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20 Jan 2019 at 01:34
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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 20 Jan 2019 at 01:34 Created: 

Corvids (crows, jays, etc)

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

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

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

RevDate: 2019-01-16

Rubi TL, Clark DL, Keller JS, et al (2019)

Courtship behavior and coloration influence conspicuousness of wolf spiders (Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz)) to avian predators.

Behavioural processes pii:S0376-6357(18)30142-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Signalers must balance the benefits of detection by intended receivers with the costs of detection by eavesdroppers. This trade-off is exemplified by sexual signaling systems, in which signalers experience sexual selection for conspicuousness to mates as well as natural selection for crypsis to predators. In this study, we examined how courtship behavior and body coloration influenced the conspicuousness of males to avian predators in the well-studied brush-legged wolf spider system (Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz)). We focused on three behaviors (courtship, walking, and freezing) and two coloration schemes (natural coloration and idealized background-matching coloration). We presented captive blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata) with video playbacks of male spiders in a presence-absence detection task and characterized conspicuousness by measuring response latency and detectability. We found that any type of motion significantly increased detectability, and that body coloration and behavior interacted to determine detectability while the spiders were in motion. Among spiders in motion, courting spiders were detected faster than walking spiders. Stationary (frozen) spiders, in contrast, were rarely detected. These results illustrate that male S. ocreata can be both highly conspicuous and highly cryptic to avian predators. Thus, while we find that courtship is conspicuous to avian predators in this system, we suggest that behavioral plasticity may mitigate some of the predation costs of the sexual signal.

RevDate: 2019-01-16

Anonymous (2019)

Clever crows size up objects blowing in the wind.

Nature, 565(7739):269.

RevDate: 2019-01-15

Papadimitrakopoulou VA (2016)

AURA3 trial: does Tagrisso (osimertinib) have the potential to become the new standard of care for second-line treatment of patients with EGFR T790M mutation-positive locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC.

Lung cancer management, 5(4):159-162.

Vassiliki A Papadimitrakopoulou speaks to Roshaine Wijayatunga, Managing Commissioning Editor: Dr Papadimitrakopoulou is the Jay and Lori Eisenberg Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Chief of the section of Thoracic Medical Oncology in the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at the University of Texas/MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her areas of expertise include design and development of novel therapeutic clinical trials for lung and head and neck neoplasms, personalized genomics-driven lung cancer therapy and translational research and cancer chemoprevention. Her extensive experience in design, development and implementation of translational research in the context of multidisciplinary research teams has led to research funding from National Cancer Institute (NCI), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Department of Defense (DOD) both independently and as a member of a research team in the Head and Neck SPORE program. Currently, she serves as the principal investigator and leads numerous clinical and translational research projects with a focus on the development of biomarker-based targeted therapy to overcome therapeutic resistance in advanced disease and immunotherapy. Most notably, she has led the multidisciplinary clinical and translational research infrastructure dedicated to the treatment of metastatic refractory NSCLC as part of the BATTLE-2 program, designed and developed the first-in-the-world comprehensive genomics-driven umbrella approach in Squamous Lung Cancer, the Lung Master protocol, jointly sponsored by NCI-Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) and Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH)/industry, aiming at bringing personalized medicine to patients with this disease. She is the Co-PI of an R01 award focusing on the role of KRAS mutations and targeting in lung cancer. She is the lead author or coauthor of over 150 published articles, book chapters and reviews, and numerous abstracts involving cancer therapeutics, prevention and translational research and she has received several awards including the ASCO Young Investigator and Career Development Award. On this R01 application, she will serve as Co-PI, working closely with Roy Herbst (Yale Cancer Center) and Don Gibbons (UT/MD Anderson Cancer Center), building on the recently completed BATTLE-2 program, and capitalizing on both laboratory findings supporting MEK targeted therapy and clinical effectiveness of immunotherapy and their combinations in addressing KRAS mutated lung cancer.

RevDate: 2019-01-15

Morreale M (2018)

A Handy Primer for Medical Educators : The College Classroom Assessment Compendium: A Practical Guide to the College Instructor's Daily Assessment. By Jay Parkes and Dawn Zimmaro; Routledge; New York; 2018; ISBN: 978-1-138-24026-7; pp. 218; $31.96 (paperback).

Academic psychiatry : the journal of the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training and the Association for Academic Psychiatry, 42(5):690.

RevDate: 2019-01-11

Tian Y, Fang Y, J Li (2018)

The Effect of Metacognitive Knowledge on Mathematics Performance in Self-Regulated Learning Framework-Multiple Mediation of Self-Efficacy and Motivation.

Frontiers in psychology, 9:2518.

Metacognition, self-efficacy, and motivation are important components of interaction in self-regulated learning (SRL). However, the psychological mechanism underlying the association among them in mathematical learning remained ambiguous. The present study investigated whether the relationship between metacognitive knowledge (MK) and mathematics performance can be mediated by self-efficacy and motivation. The sample comprised 569 students (245 male, Mage = 16.39, SD = 0.63) of Grade 10 in China. The MK in mathematics questionnaire, the self-efficacy questionnaire, the academic motivation scale, Raven advanced progressive matrix, and mathematics tests were used for data collection. Our results suggested that the mathematics performance could be predicted by MK, self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation. Moreover, the association between MK and mathematics performance was mediated by self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation, as revealed by a multiple mediation analysis. Additionally, there were sex differences in MK, self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation. The findings highlight the psychological mechanism in the mathematics of Chinese students and will help teachers to improve students' mathematical learning in SRL framework more effectively. Implications for education and further studies are discussed.

RevDate: 2019-01-10

Vazquez A, Gustafson KD, Harmeling B, et al (2019)


Journal of wildlife diseases [Epub ahead of print].

The appearance of West Nile virus (WNV) coincided with declines in California bird populations beginning in 2004, and particularly affected corvid populations, including Yellow-billed Magpies (Pica nutalli), an endemic species to California. Our objective was to determine if the timing of the WNV epidemic correlated with changes in the genetic diversity or population structure of magpies. We hypothesized the declines in magpie abundance from WNV would lead to genetic bottlenecks and reduced genetic diversity, but not to changes in population genetic structure. To test these hypotheses, we genetically typed magpie samples collected during the Dead Bird Survey before WNV arrived (2002-2004), immediately after WNV arrived in late 2004 (2006-2008), and several generations after the onset of the epidemic (2009-2011). For each of these three time periods, we tested for genetic bottlenecks, estimated genetic heterozygosity, allelic richness, relatedness, effective population sizes, and genetic structure, with the use of 10 nuclear microsatellite loci. Although there was no evidence for spatial or temporal genetic structure, genetic-diversity estimates were similar or below estimates for endangered corvid species. Measures of genetic diversity were consistent across time periods. In contrast to our expectation, we detected a genetic bottleneck prior to the WNV epidemic, which may have coincided with severe drought conditions in California, increasing human population size in magpie range, and an estimated 33% decrease in population size. We found weak evidence to support a bottleneck after the introduction of WNV in California. Our results suggest the WNV epidemic did not have additional catastrophic effects on the neutral genetic diversity of P. nutalli in the sampled areas. However, because we detected lower heterozygosity in Yellow-billed Magpies than has been reported in closely related endangered species, this species is of conservation concern and should be monitored to detect further population declines or loss of genetic diversity.

RevDate: 2019-01-07

Luo J, Wang Y, Wang Z, et al (2019)

Assessment of Pb and Cd contaminations in the urban waterway sediments of the Nen River (Qiqihar section), Northeastern China, and transfer along the food chain.

Environmental science and pollution research international pii:10.1007/s11356-018-04087-w [Epub ahead of print].

The increasing anthropogenic inputs of Pb and Cd into China's Nen River (Qiqihar section) owing to rapid urbanization in the past 50 years may pose ecological risks to the river's aquatic system. To confirm this hypothesis, we determined the Pb and Cd concentrations in the sediments of the Nen River flowing across Qiqihar City by comparing the control group (samplings in the Nen River branch bypassing the city) and bioaccumulation along the food chain. We found significantly higher Pb concentrations in the sediments than in the control group (39.21 mg kg-1 dry weight [dw] vs. 22.44 mg kg-1 dw; p < 0.05). However, the difference between the Cd contents of the two groups was nonsignificant (0.33 mg kg-1 dw vs. 0.30 mg kg-1 dw) (p = 0.07). Accumulated Pb and Cd in the sediments pose a medium risk to the system of Nen River according to the result of risk assessment code analysis. The increased Pb and Cd levels along the food chain had adverse health effects in the species at the top level of the food chain. For example, the feathers of Corvus frugilegus and Sterna hirundo contained 0.28-2.25 mg kg-1 dw of Cd. These values are considered potentially toxic to common avian species. The bone Pb level of C. frugilegus ranged from 4.82 to 7.41 mg kg-1 dw within the increasing Pb range (2-15 mg kg-1 dw) of common water birds. The inputs of Pb and Cd into the local environment should be reduced for the preservation of aquatic system health.

RevDate: 2019-01-07

Fujii Y, Kanno Y, Koshita S, et al (2019)

Predictive Factors for Inaccurate Diagnosis of Swollen Lymph Nodes in Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration.

Clinical endoscopy pii:ce.2018.125 [Epub ahead of print].

Background/Aims: This study aimed to identify the predictive factors for inaccurate endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) diagnosis of swollen lymph nodes without rapid on-site cytopathological evaluation.

Methods: Eighty-three consecutive patients who underwent EUS-FNA for abdominal or mediastinal lymph nodes from January 2008 to June 2017 were included from a prospectively maintained EUS-FNA database and retrospectively reviewed. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of EUS-FNA for the detection of neoplastic diseases were calculated. Candidate factors for inaccurate diagnosis (lymph node size and location, needle type, puncture route, number of passes, and causative disease) were evaluated by comparison between accurately diagnosed cases and others.

Results: The final diagnosis of the punctured lymph node was classified as neoplastic (65 cases: a metastatic lymph node, malignant lymphoma, or Crow-Fukase syndrome) or non-neoplastic (18 cases: a reactive node or amyloidosis). The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 83%, 94%, and 86%, respectively. On multivariate analyses, small size of the lymph node was the sole predictive factor for inaccurate EUS-FNA diagnosis with a significant difference (odds ratios, 19.8; 95% confidence intervals, 3.15-124; p=0.0015).

Conclusions: The lymph node size of <16 mm was the only independent factor associated with inaccurate EUS-FNA diagnosis of swollen lymph nodes.

RevDate: 2019-01-01

Chen N, Juric I, Cosgrove EJ, et al (2018)

Allele frequency dynamics in a pedigreed natural population.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America pii:1813852116 [Epub ahead of print].

A central goal of population genetics is to understand how genetic drift, natural selection, and gene flow shape allele frequencies through time. However, the actual processes underlying these changes-variation in individual survival, reproductive success, and movement-are often difficult to quantify. Fully understanding these processes requires the population pedigree, the set of relationships among all individuals in the population through time. Here, we use extensive pedigree and genomic information from a long-studied natural population of Florida Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens) to directly characterize the relative roles of different evolutionary processes in shaping patterns of genetic variation through time. We performed gene dropping simulations to estimate individual genetic contributions to the population and model drift on the known pedigree. We found that observed allele frequency changes are generally well predicted by accounting for the different genetic contributions of founders. Our results show that the genetic contribution of recent immigrants is substantial, with some large allele frequency shifts that otherwise may have been attributed to selection actually due to gene flow. We identified a few SNPs under directional short-term selection after appropriately accounting for gene flow. Using models that account for changes in population size, we partitioned the proportion of variance in allele frequency change through time. Observed allele frequency changes are primarily due to variation in survival and reproductive success, with gene flow making a smaller contribution. This study provides one of the most complete descriptions of short-term evolutionary change in allele frequencies in a natural population to date.

RevDate: 2018-12-31

Kim EY, Inoue N, Koh DH, et al (2018)

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor 2 potentially mediates cytochrome P450 1A induction in the jungle crow (Corvus macrorhynchos).

Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 171:99-111 pii:S0147-6513(18)31326-5 [Epub ahead of print].

To understand the role of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) isoforms in avian species, we investigated the functional characteristics of two AHR isoforms (designated as jcAHR1 and jcAHR2) of the jungle crow (Corvus macrorhynchos). Two amino acid residues corresponding to Ile324 and Ser380 (high sensitive type) in chicken AHR1 that are known to determine dioxin sensitivity were Ile325 and Ala381 (moderate sensitive type) in jcAHR1 and Val306 and Ala362 (low sensitive type) in jcAHR2. The quantitative comparison of the two jcAHR mRNA expression levels in a Tokyo jungle crow population showed that jcAHR2 accounted for 92.4% in the liver, while jcAHR1 accounted for only 7.6%. Both in vitro-expressed jcAHR1 and jcAHR2 proteins exhibited a specific binding to [3H]-labeled 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). Transactivation potencies for jcAHR1 and jcAHR2 in in vitro reporter gene assays were measured in jcAHR-expressed cells exposed to 16 dioxins and related compounds (DRCs). Both jcAHR1 and jcAHR2 were activated in a congener- and an isoform-specific manner. EC50 value of TCDD for jcAHR2 (0.61 nM) was six-fold higher than that for jcAHR1 (0.098 nM), but jcAHR2 had higher transactivation efficacy than jcAHR1 in terms of the magnitude of response. The high transactivation efficacy of jcAHR2 in DRCs is in contrast to that of AHR2s in other avian species with low transactivation efficacy. Molecular docking simulations of TCDD with in silico jcAHR1 and jcAHR2 homology models showed that the two sensitivity-decisive amino acids indirectly controlled TCDD-binding modes through their surrounding amino acids. Deletion assays of jcAHR2 revealed that 736-805 amino acid residues in the C-terminal region were critical for its transactivation. We suggest that jcAHR2 plays a critical role in regulating the AHR signaling pathway, at least in its highly expressed organs.

RevDate: 2018-12-27

Nishimoto T, Bonkohara Y, Murakami H, et al (2018)

[Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Pericardial Fenestration for Pericardial Effusion in a Patient with Crow-Fukase Syndrome].

Kyobu geka. The Japanese journal of thoracic surgery, 71(13):1092-1095.

A 65-year-old woman was referred to our department with recurrent pericardial effusion. Her serum vascular endothelial growth factor was high, serum M-protein was positive, and nerve conduction velocity of extremities was decreased. Therefore, she was diagnosed with Crow-Fukase (polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, M protein, skin changes:POEMS) syndrome, which is characterized by the presence of plasma cell dyscrasia with them. We performed video-thoracoscopic pericardial fenestration with 4×4 cm window. The postoperative course was uneventful, and the pericardial effusion completely disappeared. Video-assisted thoracoscopic pericardial fenestration was a safe and effective treatment for recurrent pericardial effusion.

RevDate: 2018-12-26

Huerta-Franco MR, Vargas-Luna M, Somoza X, et al (2018)

Gastric responses to acute psychological stress in climacteric women: a pilot study.

Menopause (New York, N.Y.) [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: Women exhibit reduced ovarian sex hormones during the menopausal period that result in well-known physical and psychological symptoms. However, symptoms related to gastric motility (GM) have not been thoroughly investigated. We hypothesized that stress response gastric motility (SRGM) is lower in postmenopausal (PM) and perimenopausal (PERIM) women than in premenopausal (PREM) women. Estrogenic decline leads to neuroendocrine changes in different areas of the brain. These changes can result in hypothalamic vasomotor symptoms, disorders in eating behaviours, and altered blood pressure, in addition to psychological disorders such as stress, anxiety, depression, and irritability related to alterations in the limbic system.

METHODS: In this pilot study, 55 PREM, PERIM, and PM women were clinically evaluated using the Nowack stress profile (SP) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). GM was assessed via electrical bioimpedance using two psychological stress tests (Stroop and Raven tests).

RESULTS: Basal SP and STAI-anxiety test scores were similar among the three groups of women (P > 0.05). PERIM women had lower GM in the basal state (P < 0.05) than did other women. PREM and PM women had significantly decreased GM during the stress tests (P < 0.05). However, PERIM did not exhibit GM changes during stress tests (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Changes in sex hormones during PERIM may affect GM and SRGM.

RevDate: 2018-12-23

Bessis D, Petit A, Battistella M, et al (2018)

Naevoid acanthosis nigricans or RAVEN (rounded and velvety epidermal naevus) and mosaic FGFR3 and FGFR2 mutations.

we read with interest the article by Larsabal et al.1 describing two cases of RAVEN (rounded and velvety epidermal naevus) or naevoid acanthosis nigricans (NAN) associated with mosaic p.Arg252Asn FGFR3 and p.Ser252Trp FGFR2 mutations, adding to a probable case of RAVEN/NAN with comedones linked to the previously reported p.Ser252Trp FGFR2 mutation.2 In the past two years, we had the opportunity to perform molecular analysis for FGFR2 and FGFR3 in seven unrelated patients with RAVEN/NAN and wish to add our experience.

