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19 Nov 2018 at 01:32
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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 19 Nov 2018 at 01:32 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: 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: 2018-11-09

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: 2018-11-08

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: 2018-11-07

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: 2018-11-06

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: 2018-11-06

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: 2018-11-04

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: 2018-11-03

López-Perea JJ, Camarero PR, Sánchez-Barbudo IS, et al (2018)

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

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 244:801-808 pii:S0269-7491(18)32312-1 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-10-25

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

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

Psychopharmacology pii:10.1007/s00213-018-5049-7 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-10-25

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: 2018-10-18

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 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-10-17

Comrie P (1817)

Reports on the Ardent Fever of the West Indies, as Occurring on Board His Majesty's Ships Raven and Niobe, in the Year 1815.

Edinburgh medical and surgical journal, 13(50):165-181.

RevDate: 2018-10-16

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: 2018-10-15

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: 2018-10-13

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: 2018-10-13

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: 2018-10-11

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: 2018-10-04

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: 2018-10-01

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: 2018-09-29

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

Cognitive Predictors of Cortical Thickness in Healthy Aging.

Advances in experimental medicine and biology [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-09-21

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 pii:10.1007/s00244-018-0561-7 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-09-19

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: 2018-09-18

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: 2018-09-15

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 pii:S0269-7491(18)32978-6 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-09-15

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 [Epub ahead of print].

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 h light (150 lux): 12 h 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. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2018-09-14

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: 2018-09-08

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

Multifractal Characterization of Butterfly Wings Scales.

Bulletin of mathematical biology pii:10.1007/s11538-018-0490-7 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-09-06

Seppänen MR (2018)

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

RevDate: 2018-08-28

Tringali A, Bowman R, A Husby (2015)

Selection and inheritance of sexually dimorphic juvenile plumage coloration.

Ecology and evolution, 5(22):5413-5422 pii:ECE31793.

Sexually dimorphic plumage coloration is widespread in birds and is generally thought to be a result of sexual selection for more ornamented males. Although many studies find an association between coloration and fitness related traits, few of these simultaneously examine selection and inheritance. Theory predicts that sex-linked genetic variation can facilitate the evolution of dimorphism, and some empirical work supports this, but we still know very little about the extent of sex linkage of sexually dimorphic traits. We used a longitudinal study on juvenile Florida scrub-jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens) to estimate strength of selection and autosomal and Z-linked heritability of mean brightness, UV chroma, and hue. Although plumage coloration signals dominance in juveniles, there was no indication that plumage coloration was related to whether or not an individual bred or its lifetime reproductive success. While mean brightness and UV chroma are moderately heritable, hue is not. There was no evidence for sex-linked inheritance of any trait with most of the variation explained by maternal effects. The genetic correlation between the sexes was high and not significantly different from unity. These results indicate that evolution of sexual dimorphism in this species is constrained by low sex-linked heritability and high intersexual genetic correlation.

RevDate: 2018-08-24

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 pii:10.1007/s10858-018-0206-1 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-08-23

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 pii:5078344 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-08-22

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 pii:10.1007/s10071-018-1206-y [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-08-21

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 pii:S0027-9684(17)30245-6 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-08-21

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: 2018-08-21

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) [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2018-08-17

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).

Naevoid acanthosis nigricans (AN) or RAVEN (Rounded and Velvety Epidermal Naevus) is a rare entity that manifests at any age at or before puberty and is characterised by hyperchromic, well-demarcated and linear lesion with velvety texture. We describe RAVEN in two unrelated patients and performed sequencing in affected skin tissue from both patients. We identified, a postzygotic FGFR2 p.Ser252Trp (c.755C>G) mutation in patient 1 and a postzygotic FGFR3 p.Arg252Asn (c.755G>A) mutation in patient 2. This is the first report of postzygotic FGFR3 and FGFR2 mutations in RAVEN thus it is a mosaic skin condition associated with receptor tyrosine kinase mutations. Laser CO2 seems to be a successful option for the treatment of naevoid AN. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2018-08-16

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: 2018-08-16

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: 2018-08-16

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: 2018-08-14

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: 2018-08-12

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: 2018-08-08

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: 2018-08-07

Malik A, Dharaiya N, S Espín (2018)

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

Ecotoxicology (London, England) pii:10.1007/s10646-018-1969-6 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-08-07

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 pii:1805123115 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-08-05

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: 2018-08-03

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: 2018-08-01

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

Methods for automated genome-scale metabolic model reconstruction.

Biochemical Society transactions pii:BST20170246 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-07-31

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: 2018-07-27

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: 2018-07-21

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 pii:10.1007/s11695-018-3407-5 [Epub ahead of print].

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: 2018-07-18

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: 2018-07-20

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: 2018-07-24

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: 2018-07-24

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: 2018-07-18

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: 2018-07-18

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.

RevDate: 2018-07-17

Gómez-Olivencia A, Sala N, Núñez-Lahuerta C, et al (2018)

First data of Neandertal bird and carnivore exploitation in the Cantabrian Region (Axlor; Barandiaran excavations; Dima, Biscay, Northern Iberian Peninsula).

Scientific reports, 8(1):10551 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-28377-y.

