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    22428 research outputs found

    Evidence of interspecific plasmid uptake by pathogenic strains of Klebsiella isolated from microplastic pollution on public beaches

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    Microplastic beads are becoming a common feature on beaches, and there is increasing evidence that such microplastics can become colonised by potential human pathogens. However, whether the concentrations and pathogenicity of these pathogens pose a public health risk are still unclear. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine realistic environmental concentrations of potential pathogens colonising microplastic beads, and quantify the expression of virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs). Microplastic beads were collected from beaches and a culture-dependent approach was used to determine the concentrations of seven target bacteria (Campylobacter spp.; E. coli; intestinal enterococci; Klebsiella spp.; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Salmonella spp.; Vibrio spp.). All seven target bacteria were detected without the need for a pre-enrichment step; urban sites had higher bacterial concentrations, whilst polymer type had no influence on bacterial concentrations. Klebsiella was the most abundant target bacteria and possessed virulence and ARGs, some of which were present on plasmids from other species, and showed pathogenicity in a Galleria melonella infection model. Our findings demonstrate how pathogen colonised microplastic beads can pose a heightened public health risk at the beach, and highlights the urgency for improved monitoring and enforcement of regulations on the release of microplastics into the environment

    The Iron Curtain and Referee Bias in International Football

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    Using the assignment of referees to European international association football matches played between 2002 and 2016, we ask whether judgments were biased according to the legacy of the Cold War. We find that referees from post-communist states favored teams from non-communist states, but there was no evidence of favoritism in the other direction. This out-group bias of referees born behind the Iron Curtain was statistically significant for relatively less important and more subjective decisions, namely the awarding of yellow cards for foul play. The bias was particularly large among referees from the former Soviet Union. It has also diminished over time, perhaps due to increased professionalism in European refereeing, or because memories of the Cold War era have diminished among active referees

    Diagnosis as a new beginning not an end: A participatory photovoice study on navigating an autism diagnosis in adulthood

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    Autistic people diagnosed in adulthood often report that the experience can be life-changing, but there are issues with the diagnostic pathway. Few studies consider the views of people currently seeking diagnosis or contextualise the experience of diagnosis around developing an autistic identity. In this qualitative participatory study, we explored experiences of navigating an autism diagnosis in adulthood in the UK. We recruited six women (aged 21-46) who were seeking diagnosis, who worked with the academic researchers across four sessions to develop the study, share their experiences and analyse the themes. In one session, they completed a semi-structured interview alongside photovoice, a community-based action method, to explain and reflect on their experiences. We used reflexive thematic analysis to identify patterns, with four key themes identified: 1) "everything shattered", 2) "being seen", 3) "understanding not judgement, please" and 4_) "here's a leaflet, off you go". The themes reflected a desire for change and improved support for both diagnosis and developing autistic identity. Following photovoice methodology, together we identified actions to improve adult diagnosis, including involving autistic people in making improvements to the diagnostic criteria, for key professional and community groups to listen more to autistic people, and for diagnostic support services to be flexible and appreciative of wider neurodivergence and intersectionality.Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Onlin

    Analysing experienced and inexperienced cyclists’ attentional focus and self-regulatory strategies during varying intensities of fixed perceived effort cycling: A mixed method study

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    Using a think aloud approach during fixed perceived effort exercise is a unique method to explore the decisionmaking processes that guide the self-regulation of perceived effort during endurance-based activity. In a two-part study, authors investigated the attentional focus and self-regulatory strategies associated with: Part A - perceived effort corresponding to (RPEGET) and above gas exchange threshold (RPE+15%GET); Part B - between experienced and inexperienced cyclists during fixed perceived effort cycling tasks. Eighteen (15 male, 3 female) healthy, active individuals completed three visits (visit 1 – ramped incremental test and familiarisation, visit 2 and 3–30-min fixed perceived effort cycling). During which, power output, heart rate, lactate, think aloud, and perceptual markers were taken. Random-intercepts linear mixed-effects models assessed the condition, time, and condition × time interactions on all dependent variables. Power output, heart rate, lactate and instances of internal sensory monitoring (t195 = 2.57, p = .011, β = 0.95 [0.23, 1.68]) and self-regulation (t195 = 4.14, p = .001, β = 1.69 [0.89, 2.49]) were significantly higher in the RPE+15%GET versus RPEGET trial. No significant differences between inexperienced and experienced cyclists for internal sensory monitoring (t196 = − 1.78, p = .095, β = − 1.73 [− 3.64, 0.18]) or self-regulatory thoughts (t196 = − 0.39, p = .699, β = − 1.06 [− 6.32, 4.21]) were noted but there were significant condition × time interactions for internal monitoring (t196 = 2.02, p = .045, β = 0.44 [0.01, 0.87]) and self-regulation (t196 = 3.45, p = .001, β = 0.85 [0.37, 1.33]). Seemingly, experienced athletes associatively attended to internal psychophysiological state and subsequently self-regulate their psychophysiological state at earlier stages of exercise than inexperienced athletes. This is the first study to exhibit the differences in attentional focus and self-regulatory strategies that are activated based on perceived effort intensity and experience level in cyclists