RevDate: 2018-12-22

Tsui I, Song BJ, Lin CS, et al (2018)

A Practical Approach to Retinal Dystrophies.

Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 1085:245-259.

Genomic approaches to developing new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in retinal dystrophies are among the most advanced applications of genetics (Tsang SH, Gouras P (1996) Molecular physiology and pathology of the retina. In: Duane TD, Tasman W, Jaeger AE (eds) Duane's clinical opthalmology. Lippincott-Raven, Philadelphia). The notion that "nothing can be done" for patients with retinal dystrophies is no longer true. Electrophysiological testing and autofluorescence imaging help to diagnose and predict the patient's course of disease. Better phenotyping can contribute to better-directed, cost-efficient genotyping. Combining fundoscopy, autofluorescent imaging, and electrophysiological testing is essential in approaching patients with retinal dystrophies. Emerging are new gene-based treatments for these devastating conditions.

RevDate: 2018-12-19

Lind J (2018)

What can associative learning do for planning?.

Royal Society open science, 5(11):180778 pii:rsos180778.

There is a new associative learning paradox. The power of associative learning for producing flexible behaviour in non-human animals is downplayed or ignored by researchers in animal cognition, whereas artificial intelligence research shows that associative learning models can beat humans in chess. One phenomenon in which associative learning often is ruled out as an explanation for animal behaviour is flexible planning. However, planning studies have been criticized and questions have been raised regarding both methodological validity and interpretations of results. Due to the power of associative learning and the uncertainty of what causes planning behaviour in non-human animals, I explored what associative learning can do for planning. A previously published sequence learning model which combines Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning was used to simulate two planning studies, namely Mulcahy & Call 2006 'Apes save tools for future use.' Science312, 1038-1040 and Kabadayi & Osvath 2017 'Ravens parallel great apes in flexible planning for tool-use and bartering.' Science357, 202-204. Simulations show that behaviour matching current definitions of flexible planning can emerge through associative learning. Through conditioned reinforcement, the learning model gives rise to planning behaviour by learning that a behaviour towards a current stimulus will produce high value food at a later stage; it can make decisions about future states not within current sensory scope. The simulations tracked key patterns both between and within studies. It is concluded that one cannot rule out that these studies of flexible planning in apes and corvids can be completely accounted for by associative learning. Future empirical studies of flexible planning in non-human animals can benefit from theoretical developments within artificial intelligence and animal learning.

RevDate: 2018-12-15

Kovanen S, Rossi M, Pohja-Mykrä M, et al (2018)

Population genetics and characterization of Campylobacter jejuni isolates in western jackdaws and game birds in Finland.

Applied and environmental microbiology pii:AEM.02365-18 [Epub ahead of print].

Poultry is considered a major reservoir and source of human campylobacteriosis but the roles of environmental reservoirs, including wild birds, have not been assessed in depth. In this study, we isolated and characterized Campylobacter jejuni from western jackdaws (n=91, 43%), mallard ducks (n=82, 76%) and pheasants (n=9, 9%). Most of the western jackdaw and mallard duck C. jejuni isolates represented MLST sequence types (STs) that diverged from those previously isolated from human patients and various animal species, whereas all pheasant isolates represented ST-19, a common ST among human patients and other hosts worldwide. Whole-genome MLST revealed that mallard duck ST-2314 and pheasant ST-19 isolates represented bacterial clones that were genetically highly similar to human isolates detected previously. Further analyses revealed that in addition to divergent ClonalFrame genealogy certain genomic characteristics, e.g. novel cdtABC gene cluster and T6SS of the western jackdaw C. jejuni isolates may affect their host-specificity and virulence. Game birds may thus pose a risk for acquiring campylobacteriosis, and therefore, hygienic measures during slaughter and meat handling warrant special attention.IMPORTANCEThe roles of environmental reservoirs, including wild birds, in the molecular epidemiology of Campylobacter jejuni have not been assessed in depth. Our results showed that game birds may pose a risk for acquiring campylobacteriosis, because they had C. jejuni genomotypes highly similar to human isolates detected previously. Therefore, hygienic measures during slaughter and meat handling warrant special attention. On the contrary a unique phylogeny was revealed for the western jackdaw isolates and certain genomic characteristics identified among these isolates are hypothesized to affect their host-specificity and virulence. Comparative genomics within STs, using wgMLST, and phylogenomics are efficient methods to analyze the genomic relationships of C. jejuni isolates.

RevDate: 2018-12-12

Yazdanjooie M, Sadraei J, Dalimi A, et al (2018)

Isolation of Encephalitozoon intestinalis from crows living in urban parks of Tehran, Iran: an investigation with zoonotic aspect.

Journal of parasitic diseases : official organ of the Indian Society for Parasitology, 42(4):494-499.

Microsporidia are eukaryotic, intracellular obligate parasites that widely involve many organisms including insects, fish, birds, and mammals. One of the genera of Microsporidia is Encephalitozoon, which contains several opportunistic pathogens. Since Encephalitozoon spp. are zoonotic and opportunistic pathogens, it is important to find their reservoir hosts; hence, the current study aimed at isolating and identifying Encephalitozoon spp. in the crows by the light microscopy observations and molecular methods. For this purpose, 36 samples were collected by the dropping method; however, due to the low volume of samples, the total samples were collected in a sterile stool container and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed to detect Encephalitozoon spp. Accordingly, 300-bp bands, specific to Encephalitozoon spp., were observed and by sequencing E. intestinalis was identified. Crows can be considered as the hosts of E. intestinalis.

RevDate: 2018-12-11

Ashton BJ, Ridley AR, A Thornton (2018)

Smarter through group living: A response to Smulders.

Learning & behavior pii:10.3758/s13420-018-0366-6 [Epub ahead of print].

We recently identified a strong, positive relationship between group size and individual cognitive performance, and a strong, positive relationship between female cognitive performance and reproductive success (Ashton, Ridley, Edwards, & Thornton in Nature, 554, 364-367, 2018). An opinion piece by Smulders (Learning & Behavior, https://doi.org/10.3758/s13420-018-0335-0 , 2018) raised the interesting notion that these patterns may be underlined by motivational factors. In this commentary, we highlight why none of the available data are consistent with this explanation, but instead support the argument that the demands of group living influence cognitive development, with knock-on consequences for fitness.

RevDate: 2018-12-11

Klump BC, Masuda BM, St Clair JJH, et al (2018)

Preliminary observations of tool-processing behaviour in Hawaiian crows Corvus hawaiiensis.

Communicative & integrative biology, 11(4):e1509637 pii:1509637.

Very few animal species habitually make and use foraging tools. We recently discovered that the Hawaiian crow is a highly skilled, natural tool user. Most captive adults in our experiment spontaneously used sticks to access out-of-reach food from a range of extraction tasks, exhibiting a surprising degree of dexterity. Moreover, many birds modified tools before or during deployment, and some even manufactured tools from raw materials. In this invited addendum article, we describe and discuss these observations in more detail. Our preliminary data, and comparisons with the better-studied New Caledonian crow, suggest that the Hawaiian crow has extensive tool-modification and manufacture abilities. To chart the full extent of the species' natural tool-making repertoire, we have started conducting dedicated experiments where subjects are given access to suitable raw materials for tool manufacture, but not ready-to-use tools.

RevDate: 2018-12-06

Walker LE, Marzluff JM, Metz MC, et al (2018)

Population responses of common ravens to reintroduced gray wolves.

Ecology and evolution, 8(22):11158-11168 pii:ECE34583.

Top predators have cascading effects throughout the food web, but their impacts on scavenger abundance are largely unknown. Gray wolves (Canis lupus) provide carrion to a suite of scavenger species, including the common raven (Corvus corax). Ravens are wide-ranging and intelligent omnivores that commonly take advantage of anthropogenic food resources. In areas where they overlap with wolves, however, ravens are numerous and ubiquitous scavengers of wolf-acquired carrion. We aimed to determine whether subsidies provided through wolves are a limiting factor for raven populations in general and how the wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park in 1995-1997 affected raven population abundance and distribution on the Yellowstone's Northern Range specifically. We counted ravens throughout Yellowstone's Northern Range in March from 2009 to 2017 in both human-use areas and wolf habitat. We then used statistics related to the local wolf population and the winter weather conditions to model raven abundance during our study period and predict raven abundance on the Northern Range both before and after the wolf reintroduction. In relatively severe winters with greater snowpack, raven abundance increased in areas of human use and decreased in wolf habitat. When wolves were able to acquire more carrion, however, ravens increased in wolf habitat and decreased in areas with anthropogenic resources. Raven populations prior to the wolf reintroduction were likely more variable and heavily dependent on ungulate winter-kill and hunter-provided carcasses. The wolf recovery in Yellowstone helped stabilize raven populations by providing a regular food supply, regardless of winter severity. This stabilization has important implications for effective land management as wolves recolonize the west and global climate patterns change.

RevDate: 2018-12-03

Kelly DM, Bisbing TA, JF Magnotti (2018)

Use of medial axis for reorientation by the Clark's nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana).

Behavioural processes pii:S0376-6357(18)30393-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Many animals are challenged with the task of reorientation. Considerable research over the years has shown a diversity of species extract geometric information (e.g., distance and direction) from continuous surfaces or boundaries to reorient. How this information is extracted from the environment is less understood. Three encoding strategies that have received the most study are the use of principal axes, medial axis or local geometric cues. We used a modeling approach to investigate which of these three general strategies best fit the spatial search data of a highly-spatial corvid, the Clark's nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana). Individual nutcrackers were trained in a rectangular-shaped arena, and once accurately locating a hidden goal, received non-reinforced tests in an L-shaped arena. The specific shape of this arena allowed us to dissociate among the three general encoding strategies. Furthermore, we reanalyzed existing data from chicks, pigeons and humans using our modeling approach. Overall, we found the most support for the use of the medial axis, although we additionally found that pigeons and humans may have engaged in random guessing. As with our previous studies, we find no support for the use of principal axes.

RevDate: 2018-12-05

Bonneris E, Gao Z, Prosser A, et al (2018)

Selecting appropriate focal species for assessing the risk to birds from newly drilled pesticide-treated winter cereal fields in France.

Integrated environmental assessment and management [Epub ahead of print].

Identifying focal bird species appropriate to the situation in which a plant protection product is used is important for refined risk assessment (EFSA, 2009). We analysed the results of extensive field observations of newly-drilled cereal fields in France in autumn over two seasons to determine real bird focal species. In 2011, birds were observed, before and after drilling, on wheat and barley fields drilled with imidacloprid treated seeds (i.e. 'treatment' fields) or seeds treated with other compounds than imidacloprid (i.e. 'alternative treatment' fields). Bird abundance, species richness, and diversity were significantly higher in wheat fields than barley fields leading us to monitor only wheat fields in 2012. Statistical analyses did not show a significant effect of the drilling itself or between the 'treatment' fields and the 'alternative treatment' fields on the number and type of bird species. This led to the pooling of 2011 data on all fields for focal species determination. Similarly, all bird monitoring data generated in 2012 before and after drilling were pooled and analysed. Rules for determination of candidate focal species detailed in the EFSA (2009) guidance were followed. Carrion crow, wood pigeon, grey partridge, skylark, common starling and pied wagtail were the bird species the most frequently observed on wheat fields. This list of candidate species was processed to determine the most relevant focal species according to the method of Dietzen et al. (2014), resulting in the selection of skylark, grey partridge, wood pigeon and pied wagtail as focal species to assess risks to birds for pesticides applied during drilling of winter cereals in France (September- November). This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2018-12-05

Kaplan G (2018)

Development of Meaningful Vocal Signals in a Juvenile Territorial Songbird (Gymnorhina tibicen) and the Dilemma of Vocal Taboos Concerning Neighbours and Strangers.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 8(12): pii:ani8120228.

Young territorial songbirds have calls to learn, especially calls that may be vital for maintaining territory. Territoriality is largely reinforced and communicated by vocal signals. In their natal territory, juvenile magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) enjoy protection from predators for 8⁻9 months. It is not at all clear, however, when and how a young territorial songbird learns to distinguish the meaning of calls and songs expressed by parents, conspecifics, neighbours, and heterospecifics, or how territorial calls are incorporated into the juvenile's own repertoire. This project investigated acquisition and expression of the vocal repertoire in juvenile magpies and assessed the responses of adults and juveniles to playbacks of neighbour and stranger calls inside their territory. The results reported here identify age of appearance of specific vocalisations and the limits of their expression in juveniles. One new and surprising result was that many types of adult vocalisation were not voiced by juveniles. Playbacks of calls of neighbours and strangers inside the natal territory further established that adults responded strongly but differentially to neighbours versus strangers. By contrast, juveniles needed months before paying any attention to and distinguishing between neighbour and stranger calls and eventually did so only in non-vocal ways (such as referral to adults). These results provide evidence that auditory perception not only includes recognition and memory of neighbour calls but also an assessment of the importance of such calls in the context of territoriality.

RevDate: 2018-12-04

Andreasen AK, Iversen P, Marstrand L, et al (2018)

Structural and cognitive correlates of fatigue in progressive multiple sclerosis.

Neurological research [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating symptom and experienced by most patients. In recent studies investigating this phenomenon, the majority of patients had a relapsing-remitting disease course.

METHODS: Patients with progressive MS participating in one of three treatment trials during a period from 2010 to 2014 were included. Fatigue was assessed with the Fatigue Scale for Motor and Cognitive Functions (FSMC) and patients were further examined with a cognitive test battery, including Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), and 3 T MRI with subsequent quantitative analyses of 13 cortical regions of interest, deep grey matter and lesion volume.

RESULTS: Twenty-two patients were enrolled. The thickness of the pre-central gyrus correlated significantly with motor fatigue. We found only a non-significant trend towards a correlation between cognitive fatigue and the thickness of the pre-central gyrus, the parietal inferior supra-marginal gyrus and the opercular part of the inferior frontal gyrus. 36% of participants had impaired processing speed and 9% had normal function on all tests. The scores on the FSMC-cognitive scale were related to performance on SDMT.

CONCLUSION: In this exploratory study of patients with progressive MS, fatigue was related to processing speed. Motor fatigue was also related to the cortical thickness of the primary motor cortex and there was a trend towards a relationship between cognitive fatigue and the thickness of cortical areas involved in attentional processes. Additional studies are needed to further elucidate the relationship between regional cortical atrophy, cognitive functioning and the perception of fatigue.

ABBREVIATIONS: FSMC: Motor and Cognitive Functions; MS: Multiple Sclerosis; SDMT: Symbol Digit Modalities Test; MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging; RRMS: Relapsing-Remitting Disease Course; EDSS: Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale; FLAIR: Fluid Attenuated Inversion Recovery; NAWM: Normal-Appearing White Matter; CGM: Cortical Grey Matter; CTh: Cortical Thickness; ROIs: Regions of Interest; Raven: Raven Progressive Matrices; TM A: Trail Making A; TM B: Trail Making B; Rey: Rey Complex Figure; Similarities: WAIS III Similarities; Stroop: Stroop Colour Naming Test; BDI: Becks Depression Inventory II.

RevDate: 2018-11-29

Cunningham CX, Johnson CN, Barmuta LA, et al (2018)

Top carnivore decline has cascading effects on scavengers and carrion persistence.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1892): pii:rspb.2018.1582.

Top carnivores have suffered widespread global declines, with well-documented effects on mesopredators and herbivores. We know less about how carnivores affect ecosystems through scavenging. Tasmania's top carnivore, the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), has suffered severe disease-induced population declines, providing a natural experiment on the role of scavenging in structuring communities. Using remote cameras and experimentally placed carcasses, we show that mesopredators consume more carrion in areas where devils have declined. Carcass consumption by the two native mesopredators was best predicted by competition for carrion, whereas consumption by the invasive mesopredator, the feral cat (Felis catus), was better predicted by the landscape-level abundance of devils, suggesting a relaxed landscape of fear where devils are suppressed. Reduced discovery of carcasses by devils was balanced by the increased discovery by mesopredators. Nonetheless, carcasses persisted approximately 2.6-fold longer where devils have declined, highlighting their importance for rapid carrion removal. The major beneficiary of increased carrion availability was the forest raven (Corvus tasmanicus). Population trends of ravens increased 2.2-fold from 1998 to 2017, the period of devil decline, but this increase occurred Tasmania-wide, making the cause unclear. This case study provides a little-studied potential mechanism for mesopredator release, with broad relevance to the vast areas of the world that have suffered carnivore declines.