Neandertals were top predators who basically relied on middle- to large-sized ungulates for dietary purposes, but there is growing evidence that supports their consumption of plants, leporids, tortoises, marine resources, carnivores and birds. The Iberian Peninsula has provided the most abundant record of bird exploitation for meat in Europe, starting in the Middle Pleistocene. However, the bird and carnivore exploitation record was hitherto limited to the Mediterranean area of the Iberian Peninsula. Here we present the first evidence of bird and carnivore exploitation by Neandertals in the Cantabrian region. We have found cut-marks in two golden eagles, one raven, one wolf and one lynx remain from the Mousterian levels of Axlor. The obtaining of meat was likely the primary purpose of the cut-marks on the golden eagle and lynx remains. Corvids, raptors, felids and canids in Axlor could have likely acted as commensals of the Neandertals, scavenging upon the carcasses left behind by these hunter-gatherers. This could have brought them closer to Neandertal groups who could have preyed upon them. These new results provide additional information on their dietary scope and indicate a more complex interaction between Neandertals and their environment.

RevDate: 2018-07-11

Smulders TV (2018)

Smarter through group living?.

Learning & behavior pii:10.3758/s13420-018-0335-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Wild Australian magpies living (or growing up) in larger social groups take fewer trials to solve a battery of four cognitive tests than those living (or growing up) in smaller groups. The tests all draw on a common underlying factor, but is this factor cognitive or motivational?

RevDate: 2018-07-11

Valiente R, Sureda X, Bilal U, et al (2018)

Regulating the local availability of tobacco retailing in Madrid, Spain: a GIS study to evaluate compliance.

Tobacco control pii:tobaccocontrol-2018-054269 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: In Spain, tobacco sales are limited to tobacco-exclusive stores and associated vending machines. A minimum of 150 m between stores is required, unless they exceed a legal sales threshold. Minimum distances to schools are recommended but not defined. We evaluated compliance with these regulations in Madrid, Spain.

METHODS: Information about tobacco-exclusive stores and their sales volume was obtained in 2014. We used geographic information system to identify stores closer than 150 m between them and examine whether they exceeded the sales threshold. We estimated distances between stores and schools, considering different distance intervals (<150 m, 150-300 m and >300 m) and calculations (crow flies and street network). We assessed the association of area-level demographic and socioeconomic characteristics with the distribution of tobacco stores.

RESULTS: 5.3% (34/638) of tobacco stores were within 150 m of each other. Among those, 76% (26/34) did not meet the regulation sales threshold. These stores were in areas with lower proportion of young population (<15 years) and higher proportion of people with university-level education. 75% (476/638) of stores were situated closer than 300 m to schools. No differences were identified in sociodemographic and economic characteristics by the store distance to schools.

CONCLUSION: Most tobacco stores are compliant with the regulations in Spain. However, these regulations are insufficient to reduce tobacco availability. More restrictive regulations are needed to limit the geographic distribution of tobacco retailers, and health criteria should also be considered in the current legislation. The evaluation of the Spanish regulatory model may provide useful insights for other jurisdictions looking to decrease the tobacco retail availability.

RevDate: 2018-07-24

Dickerson KL, Ainge JA, AM Seed (2018)

The Role of Association in Pre-schoolers' Solutions to "Spoon Tests" of Future Planning.

Current biology : CB, 28(14):2309-2313.e2.

Imagining the future is a powerful tool for making plans and solving problems. It is thought to rely on the episodic system which also underpins remembering a specific past event [1-3]. However, the emergence of episodic future thinking over development and evolution is debated [4-9]. One key source of positive evidence in pre-schoolers and animals is the "spoon test" or item choice test [4, 10], in which participants encounter a problem in one context and then a choice of items in another context, one of which is the solution to the problem. A majority of studies report that most children choose the right item by age 4 [10-15, cf.16]. Apes and corvids have also been shown to pass versions of the test [17-19]. However, it has been suggested that a simpler mechanism could be driving choice: the participant simply chooses the item that has been assigned salience or value, without necessarily imagining the future event [16, 20-23]. We developed a new test in which two of the items offered to children were associated with positive outcomes, but only one was still useful. We found that older children (5-, 6-, and 7-year-olds) chose the correct item at above chance levels, but younger children (3- and 4-year-olds) did not. In further tests, 4-year-olds showed an intact memory for the encoding event. We conclude that positive association substantially impacts performance on item choice tests in 4-year-olds and that future planning may have a more protracted developmental trajectory than episodic memory.

RevDate: 2018-07-05

Wójciak P, J Rybakowski (2018)

Clinical picture, pathogenesis and psychometric assessment of negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

Psychiatria polska, 52(2):185-197.

