Publications by authors named "Andrew Smith"

2,130 Publications

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Effects of Cardiotoxins on Cardiac Stem and Progenitor Cell Populations.

Authors:
Andrew J Smith

Front Cardiovasc Med 2021 27;8:624028. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Faculty of Biological Sciences, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.

As research and understanding of the cardiotoxic side-effects of anticancer therapy expands further and the affected patient population grows, notably the long-term survivors of childhood cancers, it is important to consider the full range of myocardial cell types affected. While the direct impacts of these toxins on cardiac myocytes constitute the most immediate damage, over the longer term, the myocardial ability to repair, or adapt to this damage becomes an ever greater component of the disease phenotype. One aspect is the potential for endogenous myocardial repair and renewal and how this may be limited by cardiotoxins depleting the cells that contribute to these processes. Clear evidence exists of new cardiomyocyte formation in adult human myocardium, along with the identification in the myocardium of endogenous stem/progenitor cell populations with pro-regenerative properties. Any effects of cardiotoxins on either of these processes will worsen long-term prognosis. While the role of cardiac stem/progenitor cells in cardiomyocyte renewal appears at best limited (although with stronger evidence of this process in response to diffuse cardiomyocyte loss), there are strong indications of a pro-regenerative function through the support of injured cell survival. A number of recent studies have identified detrimental impacts of anticancer therapies on cardiac stem/progenitor cells, with negative effects seen from both long-established chemotherapy agents such as, doxorubicin and from newer, less overtly cardiotoxic agents such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Damaging impacts are seen both directly, on cell numbers and viability, but also on these cells' ability to maintain the myocardium through generation of pro-survival secretome and differentiated cells. We here present a review of the identified impacts of cardiotoxins on cardiac stem and progenitor cells, considered in the context of the likely role played by these cells in the maintenance of myocardial tissue homeostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2021.624028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8110700PMC
April 2021

Whole School SEND (WSS) Review: study protocol for a two-arm pragmatic parallel cluster randomised controlled trial in 160 English secondary schools.

Trials 2021 May 10;22(1):333. Epub 2021 May 10.

Policy Evaluation and Research Unit, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK.

Background: The trial will study the effects of the Whole School SEND Review on secondary school pupils in English mainstream education, to understand the impact of the intervention on academic attainment, wellbeing, and school attendance. The Review is designed to facilitate whole-school change through providing enhanced, intensive and sustained support and training in inclusive education for school special educational needs coordinators and leadership teams. The trial will have a specific focus on pupils designated as having special educational needs or disabilities.

Methods: We recruited 160 English secondary schools (approx. 58,000 pupils across two cohorts) to a two-arm pragmatic parallel cluster randomised controlled trial, with allocation at the school level. Randomisation will be stratified by school region. The primary outcome is attainment in English language (using standardised national test results at 16 years) for pupils designated as having a special educational need (approx. 4000 pupils). Secondary outcomes will be measured for pupils both with and without a special educational need designation and include pupil wellbeing (measured using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire), absences and exclusions, and attainment in Mathematics and English language at 16 years. The intervention will be implemented from July 2021 and analysis of outcomes (for the year 9 cohort) will take place in September 2023, with further analysis (for the year 8 cohort) in September 2024 if the evaluation shows that acceptable implementation fidelity has been achieved.

Discussion: Pupils with special educational needs represent a significant and often vulnerable part of the secondary school population, are disproportionately likely to be excluded from school, eligible for free school meals, or supported by children's social care. Despite these multiple important areas of need, school leaders report substantial challenges in making additional provision for this group. Previous research has highlighted the development of inclusive school cultures (rather focusing primarily on targeted individualised approaches) as being important. This trial will investigate how an intervention designed to drive whole school change may lead to outcomes for pupils with and without a special educational needs designation. As such, this trial is expected to make an important contribution to research evidence and to UK educational policy.

Trial Registration: ISRCTN registry ISRCTN11339306 . Registered on 12 March 2020 (retrospectively registered).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-021-05280-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8107406PMC
May 2021

ACR Appropriateness Criteria® Renal Failure.

J Am Coll Radiol 2021 May;18(5S):S174-S188

Specialty Chair, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, Chair, ACR Appropriateness Committee.

Renal failure can be divided into acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease. Both are common and result in increased patient morbidity and mortality. The etiology is multifactorial and differentiation of acute kidney injury from chronic kidney disease includes clinical evaluation, laboratory tests, and imaging. The main role of imaging is to detect treatable causes of renal failure such as ureteral obstruction or renovascular disease and to evaluate renal size and morphology. Ultrasound is the modality of choice for initial imaging, with duplex Doppler reserved for suspected renal artery stenosis or thrombosis. CT and MRI may be appropriate, particularly for urinary tract obstruction. However, the use of iodinated and gadolinium-based contrast should be evaluated critically depending on specific patient factors and cost-benefit ratio. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed annually by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and revision include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of well-established methodologies (RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances where evidence is lacking or equivocal, expert opinion may supplement the available evidence to recommend imaging or treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacr.2021.02.019DOI Listing
May 2021

Extending synchrotron SAXS instrument ranges through addition of a portable, inexpensive USAXS module with vertical rotation axes.

J Synchrotron Radiat 2021 May 19;28(Pt 3):824-833. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Chemical Sciences, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA.

Ultra-SAXS can enhance the capabilities of existing synchrotron SAXS/WAXS beamlines. A compact ultra-SAXS module has been developed, which extends the measurable q-range with 0.0015 ≤ q (nm) ≤ 0.2, allowing structural dimensions in the range 30 ≤ D (nm) ≤ 4000 to be probed in addition to the range covered by a high-end SAXS/WAXS instrument. By shifting the module components in and out on their respective motor stages, SAXS/WAXS measurements can be easily and rapidly interleaved with USAXS measurements. The use of vertical crystal rotation axes (horizontal diffraction) greatly simplifies the construction, at minimal cost to efficiency. In this paper, the design considerations, realization and synchrotron findings are presented. Measurements of silica spheres, an alumina membrane, and a porous carbon catalyst are provided as application examples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1107/S1600577521003313DOI Listing
May 2021

Direct in-vivo assessment of global and regional mechano-electric feedback in the intact human heart.