RevDate: 2018-11-28

Kent SJW, R Morrison (2018)

Rural and urban differences in orthognathic surgical patients in the north east of Scotland.

The British journal of oral & maxillofacial surgery pii:S0266-4356(18)30597-7 [Epub ahead of print].

We have previously identified differences in the presentation and treatment of cancer between patients who live in rural compared with urban areas, but have not yet seen differences in those treated by orthognathic surgery. We hypothesised that patients from areas further away from the hospital face higher costs to attend and may not present with minor problems as often as those who live nearby. We therefore retrospectively reviewed all those (n=216) who had presented for orthognathic surgery over a six-year period (May 2011 to May 2017). The severity of malocclusion and facial asymmetry was established by combining measurements of intraoperative movements. Rurality was measured as the distance from home to the hospital at the time of operation. Those with smaller intraoperative movements (less than 7mm combined movement) lived significantly closer to the hospital as the crow flies (mean difference 15.13 miles, 95% CI 0.20 to 30.48, p=0.05) and could travel there more quickly (mean difference 65minutes 95% CI 9.8 to 121.7, p=0.02) than those with larger movements. Our results suggest that patients with small malocclusions and slight facial asymmetry who live further away from the hospital, may be less likely to present for operation than those who live closer. We explain why socioeconomic class is unlikely to confound our results, and suggest potential ways to minimise the effect observed.

RevDate: 2018-11-26

Nuriddin A (2018)

Psychiatric Jim Crow: Desegregation at the Crownsville State Hospital, 1948-1970.

Journal of the history of medicine and allied sciences pii:5195495 [Epub ahead of print].

The Crownsville State Hospital, located in Maryland just outside of Annapolis, provides a thought-provoking example of the impact of desegregation in the space of the mental hospital. Using institutional reports, patient records, and oral histories, this article reconstructs the three phases of desegregation at Crownsville. First, as a result of its poor conditions, lack of qualified staff, and its egregious mistreatment of patients, African American community leaders and organizations such as the NAACP called for the desegregation of the care staff of Crownsville in the late 1940s. Second, the introduction of a skilled African American staff created unprecedented and morally complex issues about access to psychiatric therapeutics. Last, in 1963, Health Commissioner Dr. Isadore Tuerk officially desegregated patients in all Maryland state hospitals. Though desegregation brought much needed improvements to Crownsville, these gains were ultimately swamped by deinstitutionalization and the shift towards outpatient psychiatric care. By the 1970s, Crownsville had returned to the poor conditions that existed during segregation.

RevDate: 2018-11-28

Greggor AL, McIvor GE, Clayton NS, et al (2018)

Wild jackdaws are wary of objects that violate expectations of animacy.

Royal Society open science, 5(10):181070 pii:rsos181070.

Nature is composed of self-propelled, animate agents and inanimate objects. Laboratory studies have shown that human infants and a few species discriminate between animate and inanimate objects. This ability is assumed to have evolved to support social cognition and filial imprinting, but its ecological role for wild animals has never been examined. An alternative, functional explanation is that discriminating stimuli based on their potential for animacy helps animals distinguish between harmless and threatening stimuli. Using remote-controlled experimental stimulus presentations, we tested if wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula) respond fearfully to stimuli that violate expectations for movement. Breeding pairs (N = 27) were presented at their nests with moving and non-moving models of ecologically relevant stimuli (birds, snakes and sticks) that differed in threat level and propensity for independent motion. Jackdaws were startled by movement regardless of stimulus type and produced more alarm calls when faced with animate objects. However, they delayed longest in entering their nest-box after encountering a stimulus that should not move independently, suggesting they recognized the movement as unexpected. How jackdaws develop expectations about object movement is not clear, but our results suggest that discriminating between animate and inanimate stimuli may trigger information gathering about potential threats.

RevDate: 2018-11-26
CmpDate: 2018-11-26

Zhu XY, Gupta SK, Sun XC, et al (2018)

Z2 topological edge state in honeycomb lattice of coupled resonant optical waveguides with a flat band.

Optics express, 26(19):24307-24317.

Two-dimensional (2D) coupled resonant optical waveguide (CROW), exhibiting topological edge states, provides an efficient platform for designing integrated topological photonic devices. In this paper, we propose an experimentally feasible design of 2D honeycomb CROW photonic structure. The characteristic optical system possesses two-fold and three-fold Dirac points at different positions in the Brillouin zone. The effective gauge fields implemented by the intrinsic pseudo-spin-orbit interaction open up topologically nontrivial bandgaps through the Dirac points. Spatial lattice geometries allow destructive wave interference, leading to a dispersionless, near-flat energy band in the vicinity of the three-fold Dirac point in the telecommunication frequency regime. This nontrivial structure with a near-flat band yields topologically protected edge states. These characteristics underpin the fundamental importance as well as the potential applications in various optical devices. Based on the honeycomb CROW lattice, we design the shape-independent topological cavity and the beam splitter, which demonstrate the relevance for a wide range of photonic applications.

RevDate: 2018-11-20

Amici F (2018)

An Evolutionary Approach to the Study of Collaborative Remembering?.

Topics in cognitive science [Epub ahead of print].

Hope and Gabbert (2008) and Jay and colleagues (in press) show us that collaborative remembering, in certain contexts, may result in incomplete and less accurate memories. Here, I will discuss the evolutionary origins of this behavior, linking it to phenomena such as social contagion, conformity, and social learning, which are highly adaptive and widespread across non-human taxa.

RevDate: 2018-11-16

Falcionelli N, Sernani P, Brugués A, et al (2018)

Indexing the Event Calculus: Towards practical human-readable Personal Health Systems.

Artificial intelligence in medicine pii:S0933-3657(17)30594-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Personal Health Systems (PHS) are mobile solutions tailored to monitoring patients affected by chronic non communicable diseases. In general, a patient affected by a chronic disease can generate large amounts of events: for example, in Type 1 Diabetic patients generate several glucose events per day, ranging from at least 6 events per day (under normal monitoring) to 288 per day when wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that samples the blood every 5 minutes for several days. Just by itself, without considering other physiological parameters, it would be impossible for medical doctors to individually and accurately follow every patient, highlighting the need of simple approaches towards querying physiological time series. Achieving this with current technology is not an easy task, as on one hand it cannot be expected that medical doctors have the technical knowledge to query databases and on the other hand these time series include thousands of events, which requires to re-think the way data is indexed. Anyhow, handling data streams efficiently is not enough. Domain experts' knowledge must be explicitly included into PHSs in a way that it can be easily readed and modified by medical staffs. Logic programming represents the perfect programming paradygm to accomplish this task. In this work, an Event Calculus-based reasoning framework to standardize and express domain-knowledge in the form of monitoring rules is suggested, and applied to three different use cases. However, if online monitoring has to be achieved, the reasoning performance must improve dramatically. For this reason, three promising mechanisms to index the Event Calculus Knowledge Base are proposed. All of them are based on different types of tree indexing structures: k-d trees, interval trees and red-black trees. The paper then compares and analyzes the performance of the three indexing techniques, by computing the time needed to check different type of rules (and eventually generating alerts), when the number of recorded events (e.g. values of physiological parameters) increases. The results show that customized jREC performs much better when the event average inter-arrival time is little compared to the checked rule time-window. Instead, where the events are more sparse, the use of k-d trees with standard EC is advisable. Finally, the Multi-Agent paradigm helps to wrap the various components of the system: the reasoning engines represent the agent minds, and the sensors are its body. The said agents have been developed in MAGPIE, a mobile event based Java agent platform.

RevDate: 2018-11-16

Li X, T Kesavadas (2018)

Surgical Robot with Environment Reconstruction and Force Feedback.

Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference, 2018:1861-1866.

We present a new surgical robot hardware-in-the-loop simulator, with 3D surgical field reconstruction in RGB-D sensor range, which allows tool-tissue interactions to be presented as haptic feedback and thus provides the situation awareness of unwanted collision. First, the point cloud of the complete surgical environment is constructed from multiple frames of sensor data to avoid the occlusion issue. Then the user selects a region of interest where the robot's tool must avoid (also called forbidden region). The real-time haptic force rendering algorithm computes the interaction force which is then communicated to a haptic device at 1 kHz, to assist the surgeon to perform safe actions. The robot used is a RAVEN II system, RGB-D sensor is used to scan the environment, and two Omni haptic devices provide the 3-DoF haptic force. A registration pipeline is presented to complete the surgical environment point cloud mapping in preoperative surgery planning phase, which improves quality of haptic rendering in the presence of occlusion. Furthermore, we propose a feasible and fast algorithm which extends the existing work on the proxy-based method for haptic rendering between a Haptic Interaction Point (HIP) and a point cloud. The proposed methodology has the potential of improving the safety of surgical robots.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Laumer IB, Call J, Bugnyar T, et al (2018)

Spontaneous innovation of hook-bending and unbending in orangutans (Pongo abelii).

Scientific reports, 8(1):16518 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-34607-0.

Betty the crow astonished the scientific world as she spontaneously crafted hook-tools from straight wire in order to lift a basket out of vertical tubes. Recently it was suggested that this species' solution was strongly influenced by predispositions from behavioural routines from habitual hook-tool manufacture. Nevertheless, the task became a paradigm to investigate tool innovation. Considering that young humans had surprising difficulties with the task, it was yet unclear whether the innovation of a hooked tool would be feasible to primates that lacked habitual hook making. We thus tested five captive orangutans in a hook bending and unbending task. Orangutans are habitually tool-using primates that have been reported to use but not craft hooked tools for locomotion in the wild. Two orangutans spontaneously innovated hook tools and four unbent the wire from their first trial on. Pre-experience with ready-made hooks had some effect but did not lead to continuous success. Further subjects improved the hook-design feature when the task required the subjects to bent the hook at a steeper angle. Our results indicate that the ability to represent and manufacture tools according to a current need does not require stereotyped behavioural routines, but can indeed arise innovatively. Furthermore, the present study shows that the capacity for hook tool innovation is not limited to large brained birds within non-human animals.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Bobrowicz K, M Osvath (2018)

Cats Parallel Great Apes and Corvids in Motor Self-Regulation - Not Brain but Material Size Matters.

Frontiers in psychology, 9:1995.

The inhibition of unproductive motor movements is regarded as a fundamental cognitive mechanism. Recently it has been shown that species with large absolute brain size or high numbers of pallial neurons, like great apes and corvids, show the highest performance on a task purportedly measuring this mechanism: the cylinder task. In this task the subject must detour a perpendicularly oriented transparent cylinder to reach a reward through a side opening, instead of directly reaching for it and bumping into the front, which is regarded as an inhibitory failure. Here we test domestic cats, for the first time, and show that they can reach the same levels as great apes and corvids on this task, despite having much smaller brains. We tested subjects with apparatuses that varied in size (cylinder length and diameter) and material (glass or plastic), and found that subjects performed best on the large cylinders. As numbers of successes decreased significantly when the cylinders were smaller, we conducted additionally two experiments to discern which properties (length of the transparent surface, goal distance from the surface, size of the side opening) affects performance. We conclude that sensorimotor requirements, which differ between species, may have large impact on the results in such seemingly simple and apparently comparable tests. However, we also conclude that cats have comparably high levels of motor self-regulation, despite the differences between tests.

RevDate: 2018-11-08

Shirley MK, Arthurs OJ, Seunarine KK, et al (2018)

Metabolic rate of major organs and tissues in young adult South Asian women.

European journal of clinical nutrition pii:10.1038/s41430-018-0362-0 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Major organ-specific and tissue-specific metabolic rate (Ki) values were initially estimated using in vivo methods, and values reported by Elia (Energy metabolism: tissue determinants and cellular corollaries, Raven Press, New York, 1992) were subsequently supported by statistical analysis. However, the majority of work to date on this topic has addressed individuals of European descent, whereas population variability in resting energy metabolism has been reported. We aimed to estimate Ki values in South Asian females.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: This cross-sectional study recruited 70 healthy young women of South Asian ancestry. Brain and organs were measured using magnetic resonance imaging, skeletal muscle mass by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, fat mass by the 4-component model, and whole-body resting energy expenditure by indirect calorimetry. Organ and tissue Ki values were estimated indirectly using regression analysis through the origin. Preliminary analysis suggested overestimation of heart mass, hence the modeling was repeated with a literature-based 22.5% heart mass reduction.

RESULTS: The pattern of derived Ki values across organs and tissues matched that previously estimated in vivo, but the values were systematically lower. However, adjusting for the overestimation of heart mass markedly improved the agreement.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results support variability in Ki values among organs and tissues, where some are more metabolically "expensive" than others. Initial findings suggesting lower organ/tissue Ki values in South Asian women were likely influenced by heart mass estimation bias. The question of potential ethnic variability in organ-specific and tissue-specific energy metabolism requires further investigation.

RevDate: 2018-11-07

Sepkoski D (2018)

The Unfinished Synthesis?: Paleontology and Evolutionary Biology in the 20th Century.

Journal of the history of biology pii:10.1007/s10739-018-9537-8 [Epub ahead of print].

In the received view of the history of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, paleontology was given a prominent role in evolutionary biology thanks to the significant influence of paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson on both the institutional and conceptual development of the Synthesis. Simpson's 1944 Tempo and Mode in Evolution is considered a classic of Synthesis-era biology, and Simpson often remarked on the influence of other major Synthesis figures-such as Ernst Mayr and Theodosius Dobzhansky-on his developing thought. Why, then, did paleontologists of the 1970s and 1980s-Stephen Jay Gould, Niles Eldredge, David M. Raup, Steven Stanley, and others-so frequently complain that paleontology remained marginalized within evolutionary biology? This essay considers three linked questions: first, were paleontologists genuinely welcomed into the Synthetic project during its initial stages? Second, was the initial promise of the role for paleontology realized during the decades between 1950 and 1980, when the Synthesis supposedly "hardened" to an "orthodoxy"? And third, did the period of organized dissent and opposition to this orthodoxy by paleontologists during the 1970s and 1980s bring about a long-delayed completion to the Modern Synthesis, or rather does it highlight the wider failure of any such unified Darwinian evolutionary consensus?

RevDate: 2018-11-07

Kumar SN, Fred AL, PS Varghese (2018)

Suspicious Lesion Segmentation on Brain, Mammograms and Breast MR Images Using New Optimized Spatial Feature Based Super-Pixel Fuzzy C-Means Clustering.

Journal of digital imaging pii:10.1007/s10278-018-0149-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Suspicious lesion or organ segmentation is a challenging task to be solved in most of the medical image analyses, medical diagnoses and computer diagnosis systems. Nevertheless, various image segmentation methods were proposed in the previous studies with varying success levels. But, the image segmentation problems such as lack of versatility, low robustness, high complexity and low accuracy in up-to-date image segmentation practices still remain unsolved. Fuzzy c-means clustering (FCM) methods are very well suited for segmenting the regions. The noise-free images are effectively segmented using the traditional FCM method. However, the segmentation result generated is highly sensitive to noise due to the negligence of spatial information. To solve this issue, super-pixel-based FCM (SPOFCM) is implemented in this paper, in which the influence of spatially neighbouring and similar super-pixels is incorporated. Also, a crow search algorithm is adopted for optimizing the influential degree; thereby, the segmentation performance is improved. In clinical applications, the SPOFCM feasibility is verified using the multi-spectral MRIs, mammograms and actual single spectrum on performing tumour segmentation tests for SPOFCM. Ultimately, the competitive, renowned segmentation techniques such as k-means, entropy thresholding (ET), FCM, FCM with spatial constraints (FCM_S) and kernel FCM (KFCM) are used to compare the results of proposed SPOFCM. Experimental results on multi-spectral MRIs and actual single-spectrum mammograms indicate that the proposed algorithm can provide a better performance for suspicious lesion or organ segmentation in computer-assisted clinical applications.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Rodríguez B, Rodríguez A, Siverio F, et al (2018)

Factors affecting the spatial distribution and breeding habitat of an insular cliff-nesting raptor community.

Current zoology, 64(2):173-181.