Negative symptoms of schizophrenia constitute a serious diagnostic and therapeutic problem. They substantially account for the impairment of health, social functioning and quality of life whereas treatment is difficult. In this paper the development of the concept of schizophrenia and negative symptoms is presented. The models of positive and negative symptoms, introduced in the 1980's by Timothy Crow and Nancy Andreasen, and William Carpenter's concept of so-called deficit syndrome with the criteria of the division of negative symptoms into the primary and secondary, are discussed. Current views on the pathogenesis of negative symptoms are shown with reference to neuroimaging studies, neurotransmitter alterations, neuropsychological deficits, genetic, immunological and epidemiological studies. A subsection is devoted to the diagnostics tools for negative symptoms. Chronologically, they are divided into scales of the 1st and 2nd generation. The first generation includes: the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS), the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), the Schedule for the Deficit Syndrome (SDS), and the Proxy for Deficit Syndrome. The second generation scales, developed as a result of the recommendation by American experts in 2006, include: the Brief Negative Syndrome Scale (BNSS) and the Clinical Assessment Interview for Negative Symptoms (CAINS), also the self-assessment scales: the Motivation and Pleasure Scale - Self Report (MAP-SR) and the Self-assessment of Negative Symptoms (SNS). The BNSS and the SNS scales, whose Polish versions were elaborated in the Department of Adult Psychiatry of Poznan University of Medical Sciences, are discussed in-depth.

RevDate: 2018-07-02

Chen YM, Huang CC, Hsiao CY, et al (2018)

Ludwigia octovalvis (Jacq.) raven extract supplementation enhances muscle glycogen content and endurance exercise performance in mice.

The Journal of veterinary medical science [Epub ahead of print].

Ludwigia octovalvis extract (LOE) is a widely used traditional Chinese herbal medicine. To date, few studies have demonstrated the effect of LOE supplementation on exercise performance, physical fatigue and biochemical profile. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the potential beneficial effects of LOE extract on fatigue and ergogenic functions following physiological challenge. Male ICR mice from 3 groups (n=8 per group) were orally administered LOE for 4 weeks at 0 (vehicle), 61.5 (LOE-1X) or 307.5 (LOE-5X) mg/kg/day. LOE supplementation was able to dose-dependently increase endurance swimming time (P<0.0001) and decrease levels of serum lactate (P=0.0022), ammonia (P<0.0001), creatine kinase (P<0.0001), blood urea nitrogen (P<0.0001) and glucose utilization (P<0.0001) after acute exercise challenge. The glycogen in gastrocnemius muscle also increased with LOE treatment in a dose-dependent manner (P<0.0001). Biochemically, AST, ALT, LDH, CK, BUN, creatinine and UA levels were decreased with LOE treatment. Our study shows that 4-week supplementation with LOE increases muscle glycogen content storage to enhance exercise performance and anti-fatigue effects.

RevDate: 2018-07-08

Williams BK, FA Johnson (2018)

Value of sample information in dynamic, structurally uncertain resource systems.

PloS one, 13(6):e0199326 pii:PONE-D-18-00242.

Few if any natural resource systems are completely understood and fully observed. Instead, there almost always is uncertainty about the way a system works and its status at any given time, which can limit effective management. A natural approach to uncertainty is to allocate time and effort to the collection of additional data, on the reasonable assumption that more information will facilitate better understanding and lead to better management. But the collection of more data, either through observation or investigation, requires time and effort that often can be put to other conservation activities. An important question is whether the use of limited resources to improve understanding is justified by the resulting potential for improved management. In this paper we address directly a change in value from new information collected through investigation. We frame the value of information in terms of learning through the management process itself, as well as learning through investigations that are external to the management process but add to our base of understanding. We provide a conceptual framework and metrics for this issue, and illustrate them with examples involving Florida scrub-jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens).

RevDate: 2018-07-25

Hirst RB, Conaboy C, Vaughn D, et al (2018)

The "Jay-Dar" Phenomenon: Individuals Discriminate Cannabis Users from Nonusers Based Upon a Photograph.

Substance use & misuse, 53(14):2359-2367.

OBJECTIVE: With increasing legalization of medicinal and recreational cannabis, use is on the rise. Research suggests individuals may be able to guess cannabis user status based upon appearance; however, these findings utilized a small sample of photographs that was not balanced on user status or gender. Further, no studies examined whether raters with cannabis experience are better at judging others' cannabis use, or what physical features they use to make these judgments. This study explored these factors using a larger, balanced photograph database.

METHOD: An American sample (n = 249, 48.6% female, mean age = 35.19 years) rated 36 photographs (18 cannabis users, 18 nonusers) balanced on gender and age on the likelihood that the photographed individuals use cannabis, producing 8964 ratings. Respondents also reported physical features considered in their ratings, as well as their own cannabis use history.

RESULTS: As hypothesized, photographs of users received higher ratings on the Marijuana Use Likelihood Index relative to nonusers. Further, results revealed a gender by rater user status interaction, indicating that raters with no previous cannabis experience rated males higher than females, while raters with cannabis experience did not demonstrate this rating discrepancy. Cannabis use explained over 9% of the variance in ratings across all photographs.

CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest individuals do rate cannabis users as more likely to be users, relative to nonusers, based upon appearance alone. These findings have important implications, not only for research on chronic cannabis use effects, but also for social and achievement factors such as potential stigma.

RevDate: 2018-07-08

Jelbert SA, Hosking RJ, Taylor AH, et al (2018)

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

Scientific reports, 8(1):8956 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-27405-1.