Heart Rhythm 2021 Apr 28. Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Barts Heart Centre at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK; University College London, London, UK.

Background: Inhomogeneity of ventricular contraction is associated with sudden cardiac death, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Alterations in cardiac contraction impact electrophysiological parameters through mechano-electric feedback. This has been shown to promote arrhythmias in experimental studies, but its effect in the in-vivo human heart is unclear.

Objective: The aim of this study was to quantify the impact of regional myocardial deformation provoked by a sudden increase in ventricular loading (aortic occlusion) on human cardiac electrophysiology.

Methods: In ten patients undergoing open-heart cardiac surgery, left ventricular (LV) afterload was modified by transient aortic occlusion. Simultaneous assessment of whole-heart electrophysiology and LV deformation was performed using an epicardial sock (240 electrodes) and speckle-tracking transoesophageal echocardiography. Parameters were matched to six AHA LV model segments. The association between changes in regional myocardial segment length and in the activation-recovery interval (ARI, a conventional surrogate for action potential duration) was studied using mixed-effect models.

Results: Increased ventricular loading reduced longitudinal shortening (P=0.01) and shortened the ARI (P=0.02), but changes were heterogeneous between cardiac segments. Increased regional longitudinal shortening was associated with ARI shortening (effect size 0.20, 0.01 - 0.38, ms/% P=0.04) and increased local ARI dispersion (effect size -0.13, -0.23 - -0.03) ms/%, P=0.04). At the whole organ level, increased mechanical dispersion translated into increased dispersion of repolarization (correlation coefficient, r=0.81, P=0.01).

Conclusions: Mechano-electric feedback can establish a potentially pro-arrhythmic substrate in the human heart and should be considered to advance our understanding and prevention of cardiac arrhythmias.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2021.04.026DOI Listing
April 2021

2008 financial crisis versus 2020 economic fallout: how COVID-19 might influence fertility treatment and live births.

Reprod Biomed Online 2021 Mar 23. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

School of Medicine, University of Glasgow, UK; NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre Bristol, UK; The Fertility Partnership, Oxford, UK. Electronic address:

Research Question: The economic and reproductive medicine response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the USA has reduced the affordability and accessibility of fertility care. What is the impact of the 2008 financial recession and the COVID-19 recession on fertility treatments and cumulative live births?

Design: The study examined annual US natality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention IVF cycle activity and live birth data from 1999 to 2018 encompassing 3,286,349 treatment cycles, to estimate the age-stratified reduction in IVF cycles undertaken after the 2008 financial recession, with forward quantitative modelling of IVF cycle activity and cumulative live births for 2020 to 2023.

Results: The financial recession of 2008 caused a 4-year plateau in fertility treatments with a predicted 53,026 (95% confidence interval [CI] 49,581 to 56,471) fewer IVF cycles and 16,872 (95% CI 16,713 to 17,031) fewer live births. A similar scale of economic recession would cause 67,386 (95% CI 61,686 to 73,086) fewer IVF cycles between 2020 and 2023, with women younger than 35 years overall undertaking 22,504 (95% CI 14,320 to 30,690) fewer cycles, compared with 4445 (95% CI 3144 to 5749) fewer cycles in women over the age of 40 years. This equates to overall 25,143 (95% CI 22,408 to 27,877) fewer predicted live births from IVF, of which only 490 (95% CI 381 to 601) are anticipated to occur in women over the age of 40 years.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 recession could have a profound impact on US IVF live birth rates in young women, further aggravating pre-existing declines in total fertility rates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2021.03.017DOI Listing
March 2021

Inorganic-Ligand Quantum Dots Meet Inorganic-Ligand Semiconductor Nanoplatelets: A Promising Fusion to Construct All-Inorganic Assembly.

Inorg Chem 2021 Apr 30. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200240, People's Republic of China.

By the reaction of inorganic-ligand CdS/Cd quantum dots (QDs) with inorganic-ligand CdSe/CdS/S nanoplatelets (NPLs), semiconductor CdS QDs were fused with CdSe/CdS NPLs to yield all-inorganic assemblies, accompanied by great photoluminescence-enhancement. These all-inorganic assemblies facilitate charge transport between each other and open up interesting prospects with electronic and optoelectronic nanodevices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.inorgchem.1c00880DOI Listing
April 2021

Information Overload, Wellbeing and COVID-19: A Survey in China.

Behav Sci (Basel) 2021 Apr 27;11(5). Epub 2021 Apr 27.

School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AS, UK.

(1) Psychology must play an important role in the prevention and management of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the present study was to examine associations between the perceptions of information overload and wellbeing in China during the initial phase of COVID-19. (2) Methods: The present research involved a cross-sectional online survey, which controlled for established predictors of wellbeing and the perception of general (not COVID-19-specific) information overload. The setting of the research was China, February 2020. A total of 1349 participants completed an online survey, and the results from 1240 members of the general public who stated that they were uninfected are reported here (55.6% female; 49.4% single; age distribution: 17-25 years: 26%; 26-30 years: 24.3%; 31-40 years: 23.9%; 41-50 years: 16.2%; 51 years+: 9.6%; the most frequent occupations were: 21.5% students; 19.5% teachers; 25.9% office workers; 10.8% managers, plus a few in a wide range of jobs). The outcomes were positive wellbeing (positive affect and life satisfaction) and negative wellbeing (stress, negative affect, anxiety and depression). (3) Results: Regressions were carried out, controlling for established predictors of wellbeing (psychological capital, general information overload, positive and negative coping). Spending time getting information about COVID-19 was associated with more positive wellbeing. In contrast, perceptions of COVID-19 information overload and feeling panic due to COVID-19 were associated with more negative wellbeing. (4) Conclusions: These results have implications for the communication of information about COVID-19 to the general public and form the basis for further research on the topic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/bs11050062DOI Listing
April 2021

Intraspecific Variation in Nickel Tolerance and Hyperaccumulation among Serpentine and Limestone Populations of (Brassicaceae: Alysseae) from the Iberian Peninsula.

