effectively could be due to their insufficiently developed lexical representations and word decoding abilities.

RevDate: 2019-05-06
CmpDate: 2019-05-06

Hanage WP (2019)

Two Health or Not Two Health? That Is the Question.

mBio, 10(2): pii:mBio.00550-19.

How much drug-resistant infections in livestock contribute to disease in humans is controversial. While zoonoses are a prominent cause of emerging infections, and the profligate use of antibiotics as growth promoters is expected to lead to the spread of resistance, this resistance could remain concentrated in animal pathogens and only rarely spill over into humans. A recent paper compares genomes of Escherichia coli isolates from human bloodstream infections in England, focused on the Cambridge area, with isolates collected from farms and the food chain in the east of the country, seeking evidence of transmission (C. Ludden, K. E. Raven, D. Jamrozy, T. Gouliouris, et al., mBio 10:e02693-18, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02693-18). While the human and livestock populations were clearly distinct, with very limited evidence for transmission of E. coli or resistance elements to humans, the results also illustrate our limited ability to infer historical transmission events from even the best samples. The implications for the One Health framework, aiming to unify human and veterinary medicine, are discussed.

RevDate: 2019-07-16

McMillan JR, Marcet PL, Hoover CM, et al (2019)

Feeding Success and Host Selection by Culex quinquefasciatus Say Mosquitoes in Experimental Trials.

Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.), 19(7):540-548.

Arthropod vector feeding preferences are defined as an overutilization of a particular host species given its abundance in relationship to other species in the community. Numerous methods exist to quantify vector feeding preferences; however, controlled host choice experiments are generally an underutilized approach. In this report, we present results from controlled vector host choice experiments using Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae) mosquitoes and wild avian hosts identified as important contributors to West Nile virus (WNv) transmission in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. In each experiment, we allowed lab-reared F1Cx. quinquefasciatus to feed freely overnight on two avian individuals of a different species (i.e., northern cardinals, American robins, blue jays, brown thrashers, and gray catbirds). We then estimated WNv transmission potential using vectorial capacity and R0. We found that mosquito blood feeding success was extremely variable among experimental replicates and that patterns of host choice only occasionally aggregated to a particular bird species. Vectorial capacity was highest for American robins and blue jays due to these species' higher reservoir competence for WNv and greater probabilities of mosquito selection of these species. Despite species-specific differences in vectorial capacity, total community capacity was similar among species pairs. R0 estimates were qualitatively similar to capacity, and R0 was below and above unity across species pairs. Our results provide empirical evidence that C. quinquefasciatus is an opportunistic blood feeder and highlight how variability in vector-host contact rates as well as host community composition can influence the likelihood of WNv transmission in avian communities.

RevDate: 2019-04-11

Jelbert SA, Miller R, Schiestl M, et al (2019)

New Caledonian crows infer the weight of objects from observing their movements in a breeze.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 286(1894):20182332.

Humans use a variety of cues to infer an object's weight, including how easily objects can be moved. For example, if we observe an object being blown down the street by the wind, we can infer that it is light. Here, we tested whether New Caledonian crows make this type of inference. After training that only one type of object (either light or heavy) was rewarded when dropped into a food dispenser, birds observed pairs of novel objects (one light and one heavy) suspended from strings in front of an electric fan. The fan was either on-creating a breeze which buffeted the light, but not the heavy, object-or off, leaving both objects stationary. In subsequent test trials, birds could drop one, or both, of the novel objects into the food dispenser. Despite having no opportunity to handle these objects prior to testing, birds touched the correct object (light or heavy) first in 73% of experimental trials, and were at chance in control trials. Our results suggest that birds used pre-existing knowledge about the behaviour exhibited by differently weighted objects in the wind to infer their weight, using this information to guide their choices.

RevDate: 2019-04-10

Klump BC, Cantat M, C Rutz (2019)

Raw-material selectivity in hook-tool-crafting New Caledonian crows.

Biology letters, 15(2):20180836.

Animals that manufacture foraging tools face the challenge of identifying suitable raw materials among a multitude of options. New Caledonian crows exhibit strong population-specific material preferences for the manufacture of hooked stick tools, but it is unknown how they identify their favourite plants. We investigated experimentally whether crows pay attention to the stems of plants (from which the tools are made) and/or their leaves (which are usually discarded during manufacture but may enable rapid and reliable species identification at a distance). Subjects were highly selective in choice trials with multiple plant species. Two additional treatments with experimental leaf-stem combinations revealed that birds can identify their preferred plant species by its stems alone, and possibly also its leaves. These findings encourage future experiments that investigate whether New Caledonian crows attend to features of the stem that are required for the production of efficient hooked stick tools. Our study provides one of the most detailed assessments to date of how non-human animals identify raw materials for tool manufacture.