Cumulative cultural evolution occurs when social traditions accumulate improvements over time. In humans cumulative cultural evolution is thought to depend on a unique suite of cognitive abilities, including teaching, language and imitation. Tool-making New Caledonian crows show some hallmarks of cumulative culture; but this claim is contentious, in part because these birds do not appear to imitate. One alternative hypothesis is that crows' tool designs could be culturally transmitted through a process of mental template matching. That is, individuals could use or observe conspecifics' tools, form a mental template of a particular tool design, and then reproduce this in their own manufacture - a process analogous to birdsong learning. Here, we provide the first evidence supporting this hypothesis, by demonstrating that New Caledonian crows have the cognitive capacity for mental template matching. Using a novel manufacture paradigm, crows were first trained to drop paper into a vending machine to retrieve rewards. They later learnt that only items of a particular size (large or small templates) were rewarded. At test, despite being rewarded at random, and with no physical templates present, crows manufactured items that were more similar in size to previously rewarded, than unrewarded, templates. Our results provide the first evidence that this cognitive ability may underpin the transmission of New Caledonian crows' natural tool designs.

RevDate: 2018-06-21

Hampton R (2018)

Parallel overinterpretation of behavior of apes and corvids.

Learning & behavior pii:10.3758/s13420-018-0330-5 [Epub ahead of print].

The report by Kabadayi and Osvath (Science, 357(6347), 202-204, 2017) does not demonstrate planning in ravens. The behavior of corvids and apes is fascinating and will be best appreciated through well-designed experiments that explicitly test alternative explanations and that are interpreted without unjustified anthropomorphic embellishment.

RevDate: 2018-06-19

Komar N, Panella NA, Golnar AJ, et al (2018)

Forage Ratio Analysis of the Southern House Mosquito in College Station, Texas.

Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.) [Epub ahead of print].

Culex quinquefasciatus is the principal vector of West Nile virus (WNV) in the South Central United States, yet limited data on host utilization are available. We evaluated host utilization over a 3-month period in 2013 in a residential landscape in College Station, Texas. PCR sequencing of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase 1 gene permitted molecular identification of vertebrate bloodmeals to the species level. Forage ratio analysis identified bird species that were overutilized and underutilized by comparing community feeding index values to expected relative abundance values of bird species, derived from eBird data. Community feeding index values were also used in conjunction with reservoir competence data from the literature to generate reservoir capacity index values, a means of identifying relative importance of vertebrate reservoir hosts. Of 498 blood-engorged Cx. quinquefasciatus, 313 (62.9%) were identified to vertebrate species. The majority (95.5%) of bloodmeals originated from avian species with the remainder from mammals, but not humans. Northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) was the principal host for mosquito feeding in June and July, but northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) became primary host in August. Forage ratio analysis revealed the overutilization of house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus), American robin (Turdus migratorius), northern mockingbird, northern cardinal, white-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica), and mourning dove (Zenaida macroura). Great-tailed grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus), blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata), and Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) were under-utilized relative to availability. Reservoir capacity calculations suggested that northern mockingbird and northern cardinal were the principal amplifiers in the study area. These data identify the primary avian species contributing to the enzootic amplification of WNV in East-Central Texas and reveal that the heavy feeding on moderately competent hosts and no feeding on humans likely limit epidemics in this region.

RevDate: 2018-06-15

Kruse T, Zachariah T, R McManamon (2018)

T-cell Thymic Lymphoma With Proventricular Metastasis in a Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens).

Journal of avian medicine and surgery, 32(2):128-132.

An adult, wild-caught, female Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) was evaluated because of an observable mass on the ventral neck. Initial physical examination and diagnostic tests were performed, which revealed a subcutaneous mass. Surgical removal of the mass was attempted, but the bird died during surgery. Results of necropsy and histopathologic evaluation identified the mass as thymic lymphoma with proventricular metastasis. Immunohistochemical staining revealed strong cytoplasmic immunoreactivity for CD3 in the thymic mass and within the predominant lymphoid population in the serosal proventricular masses, which confirmed metastasis of T-cell lymphoma. To our knowledge, this is the first report of T-cell thymic lymphoma in a wild Florida scrub jay.

RevDate: 2018-06-12

Hassan MM, Hoque MA, Ujvari B, et al (2018)

Live bird markets in Bangladesh as a potentially important source for Avian Influenza Virus transmission.

Preventive veterinary medicine, 156:22-27.

Live bird markets (LBM) are important for trading poultry in many developing countries where they are being considered hotspots of Avian Influenza Virus (AIV) prevalence and contamination. An active surveillance for Avian Influenza Virus (AIV) was conducted on four species of LBM birds (chickens, ducks, quails and pigeons) from 10 of the largest LBM in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and two species of peri-domestic wild birds (house crow and Asian pied starling) in their direct vicinity from November 2012 until September 2016. Our aim was to identify the scale and annual pattern of AIV circulation in both the LBM birds and the two per-domestic wild bird species living in close proximity of the LBM. In the latter two species, the annual pattern in AIV antibody prevalence was additionally investigated. A total of 4770 LBM birds and 1119 peri-domestic wild birds were sampled. We used rt-PCR for detection of the AIV M-gene and AIV subtypes H5, H7 and H9 from swab samples. We used c-ELISA for AIV antibody detection from serum samples of peri-domestic wild birds. Average AIV prevalence among the four LBM species varied between 16 and 28%, whereas no AIV was detected in peri-domestic wild birds by rt-PCR. In all LBM species we found significantly higher AIV prevalence in winter compared to summer. A similar pattern was found in AIV antibody prevalence in peri-domestic wild birds feeding in the direct vicinity of LBM. For the subtypes of AIV investigated, we found a significantly higher proportion of AIV H5 in LBM chickens and H9 in LBM ducks. No H7 was detected in any of the investigated samples. We conclude that AIV and notably AIV H5 and H9 were circulating in the investigated LBM of Bangladesh with clear seasonality that matched the prevalence of AIV antibodies of peri-domestic wild birds. These patterns show great resemblance to the annual outbreak patterns in Bangladeshi poultry industry. Our data suggest considerable exchange of AIV within and among the four LBM bird species and peri-domestic wild birds, which likely contributes to the maintenance of the AIV problems in Bangladesh. Increasing biosecurity and notably reducing the direct and indirect mixing of various domestic bird species and peri-domestic wild birds and developing all-in-all-out selling systems with regular use of disinfectant are likely to reduce the risk of transmission and spread of AIV, including HPAI.

