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04 Dec 2023 at 01:40
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Bibliography on: Corvids (crows, jays, etc)


Robert J. Robbins is a biologist, an educator, a science administrator, a publisher, an information technologist, and an IT leader and manager who specializes in advancing biomedical knowledge and supporting education through the application of information technology. More About:  RJR | OUR TEAM | OUR SERVICES | THIS WEBSITE

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 04 Dec 2023 at 01:40 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: 2023-12-01

Ferreira J (2023)

Crows can count: role of the telencephalon.

Lab animal, 52(12):286.

RevDate: 2023-11-30
CmpDate: 2023-11-30

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

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

Scientific reports, 13(1):20908.

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

RevDate: 2023-11-27

Parameshwaran D, TC Thiagarajan (2023)

High Variability Periods in the EEG Distinguish Cognitive Brain States.

Brain sciences, 13(11):.

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-11-27
CmpDate: 2023-11-27

Cosma BM, Shirali Hossein Zade R, Jordan EN, et al (2022)

Evaluating long-read de novo assembly tools for eukaryotic genomes: insights and considerations.

GigaScience, 12:.

BACKGROUND: Assembly algorithm choice should be a deliberate, well-justified decision when researchers create genome assemblies for eukaryotic organisms from third-generation sequencing technologies. While third-generation sequencing by Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) has overcome the disadvantages of short read lengths specific to next-generation sequencing (NGS), third-generation sequencers are known to produce more error-prone reads, thereby generating a new set of challenges for assembly algorithms and pipelines. However, the introduction of HiFi reads, which offer substantially reduced error rates, has provided a promising solution for more accurate assembly outcomes. Since the introduction of third-generation sequencing technologies, many tools have been developed that aim to take advantage of the longer reads, and researchers need to choose the correct assembler for their projects.

RESULTS: We benchmarked state-of-the-art long-read de novo assemblers to help readers make a balanced choice for the assembly of eukaryotes. To this end, we used 12 real and 64 simulated datasets from different eukaryotic genomes, with different read length distributions, imitating PacBio continuous long-read (CLR), PacBio high-fidelity (HiFi), and ONT sequencing to evaluate the assemblers. We include 5 commonly used long-read assemblers in our benchmark: Canu, Flye, Miniasm, Raven, and wtdbg2 for ONT and PacBio CLR reads. For PacBio HiFi reads , we include 5 state-of-the-art HiFi assemblers: HiCanu, Flye, Hifiasm, LJA, and MBG. Evaluation categories address the following metrics: reference-based metrics, assembly statistics, misassembly count, BUSCO completeness, runtime, and RAM usage. Additionally, we investigated the effect of increased read length on the quality of the assemblies and report that read length can, but does not always, positively impact assembly quality.

CONCLUSIONS: Our benchmark concludes that there is no assembler that performs the best in all the evaluation categories. However, our results show that overall Flye is the best-performing assembler for PacBio CLR and ONT reads, both on real and simulated data. Meanwhile, best-performing PacBio HiFi assemblers are Hifiasm and LJA. Next, the benchmarking using longer reads shows that the increased read length improves assembly quality, but the extent to which that can be achieved depends on the size and complexity of the reference genome.

RevDate: 2023-11-27

Athanasakopoulou Z, Sofia M, Skampardonis V, et al (2023)

Indication of West Nile Virus (WNV) Lineage 2 Overwintering among Wild Birds in the Regions of Peloponnese and Western Greece.

Veterinary sciences, 10(11):.

West Nile virus (WNV), a zoonotic mosquito-borne virus, has recently caused human outbreaks in Europe, including Greece. Its transmission cycle in nature includes wild birds as amplifying hosts and ornithophilic mosquito vectors. The aim of this study was to assess WNV circulation among wild birds from two regions of Greece, Peloponnese and Western Greece, during 2022. To this end, a total of 511 birds belonging to 37 different species were sampled and molecularly screened. WNV RNA was detected from February to November in a total of 71 wild birds of nine species originating from both investigated regions. The first eight positive samples were sequenced on a part of NS3 and, according to the phylogenetic analysis, they belonged to evolutionary lineage 2 and presented similarity to previous outbreak-causing Greek strains (Argolis 2017, Macedonia 2010 and 2012). It was more likely to identify a PCR positive bird as the population density and the distance from water sources decreased. The present report provides evidence of WNV occurrence in both Peloponnese and Western Greece during 2022 and underlines its possible overwintering, highlighting the need for avian species surveillance to be conducted annually and throughout the year. Magpies are proposed as sentinels for WNV monitoring.

RevDate: 2023-11-27
CmpDate: 2023-11-27

Çilem Kızılpınar S, Çiğdem Aydemır M, Doğan Ö, et al (2023)


Psychiatria Danubina, 35(4):523-534.

BACKGROUND: Misattribution of motivational salience to non-salient (neutral) stimuli could be viewed as a hallmark of psychosis in schizophrenia. Studies have recently revealed increased subjective experience of emotional arousal (EA) to neutral social stimuli in paranoid schizophrenia psychosis, suggesting a misattribution of emotional salience to them. We examined this phenomenon directly by quantifying the level of EA subjectively attributed to low-arousal, neutral-valenced faces.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Patients with remitted schizophrenia (PG) (n=26), first-degree relatives of schizophrenic patients (RG) (n=25), and healthy controls (HCG) (n=36) were compared in terms of oxidative stress parameters -serum Superoxide Dismutase, Catalase, Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx), Nitrite, Nitrate, Malondialdehyde, and Total Glutathione levels-, social cognition measured by the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test and working memory measured by the N-back Task. Groups were compared, assuming that HCG had a genetically lower risk of schizophrenia compared to PG and RG.

RESULTS: HCG performed significantly better than PG and RG, who were genetically at high risk, in terms of social cognition (respectively p=0.000, p=0.014), working memory (respectively p=0.001, p=0.003), and had statistically lower Glutathione Peroxidase (GPX) level than the PG and RG (both p:0.000). After controlling for the effect of the general intellectual abilities measured by the Raven Standard Progressive Matrices Test and working memory the differences between groups on the Eyes Test disappeared (p=0.057). However, this value tended to be significant.

CONCLUSION: It was concluded that social cognition and working memory and GPx level may be used as endophenotypes and social cognition, working memory, and general intellectual skills are different but strongly related constructs. Endophenotypes guide treatment targets even after the disease has developed. The results of our study showed that in addition to psychopharmacological treatments, interventions to reduce oxidative stress and approaches to improve cognitive skills will have a positive impact on the disease's progression.

RevDate: 2023-11-24
CmpDate: 2023-11-24

Kasimov V, White RT, M Jelocnik (2023)

Draft genomes of novel avian Chlamydia abortus strains from Australian Torresian crows (Corvus orru) shed light on possible reservoir hosts and evolutionary pathways.

Microbial genomics, 9(11):.

Chlamydia abortus, an obligate intracellular bacterium, is a major causative agent of reproductive loss in ruminants, with zoonotic potential. Though this pathogen is primarily known to infect livestock, recent studies have detected and isolated genetically distinct avian strains of C. abortus from wild birds globally. Before this study, only five avian C. abortus genomes were publicly available. Therefore, we performed culture-independent probe-based whole-genome sequencing on clinical swabs positive for avian C. abortus obtained from Australian Torresian crows (Corvus orru) in 2019 and 2020. We successfully obtained draft genomes for three avian C. abortus strains (C1, C2 and C3), each comprising draft chromosomes with lengths of 1 115 667, 1 120 231 and 1 082 115 bp, and associated 7 553 bp plasmids, with a genome completeness exceeding 92 %. Molecular characterization revealed that these three strains comprise a novel sequence type (ST333), whilst phylogenetic analyses placed all three strains in a cluster with other avian C. abortus genomes. Interestingly, these three strains share a distant genomic relation (2693 single nucleotide variants) with the reference strain 15-58d/44 (ST152), isolated from a Eurasian magpie (Pica pica) in Poland, highlighting the need for more publicly available genomes. Broad comparative analyses with other avian C. abortus genomes revealed that the three draft genomes contain conserved Chlamydia genomic features, including genes coding for type III secretion system and polymorphic membrane proteins, and potential virulence factors such as the large chlamydial cytotoxin, warranting further studies. This research provides the first avian C. abortus draft genomes from Australian birds, highlighting Torresian crows as novel reservoir hosts for these potential pathogens, and demonstrates a practical methodology for sequencing novel Chlamydia genomes without relying on traditional cell culture.

RevDate: 2023-11-21

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

Innovative problem solving by wild falcons.

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

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

RevDate: 2023-11-20

Kirubalingam K, Nguyen P, Kang A, et al (2023)

Implantable Hearing Devices in Ontario: A Population-Based Study of Access to Care and Access to Devices.

Audiology & neuro-otology pii:000534384 [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: The prevalence of hearing loss in Canada is high, with many patients requiring implantable hearing devices (IHDs) as treatment for their disease severity. Despite this need, many eligible patients do not pursue these interventions. The objective of this study was to examine rates of IHD based on geographic location to understand locoregional variation in access to care.

STUDY DESIGN: This was a retrospective population-based cohort study.

SETTING: All hospitals in the Canadian province of Ontario.

METHODS: Of all patients with IHD between April 1, 1992, and March 31, 2021, cochlear implants (CIs) (4,720) and bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA) (1,125) cohorts were constructed. Place of residence was categorized based on Local Health Integrated Network (LHIN). Summary statistics for place of surgical institution based on LHIN at first surgery, name of institution of first surgery and "as the crow flies" distance (in km) between place of residence and surgical institution were calculated. Rate of implantations was calculated for LHIN regions based on number of surgeries per 1,000,000 persons/years.

RESULTS: Toronto Central, Central, Central East, and Champlain regions had >10% of patients undergoing BAHA and CI. 1,019 (90.6%) and 4,232 (89.7%) of patients receiving BAHA and CI, respectively, resided in urban/suburban regions and 94 patients (8.4%) and 436 (9.2%) resided in rural regions. The median distance between residential location and the institution was 46.4 km (interquartile range [IQR], 18.9-103.6) and 44.7 km (IQR, 15.7-96.9) for BAHA and CI, respectively. From 1992 to 2021, the number of CI and BAHA performed across Ontario increased by 17 folds and 6 folds, respectively.

CONCLUSION: This large comprehensive population study provides longitudinal insight into the access to care of IHD based on geographic factors. Our findings of the present population-based study indicate an overall increase in access to devices with disproportionate access to care based on geographic locations. Further work is needed to characterize barriers to IHD access to align with demands.

RevDate: 2023-11-18

Broekstra DC, PMN Werker (2023)

Correspondence to: Henry O'Brien, Jay Paniker and Liam Brown: Is a smartphone application as accurate as a traditional goniometer for assessing finger joint angles in Dupuytren's disease? Hand Surg Rehabil 2023 Sep 29.

RevDate: 2023-11-19

Sandkühler JF, Kersting X, Faust A, et al (2023)

The effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive performance-a randomised controlled study.

BMC medicine, 21(1):440.

BACKGROUND: Creatine is an organic compound that facilitates the recycling of energy-providing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in muscle and brain tissue. It is a safe, well-studied supplement for strength training. Previous studies have shown that supplementation increases brain creatine levels, which might increase cognitive performance. The results of studies that have tested cognitive performance differ greatly, possibly due to different populations, supplementation regimens, and cognitive tasks. This is the largest study on the effect of creatine supplementation on cognitive performance to date.

METHODS: Our trial was preregistered, cross-over, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and randomised, with daily supplementation of 5 g for 6 weeks each. We tested participants on Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices (RAPM) and on the Backward Digit Span (BDS). In addition, we included eight exploratory cognitive tests. About half of our 123 participants were vegetarians and half were omnivores.

RESULTS: Bayesian evidence supported a small beneficial effect of creatine. The creatine effect bordered significance for BDS (p = 0.064, η[2]P = 0.029) but not RAPM (p = 0.327, η[2]P = 0.008). There was no indication that creatine improved the performance of our exploratory cognitive tasks. Side effects were reported significantly more often for creatine than for placebo supplementation (p = 0.002, RR = 4.25). Vegetarians did not benefit more from creatine than omnivores.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study, in combination with the literature, implies that creatine might have a small beneficial effect. Larger studies are needed to confirm or rule out this effect. Given the safety and broad availability of creatine, this is well worth investigating; a small effect could have large benefits when scaled over time and over many people.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial was prospectively registered (drks.de identifier: DRKS00017250, https://osf.io/xpwkc/).

RevDate: 2023-11-15

Watanabe T, Tahara K, E Hirano (2023)

Evaluating the Impact of a Cream Containing Horse Placental Extract on Eye Corner Wrinkles in Healthy Women: Single-Blind Comparative Study.

JMIR dermatology, 6:e51070 pii:v6i1e51070.

BACKGROUND: Placental extract has been mostly used in skin care for cosmetic purposes. However, the use of various placental extracts has been limited due to the lack of established and effective application methods.

OBJECTIVE: In this study, we investigated the antiwrinkle effect of a cream formulation-LNC wrinkle eye cream (LNC-EC)-containing horse placental extract as the main ingredient.