Plants (Basel) 2021 Apr 19;10(4). Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK.

(Desf.) Jord. & Fourr. (= Desf.) occurs in the Iberian Peninsula and adjacent areas on a variety of soils including both limestone and serpentine (ultramafic) substrates. Populations endemic to serpentine are known to hyperaccumulate nickel, and on account of this remarkable phenotype have, at times, been proposed for recognition as taxonomically distinct subspecies or even species. It remains unclear, however, to what extent variation in nickel hyperaccumulation within this taxon merely reflects differences in the substrate, or whether the different populations show local adaptation to their particular habitats. To help clarify the physiological basis of variation in nickel hyperaccumulation among these populations, 3 serpentine accessions and 3 limestone accessions were cultivated hydroponically under common-garden conditions incorporating a range of Ni concentrations, along with 2 closely related non-accumulator species, L. and L. As a group, serpentine accessions of were able to tolerate Ni concentrations approximately 10-fold higher than limestone accessions, but a continuous spectrum of Ni tolerance was observed among populations, with the least tolerant serpentine accession not being significantly different from the most tolerant limestone accession. Serpentine accessions maintained relatively constant tissue concentrations of Ca, Mg, K, and Fe across the whole range of Ni exposures, whereas in the limestone accessions, these elements fluctuated widely in response to Ni toxicity. Hyperaccumulation of Ni, defined here as foliar Ni concentrations exceeding 1g kg of dry biomass in plants not showing significant growth reduction, occurred in all accessions of , but the higher Ni tolerance of serpentine accessions allowed them to hyperaccumulate more strongly. Of the reference species, responded similarly to the limestone accessions of , whereas displayed by far the lowest degree of Ni tolerance and exhibited low foliar Ni concentrations, which only exceeded 1 g kg in plants showing severe Ni toxicity. The continuous spectrum of physiological responses among these accessions does not lend support to segregation of the serpentine populations of as distinct species. However, the pronounced differences in degrees of Ni tolerance, hyperaccumulation, and elemental homeostasis observed among these accessions under common-garden conditions argues for the existence of population-level adaptation to their local substrates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/plants10040800DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8073652PMC
April 2021

Electrochemical DNA Biosensor That Detects Early Celiac Disease Autoantibodies.

Sensors (Basel) 2021 Apr 10;21(8). Epub 2021 Apr 10.

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, CO 80204, USA.

Although it is estimated that more than one million Americans have celiac disease (CD), it remains challenging to diagnose. CD, an autoimmune and inflammatory response following the ingestion of gluten-containing foods, has symptoms overlapping with other diseases and requires invasive diagnostics. The gold standard for CD diagnosis involves serologic blood tests followed by invasive confirmatory biopsies. Here, we propose a less invasive method using an electrochemical DNA (E-DNA) biosensor for CD-specific autoantibodies (AABs) circulating in blood. In our approach, CD-specific AABs bind a synthetic neoepitope, causing a conformational change in the biosensor, as well as a change in the environment of an attached redox reporter, producing a measurable current reduction. We assessed the biosensor's ability to detect CD-specific patient-derived AABs in physiological buffer as well as buffer supplemented with bovine serum. Our biosensor was able to detect AABs in a dose-dependent manner; increased signal change correlated with increased AAB concentration with an apparent dissociation constant of 0.09 ± 0.03 units/mL of AABs. Furthermore, we found our biosensor to be target-specific, with minimal off-target binding of multiple unrelated biomarkers. Future efforts aimed at increasing sensitivity in complex media may build upon the biosensor design presented here to further improve CD AAB detection and CD diagnostic tools.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s21082671DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8070315PMC
April 2021

Serotype Distribution of Remaining Pneumococcal Meningitis in the Mature PCV10/13 Period: Findings from the PSERENADE Project.

Microorganisms 2021 Apr 1;9(4). Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Department of Clinical Microbiology, Landspitali-The National University Hospital, Hringbraut, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) introduction has reduced pneumococcal meningitis incidence. The Pneumococcal Serotype Replacement and Distribution Estimation (PSERENADE) project described the serotype distribution of remaining pneumococcal meningitis in countries using PCV10/13 for least 5-7 years with primary series uptake above 70%. The distribution was estimated using a multinomial Dirichlet regression model, stratified by PCV product and age. In PCV10-using sites ( = 8; cases = 1141), PCV10 types caused 5% of cases <5 years of age and 15% among ≥5 years; the top serotypes were 19A, 6C, and 3, together causing 42% of cases <5 years and 37% ≥5 years. In PCV13-using sites ( = 32; cases = 4503), PCV13 types caused 14% in <5 and 26% in ≥5 years; 4% and 13%, respectively, were serotype 3. Among the top serotypes are five (15BC, 8, 12F, 10A, and 22F) included in higher-valency PCVs under evaluation. Other top serotypes (24F, 23B, and 23A) are not in any known investigational product. In countries with mature vaccination programs, the proportion of pneumococcal meningitis caused by vaccine-in-use serotypes is lower (≤26% across all ages) than pre-PCV (≥70% in children). Higher-valency PCVs under evaluation target over half of remaining pneumococcal meningitis cases, but questions remain regarding generalizability to the African meningitis belt where additional data are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040738DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8066874PMC
April 2021

Horeau amplification in the sequential acylative kinetic resolution of (±)-1,2-diols and (±)-1,3-diols in flow.

Org Biomol Chem 2021 Apr;19(16):3620-3627

EaStCHEM, School of Chemistry, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9ST, UK.

