Publications by authors named "Marco Moretti"

71 Publications

A dataset of the flowering plants (Angiospermae) in urban green areas in five European cities.

Data Brief 2021 Aug 25;37:107243. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland.

This article summarizes the data of a survey of flowering plants in 80 sites in five European cities and urban agglomerations (Antwerp, Belgium; greater Paris, France; Poznan, Poland; Tartu, Estonia; and Zurich, Switzerland). Sampling sites were selected based on a double orthogonal gradient of size and connectivity and were urban green areas (e.g. parks, cemeteries). To characterize the flowering plants, two sampling methodologies were applied between April and July 2018. First, a floristic inventory of the occurrence of all flowering plants in the five cities. Second, flower counts in sampling plots of standardized size (1 m) only in Zurich. We sampled 2146 plant species (contained in 824 genera and 137 families) and across the five cities. For each plant species, we provide its origin status (i.e. whether the plants are native from Europe or not) and 11 functional traits potentially important for plant-pollinator interactions. For each study site, we provide the number of species, genera, and families recorded, the Shannon diversity as well as the proportion of exotic species, herbs, shrubs and trees. In addition, we provide information on the patch size, connectivity, and urban intensity, using four remote sensing-based proxies measured at 100- and 800-m radii.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2021.107243DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8258796PMC
August 2021

Reconciling trait-based perspectives along a trait integration continuum.

Ecology 2021 Jul 14:e03472. Epub 2021 Jul 14.

Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland.

Trait-based ecology has developed fast in the last decades, aiming to both explain mechanisms of community assembly, and predict patterns in nature, such as the effects of biodiversity shifts on key ecosystem processes. This body of work has stimulated the development of several conceptual frameworks and analytical methods, as well as the production of trait databases covering a growing number of taxa and organisational levels (from individuals to guilds). However, this breeding ground of novel concepts and tools currently lacks a general and coherent framework, under which functional traits can help ecologists organise their research aims, and serve as the common currency to unify several scientific disciplines. Specifically, we see a need to bridge the gaps between community ecology, ecosystem ecology, and evolutionary biology, in order to address the most pressing environmental issues of our time. To achieve this integration goal, we define a trait integration continuum, which reconciles alternative trait definitions and approaches in ecology. This continuum outlines a coherent progression of biological scales, along which traits interact and hierarchically integrate from genetic information, to whole-organism fitness-related traits, to trait syndromes and functional groups. Our conceptual scheme proposes that lower-level trait integration is closer to the inference of eco-evolutionary mechanisms determining population and community properties, whereas higher-level trait integration is most suited to the prediction of ecosystem processes. Within these two extremes, trait integration varies on a continuous scale, which relates directly to the inductive-deductive loop that should characterize the scientific method. With our proposed framework, we aim to facilitate scientists in contextualising their research based on the trait integration levels that matter most to their specific goals. Explicitly acknowledging the existence of a trait integration continuum is a promising way for framing the appropriate questions, thus obtaining reliable answers and results that are comparable across studies and disciplines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3472DOI Listing
July 2021

Diagnostic accuracy of screening tests for patients suspected of COVID-19, a retrospective cohort study.

Infect Dis (Lond) 2021 Jul 1:1-10. Epub 2021 Jul 1.

Department of Microbiology, Universiteit Ziekenhuis Brussel (UZ Brussel), Brussels, Belgium.

Background: The diagnostic gold standard for Coronavirus-2019 disease (CoViD-19) is reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). However, its sensitivity might be suboptimal. The current study aims to investigate predictive factors for false-negative nasopharyngeal RT-PCR in CoViD-19 patients. Additionally, the specificity and sensitivity of RT-PCR on the nasopharyngeal swab, serology and chest computerized-tomography (CCT) as a screening tool for the diagnosis of CoViD-19 were investigated.

Methods: Medical records of patients admitted at the university hospital UZ Brussel during the CoViD-19 epidemic were reviewed. A group of CoViD-19 patients with false-negative RT-PCR was identified through scrupulous examination of medical records. Serological testing was performed through chemiluminescent microparticle assay.

Results: Eighteen CoViD-19 patients with 'false negative' RT-PCR were identified and compared to 51 'true positives'. Logistic regression for prediction of 'false negative' RT-PCR found significantly higher serology results at hospitalization and more intensive care unit admission in the group with false-negative testing. In a cohort of 228 patients, the sensitivity of RT-PCR for the diagnosis of CoViD-19 was 85%. The sensitivity of serology was 86% and its specificity 92%. Chest computerized-tomography (CCT) showed a sensitivity of 93%, its specificity was 62%. By combining RT-PCR and serology results any 'false negative' could be excluded.

Conclusions: In this cohort, the sensitivity and specificity of RT-PCR and serology for the diagnosis of CoViD-19 were high and comparable. CCT had the highest sensitivity and confirmed its efficacy as a screening tool. CoViD-19 patients, who have a more severe presentation, might have negative RT-PCR and positive serology results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23744235.2021.1946589DOI Listing
July 2021

Blood-brain barrier leakage and hemorrhagic transformation: The Reperfusion Injury in Ischemic StroKe (RISK) study.

Eur J Neurol 2021 Jun 18. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

Stroke Unit, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy.

Background And Purpose: In patients with acute ischemic stroke treated with reperfusion therapy we aimed to evaluate whether pretreatment blood-brain barrier (BBB) leakage is associated with subsequent hemorrhagic transformation (HT).

Methods: We prospectively screened patients with acute ischemic stroke treated with intravenous thrombolysis and/or endovascular treatment. Before treatment, each patient received computed tomography (CT), CT angiography, and CT perfusion. We assessed pretreatment BBB leakage within the ischemic area using the volume transfer constant (K ) value. Our primary outcome was relevant HT, defined as hemorrhagic infarction type 2 or parenchymal hemorrhage type 1 or 2. We evaluated independent associations between BBB leakage and HT using logistic regression, adjusting for age, sex, baseline stroke severity, Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS) ≥ 6, treatment type, and onset-to-treatment time.