RevDate: 2019-06-06
CmpDate: 2019-06-06

Muigai W (2019)

"Something Wasn't Clean": Black Midwifery, Birth, and Postwar Medical Education in All My Babies.

Bulletin of the history of medicine, 93(1):82-113.

Set in rural Georgia, the 1953 health film All My Babies: A Midwife's Own Story was a government-sponsored project intended as a training tool for midwives. The film was unique to feature a black midwife and a live birth at a time when southern health officials blamed midwives for the region's infant mortality rates. Produced by the young filmmaker George Stoney, All My Babies was praised for its educational value and, as this article demonstrates, was a popular feature in postwar medical education. Yet as it drew acclaim, the film also sparked debates within and beyond medical settings concerning its portrayal of midwifery, birth, and health care for African Americans. In tracing the controversies over the film's messages and representations, this article argues that All My Babies exemplified the power and limits of health films to address the complexities of race and health during an era of Jim Crow segregation.

RevDate: 2019-04-04

Bocanegra BR, Poletiek FH, Ftitache B, et al (2019)

Intelligent problem-solvers externalize cognitive operations.

Nature human behaviour, 3(2):136-142.

Humans are nature's most intelligent and prolific users of external props and aids (such as written texts, slide-rules and software packages). Here we introduce a method for investigating how people make active use of their task environment during problem-solving and apply this approach to the non-verbal Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices test for fluid intelligence. We designed a click-and-drag version of the Raven test in which participants could create different external spatial configurations while solving the puzzles. In our first study, we observed that the click-and-drag test was better than the conventional static test at predicting academic achievement of university students. This pattern of results was partially replicated in a novel sample. Importantly, environment-altering actions were clustered in between periods of apparent inactivity, suggesting that problem-solvers were delicately balancing the execution of internal and external cognitive operations. We observed a systematic relationship between this critical phasic temporal signature and improved test performance. Our approach is widely applicable and offers an opportunity to quantitatively assess a powerful, although understudied, feature of human intelligence: our ability to use external objects, props and aids to solve complex problems.

RevDate: 2019-04-15
CmpDate: 2019-04-15

Mostafiz WR, Carley DW, Viana MGC, et al (2019)

Changes in sleep and airway variables in patients with obstructive sleep apnea after mandibular advancement splint treatment.

American journal of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics : official publication of the American Association of Orthodontists, its constituent societies, and the American Board of Orthodontics, 155(4):498-508.

INTRODUCTION: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an extensive public health problem that imposes considerable morbidity. Mandibular advancement splint (MAS) therapy is a well tolerated treatment, but success rates are difficult to predict. Our objective was to investigate the relationship of oropharyngeal airway dimensions, sleep characteristics, patient biometrics, and treatment response within an OSA patient sample.

METHODS: Records of 33 adults were assessed retrospectively with the use of Dolphin 3D and Image J to measure the airway on pretreatment supine cone-beam computed tomography images and derived lateral cephalograms. The patients used Somnodent (Somnomed; Crows Nest, Australia) MAS appliances, which were titrated over 6-8 weeks. Appliance titration measurements and pre- and posttreatment polysomnograms were assessed. Respiratory disturbance index (RDI), absolute and percentage changes in RDI, non-rapid eye movement (NREM) RDI, rapid eye movement (REM) RDI, supine and nonsupine NREM and REM RDI, and minimal blood-oxygen saturation variables were evaluated. The associations of measurements from 2D and 3D minimal anterior-posterior linear distance and 3D airway variables with MAS treatment response were estimated.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Combined effects of baseline total airway volume, body mass index, neck circumference, location of minimal cross sectional area, and OSA severity were associated with treatment response. Patients with higher initial OSA and more superiorly located airway constriction showed enhanced treatment response to MAS therapy. Airway constriction due to maxillofacial disproportions rather than soft tissue obstruction also showed better treatment response. No significant relationships were found in lateral cephalogram measurements.