The sequential acylative kinetic resolution (KR) of C2-symmetric (±)-1,2-syn and (±)-1,3-anti-diols using a packed bed microreactor loaded with the polystyrene-supported isothiourea, HyperBTM, is demonstrated in flow. The sequential KRs of C2-symmetric (±)-1,2-syn and (±)-1,3-anti-diols exploits Horeau amplification, with each composed of two successive KR processes, with each substrate class significantly differing in the relative rate constants for each KR process. Optimisation of the continuous flow set-up for both C2-symmetric (±)-1,2-syn and (±)-1,3-anti-diol substrate classes allowed isolation of reaction products in both high enantiopurity and yield. In addition to the successful KR of C2-symmetric (±)-1,2-syn and (±)-1,3-anti-diols, the application of this process to the more conceptually-complex scenario involving the sequential KR of C1-symmetric (±)-1,3-anti-diols was demonstrated, which involves eight independent rate constants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d1ob00304fDOI Listing
April 2021

The effect of prophylactic antiepileptic medications in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients: A retrospective review.

Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2021 Apr 2;205:106633. Epub 2021 Apr 2.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 North State Street, Jackson, MS 39216, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: The current literary evidence suggests but does not heavily endorse the use of prophylactic antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Literature continues to emerge suggesting not only a lack of efficacy but associated poor outcomes. This study is a retrospective review comparing seizure incidence in aneurysmal subarachnoid patients between those given prophylactic AEDs and those not.

Methods: With IRB approval, a retrospective chart review was performed on all aneurysmal subarachnoid patients from 2012 to 2019 at the University of Mississippi Medical center. Univariate and Multivariate analysis was performed using SAS. Primary outcome was seizure incidence between groups. Factors associated with seizure and poor outcome were also investigated.

Results: 348 patients were identified: 120 in the AED group, and 228 patients in the non-AED group. There was no significant difference in mean age, gender, ethnicity, HH scores, treatment modality, or mean aneurysm size. The AED group had a higher history of prior aneurysmal rupture (6.7% vs. 1.3%, p = 0.01) and associated intracranial hemorrhage (22.5% vs. 10.5%, p = 0.0004). There was no significant difference in seizure incidence between the two groups (8.3% vs. 4.8%, p = 0.24). On multivariate analysis, aneurysm clipping compared to coiling (OR 3.8, p = 0.012) and delayed cerebral ischemia (OR 2.77, p = 0.023) were associated with seizures. DCI (OR 8.34), HH grade, Age (OR 1.07), Seizure (8.34), and AED use (1.7) were significantly associated with poor outcome.

Conclusion: This retrospective review adds to the evidence that prophylactic AED use in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients has not been proven to improve seizure rates and may result in worse patient outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clineuro.2021.106633DOI Listing
April 2021

Does getting defensive get you anywhere?-Seasonal balancing selection, temperature, and parasitoids shape real-world, protective endosymbiont dynamics in the pea aphid.

Mol Ecol 2021 May 20;30(10):2449-2472. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Department of Biology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Facultative, heritable endosymbionts are found at intermediate prevalence within most insect species, playing frequent roles in their hosts' defence against environmental pressures. Focusing on Hamiltonella defensa, a common bacterial endosymbiont of aphids, we tested the hypothesis that such pressures impose seasonal balancing selection, shaping a widespread infection polymorphism. In our studied pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) population, Hamiltonella frequencies ranged from 23.2% to 68.1% across a six-month longitudinal survey. Rapid spikes and declines were often consistent across fields, and we estimated that selection coefficients for Hamiltonella-infected aphids changed sign within this field season. Prior laboratory research suggested antiparasitoid defence as the major Hamiltonella benefit, and costs under parasitoid absence. While a prior field study suggested these forces can sometimes act as counter-weights in a regime of seasonal balancing selection, our present survey showed no significant relationship between parasitoid wasps and Hamiltonella prevalence. Field cage experiments provided some explanation: parasitoids drove modest ~10% boosts to Hamiltonella frequencies that would be hard to detect under less controlled conditions. They also showed that Hamiltonella was not always costly under parasitoid exclusion, contradicting another prediction. Instead, our longitudinal survey - and two overwintering studies - showed temperature to be the strongest predictor of Hamiltonella prevalence. Matching some prior lab discoveries, this suggested that thermally sensitive costs and benefits, unrelated to parasitism, can shape Hamiltonella dynamics. These results add to a growing body of evidence for rapid, seasonal adaptation in multivoltine organisms, suggesting that such adaptation can be mediated through the diverse impacts of heritable bacterial endosymbionts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mec.15906DOI Listing
May 2021

Utilization of ICU Rehabilitation Services in Pediatric Patients With a Prolonged ICU Stay.

Crit Care Med 2021 Apr 16. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN. Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN. Department of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN. Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN.

Objectives: To describe rehabilitation practice patterns among critically ill children with prolonged ICU stays and explore the association between institution-level utilization of rehabilitative services and patient outcomes.

Design: Retrospective cohort study using an administrative database of inpatient clinical and resource utilization data from participating pediatric hospitals in the United States. Center-level utilization of physical therapy and occupational therapy among critically ill patients was used to divide hospitals by quartile into high utilization centers or standard utilization centers.

Setting: Fifty-one pediatric hospitals in the United States.

Patients: Critically ill pediatric patients with prolonged critical illness (defined as an ICU length of stay of at least 7 d) discharged from July 2016 to June 2017.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Measurements And Main Results: Seventeen thousand four hundred seventy encounters met criteria for study inclusion. Of those, 6,040 (35%) were not charged for either physical therapy or occupational therapy services. There was wide variability in center-level utilization of rehabilitative services while in the ICU, ranging from 81% utilization of physical therapy or occupational therapy services among high utilization centers to 46% utilization among centers within the lowest quartile. In univariate analyses, children cared for at an high utilization center were less likely to require discharge to an inpatient rehabilitation facility (1.7% vs 3.5%; p < 0.001) and less likely to incur a new pressure injury (2.2% vs 3.1%; p = 0.001). In multivariable analyses, the direction and magnitude of effects remained similar, although the effect was no longer statistically significant (discharge to inpatient rehabilitation facility: odds ratio, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.18-2.26; pressure injury: odds ratio, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.48-1.24).