Results: We enrolled 171 patients with available assessment of BBB leakage. The patients' mean (±SD) age was 75.5 (±11.8) years, 86 (50%) were men, and the median (interquartile range) National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score was 18 (12-23). A total of 32 patients (18%) received intravenous thrombolysis, 102 (60%) underwent direct endovascular treatment, and 37 (22%) underwent both. Patients with relevant HT (N = 31;18%) had greater mean BBB leakage (K 0.77 vs. 0.60; p = 0.027). After adjustment in the logistic regression model, we found that BBB leakage was associated both with a more than twofold risk of relevant HT (odds ratio [OR] 2.50; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03-6.03 per K point increase; OR 2.34; 95% CI 1.06-5.17 for K values > 0.63 [mean BBB leakage value]) and with symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (OR 4.30; 95% CI 1.13-13.77 per K point increase).

Conclusion: Pretreatment BBB leakage before reperfusion therapy was associated with HT, and may help to identify patients at risk of HT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ene.14985DOI Listing
June 2021

Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2-Specific Antibodies in Cancer Patients Undergoing Active Systemic Treatment: A Single-Center Experience from the Marche Region, Italy.

J Clin Med 2021 Apr 4;10(7). Epub 2021 Apr 4.

Rossana Berardi, Clinical Oncology, Università Politecnica delle Marche, A.O.U. Ospedali Riuniti, Via Conca 71, 60126 Ancona, Italy.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) seroprevalence in cancer patients may vary widely dependent on the geographic area and this has significant implications for oncological care. The aim of this observational, prospective study was to assess the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 IgM/IgG antibodies in solid cancer patients referred to the academic institution of the Marche Region, Italy, between 1 July and 26 October 2020 and to determine the accuracy of the rapid serological test. After performing 3767 GCCOV-402a rapid serological tests on a total of 949 patients, seroconversion was initially observed in 13 patients (1.4%). Ten (77% of the total positive) were IgG-positive, 1 (8%) were IgM-positive and 2 (15%) IgM-positive/IgG-positive. However, only 7 out of 13 were confirmed as positive at the reference serological test (true positives), thus seroprevalence after cross-checking was 0.7%. No false negatives were reported. The kappa value of the consistency analysis was 0.71. Due to rapid serological test high false positive rate, its role in assessing seroconversion rate is limited, and the standard serological tests should remain the gold standard. However, as rapid test negative predictive value is high, GCCOV-402a may instead be useful to monitor patient immunity over time, thus helping to assist ongoing vaccination programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10071503DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8038489PMC
April 2021

Ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia in coronavirus 2019 disease, a retrospective monocentric cohort study.

J Infect Chemother 2021 Jun 23;27(6):826-833. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

Faculty of Engineering, Department of Electronics and Informatics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium.

Introduction: Severe coronavirus 2019 disease (CoViD-19) may lead to respiratory failure and mechanical ventilation. Therefore, ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) may complicate the course of the disease. The aim of the current article was to investigate possible predictive factors for bacterial VAP on a retrospective manner, in a cohort of mechanically ventilated CoViD-19 patients. Additionally, determinant factors of lethality were analyzed.

Methods: Medical records of patients hospitalized in the intensive care units (ICU) at the university hospital UZ Brussel during the epidemic were reviewed. VAP was defined following the National Healthcare Safety Network 2017 criteria. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions analyses were performed.

Results: Among the 39 patients included in the study, 54% were diagnosed with bacterial VAP. Case fatality rate was 44%, but 59% of the deceased patients had a do-not-resuscitate status. Multivariate logistic regression for prediction of VAP showed significant differences in duration of ICU hospitalization and in minimal lung compliance. Additional analyses were performed on CoViD-19 patients who were affected by bacterial respiratory superinfection. The responsible pathogens correspond to the commonly found bacteria in VAP. However, 71% of the isolated germs were multi-drug resistant and bacteraemia was reported in 38%. Multivariate analyses for prediction of lethality found significant difference in SOFA score.

Conclusions: Mechanically ventilated CoViD-19 patients might frequently develop VAP. Longer ICU hospitalization was associated with pulmonary superinfection in the current cohort. Moreover, decreased minimal lung compliance was correlated to VAP and higher SOFA score at VAP diagnosis was associated with lethality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jiac.2021.01.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7826005PMC
June 2021

Decreased serum levels of the inflammaging marker miR-146a are associated with clinical non-response to tocilizumab in COVID-19 patients.

Mech Ageing Dev 2021 01 8;193:111413. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

Department of Clinical and Molecular Sciences, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy; Center of Clinical Pathology and Innovative Therapy, IRCCS INRCA, Ancona, Italy. Electronic address:

Current COVID-19 pandemic poses an unprecedented threat to global health and healthcare systems. The most amount of the death toll is accounted by old people affected by age-related diseases that develop a hyper-inflammatory syndrome. In this regard, we hypothesized that COVID-19 severity may be linked to inflammaging. Here, we examined 30 serum samples from patients enrolled in the clinical trial NCT04315480 assessing the clinical response to a single-dose intravenous infusion of the anti-IL-6 receptor drug Tocilizumab (TCZ) in COVID-19 patients with multifocal interstitial pneumonia. In these serum samples, as well as in 29 age- and gender-matched healthy control subjects, we assessed a set of microRNAs that regulate inflammaging, i.e. miR-146a-5p, miR-21-5p, and miR-126-3p, which were quantified by RT-PCR and Droplet Digital PCR. We showed that COVID-19 patients who did not respond to TCZ have lower serum levels of miR-146a-5p after the treatment (p = 0.007). Among non-responders, those with the lowest serum levels of miR-146a-5p experienced the most adverse outcome (p = 0.008). Our data show that a blood-based biomarker, such as miR-146a-5p, can provide clues about the molecular link between inflammaging and COVID-19 clinical course, thus allowing to better understand the use of biologic drug armory against this worldwide health threat.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mad.2020.111413DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7722494PMC
January 2021

A new paraplegin mutation in a patient with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2020 Sep 14;44:102302. Epub 2020 Jun 14.