RevDate: 2018-06-10

Singh UA, Kumari M, S Iyengar (2018)

Method for improving the quality of genomic DNA obtained from minute quantities of tissue and blood samples using Chelex 100 resin.

Biological procedures online, 20:12 pii:77.

Background: Although genomic DNA isolation using the Chelex 100 resin is rapid and inexpensive, the DNA obtained by this method has a low concentration in solution and contains suspended impurities. The presence of debris in the DNA solution may result in degradation of DNA on long term storage and inhibition of the polymerase chain reaction. In order to remove impurities and concentrate the DNA in solution, we have introduced modifications in the existing DNA isolation protocol using Chelex-100. We used ammonium acetate to precipitate proteins and a sodium acetate- isopropanol mixture to pellet out DNA which was washed with ethanol.

Results: A pure DNA pellet that can be dissolved in water or Tris-EDTA buffer and stored for a long time at - 80 °C was obtained. We also observed a 20-fold change in the DNA concentration following precipitation and re-dissolution.

Conclusion: Our method is different from other extraction methods since it uses non-toxic, easily available and inexpensive reagents as well as minimal amounts of blood or tissue samples for the DNA extraction process. Besides its use in sex determination and genotyping in lab animals as described in this paper, it may also have applications in forensic science and diagnostics such as the easy detection of pathogenic DNA in blood.

RevDate: 2018-07-27

Szipl G, Ringler E, T Bugnyar (2018)

Attacked ravens flexibly adjust signalling behaviour according to audience composition.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1880):.

A fundamental attribute of social intelligence is the ability to monitor third-party relationships, which has been repeatedly demonstrated in primates, and recently also in captive ravens. It is yet unknown how ravens make use of this ability when dealing with different types of social relationships simultaneously during complex real-life situations. Free-ranging non-breeder ravens live in societies characterized by high fission-fusion dynamics and structured by age, pair-bond status and kinship. Here, we show that free-ranging ravens modify communication during conflicts according to audience composition. When being attacked by dominant conspecifics, victims of aggression signal their distress via defensive calls. Victims increased call rates when their kin were in the bystander audience, but reduced call rates when the bystanders were bonding partners of their aggressors. Hence, ravens use social knowledge flexibly and probably based on their own need (i.e. alert nearby allies and avoid alerting nearby rivals).

RevDate: 2018-06-11

Zeeh F, Klausmann S, Masserey Y, et al (2018)

Isolation of Brachyspira hyodysenteriae from a crow (Corvus corone) in close proximity to commercial pigs.

Veterinary journal (London, England : 1997), 236:111-112.

The aim of this study was to determine whether crows (Corvus corone) can harbour Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, the cause of swine dysentery, and whether the organism carried by crows is related to strains infecting pigs. B. hyodysenteriae was isolated from one crow in close proximity to two pig farms in Switzerland. This isolate, along with five isolates of B. hyodysenteriae from one of the farms, belonged to sequence type (ST) 66 using multilocus sequence typing. This finding suggests that crows are potential vectors of B. hyodysenteriae, but further studies will be necessary to clarify the role of crows in the epidemiology of this organism.

RevDate: 2018-07-13

Oravcová V, Peixe L, Coque TM, et al (2018)

Wild corvid birds colonized with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium of human origin harbor epidemic vanA plasmids.

Environment international, 118:125-133.

The most prevalent type of acquired vancomycin resistance in Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) is encoded by the vanA transposon Tn1546, mainly located on transferable plasmids. vanA plasmids have been characterized in VREfm from a variety of sources but not wild birds. The aim of this study was to analyse the genetic context of VREfm strains recovered from wild corvid birds and to compare their plasmid and strain characteristics with human strains. To achieve that, 75 VREfm isolates, including strains from wild birds recovered during wide surveillance studies performed in Europe, Canada and the United States (2010-2013), and clinical and wastewater strains from Czech Republic, a region lacking data about vanA plasmids, were analysed. Their population structure, presence of major putative virulence markers and characterization of vanA transposons and plasmids were established. VREfm from wild birds were mainly associated with major human lineages (ST18 and ST78) circulating in hospitals worldwide and were enriched in putative virulence markers that are highly associated with clinical E. faecium from human infections. They also carried plasmids of the same families usually found in the clinical setting [RCR, small theta plasmids, RepA_N (pRUM/pLG1) and Inc18]. The clinically widespread IS1251-carrying Tn1546 type "F" was predominant and Tn1546-vanA was mainly located on pRUM/Axe-Txe (USA) and Inc18- or pLG1-like (Europe) plasmids. VREfm from hospitals and wastewaters carried Tn1546-vanA in different plasmid types including mosaic pRUM-Inc18 plasmids, not identified in wild birds. This is the first characterization of vanA plasmids obtained from wild birds. A similar plasmid pool seems to exist in different clonal E. faecium backgrounds of humans and wild birds. The isolation of VREfm strains from wild birds that belong to human E. faecium adapted lineages and carry virulence genes, Tn1546 and plasmid variants widespread in the clinical setting is of concern and highlight their role as potential drivers of the global dissemination of vancomycin resistance.