The specific spatial distribution and habitat association-strongly influenced by environmental factors or competitive interactions-are major issues in ecology and conservation. We located and georeferenced nesting sites of five cliff-nesting raptors (Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus [a locally extinct species], common buzzard Buteo buteo, osprey Pandion haliaetus, common kestrel Falco tinnunculus, Barbary falcon Falco peregrinus pelegrinoides), and common raven Corvus corax on one of the most biodiverse hotspot within the Canary Islands (Teno, Tenerife). We used generalized linear models to evaluate the factors affecting abundance, richness, and intra- and interspecific interactions. Raptor abundance increased with slope, shrub-covered area, and habitat diversity, and decreased with altitude, and forested and grassed areas. Richness increased with slope and decreased with altitude. Threatened species (osprey, Barbary falcon, and raven) occupied cliffs farther away from houses and roads, and more rugged areas than the non-threatened species. The models suggested that the probability of cliff occupation by buzzards, falcons, and ravens depended only on inter-specific interactions. Buzzard occupation increased with the distance to the nearest raven and kestrel nests, whereas falcons and ravens seek proximity to each other. Teno holds between 75% and 100% of the insular breeding populations of the most endangered species (osprey and raven), indicating the high conservation value of this area. Our study suggests that the preservation of rugged terrains and areas of low human pressure are key factors for raptor conservation and provide basic knowledge on the community structure and habitat associations to develop appropriated management actions for these fragile island populations.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Bache WK, LE DeLisi (2018)

The Sex Chromosome Hypothesis of Schizophrenia: Alive, Dead, or Forgotten? A Commentary and Review.

Molecular neuropsychiatry, 4(2):83-89.

The X chromosome has long been an intriguing site for harboring genes that have importance in brain development and function. It has received the most attention for having specific genes underlying the X-linked inherited intellectual disabilities, but has also been associated with schizophrenia in a number of early studies. An X chromosome hypothesis for a genetic predisposition for schizophrenia initially came from the X chromosome anomaly population data showing an excess of schizophrenia in Klinefelter's (XXY) males and triple X (XXX) females. Crow and colleagues later expanded the X chromosome hypothesis to include the possibility of a locus on the Y chromosome and, specifically, genes on X that escaped inactivation and are X-Y homologous loci. Some new information about possible risk loci on these chromosomes has come from the current large genetic consortia genome-wide association studies, suggesting that perhaps this hypothesis needs to be revisited for some schizophrenias. The following commentary reviews the early and more recent literature supporting or refuting this dormant hypothesis and emphasizes the possible candidate genes still of interest that could be explored in further studies.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Yamasaki T, Aoki S, M Tokita (2018)

Allometry and integration do not strongly constrain beak shape evolution in large-billed (Corvus macrorhynchos) and carrion crows (Corvus corone).

Ecology and evolution, 8(20):10057-10066 pii:ECE34440.

A recent geometric morphometric study on certain landbird lineages revealed that a major part of the variation in beak shape is accounted for by skull size and cranial shape. The study interpreted this result as evidence for the presence of strong evolutionary constraints that severely prevented beak shape from evolving substantially away from predictions of allometry and morphological integration. However, there is another overlooked but similarly plausible explanation for this result: The reason why beak shape does not depart much from predictions might simply be that selection pressures favoring such changes in shape are themselves rare. Here, to evaluate the intensity of evolutionary constraints on avian beak shape more appropriately, we selected large-billed (Corvus macrorhynchos) and carrion crows (Corvus corone) as study objects. These landbird species seem to experience selection pressures favoring a departure from an allometric trajectory. A landmark-based geometric morphometric approach using three-dimensional reconstructions of CT scan images revealed that only 45.4% of the total shape variation was explained by allometry and beak-braincase integration. This suggests that when a selection pressure acts in a different direction to allometry and integration, avian beak shape can react to it and evolve flexibly. As traditionally considered, evolutionary constraints on avian beak shape might not be all that strong.

RevDate: 2018-11-26

Nishisaka-Nonaka R, Mawatari K, Yamamoto T, et al (2018)

Irradiation by ultraviolet light-emitting diodes inactivates influenza a viruses by inhibiting replication and transcription of viral RNA in host cells.

Journal of photochemistry and photobiology. B, Biology, 189:193-200 pii:S1011-1344(18)30635-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Influenza A viruses (IAVs) pose a serious global threat to humans and their livestock, especially poultry and pigs. This study aimed to investigate how to inactivate IAVs by using different ultraviolet-light-emitting diodes (UV-LEDs). We developed sterilization equipment with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) those peak wavelengths were 365 nm (UVA-LED), 310 nm (UVB-LED), and 280 nm (UVC-LED). These UV-LED irradiations decreased dose fluence-dependent plaque-forming units of IAV H1N1 subtype (A/Puerto Rico/8/1934) infected Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, but the inactivation efficiency of UVA-LED was significantly lower than UVB- and UVC-LED. UV-LED irradiations did not alter hemagglutination titer, but decreased accumulation of intracellular total viral RNA in infected MDCK cells was observed. Additionally, UV-LED irradiations suppressed the accumulation of intracellular mRNA (messenger RNA), vRNA (viral RNA), and cRNA (complementary RNA), as measured by strand-specific RT-PCR. These results suggest that UV-LEDs inhibit host cell replication and transcription of viral RNA. Both UVB- and UVC-LED irradiation decreased focus-forming unit (FFU) of H5N1 subtype (A/Crow/Kyoto/53/2004), a highly pathogenic avian IAV (HPAI), in infected MDCK cells, and the amount of FFU were lower than the H1N1 subtype. From these results, it appears that IAVs may have different sensitivity among the subtypes, and UVB- and UVC-LED may be suitable for HPAI virus inactivation.

RevDate: 2018-11-22

López-Perea JJ, Camarero PR, Sánchez-Barbudo IS, et al (2019)

Urbanization and cattle density are determinants in the exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides of non-target wildlife.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 244:801-808.

The persistence and toxicity of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) in animal tissues make these compounds dangerous by biomagnification in predatory species. Here we studied the levels of SGARs in non-target species of wildlife and the environmental factors that influence such exposure. Liver samples of terrestrial vertebrates (n = 244) found dead between 2007 and 2016 in the region of Aragón (NE Spain) were analysed. The presence of SGARs was statistically analysed with binary or ordinal logistic models to study the effect of habitat characteristics including human population density, percentage of urban surface, livestock densities and surface of different types of crops. SGARs residues were detected in 83 (34%) of the animals and levels >200 ng/g were found in common raven (67%), red fox (50%), red kite (38%), Eurasian eagle-owl (25%), stone marten (23%), Eurasian buzzard (17%), northern marsh harrier (17%), and Eurasian badger (14%). The spatial analysis revealed that the presence of SGARs residues in wildlife was more associated with the use of these products as biocides in urban areas and cattle farms rather than as plant protection products in agricultural fields. This information permits to identify potential habitats where SGARs may pose a risk for predatory birds and mammals.

RevDate: 2018-11-02

Ruiz-Rodríguez M, Martín-Vivaldi M, Martínez-Bueno M, et al (2018)

Correction: Ruiz-Rodríguez et al. Gut Microbiota of Great Spotted Cuckoo Nestlings Is a Mixture of Those of Their Foster Magpie Siblings and of Cuckoo Adults. Genes 2018, 9, 381.

Genes, 9(11): pii:genes9110530.

The authors wish to make the following changes in their paper [...].

RevDate: 2018-11-27

Prochazkova L, Lippelt DP, Colzato LS, et al (2018)

Exploring the effect of microdosing psychedelics on creativity in an open-label natural setting.

Psychopharmacology, 235(12):3401-3413.

INTRODUCTION: Taking microdoses (a mere fraction of normal doses) of psychedelic substances, such as truffles, recently gained popularity, as it allegedly has multiple beneficial effects including creativity and problem-solving performance, potentially through targeting serotonergic 5-HT2A receptors and promoting cognitive flexibility, crucial to creative thinking. Nevertheless, enhancing effects of microdosing remain anecdotal, and in the absence of quantitative research on microdosing psychedelics, it is impossible to draw definitive conclusions on that matter. Here, our main aim was to quantitatively explore the cognitive-enhancing potential of microdosing psychedelics in healthy adults.

METHODS: During a microdosing event organized by the Dutch Psychedelic Society, we examined the effects of psychedelic truffles (which were later analyzed to quantify active psychedelic alkaloids) on two creativity-related problem-solving tasks: the Picture Concept Task assessing convergent thinking and the Alternative Uses Task assessing divergent thinking. A short version of the Ravens Progressive Matrices task assessed potential changes in fluid intelligence. We tested once before taking a microdose and once while the effects were expected to be manifested.

RESULTS: We found that both convergent and divergent thinking performance was improved after a non-blinded microdose, whereas fluid intelligence was unaffected.

CONCLUSION: While this study provides quantitative support for the cognitive-enhancing properties of microdosing psychedelics, future research has to confirm these preliminary findings in more rigorous placebo-controlled study designs. Based on these preliminary results, we speculate that psychedelics might affect cognitive metacontrol policies by optimizing the balance between cognitive persistence and flexibility. We hope this study will motivate future microdosing studies with more controlled designs to test this hypothesis.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Bayern AMPV, Danel S, Auersperg AMI, et al (2018)

Compound tool construction by New Caledonian crows.

Scientific reports, 8(1):15676 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-33458-z.

The construction of novel compound tools through assemblage of otherwise non-functional elements involves anticipation of the affordances of the tools to be built. Except for few observations in captive great apes, compound tool construction is unknown outside humans, and tool innovation appears late in human ontogeny. We report that habitually tool-using New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) can combine objects to construct novel compound tools. We presented 8 naïve crows with combinable elements too short to retrieve food targets. Four crows spontaneously combined elements to make functional tools, and did so conditionally on the position of food. One of them made 3- and 4-piece tools when required. In humans, individual innovation in compound tool construction is often claimed to be evolutionarily and mechanistically related to planning, complex task coordination, executive control, and even language. Our results are not accountable by direct reinforcement learning but corroborate that these crows possess highly flexible abilities that allow them to solve novel problems rapidly. The underlying cognitive processes however remain opaque for now. They probably include the species' typical propensity to use tools, their ability to judge affordances that make some objects usable as tools, and an ability to innovate perhaps through virtual, cognitive simulations.

RevDate: 2018-10-25

Ling H, Mclvor GE, Nagy G, et al (2018)

Simultaneous measurements of three-dimensional trajectories and wingbeat frequencies of birds in the field.

Journal of the Royal Society, Interface, 15(147): pii:rsif.2018.0653.

Tracking the movements of birds in three dimensions is integral to a wide range of problems in animal ecology, behaviour and cognition. Multi-camera stereo-imaging has been used to track the three-dimensional (3D) motion of birds in dense flocks, but precise localization of birds remains a challenge due to imaging resolution in the depth direction and optical occlusion. This paper introduces a portable stereo-imaging system with improved accuracy and a simple stereo-matching algorithm that can resolve optical occlusion. This system allows us to decouple body and wing motion, and thus measure not only velocities and accelerations but also wingbeat frequencies along the 3D trajectories of birds. We demonstrate these new methods by analysing six flocking events consisting of 50 to 360 jackdaws (Corvus monedula) and rooks (Corvus frugilegus) as well as 32 jackdaws and 6 rooks flying in isolated pairs or alone. Our method allows us to (i) measure flight speed and wingbeat frequency in different flying modes; (ii) characterize the U-shaped flight performance curve of birds in the wild, showing that wingbeat frequency reaches its minimum at moderate flight speeds; (iii) examine group effects on individual flight performance, showing that birds have a higher wingbeat frequency when flying in a group than when flying alone and when flying in dense regions than when flying in sparse regions; and (iv) provide a potential avenue for automated discrimination of bird species. We argue that the experimental method developed in this paper opens new opportunities for understanding flight kinematics and collective behaviour in natural environments.

RevDate: 2018-11-20

Wang H, Marcišauskas S, Sánchez BJ, et al (2018)

RAVEN 2.0: A versatile toolbox for metabolic network reconstruction and a case study on Streptomyces coelicolor.

PLoS computational biology, 14(10):e1006541 pii:PCOMPBIOL-D-18-00741.

RAVEN is a commonly used MATLAB toolbox for genome-scale metabolic model (GEM) reconstruction, curation and constraint-based modelling and simulation. Here we present RAVEN Toolbox 2.0 with major enhancements, including: (i) de novo reconstruction of GEMs based on the MetaCyc pathway database; (ii) a redesigned KEGG-based reconstruction pipeline; (iii) convergence of reconstructions from various sources; (iv) improved performance, usability, and compatibility with the COBRA Toolbox. Capabilities of RAVEN 2.0 are here illustrated through de novo reconstruction of GEMs for the antibiotic-producing bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor. Comparison of the automated de novo reconstructions with the iMK1208 model, a previously published high-quality S. coelicolor GEM, exemplifies that RAVEN 2.0 can capture most of the manually curated model. The generated de novo reconstruction is subsequently used to curate iMK1208 resulting in Sco4, the most comprehensive GEM of S. coelicolor, with increased coverage of both primary and secondary metabolism. This increased coverage allows the use of Sco4 to predict novel genome editing targets for optimized secondary metabolites production. As such, we demonstrate that RAVEN 2.0 can be used not only for de novo GEM reconstruction, but also for curating existing models based on up-to-date databases. Both RAVEN 2.0 and Sco4 are distributed through GitHub to facilitate usage and further development by the community (https://github.com/SysBioChalmers/RAVEN and https://github.com/SysBioChalmers/Streptomyces_coelicolor-GEM).

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Freeman NE, AEM Newman (2018)

Quantifying corticosterone in feathers: validations for an emerging technique.

Conservation physiology, 6(1):coy051 pii:coy051.

Feather corticosterone measurement is becoming a widespread tool for assessing avian physiology. Corticosterone is deposited into feathers during growth and provides integrative and retrospective measures of an individual's hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function. Although researchers across disciplines have been measuring feather corticosterone for the past decade, there are still many issues with the extraction and measurement of corticosterone from feathers. In this paper, we provide several directives for refining the methodology for feather hormone analysis. We compare parallelism between the standard curve and serially diluted feather tissue from wild turkeys, Canada jays, and black-capped chickadees to demonstrate the wide applicability across species. Through a series of validations, we compare methods for feather preparation, sample filtration and extract reconstitution prior to corticosterone quantification using a radioimmunoassay. Higher corticosterone yields were achieved following pulverization of the feather however, more variation between replicates was observed. Removal of the rachis also increased the amount of corticosterone detected per unit mass while glass versus paper filters had no effect, and using ethanol in the reconstution buffer decreased intra-assay variation. With these findings and continued methodological refinement, feather corticosterone has the potential to be a powerful tool for both ecologists and physiologists working with historical and contemporary specimens.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Norwood CR (2018)

Mapping the Intersections of Violence on Black Women's Sexual Health within the Jim Crow Geographies of Cincinnati Neighborhoods.

Frontiers, 39(2):97-135.

Who will revere the Black woman? Who will keep our neighborhoods safe for Black innocent womanhood? Black womanhood is outraged and humiliated. Black womanhood cries for dignity and restitution and salvation. Black womanhood wants and needs protection, and keeping, and holding. Who will assuage her indignation? Who will keep her precious and pure? Who will glorify and proclaim her beautiful image? To whom will she cry rape? Abbey Lincoln, 1970.

RevDate: 2018-10-23

Passanha V, AD Brescovit (2018)

On the Neotropical spider Subfamily Masteriinae (Araneae, Dipluridae).

Zootaxa, 4463(1):1-73 pii:zootaxa.4463.1.1.

The Neotropical species of the diplurid subfamily Masteriinae are revised and redefined. Masteriinae now comprises four genera, Masteria L. Koch, 1893, Striamea Raven, 1981, a new genus, Siremata n. gen. and Edwa Raven, 2015, a fossil genus. The type species, Masteria hirsuta L. Koch, 1893, was used as basis for comparison and the knowledge of the genus has increased. Twelve species of Masteria are redescribed and eight new species are described: M. amarumayu n. sp. and M. mutum n. sp., from Brazil; M. yacambu n. sp., from Venezuela; M. sabrinae n. sp., from Martinique; M. tayrona n. sp., from Colombia; M. aguaruna n. sp., from Peru, M. soucouyant n. sp., from Trinidad and Tobago; and M. galipote n. sp., from the Dominican Republic. Females of Masteria aimeae (Alayón, 1995) and M. golovatchi Alayón, 1995 are described for the first time. Females of M. spinosa (Petrunkevitch, 1925), M. petrunkevitchi (Chickering, 1964), M. lewisi (Chickering, 1964), M. barona (Chickering, 1966), M. downeyi (Chickering, 1966), M. simla (Chickering, 1966), M. colombiensis Raven, 1981 and M. pecki Gertsch, 1982 are illustrated for the first time and rediagnosed. Masteria tovarensis (Simon, 1889) and M. cyclops (Simon, 1889) are synonymized with M. lucifuga (Simon, 1889). Masteria modesta (Simon, 1892) is considered as species inquirendae and M. emboaba Pedroso, Baptista Bertani, 2015 is considered as incertae sedis, as the type is lost. Both species of Striamea are revised and redescribed. A new genus, Siremata n. gen., is described and includes three Amazonian species: S. valteri n. sp., S. juruti n. sp., S. lucasae n. sp. Knowledge of the distribution ranges of the Neotropical Masteriinae are increased.