Department of Neurology, AOU Careggi, Largo Palagi 1, Firenze 50139, Italy. Electronic address:

Primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) presents with clinical signs of slowly progressive long tract dysfunction that can overlap with neurodegenerative disorders, such as hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). Herein, we present two siblings in whom we have identified a novel mutation in the paraplegin (SPG7) gene. The proband, a 49-year-old woman, presented with a five-year history of progressive spastic paraparesis and ataxia. Brain MRI showed mild cerebellar atrophy. The genetic study revealed a homozygous mutation in the SPG7 gene, that led to the diagnosis of HSP. Four years previously, the younger brother had complained of slowly progressive spastic-ataxic gait, that started one year before; MRI had disclosed multiple areas of white matter hyperintensity with contrast enhancement. A diagnosis of active PPMS was made, and the patient started Disease-Modifying Therapy with further clinical and radiological stability. Once a genetic diagnosis was achieved in his sister, the patient underwent SPG7 testing, which disclosed the same mutation. Whether MS is a mimicry of HSP or it represents "double trouble" condition in this patient, it remains undetermined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2020.102302DOI Listing
September 2020

Multiscale Determinants Drive Parasitization of Drosophilidae by Hymenopteran Parasitoids in Agricultural Landscapes.

Insects 2020 May 30;11(6). Epub 2020 May 30.

Agroscope, Research Division Agroecology and Environment, Agroscope, Reckenholzstrasse 191, 8046 Zurich, Switzerland.

(1) The management of agricultural landscapes for pest suppression requires a thorough understanding of multiple determinants controlling their presence. We investigated the ecological preferences of indigenous parasitoids and their drosophilid hosts to understand the role of native parasitoids as biological control agents of the invasive frugivorous . (2) Using data from an extensive field survey across different habitat types we analyzed the influence of abiotic and biotic factors on parasitoid and drosophilid communities at multiscale levels. (3) Eight parasitoid and 27 drosophilid species were identified. Thirty-four percent variation in drosophilid communities was explained by factors at the landscape scale, and 52% of significant variation of parasitoids by local distribution of three drosophilid species, mainly collected in woodland. Parasitoid communities were significantly influenced by microhabitat type (ground versus canopy) rather than habitat type. All parasitoids except preferred the ground microhabitat. All parasitoids, with the exception of and displayed significant preferences among the drosophilid species used in the baited traps. (4) Since they can tolerate a broad range of habitat factors, altogether pupal parasitoids investigated in this study could play a role in biological control programs to suppress , but non-target effects have to be regarded.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/insects11060334DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7348750PMC
May 2020

Lemierre's syndrome in adulthood, a case report and systematic review.

Acta Clin Belg 2021 Aug 29;76(4):324-334. Epub 2020 Feb 29.

Department of Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, UZ Brussel, Belgium.

: Lemierre's syndrome is a septic thromboembolic complication of an oropharyngeal or neck infection, primarily caused by Fusobacterium species. Although it usually affects young healthy patients, some case reports describe this syndrome in older population.: A case report and a systematic review of the literature were conducted to investigate the late onset of Lemierre's syndrome. Forty-one articles were selected for the qualitative analysis, 39 for the quantitative analysis.: The average age of the study population was 52 years old. Diabetes mellitus and upper gastro-intestinal malignancy, common comorbidities in the study population, might play a role in the development of late-onset Lemierre's syndrome. Empiric antibiotic treatment should cover Fusobacterium and Streptococcus species both, which may cooperate to induce purulent disease. Reported unfavourable outcome was more than expected.: Lemierre's syndrome in adulthood may differ from the usual version. This disease may further pass unrecognized, if presented out of the expected age range. Nevertheless, early diagnosis and prompt treatment are a requisite to prevent morbidity and mortality, which may be higher in this older population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17843286.2020.1731661DOI Listing
August 2021

Similar factors underlie tree abundance in forests in native and alien ranges.

Glob Ecol Biogeogr 2020 Feb 1;29(2):281-294. Epub 2019 Dec 1.

Computational and Applied Vegetation Ecology (CAVElab) Ghent University Ghent Belgium.

Aim: Alien plant species can cause severe ecological and economic problems, and therefore attract a lot of research interest in biogeography and related fields. To identify potential future invasive species, we need to better understand the mechanisms underlying the abundances of invasive tree species in their new ranges, and whether these mechanisms differ between their native and alien ranges. Here, we test two hypotheses: that greater relative abundance is promoted by (a) functional difference from locally co-occurring trees, and (b) higher values than locally co-occurring trees for traits linked to competitive ability.

Location: Global.

Time Period: Recent.

Major Taxa Studied: Trees.

Methods: We combined three global plant databases: sPlot vegetation-plot database, TRY plant trait database and Global Naturalized Alien Flora (GloNAF) database. We used a hierarchical Bayesian linear regression model to assess the factors associated with variation in local abundance, and how these relationships vary between native and alien ranges and depend on species' traits.

Results: In both ranges, species reach highest abundance if they are functionally similar to co-occurring species, yet are taller and have higher seed mass and wood density than co-occurring species.

Main Conclusions: Our results suggest that light limitation leads to strong environmental and biotic filtering, and that it is advantageous to be taller and have denser wood. The striking similarities in abundance between native and alien ranges imply that information from tree species' native ranges can be used to predict in which habitats introduced species may become dominant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/geb.13027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7006795PMC
February 2020

TRY plant trait database - enhanced coverage and open access.

Glob Chang Biol 2020 01 31;26(1):119-188. Epub 2019 Dec 31.

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA.

