1,296 research outputs found

    El Niño Driven Changes in Global Fire 2015/16

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    This is the final version. Available on open access from Frontiers Media via the DOI in this recordData Availability Statement: The JULES code used in these experiments is freely available on the JULES trunk from version 5.4 onward. The rose suite used for these experiments is u-bh074. Both the suite and the JULES code are available on the JULES FCM repository: https://code.metoffice.gov.uk/trac/jules (registration required). The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation, to any qualified researcher upon request.El Niño years are characterized by a high sea surface temperature anomaly in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, which leads to unusually warm and dry conditions over many fire-prone regions globally. This can lead to an increase in burned area and emissions from fire activity, and socio-economic, and environmental losses. Previous studies using satellite observations to assess the impacts of the recent 2015/16 El Niño found an increase in burned area in some regions compared to La Niña years. Here, we use the dynamic land surface model JULES to assess how conditions differed as a result of the El Niño by comparing simulations driven by observations from the year 2015/16 with mean climatological drivers of temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, air pressure, and short and long-wave radiation. We use JULES with the interactive fire module INFERNO to assess the effects on precipitation, temperature, burned area, and the associated impacts on the carbon sink globally and for three regions: South America, Africa, and Asia. We find that the model projects a variable response in precipitation, with some areas including northern South America, southern Africa and East Asia getting drier, and most areas globally seeing an increase in temperature. As a result, higher burned area is simulated with El Niño conditions in most regions, although there are areas of both increased and decreased burned area over Africa. South America shows the largest fire response with El Niño, with a 13% increase in burned area and emitted carbon, corresponding with the largest decrease in carbon uptake. Within South America, peak fire occurs from August to October across central-southern Brazil, and temperature is shown to be the main driver of the El Niño-induced increase in burned area during this period. Combined, our results indicate that although 2015/16 was not a peak year for global total burned area or fire emissions, the El Niño led to an overall increase of 4% in burned area and 5% in emissions compared to a “No El Niño” scenario for 2015/16, and contributed to a 4% reduction in the terrestrial carbon sink.Newton FundNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq)Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI

    Recognizing thyrotoxicosis in a patient with bipolar mania: a case report

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>A thyroid stimulating hormone level is commonly measured in patients presenting with symptoms of mania in order to rule out an underlying general medical condition such as hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis. Indeed, many cases have been reported in which a patient is initially treated for bipolar mania, but is later found to have a thyroid condition. Several case reports have noted the development of a thyroid condition in bipolar patients either on lithium maintenance treatment or recently on lithium treatment.</p> <p>Case presentation</p> <p>We review a case in which a patient with a long history of bipolar disorder presents with comorbid hyperthyroidism and bipolar mania after recent discontinuation of lithium treatment.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Physicians should consider a comorbid hyperthyroidism in bipolar manic patients only partially responsive to standard care treatment with a mood stabilizer and antipsychotic.</p

    Using item response theory to explore the psychometric properties of extended matching questions examination in undergraduate medical education

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    BACKGROUND: As assessment has been shown to direct learning, it is critical that the examinations developed to test clinical competence in medical undergraduates are valid and reliable. The use of extended matching questions (EMQ) has been advocated to overcome some of the criticisms of using multiple-choice questions to test factual and applied knowledge. METHODS: We analysed the results from the Extended Matching Questions Examination taken by 4th year undergraduate medical students in the academic year 2001 to 2002. Rasch analysis was used to examine whether the set of questions used in the examination mapped on to a unidimensional scale, the degree of difficulty of questions within and between the various medical and surgical specialties and the pattern of responses within individual questions to assess the impact of the distractor options. RESULTS: Analysis of a subset of items and of the full examination demonstrated internal construct validity and the absence of bias on the majority of questions. Three main patterns of response selection were identified. CONCLUSION: Modern psychometric methods based upon the work of Rasch provide a useful approach to the calibration and analysis of EMQ undergraduate medical assessments. The approach allows for a formal test of the unidimensionality of the questions and thus the validity of the summed score. Given the metric calibration which follows fit to the model, it also allows for the establishment of items banks to facilitate continuity and equity in exam standards