Conclusions: Institutional use of rehabilitative services for children with prolonged critical illness varies greatly in the United States. Further research is needed into the potential benefits for patients cared for at centers with high usage of rehabilitation services in the ICU during prolonged critical illness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CCM.0000000000005036DOI Listing
April 2021

Acquired Optic Pits Associated with Laser-assisted Keratomileusis: A Case Series.

J Curr Glaucoma Pract 2020 Sep-Dec;14(3):106-108

Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, Irvine, California, USA; University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, California, USA.

Purpose: To present an association between acquired pits of the optic nerve (APON) and prior laser-assisted keratomileusis (LASIK).

Materials And Methods: A retrospective case series of patients with an optic disc pit on clinical exam and a history of LASIK. Spectralis Optical Coherence Tomography images and Humphrey Visual Fields were reviewed from prior visits. Extended-depth optical coherence tomography was performed of the optic nerve head at subsequent visits after patients were identified.

Results: Seven patients, aged 45-73 years, were identified each with unilateral optic disc pits. Optic disc pits were located inferior in six patients and centrally in one patient. All demonstrated thinning on optical coherence tomography and six patients had corresponding visual field defects. Four patients identified these defects after their LASIK procedure while two patients were unaware of their reproducible visual field defects. All patients were treated with drops initially. One patient underwent laser trabeculoplasty, and three underwent a trabeculectomy after demonstrating progression on maximum tolerated medical therapy.

Conclusion: This series describes a possible association between LASIK and APON. Given the similarity and severity of vision loss associated with the optic nerve pits in these patients after LASIK, increased awareness and caution is suggested while considering LASIK in susceptible individuals.

How To Cite This Article: Smith AK, Bussel I, Ling J, Acquired Optic Pits Associated with Laser-assisted Keratomileusis: A Case Series. J Curr Glaucoma Pract 2020;14(3):106-108.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5005/jp-journals-10078-1284DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8028028PMC
April 2021

A Novel Solution to Concomitant Type Ia/Type IIIa Endoleak Using the Cook Zenith Fenestrated Device and Endologix AFX2.

Vasc Endovascular Surg 2021 Apr 19:15385744211006611. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, University of Virginia Heart and Vascular Center, Charlottesville, VA, USA.

Failing EVAR is typically treated with open explant or conversion to fenestrated endovascular repair. Novel solutions for EVAR salvage may be required in patients unable to tolerate explant or travel to centers with custom-fenestrated capabilities. However, strategies utilizing commercially available devices are often limited by anatomic constraints such as short renal artery to endograft bifurcation length. We present a case of progressive sac expansion due to late, concomitant type Ia and type IIIa endoleaks. The patient was successfully treated by proximal extension into the visceral segment using a Cook Zenith Fenestrated device and graft relining using the Endologix AFX2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/15385744211006611DOI Listing
April 2021

Risk Factors for Perioperative Morbidity in Adults Undergoing Cardiac Surgery at Children's Hospitals.

Ann Thorac Surg 2021 Apr 14. Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.

Background: Increasing numbers of adult with congenital heart disease (ACHD) undergo cardiac surgery in children's hospitals, yet surgical outcomes data are limited. We sought to better understand the impact of preoperative risk factors on postoperative complications and cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) length of stay (LOS).

Methods: Surgical CICU admissions for patients > 18 years in the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium registry (8/2014-1/2019; 34 hospitals) were included. Primary outcomes included prolonged LOS (defined as LOS ≥ 90 percentile) and major complications (cardiac arrest, ECMO, arrhythmia requiring intervention, stroke, renal replacement therapy, infection, and reoperation/reintervention).

Results: A total of 1764 surgical CICU admissions were analyzed. Prolonged LOS was >7 days. Eighteen patients (1.0%) died, of whom 9 (0.5%) died before the LOS cutoff and were excluded from analysis. Of 1755 CICU admissions, 8.8% (n=156) had prolonged LOS and 23.3% (n=413) had >1 major complication. Several variables including STAT 4/5 operation, >3 previous sternotomies, and preoperative renal dysfunction/dialysis were independent risk factors for both prolonged LOS and major complications (p <0.05). Preoperative ventilation was associated with increased odds of prolonged LOS, and preoperative arrhythmia with major complications.

Conclusions: In this analysis of postoperative ACHD care in pediatric CICUs, high complexity operations, >3 previous sternotomies, preoperative arrhythmias, renal dysfunction, and respiratory failure are associated with prolonged LOS and/or major complications. Future quality improvement initiatives focused on preoperative optimization and implementation of adult-specific perioperative protocols may mitigate morbidity in these patients undergoing surgery at children's hospitals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2021.04.002DOI Listing
April 2021

Complete Genome Sequences of Three Invasive Strains of Streptococcus pyogenes Subtype 5.23 Isolated in Scotland.

Microbiol Resour Announc 2021 Apr 15;10(15). Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom.

5.23 is uncommon; however, it has recently been involved in a relatively high proportion of cases of invasive disease in Scotland. Here, we report the complete genome sequences of three 5.23 isolates, which may be used as a reference for investigating the virulence and epidemiology of this strain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MRA.00101-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8050963PMC
April 2021

Assessment of Renal Cell Carcinoma by Texture Analysis in Clinical Practice: A Six-Site, Six-Platform Analysis of Reliability.

AJR Am J Roentgenol 2021 Apr 14. Epub 2021 Apr 14.

NYU Langone Health, Department of Radiology, 660 First Ave, New York, NY 10016.