Plant traits-the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants-determine how plants respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, and influence ecosystem properties and their benefits and detriments to people. Plant trait data thus represent the basis for a vast area of research spanning from evolutionary biology, community and functional ecology, to biodiversity conservation, ecosystem and landscape management, restoration, biogeography and earth system modelling. Since its foundation in 2007, the TRY database of plant traits has grown continuously. It now provides unprecedented data coverage under an open access data policy and is the main plant trait database used by the research community worldwide. Increasingly, the TRY database also supports new frontiers of trait-based plant research, including the identification of data gaps and the subsequent mobilization or measurement of new data. To support this development, in this article we evaluate the extent of the trait data compiled in TRY and analyse emerging patterns of data coverage and representativeness. Best species coverage is achieved for categorical traits-almost complete coverage for 'plant growth form'. However, most traits relevant for ecology and vegetation modelling are characterized by continuous intraspecific variation and trait-environmental relationships. These traits have to be measured on individual plants in their respective environment. Despite unprecedented data coverage, we observe a humbling lack of completeness and representativeness of these continuous traits in many aspects. We, therefore, conclude that reducing data gaps and biases in the TRY database remains a key challenge and requires a coordinated approach to data mobilization and trait measurements. This can only be achieved in collaboration with other initiatives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14904DOI Listing
January 2020

Direct and indirect effects of urban gardening on aboveground and belowground diversity influencing soil multifunctionality.

Sci Rep 2019 07 5;9(1):9769. Epub 2019 Jul 5.

Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903, Birmensdorf, CH, Switzerland.

Urban gardens are popular green spaces that have the potential to provide essential ecosystem services, support human well-being, and at the same time foster biodiversity in cities. We investigated the impact of gardening activities on five soil functions and the relationship between plant (600 spp.) and soil fauna (earthworms: 18 spp., springtails: 39 spp.) in 85 urban gardens (170 sites) across the city of Zurich (Switzerland). Our results suggest that high plant diversity in gardens had a positive effect on soil fauna and soil multifunctionality, and that garden management intensity decreased plant diversity. Indices of biological activity in soil, such as organic and microbial carbon and bacterial abundance, showed a direct positive effect on soil multifunctionality. Soil moisture and disturbance, driven by watering and tilling, were the driving forces structuring plant and soil fauna communities. Plant indicator values proved useful to assess soil fauna community structure, even in anthropogenic plant assemblages. We conclude that to enhance soil functions, gardeners should increase plant diversity, and lower management intensity. Soil protective management practices, such as applying compost, mulch or avoiding soil tilling, should be included in urban green space planning to improve urban biodiversity and nature's contribution to people.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46024-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6611818PMC
July 2019

Urban bumblebees are smaller and more phenotypically diverse than their rural counterparts.

J Anim Ecol 2019 10 28;88(10):1522-1533. Epub 2019 Jul 28.

Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape (WSL), Birmensdorf, Switzerland.

With urbanization identified as being one of the key drivers of change in global land use, and the rapid expansion of urban areas world-wide, it is relevant to evaluate how novel ecological conditions in cities shape species functional traits, which are essential for how species interact with their environments and with each other. Despite the many comparative studies on organisms living in urban and non-urban areas, our knowledge on species responses to urban environments remains limited. For one, much of the ecological research has assumed that the environment changes in a linear fashion from the city core to the city edges, whereas in reality the environments within the cities are highly heterogeneous. Furthermore, studies on species responses to these highly variable ecosystems are often based on interspecific mean trait values, which ignore the potential for high levels of intraspecific variation among individuals in key functional traits. The current study investigated intraspecific functional trait differences for four functional traits associated with body size, mobility and resource selection among rural and urban populations of two common bumblebee species, Bombus pascuorum and Bombus lapidarius, in urban centres and adjacent rural areas in Switzerland. We document shifts in functional traits towards smaller individuals and higher multidimensional trait variation in urban populations compared to rural conspecifics of both species. This shows that urban individuals for both species are on average smaller sized but populations are distinctively different from rural population by increasing their trait richness and diversifying their trait combinations. In addition, we found bimodality in tongue length within urban B. pascuorum populations. Our results suggest that urban and rural populations possibly experience differential selection pressures resulting in trait differences across and among populations. We argue that variations in the respective foraging landscapes in cities leads to smaller sized but phenotypically more diverse populations, and drive functional trait divergence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13051DOI Listing
October 2019

A comprehensive dataset on cultivated and spontaneously growing vascular plants in urban gardens.

Data Brief 2019 Aug 23;25:103982. Epub 2019 May 23.

Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland.

This article summarizes the data of a survey of vascular plants in 85 urban gardens of the city of Zurich, Switzerland. Data was acquired by two sampling methods: (i) a floristic inventory of entire garden lots based on repeated garden visits, including all vegetation periods; and (ii) vegetation relevés on two plots of standardized size (10 m) per garden during the summer. We identified a total of 1081 taxa and report the origin status, i.e., whether a taxon is considered native or alien to Switzerland. Furthermore, the origin of a plant or garden population was estimated for each taxon and garden: each taxon in each garden was classified as being either cultivated or spontaneously growing. For each garden, the number of all native, cultivated, and spontaneously growing plant species is given, along with additional information, including garden area, garden type and the landscape-scale proportion of impermeable surface within a 500-m radius. The dataset is related to the research note entitled "Research Note: Self-reported habitat heterogeneity predicts plant species richness in urban gardens" [1]. It is also linked to a comprehensive dataset on biotic and abiotic soil data and as well as to a dataset on soil-surface dwelling and flying arthropods [2-6].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2019.103982DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6545399PMC
August 2019

Litter decomposition driven by soil fauna, plant diversity and soil management in urban gardens.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Mar 21;658:1614-1629. Epub 2018 Dec 21.

Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Zuercherstrasse 111, Birmensdorf 8903, Switzerland.