RevDate: 2019-09-03
CmpDate: 2019-09-03

Hamner S, Brown BL, Hasan NA, et al (2019)

Metagenomic Profiling of Microbial Pathogens in the Little Bighorn River, Montana.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(7): pii:ijerph16071097.

The Little Bighorn River is the primary source of water for water treatment plants serving the local Crow Agency population, and has special significance in the spiritual and ceremonial life of the Crow tribe. Unfortunately, the watershed suffers from impaired water quality, with high counts of fecal coliform bacteria routinely measured during run-off events. A metagenomic analysis was carried out to identify potential pathogens in the river water. The Oxford Nanopore MinION platform was used to sequence DNA in near real time to identify both uncultured and a coliform-enriched culture of microbes collected from a popular summer swimming area of the Little Bighorn River. Sequences were analyzed using CosmosID bioinformatics and, in agreement with previous studies, enterohemorrhagic and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli and other E. coli pathotypes were identified. Noteworthy was detection and identification of enteroaggregative E. coli O104:H4 and Vibrio cholerae serotype O1 El Tor, however, cholera toxin genes were not identified. Other pathogenic microbes, as well as virulence genes and antimicrobial resistance markers, were also identified and characterized by metagenomic analyses. It is concluded that metagenomics provides a useful and potentially routine tool for identifying in an in-depth manner microbial contamination of waterways and, thereby, protecting public health.

RevDate: 2019-04-03

Boucherie PH, Loretto MC, Massen JJM, et al (2019)

What constitutes "social complexity" and "social intelligence" in birds? Lessons from ravens.

Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, 73(1):12.

In the last decades, the assumption that complex social life is cognitively challenging, and thus can drive mental evolution, has received much support from empirical studies in nonhuman primates. While extending the scope to other mammals and birds, different views have been adopted on what constitutes social complexity and which specific cognitive skills are selected for. Notably, many avian species form "open" groups as non-breeders (i.e., seasonally and before sexual maturity) that have been largely ignored as potential sources of social complexity. Reviewing 30 years of research on ravens, we illustrate the socio-ecological conditions faced by these birds as non-breeders and discuss how these relate to their socio-cognitive skills. We argue that the non-breeding period is key to understand raven social life and, to a larger extent, avian social life in general. We furthermore emphasize how the combination of the large-scale perspective (defining social system components: e.g., social organization, mating system) and the individual-scale perspective on social systems allows to better capture the complete set of social challenges experienced by individuals throughout their life, ultimately resulting on a more comprehensive understanding of species' social complexity.

RevDate: 2019-07-01

Maron JL, Agrawal AA, DW Schemske (2019)

Plant-herbivore coevolution and plant speciation.

Ecology, 100(7):e02704.

More than five decades ago, Ehrlich and Raven proposed a revolutionary idea-that the evolution of novel plant defense could spur adaptive radiation in plants. Despite motivating much work on plant-herbivore coevolution and defense theory, Ehrlich and Raven never proposed a mechanism for their "escape and radiate" model. Recent intriguing mechanisms proposed by Marquis et al. include sympatric divergence, pleiotropic effects of plant defense traits on reproductive isolation, and strong postzygotic isolation, but these may not be general features of herbivore-mediated speciation. An alternate view is that herbivores may impose strong divergent selection on defenses in allopatric plant populations, with plant-herbivore coevolution driving local adaptation resulting in plant speciation. Building on these ideas, we propose three scenarios that consider the role of herbivores in plant speciation. These include (1) vicariance, subsequent coevolution within populations and adaptive divergence between geographically isolated populations, (2) colonization of a new habitat lacking effective herbivores followed by loss of defense and then re-evolution and coevolution of defense in response to novel herbivores, and (3) evolution of a new defense followed by range expansion, vicariance, and coevolution. We discuss the general role of coevolution in plant speciation and consider outstanding issues related to understanding: (1) the mechanisms behind cospeciation of plants and insects, (2) geographic variation in defense phenotypes, (3) how defensive traits and geography map on plant phylogenies, and (4) the role of herbivores in driving character displacement in defense phenotypes of related species in sympatry.

RevDate: 2019-05-24

Matsui H, EI Izawa (2019)

Control of bill-grasping aperture with varying food size in crows.

Neuroreport, 30(7):522-525.