Multiple commercial and open-source software applications are available for texture analysis. Nonstandard techniques can cause undesirable variability that impedes result reproducibility and limits clinical utility. The purpose of this study is to measure agreement of texture metrics extracted by 6 software packages. This retrospective study included 40 renal cell carcinomas with contrast-enhanced CT from The Cancer Genome Atlas and Imaging Archive. Images were analyzed by 7 readers at 6 sites. Each reader used 1 of 6 software packages to extract commonly studied texture features. Inter and intra-reader agreement for segmentation was assessed with intra-class correlation coefficients. First-order (available in 6 packages) and second-order (available in 3 packages) texture features were compared between software pairs using Pearson correlation. Inter- and intra-reader agreement was excellent (ICC 0.93-1). First-order feature correlations were strong (r>0.8, p<0.001) between 75% (21/28) of software pairs for mean and standard deviation, 48% (10/21) for entropy, 29% (8/28) for skewness, and 25% (7/28) for kurtosis. Of 15 second-order features, only co-occurrence matrix correlation, grey-level non-uniformity, and run-length non-uniformity showed strong correlation between software packages (0.90-1, p<0.001). Variability in first and second order texture features was common across software configurations and produced inconsistent results. Standardized algorithms and reporting methods are needed before texture data can be reliably used for clinical applications. It is important to be aware of variability related to texture software processing and configuration when reporting and comparing outputs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2214/AJR.21.25456DOI Listing
April 2021

Mixed hierarchical local structure in a disordered metal-organic framework.

Nat Commun 2021 Apr 6;12(1):2062. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Amorphous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are an emerging class of materials. However, their structural characterisation represents a significant challenge. Fe-BTC, and the commercial equivalent Basolite® F300, are MOFs with incredibly diverse catalytic ability, yet their disordered structures remain poorly understood. Here, we use advanced electron microscopy to identify a nanocomposite structure of Fe-BTC where nanocrystalline domains are embedded within an amorphous matrix, whilst synchrotron total scattering measurements reveal the extent of local atomic order within Fe-BTC. We use a polymerisation-based algorithm to generate an atomistic structure for Fe-BTC, the first example of this methodology applied to the amorphous MOF field outside the well-studied zeolitic imidazolate framework family. This demonstrates the applicability of this computational approach towards the modelling of other amorphous MOF systems with potential generality towards all MOF chemistries and connectivities. We find that the structures of Fe-BTC and Basolite® F300 can be represented by models containing a mixture of short- and medium-range order with a greater proportion of medium-range order in Basolite® F300 than in Fe-BTC. We conclude by discussing how our approach may allow for high-throughput computational discovery of functional, amorphous MOFs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22218-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8024318PMC
April 2021

Efficacy of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern 202012/01 (B.1.1.7): an exploratory analysis of a randomised controlled trial.

Lancet 2021 04 30;397(10282):1351-1362. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Oxford Vaccine Group, Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Background: A new variant of SARS-CoV-2, B.1.1.7, emerged as the dominant cause of COVID-19 disease in the UK from November, 2020. We report a post-hoc analysis of the efficacy of the adenoviral vector vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222), against this variant.

Methods: Volunteers (aged ≥18 years) who were enrolled in phase 2/3 vaccine efficacy studies in the UK, and who were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or a meningococcal conjugate control (MenACWY) vaccine, provided upper airway swabs on a weekly basis and also if they developed symptoms of COVID-19 disease (a cough, a fever of 37·8°C or higher, shortness of breath, anosmia, or ageusia). Swabs were tested by nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) for SARS-CoV-2 and positive samples were sequenced through the COVID-19 Genomics UK consortium. Neutralising antibody responses were measured using a live-virus microneutralisation assay against the B.1.1.7 lineage and a canonical non-B.1.1.7 lineage (Victoria). The efficacy analysis included symptomatic COVID-19 in seronegative participants with a NAAT positive swab more than 14 days after a second dose of vaccine. Participants were analysed according to vaccine received. Vaccine efficacy was calculated as 1 - relative risk (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vs MenACWY groups) derived from a robust Poisson regression model. This study is continuing and is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04400838, and ISRCTN, 15281137.

Findings: Participants in efficacy cohorts were recruited between May 31 and Nov 13, 2020, and received booster doses between Aug 3 and Dec 30, 2020. Of 8534 participants in the primary efficacy cohort, 6636 (78%) were aged 18-55 years and 5065 (59%) were female. Between Oct 1, 2020, and Jan 14, 2021, 520 participants developed SARS-CoV-2 infection. 1466 NAAT positive nose and throat swabs were collected from these participants during the trial. Of these, 401 swabs from 311 participants were successfully sequenced. Laboratory virus neutralisation activity by vaccine-induced antibodies was lower against the B.1.1.7 variant than against the Victoria lineage (geometric mean ratio 8·9, 95% CI 7·2-11·0). Clinical vaccine efficacy against symptomatic NAAT positive infection was 70·4% (95% CI 43·6-84·5) for B.1.1.7 and 81·5% (67·9-89·4) for non-B.1.1.7 lineages.

Interpretation: ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 showed reduced neutralisation activity against the B.1.1.7 variant compared with a non-B.1.1.7 variant in vitro, but the vaccine showed efficacy against the B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2.

Funding: UK Research and Innovation, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Thames Valley and South Midlands NIHR Clinical Research Network, and AstraZeneca.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00628-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8009612PMC
April 2021

The influence of conventional T MRI indices in predicting who will walk outside one year after spinal cord injury.

J Spinal Cord Med 2021 Apr 2:1-7. Epub 2021 Apr 2.

Regis University School of Physical Therapy, Denver, Colorado, USA.

Context/objective: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) indices of spinal cord damage are predictive of future motor function after spinal cord injury (SCI): hyperintensity length, midsagittal tissue bridges, and Brain and Spinal Injury Center (BASIC) scores. Whether these indices are predictive of outdoor walking after SCI is unknown. The primary purpose was to see if these MRI indices predict the ability to walk outdoors one-year after SCI. The secondary purpose was to determine if MRI indices provide additional predictive value if initial lower extremity motor scores are available.

Design: Retrospective. Clinical T-weighted MRIs were used to quantify spinal cord damage. Three MRI indices were calculated: midsagittal ventral tissue bridges, hyperintensity length, BASIC scores.

Setting: Academic hospital.

Participants: 129 participants with cervical SCI.