In the face of growing urban densification, green spaces in cities, such as gardens, are increasingly important for biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, the influences of urban green space management on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) relationships is poorly understood. We investigated the relationship between soil fauna and litter decomposition in 170 urban garden sites along a gradient of urbanisation intensity in the city of Zurich, CH. We used litter bags of 1 and 4 mm mesh size to evaluate the contribution of soil meso- and macrofauna on litter decomposition. By using multilevel structural equation models (SEM), we investigated direct and indirect environmental effects and management practices on litter decomposition and litter residue quality. We evaluated the role of taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity of soil fauna species on litter decomposition, based on a sample of 120 species (81,007 individuals; 39 collembola, 18 earthworm, 16 isopod, 47 gastropod species). We found highest litter decomposition rates using 4 mm mesh size litter bags, highlighting the importance of soil macrofauna. Urban warming, a proxy for urbanisation intensity, covaried positively, whereas soil disturbances, such as intensive soil and crop management, were negatively correlated with decomposition rates. Interestingly, soil fauna species richness decreased, with the exception of gastropods, and soil fauna abundance increased with urban warming. Our data also show that plant species richness positively affected litter decomposition by increasing soil fauna species richness and microbial activity. A multivariate analysis of organic compounds in litter residues confirmed the importance of soil fauna species richness and garden management on litter decomposition processes. Overall, we showed, that also in intensively managed urban green spaces, such as gardens, biodiversity of plants and soil fauna drives key ecosystem processes. Urban planning strategies that integrate soil protecting management practices may help to maintain important ecosystem services in this heavily used urban environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.12.235DOI Listing
March 2019

Cerebral small vessel disease and systemic arteriopathy in intracranial arterial dolichoectasia patients.

Acta Neurol Scand 2019 Feb 6;139(2):150-157. Epub 2018 Nov 6.

'L. Sacco' Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Objectives: To investigate clinical and demographic characteristics of patients with intracranial arterial dolichoectasia (IADE) and describe the possible coexistence of cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) and systemic arteriopathy.

Material And Methods: From January 2015 to March 2016, all the patients attending an outpatient service for chronic cerebrovascular diseases were screened for suspected IADE. Identified patients underwent a predefined protocol including: brain MR angiography for the diagnosis of IADE; brain MRI with visual rating of SVD features; whole-body CT angiography to assess signs of systemic arteriopathy; and neuropsychological examination.

Results: Among the 251 patients screened, IADE was diagnosed in seven (mean age ± SD 68.8 ± 7.2 years, six males). Hypertension was the most frequent risk factor. All patients had basilar artery dolichoectasia, two also ectasia of a vessel of the anterior circulation. All patients had white matter hyperintensities that were moderate or severe in six, five had at least one lacune, and all had enlarged perivascular spaces. At least one microbleed was detected in six patients. A variable grade of global cortical atrophy was found in six patients. Systemic arterial ectasia was found in all but one patient. Neuropsychological examination showed a multidomain cognitive impairment in five patients.

Conclusions: Our study confirms the high prevalence of cerebral SVD in IADE. The involvement of the brain-supplying arteries is probably part of a systemic arteriopathy in IADE patients, thus suggesting the usefulness of assessing the whole arterial tree in clinical practice. Cognitive deterioration signs are frequent in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ane.13038DOI Listing
February 2019

Spatial and temporal variations of aridity shape dung beetle assemblages towards the Sahara desert.

PeerJ 2018 20;6:e5210. Epub 2018 Sep 20.

Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain.

Background: Assemblage responses to environmental gradients are key to understand the general principles behind the assembly and functioning of communities. The spatially and temporally uneven distribution of water availability in drylands creates strong aridity gradients. While the effects of spatial variations of aridity are relatively well known, the influence of the highly-unpredictable seasonal and inter-annual precipitations on dryland communities has been seldom addressed.

Aims: Here, we study the seasonal and inter-annual responses of dung beetle (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae) communities to the variations of water availability along a semiarid region of the Mediterranean.

Methods: We surveyed a 400 km linear transect along a strong aridity gradient from the Mediterranean coast to the Sahara (Eastern Morocco), during four sampling campaigns: two in the wet season and two in the dry season. We measured species richness, abundance and evenness. Variations in community composition between sites, seasons and years were assessed through beta diversity partitioning of dissimiliarity metrics based on species occurrences and abundances. The effects of climate, soil, vegetation and dung availability were evaluated using Spearman-rank correlations, general linear regressions and partial least-squares generalized linear regressions for community structure, and non-metric multi-dimensional scaling, Permutational Analysis of Variance (PERMANOVA) and distance-based RDA variation partitioning for compositional variations.

Results: Dung beetle abundance and species richness showed large seasonal variations, but remained relatively similar between years. Indeed, aridity and its interaction with season and year were the strongest correlates of variations in species richness and composition. Increasing aridity resulted in decreasing species richness and an ordered replacement of species, namely the substitution of the Mediterranean fauna by desert assemblages dominated by saprophagous and generalist species both in space towards the Sahara and in the dry season.

Discussion: Our study shows that aridity determines composition in dung beetle communities, filtering species both in space and time. Besides the expected decrease in species richness, such environmental filtering promotes a shift towards generalist and saprophagous species in arid conditions, probably related to changes in resource quality along the transect and through the year. Our results highlight the importance of considering the effects of the highly-unpredictable seasonal and inter-annual variations in precipitation when studying dryland communities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5210DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6151256PMC
September 2018

Diversity in form and function: Vertical distribution of soil fauna mediates multidimensional trait variation.

J Anim Ecol 2018 07;87(4):933-944

Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland.