    Super-Networks Shaping International Agreements: Comparing the Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons Arenas

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    While research on transnational advocacy networks (TANs) is well established in international relations, knowledge gaps remain concerning TAN collaboration across policy fields. To address this gap, this article highlights how super-networks (networks above individual TANs) emerge across issue areas and explores the tactics utilized to achieve their objectives and shape international agreements. We develop an analytical framework that emphasizes the important interplay between political opportunity structures, mobilizing structures, and tactics in understanding how super-networks operate. We apply this framework via a comparative case study approach, analyzing the Inter-Constituency Alliance, whose advocacy brought about the inclusion of human rights language in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, whose activities based on humanitarian principles resulted in the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Contributing new knowledge to TANs research, we identify that super-networks utilize multilevel advocacy activities that draw upon a package approach tactic. Via the package approach, super-networks synthesize multiple voices from different issue areas into one key message grounded in humanitarian framing, thereby enhancing their moral leverage and legitimacy, making it more difficult for states to neglect their concerns.Andrea Schapper is a Professor of International Politics at the University of Stirling, UK. Her research focuses on new forms of transnational advocacy and institutional interaction at the intersection of human rights, the environment, and sustainable development. Megan Dee is a Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Stirling, UK. Her research focuses on the role and performance of state and non-state actor networks and coalitions within multilateral negotiations, specializing in nuclear disarmament negotiations. Authors' note : This work was supported by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE Reference Number: 1722, project: SuperSustainable). The authors would like to thank the reviewers for their constructive feedback, thoughtful comments, and helpful suggestions, along with Thomas Hickmann, Nina Reiners, Domenico Carolei, and the participants of the History, Heritage, and Politics research seminar at the University of Stirling for commenting on earlier versions of this article. We would also like to thank all of our interviewees, whose comments have made such an important contribution to this study

    Dietary LC-PUFA and environmental salinity modulate the fatty acid biosynthesis capacity of the euryhaline teleost thicklip grey mullet (Chelon labrosus)

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    The capacity to biosynthesise long-chain (≥C20) polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) depends upon the complement and function of key enzymes commonly known as fatty acyl desaturases and elongases. The presence of a Δ5/Δ6 desaturase enabling the biosynthesis of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3, DHA) through the “Sprecher pathway” has been reported in Chelon labrosus. Research in other teleosts have demonstrated that LC-PUFA biosynthesis can be modulated by diet and ambient salinity. The present study aimed to assess the combined effects of partial dietary replacement of fish oil (FO) by vegetable oil (VO) and reduced ambient salinity (35 ppt vs 20 ppt) on the fatty acid composition of muscle, enterocytes and hepatocytes of C. labrosus juveniles. Moreover, the enzymatic activity over radiolabelled [1-14C] 18:3n-3 (α-linolenic acid, ALA) and [1-14C] 20:5n-3 (eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA) to biosynthesise n-3 LC-PUFA in hepatocytes and enterocytes, and the gene regulation of the C. labrosus fatty acid desaturase-2 (fads2) and elongation of very long chain fatty acids protein 5 (elovl5) in liver and intestine was also investigated. Recovery of radiolabelled products including stearidonic acid (18:4n-3, SDA), 20:5n-3, tetracosahexaenoic acid (24:6n-3, THA) and 22:6n-3 in all treatments except FO35-fish, provided compelling evidence that a complete pathway enabling the biosynthesis of EPA and DHA from ALA is present and active in C. labrosus. Low salinity conditions upregulated fads2 in hepatocytes and elovl5 in both cell types, regardless of dietary composition. Interestingly, FO20-fish showed the highest amount of n-3 LC-PUFA in muscle, while no differences in VO-fish reared at both salinities were found. These results demonstrate a compensatory capacity of C. labrosus to biosynthesise n-3 LC-PUFA under reduced dietary supply, and emphasise the potential of low salinity conditions to stimulate this pathway in euryhaline fish

    Performance-related Pay: Mental and Physiological Health

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    Much of the literature on performance-related pay (PRP) and poor health relies on self reported data, and the relationship is difficult to examine due to confounding variables. We examine the relationship between PRP and three groups of health measures using data from the UKHLS: blood pressure, inflammation markers in blood and self-reported health. Regressions correcting for self-selection bias and socio-demographic covariates find that PRP contracts are associated with poorer mental health, higher systolic blood pressure and higher levels of fibrinogen. These findings suggest that firms that use PRP may need to implement policies to mitigate against PRP-related stress

    Stereotypes bias social class perception from faces: The roles of race, gender, affect, and attractiveness.