    Cellulose acetate phthalate, a common pharmaceutical excipient, inactivates HIV-1 and blocks the coreceptor binding site on the virus envelope glycoprotein gp120

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    BACKGROUND: Cellulose acetate phthalate (CAP), a pharmaceutical excipient used for enteric film coating of capsules and tablets, was shown to inhibit infection by the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and several herpesviruses. CAP formulations inactivated HIV-1, herpesvirus types 1 (HSV-1) and 2 (HSV-2) and the major nonviral sexually transmitted disease (STD) pathogens and were effective in animal models for vaginal infection by HSV-2 and simian immunodeficiency virus. METHODS: Enzyme-linked immunoassays and flow cytometry were used to demonstrate CAP binding to HIV-1 and to define the binding site on the virus envelope. RESULTS: 1) CAP binds to HIV-1 virus particles and to the envelope glycoprotein gp120; 2) this leads to blockade of the gp120 V3 loop and other gp120 sites resulting in diminished reactivity with HIV-1 coreceptors CXCR4 and CCR5; 3) CAP binding to HIV-1 virions impairs their infectivity; 4) these findings apply to both HIV-1 IIIB, an X4 virus, and HIV-1 BaL, an R5 virus. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide support for consideration of CAP as a topical microbicide of choice for prevention of STDs, including HIV-1 infection

    Do intoxicated witnesses produce poor facial composite images?

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    The effect of alcohol intoxication on witness memory and performance has been the subject of research for some time, however, whether intoxication affects facial composite construction has not been investigated. Intoxication was predicted to adversely affect facial composite construction. Thirty-two participants were allocated to one of four beverage conditions consisting of factorial combinations of alcohol or placebo at face encoding, and later construction. Participants viewed a video of a target person and constructed a composite of this target the following day. The resulting images were presented as a full face composite, or a part face consisting of either internal or external facial features to a second sample of participants who provided likeness ratings as a measure of facial composite quality. Intoxication at face encoding had a detrimental impact on the quality of facial composites produced the following day, suggesting that alcohol impaired the encoding of the target faces. The common finding that external compared to internal features are more accurately represented was demonstrated, even following alcohol at encoding. This finding was moderated by alcohol and target face gender such that alcohol at face encoding resulted in reduced likeness of external features for male composite faces only. Moderate alcohol intoxication impairs the quality of facial composites, adding to existing literature demonstrating little effect of alcohol on line-up studies. The impact of intoxication on face perception mechanisms, and the apparent narrowing of processing to external face areas such as hair, is discussed in the context of alcohol myopia theory

    Treatment of an Intramammary Bacterial Infection with 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3

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    Deficiency of serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 has been correlated with increased risk of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and influenza. A plausible reason for this association is that expression of genes encoding important antimicrobial proteins depends on concentrations of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 produced by activated immune cells at sites of infection, and that synthesis of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is dependent on the availability of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. Thus, increasing the availability of 25(OH)D3 for immune cell synthesis of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 at sites of infection has been hypothesized to aid in clearance of the infection. This report details the treatment of an acute intramammary infection with infusion of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 to the site of infection. Ten lactating cows were infected with in one quarter of their mammary glands. Half of the animals were treated intramammary with 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. The 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 treated animal showed significantly lower bacterial counts in milk and showed reduced symptomatic affects of the mastitis. It is significant that treatment with 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 reduced the severity of an acute bacterial infection. This finding suggested a significant non-antibiotic complimentary role for 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in the treatment of infections in compartments naturally low in 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 such as the mammary gland and by extension, possibly upper respiratory tract infections