Grasping movement in primates is known to be a visually guided behavior and the aperture of hand opening is adjusted to the target size on the basis of visual information. The analogous behavior can be found in birds, called 'pecking', consisting of head-reaching and bill-grasping. Bill-grasping has been investigated mainly in pigeons and an aperture adjustment as seen in primates has been reported. This study focused on kinematics of pecking in crows, known to possess dexterous visuomotor skills, to examine whether crows adjust the grasping aperture to food diameter with a kinematic mechanism similar to that in pigeons. The pecking at a small piece of food was video recorded to analyze the grasping aperture. The results showed that the grasping aperture was proportional to food diameter. Kinematic analysis showed that the aperture adjustment was mediated by grasping velocity and grasping duration, which is consistent with the findings of previous research on pecking in pigeons. However, the relative contribution of grasping velocity was much higher than that of grasping duration. Our findings suggest the different sensorimotor mechanisms to control bill-grasping between the avian species with different foraging ecology.

RevDate: 2019-06-13
CmpDate: 2019-06-10

Knief U, Bossu CM, Saino N, et al (2019)

Epistatic mutations under divergent selection govern phenotypic variation in the crow hybrid zone.

Nature ecology & evolution, 3(4):570-576.

The evolution of genetic barriers opposing interspecific gene flow is key to the origin of new species. Drawing from information on over 400 admixed genomes sourced from replicate transects across the European hybrid zone between all-black carrion crows and grey-coated hooded crows, we decipher the interplay between phenotypic divergence and selection at the molecular level. Over 68% of plumage variation was explained by epistasis between the gene NDP and a ~2.8-megabase region on chromosome 18 with suppressed recombination. Both pigmentation loci showed evidence for divergent selection resisting introgression. This study reveals how few, large-effect loci can govern prezygotic isolation and shield phenotypic divergence from gene flow.

RevDate: 2019-08-18

Dobson AE, Schmidt DJ, JM Hughes (2019)

Heritability of plumage colour morph variation in a wild population of promiscuous, long-lived Australian magpies.

Heredity, 123(3):349-358.

Colour polymorphisms have evolutionary significance for the generation and maintenance of species diversity. Demonstrating heritability of polymorphic traits can be challenging for wild populations of long-lived species because accurate information is required on trait expression and familial relationships. The Australian magpie Cracticus tibicen has a continent-wide distribution featuring several distinct plumage morphs, differing primarily in colour of back feathers. Black or white-backed morphs occur in eastern Australia, with intermediate morphs common in a narrow hybrid zone where the two morphs meet. This study investigated heritability of back colour phenotypes in a hybrid zone population (Seymour, Victoria) based on long-term observational data and DNA samples collected over an 18 year period (1993-2010). High extra-pair paternity (~ 36% offspring), necessitated verification of parent-offspring relationships by parentage analysis. A total of 538 birds (221 parents and 317 offspring) from 36 territories were analysed. Back colour was a continuous trait scored on a five-morph scale in the field (0-4). High and consistent estimates of back colour heritability (h2) were obtained via weighted mid-parent regression (h2 = 0.94) and by animal models (h2 = 0.92, C.I. 0.80-0.99). Single-parent heritability estimates indicated neither maternal nor paternal non-genetic effects (e.g., parent body condition) played a large role in determining offspring back colour, and environmental effects of territory group and cohort contributed little to trait heritability. Distinctive back colouration of the Australian magpie behaves as a quantitative trait that is likely polygenic, although mechanisms responsible for maintaining these geographically structured morphs and the hybrid zone where they meet are unknown.

RevDate: 2019-03-29

Milakovich J, Simonds VW, Held S, et al (2018)

Children as Agents of Change: Parent Perceptions of Child-driven Environmental Health Communication in the Crow Community.

Journal of health disparities research and practice, 11(3):115-127.

RevDate: 2019-03-25

Wu T, Shen H, Sheng Y, et al (2019)

Use of cognitive correction training improves learning for children with mathematics learning disability.

Applied neuropsychology. Child [Epub ahead of print].