RevDate: 2018-10-23

Almeida MQ, Salvatierra L, JW De Morais (2018)

A new species of Masteria L. Koch, 1873 (Dipluridae: Masteriinae) from Guyana.

Zootaxa, 4434(2):366-368 pii:zootaxa.4434.2.6.

Mygalomorphs are a diverse spider group with primitive characteristics composed of the largest spider species in the world, however some species may be very small (Bond et al. 2012; Rogerio et al. 2013). The small spiders of the subfamily Masteriinae (Dipluridae, Mygalomorphae) can be found in Asia and South America (Raven 1981; Pedroso et al. 2015; WSC 2017). The subfamily is represented by two genera: Masteria L. Koch, 1873 and Striamea Raven, 1981. Masteria species can be identified by the following combination of characters: absence of cuspules in endites and labium; zero, two, six or eight eyes; and with or without paraembolic apophysis on the male palpal bulb (Raven 1981, 1985, 1991; Alayón 1995; Bertani et al. 2013; Pedroso et al. 2015). Currently, 24 species of Masteria are described, with 6 species found in South America: Masteria colombiensis, Raven, 1981 from Colombia; M. manauara Bertani, Cruz Oliveira 2013 and M. emboaba Pedroso, Baptista Bertani, 2015 from Brazil; M. cyclops (Simon 1889), M. tovarensis (Simon, 1889) and M. lucifuga (Simon, 1889) from Venezuela (WSC 2017). We document herein the first record and description of a new species of the genus Masteria from Guyana.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Hausberger M, Boigné A, Lesimple C, et al (2018)

Wide-eyed glare scares raptors: From laboratory evidence to applied management.

PloS one, 13(10):e0204802 pii:PONE-D-17-25604.

Raptors are one of the most important causes of fatalities due to their collisions with aircrafts as well as being the main victims of collisions with constructions. They are difficult to deter because they are not influenced by other airspace users or ground predators. Because vision is the primary sensory mode of many diurnal raptors, we evaluated the reactions of captive raptors to a "superstimulus" (a "paradoxical effect whereby animals show greater responsiveness to an exaggerated stimulus than to the natural stimulus") that combined an "eye shape" stimulus (as many species have an aversion for this type of stimulus) and a looming movement (LE). This looming stimulus mimics an impending collision and induces avoidance in a wide range of species. In captivity, raptors showed a clear aversion for this LE stimulus. We then tested it in a real life setting: at an airport where raptors are abundant. This study is the first to show the efficiency of a visual non-invasive repellent system developed on the basis of both captive and field studies. This system deterred birds of prey and corvids through aversion, and did not induce habituation. These findings suggest applications for human security as well as bird conservation, and further research on avian visual perception and sensitivity to signals.

RevDate: 2018-10-05

Taufique ST, Prabhat A, V Kumar (2018)

Light at night affects hippocampal and nidopallial cytoarchitecture: Implication for impairment of brain function in diurnal corvids.

Journal of experimental zoology. Part A, Ecological and integrative physiology [Epub ahead of print].

Our previous studies have shown that light at night (LAN) impaired cognitive performance and affected neurogenesis and neurochemistry in the cognition-associated brain regions, particularly the hippocampus (HP) and lateral caudal nidopallium (NCL) of Indian house crows (Corvus splendens). Here, we examined the cytoarchitecture and mapped out the morphology of neurons and glia-neuron density in HP and NCL regions of crows that were first entrained to 12-hr light (LL): 12-hr darkness (LD) and then exposed to the light regime in which 12-hr darkness was either replaced by daytime light (i.e., constant light, LL) or by dim light (i.e., dim light at night, dLAN), with controls continued on LD 12:12. Compared with LD, there was a significant decrease in the soma size, suggesting reduced neuronal plasticity without affecting the neuronal density of both HP and NCL of crows under LL and dLAN conditions. In parallel, we found a reduced number of glia cells and, hence, decreased glia-neuron ratio positively correlated with soma size in both, HP and NCL regions. These results for the first time demonstrate LAN-induced negative effects on the brain cytoarchitecture of a diurnal species and give insight for possible influence on the brain health and functions in animals including humans that might be inadvertently exposed to LAN in an emerging night-illuminated urban environment.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Mitchell PW (2018)

The fault in his seeds: Lost notes to the case of bias in Samuel George Morton's cranial race science.

PLoS biology, 16(10):e2007008 pii:pbio.2007008.

The discovery of nearly 180-year-old cranial measurements in the archives of 19th century American physician and naturalist Samuel George Morton can address a lingering debate, begun in the late 20th century by paleontologist and historian of science Stephen Jay Gould, about the unconscious bias alleged in Morton's comparative data of brain size in human racial groups. Analysis of Morton's lost data and the records of his studies does not support Gould's arguments about Morton's biased data collection. However, historical contextualization of Morton with his scientific peers, especially German anatomist Friedrich Tiedemann, suggests that, while Morton's data may have been unbiased, his cranial race science was not. Tiedemann and Morton independently produced similar data about human brain size in different racial groups but analyzed and interpreted their nearly equivalent results in dramatically different ways: Tiedemann using them to argue for equality and the abolition of slavery, and Morton using them to entrench racial divisions and hierarchy. These differences draw attention to the epistemic limitations of data and the pervasive role of bias within the broader historical, social, and cultural context of science.

RevDate: 2018-10-04

Rogers KH, Ley DH, LW Woods (2018)

Mycoplasmosis of House Finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) and California Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma californica) in a Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility with Probable Nosocomial Transmission.

Journal of wildlife diseases [Epub ahead of print].

We describe an investigation of an outbreak of conjunctivitis in juvenile House Finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) and California Scrub-jays (Aphelocoma californica) at a central California wildlife rehabilitation facility. In late May 2015, the facility began admitting juvenile finches, the majority with normal eyes at intake. In June, with juvenile finches already present, the facility admitted additional juvenile scrub-jays, again all with normal eyes at intake. In July, after conjunctivitis was observed in increasing numbers of juvenile finches and scrub-jays, carcasses were submitted for postmortem examination. Histopathology of five finches and three scrub-jays identified lymphocytic infiltrates in the ocular tissues. Conjunctival swabs from 87% (13/15) finches and 33% (4/12) scrub-jays were PCR-positive for Mycoplasma gallisepticum. One finch and two scrub-jays were PCR-positive for Mycoplasma synoviae. Additionally, gene sequencing (16S rRNA and 16S-23S intergenic spacer region) identified Mycoplasma sturni from 33% (3/9) scrub-jays. This outbreak of conjunctivitis suggested that M. gallisepticum-infected juvenile finches admitted to and maintained in a multispecies nursery likely resulted in transmission within the facility to healthy juvenile finches and scrub-jays. Evidence of other Mycoplasma spp. in finches and scrub-jays indicates that these species are susceptible to infection and may act as carriers. This outbreak highlighted the need for effective triage and biosecurity measures within wildlife rehabilitation facilities.

RevDate: 2018-10-04

Shin DA, Kim C, Yudoyono F, et al (2018)

Feasibility of Percutaneous Robot-Assisted Epiduroscopic System.

Pain physician, 21(5):E565-E571.

BACKGROUND: Endoscopy has replaced open surgery, especially in spinal surgery. Among them, image-guided epiduroscopy allows pain generators to be identified, including epidural adhesion, fibrotic tissues, root compression, and spinal stenosis. However, the heavy lead apron worn by pain physicians to avoid exposure to radiation can induce occupational hazards, such as orthopedic complications and radiation-induced cancer. Hence, we developed a robotic system to address these problems.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to evaluate the feasibility of a robot-controlled epiduroscopic system.

STUDY DESIGN: In vivo animal experiment.

SETTING: University in Republic of Korea.

METHODS: The robot-controlled epiduroscopic system was developed using the open architecture robot system (The Raven Surgical Robotic System, CITRIS, Berkley, CA, USA). The robotic system consists of a lab-made epiduroscope, steering section, robotic arm, and manipulator. For the in vivo study, 2 Yorkshire pigs were used to simulate an epiduroscopic procedure with the robotic system.

RESULTS: The insertion and steering of the catheter was performed safely, and epiduroscopic visualization was obtained without side effects. There were no device-related complications. Radiation exposure for the primary operator was 80% lower than the levels found during conventional epiduroscopic procedures. All live pigs showed normal behavior without any signs of pain. The mean time to reach the target region was less than 8 minutes.

LIMITATIONS: The epiduroscopic procedure was performed on pigs and not on humans. The dimensions of the spinal canal of pigs cannot compare to those of humans.

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated the feasibility of the robot-assisted epiduroscopic system.

KEY WORDS: Epiduroscopy, robotic system, spine, pig, animal model.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Townsend AK, Wheeler SS, Freund D, et al (2018)

Links between blood parasites, blood chemistry, and the survival of nestling American crows.

Ecology and evolution, 8(17):8779-8790 pii:ECE34287.

Many studies have used the avian hemosporidians (Leucocytozoon, Plasmodium, and Hemoproteus) to test hypotheses of host-parasite co-evolution, yet documented health and survival consequences of these blood parasites vary among studies and generalizations about their pathogenicity are debatable. In general, the negative effects of the hemosporidians are likely to be greatest during acute infections of young birds, yet most previous studies in wild passerines have examined chronic effects in adults. Here, we evaluated responses of nestling American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) to acute infection (prevalence and burden), as well as its short- and long-term survival consequences. We used panel of nine hematological and biochemical parameters that are regularly used to evaluate the health of domestic animals, including leukocyte profiles, hematocrit, and plasma proteins. We assessed the effects of infection on survival in a mark-recapture framework. Overall, 56% of crows (n = 321 samples) were infected by at least one of the three genera. Infections by all genera were associated with elevated plasma proteins and globulins, which could indicate an adaptive immune response. However, only Plasmodium infections were associated with low hematocrit (anemia) and lower fledging success, possibly mediated by the negative effect of low hematocrit values on body condition. Moreover, early Plasmodium infection (<40 days of age) had long-term survival implications: it was associated with lower apparent survival probability within 3 years after fledging. These results suggest that young crows mounted an adaptive immune response to all three genera. Short- and long-term pathological effects, however, were only apparent with Plasmodium infections.

RevDate: 2018-10-01

Prussien KV, Salihu A, Abdullahi SU, et al (2018)

Associations of transcranial doppler velocity, age, and gender with cognitive function in children with sickle cell anemia in Nigeria.

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

Children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) have elevated cerebral blood velocity relative to healthy peers. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the association between cerebral blood velocity, measured by transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound, age, and gender with cognitive function in children with SCA in Nigeria. Eighty-three children (Mage = 9.10, SD = 1.90 years; 55% female) with SCA in Nigeria completed cognitive assessments and a TCD ultrasound. The association between TCD velocity and measures of perceptual reasoning (Raven's Progressive Matrices), working memory (WISC-IV Digit Span), and executive planning (Tower of London, TOL) were assessed. Results showed that elevated TCD velocity significantly predicted lower scores on TOL Time Violations and Total Problem-Solving Time when controlling for BMI, hemoglobin level, and parent education, suggesting that TCD velocity is related to the efficiency of executive function. Further, age was negatively related to children's performance on the Ravens Matrices and TOL Total Correct, and boys showed greater deficits on the TOL Total Correct relative to girls. Moderation analyses for gender showed that there was a conditional negative association between TCD velocity and Digit Span for boys, but not for girls. Findings suggest that children with SCA in Nigeria with elevated TCD velocity are at risk for deficits in efficiency of executive planning, and boys with elevated TCD velocity are particularly at increased risk for deficits in auditory working memory. Implications of this study are important for interventions to reduce cerebral blood velocity and the use of TCD in this population.

RevDate: 2018-11-24

Naumczyk P, Sawicka AK, Brzeska B, et al (2018)

Cognitive Predictors of Cortical Thickness in Healthy Aging.

Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 1116:51-62.

This study seeks to define the role of predictive values of the motor speed, inhibition control, and fluid and crystallized intelligence in estimating the cortical thickness in healthy elderly. Forty-six older healthy subjects (37 women, 9 men) over 60 years of age were included in the study. The participants were examined on 3.0 T MRI scanners. The protocol included standard anatomical sequences, to exclude brain pathology, and a high-resolution T1-weighted sequence used to estimate the cortical thickness. The neuropsychological protocol included fluid intelligence assessment (Raven Progressive Matrices), crystalized intelligence assessment (information or vocabulary subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R)), and executive functioning (Color Traits Test). The findings unraveled several interdependencies. The higher the intelligence, the thicker was the grey matter in nine regions of both hemispheres, but also some paradoxical reversed associations were found in four areas; all of them were localized along different sections of the cingulate gyrus in both hemispheres. An inverse association was found between crystallized intelligence and the thickness of the pars opecularis of the right hemisphere. The better the executive functioning, the thicker was the grey matter of a given region. The better the motor performance, the thicker was the grey matter of the rostral middle frontal area of the left hemisphere and the lingual gyrus of both hemispheres. In conclusion, the associations unraveled demonstrate that the neural mechanisms underlying healthy aging are complex and heterogenic across different cognitive domains and neuroanatomical regions. No brain aging theory seems to provide a suitable interpretative framework for all the results. A novel, more integrative approach to the brain aging should be considered.

RevDate: 2018-09-26

Elderbrock EK, Small TW, SJ Schoech (2018)

Adult Provisioning Influences Nestling Corticosterone Levels in Florida Scrub Jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens).

Physiological and biochemical zoology : PBZ, 91(6):1083-1090.

We studied Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) nestlings to examine the relationship between parental feeding rates and levels of corticosterone (CORT), a metabolic and stress-related steroid hormone hypothesized to play a role in mediating begging behavior. It has been documented that nutritional deficiency results in increased glucocorticoid levels in nestling birds. Further, previous studies have found that CORT levels of Florida scrub jay nestlings are negatively correlated with parental nest attendance and provisioning rates; however, the behavioral observations were made several days before the collection of samples to assess CORT levels. Few studies have investigated whether experience immediately before sampling impacts nestling glucocorticoid levels, especially in a free-living species. By monitoring parental activity at the nest before sample collection, we found that nestling CORT levels varied as a function of parental provisioning rate and the time since their last feed. However, counter to our predictions, higher provisioning rates and more recent feedings were associated with higher CORT levels in nestlings rather than lower CORT levels. These results suggest that some aspect of parental provisioning results in increased CORT levels in nestling Florida scrub jays.

RevDate: 2018-09-25

Rutz C, Hunt GR, JJH St Clair (2018)

Corvid Technologies: How Do New Caledonian Crows Get Their Tool Designs?.

Current biology : CB, 28(18):R1109-R1111.

Recent research shows that New Caledonian crows can incorporate information from researcher-made objects into objects they subsequently manufacture. This 'mental template matching' is one of several possible - mutually compatible - mechanisms for the cultural transmission of tool designs among wild crows.

RevDate: 2018-10-04

Ganz K, Jenni L, Madry MM, et al (2018)

Acute and Chronic Lead Exposure in Four Avian Scavenger Species in Switzerland.

Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology, 75(4):566-575.

Despite irrefutable evidence of its negative impact on animal behaviour and physiology, lethal and sublethal lead poisoning of wildlife is still persistent and widespread. For scavenging birds, ingestion of ammunition, or fragments thereof, is the major exposure route. In this study, we examined the occurrence of lead in four avian scavengers of Switzerland and how it differs between species, regions, and age of the bird. We measured lead concentration in liver and bone of the two main alpine avian scavengers (golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos and bearded vulture Gypaetus barbatus) over the entire area of the Swiss Alps and two of the main avian scavengers occurring in the lowlands of Switzerland (red kite Milvus milvus and common raven Corvus corax). Of those four species, only the bearded vulture is an obligate scavenger. We found that lead burdens in the two alpine avian scavengers were higher than those found for the same species elsewhere in Europe or North America and reached levels compatible with acute poisoning, whereas lead burdens of the two lowland avian scavengers seemed to be lower. Several golden eagles, but only one red kite with abnormally high bone lead concentrations were found. In all four species, a substantial proportion of birds had elevated levels which presumably represent recent (liver lead levels) or past (bone lead levels) uptake of sublethal doses of lead.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Baldauf MC, Gerke JS, Kirschner A, et al (2018)

Systematic identification of cancer-specific MHC-binding peptides with RAVEN.