RevDate: 2018-06-08

Forti LR, Foratto RM, Márquez R, et al (2018)

Current knowledge on bioacoustics of the subfamily Lophyohylinae (Hylidae, Anura) and description of Ocellated treefrog Itapotihyla langsdorffii vocalizations.

PeerJ, 6:e4813 pii:4813.

Background: Anuran vocalizations, such as advertisement and release calls, are informative for taxonomy because species recognition can be based on those signals. Thus, a proper acoustic description of the calls may support taxonomic decisions and may contribute to knowledge about amphibian phylogeny.

Methods: Here we present a perspective on advertisement call descriptions of the frog subfamily Lophyohylinae, through a literature review and a spatial analysis presenting bioacoustic coldspots (sites with high diversity of species lacking advertisement call descriptions) for this taxonomic group. Additionally, we describe the advertisement and release calls of the still poorly known treefrog, Itapotihyla langsdorffii. We analyzed recordings of six males using the software Raven Pro 1.4 and calculated the coefficient of variation for classifying static and dynamic acoustic properties.

Results and Discussion: We found that more than half of the species within the subfamily do not have their vocalizations described yet. Most of these species are distributed in the western and northern Amazon, where recording sampling effort should be strengthened in order to fill these gaps. The advertisement call of I. langsdorffii is composed of 3-18 short unpulsed notes (mean of 13 ms long), presents harmonic structure, and has a peak dominant frequency of about 1.4 kHz. This call usually presents amplitude modulation, with decreasing intensity along the sequence of notes. The release call is a simple unpulsed note with an average duration of 9 ms, and peak dominant frequency around 1.8 kHz. Temporal properties presented higher variations than spectral properties at both intra- and inter-individual levels. However, only peak dominant frequency was static at intra-individual level. High variability in temporal properties and lower variations related to spectral ones is usual for anurans; The first set of variables is determined by social environment or temperature, while the second is usually related to species-recognition process. Here we review and expand the acoustic knowledge of the subfamily Lophyohylinae, highlighting areas and species for future research.

RevDate: 2018-06-03

Kutilova I, Janecko N, Cejkova D, et al (2018)

Characterization of blaKPC-3-positive plasmids from an Enterobacter aerogenes isolated from a corvid in Canada.

The Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy pii:5026317 [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2018-06-03

Klein HU, Zareba W, V Kutyifa (2018)

Arthur Jay Moss MD PhD: The cardiology world has again lost one of its most respected and worldwide-honoured scholars and experienced clinician. Born 21 June 1931, Professor of Medicine and Cardiology at Rochester University Medical Center, Rochester, NY, Arthur passed away on 14 February 2018 at the age of 86.

European heart journal, 39(21):1872-1874.

RevDate: 2018-07-15

Zrzavá M, Hladová I, Dalíková M, et al (2018)

Sex Chromosomes of the Iconic Moth Abraxas grossulariata (Lepidoptera, Geometridae) and Its Congener A. sylvata.

Genes, 9(6): pii:genes9060279.

The magpie moth, Abraxas grossulariata, is an iconic species in which female heterogamety was discovered at the beginning of the 20th century. However, the sex chromosomes of this species have not yet been cytologically identified. We describe the sex chromosomes of A. grossulariata and its congener, A. sylvata. Although these species split only around 9.5 million years ago, and both species have the expected WZ/ZZ chromosomal system of sex determination and their sex chromosomes share the major ribosomal DNA (rDNA) representing the nucleolar organizer region (NOR), we found major differences between their karyotypes, including between their sex chromosomes. The species differ in chromosome number, which is 2n = 56 in A. grossularita and 2n = 58 in A. sylvata. In addition, A. grossularita autosomes exhibit massive autosomal blocks of heterochromatin, which is a very rare phenomenon in Lepidoptera, whereas the autosomes of A. sylvata are completely devoid of distinct heterochromatin. Their W chromosomes differ greatly. Although they are largely composed of female-specific DNA sequences, as shown by comparative genomic hybridization, cross-species W-chromosome painting revealed considerable sequence differences between them. The results suggest a relatively rapid molecular divergence of Abraxas W chromosomes by the independent spreading of female-specific repetitive sequences.

RevDate: 2018-05-25

Paulson S, Lombard J, Pigliucci M, et al (2018)

The power of meaning: the quest for an existential roadmap.

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences [Epub ahead of print].