It has been widely recognized that species show extensive variation in form and function. Based on species' attributes, they can be positioned along major axes of variation, which are often defined by life-history traits, such as number of offspring, age at maturity or generation time. Less emphasis has been given in this respect to tolerance traits, especially to resistance to abiotic stress conditions, which often determine community (dis)assembly and distribution. Soil fauna species distribution is governed to a large extent by environmental conditions that filter communities according to functional traits, such as abiotic stress tolerance, morphology and body size. Trait-based approaches have been successfully used to predict soil biota responses to abiotic stress. It remains unclear, though, how these traits relate to life-history traits that determine individual performance, that is, reproduction and survival. Here, we analyse patterns in multidimensional trait distribution of dominant groups of soil fauna, that is, Isopoda, Gastropoda and Collembola, known to be important to the functioning of ecosystems. We compiled trait information from existing literature, trait databases and supplementary measurements. We looked for common patterns in major axes of trait variation and tested if vertical distribution of species in the soil explained trait variation based on three components of trait diversity (trait richness, evenness and divergence). Our results showed that two to three axes of variation structured the trait space of life-history and tolerance traits in each of the taxonomic groups and that vertical distribution in soil explained the main axis of trait variation. We also found evidence of environmental filtering on soil fauna along the vertical soil distribution, with lower trait richness and trait divergence in soil-dwelling than in surface-living species. Our study was partially limited by the lack of detailed trait measurements for the selected taxonomic groups. In this regard, there is an urgent need for standardized trait databases across invertebrate groups to improve trait-based diversity analysis and fill gaps in the mechanistic understanding behind trait distribution, trait filtering and the link with species fitness and performance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12838DOI Listing
July 2018

Authors' comments on two published resuscitation editorials.

Resuscitation 2018 08 19;129:e17-e18. Epub 2018 Jun 19.

SODc Neurofisiopatologia, Dipartimento Neuromuscolo-Scheletrico e degli Organi di Senso, AOU Careggi, Florence, Italy; IRCCS, Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Florence, Italy. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resuscitation.2018.06.015DOI Listing
August 2018

Data on multimodal approach for early poor outcome (Cerebral Performance Categories 3-5) prediction after cardiac arrest.

Data Brief 2018 Aug 25;19:704-711. Epub 2018 May 25.

SODc Neurofisiopatologia, Dipartimento Neuromuscolo-Scheletrico e degli Organi di Senso, AOU Careggi, Florence, Italy.

The data presented in this article are related to our research article entitled 'Neurophysiological and neuroradiological multimodal approach for early poor outcome prediction after cardiac arrest' (Scarpino et al., 2018) [1]. We reported two additional analyses, including results gathered from somatosensory evoked potentials(SEPs), brain computed tomography(CT) and electroencephalography(EEG) performed on 183 subjects within the first 24 h after cardiac arrest(CA). In the first analysis, we considered the Cerebral Performance Categories(CPC) 3, 4 and 5a,b (severe disability, unresponsive wakefulness state, neurological death and non-neurological death, respectively) as poor outcomes. In the second analysis, patients that died from non-neurological causes (CPC 5b) were excluded from the analysis. Concerning the first analysis, bilateral absent/absent-pathologic(AA/AP) cortical SEPs predicted poor outcome with a sensitivity of 49.3%. A Grey Matter/White Matter(GM/WM) ratio <1.21 predicted poor outcome with a sensitivity of 41.7%. Isoelectric/burst-suppression EEG patterns predicted poor outcome with a sensitivity of 33.5%. If at least one of these poor prognostic patterns was present, the sensitivity for an ominous outcome increased to 60.9%. Concerning the second analysis, AA/AP cortical SEPs predicted poor outcome with a sensitivity of 52.5%. GM/WM ratio <1.21 predicted poor outcome with a sensitivity of 50.4%. Isoelectric/burst-suppression EEG patterns predicted poor outcome with a sensitivity of 39.8%.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2018.05.118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5998182PMC
August 2018

Reperfusion Injury after ischemic Stroke Study (RISKS): single-centre (Florence, Italy), prospective observational protocol study.

BMJ Open 2018 05 24;8(5):e021183. Epub 2018 May 24.

Institute of Neuroscience, Italian National Research Council, Florence, Italy.

Introduction: Treatments aiming at reperfusion of the acutely ischaemic brain tissue may result futile or even detrimental because of the so-called reperfusion injury. The processes contributing to reperfusion injury involve a number of factors, ranging from blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption to circulating biomarkers. Our aim is to evaluate the relative effect of imaging and circulating biomarkers in relation to reperfusion injury.

Methods And Analysis: Observational hospital-based study that will include 140 patients who had ischaemic stroke, treated with systemic thrombolysis, endovascular treatment or both. BBB disruption will be assessed with CT perfusion (CTP) before treatment, and levels of a large panel of biomarkers will be measured before intervention and after 24 hours. Relevant outcomes will include: (1) reperfusion injury, defined as radiologically relevant haemorrhagic transformation at 24 hours and (2) clinical status 3 months after the index stroke. We will investigate the separate and combined effect of pretreatment BBB disruption and circulating biomarkers on reperfusion injury and clinical status at 3 months. Study protocol is registered at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov (ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT03041753).

Ethics And Dissemination: The study protocol has been approved by ethics committee of the Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Careggi (Università degli Studi di Firenze). Informed consent is obtained by each patient at time of enrolment or deferred when the participant lacks the capacity to provide consent during the acute phase. Researchers interested in testing hypotheses with the data are encouraged to contact the corresponding author. Results from the study will be disseminated at national and international conferences and in medical thesis.

Trial Registration Number: NCT03041753.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-021183DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5988101PMC
May 2018

Neurophysiological and neuroradiological multimodal approach for early poor outcome prediction after cardiac arrest.

Resuscitation 2018 08 18;129:114-120. Epub 2018 Apr 18.

SODc Neurofisiopatologia, Dipartimento Neuromuscolo-Scheletrico e degli Organi di Senso, AOU Careggi, Florence, Italy; IRCCS, Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Florence, Italy. Electronic address:

Introduction: Prognosticating outcome after cardiac arrest(CA) requires a multimodal approach. However, evidence regarding combinations of methods is limited. We evaluated whether the combination of electroencephalography(EEG), somatosensory evoked potentials(SEPs) and brain computed tomography(CT) could predict poor outcome.