Interventions: Inpatient rehabilitation.

Outcomes Measures: One year after SCI, participants self-reported their outdoor walking ability.

Results: Midsagittal ventral tissue bridges, hyperintensity length, and BASIC scores significantly correlated with outdoor walking ability ( = 0.34, P < 0.001;  = -0.25, P < 0.01; Rs = -0.35, P < 001, respectively). Using midsagittal ventral tissue bridges and hyperintensity length, the final adjusted for model 1 = 0.19. For model 2, the adjusted using motor scores alone = 0.81 and MRI variables were non-significant. All five participants with observable intramedullary hemorrhage reported they were unable to walk one block outdoors.

Conclusions: The MRI indices were significant predictors of outdoor walking ability, but when motor scores were available, this was the strongest predictor and neither midsagittal tissue bridges nor hyperintensity length contributed additional value. MRI indices may be a quick and convenient supplement to physical examination when motor testing is unavailable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10790268.2021.1907676DOI Listing
April 2021

Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma: Interface Enhancement Gradient Measured on Dual-Energy CT Images Improves Prognostic Evaluation.

Radiol Imaging Cancer 2020 07 17;2(4):e190074. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

Departments of Radiology (A.M.A., D.S., C.M.B., M.M.M., A.D.S., D.E.M.) and Biostatistics (Y.L.), University of Alabama at Birmingham, 619 19th St S, JTN 338, Birmingham, AL 35294-2172.

Purpose: To investigate the prognostic value of differential enhancement on baseline dual-energy CT images in patients with treatment-naive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), with a focus on tumor-host interface characterization.

Materials And Methods: This was a retrospective, institutional review board-approved, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant study of 158 consecutive adult patients (mean age, 68 years; age range, 40.9-88.9 years; 50% women) with histopathologically proven, treatment-naive PDAC, who had undergone multiphasic pancreatic dual-energy CT from December 2011 to March 2017. Regions of interest in tumor core, tumor border, pancreas border with tumor, nontumoral pancreas, and aorta were recorded on pancreatic parenchymal phase (PPP) dual-energy CT 70-keV, 52-keV, and iodine material density (MD) images, plus portal venous phase (PVP) conventional CT images. Enhancement gradient (delta) across the tumor-pancreas interface was calculated. Delta was evaluated combining the dual-energy CT values with the PVP values and as individual predictors. Receiver operating characteristic analysis with logistic regression was used to determine the optimal cut point for each dual-energy CT delta to predict disease outcome based on highest Youden index. Survival curves were generated using Kaplan-Meier method, and comparison between two independent groups (high and low delta) was evaluated with log-rank test. Clinical outcomes included overall survival and distant metastasis-free survival. Three independent blinded radiologists visually scored tumor conspicuity (subjective delta score) on a 1-5 scale, and agreement was evaluated with κ statistic.

Results: Ninety-three patients had advanced stage (50 locally advanced and 43 metastatic) and 65 had lower stage (48 resectable and 17 borderline resectable) tumors. Patients with high delta tumors (≥ 40 HU) on either 70-keV PPP images or conventional PVP images had significantly shorter overall survival compared with those with low delta tumors (< 40 HU) in both early stage PDAC (13.5 months vs 23.3 months; hazard ratio [HR], 1.87; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01, 3.5; = .04) and advanced stage PDAC (10.8 months vs 18.0 months; HR, 2.1; 95% CI: 1.28, 3.6; = .003). Qualitative visual scoring of tumor conspicuity also showed shorter overall survival in patients with more conspicuous tumors. Highest interreader agreement for subjective delta score was 0.73 and 0.60 using iodine MD and 52-keV images, respectively.

Conclusion: Increased quantitative and qualitative border conspicuity (high delta) is associated with shorter survival in patients with PDAC. Agreement on the subjective qualitative characterization of PDAC borders is best achieved using iodine MD and lower-energy simulated monoenergetic images at pancreatic protocol dual-energy CT. Abdomen/GI, CT, CT-Dual Energy, CT-Quantitative, Pancreas© RSNA, 2020.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1148/rycan.2020190074DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7983668PMC
July 2020

CD4 receptor diversity represents an ancient protection mechanism against primate lentiviruses.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Mar;118(13)

Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation, Tshuapa-Lomami-Lualaba Project, BP 2012, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Infection with human and simian immunodeficiency viruses (HIV/SIV) requires binding of the viral envelope glycoprotein (Env) to the host protein CD4 on the surface of immune cells. Although invariant in humans, the Env binding domain of the chimpanzee CD4 is highly polymorphic, with nine coding variants circulating in wild populations. Here, we show that within-species CD4 diversity is not unique to chimpanzees but found in many African primate species. Characterizing the outermost (D1) domain of the CD4 protein in over 500 monkeys and apes, we found polymorphic residues in 24 of 29 primate species, with as many as 11 different coding variants identified within a single species. D1 domain amino acid replacements affected SIV Env-mediated cell entry in a single-round infection assay, restricting infection in a strain- and allele-specific fashion. Several identical CD4 polymorphisms, including the addition of -linked glycosylation sites, were found in primate species from different genera, providing striking examples of parallel evolution. Moreover, seven different guenons ( spp.) shared multiple distinct D1 domain variants, pointing to long-term trans-specific polymorphism. These data indicate that the HIV/SIV Env binding region of the primate CD4 protein is highly variable, both within and between species, and suggest that this diversity has been maintained by balancing selection for millions of years, at least in part to confer protection against primate lentiviruses. Although long-term SIV-infected species have evolved specific mechanisms to avoid disease progression, primate lentiviruses are intrinsically pathogenic and have left their mark on the host genome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2025914118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8020793PMC
March 2021

Update on the Role of Imaging in Clinical Staging and Restaging of Renal Cell Carcinoma Based on the AJCC 8th Edition, From the Special Series on Cancer Staging.