METHODS: A total of 24 healthy women, aged 37-54 years, with wrinkle grades 1-3, were treated with LNC-EC for 2 weeks. The cream was applied on one-half of the participants' faces, and the results were compared with the untreated half of the face.

RESULTS: Visual inspection, using the wrinkle grade standard, showed that the area treated with LNC-EC had a significantly lower wrinkle grade than the untreated area when comparing before and after the application of LNC-EC. In addition, replica analysis showed a significant reduction in both the maximum wrinkle width and the number of wrinkles in the LNC-EC-treated area in comparison to the untreated area before and after the application. These results suggest that LNC-EC has an antiwrinkle effect on the corners of the eyes based on parameters like the maximum wrinkle width and the number of wrinkles.

CONCLUSIONS: LNC-EC, with horse placental extract as its main ingredient, was shown to be effective in improving wrinkles at the eye corners, presumably due to a reduction in the maximum wrinkle width and the number of wrinkles. Interpretation of the results is limited because this study was conducted only in the intervention group. A randomized controlled trial with a placebo control group is necessary to verify the antiwrinkle effects of horse placental extract.

RevDate: 2023-11-16

Sen K, Llewellyn M, Taheri B, et al (2023)

Mechanism of fungal remediation of wetland water: Stropharia rugosoannulata as promising fungal species for the development of biofilters to remove clinically important pathogenic and antibiotic resistant bacteria in contaminated water.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1234586.

Mycoremediation uses mushroom forming fungi for remediation of sites contaminated with biotic and abiotic contaminants. The root-like hyphae of many fungi, the mycelia, have been used to remediate soil and water. In this study mushroom mycelia biofilters were evaluated for remediation efficacy of wetland water polluted with crow feces containing antibiotic resistant (AMR) bacteria. Three strains of fungi, Pleurotus ostreatus, Stropharia rugosoannulata, and Pleurotus pulmonarius, were allowed to develop dense mycelia for 3-5 weeks on wood chips within cylindrical jars. Biofilter jars were incubated with wetland water (WW) obtained from a crow roost area that was additionally spiked with AMR bacteria isolated from previous crow fecal collections. E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, Campylobacter jejuni, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Salmonella enteritidis were added at concentrations of 1,500-3,500 CFU/100 ml. Remediation was calculated from bacterial counts or gene copy numbers (GCN), before and after passage of water through jars. Stropharia and P. pulmonarius biofilters remediated all bacteria, but Klebsiella, in the range of 43-78%, after 1 h. Incubation of water for 24 h showed Stropharia remediation to be superior relative to other tested fungi. Percent remediation varied as follows: S. aureus-100%, E. faecium-97%, C. jejuni-59%, P. aeruginosa-54%, E. coli-65% and S. enteritidis-27%. The mechanism of remediation was tested by removing the mycelium from the biofilter column after passage of water, followed by extraction of DNA. Association of bacterial DNA with the mycelia was demonstrated by qPCR for all bacteria, except S. aureus and Salmonella. Depending on the bacteria, the GCN ranged from 3,500 to 54,000/250 mg of mycelia. Thus, some of the ways in which mycelia biofilters decrease bacteria from water are through bio-filtration and bio-absorption. Active fungal growth and close contact with bacteria appear necessary for removal. Overall these results suggest that mushroom mycelia biofilters have the potential to effectively remediate water contaminated with pathogenic and AMR bacteria.

RevDate: 2023-11-19
CmpDate: 2023-11-16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-11-16
CmpDate: 2023-11-16

Prinja S, Chugh Y, Garg B, et al (2023)

National hospital costing systems matter for universal healthcare: the India PM-JAY experience.

BMJ global health, 8(11):.

India envisions achieving universal health coverage to provide its people with access to affordable quality health services. A breakthrough effort in this direction has been the launch of the world's largest health assurance scheme Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, the implementation of which resides with the National Health Authority. Appropriate provider payment systems and reimbursement rates are an important element for the success of PM-JAY, which in turn relies on robust cost evidence to support pricing decisions. Since the launch of PM-JAY, the health benefits package and provider payment rates have undergone a series of revisions. At the outset, there was a relative lack of cost data. Later revisions relied on health facility costing studies, and now there is an initiative to establish a national hospital costing system relying on provider-generated data. Lessons from PM-JAY experience show that the success of such cost systems to ensure regular and routine generation of evidence is contingent on integrating with existing billing or patient information systems or management information systems, which digitise similar information on resource consumption without any additional data entry effort. Therefore, there is a need to focus on building sustainable mechanisms for setting up systems for generating accurate cost data rather than relying on resource-intensive studies for cost data collection.

RevDate: 2023-11-14

O'Brien MJ, Valverde S, Duran-Nebreda S, et al (2023)

Punctuated equilibrium at 50: Anything there for evolutionary anthropology? Yes; definitely.

Evolutionary anthropology [Epub ahead of print].

The theory of punctuated equilibrium (PE) was developed a little over 50 years ago to explain long-term, large-scale appearance and disappearance of species in the fossil record. A theory designed specifically for that purpose cannot be expected, out of the box, to be directly applicable to biocultural evolution, but in revised form, PE offers a promising approach to incorporating not only a wealth of recent empirical research on genetic, linguistic, and technological evolution but also large databases that document human biological and cultural diversity across time and space. Here we isolate the fundamental components of PE and propose which pieces, when reassembled or renamed, can be highly useful in evolutionary anthropology, especially as humanity faces abrupt ecological challenges on an increasingly larger scale.

RevDate: 2023-11-14

Palanisamy P, Urooj S, Arunachalam R, et al (2023)

A Novel Prognostic Model Using Chaotic CNN with Hybridized Spoofing for Enhancing Diagnostic Accuracy in Epileptic Seizure Prediction.

Diagnostics (Basel, Switzerland), 13(21): pii:diagnostics13213382.

Epileptic seizure detection has undergone progressive advancements since its conception in the 1970s. From proof-of-concept experiments in the latter part of that decade, it has now become a vibrant area of clinical and laboratory research. In an effort to bring this technology closer to practical application in human patients, this study introduces a customized approach to selecting electroencephalogram (EEG) features and electrode positions for seizure prediction. The focus is on identifying precursors that occur within 10 min of the onset of abnormal electrical activity during a seizure. However, there are security concerns related to safeguarding patient EEG recordings against unauthorized access and network-based attacks. Therefore, there is an urgent need for an efficient prediction and classification method for encrypted EEG data. This paper presents an effective system for analyzing and recognizing encrypted EEG information using Arnold transform algorithms, chaotic mapping, and convolutional neural networks (CNNs). In this system, the EEG time series from each channel is converted into a 2D spectrogram image, which is then encrypted using chaotic algorithms. The encrypted data is subsequently processed by CNNs coupled with transfer learning (TL) frameworks. To optimize the fusion parameters of the ensemble learning classifiers, a hybridized spoofing optimization method is developed by combining the characteristics of corvid and gregarious-seeking agents. The evaluation of the model's effectiveness yielded the following results: 98.9 ± 0.3% accuracy, 98.2 ± 0.7% sensitivity, 98.6 ± 0.6% specificity, 98.6 ± 0.6% precision, and an F1 measure of 98.9 ± 0.6%. When compared with other state-of-the-art techniques applied to the same dataset, this novel strategy demonstrated one of the most effective seizure detection systems, as evidenced by these results.

RevDate: 2023-11-12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-11-13
CmpDate: 2023-11-13

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-11-09

Bastos APM (2023)

Crows make optimal choices based on relative probabilities.

Learning & behavior [Epub ahead of print].

A recent study by Johnston, Brecht, and Nieder (2023, Current Biology, 33, 3238-3243) finds that carrion crows associate varying rates of reinforcement with novel arbitrary stimuli and make optimal decisions when they must later choose between stimulus pairs. These results demonstrate that crows are capable of not only storing information about reward probabilities in their memory but also making optimal choices based on this information even a month later.

RevDate: 2023-11-09
CmpDate: 2023-11-08

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

Corvids optimize working memory by categorizing continuous stimuli.

Communications biology, 6(1):1122.

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

RevDate: 2023-11-06

Morales C, Flores Ferro E, Osorio J, et al (2023)

[Independence of the anthropometric profile, attention and intelligence in higher education students in the field of physical activity in Chile].

Nutricion hospitalaria [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: kinanthropometry is the current science that studies body parameters in relation to its functioning (such as body composition, proportionality, somatotype, etc.), with established norms, techniques and criteria.

OBJECTIVE: to relate anthropometric profile, attention and problem solving in higher education students in the field of physical activity in Chile.

METHOD: quantitative-correlational approach, with non-experimental and cross-sectional design.

RESULTS: there is no significant relationship between body composition (body masses) and cognitive tests (attention and Raven). Regarding anthropometric data (body composition), no significant differences were observed between the sexes for any parameter.

CONCLUSION: it can be deduced that the results of the cognitive factors may be associated with other variables, and not specifically with the variables that may affect anthropometric parameters. These are very interesting topics for future studies, so it is suggested to continue studying cognitive abilities with other variables.

RevDate: 2023-11-08
CmpDate: 2023-11-06

Han Y, Li C, Wang R, et al (2023)

A new Chinese crow's feet grading scale based on the DermaTOP system.

Scientific reports, 13(1):18903.

Many Chinese wrinkle studies continue to use non-Chinese scales because few Chinese-based wrinkle scales have been developed. The study aims to develop a crow's feet grading scale for Chinese individuals. We enrolled 608 healthy Chinese subjects and measured data through the DermaTOP system. We chose exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to reduce the dimensions of the data. A three-factor structure was obtained by using EFA, and it explained a cumulative total of 89.551% of the variance. A computational formula was obtained by calculating the total factor tilt scores and taking the variance contribution rate of three factors as the weight. Based on the computational formula, a grading map was designed and tested. The model validation was conducted using both subjective assessments from the expert panel and objective results from the model calculations. The results showed that our grading scale model is stable. This study developed a Chinese crow's feet (CCF) grading scale, which included a parameter, a grading map, and literal descriptions. The CCF grading scale is a validated tool for evaluating the effects of cosmetics or specific therapies. More importantly, the CCF scale was developed based on objective data, which may inspire new ideas for wrinkle grading scale development in the future.

RevDate: 2023-11-08
CmpDate: 2023-11-02

Kannoth S, Ali N, Prasanth GK, et al (2023)

Transcriptome analysis of Corvus splendens reveals a repertoire of antimicrobial peptides.

Scientific reports, 13(1):18728.

Multidrug resistance has become a global health problem associated with high morbidity and mortality. Antimicrobial peptides have been acknowledged as potential leads for prospective anti-infectives. Owing to their scavenging lifestyle, Corvus splendens is thought to have developed robust immunity to pathogens found in their diet, implying that they have evolved mechanisms to resist infection. In the current study, the transcriptome of C. splendens was sequenced, and de novo assembled to identify the presence of antimicrobial peptide genes. 72.09 million high-quality clean reads were obtained which were then de novo assembled into 3,43,503 transcripts and 74,958 unigenes. About 37,559 unigenes were successfully annotated using SwissProt, Pfam, GO, and KEGG databases. A search against APD3, CAMPR3 and LAMP databases identified 63 AMP candidates belonging to more than 20 diverse families and functional classes. mRNA of AvBD-2, AvBD-13 and CATH-2 were found to be differentially expressed between the three tested crows as well as among the tissues. We also characterized Corvus Cathelicidin 2 (CATH-2) to gain knowledge of its antimicrobial mechanisms. The CD spectroscopy of synthesized mature Corvus CATH-2 peptide displayed an amphipathic α-helical structure. Though the synthetic CATH-2 caused hemolysis of human RBC, it also exhibited antimicrobial activity against E. coli, S. aureus, and B. cereus. Docking simulation results revealed that this peptide could bind to the LPS binding site of MD-2, which may prevent LPS from entering the MD-2 binding pocket, and trigger TLR4 signaling pathway. The Corvus CATH-2 characterized in this study could aid in the development of novel therapeutics.

RevDate: 2023-11-02

Spironelli C, Marino M, Mantini D, et al (2023)

fMRI fluctuations within the language network are correlated with severity of hallucinatory symptoms in schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia (Heidelberg, Germany), 9(1):75.

Although schizophrenia (SZ) represents a complex multiform psychiatric disorder, one of its most striking symptoms are auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH). While the neurophysiological origin of this pervasive symptom has been extensively studied, there is so far no consensus conclusion on the neural correlates of the vulnerability to hallucinate. With a network-based fMRI approach, following the hypothesis of altered hemispheric dominance (Crow, 1997), we expected that LN alterations might result in self-other distinction impairments in SZ patients, and lead to the distressing subjective experiences of hearing voices. We used the independent component analysis of resting-state fMRI data, to first analyze LN connectivity in three groups of participants: SZ patients with and without hallucinations (AVH/D+ and AVH/D-, respectively), and a matched healthy control (HC) group. Then, we assessed the fMRI fluctuations using additional analyses based on fractional Amplitude of Low Frequency-Fluctuations (fALFF), both at the network- and region of interest (ROI)-level. Specific LN nodes were recruited in the right hemisphere (insula and Broca homologous area) for AVH/D+ , but not for HC and AVH/D-, consistent with a left hemisphere deficit in AVH patients. The fALFF analysis at the ROI level showed a negative correlation between fALFF Slow-4 and P1 Delusions PANSS subscale and a positive correlation between the fALFF Slow-5 and P3 Hallucination PANSS subscale for AVH/D+ only. These effects were not a consequence of structural differences between groups, as morphometric analysis did not evidence any group differences. Given the role of language as an emerging property resulting from the integration of many high-level cognitive processes and the underlying cortical areas, our results suggest that LN features from fMRI connectivity and fluctuations can be a marker of neurophysiological features characterizing SZ patients depending on their vulnerability to hallucinate.