Children with normal intelligence may experience varying degrees of mathematics learning disabilities (MD). This study aims to conduct training to improve the brain's cognitive ability for mathematics learning by focusing on two important mathematical cognitive abilities. This was a prospective study of 70 children in grades 2-5 from two primary schools in Changzhou and with MD enrolled from June 2015 to February 2017. The children were randomized 1:1 to the training and control groups. A training cycle included 40 sessions (5/weeks) (30 min each session). The efficacy of learning was assessed by assessing number learning and graph reasoning, and by using the Raven standard reasoning test score. In the training group, backward number memory (from 6.1 ± 1.8 to 6.7 ± 1.3, P = 0.02), number sequential connection (from 54.4 ± 14.5 to 47.1 ± 12.1, P < 0.01), and rapid graph judgment (from 531.9 ± 76.3 to 557.8 ± 85.7, P = 0.04) were improved by training, while there was no effect on forward number memory (P = 0.13). There were significant differences in total score and scores of b, c, and e series before and after training (all P < 0.05). The children in the control group had no improvement after 8 weeks. There was a correlation between the ability of rapid graphic judgment before and after training and the score of the Raven E series (r = 0.384, P = 0.024), and between the score of the Raven C series and the score of the Raven D series (r = 0.468, P = 0.013). Cognitive correction training improved the sensitivity to numbers and mathematics learning in children with MD.

RevDate: 2019-03-29

Policht R, Hart V, Goncharov D, et al (2019)

Vocal recognition of a nest-predator in black grouse.

PeerJ, 7:e6533 pii:6533.

Corvids count among the important predators of bird nests. They are vocal animals and one can expect that birds threatened by their predation, such as black grouse, are sensitive to and recognize their calls. Within the framework of field studies, we noticed that adult black grouse were alerted by raven calls during periods outside the breeding season. Since black grouse are large, extremely precocial birds, this reaction can hardly be explained by sensitization specifically to the threat of nest predation by ravens. This surprising observation prompted us to study the phenomenon more systematically. According to our knowledge, the response of birds to corvid vocalization has been studied in altricial birds only. We tested whether the black grouse distinguishes and responds specifically to playback calls of the common raven. Black grouse recognized raven calls and were alerted, displaying typical neck stretching, followed by head scanning, and eventual escape. Surprisingly, males tended to react faster and exhibited a longer duration of vigilance behavior compared to females. Although raven calls are recognized by adult black grouse out of the nesting period, they are not directly endangered by the raven. We speculate that the responsiveness of adult grouse to raven calls might be explained as a learned response in juveniles from nesting hens that is then preserved in adults, or by a known association between the raven and the red fox. In that case, calls of the raven would be rather interpreted as a warning signal of probable proximity of the red fox.

RevDate: 2019-03-19

Bugnyar T (2019)

Tool Use: New Caledonian Crows Engage in Mental Planning.

Current biology : CB, 29(6):R200-R202.

New Caledonian crows are able to flexibly use different tools in a sequence to retrieve food, whereby each step is out-of-sight of the others. Mental planning is thus not a human-specific trait.

RevDate: 2019-07-12
CmpDate: 2019-07-12

Triantafyllidou E, Moraitou D, Kaklamanaki E, et al (2019)

Retrogenetic models of working memory: Preliminary multi-group analysis.

Hellenic journal of nuclear medicine, 22 Suppl:4-16.

AIM: The aim of the present study was the qualitative comparison of working memory capacity of young children and older adults through the investigation of the latent structure stability or change in Working Memory capacity (WM) in childhood and aging, using Multiple Group Confirmatory Factor Analysis (MGCFA).

METHOD: The sample consisted of 62 kindergarten and 56 elementary school students (age range: 4-8 years) and 52 young-old adults and 54 old-old adults (age range: 60-94 years). Adults were asked to complete the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Geriatric Depression Scale-15 (GDS-15) as screening tests. The children were examined via the Raven Colored Progressive Matrix (CMP) test for the same reason. WM was examined via four measures of Working Memory Test Battery for Children (WMTB-C).

RESULTS: MGCFA applied to the data of the kindergarten students' subsample, elementary school students' subsample, young-old and old-old adults' subsamples as well as of older adults with low (0-9 years of education) educational level. Initially, through MGCFA, four "models" were confirmed, one for each age-related subsample, and they were different from each other. However, when the same method was applied exclusively to young-old and old-old adults with low educational level, the models that emerged were similar to the kindergarten students' model.

CONCLUSION: When we "keep" the educational level equal (low) for all, the hypothesis of retrogenesis is confirmed. Cognitive reserve appears to be protective, keeping differentiated WM's components in every age group other than that of kindergarten students. The results support the "retrogenetic" hypothesis, mainly due to the finding of a delay in WM components' development in the group of kindergarten students, and their dedifferentiation in the low-educated young-old and old-old adults.