Oncoimmunology, 7(9):e1481558 pii:1481558.

Immunotherapy can revolutionize anti-cancer therapy if specific targets are available. Immunogenic peptides encoded by cancer-specific genes (CSGs) may enable targeted immunotherapy, even of oligo-mutated cancers, which lack neo-antigens generated by protein-coding missense mutations. Here, we describe an algorithm and user-friendly software named RAVEN (Rich Analysis of Variable gene Expressions in Numerous tissues) that automatizes the systematic and fast identification of CSG-encoded peptides highly affine to Major Histocompatibility Complexes (MHC) starting from transcriptome data. We applied RAVEN to a dataset assembled from 2,678 simultaneously normalized gene expression microarrays comprising 50 tumor entities, with a focus on oligo-mutated pediatric cancers, and 71 normal tissue types. RAVEN performed a transcriptome-wide scan in each cancer entity for gender-specific CSGs, and identified several established CSGs, but also many novel candidates potentially suitable for targeting multiple cancer types. The specific expression of the most promising CSGs was validated in cancer cell lines and in a comprehensive tissue-microarray. Subsequently, RAVEN identified likely immunogenic CSG-encoded peptides by predicting their affinity to MHCs and excluded sequence identity to abundantly expressed proteins by interrogating the UniProt protein-database. The predicted affinity of selected peptides was validated in T2-cell peptide-binding assays in which many showed binding-kinetics like a very immunogenic influenza control peptide. Collectively, we provide an exquisitely curated catalogue of cancer-specific and highly MHC-affine peptides across 50 cancer types, and a freely available software (https://github.com/JSGerke/RAVENsoftware) to easily apply our algorithm to any gene expression dataset. We anticipate that our peptide libraries and software constitute a rich resource to advance anti-cancer immunotherapy.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Cucco M, R Bowman (2018)

Mass fluctuation in breeding females, males, and helpers of the Florida scrub-jay Aphelocoma coerulescens.

PeerJ, 6:e5607 pii:5607.

Much evidence suggests that birds actively regulate their body mass reserves relative to their energy needs. Energy requirements during reproduction may differ in relation to sex-specific behavioural roles or, in the case of cooperative breeders, breeders relative to helpers. We measured body mass of free-living Florida scrub-jays throughout the nesting season by training them to land on an electronic balance. Jays exhibited a pattern of diurnal linear mass gain, from morning to afternoon. Day-to-day mass fluctuations, defined as the difference between mass on two consecutive days, were small (>80% were within 2 g, less than 3% of the mass of an adult bird) for all classes of jays: female breeders, male breeders and prebreeding helpers. The jays, which live in subtropical south-central Florida, did not exhibit changes in day-to-day mass fluctuation relative to weather or climate variables or calendar date. Day-to-day mass fluctuations influenced mass fluctuation between the following third and fourth days. These changes were usually compensatory, indicating that jays are able to regulate their body mass on a short-term basis, despite strong differences in their roles in reproduction. During reproduction, jays have a relatively predictable and abundant food supply, thus the appropriate strategy may be to maintain a stable body mass that balances some energy reserves against maintaining a low body mass for efficient flight, as required during reproduction.

RevDate: 2018-09-17

Townsend AK, Taff CC, Jones ML, et al (2018)

Apparent inbreeding preference despite inbreeding depression in the American crow.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Although matings between relatives can have negative effects on offspring fitness, apparent inbreeding preference has been reported in a growing number of systems, including those with documented inbreeding depression. Here, we examined evidence for inbreeding depression and inbreeding preference in two populations (Clinton, New York and Davis, California, USA) of the cooperatively breeding American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos). We then compared observed inbreeding strategies with theoretical expectations for optimal, adaptive levels of inbreeding, given the inclusive fitness benefits and population-specific magnitude of inbreeding depression. We found that low heterozygosity at a panel of 33 microsatellite markers was associated with low survival probability (fledging success) and low white blood cell counts among offspring in both populations. Despite these costs, our data were more consistent with inbreeding preference than avoidance: the observed heterozygosity among 396 sampled crow offspring was significantly lower than expected if local adults were mating by random chance. This pattern was consistent across a range of spatial scales in both populations. Theoretically adaptive levels of inbreeding, given the magnitude of inbreeding depression, were predicted to be very low in the California population, whereas complete disassociative mating was predicted in the New York population. Sexual conflict might have contributed to the apparent absence of inbreeding avoidance in crows. These data add to an increasing number of examples of an "inbreeding paradox," where inbreeding appears to be preferred despite inbreeding depression. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2018-09-26

Herring G, Eagles-Smith CA, DE Varland (2018)

Mercury and lead exposure in avian scavengers from the Pacific Northwest suggest risks to California condors: Implications for reintroduction and recovery.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 243(Pt A):610-619.

Mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb) are widespread contaminants that pose risks to avian scavengers. In fact, Pb exposure is the primary factor limiting population recovery in the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) and Hg can impair avian reproduction at environmentally relevant exposures. The Pacific Northwest region of the US was historically part of the condor's native range, and efforts are underway to expand recovery into this area. To identify potential threats to reintroduced condors we assessed foraging habitats, Hg and Pb exposure, and physiological responses in two surrogate avian scavenger species (common ravens [Corvus corax] and turkey vultures [Cathartes aura] across the region between 2012 and 2016. Mercury exposure near the Pacific coast was 17-27-fold higher than in inland areas, and stable carbon and sulfur isotopes ratios indicated that coastal scavengers were highly reliant on marine prey. In contrast, Pb concentrations were uniformly elevated across the region, with 18% of the birds exposed to subclinical poisoning levels. Elevated Pb concentrations were associated with lower delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (δ-ALAD) activity, and in ravens there was an interactive effect between Hg and Pb on fecal corticosterone concentrations. This interaction indicated that the effects of Hg and Pb exposure on the stress axis are bidirectional, and depend on the magnitude of simultaneous exposure to the other contaminant. Our results suggest that condors released to the Pacific Northwest may be exposed to both elevated Hg and Pb, posing challenges to management of future condor populations in the Pacific Northwest. Developing a robust monitoring program for reintroduced condors and surrogate scavengers will help both better understand the drivers of exposure and predict the likelihood of impaired health. These findings provide a strong foundation for such an effort, providing resource managers with valuable information to help mitigate potential risks.

RevDate: 2018-11-13

Taufique SKT, Prabhat A, V Kumar (2018)

Illuminated night alters hippocampal gene expressions and induces depressive-like responses in diurnal corvids.

The European journal of neuroscience, 48(9):3005-3018.

Artificial light at night induces circadian disruptions and causes cognitive impairment and mood disorders; yet very little is known about the neural and molecular correlates of these effects in diurnal animals. We manipulated the night environment and examined cellular and molecular changes in hippocampus, the brain region involved in cognition and mood, of Indian house crows (Corvus splendens) exposed to 12 hr light (150 lux): 12 hr darkness (0 lux). Diurnal corvids are an ideal model species with cognitive abilities at par with mammals. Dim light (6 lux) at night (dLAN) altered daily activity:rest pattern, reduced sleep, and induced depressive-like responses (decreased eating and self-grooming, self-mutilation, and reduced novel object exploration); return to an absolute dark night reversed these negative effects. dLAN suppressed nocturnal melatonin levels; however, diurnal corticosterone levels were unaffected. Concomitant reduction of immunoreactivity for DCX and BDNF suggested dLAN-induced suppression of hippocampal neurogenesis and compromised neuronal health. dLAN also negatively influenced hippocampal expression of genes associated with depressive-like responses (bdnf, il-1β, tnfr1, nr4a2), but not of those associated with neuronal plasticity (egr1, creb, syngap, syn2, grin2a, grin2b), cellular oxidative stress (gst, sod3, cat1) and neuronal death (caspase2, caspase3, foxo3). Furthermore, we envisaged the role of BDNF and showed epigenetic modification of bdnf gene by decreased histone H3 acetylation and increased hdac4 expression under dLAN. These results demonstrate transcriptional and epigenetic bases of dLAN-induced negative effects in diurnal crows, and provide insights into the risks of exposure to illuminated nights to animals including humans in an urban setting.

RevDate: 2018-09-25

Simonds VW, Kim FL, LaVeaux D, et al (2018)

Guardians of the Living Water: Using a Health Literacy Framework to Evaluate a Child as Change Agent Intervention.

Health education & behavior : the official publication of the Society for Public Health Education [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: American Indian communities in the United States experience considerable health inequities, including increased exposure to environmental contaminants. Consequently, community members of the Apsáalooke (Crow) Nation identified the lack of water-related environmental knowledge among children as an area of concern.

AIM: The purpose of this study was to provide a feasibility evaluation of an increasingly sophisticated environmental health literacy program for children.

METHOD: A community-academic partnership developed and piloted the Guardians of the Living Water program to increase environmental health literacy among children and their families on the Crow reservation. Nutbeam's framework for health literacy, a schema based on functional, interactive, and critical literacy, shaped the program evaluation. We used a within-subjects, quasi-experimental design without a control group. Interviews with children and parents were used to assess the feasibility of the program, while pre-/posttests assessed changes in knowledge, skills, and behavior.

RESULTS: Compared with preintervention responses, those from postintervention indicated significant increases for selected knowledge and attitude components. Based on qualitative interviews with children and caregivers, the camp was a valuable experience and increased knowledge of water quality science and reinforced cultural knowledge.

DISCUSSION: This success of our program stems from the trust initially built between partners and then expanded throughout the community. The program and the evaluation benefited from both the health literacy framework and from our integration of Apsáalooke values.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that a community-based intervention designed to increase environmental health literacy among youth and their social networks is feasible and acceptable to this American Indian community.

RevDate: 2018-09-11

Wheatcroft D, TD Price (2018)

Collective Action Promoted by Key Individuals.

The American naturalist, 192(4):401-414.

Explaining why individuals participate in risky group behaviors has been a long-term challenge. We experimentally studied the formation of groups of birds (mobs) that aggressively confront predators and avian nest parasites and developed a theoretical model to evaluate the conditions under which mobs arise. We presented taxidermied mounts of predators on adult birds (hawks and owls) and of nest threats (crows and cuckoos) at different distances to nests of Phylloscopus warblers. Even when alone, birds are aggressive toward predators of adult birds, both at and away from their nests. By contrast, birds aggressively confront nest threats alone only when they have a nest nearby. However, strong initial responses by nest owners lead individuals without nearby nests to increase their responses, thereby generating a mob. Building on these findings, we derive the conditions in which individuals are incentivized to invest more when joining a high-gain individual compared to when acting alone. Strong responses of high-gain individuals acting alone tend to reduce the investments of other high-gain individuals that subsequently join. However, individuals that benefit sufficiently little from acting alone increase their investments when joining a high-gain individual and can even be sufficiently incentivized to join in when they would otherwise not act alone. Together, these results suggest an important role for key individuals in the generation of some group behaviors.

RevDate: 2018-10-05

Ţălu Ş, Morozov IA, Sobola D, et al (2018)

Multifractal Characterization of Butterfly Wings Scales.

Bulletin of mathematical biology, 80(11):2856-2870.

A lot of insect families have physical structures created by evolution for coloration. These structures are a source of ideas for new bio-inspired materials. The aim of this study was to quantitatively characterize the micromorphology of butterfly wings scales using atomic force microscopy and multifractal analysis. Two types of butterflies, Euploea mulciber ("striped blue crow") and Morpho didius ("giant blue morpho"), were studied. The three-dimensional (3D) surface texture of the butterfly wings scales was investigated focusing on two areas: where the perceived colors strongly depend on and where they do not depend on the viewing angle. The results highlight a correlation between the surface coloration and 3D surface microtexture of butterfly wings scales.

RevDate: 2018-11-09

Seppänen MRJ (2018)

Novel cytoskeletal mutations with immunodeficiency: Why is the raven like a writing desk?.

The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 142(5):1444-1446.

RevDate: 2018-11-27
CmpDate: 2018-11-27

Aharoni T, A Goldbourt (2018)

Rapid automated determination of chemical shift anisotropy values in the carbonyl and carboxyl groups of fd-y21m bacteriophage using solid state NMR.

Journal of biomolecular NMR, 72(1-2):55-67.

Determination of chemical shift anisotropy (CSA) in immobilized proteins and protein assemblies is one of several tools to determine protein dynamics on the timescales of microseconds and faster. The large CSA values of C=O groups in the rigid limit makes them in particular attractive for measurements of large amplitude motions, or their absence. In this study, we implement a 3D R-symmetry-based sequence that recouples the second spatial component of the 13C CSA with the corresponding isotropic 13C'-13C cross-peaks in order to probe backbone and sidechain dynamics in an intact fd-y21m filamentous phage viral capsid. The assignment of the isotropic cross-peaks and the analysis were conducted automatically using a new software named 'Raven'. The software can be utilized to auto-assign any 2D 13C-13C or 15N-13C spectrum given a previously-determined assignment table and generates simultaneously all intensity curves acquired in the third dimension. Here, all CSA spectra were automatically generated, and subsequently matched against a simulated set of CSA curves to yield their values. For the multi-copy, 50-residue-long protein capsid of fd-y21m, the backbone of the helical region is rigid, with reduced CSA values of ~ 12.5 kHz (~ 83 ppm). The N-terminus shows motionally-averaged CSA lineshapes and the carboxylic sidechain groups of four residues indicate large amplitude motions for D4, D5, D12 and E20. The current results further strengthen our previous studies of 15N CSA values and are in agreement with qualitative analysis of 13C-13C dipolar build-up curves, which were automatically obtained using our software. Our automated analysis technique is general and can be applied to study protein structure and dynamics, with data resulting from experiments that probe different variables such as relaxation rates and scaled anisotropic interactions.

RevDate: 2018-09-21

Jamborova I, Janecko N, Halova D, et al (2018)

Molecular characterization of plasmid-mediated AmpC beta-lactamase- and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae among corvids (Corvus brachyrhynchos and Corvus corax) roosting in Canada.

FEMS microbiology ecology, 94(11):.

This study evaluated the carriage of AmpC and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) genes and associated plasmids in faecal bacteria of Canadian corvids. Faecal samples from 449 birds in five roosting sites across Canada were analyzed using selective media, screening for AmpC and ESBL genes by PCR, and sequencing. Genomic relatedness was determined by PFGE and MLST. Plasmid mobility was studied by conjugation and transformation experiments, followed by plasmid typing. In total, 96 (21%, n = 449) cefotaxime-resistant Escherichia coli and three (0.7%) Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates were identified. ESBL genes blaCTX-M-1 (n = 3), blaCTX-M-14 (n = 2), blaCTX-M-32 (n = 2) and blaCTX-M-124 (n = 1) were detected in eight E. coli isolates, whereas blaSHV-2 (2) was found in two K. pneumoniae. E. coli isolates contained blaCMY-2 (n = 83) and blaCMY-42 (n = 1). The high genetic diversity of the isolates and presence of clinically important E. coli ST69 (n = 1), ST117 (n = 7) and ST131 (n = 1) was revealed. AmpC genes were predominantly carried by plasmids of incompatibility groups I1 (45 plasmids), A/C (10) and K (7). The plasmid IncI1/ST12 was most common and found in diverse E. coli STs in all sites. Highly diverse E. coli isolates containing AmpC and ESBL genes, including clinically important clones and emerging plasmids, are in circulation throughout Canadian wildlife.

RevDate: 2018-11-14
CmpDate: 2018-11-01

Hennefield L, Hwang HG, Weston SJ, et al (2018)

Meta-analytic techniques reveal that corvid causal reasoning in the Aesop's Fable paradigm is driven by trial-and-error learning.

Animal cognition, 21(6):735-748.