RevDate: 2023-11-02
CmpDate: 2023-11-02

Khorana AA (2022)

Diversifying medical humanities: The case for Jay-Z.

Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine, 89(9):501-503 pii:89/9/501.

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

Kirschhock ME, A Nieder (2023)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-10-30
CmpDate: 2023-10-30

Nath BK, Das T, Peters A, et al (2023)

Australasian Pigeon Circoviruses Demonstrate Natural Spillover Infection.

Viruses, 15(10):.

Pigeon circovirus (PiCV) is considered to be genetically diverse, with a relatively small circular single-stranded DNA genome of 2 kb that encodes for a capsid protein (Cap) and a replication initiator protein (Rep). Australasia is known to be the origin of diverse species of the Order Columbiformes, but limited data on the PiCV genome sequence has hindered phylogeographic studies in this species. To fill this gap, this study was conducted to investigate PiCV in 118 characteristic samples from different birds across Australia using PCR and sequencing. Eighteen partial PiCV Rep sequences and one complete PiCV genome sequence were recovered from reservoir and aberrant hosts. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that PiCV circulating in Australia was scattered across three different subclades. Importantly, one subclade dominated within the PiCV sequenced from Australia and Poland, whereas other PiCV sequenced in this study were more closely related to the PiCV sequenced from China, USA and Japan. In addition, PiCV Rep sequences obtained from clinically affected plumed whistling duck, blue billed duck and Australian magpie demonstrated natural spillover of PiCV unveiled host generalist characteristics of the pigeon circovirus. These findings indicate that PiCV genomes circulating in Australia lack host adapted population structure but demonstrate natural spillover infection.

RevDate: 2023-10-30

Martelli L, Fornasiero D, Scarton F, et al (2023)

Study of the Interface between Wild Bird Populations and Poultry and Their Potential Role in the Spread of Avian Influenza.

Microorganisms, 11(10):.

Water birds play a crucial role in disseminating and amplifying avian influenza viruses (AIVs) in the environment. However, they may have limited interactions with domestic facilities, raising the hypothesis that other wild birds may play the bridging role in introducing AIVs into poultry. An ornithocoenosis study, based on census-transect and camera-trapping methods, was conducted in 2019 in ten poultry premises in northeast Italy to characterize the bird communities and envisage the species that might act as bridge hosts for AIVs. The data collected were explored through a series of multivariate analyses (correspondence analysis and non-metric multidimensional scaling), and biodiversity indices (observed and estimated richness, Shannon entropy and Pielou's evenness). The analyses revealed a high level of complexity in the ornithic population, with 147 censused species, and significant qualitative and quantitative differences in wild bird species composition, both in space and in time. Among these, only a few were observed in close proximity to the farm premises (i.e., Magpies, Blackbirds, Cattle Egrets, Pheasants, Eurasian Collared Doves, and Wood Pigeons), thus suggesting their potential role in spilling over AIVs to poultry; contrarily, waterfowls appeared to be scarcely inclined to close visits, especially during autumn and winter seasons. These findings stress the importance of ongoing research on the wild-domestic bird interface, advocating for a wider range of species to be considered in AIVs surveillance and prevention programs.

RevDate: 2023-10-29

Bruck HA, SK Gupta (2023)

A Retrospective of Project Robo Raven: Developing New Capabilities for Enhancing the Performance of Flapping Wing Aerial Vehicles.

Biomimetics (Basel, Switzerland), 8(6):.

Flapping Wing Air Vehicles (FWAVs) have proven to be attractive alternatives to fixed wing and rotary air vehicles at low speeds because of their bio-inspired ability to hover and maneuver. However, in the past, they have not been able to reach their full potential due to limitations in wing control and payload capacity, which also has limited endurance. Many previous FWAVs used a single actuator that couples and synchronizes motions of the wings to flap both wings, resulting in only variable rate flapping control at a constant amplitude. Independent wing control is achieved using two servo actuators that enable wing motions for FWAVs by programming positions and velocities to achieve desired wing shapes and associated aerodynamic forces. However, having two actuators integrated into the flying platform significantly increases its weight and makes it more challenging to achieve flight than a single actuator. This article presents a retrospective overview of five different designs from the "Robo Raven" family based on our previously published work. The first FWAVs utilize two servo motors to achieve independent wing control. The basic platform is capable of successfully performing dives, flips, and button hook turns, which demonstrates the potential maneuverability afforded by the independently actuated and controlled wings. Subsequent designs in the Robo Raven family were able to use multifunctional wings to harvest solar energy to overcome limitations on endurance, use on-board decision-making capabilities to perform maneuvers autonomously, and use mixed-mode propulsion to increase payload capacity by exploiting the benefits of fixed and flapping wing flight. This article elucidates how each successive version of the Robo Raven platform built upon the findings from previous generations. The Robo Raven family collectively addresses requirements related to control autonomy, energy autonomy, and maneuverability. We conclude this article by identifying new opportunities for research in avian-scale flapping wing aerial vehicles.

RevDate: 2023-10-27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-10-26

Kirschhock ME, A Nieder (2023)

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

Psychological science [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2023-10-24

Hamilton JB, Abiri A, Nicolas CA, et al (2023)

Black Appalachia's Oldest Old: Untold Stories of experienced racism and coping with religious practices/beliefs.

The Gerontologist pii:7329282 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Racism and religion are recognized as prevailing Social Determinants of Health (SDoH). To explore ways in which racism and religion looms in the daily lives of African Americans, we analyzed the experiences of African Americans born during the Jim Crow years and living in the Southern Appalachian Region of the U.S.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Twenty-seven African Americans participated in this qualitative descriptive study that utilized criterion sampling, open-ended semi-structured interviews, and content analysis to identify a typology of categories related to experienced racism and ways in which religion was used in response to those experiences.

RESULTS: Participants were an average age of 82.22 years (SD = 5.07); primarily women (n=19, 70.4%); married (n=11, 40.7%); junior high school (n=6, 22.2%), high school or GED (n=7, 25.9%), completed college or professional school (n=6, 22.2%); were retired (n=27, 100.0%); and affiliated with Baptist churches (n=18, 66.7%). Experiences with racism included inequities healthcare and education, and racially motivated physical violence. Religious practices/beliefs included foregiveness, humility, and humanity.

DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Racism experienced by African American participants was likely countered by religious practices/beliefs inspired through intergenerational teachings with affiliations to the Black Church. These experiences of the oldest old African Americans living in communities of the Southern Appalachia U. S illustrates the pervasive nature of racism. The religious beliefs that are frequently transmitted intergenerationally through the Black Church are relevant to understand present day encounters with racism among African Americans and possibly other communities of color.

RevDate: 2023-10-21

Badás EP, Bauch C, Boonekamp JJ, et al (2023)

Ectoparasite presence and brood size manipulation interact to accelerate telomere shortening in nestling jackdaws.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Early-life conditions impact fitness, but whether the combined effect of extrinsic stressors is additive or synergistic is not well known. This is a major knowledge gap because exposure to multiple stressors is frequent. Telomere dynamics may be instrumental when testing how stressors interact because many factors affect telomere shortening, and telomere shortening predicts survival. We evaluated the effect of manipulated brood size and natural infestation by the carnid fly Carnus hemapterus on nestling growth and telomere shortening of wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula). Telomere length, measured in blood using TRF, shortened on average by 264 bp, and on average, Carnus infection induced more telomere shortening. Further analyses showed that in enlarged broods, nestlings' telomeres shortened more when parasitized, while in reduced broods there was no effect of infection on telomere shortening. We conclude that there is a synergistic effect of number of siblings and Carnus infection on telomere shortening rate: blood-sucking parasites may negatively impact telomeres by increasing cell proliferation and/or physiological stress, and coping with infection may be less successful in enlarged broods with increased sibling competition. Larger nestlings had shorter telomeres independent of age, brood manipulation or infection. Growth was independent of infestation but in enlarged broods, nestlings were lighter at fledging. Our findings indicate that (i) evaluating consequences of early-life environmental conditions in isolation may not yield a full picture due to synergistic effects, and (ii) effects of environmental conditions may be cryptic, for example, on telomeres, with fitness consequences expressed beyond the temporal framework of the study.

RevDate: 2023-10-23

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

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

Nature communications, 14(1):6539.

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

RevDate: 2023-10-20

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-10-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERVENTIONS: Medical and surgical packages of PM-JAY.

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-10-17

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

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

Global change biology [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2023-10-17

Blanchet G, Bellinger MR, Kearns AM, et al (2023)

Reduction of genetic diversity in 'Alalā (Hawaiian crow; Corvus hawaiiensis) between the late 1800s and the late 1900s.

The Journal of heredity pii:7319392 [Epub ahead of print].

Genetic and genomic data are increasingly used to aid conservation management of endangered species by providing insights into evolutionary histories, factors associated with extinction risks, and potential for future adaptation. For the 'Alalā, or Hawaiian crow (Corvus hawaiiensis), genetic concerns include negative correlations between inbreeding and hatching success. However, it is unclear if low genetic diversity and inbreeding depression are consequences of a historical population bottleneck, or if 'Alalā had historically low genetic diversity that predated human influence, perhaps as a result of earlier declines or founding events. In this study, we applied a hybridization-based sequence capture to generate a genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) dataset for comparing historical specimens collected in the 1890s, when 'Alalā were more numerous, to samples taken between 1973 and 1998, when 'Alalā population densities were near the lowest documented levels in the wild, prior to all individuals being collected for captive rearing. We found low genome-wide diversity in both sample groups, however, the modern sample group (1973-1998 cohort) exhibited relatively fewer polymorphic alleles, a lower proportion of polymorphic loci, and lower observed heterozygosity, consistent with a population decline and potential bottleneck effects. These results combined with a current low population size highlight the importance of continued efforts by conservation managers to mitigate inbreeding and maintain founder representation to preserve what genetic diversity remains.

RevDate: 2023-10-16

Calonico K, J De La Rosa-Millan (2023)

Digestion-Related Enzyme Inhibition Potential of Selected Mexican Medicinal Plants (Ludwigia octovalvis (Jacq.) P.H.Raven, Cnidoscolus aconitifolius and Crotalaria longirostrata).

Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 12(19):.

Medicinal plants offer a valuable source of natural compounds with specific and selective bioactivity. These compounds have been isolated since the mid-nineteenth century and are now commonly used in modern medications. L. octovalvis (Jacq.) P.H.Raven, C. aconitifolius, and C. longirostrata are Mexican medicinal plants consumed regularly, and research has shown that they contain bioactive compounds capable of promoting the inhibition of digestive enzymes. This is noteworthy since enzyme inhibitors are bioactive substances that interact with enzymes, diminishing their activity and thereby contributing to the management of diseases and metabolic disturbances. To investigate the activity of these plants, individual analyses were conducted, assessing their proximal composition, bioactive compounds, and inhibition of α-Amylase, α-Glucosidase, lipase, and pepsin. The results revealed that all three plants exhibited enzymatic inhibition. When comparing the plants, it was determined that C. aconitifolius had the lowest concentration required for a 50% inhibition in α-Amylase, α-Glucosidase, and lipase, as indicated by the IC50 values. For pepsin, C. longirostrata demonstrated the lowest IC50 value. By understanding the bioactive compounds present in these plants, we can establish the relationship they have with enzymatic inhibition, which can be utilized for future investigations.

RevDate: 2023-10-16

Lee SK, Kim MS, Kwon SH, et al (2023)

Efficacy, Safety, and Subject Satisfaction of PrabotulinumtoxinA for Moderate-to-Severe Crow's Feet: A Phase IV, Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.

Journal of clinical medicine, 12(19):.

PrabotulinumtoxinA has been identified as an effective agent against crow's feet. Our study, which included Korean patients with moderate to severe crow's feet, was undertaken to compare the efficacy and safety of PrabotulinumtoxinA and placebo treatments. Of the 90 study participants, 60 received prabotulinumtoxinA (24 U), whereas 30 received a placebo. The primary outcome assessment included facial wrinkle grading by investigators. At week 4, 69.64% of patients in the prabotulinumtoxinA group exhibited minimal crow's feet severity; in contrast, a 0% improvement was observed in the placebo group (p < 0.0001). At week 12, the improvement rates were 30.36% for prabotulinumtoxinA and 6.90% for the placebo, demonstrating a significant difference (p = 0.0152). Based on the independent review panel's assessment at week 4, the improvement rate was 39.29% in the prabotulinumtoxinA group and 3.45% in the placebo group during maximum smiling. Additionally, patient satisfaction was notably higher in the prabotulinumtoxinA group (32.14%) than in the placebo group (10.34%) at week 4 (p = 0.0289). Both treatments displayed comparable safety profiles, with only mild local reactions reported as ADRs for one patient from the prabotulinumtoxinA group. Thus, prabotulinumtoxinA demonstrates significant potential as a potent and safe remedy for crow's feet.