RevDate: 2019-04-08
CmpDate: 2019-04-08

Gutiérrez-López R, Martínez-de la Puente J, Gangoso L, et al (2019)

Effects of host sex, body mass and infection by avian Plasmodium on the biting rate of two mosquito species with different feeding preferences.

Parasites & vectors, 12(1):87 pii:10.1186/s13071-019-3342-x.

BACKGROUND: The transmission of mosquito-borne pathogens is strongly influenced by the contact rates between mosquitoes and susceptible hosts. The biting rates of mosquitoes depend on different factors including the mosquito species and host-related traits (i.e. odour, heat and behaviour). However, host characteristics potentially affecting intraspecific differences in the biting rate of mosquitoes are poorly known. Here, we assessed the impact of three host-related traits on the biting rate of two mosquito species with different feeding preferences: the ornithophilic Culex pipiens and the mammophilic Ochlerotatus (Aedes) caspius. Seventy-two jackdaws Corvus monedula and 101 house sparrows Passer domesticus were individually exposed to mosquito bites to test the effect of host sex, body mass and infection status by the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium on biting rates.

RESULTS: Ochlerotatus caspius showed significantly higher biting rates than Cx. pipiens on jackdaws, but non-significant differences were found on house sparrows. In addition, more Oc. caspius fed on female than on male jackdaws, while no differences were found for Cx. pipiens. The biting rate of mosquitoes on house sparrows increased through the year. The bird infection status and body mass of both avian hosts were not related to the biting rate of both mosquito species.

CONCLUSIONS: Host sex was the only host-related trait potentially affecting the biting rate of mosquitoes, although its effect may differ between mosquito and host species.

RevDate: 2019-03-29

Shimmura T, Tamura M, Ohashi S, et al (2019)

Cholecystokinin induces crowing in chickens.

Scientific reports, 9(1):3978 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-40746-9.

Animals that communicate using sound are found throughout the animal kingdom. Interestingly, in contrast to human vocal learning, most animals can produce species-specific patterns of vocalization without learning them from their parents. This phenomenon is called innate vocalization. The underlying molecular basis of both vocal learning in humans and innate vocalization in animals remains unknown. The crowing of a rooster is also innately controlled, and the upstream center is thought to be localized in the nucleus intercollicularis (ICo) of the midbrain. Here, we show that the cholecystokinin B receptor (CCKBR) is a regulatory gene involved in inducing crowing in roosters. Crowing is known to be a testosterone (T)-dependent behavior, and it follows that roosters crow but not hens. Similarly, T-administration induces chicks to crow. By using RNA-sequencing to compare gene expression in the ICo between the two comparison groups that either crow or do not crow, we found that CCKBR expression was upregulated in T-containing groups. The expression of CCKBR and its ligand, cholecystokinin (CCK), a neurotransmitter, was observed in the ICo. We also showed that crowing was induced by intracerebroventricular administration of an agonist specific for CCKBR. Our findings therefore suggest that the CCK system induces innate vocalization in roosters.

RevDate: 2019-03-10

Uhl F, Ringler M, Miller R, et al (2019)

Counting crows: population structure and group size variation in an urban population of crows.

Behavioral ecology : official journal of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology, 30(1):57-67.

Social complexity arises from the formation of social relationships like social bonds and dominance hierarchies. In turn, these aspects may be affected by the degree of fission-fusion dynamics, i.e., changes in group size and composition over time. Whilst fission-fusion dynamics has been studied in mammals, birds have received comparably little attention, despite some species having equally complex social lives. Here, we investigated the influence of environmental factors on aspects of fission-fusion dynamics in a free-ranging population of carrion and hooded crows (Corvus corone ssp.) in the urban zoo of Vienna, Austria over a 1-year period. We investigated 1) the size and 2) spatio-temporal structure of the local flock, and 3) environmental influences on local flock and subgroup size. The local flock size varied considerably over the year, with fewest birds being present during the breeding season. The spatio-temporal structure of the local flock showed 4 distinct presence categories, of which the proportions changed significantly throughout the year. Environmental effects on both local flock and subgroup size were time of day, season, temperature, and weather, with additional pronounced effects of the structure of the surroundings and age class on subgroup size. Our findings show environmental influences on party size at the local flock and subgroup level, as well as indications of structured party composition in respect to the 4 presence categories. These results suggest that environmental factors have significant effects on fission-fusion dynamics in free-ranging crows, thereby influencing social complexity.