The classic Aesop's fable, Crow and the Pitcher, has inspired a major line of research in comparative cognition. Over the past several years, five articles (over 32 experiments) have examined the ability of corvids (e.g., rooks, crows, and jays) to complete lab-based analogs of this fable, by requiring them to drop stones and other objects into tubes of water to retrieve a floating worm (Bird and Emery in Curr Biol 19:1-5, 2009b; Cheke et al. in Anim Cogn 14:441-455, 2011; Jelbert et al. in PLoS One 3:e92895, 2014; Logan et al. in PLoS One 7:e103049, 2014; Taylor et al. in Gray R D 12:e26887, 2011). These researchers have stressed the unique potential of this paradigm for understanding causal reasoning in corvids. Ghirlanda and Lind (Anim Behav 123:239-247, 2017) re-evaluated trial-level data from these studies and concluded that initial preferences for functional objects, combined with trial-and-error learning, may account for subjects' performance on key variants of the paradigm. In the present paper, we use meta-analytic techniques to provide more precise information about the rate and mode of learning that occurs within and across tasks. Within tasks, subjects learned from successful (but not unsuccessful) actions, indicating that higher-order reasoning about phenomena such as mass, volume, and displacement is unlikely to be involved. Furthermore, subjects did not transfer information learned in one task to subsequent tasks, suggesting that corvids do not engage with these tasks as variants of the same problem (i.e., how to generate water displacement to retrieve a floating worm). Our methodological analysis and empirical findings raise the question: Can Aesop's fable studies distinguish between trial-and-error learning and/or higher-order causal reasoning? We conclude they cannot.

RevDate: 2018-08-22

Anonymous (2018)

Matchmaking clues for clever crows that are close to extinction.

Nature, 560(7719):413.

RevDate: 2018-11-20

Hua CL, Bardo AR, JS Brown (2018)

Mistrust in Physicians does not Explain Black-white Disparities in Primary Care and Emergency Department Utilization: The Importance of Socialization During the Jim Crow era.

Journal of the National Medical Association, 110(6):540-546.

PURPOSE: Compared to whites, blacks under-utilize primary care (PC) and over-utilize emergency department (ED) services. The aim of this study is to determine whether mistrust in physicians explains these black-white disparities, and the potentially modifying influence of socialization under racially segregated health care (i.e., raised in the U.S. South during the Jim Crow era).

METHODS: Data come from the nationally representative Americans' Changing Lives Study (n=1,578). Poisson regression techniques are utilized to respectively model PC and ED utilization among a sample of non-Hispanic black and white adults aged forty-years and older.

CONCLUSION: Mistrust in physicians does not explain black-white disparities in PC or ED utilization. Blacks under-utilize PC services compared to whites, net of predisposing, need, and enabling factors, but this is especially apparent among blacks who were raised in the U.S. south during the Jim Crow era and continue to reside in the South. Blacks greatly over-utilize ED services compared to whites, but this is greatest among those raised in the south during the Jim Crow era and/or those currently residing in the South.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Mason LD, Wardell-Johnson G, Luxton SJ, et al (2018)

Predators Show Seasonal Predilections for Model Clay Spiders in an Urban Environment.

Scientific reports, 8(1):12444 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-30778-y.

Predator-prey interactions may be altered under human-induced rapid environmental change, such as urbanisation. Extensive clearing in urban areas may leave short-range endemic species, such as mygalomorph spiders, more vulnerable to local extinction through predation in remaining remnants. Predation rates on Australian mygalomorph spiders were assessed using clay models of two size classes (5 cm, 3 cm), during two time periods in 2016 (January-February, July-August). Size and phenology of models resembled the mygalomorph genera Aname and Teyl occurring in these local urban remnants. Local predator guilds were significantly influenced by leaf-litter cover (%) and proportion of surrounding parkland. Preference for spider vs. control models was consistent across all predator types (bird, rodent, lizard and wasp), but specialist spider wasps (Pompilidae) only attacked spider models. Generalist predators (birds, lizards and rodents) were more opportunistic. Lizards and rodents exhibit similar predation behaviour, indicating there may be some inter-specific competition. Invasive generalists (e. g. rodents) or urban adapters (e. g. corvids) are more likely to represent an increased threat to spiders than are co-evolved specialists (e.g. spider wasps).

RevDate: 2018-10-23

Larsabal M, Cogrel O, Caumont C, et al (2018)

Mosaic mutations in FGFR3 and FGFR2 are associated with naevoid acanthosis nigricans or RAVEN (round and velvety epidermal naevus).

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Steyaert SMJG, Frank SC, Puliti S, et al (2018)

Special delivery: scavengers direct seed dispersal towards ungulate carcasses.

Biology letters, 14(8):.

Cadaver decomposition islands around animal carcasses can facilitate establishment of various plant life. Facultative scavengers have great potential for endozoochory, and often aggregate around carcasses. Hence, they may disperse plant seeds that they ingest across the landscape towards cadaver decomposition islands. Here, we demonstrate this novel mechanism along a gradient of wild tundra reindeer carcasses. First, we show that the spatial distribution of scavenger faeces (birds and foxes) was concentrated around carcasses. Second, faeces of the predominant scavengers (corvids) commonly contained viable seeds of crowberry, a keystone species of the alpine tundra with predominantly vegetative reproduction. We suggest that cadaver decomposition islands function as endpoints for directed endozoochory by scavengers. Such a mechanism could be especially beneficial for species that rely on small-scale disturbances in soil and vegetation, such as several Nordic berry-producing species with cryptic generative reproduction.

RevDate: 2018-11-06
CmpDate: 2018-11-06

Saakian DB, Cheong KH, JM Koh (2018)

Solution of the Crow-Kimura model with changing population size and Allee effect.

Physical review. E, 98(1-1):012405.

The Crow-Kimura model is commonly used in the modeling of genetic evolution in the presence of mutations and associated selection pressures. We consider a modified version of the Crow-Kimura model, in which population sizes are not fixed and Allee saturation effects are present. We demonstrate the evolutionary dynamics in this system through an analytical approach, examining both symmetric and single-peak fitness landscape cases. Especially interesting are the dynamics of the populations near extinction. A special version of the model with saturation and degradation on the single-peak fitness landscape is investigated as a candidate of the Allee effect in evolution, revealing reduction tendencies of excessively large populations, and extinction tendencies for small populations. The analytical solutions for these dynamics are presented with accuracy O(1/N), where N is the number of nucleotides in the genome.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Morales D, Ramirez G, Herrera-Arellano A, et al (2018)

Identification of Digestive Enzyme Inhibitors from Ludwigia octovalvis (Jacq.) P.H.Raven.

Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018:8781352.

Current antiobesity and antidiabetic tools have been insufficient to curb these diseases and frequently cause side effects; therefore, new pancreatic lipase and α-glucosidase inhibitors could be excellent aids for the prevention and treatment of these diseases. The aim of this study was to identify, quantify, and characterize the chemical compounds with the highest degree of inhibitory activity of these enzymes, contained in a Ludwigia octovalvis hydroalcoholic extract. Chemical purification was performed by liquid-liquid separation and column chromatography. Inhibitory activities were measured in vitro, employing acarbose, orlistat, and a Camellia sinensis hydroalcoholic extract as references. For structural elucidation, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance was carried out, and High Performance Liquid Chromatography was used to quantify the compounds. For α-glucosidases, L. octovalvis hydroalcoholic extract and its ethyl acetate fraction showed half-maximal Inhibitory Concentration (IC50) values of 700 and 250 μg/mL, for lipase, 480 and 718 μg/mL, while C. sinensis showed 260 and 587 μg/mL. The most active compounds were identified as ethyl gallate (1, IC50 832 μM) and gallic acid (2, IC50 969 μM); both displayed competitive inhibition of α-glucosidases and isoorientin (3, IC50 201 μM), which displayed uncompetitive inhibition of lipase. These data could be useful in the development of a novel phytopharmaceutical drug.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Ashton BJ, Thornton A, AR Ridley (2018)

An intraspecific appraisal of the social intelligence hypothesis.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 373(1756):.

The prevailing hypotheses for the evolution of cognition focus on either the demands associated with group living (the social intelligence hypothesis (SIH)) or ecological challenges such as finding food. Comparative studies testing these hypotheses have generated highly conflicting results; consequently, our understanding of the drivers of cognitive evolution remains limited. To understand how selection shapes cognition, research must incorporate an intraspecific approach, focusing on the causes and consequences of individual variation in cognition. Here, we review the findings of recent intraspecific cognitive research to investigate the predictions of the SIH. Extensive evidence from our own research on Australian magpies (Cracticus tibicen dorsalis), and a number of other taxa, suggests that individuals in larger social groups exhibit elevated cognitive performance and, in some cases, elevated reproductive fitness. Not only do these findings demonstrate how the social environment has the potential to shape cognitive evolution, but crucially, they demonstrate the importance of considering both genetic and developmental factors when attempting to explain the causes of cognitive variation.This article is part of the theme issue 'Causes and consequences of individual differences in cognitive abilities'.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Hunter MA, Lieberman G, Coffman BA, et al (2018)

Mindfulness-based training with transcranial direct current stimulation modulates neuronal resource allocation in working memory: A randomized pilot study with a nonequivalent control group.

Heliyon, 4(7):e00685 pii:e00685.

Mindfulness-based training (MBT) and transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) methods such as direct current stimulation (tDCS) have demonstrated promise for the augmentation of cognitive abilities. The current study investigated the potential compatibility of concurrent "electrical" MBT and tDCS (or eMBT) by testing its combined effects on behavioral and neurophysiological indices of working memory (WM) and attentional resource allocation. Thirty-four healthy participants were randomly assigned to either a MBT task with tDCS group (eMBT) or an active control training task with sham tDCS (Control) group. Training lasted 4-weeks, with up to twenty MBT sessions and with up to eight of those sessions that were eMBT sessions. Electroencephalography was acquired during varying WM load conditions using the n-back task (1-, 2-, 3-back), along with performance on complex WM span tasks (operation and symmetry span) and fluid intelligence measures (Ravens and Shipley) before and after training. Improved performance was observed only on the 3-back and spatial span tasks for eMBT but not the Control group. During 3-back performance in the eMBT group, an increase in P3 amplitude and theta power at electrode site Pz was also observed, along with a simultaneous decrease in frontal midline P3 amplitude and theta power compared to the Control group. These results are consistent with the neural efficiency hypothesis, where higher cognitive capacity was associated with more distributed brain activity (i.e., increase in parietal and decrease in frontal amplitudes). Future longitudinal studies are called upon to further examine the direct contributions of tDCS on MBT by assessing the differential effects of electrode montage, polarity, current strength and a direct contrast between the eMBT and MBT conditions on performance and neuroimaging outcome data. While preliminary, the current results provided evidence for the potential compatibility of using eMBT to modulate WM capacity through the allocation of attention and its neurophysiological correlates.

RevDate: 2018-10-08

Esquinas AM, Karim HMR, GW Soo Hoo (2018)

Insight to the growing utilizations of high flow nasal oxygen therapy over non-invasive ventilation in community teaching hospital: alternative or complementary?In response to: Mihaela S. Stefan, Patrick Eckert, Bogdan Tiru, Jennifer Friderici, Peter K. Lindenauer & Jay S. Steingrub (2018) High flow nasal oxygen therapy utilization: 7-year experience at a community teaching hospital, Hospital Practice, 46:2, 73-76, DOI: 10.1080/21548331.2018.1438739.

Hospital practice (1995), 46(4):170-171.

RevDate: 2018-08-08

de Freitas Keppeke L, TH Schoen (2018)

Perceptual-Motor Maturity in Adolescence and the Tanner Stages: A Study with Bender-Gradual Scoring System.

The Spanish journal of psychology, 21:E33 pii:S1138741618000331.

Visual-motor skill forms an important psycho diagnostic component and is associated with psycho-neurological aspects. The Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test, widely used for the evaluation of this area, is meant for children up to 11 years. In adolescence, the changes associated with puberty generate nonlinear anthropometric development resulting in mild and temporary incoordination. This study investigated the relation between visual-motor development measured by the Bender test and pubertal changes according to the Tanner scale. In all 134 adolescents of both sexes, aged from 10 to 15, who kept routine medical appointments, participated. We used the Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test, Raven's Progressive Matrices Test, and medical chart data. The techniques were applied individually. Pubertal changes were associated with the Bender test results showing higher scores at the G3 stage, the period corresponding to a growth spurt, compared to the G5 stage (p = .007, ES = .187), the post-growth spurt period in boys. Age and gender did not influence the Bender test scores. According to the Raven test, the g intelligence factor, interfered significantly in the visual-motor performance (r = -57%, p < .001). Schooling, repetition of a school year, and developmental problems (p = .002, ES = .156; p = .002, ES = .623; p < .001, ES = .880, respectively) obtained similar results. The Bender Test was sensitive to schooling and maturational problems during adolescence. There was an association between visual-motor development and sexual maturity in male adolescents. Our results indicate the usefulness of the Bender Test at older ages than those used in the test standardization.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Malik A, Dharaiya N, S Espín (2018)

Is current information on organochlorine exposure sufficient to conserve birds in India?.

Ecotoxicology (London, England), 27(8):1137-1149.

Organochlorine compounds (OCs) pose a serious threat towards the wildlife due to their well-known adverse effects. India is the second largest producer of pesticides in Asia, with DDT production still ongoing, and is ranked amongst the leading countries of pesticide consumption. However, a significant data gap in avian biomonitoring studies has been identified in Asia. The objective of this review is to compile and discuss the available literature on concentrations of organochlorine pesticides and PCBs in Indian birds. The review of 18 articles showed that DDTs were the OCs most frequently analysed, followed by HCHs and PCBs (highest hepatic mean values: 11.6, 1.8 and 1.03 µg/g ww, respectively). The most frequently analysed matrix was whole body homogenates, followed by internal tissues. Plasma, eggs, feathers and guano were poorly sampled. The range of sampling years was 1980-2007. In general, hepatic OC concentrations were below the level known to cause adverse effects, although p,p'-DDE in eggs was found in concentrations associated with eggshell thinning. Most of the studies were carried out in Southern India (Tamil Nadu). Out of 106 species studied, house crow (Corvus splendens) was the most frequently monitored. However, the number of individuals sampled per species is generally low and different sample types are used, thus, huge limitations to compare OC exposure exist. This review shows that there is a clear deficit of data on OC concentrations and sublethal effects that needs to be addressed to understand the status of OC exposure, spatio-temporal trends and potential impacts in Indian avifauna.

RevDate: 2018-11-14
CmpDate: 2018-10-02

Iknayan KJ, SR Beissinger (2018)

Collapse of a desert bird community over the past century driven by climate change.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(34):8597-8602.

Climate change has caused deserts, already defined by climatic extremes, to warm and dry more rapidly than other ecoregions in the contiguous United States over the last 50 years. Desert birds persist near the edge of their physiological limits, and climate change could cause lethal dehydration and hyperthermia, leading to decline or extirpation of some species. We evaluated how desert birds have responded to climate and habitat change by resurveying historic sites throughout the Mojave Desert that were originally surveyed for avian diversity during the early 20th century by Joseph Grinnell and colleagues. We found strong evidence of an avian community in collapse. Sites lost on average 43% of their species, and occupancy probability declined significantly for 39 of 135 breeding birds. The common raven was the only native species to substantially increase across survey sites. Climate change, particularly decline in precipitation, was the most important driver of site-level persistence, while habitat change had a secondary influence. Habitat preference and diet were the two most important species traits associated with occupancy change. The presence of surface water reduced the loss of site-level richness, creating refugia. The collapse of the avian community over the past century may indicate a larger imbalance in the Mojave and provide an early warning of future ecosystem disintegration, given climate models unanimously predict an increasingly dry and hot future.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Ditz HM, Kupferman JK, A Nieder (2018)

Neurons in the Hippocampus of Crows Lack Responses to Non-spatial Abstract Categories.

Frontiers in systems neuroscience, 12:33.

Lesion studies suggest a role of the avian hippocampus in spatial and episodic memory. However, whether the avian hippocampus is also involved in processing categorical information and non-spatial working memory contents remains unknown. To address this question, we trained two crows in a delayed-match-to-sample test to assess and briefly memorize the number of items in dot displays, i.e., their numerosity. We recorded neuronal activity in hippocampus while crows solved this task. Hardly any hippocampal neurons responded to the category 'numerosity,' during neither sample presentation, nor during the memory delay. This was in striking contrast to previous recordings in the telencephalic association area 'nidopallium caudolaterale' (NCL) of the same crows, in which we previously reported an abundance of numerosity-selective and working memory-selective neurons. Our data suggest that categorical information is not processed in the avian hippocampus.

RevDate: 2018-08-03

Campo JV, JA Bridge (2018)

Exploring the Impact of 13 Reasons Why: Looking for Light Amidst the Heat . . .

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 57(8):547-549.