Methods: We screened our database regarding patients successfully resuscitated after CA, for whom EEG, SEPs and brain CT were available within 24 h. EEG patterns were classified according to American Clinical Neurophysiological Society terminology; SEPs were graded accounting for the cortical responses of each hemisphere; and the grey matter/white matter(GM/WM) ratio was evaluated by brain CT. EEG patterns, SEP findings and GM/WM ratio (with a specificity of 100%) were, individually and in combination, related to poor outcome (death/unresponsive wakefulness state) at 6-month follow-up, using the cerebral performance categories(CPC).

Results: EEG, SEPs and brain CT were available in 183/273(67%) patients. Bilateral absent/absent-pathologic(AA/AP) cortical SEPs predicted a poor outcome with a sensitivity of 58.5%. A GM/WM ratio <1.21 predicted a poor outcome with a sensitivity of 50.4%. Isoelectric/burst-suppression EEG patterns predicted a poor outcome with a sensitivity of 43%. If at least one of these poor prognostic patterns was present, sensitivity for an ominous outcome increased to 71.5%. If, in the same subject, two poor prognostic patterns were simultaneously present, sensitivity was 48%. If all three poor prognostic patterns were present, sensitivity decreased by up to 23%.

Conclusion: In this population, in which life-sustaining treatments were never suspended, the combination of EEG, SEPs and brain CT improved the sensitivity, maintaining the specificity of poor outcome prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resuscitation.2018.04.016DOI Listing
August 2018

Delayed cerebral fat embolism occurring after off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting.

Cardiol J 2018 ;25(1):155-157

AZIENDA OSPEDALIERO UNIVERSITARIA CAREGGI, LARGO BRAMBILLA 3, 50134 FIRENZE, Italy; IRCCS Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Firenze, Via di Scandicci, Firenze, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.5603/CJ.2018.0015DOI Listing
November 2018

Duplex Sonography of Vertebral Arteries for Evaluation of Patients with Acute Vertigo.

Ultrasound Med Biol 2018 03 21;44(3):584-592. Epub 2017 Dec 21.

Department of Emergency Medicine, Careggi University Hospital, Firenze, Italy.

We evaluated the role of vertebral artery extracranial color-coded duplex sonography (VAECCS) in predicting vertebrobasilar stroke in consecutive patients presenting to the emergency department with vertigo of suspected ischemic origin. The final diagnosis was established by a panel of experts consisting of an emergency physician, a neurologist, and an otoneurologist. Vertebrobasilar stroke was diagnosed when an acute brain ischemic lesion congruent with symptoms was detected by neuroimaging during the index visit or a stroke was diagnosed within a 3-mo period after emergency department presentation. Among 126 patients, 28 (22%) were diagnosed with vertebrobasilar stroke. Fifteen (75%) of 20 patients with abnormal VAECCS results and 13 (12%) of 106 with normal VAECCS results had a final diagnosis of vertebrobasilar stroke. The sensitivity and specificity of VAECCS were 53.6% and 94.9%, respectively. Detecting an abnormal flow pattern at VAECCS significantly increased the risk of vertebrobasilar stroke (odds ratio = 21.5). The flow patterns most frequently related to vertebrobasilar stroke were absence of flow and high resistance pattern velocity (odds ratio = 9.3 and 22.7, respectively). VAECCS predicts vertebrobasilar stroke and could be a useful bedside screening tool in patients with vertigo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2017.11.002DOI Listing
March 2018

Differential Diagnosis of Vertigo in the Emergency Department: A Prospective Validation Study of the STANDING Algorithm.

Front Neurol 2017 7;8:590. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

Department of Emergency Medicine, Ospedale Versilia, Azienda USL Toscana Nord Ovest, Firenze, Italy.

Objective: We investigated the reliability and accuracy of a bedside diagnostic algorithm for patients presenting with vertigo/unsteadiness to the emergency department.

Methods: We enrolled consecutive adult patients presenting with vertigo/unsteadiness at a tertiary hospital. STANDING, the acronym for the four-step algorithm we have previously described, based on nystagmus observation and well-known diagnostic maneuvers includes (1) the discrimination between ponneous and positional nystagmus, (2) the evaluation of the ystagmus irection, (3) the head mpulse test, and (4) the evaluation of equilibrium (stadin). Reliability of each step was analyzed by Fleiss' calculation. The reference standard (central vertigo) was a composite of brain disease including stroke, demyelinating disease, neoplasm, or other brain disease diagnosed by initial imaging or during 3-month follow-up.

Results: Three hundred and fifty-two patients were included. The incidence of central vertigo was 11.4% [95% confidence interval (CI) 8.2-15.2%]. The leading cause was ischemic stroke (70%). The STANDING showed a good reliability (overall Fleiss 0.83), the second step showing the highest (0.95), and the third step the lowest (0.74) agreement. The overall accuracy of the algorithm was 88% (95% CI 85-88%), showing high sensitivity (95%, 95% CI 83-99%) and specificity (87%, 95% CI 85-87%), very high-negative predictive value (99%, 95% CI 97-100%), and a positive predictive value of 48% (95% CI 41-50%) for central vertigo.

Conclusion: Using the STANDING algorithm, non-sub-specialists achieved good reliability and high accuracy in excluding stroke and other threatening causes of vertigo/unsteadiness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2017.00590DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5682038PMC
November 2017

Real-Time Rain Rate Evaluation via Satellite Downlink Signal Attenuation Measurement.

Sensors (Basel) 2017 Aug 12;17(8). Epub 2017 Aug 12.

MBI Srl, Pisa 56121, Italy.