Where can we turn to find the story of our lives-an existential roadmap that explains where we have come from, why we are here, and where we are headed? Must each of us discover meaning within the context of our individual lives, or are there universal sources of meaning that we can all access? Is there any relationship between living a meaningful life and the quality of our health and well-being? And how can we find meaning in the face of adversity and suffering? Neurologist Jay Lombard, philosophers Massimo Pigliucci and Michael Ruse, and author Emily Esfahani Smith shed light on these perennial questions in conversation with Steve Paulson, executive producer and host of To the Best of Our Knowledge.

RevDate: 2018-06-12
CmpDate: 2018-06-12

Tang S, Sun Z, Wu X, et al (2018)

An innovative thread-lift technique for facial rejuvenation and complication management: A case report.

Medicine, 97(21):e10547.

RATIONALE: Aging of face is an unavoidable process. Traditional procedures for facial rejuvenation have multiple disadvantages. In this case report, we used an innovative technique combining thread lift with small incision rhytidectomy for facial rejuvenation. Management for complication was also reported.

PATIENT CONCERNS: We presented a 52-year-old male with facial ptosis and wrinkles.

DIAGNOSES: The patient was diagnosed as facial aging including skin laxity, mid-face and mandibular jowl ptosis, static crows-feet wrinkles, and deepening nasolabial fold.

INTERVENTIONS: We used an innovative technique combining thread lift with small incision rhytidectomy to treat facial aging.

OUTCOMES: Improvements of the crow's feet, nasolabial fold, mid-face and lower face ptosis were observed. Complication of subcutaneous nodule was corrected with cosmetic effect of thread lift remained.

LESSONS: The innovative technique combining thread lift with small incision rhytidectomy is a good alternative for the treatment of facial aging.

RevDate: 2018-05-25

Tolnay SE, Beck EM, V Sass (2018)

Migration and protest in the Jim Crow South.

Social science research, 73:13-30.

The Great Migration and the Civil Rights Movement were two pivotal events experienced by the southern African American population during the 20th Century. Each has received considerable attention by social scientists and historians, and a possible connection between the two phenomena has been speculated. However, no systematic investigation of the effect of migration on protest during the Jim Crow era has been conducted. In this study we use data for 333 southern communities to examine the relationship between youthful black migration between 1950 and 1960 and the occurrence of sit-ins early in 1960. We find a strong positive, non-linear, relationship between net-migration and the likelihood of a sit-in which can be explained by two sets of mediating influences: local demographic conditions and local organizational presence. Our findings offer strong empirical support for an association between southern black migration and protest during Jim Crow and suggest the value of considering the influence of demographic forces on collective action.

RevDate: 2018-05-23

Roos S, Smart J, Gibbons DW, et al (2018)

A review of predation as a limiting factor for bird populations in mesopredator-rich landscapes: a case study of the UK.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society [Epub ahead of print].

The impact of increasing vertebrate predator numbers on bird populations is widely debated among the general public, game managers and conservationists across Europe. However, there are few systematic reviews of whether predation limits the population sizes of European bird species. Views on the impacts of predation are particularly polarised in the UK, probably because the UK has a globally exceptional culture of intensive, high-yield gamebird management where predator removal is the norm. In addition, most apex predators have been exterminated or much depleted in numbers, contributing to a widely held perception that the UK has high numbers of mesopredators. This has resulted in many high-quality studies of mesopredator impacts over several decades. Here we present results from a systematic review of predator trends and abundance, and assess whether predation limits the population sizes of 90 bird species in the UK. Our results confirm that the generalist predators Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) and Crows (Corvus corone and C. cornix) occur at high densities in the UK compared with other European countries. In addition, some avian and mammalian predators have increased numerically in the UK during recent decades. Despite these high and increasing densities of predators, we found little evidence that predation limits populations of pigeons, woodpeckers and passerines, whereas evidence suggests that ground-nesting seabirds, waders and gamebirds can be limited by predation. Using life-history characteristics of prey species, we found that mainly long-lived species with high adult survival and late onset of breeding were limited by predation. Single-brooded species were also more likely to be limited by predation than multi-brooded species. Predators that depredate prey species during all life stages (i.e. from nest to adult stages) limited prey numbers more than predators that depredated only specific life stages (e.g. solely during the nest phase). The Red Fox and non-native mammals (e.g. the American Mink Neovison vison) were frequently identified as numerically limiting their prey species. Our review has identified predator-prey interactions that are particularly likely to result in population declines of prey species. In the short term, traditional predator-management techniques (e.g. lethal control or fencing to reduce predation by a small number of predator species) could be used to protect these vulnerable species. However, as these techniques are costly and time-consuming, we advocate that future research should identify land-use practices and landscape configurations that would reduce predator numbers and predation rates.

RevDate: 2018-06-17

Stow MK, Vernouillet A, DM Kelly (2018)

Neophobia does not account for motoric self-regulation performance as measured during the detour-reaching cylinder task.

Animal cognition, 21(4):565-574.