RevDate: 2023-10-14

Xu Z, Zhang P, Tu M, et al (2023)

Brain optimization with additional study time: potential brain differences between high- and low-performance college students.

Frontiers in psychology, 14:1209881.

This study investigates potential differences in brain function among high-, average-, and low-performance college students using electroencephalography (EEG). We hypothesize that the increased academic engagement of high-performance students will lead to discernible EEG variations due to the brain's structural plasticity. 61 third-year college students from identical majors were divided into high-performance (n = 20), average-performance (n = 21), and low-performance (n = 20) groups based on their academic achievements. We conducted three EEG experiments: resting state, Sternberg working memory task, and Raven progressive matrix task. Comprehensive analyses of the EEG data from the three experiments focused on power spectral density (PSD) and functional connectivity, with coherence (COH) employed as our primary metric for the latter. The results showed that in all experiments, there were no differences in working memory ability and IQ scores among the groups, and there were no significant differences in the power spectral densities of the delta, theta, alpha1, alpha2, beta, and gamma bands among the groups. Notably, on the Raven test, compared to their high-performing peers, low-performing students showed enhanced functional connectivity in the alpha 1 (8-9 Hz) band that connects the frontal and occipital lobes. We explored three potential explanations for this phenomenon: fatigue, anxiety, and greater cognitive effort required for problem-solving due to inefficient self-regulation and increased susceptibility to distraction. In essence, these insights not only deepen our understanding of the neural basis that anchors academic ability, but also hold promise in guiding interventions that address students' diverse academic needs.

RevDate: 2023-10-12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-10-13

Carter MQ, Quiñones B, Laniohan N, et al (2023)

Pathogenicity assessment of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains isolated from wild birds in a major agricultural region in California.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1214081.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) consists of diverse strains differing in genetic make-up and virulence potential. To better understand the pathogenicity potential of STEC carried by the wildlife, three STEC and one E. coli strains isolated from wild birds near a major agricultural region in California were selected for comparative pathogenomic analyses. Three American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) strains, RM9088, RM9513, and RM10410, belonging to phylogroup A with serotypes O109:H48, O9:H30, and O113:H4, respectively, and a red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) strain RM14516 in phylogroup D with serotype O17:H18, were examined. Shiga toxin genes were identified in RM9088 (stx1a), RM10410 (stx1a + stx2d), and RM14516 (stx2a). Unlike STEC O157:H7 strain EDL933, none of the avian STEC strains harbored the pathogenicity islands OI-122, OI-57, and the locus of enterocyte effacement, therefore the type III secretion system biogenesis genes and related effector genes were absent in the three avian STEC genomes. Interestingly, all avian STEC strains exhibited greater (RM9088 and RM14516) or comparable (RM10410) cytotoxicity levels compared with EDL933. Comparative pathogenomic analyses revealed that RM9088 harbored numerous genes encoding toxins, toxins delivery systems, and adherence factors, including heat-labile enterotoxin, serine protease autotransporter toxin Pic, type VI secretion systems, protein adhesin Paa, fimbrial adhesin K88, and colonization factor antigen I. RM9088 also harbored a 36-Kb high pathogenicity island, which is related to iron acquisition and pathogenicity in Yersinia spp. Strain RM14516 carried an acid fitness island like the one in EDL933, containing a nine gene cluster involved in iron acquisition. Genes encoding extracellular serine protease EspP, subtilase cytotoxin, F1C fimbriae, and inverse autotransporter adhesin IatC were only detected in RM14516, and genes encoding serine protease autotransporter EspI and P fimbriae were only identified in RM10410. Although all curli genes were present in avian STEC strains, production of curli fimbriae was only detected for RM9088 and RM14516. Consistently, strong, moderate, and little biofilms were observed for RM9088, RM14516, and RM10410, respectively. Our study revealed novel combinations of virulence factors in two avian strains, which exhibited high level of cytotoxicity and strong biofilm formation. Comparative pathogenomics is powerful in assessing pathogenicity and health risk of STEC strains.

RevDate: 2023-10-11

Asrullah M, Hositanisita H, L'Hoir M, et al (2023)

Intra-uterine exposure to lower maternal haemoglobin concentration is associated with impaired cognitive function in stunted adolescents: results from a 17-year longitudinal cohort study in Indonesia.

International journal of food sciences and nutrition [Epub ahead of print].

The long-term impact of maternal anaemia on cognitive performance remains unknown. Indonesian longitudinal cohort data of 363 paired pregnant mothers and their 10-14-year-old offspring were used to investigate the association between maternal haemoglobin (Hb) concentration and their offspring's cognitive function (assessed by Raven's Progressive Matrices test) during adolescence. The weighted anaemia prevalence was 49.3% in pregnant mothers and 22.2% in adolescents. Adolescents who were stunted, anaemic, or living in a rural area had significantly lower cognitive scores than their counterparts. Maternal Hb was not associated with adolescent cognitive function (β: 0.14; 95%CI: -0.052-0.340). However, the effect of maternal Hb concentration on offspring's cognitive function was modified by stunting status (β, stunted: 0.44; 95%CI: 0.05-0.82; non-stunted: 0.01; 95%CI: -0.02-0.24). This study shows adverse cognitive outcomes at adolescent age are likely multi-causal and can be partially explained by intra-uterine exposure to low maternal Hb concentrations.

RevDate: 2023-10-09

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

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

Heredity [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2023-10-10

Guo H (2023)

The evaluation of university management performance using the CS-RBM algorithm.

PeerJ. Computer science, 9:e1575.

Amidst the ongoing higher education reforms in China, the escalated investments in colleges and universities underscore the need for an effective assessment of their performance to ensure sustainable development. However, traditional evaluation methods have proven time-consuming and labor-intensive. In response, a novel approach called CS-RBM (Crow Search Restricted Boltzmann Machine) prediction algorithm has been proposed for the educational management of these institutions. By integrating the CS algorithm and an enhanced RBM algorithm, this method facilitates the scoring of project performance indicators, bolstered by insights from user evaluation form reports. The comprehensive project performance is ultimately derived from this combination. Comparative analysis with the standard particle swarm optimization algorithm on public data sets demonstrates a remarkable 45.6% reduction in prediction errors and an impressive 34.7% increase in iteration speed using the CS-RBM algorithm. The accuracy of the tested data set surpasses 98%, validating the efficacy of the CS-RBM algorithm in achieving precise predictions and effective assessments. Consequently, this innovative approach exhibits promising potential for expediting and enhancing the performance evaluation of colleges and universities, contributing significantly to their sustainable development.

RevDate: 2023-10-09

Sen Yavuz B, Yilmaz MA, Yilmaz HN, et al (2023)

Assessment of Relationship between Intelligence Quotient and Orthodontic Treatment Need.

Acta stomatologica Croatica, 57(3):248-255.

OBJECTIVE: Low cognitive ability may reduce the ability to understand the importance of oral health and to perform the necessary practices to maintain proper oral hygiene. Early loss of primary teeth following high caries risk may lead to malocclusion of permanent dentition. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between the cognitive levels of adolescents and their orthodontic treatment needs.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Between January 2018 and May 2018, 200 adolescents aged 10 - 15 who applied to the Pediatric Dentistry Clinic of Marmara University and sought orthodontic treatment were invited to participate in the study. The orthodontic treatment needs of 150 adolescents who agreed to participate were evaluated with the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need - Aesthetic Component and their cognitive levels were evaluated with the Raven Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) Test. P-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: The mean age (± standard deviation) of 126 adolescents (77 females and 49 males) who completed the SPM test was 11.8 (± 1.3). There was no consistency between the intellectual level and the need for orthodontic treatment (Kappa value = 0.071, p-value = 0.081). There was no correlation between malocclusion severity and intelligence quotient scores of adolescents (ρ [rho] = -0.089, p = 0.322). According to Multiple logistic regression results, there was no difference between 'borderline need' (p = 0.059) and 'great need' (p = 0.881) from 'no need' for orthodontic treatment in adolescents with different intelligence quotients.

CONCLUSIONS: The results showed no evidence for an association between malocclusion and intelligence quotient.

RevDate: 2023-10-09

Ikonomou VC, Wagaman B, Myers MA, et al (2023)

B - 90 Need for Cognition Results in Greater Persistence on Fluid Intelligence Tests.

Archives of clinical neuropsychology : the official journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists pii:7299566 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: We evaluated reaction time (RT) as a mediator of the relation between the trait Need for Cognition (NFC) and Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices (RAPM).

METHODS: 174 undergraduate students (M = 20 years old, SD = 1.5; 74.1% female) completed the 18 item NFC questionnaire and RAPM as part of a larger battery. RAPM mean RT (RMRT) was calculated in msec.

RESULTS: Overall total effect between NFC and RAPM total score was significant [F(2,146) = 44.04; p < 0.001; r2 = 0.38; 95% CI = 0.05, 0.18] when not accounting for the effect of the mediator for RT. RMRT demonstrated a significant indirect effect on RAPM total score [B = 0.11; t(148) = 4.34; p < 0.001; 95% CI = 0.09, 0.24]. Results indicate that the direct effect of NFC and RAPM was significant [B = 0.23; t(148) = 3.42; p < 0.001; 95% CI = 0.03, 0.19] when controlling for the mediator of RT, which shows a partially mediated effect.

CONCLUSIONS: RT partially mediates the relationship between NFC and RAPM performance. This is the first demonstration that high NFC improves performance on fluid intelligence tests at least partly by high NFC individuals persevering longer on test items. As NFC and RAPM are still correlated after including RT as a mediator, test persistence is not solely responsible for this direct relationship. Future research needs to determine additional variables that account for the relation between NFC and RAPM.

RevDate: 2023-10-06

Viviano A, Mori E, Manzini J, et al (2023)

The magpie and the grapes: increasing ozone exposure impacts fruit consumption by a common corvid in a suburban environment.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The Eurasian magpie Pica pica is a resident bird species able to colonize farmlands and anthropized environments. This corvid shows a wide trophic spectrum by including fruits, invertebrates, small vertebrates, and carcasses in its diet. A camera-trap experiment has been carried out to test the effect of different ozone (O3) concentrations on potted Vitis vinifera plants, which result in different grape consumption rates by suburban birds. The test was performed at an Ozone-Free Air Controlled Exposure (FACE) facility, consisting of nine plots with three O3 levels where AA is ambient O3 concentration and two elevated O3 levels (ambient air with a 50% increase in O3 concentration, 1.5x AA; and ambient air with a 100% increase in O3 concentration, 2.0x AA). Camera-traps were located in front of each treatment area and kept active for 24 h/day and for 5-day periods throughout a total of 3 months to monitor grape consumption by birds.

RESULTS: We collected a total of 38 videos: Eurasian magpies were the only grape consumers, with a total of 6.7 ± 3.3 passages per hour (mean ± SD), with no differences across different O3 treatments. The grapes in the AA treatment were consumed significantly faster than those in the 1.5x AA treatment, which were, in turn, consumed faster than those in the 2.0x AA treatment. After 3 days from the start of treatment, 94, 53 and 22% berries from AA, 1.5x AA, and 2.0x AA treatments were eaten, respectively. When the O3 was turned off, berries were consumed at the same rate among treatments.

CONCLUSION: Increasing O3 concentrations limited grape consumption by the magpie likely because O3 acted as a deterrent for magpies, while the lower sugar content recorded in the 2.0x AA berries did not affect the consumption when O3 was turned off. Our results provided valuable insights to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts in suburban environments. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2023-10-06

Aashima , R Sharma (2023)

A Systematic Review of the World's Largest Government Sponsored Health Insurance Scheme for 500 Million Beneficiaries in India: Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: In pursuit of universal health coverage, India has launched the world's largest government-sponsored health insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) in 2018. This study aims to provide a holistic review of the scheme's impact since its inception.

METHODS: We reviewed studies (based on interviews or surveys) published from September 2018 to January 2023, which were retrieved from PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus database. The main outcomes studied were: (1) awareness; (2) utilization of scheme; (3) experiences; (4) financial protection; and (5) challenges encountered by both beneficiaries and healthcare providers.

RESULTS: A total of 18 studies conducted across 14 states and union territories of India were reviewed. The findings revealed that although PM-JAY has become a familiar name, there remains a low level of awareness regarding various facets of the scheme such as benefits entitled, hospitals empanelled, and services covered. The scheme is benefitting the poor and vulnerable population to access healthcare services that were previously unaffordable to them. However, financial protection provided by the scheme exhibited mixed results. Several challenges were identified, including continued spending by beneficiaries on drugs and diagnostic tests, delays in issuance of beneficiary cards, and co-payments demanded by healthcare providers. Additionally, private hospitals expressed dissatisfaction with low health package rates and delays in claims reimbursement.