We present the NEFOCAST project (named by the contraction of "Nefele", which is the Italian spelling for the mythological cloud nymph Nephele, and "forecast"), funded by the Tuscany Region, about the feasibility of a system for the detection and monitoring of precipitation fields over the regional territory based on the use of a widespread network of new-generation Eutelsat "SmartLNB" (smart low-noise block converter) domestic terminals. Though primarily intended for interactive satellite services, these devices can also be used as weather sensors, as they have the capability of measuring the rain-induced attenuation incurred by the downlink signal and relaying it on an auxiliary return channel. We illustrate the NEFOCAST system architecture, consisting of the network of ground sensor terminals, the space segment, and the service center, which has the task of processing the information relayed by the terminals for generating rain field maps. We discuss a few methods that allow the conversion of a rain attenuation measurement into an instantaneous rainfall rate. Specifically, we discuss an exponential model relating the specific rain attenuation to the rainfall rate, whose coefficients were obtained from extensive experimental data. The above model permits the inferring of the rainfall rate from the total signal attenuation provided by the SmartLNB and from the link geometry knowledge. Some preliminary results obtained from a SmartLNB installed in Pisa are presented and compared with the output of a conventional tipping bucket rain gauge. It is shown that the NEFOCAST sensor is able to track the fast-varying rainfall rate accurately with no delay, as opposed to a conventional gauge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s17081864DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5580102PMC
August 2017

Is brain computed tomography combined with somatosensory evoked potentials useful in the prediction of brain death after cardiac arrest?

Neurophysiol Clin 2017 Sep 2;47(4):327-335. Epub 2017 Aug 2.

SODc Neurofisiopatologia, Dipartimento Neuromuscolo-Scheletrico e degli Organi di Senso, AOU Careggi, Florence, Italy; IRCCS Istituto di Riabilitazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Florence, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Brain death (BD) in coma after cardiac arrest (CA) is difficult to predict. Basal ganglia gray matter/white matter (GM/WM) ratio density and somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) may differentiate patients evolving toward BD.

Methods: We used SEPs and brain computed tomography (CT) after coma onset, within the first 24hours.

Results: Of the 160 patients included in the study, 22 (14%) evolved toward BD. SEP patterns predicted BD (ROC area=0.82, P<0.0001). The combination of SEP patterns, bilaterally absent (AA) and absent on one hemisphere and pathological on the other (AP), predicted BD with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 62.3%, with a positive likelihood ratio of 2.65. The GM/WM ratio predicted BD (ROC area=0.68, P=0.01). A GM/WM ratio <1.07 had a sensitivity of 30.4%, a specificity of 94.9%, and a positive likelihood ratio of 6.27. The combination of SEP and CT findings did not increase the prediction of BD.

Conclusion: SEPs and brain CT within 24hours predicted BD after CA. Severe SEP findings (SEP patterns: AA, AP) identified a subset of patients in whom BD could occur. Brain CT (GM/WM ratio in basal ganglia) predicted an early evolution toward BD with high specificity but lower sensitivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neucli.2017.07.002DOI Listing
September 2017

Factors shaping community assemblages and species co-occurrence of different trophic levels.

Ecol Evol 2017 07 23;7(13):4745-4754. Epub 2017 May 23.

Biodiversity and Conservation Biology Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL Birmensdorf Switzerland.

Species assemblages are the results of various processes, including dispersion and habitat filtering. Disentangling the effects of these different processes is challenging for statistical analysis, especially when biotic interactions should be considered. In this study, we used plants (producers) and leafhoppers (phytophagous) as model organisms, and we investigated the relative importance of abiotic versus biotic factors that shape community assemblages, and we infer on their biotic interactions by applying three-step statistical analysis. We applied a novel statistical analysis, that is, multiblock Redundancy Analysis (mbRA, step 1) and showed that 51.8% and 54.1% of the overall variation in plant and leafhopper assemblages are, respectively, explained by the two multiblock models. The most important blocks of variables to explain the variations in plant and leafhopper assemblages were local topography and biotic factors. Variation partitioning analysis (step 2) showed that pure abiotic filtering and pure biotic processes were relatively less important than their combinations, suggesting that biotic relationships are strongly structured by abiotic conditions. Pairwise co-occurrence analysis (step 3) on generalist leafhoppers and the most common plants identified 40 segregated species pairs (mainly between plant species) and 16 aggregated pairs (mainly between leafhopper species). Pairwise analysis on specialist leafhoppers and potential host plants clearly revealed aggregated patterns. Plant segregation suggests heterogeneous resource availability and competitive interactions, while leafhopper aggregation suggests host feeding differentiation at the local level, different feeding microhabitats on host plants, and similar environmental requirements of the species. Using the novel mbRA, we disentangle for the first time the relative importance of more than five distinct groups of variables shaping local species communities. We highlighted the important role of abiotic processes mediated by bottom-up effects of plants on leafhopper communities. Our results revealed that in-field structure diversification and trophic interactions are the main factors causing the co-occurrence patterns observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3061DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5496552PMC
July 2017

The common cuckoo is an effective indicator of high bird species richness in Asia and Europe.

Sci Rep 2017 06 29;7(1):4376. Epub 2017 Jun 29.

Institute of Zoology, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 71C, PL-60-625, Poznań, Poland.

Common cuckoo Cuculus canorus is a charismatic bird species with a dominant presence in human culture: from folklore legends to nowadays there is evidence of cuckoos being a prime candidate as a surrogate of bird diversity. Recent studies demonstrated that the cuckoo can predict hotspots of taxonomic diversity and functional diversity of bird communities in European countries. In this study, we demonstrated that the cuckoo is an excellent bioindicator at multi-spatial scale, extending cuckoo surrogacy from Europe to Asia. Even using three different survey methods (transect, square, point counts), comparing the new findings with results of our research in Europe, sites where the cuckoo is present were characterized by greater species richness, while the cuckoo was absent from sites with low species richness. The goodness of fit of models based on point counts ranged between 71 and 92%. Furthermore, the cuckoo population trend mirrors the average population trend and climate suitability of overall bird communities in Europe. The common cuckoo is therefore a suitable intercontinental bioindicator of hotspots of bird richness, even under climate change scenarios or in areas where the species co-occurs with other cuckoo species, opening a new avenue for standardized citizen science on bird biodiversity surveys worldwide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-04794-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5491505PMC
June 2017
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