RevDate: 2019-07-23

Jelbert SA, Hosking RJ, Taylor AH, et al (2019)

Publisher Correction: Mental template matching is a potential cultural transmission mechanism for New Caledonian crow tool manufacturing traditions.

Scientific reports, 9(1):4151 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-37178-2.

A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML and PDF versions of this paper. The error has been fixed in the paper.

RevDate: 2019-07-25

Cortes-Rodriguez N, Campana MG, Berry L, et al (2019)

Population Genomics and Structure of the Critically Endangered Mariana Crow (Corvus kubaryi).

Genes, 10(3): pii:genes10030187.

The Mariana Crow, or Åga (Corvus kubaryi), is a critically endangered species (IUCN -International Union for Conservation of Nature), endemic to the islands of Guam and Rota in the Mariana Archipelago. It is locally extinct on Guam, and numbers have declined dramatically on Rota to a historical low of less than 55 breeding pairs throughout the island in 2013. Because of its extirpation on Guam and population decline on Rota, it is of critical importance to assess the genetic variation among individuals to assist ongoing recovery efforts. We conducted a population genomics analysis comparing the Guam and Rota populations and studied the genetic structure of the Rota population. We used blood samples from five birds from Guam and 78 birds from Rota. We identified 145,552 candidate single nucleotide variants (SNVs) from a genome sequence of an individual from Rota and selected a subset of these to develop an oligonucleotide in-solution capture assay. The Guam and Rota populations were genetically differentiated from each other. Crow populations sampled broadly across their range on Rota showed significant genetic structuring ⁻ a surprising result given the small size of this island and the good flight capabilities of the species. Knowledge of its genetic structure will help improve management strategies to help with its recovery.

RevDate: 2019-02-27

McCune KB, Jablonski P, Lee SI, et al (2019)

Captive jays exhibit reduced problem-solving performance compared to wild conspecifics.

Royal Society open science, 6(1):181311 pii:rsos181311.

Animal cognitive abilities are frequently quantified in strictly controlled settings, with laboratory-reared subjects. Results from these studies have merit for clarifying proximate mechanisms of performance and the potential upper limits of certain cognitive abilities. Researchers often assume that performance on laboratory-based assessments accurately represents the abilities of wild conspecifics, but this is infrequently tested. In this experiment, we quantified the performance of wild and captive corvid subjects on an extractive foraging task. We found that performance was not equivalent, and wild subjects were faster at problem-solving to extract the food reward. By contrast, there was no difference in the time it took for captive and wild solvers to repeat the behaviour to get additional food rewards (learning speed). Our findings differ from the few other studies that have statistically compared wild and captive performance on assessments of problem-solving and learning. This indicates that without explicitly testing it, we cannot assume that captive animal performance on experimental tasks can be generalized to the species as a whole. To better understand the causes and consequences of a variety of animal cognitive abilities, we should measure performance in the social and physical environment in which the ability in question evolved.

RevDate: 2019-02-27

L'Herpiniere KL, O'Neill LG, Russell AF, et al (2019)

Unscrambling variation in avian eggshell colour and patterning in a continent-wide study.

Royal Society open science, 6(1):181269 pii:rsos181269.

The evolutionary drivers underlying marked variation in the pigmentation of eggs within many avian species remains unclear. The leading hypotheses proposed to explain such variation advocate the roles of genetic differences, signalling and/or structural integrity. One means of testing among these hypotheses is to capitalize on museum collections of eggs obtained throughout a broad geographical range of a species to ensure sufficient variation in predictors pertaining to each hypothesis. Here, we measured coloration and patterning in eggs from 272 clutches of Australian magpies (Cracticus tibicen) collected across most of their geographical range of ca 7 million km2; encompassing eight subspecies, variation in environmental parameters, and the presence/absence of a brood parasite. We found considerable variation in background colour, as well as in the extent and distribution of patterning across eggs. There was little evidence that this variation was explained by subspecies or the contemporary presence of a brood parasite. However, measures of maximum temperature, leaf area index and soil calcium all contributed to variation in egg appearance, although their explanatory power was relatively low. Our results suggest that multiple factors combine to influence egg appearance in this species, and that even in species with highly variable eggs, coloration is not readily explained.


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

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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