CONCLUSIONS: Concerted efforts such as population-wide dissemination of clear and complete knowledge of the scheme, providing training to healthcare providers, addressing infrastructural gaps and concerns of healthcare providers, and ensuring appropriate stewardship are imperative to achieve the desired objectives of the scheme in the long-run.

RevDate: 2023-10-05

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

Reliability constrained dynamic generation expansion planning using honey badger algorithm.

Scientific reports, 13(1):16765.

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

RevDate: 2023-10-05

Makowski LM, SJ Troche (2023)

Can the resting state peak alpha frequency explain the relationship between temporal resolution power and psychometric intelligence?.

Behavioral neuroscience pii:2024-13777-001 [Epub ahead of print].

The temporal resolution power (TRP) hypothesis states that individuals with higher TRP, as reflected by a higher performance on several psychophysical timing tasks, perform better on intelligence tests due to their ability to process information faster and coordinate their mental operations more effectively. It is proposed that these differences in TRP are related to the rate of a master clock based on neural oscillations. The present study aimed to investigate whether the peak alpha frequency (PAF) measured via electroencephalography (EEG) reflects a psychophysiological measure of this rate and its potential role in explaining the relationship between TRP and psychometric intelligence. A sample of 129 young adults (M = 23.0, SD = 3.1) completed a short version of Raven's Advanced Progressives Matrices and three timing tasks. PAF was measured using EEG before each timing task during two resting states with eyes closed (EC) and eyes open (EO), respectively. From these PAF measurements, four latent PAF variables were extracted, differing in resting state (EC, EO) and electrode cluster (frontal/central, parietal/occipital). The results confirmed a strong association between TRP and psychometric intelligence (r = .56, p < .01), as previously reported in other studies. Additionally, we found a positive association between intelligence and a latent PAF variable extracted from frontal/central electrodes in the EO resting state conditions (r = .27, p < .05). However, there was no association between TRP and PAF. This indicates that PAF does not reflect the underlying psychophysiological mechanism that links TRP to intelligence. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2023-10-03

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-10-03

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

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

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.09.19.558469.

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

RevDate: 2023-10-02

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-10-03

Ręk P, RD Magrath (2023)

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

Scientific reports, 13(1):16438.

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

RevDate: 2023-10-02
CmpDate: 2023-09-29

Alkie TN, Byrne AMP, Jones MEB, et al (2023)

Recurring Trans-Atlantic Incursion of Clade H5N1 Viruses by Long Distance Migratory Birds from Northern Europe to Canada in 2022/2023.

Viruses, 15(9):.

In December 2022 and January 2023, we isolated clade H5N1 high-pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) viruses from six American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) from Prince Edward Island and a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) from Newfoundland, Canada. Using full-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, these viruses were found to fall into two distinct phylogenetic clusters: one group containing H5N1 viruses that had been circulating in North and South America since late 2021, and the other one containing European H5N1 viruses reported in late 2022. The transatlantic re-introduction for the second time by pelagic/Icelandic bird migration via the same route used during the 2021 incursion of Eurasian origin H5N1 viruses into North America demonstrates that migratory birds continue to be the driving force for transcontinental dissemination of the virus. This new detection further demonstrates the continual long-term threat of H5N1 viruses for poultry and mammals and the subsequent impact on various wild bird populations wherever these viruses emerge. The continual emergence of clade H5Nx viruses requires vigilant surveillance in wild birds, particularly in areas of the Americas, which lie within the migratory corridors for long-distance migratory birds originating from Europe and Asia. Although H5Nx viruses have been detected at higher rates in North America since 2021, a bidirectional flow of H5Nx genes of American origin viruses to Europe has never been reported. In the future, coordinated and systematic surveillance programs for HPAI viruses need to be launched between European and North American agencies.

RevDate: 2023-09-30

Perera JC, Gopalakrishnan B, Bisht PS, et al (2023)

A Sustainability-Based Expert System for Additive Manufacturing and CNC Machining.

Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 23(18):.

The objective of this research study is to develop a set of expert systems that can aid metal manufacturing facilities in selecting binder jetting, direct metal laser sintering, or CNC machining based on viable products, processes, system parameters, and inherent sustainability aspects. For the purposes of this study, cost-effectiveness, energy, and auxiliary material usage efficiency were considered the key indicators of manufacturing process sustainability. The expert systems were developed using the knowledge automation software Exsys Corvid[®]V6.1.3. The programs were verified by analyzing and comparing the sustainability impacts of binder jetting and CNC machining during the fabrication of a stainless steel 316L component. According to the results of this study, binder jetting is deemed to be characterized by more favorable indicators of sustainability in comparison to CNC machining, considering the fabrication of components feasible for each technology.

RevDate: 2023-09-28

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-09-25

Catalán A, Merondun J, Knief U, et al (2023)

Chromatin accessibility, not 5mC methylation covaries with partial dosage compensation in crows.

PLoS genetics, 19(9):e1010901 pii:PGENETICS-D-23-00282 [Epub ahead of print].

The evolution of genetic sex determination is often accompanied by degradation of the sex-limited chromosome. Male heterogametic systems have evolved convergent, epigenetic mechanisms restoring the resulting imbalance in gene dosage between diploid autosomes (AA) and the hemizygous sex chromosome (X). Female heterogametic systems (AAf Zf, AAm ZZm) tend to only show partial dosage compensation (0.5 < Zf:AAf < 1) and dosage balance (0.5

RevDate: 2023-09-25

Viveros-Muñoz R, Huijse P, Vargas V, et al (2023)

Dataset for polyphonic sound event detection tasks in urban soundscapes: The synthetic polyphonic ambient sound source (SPASS) dataset.

Data in brief, 50:109552.

This paper presents the Synthetic Polyphonic Ambient Sound Source (SPASS) dataset, a publicly available synthetic polyphonic audio dataset. SPASS was designed to train deep neural networks effectively for polyphonic sound event detection (PSED) in urban soundscapes. SPASS contains synthetic recordings from five virtual environments: park, square, street, market, and waterfront. The data collection process consisted of the curation of different monophonic sound sources following a hierarchical class taxonomy, the configuration of the virtual environments with the RAVEN software library, the generation of all stimuli, and the processing of this data to create synthetic recordings of polyphonic sound events with their associated metadata. The dataset contains 5000 audio clips per environment, i.e., 25,000 stimuli of 10 s each, virtually recorded at a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz. This effort is part of the project ``Integrated System for the Analysis of Environmental Sound Sources: FuSA System'' in the city of Valdivia, Chile, which aims to develop a system for detecting and classifying environmental sound sources through deep Artificial Neural Network (ANN) models.

RevDate: 2023-09-22

Patiz B, S Bayraktar (2023)

Evaluation of neuropsychological characteristics and attention bias in juvenile offenders, juvenile victims, and juveniles who have not participated in the criminal justice system.

Frontiers in psychology, 14:1229044.

INTRODUCTION: The increasing inclusion of children in the criminal justice system as "juvenile offenders" and "juvenile victims" has recently emerged as a severe and multifaceted problem. This study evaluates whether juvenile offenders differ from juveniles who have not participated in the criminal justice system and juvenile victims regarding executive function skills and attentional bias.

METHOD: The participant group comprised 85 children aged 12-18, and the study setting was Turkey, utilizing one control group and two treatment groups with open criminal case files in Antalya Courthouse. The first treatment group consisted of 30 juvenile offenders; the second consisted of 30 juvenile victims. The control group consisted of 25 juveniles who were not juvenile offenders or victims. In this context, children's executive functions were measured with the short-form Barratt Impulsivity Scale, the Raven Standard Progressive Matrices Test, the TBAG-form Stroop test, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, and the Istanbul 5 Cube Planning Test. Attentional bias was measured using a dot-probe task. Illiteracy, intellectual or developmental disability, and being a non-native Turkish speaker were the exclusion criteria for all three groups.

RESULTS: The study found that the scores of the juvenile offender group on the Barratt Impulsivity Scale were significantly higher than the children in the juvenile victim group and the children in the control group. For other tests measuring executive functions, the control group's scores were significantly higher than juvenile offenders and juvenile victims. Regarding attentional bias, the children in the control group exhibited less attentional bias to negative stimuli than the juvenile offenders and victims.

DISCUSSION: Researchers have generally addressed the reasons that push children to crime and become victims of crime through individual, familial, and environmental reasons. However, the number of studies investigating the neuropsychological characteristics of children dragged into crime is relatively limited in our country. In addition, there is no study comparing the executive functions and attentional bias of children who are dragged into crime, victimized children, and children without a history of being dragged into crime and victimization. In this context, this study can highlight important implications for the judicial system regarding juvenile delinquency interventions.

RevDate: 2023-09-19

Lau RC, Anderson PJ, Wiley JF, et al (2023)

Working Memory Training for Children Using the Adaptive, Self-Select, and Stepwise Approaches to Setting the Difficulty Level of Training Activities: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial.

JMIR research protocols, 12:e47496 pii:v12i1e47496.

BACKGROUND: A common yet untested assumption of cognitive training in children is that activities should be adaptive, with difficulty adjusted to the individual's performance in order to maximize improvements on untrained tasks (known as transfer). Working memory training provides the ideal testbed to systematically examine this assumption as it is one of the most widely studied domains in the cognitive training literature, and is critical for children's learning, including following instructions and reasoning.

OBJECTIVE: This trial aimed to examine children's outcomes of working memory training using adaptive, self-select (child selects difficulty level), and stepwise (difficulty level increases incrementally) approaches to setting the difficulty of training activities compared to an active control condition immediately and 6-month postintervention. While the aim is exploratory, we hypothesized that children allocated to a working memory training condition would show greater improvements: (1) on near transfer measures compared to intermediate and far transfer measures and (2) immediately postintervention compared to 6-month postintervention.

METHODS: This double-blinded, active-controlled, parallel-group randomized trial aimed to recruit 128 children aged 7 to 11 years from 1 metropolitan primary school in Melbourne, Australia. Following baseline testing, children were randomized into 1 of 4 conditions: adaptive, self-select, or stepwise working memory training, or active control. An experimental intervention embedded in Minecraft was developed for teachers to deliver in class over 2 consecutive weeks (10 × 20-minute sessions). The working memory training comprised 2 training activities with processing demands similar to daily activities: backward span and following instructions. The control comprised creative activities. Pre- and postintervention, children completed a set of working memory tests (near and intermediate transfer) and the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (far transfer) to determine training outcomes, as well as motivation questionnaires to determine if motivations toward learning and the intervention were similar across conditions. Caregivers completed the ADHD-Rating Scale-5 to measure their child's attention (far transfer). Statistical analysis will include traditional null hypothesis significance testing and Bayesian methods to quantify evidence for both the null and alternative hypotheses.

RESULTS: Data collection concluded in December 2022. Data are currently being processed and analyzed.

CONCLUSIONS: This trial will determine whether the adaptive approach to setting the difficulty of training activities maximizes cognitive training outcomes for children. This trial has several strengths: it adopts best practices for cognitive training studies (design, methods, and analysis plan); uses a range of measures to detect discrete levels of transfer; has a 6-month postintervention assessment; is appropriately powered; and uses an experimental working memory training intervention based on our current understanding of the cognitive mechanisms of training. Findings will inform future research and design of cognitive training interventions and highlight the value of the evidence-based principles of cognitive training.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12621000990820; https://www.anzctr.org.au/ACTRN12621000990820.aspx.


RevDate: 2023-09-24

Erlandson E, Ramirez C, W Dean (2023)

Medicine shouldn't be this hard: The intersection of physician moral injury and patient healthcare experience in pediatric complex care.

Journal of pediatric rehabilitation medicine, 16(3):443-447.

Dr. Jay Neufeld's story in If I Betray These Words is a detailed account of one physician's catastrophic journey through moral injury when caring for pediatric patients with complex medical conditions [1]. Many clinicians may recognize Jay's journey in their own experiences, but what deserves parallel consideration are the journeys of patients and families when they are accompanied by physicians at risk of moral injury. This case study illustrates the tight link between drivers of physician moral injury and patients' negative healthcare experiences. These include (1) decisions directed by health insurance regulations and prior authorizations; (2) the electronic medical record (EMR); and (3) healthcare systems focused on revenue generation.

RevDate: 2023-09-17

Elman C, Cunningham SA, Howard VJ, et al (2023)

Birth in the U.S. Plantation South and Racial Differences in all-cause mortality in later life.

Social science & medicine (1982), 335:116213 pii:S0277-9536(23)00570-1 [Epub ahead of print].

The American South has been characterized as a Stroke Belt due to high cardiovascular mortality. We examine whether mortality rates and race differences in rates reflect birthplace exposure to Jim Crow-era inequalities associated with the Plantation South. The plantation mode of agricultural production was widespread through the 1950s when older adults of today, if exposed, were children. We use proportional hazards models to estimate all-cause mortality in Non-Hispanic Black and White birth cohorts (1920-1954) in a sample (N = 21,941) drawn from REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS), a national study designed to investigate Stroke Belt risk. We link REGARDS data to two U.S. Plantation Censuses (1916, 1948) to develop county-level measures that capture the geographic overlap between the Stroke Belt, two subregions of the Plantation South, and a non-Plantation South subregion. Additionally, we examine the life course timing of geographic exposure: at birth, adulthood (survey enrollment baseline), neither, or both portions of life. We find mortality hazard rates higher for Black compared to White participants, regardless of birthplace, and for the southern-born compared to those not southern-born, regardless of race. Race-specific models adjusting for adult Stroke Belt residence find birthplace-mortality associations fully attenuated among White-except in one of two Plantation South subregions-but not among Black participants. Mortality hazard rates are highest among Black and White participants born in this one Plantation South subregion. The Black-White mortality differential is largest in this birthplace subregion as well. In this subregion, the legacy of pre-Civil War plantation production under enslavement was followed by high-productivity plantation farming under the southern Sharecropping System.