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    People quickly form consequential impressions of others’ social class standing from nonverbal cues, including facial appearance. Extant research shows that perceivers judge faces that appear more positive, attractive, and healthy as higher-class, in line with stereotypes associating high class standing with happiness, attractiveness, and better wellbeing (which bear a kernel of truth). A wealth of research moreover demonstrates strong stereotypical associations between social class and both race and gender. The current work bridged these areas of inquiry to explore (1) intersectional biases in social class impressions from faces and (2) how associations between social class and attractiveness/health and affect can be used to shift social class impressions. Our studies found evidence of race and gender stereotypes impacting British perceivers’ social class judgments, with Black (vs. White and Asian) and female (vs. male) faces judged as lower in class. Furthermore, manipulating faces’ emotion expression shifted judgments of their social class, with variations in magnitude by faces’ race, such that emotion expressions shifted judgments of Black faces more than White faces. Finally, manipulating faces’ complexion to appear healthier/more attractive shifted social class judgments, with the magnitude of this varying by faces’ and perceivers’ race, suggesting a role of perceptual expertise. These findings demonstrate that stereotypes bias social class impressions and can be used to manipulate them.Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Onlin

    Enduring pathogenicity of African strains of Salmonella on plastics and glass in simulated peri-urban environmental waste piles

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    In low- and middle-income countries, plastic has become a major constituent of landfills and urban dump sites. Environmental plastic pollution can also provide a novel surface for the formation of microbial biofilm, which often includes pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Here, under conditions simulating a peri-urban waste pile typical of an African informal settlement, we aimed to determine if pathogenic Salmonella spp. can retain their virulence following a prolonged period of desiccation on the surfaces of environmental plastic and glass. We show that clinically (and environmentally) relevant strains of Salmonella including S. Enteritidis, S. Typhimurium and S. Typhi can persist on plastic and glass for at least 28-days and that temperature (which increases with the depth of an urban waste pile) is a key determinant of this survival. All three strains of Salmonella retained their pathogenicity (determined by using a Galleria mellonella model of infection) following their recovery from the plastisphere indicating that plastics in the environment can act as reservoirs for human pathogens and could facilitate their persistence for extended periods of time. Pathogens colonising environmental plastic waste therefore pose a heightened public health risk, particularly in areas where people are frequently exposed to plastic pollution

    Growing smaller fish for inclusive markets? Increasing stocking density and shortening the production cycle of Nile tilapia in cages on Lake Victoria

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    Fish farmers aim to maximise fish weight relative to the feed inputs needed to turn a profit. Yet, many farmers in Africa lack the cash flow to grow large fish and many consumers prefer, or are limited to purchasing, small fish. This study aimed to intentionally produce small tilapia in cages by assessing the effects of higher stocking densities and shorter growth cycles on production and financial efficiency. An experiment with 3 treatments and 6 replicates took place on Lake Victoria. The first treatment (T1) used a stocking density of 2.9 ± 0.3 kg per m−3 and aimed to produce fish to an average body weight (ABW) of 400 g (final ABW = 500.33 ± 31.01 g after 138 days). Treatment two (T2) did the same but with double the stocking density (5.9 ± 0.3 kg per m−3), resulting in a final ABW of 439.22 ± 22.22 g over 138 days. The third treatment (T3) partially harvested 50% of the cage (after 76 days) once reaching an ABW of 230.92 ± 22.55 g. The remaining fish in T3 were on-grown for a total of 138 days (final ABW = 499.86 ± 15.95 g). A fourth production scenario (M1) based on data from T3, modelled a 100% harvest after 76 days of culture. There were no significant differences in mortality between treatments. There were no statistical differences in the feed conversion ratio (FCR) between T1 (1.51 ± 0.03) and T2 (1.49 ± 0.02), though T3 was statistically lower (1.46 ± 0.02; p = 0.03). Cages in T1 had a higher proportion of fish between 400 and 599 g while fish in T2 were mostly between 300 and 499 g. T3 had a bimodal distribution with most fish either in 200–299 g or 400–499 g. There was little effect on average price per kg for T1 (3.0 ± 0.01 USD) and T2 (2.98 ± 0.01 USD), though T3 (2.89 ± 0.04 USD) was significantly lower (p = 0.001). Overall, T2 had significantly higher gross margins (17% ± 2.08) than T1 (13% ± 2.3, p = 0.021) and T3 (7.2% ± 2.43, p = 0.001), while M1 had the lowest gross margins (−11.8% ± 5.5). The results suggest that farmers can increase stocking densities. Some farmers can use partial harvesting strategies or shorter cycles to produce small tilapia and achieve faster cash flows, though the economic margins are lower. Such approaches can provide opportunities for poorer farmers and consumers


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