AJR Am J Roentgenol 2021 Mar 24. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Department of Radiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

This article reviews the essential role of imaging in clinical staging and restaging of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). To completely characterize and stage an indeterminate renal mass, renal CT or MRI without and with IV contrast administration is recommended. The critical items for initial clinical staging of an indeterminate renal mass or of a known RCC according to the TNM staging system are tumor size, renal sinus fat invasion, urinary collecting system invasion, perinephric fat invasion, venous invasion, adrenal gland invasion, invasion of the perirenal (Gerota's) fascia, invasion into other adjacent organs, the presence of enlarged or pathologic regional (retroperitoneal) lymph nodes, and the presence of distant metastatic disease. Larger tumor size is associated with higher stage disease and invasiveness, lymph node spread, and distant metastatic disease. Imaging practice guidelines for clinical staging of RCC, as well as the role of renal mass biopsy, are highlighted. Specific findings associated with response of advanced cancer to anti-angiogenic therapy and immunotherapy are discussed, as well as limitations of changes in tumor size after targeted therapy. The accurate clinical staging and restaging of RCC using renal CT or MRI provides important prognostic information and helps guide the optimal management of patients with RCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2214/AJR.21.25493DOI Listing
March 2021

Liogenys Guérin-Méneville, 1831 (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae) from the southern South American Transition Zone and boundaries: taxonomic overview with four new species.

Zootaxa 2020 Dec 18;4896(1):zootaxa.4896.1.2. Epub 2020 Dec 18.

Research Division, Canadian Museum of Nature, P.O. Box 3443, Station D, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 6P4, Canada. Laboratório de Scarabaeoidologia, Departamento de Biologia e Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, 78060-900, Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil..

The biodiversity of Liogenys Guérin-Méneville, 1831 (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae: Diplotaxini) from the southern South American Transition Zone and boundaries is presented. Four new species are described: L. brachyclypeata Cherman, new species; L. lucialmeidae Cherman, new species; L. martinezi Cherman, new species; and L. maxillaricuspis Cherman, new species. The synonymy of L. flaveola Moser, 1924 (= L. kadleci Frey, 1970) is proposed. Lectotypes are designated for L. flavida Moser, 1918; L. pallidicornis Blanchard, 1851 (currently L. xanthocera Harold, 1869); and L. rufoflava Moser, 1918. Redescriptions are provided for all the species mentioned above plus L. calcarata Frey, 1970 and L. kunzteni Moser, 1921, as well as an identification key and updated geographical distributions to all species in the region. All species are present in the Monte province, except of L. kuntzeni (Andean provinces of Chile). Liogenys flavida and L. rufoflava have the broadest distribution, the latter here expanded to Paraguay and Chile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4896.1.2DOI Listing
December 2020

A new automated method for high-throughput carbon and hydrogen isotope analysis of gaseous and dissolved methane at atmospheric concentrations.

Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 2021 Jun;35(11):e9086

National Environmental Isotope Facility, British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, UK.

Rationale: The dual isotope ratio analysis, carbon (δ C value) and hydrogen (δ H value), of methane (CH ) is a valuable tracer tool within a range of areas of scientific investigation, not least wetland ecology, microbiology, CH source identification and the tracing of geological leakages of thermogenic CH in groundwater. Traditional methods of collecting, purification, separating and analysing CH for δ C and δ H determination are, however, very time consuming, involving offline manual extractions.

Methods: Here we describe a new gas chromatography, pyrolysis/combustion, isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) system for the automated analysis of either dissolved or gaseous CH down to ambient atmospheric concentrations (2.0 ppm). Sample introduction is via a traditional XYZ autosampler, allowing either helium (He) purging of gas or sparging of water from a range of suitable, airtight bottles.

Results: The system routinely achieves precision of <0.3‰ for δ C values and <3.0‰ for δ H values, based on long-term replicate analysis of an in-house CH /He mix standard (BGS-1), corrected to two externally calibrated reference gases at near atmospheric concentrations of methane. Depending upon CH concentration and therefore bottle size, the system runs between 21 (140-mL bottle) and 200 samples (12-mL exetainer) in an unattended run overnight.

Conclusions: This represents the first commercially available IRMS system for dual δ C and δ H analysis of methane at atmospheric concentrations and a step forward for the routine (and high-volume) analysis of CH in environmental studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rcm.9086DOI Listing
June 2021

Providing witnesses with an option to say "I'm not sure" to a showup neither improves classification performance nor the reliability of suspect identifications.

Law Hum Behav 2021 02;45(1):68-79

Department of Psychology, Carleton University.

Past research with one-person showup identification procedures suggests that providing witnesses with an explicit option to opt-out reduces innocent-suspect identifications without reducing culprit identifications (Weber & Perfect, 2012). This finding suggests that improving performance from identification procedures might be as simple as providing witnesses with the option to opt-out from deciding. We examined whether providing witnesses with an option to say "not sure" improved performance from showup procedures. We predicted that participants would opt-out more when given a poor view. We also predicted that classification performance would be better for those who had option to opt-out, and this improvement would be more pronounced for those who had a poor view. Finally, we predicted that the opt-out option would reduce more low-confidence than high-confidence decisions. We randomly assigned Amazon Mechanical Turk Workers (Experiment 1A: = 2,003, average age = 36.90 [ = 11.67], 57.86% female) and university students (Experiment 1B: = 721, average age = 19.91 ( = 3.99), 69.72% female) to a 2 (culprit: present, absent) × 2 (memory strength: strong, weak) × 2 (not sure option: yes, no) between-participants design. We manipulated memory strength by giving witnesses either a clear or degraded view of the encoding video. After watching the encoding video, participants completed a 10-min filler task and were then presented with a showup procedure. Participants who were given a poor view were more likely to opt-out than were participants who were given a clear view. Participants who were given the option to respond not sure reported higher confidence in their decisions. However, the not sure option did not improve classification performance. Contrary to our prediction, we found no evidence that an opt-out option improves performance from a showup procedure, which is consistent with past research examining opt-out options with lineup procedures. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/lhb0000434DOI Listing
February 2021