RevDate: 2023-09-14

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-09-15
CmpDate: 2023-09-13

Kings M, Arbon JJ, McIvor GE, et al (2023)

Wild jackdaws can selectively adjust their social associations while preserving valuable long-term relationships.

Nature communications, 14(1):5103.

Influential theories of the evolution of cognition and cooperation posit that tracking information about others allows individuals to adjust their social associations strategically, re-shaping social networks to favour connections between compatible partners. Crucially, to our knowledge, this has yet to be tested experimentally in natural populations, where the need to maintain long-term, fitness-enhancing relationships may limit social plasticity. Using a social-network-manipulation experiment, we show that wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula) learned to favour social associations with compatible group members (individuals that provided greater returns from social foraging interactions), but resultant change in network structure was constrained by the preservation of valuable pre-existing relationships. Our findings provide insights into the cognitive basis of social plasticity and the interplay between individual decision-making and social-network structure.

RevDate: 2023-09-11

Wahl B, Nama N, Pandey RR, et al (2023)

Neonatal, Infant, and Child Mortality in India: Progress and Future Directions.

Indian journal of pediatrics [Epub ahead of print].

In India, considerable progress has been made in reducing child mortality rates. Despite this achievement, wide disparities persist across and socio-economic strata, and persistent challenges, such as malnutrition, poor sanitation, and lack of clean water. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the state of child health in India, examining key risk factors and causes of child mortality, assessing the coverage of child health interventions, and highlighting critical public health programs and policies. The authors also discuss future directions and recommendations for bolstering ongoing efforts to improve child health. These include state- and region-specific interventions, prioritizing social determinants of health, strengthening data systems, leveraging existing programs like the National Health Mission (NHM) and Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), and the proposed Public Health Management Cadre (PHMC). The authors argue that reducing child mortality requires not only scaled-up interventions but a comprehensive approach that addresses all dimensions of health, from social determinants to system strengthening.

RevDate: 2023-09-10

Yang R, Egan S, Gao H, et al (2023)

Morphological and molecular characterization of Isospora elliotae n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from the Australian magpie Gymnorhina tibicen (Latham, 1801) (Passeriformes: Artamidae) in Western Australia.

Ecology and evolution, 13(9):e10505.

A new coccidian species, Isospora elliotae n. sp., from the Australian magpie Gymnorhina tibicen (Latham, 1801) in Western Australia, is described and characterized morphologically and molecularly. Microscopic analysis of a faecal sample identified subspheroidal oocysts (n = 20), 20-22 × 18-20 (20.7 × 18.7); length/width (L/W) ratio 1.05-1.14 (1.10). Wall bi-layered, 1.0-1.3 (1.2) thick, outer layer smooth, c. 2/3 of total thickness. Micropyle and oocyst residuum absent, but usually two polar granules are present. Sporocysts (n = 28) ovoidal, 12-13 × 9-11 (12.6 × 9.7); L/W ratio 1.22-1.35 (1.30). Stieda body present, flattened to half-moon-shaped, c. 0.5 deep × 2.0 wide; sub-Stieda indistinct or barely discernible, c. 1.0 deep × 2.5 wide; para-Stieda body absent; sporocyst residuum present, composed of granules dispersed among the sporozoites. Sporozoites vermiform, with anterior and posterior refractile bodies and nucleus. Segments of three gene loci (18S rRNA, 28S rRNA and COI) were sequenced and I. elliotae n. sp. exhibited 99.8% genetic similarity to Isospora sp. MAH-2013a (KF648870) followed by 99.7% genetic similarity to Isospora neochmiae (Yang, Brice & Ryan, 2016) (KT224380) at the 18S rRNA gene locus. It shared 97.0% genetic similarity with an unnamed Isospora sp. (AY283852) at the 28S rRNA gene locus and it also shared the highest genetic similarity of 99.8% with the unnamed Isospora sp. from an American crow (OL999120) at the COI gene locus. Based on morphological and molecular data, this isolate is a new species named as I. elliotae n. sp.

RevDate: 2023-09-07

Hwang K (2023)

Crow's Feet in Men: A Symbol of Achievements Left Behind.

The Journal of craniofacial surgery pii:00001665-990000000-01067 [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2023-09-07

Lodjak J, Boonekamp J, Lendvai ÁZ, et al (2023)

Short- and long-term effects of nutritional state on IGF-1 levels in nestlings of a wild passerine.

Oecologia [Epub ahead of print].

Growth trajectories of young animals are intimately connected to their fitness prospects, but we have little knowledge of growth regulation mechanisms, particularly in the wild. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a central hormone in regulating resource allocation, with higher IGF-1 levels resulting in more growth. IGF-1 levels generally increase in conjunction with nutritional state, but whether IGF-1 levels are adjusted in response to current nutrient availability or to the nutrient availability integrated over a longer term is not well known. We tested for such effects by supplementary feeding the jackdaw (Corvus monedula) nestlings in experimentally reduced or enlarged broods with either water (control) or a food solution; these manipulations have long- and short-term effects on the nutritional state, respectively. Baseline plasma IGF-1 levels were higher in reduced broods. Food supplementation induced an increase in plasma IGF-1 levels measured one hour later, and this effect was significantly more substantial in nestlings in reduced broods. Changes in plasma IGF-1 levels increased with increased retention of the supplementary food, which was higher in reduced broods, explaining the stronger IGF-1 response. Thus, IGF-1 levels respond to short-term variations in the nutritional state, but this effect is amplified by longer-term variations in the nutritional state. We discuss our findings using a graphical model that integrates the results of the two treatments.

RevDate: 2023-09-07

Garcia-Raventós A, Muñoz-Mérida A, Lapiedra O, et al (2023)

Identification of sex-linked SNP markers in wild populations of monomorphic birds.

Molecular ecology resources [Epub ahead of print].

Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis is a powerful tool for population genetics, pedigree reconstruction and phenotypic trait mapping. However, the untapped potential of SNP markers to discriminate the sex of individuals in species with reduced sexual dimorphism or of individuals during immature stages remains a largely unexplored avenue. Here, we developed a novel protocol for molecular sexing of birds based on the detection of unique Z- and W-linked SNP markers. Our method is based on the identification of two unique loci, one in each sexual chromosome. Individuals are considered males when they show no calls for the W-linked SNP and are heterozygous or homozygous for the Z-linked SNP, while females exhibit both Z- and W-linked SNP calls. We validated the method in the Jackdaw (Corvus monedula). The reduced sexual dimorphism in this species makes it difficult to identify the sex of individuals in the wild. We assessed the reliability of the method using 36 individuals of known sex and found that their sex was correctly assigned in 100% of cases. The sex-linked markers also proved to be widely applicable for discriminating males and females from a sample of 927 genotyped individuals at different maturity stages, with an accuracy of 99.5%. Since SNP markers are increasingly used in quantitative genetic analyses of wild populations, the approach we propose has great potential to be integrated into broader genetic research programmes without the need for additional sexing techniques.

RevDate: 2023-09-07

Pawar SD, Kode SS, Keng SS, et al (2023)

Spatio-temporal distribution & seasonality of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 & H5N8 outbreaks in India, 2006-2021.

The Indian journal of medical research pii:385125 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 and H5N8 viruses have been one of the leading causes of avian diseases worldwide, resulting in severe economic losses and posing potential zoonotic risk. There are no reports on the correlation of the seasonality of H5N1 and H5N8 viruses with the migratory bird season in India, along with the species affected. The present report describes the distribution and seasonality of HPAI outbreaks in India from 2006 to 2021.

METHODS: The data on the occurrence and locations of outbreaks in India and affected bird species were collated from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations database and grouped by month and year. The distribution and seasonality of HPAI H5N1 and H5N8 viruses were analyzed.

RESULTS: A total of 284 H5N1 outbreaks were reported since 2006, with a surge in 2021. The initial outbreaks of H5N1 were predominantly in poultry. Since 2016, 57 outbreaks of H5N8 were also reported, predominantly in wild birds. Most of the outbreaks of HPAI were reported from post monsoon onwards till pre-summer season (i.e. between October and March) with their peak in winter, in January. Apart from poultry, the bird species such as owl, Indian peafowl, lesser adjutant, crows and wild migratory birds such as demoiselle crane, northern pintail and bar-headed goose were positive for HPAI.

Such studies on the seasonality of HPAI outbreaks would help in the development of prevention and control strategies. The recent human infections of H5N1 and H9N2 viruses highlight the need to strengthen surveillance in wild, resident, migratory birds and in poultry along with One Health studies in India.

RevDate: 2023-09-06

Li J, Arnold WA, RM Hozalski (2023)

Spatiotemporal Variability in N-Nitrosodimethylamine Precursor Levels in a Watershed Impacted by Agricultural Activities and Municipal Wastewater Discharges and Effects of Lime Softening.

Environmental science & technology [Epub ahead of print].

The Crow River, a tributary of the Mississippi River in Minnesota, U.S.A., that is impacted by agricultural activities and municipal wastewater discharges, was sampled approximately monthly at 12 locations over 18 months to investigate temporal and spatial variations in N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) precursor levels. NDMA precursors were quantified primarily by measuring NDMA formed under the low chloramine dose uniform formation conditions protocol (NDMAUFC) and occasionally using the high dose formation potential protocol (NDMAFP). Raw water NDMAUFC concentrations (2.2 to 128 ng/L) exhibited substantial temporal variation but relatively little spatial variation. An increase in NDMAUFC was observed for 126 of 169 water samples after lime-softening treatment. A kinetic model indicates that under chloramine-limited UFC test conditions, the increase in NDMAUFC can be attributed to a decrease in competition between precursors and natural organic matter (NOM) for chloramines and reduced interactions of precursors with NOM. NDMAUFC concentrations correlated positively with dissolved nitrogen concentration (ρ = 0.44, p < 0.01) when excluding the spring snowmelt period and negatively correlated with dissolved organic carbon concentration (ρ = -0.47, p < 0.01). Overall, NDMA precursor levels were highly dynamic and strongly affected by lime-softening treatment.

RevDate: 2023-09-04

Murry VM, Nyanamba JM, Hanebutt R, et al (2023)

Critical examination of resilience and resistance in african american families: Adaptive capacities to navigate toxic oppressive upstream waters.

Development and psychopathology pii:S0954579423001037 [Epub ahead of print].

African American families navigate not only everyday stressors and adversities but also unique sociocultural stressors (e.g., "toxic upstream waters" like oppression). These adverse conditions are consequences of the historical vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow laws, often manifested as inequities in wealth, housing, wages, employment, access to healthcare, and quality education. Despite these challenges, African American families have developed resilience using strength-based adaptive coping strategies, to some extent, to filter these waters. To advance the field of resilience research, we focused on the following questions: (1) what constitutes positive responses to adversity?; (2) how is resilience defined conceptually and measured operationally?; (3) how has the field of resilience evolved?; (4) who defines what, when, and how responses are manifestations of resilience, instead of, for example, resistance? How can resistance, which at times leads to positive adaptations, be incorporated into the study of resilience?; and (5) are there case examples that demonstrate ways to address structural oppression and the pernicious effects of racism through system-level interventions, thereby changing environmental situations that sustain toxic waters requiring acts of resilience to survive and thrive? We end by exploring how a re-conceptualization of resilience requires a paradigm shift and new methodological approaches to understand ways in which preventive interventions move beyond focusing on families' capacity to navigate oppression and target systems and structures that maintain these toxic waters.

RevDate: 2023-09-03

Verma AK, Kumar M, Murugkar HV, et al (2023)

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) infection in crows through ingestion of infected crow carcasses.

Microbial pathogenesis pii:S0882-4010(23)00363-7 [Epub ahead of print].

The present study was aimed to investigate the role of cannibalism in transmission of H5N1 avian influenza virus to house crows (Corvus splendens). Four crows were intranasally inoculated with 10[8.0] EID50 (A/crow/India/01CA249/2021) H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus and were observed for 14 days for any overt signs of illness. Two of the infected crows showed signs of wing paralysis, incoordination, and torticollis. For cannibalism experiment, two crows showing clinical signs were euthanized on 14th day post-infection (dpi) and were kept in the isolator and four naïve healthy crows were introduced along with the euthanized crows. The viscera from the infected carcasses were eaten by all the four crows. Oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs were collected up to 14 days to assess virus excretion. All four crows showed clinical signs viz., dullness, reluctance to move with ruffled feathers on 6th day post cannibalism along with neurological signs including incoordination and paralysis of the wings. All the crows gradually recovered after showing clinical signs and were euthanized on 21st day of observation period. Virus excretion was observed from 3rd to 11th day post cannibalism through both oropharyngeal and cloacal routes with maximum shedding through oropharyngeal route. The virus was isolated from lungs and trachea of one the infected crows at 21st day after euthanasia. All the four crows seroconverted against H5N1 virus infection at 14th day post cannibalism. Our study confirms the transmission of H5N1 virus in crows through cannibalism and highlights how H5N1 virus might circulate in a crow colony once they become infected.