The ability to restrain a prepotent response in favor of a more adaptive behavior, or to exert inhibitory control, has been used as a measure of a species' cognitive abilities. Inhibitory control defines a spectrum of behaviors varying in complexity, ranging from self-control to motoric self-regulation. Several factors underlying inhibitory control have been identified, however, the influence of neophobia (i.e., aversion to novelty) on inhibitory control has not received much attention. Neophobia is known to affect complex cognitive abilities, but whether neophobia also influences more basic cognitive abilities, such as motoric self-regulation, has received less attention. Further, it remains unclear whether an individual's response to novelty is consistent across different paradigms purported to assess neophobia. We tested two North American corvid species, black-billed magpies (Pica hudsonia) and California scrub jays (Aphelocoma californica) using two well-established neophobia paradigms to assess response stability between contexts. We then evaluated neophobia scores against the number of trials needed to learn a motoric self-regulation task, as well as subsequent task performance. Neophobia scores did not correlate across paradigms, nor did the responses during either paradigm account for motoric self-regulation performance.

RevDate: 2018-07-29
CmpDate: 2018-07-23

Lau SKP, Wong EYM, Tsang CC, et al (2018)

Discovery and Sequence Analysis of Four Deltacoronaviruses from Birds in the Middle East Reveal Interspecies Jumping with Recombination as a Potential Mechanism for Avian-to-Avian and Avian-to-Mammalian Transmission.

Journal of virology, 92(15): pii:JVI.00265-18.

The emergence of Middle East respiratory syndrome showed once again that coronaviruses (CoVs) in animals are potential source for epidemics in humans. To explore the diversity of deltacoronaviruses in animals in the Middle East, we tested fecal samples from 1,356 mammals and birds in Dubai, The United Arab Emirates. Four novel deltacoronaviruses were detected from eight birds of four species by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR): FalCoV UAE-HKU27 from a falcon, HouCoV UAE-HKU28 from a houbara bustard, PiCoV UAE-HKU29 from a pigeon, and QuaCoV UAE-HKU30 from five quails. Complete genome sequencing showed that FalCoV UAE-HKU27, HouCoV UAE-HKU28, and PiCoV UAE-HKU29 belong to the same CoV species, suggesting recent interspecies transmission between falcons and their prey, houbara bustards and pigeons, possibly along the food chain. Western blotting detected specific anti-FalCoV UAE-HKU27 antibodies in 33 (75%) of 44 falcon serum samples, supporting genuine infection in falcons after virus acquisition. QuaCoV UAE-HKU30 belongs to the same CoV species as porcine coronavirus HKU15 (PorCoV HKU15) and sparrow coronavirus HKU17 (SpCoV HKU17), discovered previously from swine and tree sparrows, respectively, supporting avian-to-swine transmission. Recombination involving the spike protein is common among deltacoronaviruses, which may facilitate cross-species transmission. FalCoV UAE-HKU27, HouCoV UAE-HKU28, and PiCoV UAE-HKU29 originated from recombination between white-eye coronavirus HKU16 (WECoV HKU16) and magpie robin coronavirus HKU18 (MRCoV HKU18), QuaCoV UAE-HKU30 from recombination between PorCoV HKU15/SpCoV HKU17 and munia coronavirus HKU13 (MunCoV HKU13), and PorCoV HKU15 from recombination between SpCoV HKU17 and bulbul coronavirus HKU11 (BuCoV HKU11). Birds in the Middle East are hosts for diverse deltacoronaviruses with potential for interspecies transmission.IMPORTANCE During an attempt to explore the diversity of deltacoronaviruses among mammals and birds in Dubai, four novel deltacoronaviruses were detected in fecal samples from eight birds of four different species: FalCoV UAE-HKU27 from a falcon, HouCoV UAE-HKU28 from a houbara bustard, PiCoV UAE-HKU29 from a pigeon, and QuaCoV UAE-HKU30 from five quails. Genome analysis revealed evidence of recent interspecies transmission between falcons and their prey, houbara bustards and pigeons, possibly along the food chain, as well as avian-to-swine transmission. Recombination, which is known to occur frequently in some coronaviruses, was also common among these deltacoronaviruses and occurred predominantly at the spike region. Such recombination, involving the receptor binding protein, may contribute to the emergence of new viruses capable of infecting new hosts. Birds in the Middle East are hosts for diverse deltacoronaviruses with potential for interspecies transmission.

RevDate: 2018-05-16

Fronzetti Colladon A, F Grippa (2018)

The Importance of Being Honest: Correlating Self-Report Accuracy and Network Centrality with Academic Performance.

The Journal of psychology, 152(5):304-324.

This study investigates the correlation of self-report accuracy with academic performance. The sample was composed of 289 undergraduate students (96 senior and 193 junior) enrolled in two engineering classes. Age ranged between 22 and 24 years, with a slight over representation of male students (53%). Academic performance was calculated based on students' final grades in each class. The tendency to report inaccurate information was measured at the end of the Raven Progressive Matrices Test, by asking students to report their exact finishing times. We controlled for gender, age, personality traits, intelligence, and past academic performance. We also included measures of centrality in their friendship, advice and trust networks. Correlation and multiple regression analyses results indicate that lower achieving students were significantly less accurate in self-reporting data. We also found that being more central in the advice network was correlated with higher performance (r = .20, p < .001). The results are aligned with existing literature emphasizing the individual and relational factors associated with academic performance and, pending future studies, may be utilized to include a new metric of self-report accuracy that is not dependent on academic records.


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