A Letter to the Editor by Kieling and collegues1 in this month's Journal attempts to explore the impact of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why (13RW) on the thinking and behavior of adolescent viewers. The series is an adaptation of a 2007 novel by Jay Asher, and tells the story of an adolescent girl who dies by suicide following a series of traumas and disappointments that she catalogues before her death on 13 audiotapes. The tapes are left behind with the expectation that each of the individuals presumably responsible for her suicide will listen and better understand their individual and collective failures. Since its release and airing in 2017, the show has generated considerable heated debate and controversy, largely due to concerns about its potential for suicide contagion.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Sutton JT, Helmkampf M, Steiner CC, et al (2018)

A High-Quality, Long-Read De Novo Genome Assembly to Aid Conservation of Hawaii's Last Remaining Crow Species.

Genes, 9(8): pii:genes9080393.

Abstract: Genome-level data can provide researchers with unprecedented precision to examine the causes and genetic consequences of population declines, which can inform conservation management. Here, we present a high-quality, long-read, de novo genome assembly for one of the world's most endangered bird species, the 'Alalā (Corvus hawaiiensis; Hawaiian crow). As the only remaining native crow species in Hawai'i, the 'Alalā survived solely in a captive-breeding program from 2002 until 2016, at which point a long-term reintroduction program was initiated. The high-quality genome assembly was generated to lay the foundation for both comparative genomics studies and the development of population-level genomic tools that will aid conservation and recovery efforts. We illustrate how the quality of this assembly places it amongst the very best avian genomes assembled to date, comparable to intensively studied model systems. We describe the genome architecture in terms of repetitive elements and runs of homozygosity, and we show that compared with more outbred species, the 'Alalā genome is substantially more homozygous. We also provide annotations for a subset of immunity genes that are likely to be important in conservation management, and we discuss how this genome is currently being used as a roadmap for downstream conservation applications.

RevDate: 2018-11-28

Faria JP, Rocha M, Rocha I, et al (2018)

Methods for automated genome-scale metabolic model reconstruction.

Biochemical Society transactions, 46(4):931-936.

In the era of next-generation sequencing and ubiquitous assembly and binning of metagenomes, new putative genome sequences are being produced from isolate and microbiome samples at ever-increasing rates. Genome-scale metabolic models have enormous utility for supporting the analysis and predictive characterization of these genomes based on sequence data. As a result, tools for rapid automated reconstruction of metabolic models are becoming critically important for supporting the analysis of new genome sequences. Many tools and algorithms have now emerged to support rapid model reconstruction and analysis. Here, we are comparing and contrasting the capabilities and output of a variety of these tools, including ModelSEED, Raven Toolbox, PathwayTools, SuBliMinal Toolbox and merlin.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Ruiz-Rodríguez M, Martín-Vivaldi M, Martínez-Bueno M, et al (2018)

Gut Microbiota of Great Spotted Cuckoo Nestlings is a Mixture of Those of Their Foster Magpie Siblings and of Cuckoo Adults.

Genes, 9(8): pii:genes9080381.

Diet and host genetic or evolutionary history are considered the two main factors determining gut microbiota of animals, although studies are scarce in natural populations. The system of great spotted cuckoos (Clamatorglandarius) parasitizing magpies (Pica pica) is ideal to study both effects since magpie adults feed cuckoo and magpie nestlings with the same diet and, consequently, differences in gut microbiota of nestlings of these two species will mainly reflect the importance of genetic components. Moreover, the diet of adults and of nestling cuckoos drastically differ from each other and, thus, differences and similarities in their microbiotas would respectively reflect the effect of environmental and genetic factors. We used next-generation sequencing technologies to analyze the gut microbiota of cuckoo adults and nestlings and of magpie nestlings. The highest α-diversity estimates appeared in nestling cuckoos and the lowest in nestling magpies. Moreover, despite the greatest differences in the microbiome composition of magpies and cuckoos of both ages, cuckoo nestlings harbored a mixture of the Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) present in adult cuckoos and nestling magpies. We identified the bacterial taxa responsible for such results. These results suggest important phylogenetic components determining gut microbiome of nestlings, and that diet might be responsible for similarities between gut microbiome of cuckoo and magpie nestlings that allow cuckoos to digest food provided by magpie adults.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Yurtoğulları Ş, Taşkapılıoğlu Ö, Öztürk B, et al (2018)

Comparison of Brain Atrophy, Cognition and Optical Coherence Tomography Results Between Multiple Sclerosis Patients and Healthy Controls.

Noro psikiyatri arsivi, 55(1):3-8 pii:archneuro-55-3.

Introduction: Cognitive impairment is also an important cause of disability in MS in addition to motor, sensory, visual, and cerebellar affections. The aim of this study is to show the relation between the cognitive disability in MS with brain atrophy and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL).

Methods: Forty-three multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, and 15 healthy individuals as controls were included in the study. MS patients were divided into three groups as relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), relapsing-remitting with optic neuritis (RRMS+ON), and secondary-progressive MS (SPMS). An experienced psychologist performed modified Wechsler Memory Scale Revised form (WMS-R), Lines Orientation test, Stroop Color Word Interference test (STROOP), Standard Raven Progressive Matrices (SRPM), Benton Facial Recognition Test, verbal fluency test, and Paced Auditory Serial Addition tests in all cases. Optic coherence tomographies (OCT) were done. Cranial subcortical volumes of all subjects were measured using 3-dimensonal T1A imagines obtained by the cranial subcortical 1.5 tesla MR device (fully automatic Freesurfer program). Brain parenchymal fractions were calculated by proportioning the obtained volume measurements to the total intracranial volume.

Results: Fifty-eight subjects (65.5% female, 34.5% male) were enrolled in the study. There were significant differences among the groups in terms of parenchymal thickness, volumes of third ventricle, and white matter. There was a significant correlation between the volumes of the deep gray matter, mesial temporal structures and lateral ventricular volumes, and the test results of the WMS-R. OCT scores of all MS patients, whether or not they experienced optic neuritis, had increased, being worse especially in the SPMS group. Correlation between RNFL and the brain parenchymal fractions of the patients were statistically significant.

Conclusion: Manual methods instead of automatic segmentation method are being more commonly used in the studies with brain atrophy and MS in our country. A significant correlation between OCT scores and brain atrophy is shown with our present study, and this is followed as a reflection of decrease in cognitive tests that provides valuable and reliable knowledge for the literature.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Blume CA, Machado BM, da Rosa RR, et al (2018)

Association of Maternal Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass with Obstetric Outcomes and Fluid Intelligence in Offspring.

Obesity surgery, 28(11):3611-3620.

PURPOSE: The purpose of the study is to assess whether Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) prior to pregnancy is associated with fluid intelligence in offspring. Additionally, perinatal and obstetric outcomes, and children nutritional status were evaluated.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Singleton births of women who underwent RYGB between 2000 and 2010 (BS) were matched to two control births by maternal age, delivery year, and gender. Control group 1 (CG1) and control group 2 (CG2) included women with a pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) < 35 kg/m2 and ≥ 35 kg/m2, respectively, who had never undergone bariatric surgery.

RESULTS: Thirty-two children from each group (n = 96) were analyzed, mostly female (59%) and Caucasian (82%), with a mean age of 7 ± 2 years. Their general intelligence scores were similar after adjusting for sociodemographic confounders; family economic class was the strongest predictor (low: β = - 20.57; p < 0.001; middle: β = - 9.34; p = 0.019). Gestational diabetes mellitus (OR 0.06; 95% CI 0.03; 0.35) and hypertensive disorders (OR 0.09; 95% CI 0.01; 0.40) were less frequent in BS than CG2. Post-RYGB pregnancies were associated with lower birth weight (P = 0.021) than controls. Child overweight and obesity was higher (OR 4.59; 95% CI 1.55; 13.61; p = 0.006) in CG2 (78%) than CG1 (44%) and similar to BS (65%).

CONCLUSIONS: RYGB prior to pregnancy was not associated with fluid intelligence in offspring. Prior RYGB was associated with a lower frequency of gestational diabetes mellitus and hypertensive disorders than in women with a pre-pregnancy BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2, as well as with lower birth weight than both control groups.

RevDate: 2018-10-30
CmpDate: 2018-10-30

Abdoli A, Arbabi M, Pirestani M, et al (2018)

Molecular assessment of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii in hooded crows (Corvus cornix) in Tehran, Iran.

Comparative immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases, 57:69-73.

Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii are two closely related protozoan parasites that have been detected from various species of bird hosts. However, little is known about the prevalence of N. caninum and T. gondii in crows. Hence, we examined the molecular frequency of N. caninum and T. gondii in the brain samples of hooded crows (Corvus cornix) that collected from different public parks of Tehran, Iran by nested-PCR method. We used the primers targeting the Nc5 and GRA6 genes for detection of N. caninum and T. gondii, respectively. From a total of 55 brain samples, 5 (9.9%) and 9 (16.36%) samples were positive for N. caninum and T. gondii, respectively. Sequencing of a N. caninum isolate revealed 95%-100% identity with the deposited N. caninum in GenBank. Genotyping of T. gondii isolates by PCR-RFLP analysis of the GRA6 gene revealed type III genotype in 8 isolates. The results of this study indicate that hooded crows may have a putative role in transmission of N. caninum and T. gondii to canines and felines definitive hosts, respectively.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Silina AV (2018)

Sex change in scallop Patinopecten yessoensis: response to population composition?.

PeerJ, 6:e5240 pii:5240.

Sex structure is very labile between populations and specific for each population because it is a result of genetic, ontogenetic and biocenotic influences on the mollusks. In this study, the age frequency distribution, age-sex structure, and sex ratio were assessed in the wild populations of the Yeso scallop Patinopecten yessoensis (Jay) observed at fifteen sites in the northwestern Sea of Japan (=East Sea). The sex ratio varied between the populations from 0.83:1 to 1.52:1 (males/females), with the mean sex ratio being 1.03 ± 0.05:1. Within a population, the proportions of males and females in term of number differed between age classes. Males were more numerous than females in the younger age classes, and females prevailed over males in the older age classes. It was found that in different scallop populations the sex change occurred at different ages. In the populations that predominantly consisted of young (two- to four-year-old) individuals, males prevailed over females in the age class 2 yr.; the equal male/female proportion was found in the age class 3 yr.; and in older age classes, females prevailed over males. Another pattern was observed in the populations that consisted mainly of middle-aged (five- to six-year-old) individuals. Here, the age-sex ratio became equal at an age of 4-6 years. In the old populations (mainly 6-12-year-olds) the equal male/female proportion was observed at an age of 8-10 years. Thus, the age of sex change was not uniform for the scallop populations. It depended on the age structure of the population and, thus, was socially controlled. The greater number of females in the older age classes suggests a protandric sex change.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Gonçalves A, D Biro (2018)

Comparative thanatology, an integrative approach: exploring sensory/cognitive aspects of death recognition in vertebrates and invertebrates.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 373(1754):.

Evolutionary thanatology benefits from broad taxonomic comparisons of non-human animals' responses to death. Furthermore, exploring the sensory and cognitive bases of these responses promises to allow classification of the underlying mechanisms on a spectrum from phylogenetically ancient to more derived traits. We draw on studies of perception and cognition in invertebrate and vertebrate taxa (with a focus on arthropods, corvids, proboscids, cetaceans and primates) to explore the cues that these animals use to detect life and death in others, and discuss proximate and ultimate drivers behind their capacities to do so. Parallels in thanatological behaviour exhibited by the last four taxa suggest similar sensory-cognitive processing rules for dealing with corpses, the evolution of which may have been driven by complex social environments. Uniting these responses is a phenomenon we term 'animacy detection malfunction', whereupon the corpse, having both animate and inanimate attributes, creates states of fear/curiosity manifested as approach/avoidance behaviours in observers. We suggest that integrating diverse lines of evidence (including the 'uncanny valley' effect originating from the field of robotics) provides a promising way to advance the field, and conclude by proposing avenues for future research.This article is part of the theme issue 'Evolutionary thanatology: impacts of the dead on the living in humans and other animals'.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Swift K, JM Marzluff (2018)

Occurrence and variability of tactile interactions between wild American crows and dead conspecifics.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 373(1754):.

Observations of some mammals and birds touching their dead provoke questions about the motivation and adaptive value of this potentially risky behaviour. Here, we use controlled experiments to determine if tactile interactions are characteristic of wild American crow responses to dead crows, and what the prevalence and nature of tactile interactions suggests about their motivations. In Experiment 1, we test if food or information acquisition motivates contact by presenting crows with taxidermy-prepared dead crows, and two species crows are known to scavenge: dead pigeons and dead squirrels. In Experiment 2, we test if territoriality motivates tactile interactions by presenting crows with taxidermy crows prepared to look either dead or upright and life-like. In Experiment 1, we find that crows are significantly less likely to make contact but more likely to alarm call and recruit other birds in response to dead crows than to dead pigeons and squirrels. In addition, we find that aggressive and sexual encounters with dead crows are seasonally biased. These findings are inconsistent with feeding or information acquisition-based motivation. In Experiment 2, we find that crows rarely dive-bomb and more often alarm call and recruit other crows to dead than to life-like crows, behaviours inconsistent with responses given to live intruders. Consistent with a danger response hypothesis, our results show that alarm calling and neighbour recruitment occur more frequently in response to dead crows than other stimuli, and that touching dead crows is atypical. Occasional contacts, which take a variety of aggressive and sexual forms, may result from an inability to mediate conflicting stimuli.This article is part of the theme issue 'Evolutionary thanatology: impacts of the dead on the living in humans and other animals'.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Reid SNS, Ryu JK, Kim Y, et al (2018)

The Effects of Fermented Laminaria japonica on Short-Term Working Memory and Physical Fitness in the Elderly.

Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018:8109621.

Considering the neuroprotective and antioxidant potential of fermented Laminaria japonica A. (FST), the purpose of the present study is to establish whether FST may be considered a viable, efficacious supplement that can be administered in later life to offset neurodegenerative conditions associated with aging. Forty senior subjects participated in a randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study. Two groups were formed, one FST group (n = 32, 72.35 ± 5.54 yrs) and one placebo (CON) (n = 28, 74.57 ± 5.69 yrs), which received 1.5 g/day of FST for 6 weeks. Subjects were asked to abstain from any regular exercise. In order to analyze short-term memory, a variety of neuropsychological tests were implemented. Body composition, physical fitness evaluations, antioxidant function, and inflammatory markers were also included in the analyses pre- and posttest. We demonstrated that FST significantly improved neuropsychological test scores, including higher scores in the K-MMSE, numerical memory test, Raven test, and iconic memory, compared to the CON group. Shorter test trial times in the 6-minute walk test were observed in the FST group (p<0.001 and p<0.05, trials 1 and 2, respectively). FST also significantly increased antioxidant activity of GPx, GSR, and SOD, reduced the production of TBARS, and lowered 8-oxoDG levels. The present study highlights the potential widespread application of FST in protecting against the degenerative effects of aging on short-term memory and physical function. Neuropsychological evaluation indicates that FST may provide a protective mechanism against cognitive impairment associated with dementia. Neuromuscular integrity and physical function are typically compromised in aging and dementia patients; thus, whether by stimulation of muscle-related growth factors or an increase in serum BDNF, FST supplementation may act to preserve physical function in the elderly. The bioactive constituents of FST such as GABA and fucoidan acting to provide improvements in antioxidant activity following FST supplementation may protect against progressive degeneration purportedly caused by reactive oxygen species.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Isaksson E, Utku Urhan A, A Brodin (2018)

High level of self-control ability in a small passerine bird.

Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, 72(7):118.

Abstract: Cognitively advanced animals are usually assumed to possess better self-control, or ability to decline immediate rewards in favour of delayed ones, than less cognitively advanced animals. It has been claimed that the best predictor of high such ability is absolute brain volume meaning that large-brained animals should perform better than small-brained ones. We tested self-control ability in the great tit, a small passerine. In the common test of this ability, the animal is presented with a transparent cylinder that contains a piece of food. If the animal tries to take the reward through the transparent wall of the cylinder, this is considered an impulsive act and it fails the test. If it moves to an opening and takes the reward this way, it passes the test. The average performance of our great tits was 80%, higher than most animals that have been tested and almost in level with the performance in corvids and apes. This is remarkable considering that the brain volume of a great tit is 3% of that of a raven and 0.1% of that of a chimpanzee.

Significance statement: The transparent cylinder test is the most common way to test the ability of self-control in animals. If an animal understands that it only can take food in the cylinder from the cylinder's opening and controls its impulsivity, it passes the test. A high level of self-control has been demonstrated only in cognitively advanced animals such as apes and corvids. Here, we demonstrate that the great tit, a small song bird that is very good at learning, performs almost in level with chimpanzees and ravens in this test.


RJR Experience and Expertise


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

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

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

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

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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