RevDate: 2023-08-31
CmpDate: 2023-08-31

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

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

BMJ global health, 8(8):.

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-08-28

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

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

JMIR formative research, 7:e40260 pii:v7i1e40260.

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-08-28

Sousa M, Peixoto M, Cruz O, et al (2023)

Academic Performance in Institutionalized and Noninstitutionalized Children: The Role of Cognitive Ability and Negative Lability.

Children (Basel, Switzerland), 10(8):.

More research is needed to understand the factors that contribute to low academic achievement in institutionalized children. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between cognitive and emotion regulation skills and academic performance, by comparing institutionalized and noninstitutionalized Portuguese children. The sample comprised 94 participants (46 institutionalized (22 boys) and 48 noninstitutionalized (23 boys) children), aged between 6 and 10 years, matched for age and sex. We used Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM) to measure cognitive abilities. Emotional regulation and negative lability were assessed using the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERC). Academic performance was assessed with the Competence Academic Scale (CAS) of the Portuguese version of the Social Skills Rating System-Teacher Form (SSRS-T). Institutionalized children exhibited poorer academic performance than their noninstitutionalized counterparts (effect size, η[2] = 0.174). Cognitive ability (β = 0.28) and negative lability (β = -0.28) were significant predictors of academic performance. In addition to institutionalization, cognitive ability, and the challenges of managing negative emotions may contribute to the observed differences in academic performance. Interventions aimed at fostering cognitive and emotional competencies may play a protective role for institutionalized children facing academic and social difficulties.

RevDate: 2023-08-28

Niczyporuk JS, Kozdrun W, Czujkowska A, et al (2023)

West Nile Virus Lineage 2 in Free-Living Corvus cornix Birds in Poland.

Tropical medicine and infectious disease, 8(8):.

The summer temperatures recorded in Poland in 2022 were among the highest in over 30 years and, combined with higher-than-expected rainfall, gave the impression of an almost tropical climate. Such climatic conditions were ideal for the transmission of vector-borne zoonotic diseases such as West Nile fever. In northeastern Poland, in the Mazowieckie region, the Polish event-based surveillance network reported increased fatalities of free-living hooded crows (Corvus corone cornix). West Nile virus (WNV) lineage 2 was identified for the first time as the etiological agent responsible for the death of the birds. WNV was detected in 17 out of the 99 (17.17%) free-living birds tested in this study. All the WNV-infected dead birds were collected in the same area and were diagnosed in September by the NVRI and confirmed by the EURL for equine diseases, ANSES, in October 2022. Unnaturally high temperatures recorded in Poland in 2022 likely favored the infection and spread of the virus in the avian population. A nationwide alert and awareness raising of blood transfusion centers and hospitals was carried out to prevent human infections by WNV.

RevDate: 2023-08-24

Sakaguchi K, Tanabe M, Takizawa S, et al (2023)

Zoonotic potential and antimicrobial resistance of Escherichia spp. in urban crows in Japan-first detection of E. marmotae and E. ruysiae.

Comparative immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases, 100:102040 pii:S0147-9571(23)00098-X [Epub ahead of print].

Little is known about the prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and pathogenic Escherichia coli in crows (carrion and jungle crows). We studied the phylogeny, virulence and antimicrobial resistance gene profiles of crow E. coli isolates to investigate their zoonotic potential and molecular epidemiology. During the winter of 2021-2022, 34 putative E. coli isolates were recovered from 27 of the 65 fresh fecal samples collected in urban areas. Three strains of the B1-O88:H8-ST446-fimH54 lineage, classified as extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) and necrotoxigenic E. coli type 2, were colistin-resistant and harbored mcr-1.1-carrying IncI2 plasmids. The blaCTX-M-55 was identified in a multidrug-resistant B1-O non-typeable:H23-ST224-fimH39 strain. In phylogroup B2, two lineages of O6:H1-ST73-fimH30 and O6:H5-ST83-fimH21 were classified as ExPEC, uropathogenic E. coli, and necrotoxigenic E. coli type 1 (O6:H5-ST83-fimH21), and contained several virulence genes associated with avian pathogenic E. coli. Noteworthy is that three isolates, identified as E. coli by MALDI-TOF MS, were confirmed to be two Escherichia marmotae (cryptic clade V) and one Escherichia ruysiae (cryptic clade III) based on ANI and dDDH analyses. Our results provide the first evidence of these new species in crows. E. marmotae and E. ruysiae isolates in this study were classified as ExPEC and contained the enteroaggregative E. coli heat-stable toxin 1 gene. In addition, these two E. marmotae isolates displayed a close genetic relationship with human isolates associated with septicemia. This study provides the first insights into the prevalence and zoonotic significance of Escherichia spp. in urban crows in Japan, posing a significant risk for their transmission to humans.

RevDate: 2023-08-24

Dayan S, Ogilvie P, Boyd C, et al (2023)

Self-perception of natural outcome, appearance, and emotional well-being after OnabotulinumtoxinA treatment for upper facial lines: Post hoc analysis across age and gender.

Journal of cosmetic dermatology [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: OnabotulinumtoxinA (onabotA) is indicated for upper facial lines (UFL). Fear of unnatural-looking outcomes is a frequently reported treatment barrier.

AIMS: Examine patient-reported outcomes (PROs) after onabotA treatment for UFL.

METHODS: A post hoc analysis was conducted on two 12-month pivotal studies of onabotA for forehead and glabellar lines (20 U each), with/without treatment of crow's feet lines (±24 U). This analysis used PROs from the Facial Line Satisfaction Questionnaire: Items 4 (natural look), 5 (treatment effect), 11 (met expectations), and Impact Domain (appearance and psychological impact). The analysis included 458 neurotoxin-naive adults achieving a ≥2-grade improvement in UFL severity on the Facial Wrinkle Scale at Day 30 (primary endpoint). Data were further stratified into millennials and men.

RESULTS: At Day 30, 90.5% of all participants, 94.6% of millennials, and 85.7% of men were satisfied with receiving a natural look. Millennials had higher odds of being satisfied with natural outcomes at Day 30. This measure remained > 80% for all groups throughout the 12 months. Additionally, ≥80% were satisfied with the treatment effect, and >90% reported results met expectations. At Day 30, ≥50% reported positive impacts on self-perceived appearance and psychological well-being, but millennials had higher, and men had lower odds of reporting these improvements.

CONCLUSIONS: Participants achieving a ≥2-grade improvement in UFL severity after onabotA reported high satisfaction with natural outcomes and the treatment effect, with improved self-perceived appearance and psychological well-being. These results may help aesthetic providers and patients address fears regarding unnatural results with onabotA.

RevDate: 2023-08-24

Brown A, Furmanczyk M, Ramos D, et al (2023)

Natural Retinol Analogs Potentiate the Effects of Retinal on Aged and Photodamaged Skin: Results from In Vitro to Clinical Studies.

Dermatology and therapy [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: Plants are a source of natural ingredients with retinol-like properties that can deliver anti-aging benefits without the side effects typically associated with retinoid use. We hypothesized that by combining two such analogs, bakuchiol (BAK) and Vigna aconitifolia extract (VAE), with the potent retinoid retinal (RAL), the anti-photoaging potential of RAL could be enhanced without compromising its skin irritation profile. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that BAK and VAE potentiate the anti-photoaging activity of RAL.

METHODS: Gene expression profiling of full-thickness reconstructed skin was first used to examine the impact of BAK or VAE in combination with RAL on skin biology. Next, the irritative potential of this combination, and its capacity to reverse key signs of photoaging in an ex vivo model was assessed. Finally, a proof-of-concept open label clinical study was performed to evaluate the anti-photoaging capacity and skin compatibility of a cosmetic formulation (tri-retinoid complex; 3RC) containing this complex in combination with other well characterized anti-photoaging ingredients.

RESULTS: In vitro profiling suggested that combining 0.1% RAL with BAK or VAE potentiates the effect of RAL on keratinocyte differentiation and skin barrier function without affecting its skin irritation profile. When formulated with other anti-photoaging ingredients, such as niacinamide and melatonin, 3RC reversed ultraviolet radiation-induced deficits in structural components of the dermal extracellular matrix, including hyaluronic acid and collagen. In vivo, it led to a reversal of clinical signs of age and photodamage, with statistically significant improvement to skin firmness (+5.6%), skin elasticity (+13.9%), wrinkle count (-43.2%), and skin tone homogeneity (+7.0%), observed within 28 days of once nightly use. Notably, the number of crow's feet wrinkles was reduced in 100% of subjects. Furthermore, 3RC was very well tolerated.

CONCLUSION: These data suggest that 3RC is a highly effective and well-tolerated treatment for photoaging.

RevDate: 2023-08-24

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-08-24

Thomason EC, Turley NJS, Belthoff JR, et al (2023)

Illegal shooting is now a leading cause of death of birds along power lines in the western USA.

iScience, 26(8):107274.

Human actions, both legal and illegal, affect wildlife in many ways. Inaccurate diagnosis of cause of death undermines law enforcement, management, threat assessment, and mitigation. We found 410 dead birds collected along 196 km of power lines in four western USA states during 2019-2022. We necropsied these carcasses to test conventional wisdom suggesting that electrocution is the leading cause of death of birds at electrical infrastructure. Of 175 birds with a known cause of death, 66% died from gunshot. Both raptors and corvids were more likely to die from gunshot than from other causes, along both transmission and distribution lines. Past mitigation to reduce avian deaths along power lines has focused almost exclusively on reducing electrocutions or collisions. Our work suggests that, although electrocution and collision remain important, addressing illegal shooting now may have greater relevance for avian conservation.

RevDate: 2023-08-21

Roy J, Soler-Garzón A, Miklas PN, et al (2023)

Integrating de novo QTL-seq and linkage mapping to identify quantitative trait loci conditioning physiological resistance and avoidance to white mold disease in dry bean.

The plant genome [Epub ahead of print].

White mold (WM), caused by the ubiquitous fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, is a devastating disease that limits production and quality of dry bean globally. In the present study, classic linkage mapping combined with QTL-seq were employed in two recombinant inbred line (RIL) populations, "Montrose"/I9365-25 (M25) and "Raven"/I9365-31 (R31), with the initial goal of fine-mapping QTL WM5.4 and WM7.5 that condition WM resistance. The RILs were phenotyped for WM reactions under greenhouse (straw test) and field environments. The general region of WM5.4 and WM7.5 were reconfirmed with both mapping strategies within each population. Combining the results from both mapping strategies, WM5.4 was delimited to a 22.60-36.25 Mb interval in the heterochromatic regions on Pv05, while WM7.5 was narrowed to a 0.83 Mb (3.99-4.82 Mb) region on the Pv07 chromosome. Furthermore, additional QTL WM2.2a (3.81-7.24 Mb), WM2.2b (11.18-17.37 Mb, heterochromatic region), and WM2.2c (23.33-25.94 Mb) were mapped to a narrowed genomic interval on Pv02 and WM4.2 in a 0.89 Mb physical interval at the distal end of Pv04 chromosome. Gene models encoding gibberellin 2-oxidase proteins regulating plant architecture are likely candidate genes associated with WM2.2a resistance. Nine gene models encoding a disease resistance protein (quinone reductase family protein and ATWRKY69) found within the WM5.4 QTL interval are putative candidate genes. Clusters of 13 and 5 copies of gene models encoding cysteine-rich receptor-like kinase and receptor-like protein kinase-related family proteins, respectively, are potential candidate genes associated with WM7.5 resistance and most likely trigger physiological resistance to WM. Acquired knowledge of the narrowed major QTL intervals, flanking markers, and candidate genes provides promising opportunities to develop functional molecular markers to implement marker-assisted selection for WM resistant dry bean cultivars.

RevDate: 2023-08-23

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-08-21

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

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

Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 15:1155122.

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2023-08-19

Subash Chandra Bose K, Shah MI, Krishna J, et al (2023)

Genome-scale metabolic model analysis of Pichia pastoris for enhancing the production of S-adenosyl-L-methionine.

Bioprocess and biosystems engineering [Epub ahead of print].

Komagataella phaffii, formerly Pichia pastoris (P. pastoris), is a promising methylotrophic yeast used in industry to produce recombinant protein and valuable metabolites. In this study, a genome-scale metabolic model (GEMs) was reconstructed and used to assess P. pastoris' metabolic capabilities for the production of S-adenosyl-L-methionine (AdoMet or SAM or SAMe) from individual carbon sources along with the addition of L-methionine. In a model-driven P. pastoris strain, the well-established genome-scale metabolic model iAUKM can be implemented to predict high valuable metabolite production. The model, iAUKM, was created by merging the previously published iMT1026 model and the draught model generated using Raven toolbox from the KEGG database which covered 2309 enzymatic reactions associated with 1033 metabolic genes and 1750 metabolites. The highly curated model was successful in capturing P. pastoris growth on various carbon sources, as well as AdoMet production under various growth conditions. Many overexpression gene targets for increasing AdoMet accumulation in the cell have been predicted for various carbon sources. Inorganic phosphatase (IPP) was one of the predicted overexpression targets as revealed from simulations using iAUKM. When IPP gene was integrated into P. pastoris, we found that AdoMet accumulation increased by 16% and 14% using glucose and glycerol as carbon sources, respectively. Our in silico results shed light on the factors limiting AdoMet production, as well as key pathways for rationalized engineering to increase AdoMet yield.

RevDate: 2023-08-21
CmpDate: 2023-08-21

Singh SK, Lhungdim H, Shekhar C, et al (2023)

Key drivers of reversal of trend in childhood anaemia in India: evidence from Indian demographic and health surveys, 2016-21.

BMC public health, 23(1):1574.

AIM: Recent National Family Health Survey results portray striking improvements in most population and health indicators, including fertility, family planning, maternal and child health, gender treatment, household environments, and health insurance coverage of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), with all India resonance. However, the prevalence of any anaemia (< 11 g/dl) among children under age five has exhibited a reversed trajectory in recent years. Therefore, the present study explores key drivers of the reversal of the trend in the prevalence of childhood anaemia between 2015 and2021.

METHODS: Data of four rounds of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) were used to show the overall trend of anaemia among children. However, for the analysis of key drivers of the reversal trend of childhood anaemia, only the recent two rounds (NFHS-4 & NFHS-5) were used. Descriptive, bivariate multivariable analysis and Fairlie decomposition model were used to explore the drivers of the reversal of the trend in childhood anaemia.

RESULTS: During the past two decades, India has seen a decline in the prevalence of childhood anaemia (NFHS-2 to NFHS-4). However, a reversal of trend was observed recently. The prevalence of anaemia among children aged 6-59 months increased from 59 percent in NFHS-4 to 67 percent in NFHS-5. In addition, the prevalence of mild anaemia increased from 23.3 percent in NFHS-2 to 28.7 percent in NFHS-5. However, the prevalence of moderate and severe anaemia declined considerably from NFHS-2 (40 percent and 4.1 percent) to NFHS-4 (28.7 percent and 1.6 percent), but showed an increase in the prevalence in NFHS-5 (36.3 percent and 2.2 percent). Among others, mothers' educational attainment, anaemia status and socio-economic status emerge as the key drivers of the change in the prevalence of childhood anaemia.

CONCLUSION: These findings may have vital implications for the ongoing Anaemia Mukt Bharat Programme, one of the government's dream projects in India.

RevDate: 2023-08-18

Martín JM, Revelles JM, Aznar NM, et al (2023)

Superficial versus deep injections of the upper midface-A prospective interventional split-face study.

Journal of cosmetic dermatology [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Various injection algorithms have been proposed in the past which are in line with the three aesthetic principles: upper face first, lateral face first, and deep regions first. However, increasing evidence is provided that the upper midface can be targeted with superficial soft tissue filler injections alone too.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate in a prospective split-face study design whether superficial or deep upper midfacial injections provide superior aesthetic outcomes.

METHODS: A total of n = 20 study participants (100% females; age 43.95 (11.7) years; BMI 22.92 (2.6) kg/m[2]) were treated with superficial soft tissue filler injections on side of their face and deep injections on the contralateral side with a mean volume of 0.78 cc. Outcome was evaluated at 7 weeks follow-up for midfacial, and lower facial volume, for medial and lateral facial skin vector displacement, and for improvement of nasolabial, crow's feet, and upper cheek fullness severity scores.

RESULTS: No adverse events related to safety or product tolerability were observed during the entire study period. All semiquantitative scores improved statistically significantly after the observational period (p < 0.001) but displayed no difference between the two applied injection techniques (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: The results of this split-face study revealed that both the superficial and the deep cannula injection technique for midface volumization statistically significantly improve the midfacial volume, reduce nasolabial fold and crow's feet severity. No statistically significant difference was observed between the two injection techniques when compared via semiquantitative and objective outcome evaluation after 7 weeks follow-up.

RevDate: 2023-08-18

Hahner L, A Nieder (2023)

Costs and benefits of voluntary attention in crows.

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

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

RevDate: 2023-08-17

DeRaad DA, Escalona M, Benham P, et al (2023)

De novo assembly of a chromosome-level reference genome for the California Scrub-Jay, Aphelocoma californica.

The Journal of heredity pii:7243675 [Epub ahead of print].

We announce the assembly of the first de novo reference genome for the California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica). The genus Aphelocoma comprises four currently recognized species including many locally adapted populations across Mesoamerica and North America. Intensive study of Aphelocoma has revealed novel insights into the evolutionary mechanisms driving diversification in natural systems. Additional insights into the evolutionary history of this group will require continued development of high-quality, publicly available genomic resources. We extracted high molecular weight genomic DNA from a female California Scrub-Jay from northern California and generated PacBio HiFi long-read data and Omni-C chromatin conformation capture data. We used these data to generate a de novo partially phased diploid genome assembly, consisting of two pseudo-haplotypes, and scaffolded them using inferred physical proximity information from the Omni-C data. The more complete pseudo-haplotype assembly (arbitrarily designated 'Haplotype 1') is 1.35 Gigabases in total length, highly contiguous (contig N50 = 11.53 Mb), and highly complete (BUSCO completeness score = 97%), with comparable scaffold sizes to chromosome-level avian reference genomes (scaffold N50 = 66.14 Mb). Our California Scrub-Jay assembly is highly syntenic with the New Caledonian Crow reference genome despite ~10 million years of divergence, highlighting the temporal stability of the avian genome. This high-quality reference genome represents a leap forward in publicly available genomic resources for Aphelocoma, and the family Corvidae more broadly. Future work using Aphelocoma as a model for understanding the evolutionary forces generating and maintaining biodiversity across phylogenetic scales can now benefit from a highly contiguous, in-group reference genome.

RevDate: 2023-08-18

McCormack JE, Hill MM, DeRaad DA, et al (2023)

An elevational shift facilitated the Mesoamerican diversification of Azure-hooded Jays (Cyanolyca cucullata) during the Great American Biotic Interchange.

Ecology and evolution, 13(8):e10411.

The Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI) was a key biogeographic event in the history of the Americas. The rising of the Panamanian land bridge ended the isolation of South America and ushered in a period of dispersal, mass extinction, and new community assemblages, which sparked competition, adaptation, and speciation. Diversification across many bird groups, and the elevational zonation of others, ties back to events triggered by the GABI. But the exact timing of these events is still being revealed, with recent studies suggesting a much earlier time window for faunal exchange, perhaps as early as 20 million years ago (Mya). Using a time-calibrated phylogenetic tree, we show that the jay genus Cyanolyca is emblematic of bird dispersal trends, with an early, pre-land bridge dispersal from Mesoamerica to South America 6.3-7.3 Mya, followed by a back-colonization of C. cucullata to Mesoamerica 2.3-4.8 Mya, likely after the land bridge was complete. As Cyanolyca species came into contact in Mesoamerica, they avoided competition due to a prior shift to lower elevation in the ancestor of C. cucullata. This shift allowed C. cucullata to integrate itself into the Mesoamerican highland avifauna, which our time-calibrated phylogeny suggests was already populated by higher-elevation, congeneric dwarf-jays (C. argentigula, C. pumilo, C. mirabilis, and C. nanus). The outcome of these events and fortuitous elevational zonation was that C. cucullata could continue colonizing new highland areas farther north during the Pleistocene. Resultingly, four C. cucullata lineages became isolated in allopatric, highland regions from Panama to Mexico, diverging in genetics, morphology, plumage, and vocalizations. At least two of these lineages are best described as species (C. mitrata and C. cucullata). Continued study will further document the influence of the GABI and help clarify how dispersal and vicariance shaped modern-day species assemblages in the Americas.

RevDate: 2023-08-17

Oladzad A, Roy J, Mamidi S, et al (2023)

Linked candidate genes of different functions for white mold resistance in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L) are identified by multiple QTL mapping approaches.

Frontiers in plant science, 14:1233285.

White mold (WM) is a major disease in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), and its complex quantitative genetic control limits the development of WM resistant cultivars. WM2.2, one of the nine meta-QTL with a major effect on WM tolerance, explains up to 35% of the phenotypic variation and was previously mapped to a large genomic interval on Pv02. Our objective was to narrow the interval of this QTL using combined approach of classic QTL mapping and QTL-based bulk segregant analysis (BSA), and confirming those results with Khufu de novo QTL-seq. The phenotypic and genotypic data from two RIL populations, 'Raven'/I9365-31 (R31) and 'AN-37'/PS02-029C-20 (Z0726-9), were used to select resistant and susceptible lines to generate subpopulations for bulk DNA sequencing. The QTL physical interval was determined by considering overlapping interval of the identified QTL or peak region in both populations by three independent QTL mapping analyses. Our findings revealed that meta-QTL WM2.2 consists of three regions, WM2.2a (4.27-5.76 Mb; euchromatic), WM 2.2b (12.19 to 17.61 Mb; heterochromatic), and WM2.2c (23.01-25.74 Mb; heterochromatic) found in both populations. Gene models encoding for gibberellin 2-oxidase 8, pentatricopeptide repeat, and heat-shock proteins are the likely candidate genes associated with WM2.2a resistance. A TIR-NBS-LRR class of disease resistance protein (Phvul.002G09200) and LRR domain containing family proteins are potential candidate genes associated with WM2.2b resistance. Nine gene models encoding disease resistance protein [pathogenesis-related thaumatin superfamily protein and disease resistance-responsive (dirigent-like protein) family protein etc] found within the WM2.2c QTL interval are putative candidate genes. WM2.2a region is most likely associated with avoidance mechanisms while WM2.2b and WM2.2c regions trigger physiological resistance based on putative candidate genes.

RevDate: 2023-08-14

Fanian F, Deutsch JJ, Bousquet MT, et al (2023)

A hyaluronic acid-based micro-filler improves superficial wrinkles and skin quality: a randomized prospective controlled multicenter study.

The Journal of dermatological treatment, 34(1):2216323.

BACKGROUND: NCTF®135HA is a bio-revitalizing solution containing hyaluronic acid designed to compensate for skin dehydration, fatigue, and fine wrinkles associated with endogenous and environmental aging.

METHODS: We conducted a randomized, active-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of NCTF®135HA injections on the face (crow's feet), neck, and décolleté regions. Subjects were randomly assigned (3:1) to receive three NCTF®135HA treatment sessions plus twice-daily anti-aging moisturizer cream or cream alone (control). The primary outcome was the reduction in superficial wrinkles between baseline and Day (D)75 in the three areas, assessed by profilometric measures, clinical scoring, subjective changes, and tolerability.

RESULTS: 146 subjects were randomized to NCTF®135HA (n = 107) or control (n = 38). At D75 and D120, NCTF®135HA significantly reduced wrinkles in all three areas and improved facial radiance scores compared with the control. Skin hydration significantly increased 7 d after the last NCTF®135HA injection. Self-esteem scales showed statistically significant improvements at D75 and D120 in subjects treated with NCTF®135HA versus baseline. Most adverse events were mild, resolved within 48 h, and were related to the injection procedure.

CONCLUSION: NCTF®135HA is an effective and well-tolerated treatment to reduce the skin signs of aging. The results are significantly superior to a routine anti-aging cream alone.(Funded by Laboratories FILLMED; ID-RCB number: 2018-A03167-48; clinicaltrials.gov number: NCT05609617).

RevDate: 2023-08-15

Glahn JZ, Hooper RC, PD Butler (2023)

Recognition and Respect: Contextualizing the History and Contributions of Black American Plastic Surgeons.

Plastic and reconstructive surgery. Global open, 11(8):e5179.

Recently, there has been heightened interest in the history of Black American plastic surgeons and their contributions to the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery (PRS). Despite the increased awareness and attention toward the lack of racial and ethnic diversity of the PRS workforce, the history of how PRS became one of the most ethnically segregated surgical specialties remains unexplored. Here, we outline the various political and cultural factors that contributed to the exclusion of Black practitioners from American PRS professional societies. This work contextualizes the rise of American PRS within the Jim Crow era and highlights the cultural significance of reconstructive procedures performed in the treatment of disfigured soldiers. Through this lens, we identify circumstances where Black surgeons were systematically denied opportunities to participate in the emerging specialty. Despite these barriers, we demonstrate how Black physicians established informal networks for professional advancement and shed light on several previously unrecognized contributions to PRS from Black surgeons. In addition, we explore how the inclusion of Black voices in PRS sparked a paradigm shift in the treatment of non-White patients that expanded the cosmetic marketplace in ways that remain significant today. Finally, we situate the ongoing disparities in Black representation in PRS within a broader historical narrative and illustrate how the stories we tell about our past continue to shape the future of our field.

RevDate: 2023-08-12

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

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

Ecology and evolution, 13(8):e10412.

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

RevDate: 2023-08-10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


RJR Experience and Expertise


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

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

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

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

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

short personal version

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

long standard version

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