    The Global Burden of Trachoma: A Review

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    Trachoma is the commonest infectious cause of blindness worldwide. Recurrent infection of the ocular surface by Chlamydia trachomatis, the causative agent, leads to inturning of the eyelashes (trichiasis) and blinding corneal opacification. Trachoma is endemic in more than 50 countries. It is currently estimated that there are about 1.3 million people blind from the disease and a further 8.2 million have trichiasis. Several estimates for the burden of disease from trachoma have been made, giving quite variable results. The variation is partly because different prevalence data have been used and partly because different sequelae have been included. The most recent estimate from the WHO placed it at around 1.3 million Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). A key issue in producing a reliable estimate of the global burden of trachoma is the limited amount of reliable survey data from endemic regions

    Neglected Tropical Diseases, Neglected Data Sources, and Neglected Issues

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    BACKGROUND: Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a so-called neglected tropical disease, currently overshadowed by higher-profile efforts to address malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. Despite recent successes in arresting transmission, some 40 million people who already have the disease have been largely neglected. This study aims to increase understanding of how this vulnerable, neglected group can be helped. METHODS: We used purposive sampling to select 60 men and women with filarial lymphoedema (45 with filarial elephantiasis and 15 men with filarial hydrocoele) from the south of Sri Lanka in 2004-2005. Participants were selected to give a balance of men and women and poor and nonpoor, and a range of stages of the disease. Participants' experiences and the consequences of their disease for the household were explored with in-depth qualitative, semistructured interviews. FINDINGS: LF was extremely debilitating to participants over long periods of time. The stigma attached to the condition caused social isolation and emotional distress, and delayed diagnosis and treatment, resulting in undue advancement of the disease. Free treatment services at government clinics were avoided because the participants' condition would be identifiable in public. Loss of income due to the condition was reported by all households in the sample, not just the poorest. Households that were already on low incomes were pushed into near destitution, from which it was almost impossible to escape. Affected members of low-income households also had less opportunity to obtain appropriate treatment from distant clinics, and had living and working conditions that made hygiene and compliance difficult. SIGNIFICANCE: This highly vulnerable category of patients has low visibility, thus becoming marginalized and forgotten. With an estimated 300,000 total cases of elephantiasis and/or oedema in Sri Lanka, and around 300,000 men with filarial hydrocoele, the affected households will need help and support for many years to come. These individuals should be specially targeted for identification, outreach, and care. The global strategy for elimination is aimed at the cessation of transmission, but there will remain some 40 million individuals with clinical manifestations whose needs and problems are illustrated in this study

    HABITAT: A longitudinal multilevel study of physical activity change in mid-aged adults

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    Purpose. To explore the role of the neighborhood environment in supporting walking Design. Cross sectional study of 10,286 residents of 200 neighborhoods. Participants were selected using a stratified two-stage cluster design. Data were collected by mail survey (68.5% response rate). Setting. The Brisbane City Local Government Area, Australia, 2007. Subjects. Brisbane residents aged 40 to 65 years. Measures. Environmental: street connectivity, residential density, hilliness, tree coverage, bikeways, and street lights within a one kilometer circular buffer from each resident’s home; and network distance to nearest river or coast, public transport, shop, and park. Walking: minutes in the previous week categorized as < 30 minutes, ≥ 30 < 90 minutes, ≥ 90 < 150 minutes, ≥ 150 < 300 minutes, and ≥ 300 minutes. Analysis. The association between each neighborhood characteristic and walking was examined using multilevel multinomial logistic regression and the model parameters were estimated using Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation. Results. After adjustment for individual factors, the likelihood of walking for more than 300 minutes (relative to <30 minutes) was highest in areas with the most connectivity (OR=1.93, 99% CI 1.32-2.80), the greatest residential density (OR=1.47, 99% CI 1.02-2.12), the least tree coverage (OR=1.69, 99% CI 1.13-2.51), the most bikeways (OR=1.60, 99% CI 1.16-2.21), and the most street lights (OR=1.50, 99% CI 1.07-2.11). The likelihood of walking for more than 300 minutes was also higher among those who lived closest to a river or the coast (OR=2.06, 99% CI 1.41-3.02). Conclusion. The likelihood of meeting (and exceeding) physical activity recommendations on the basis of walking was higher in neighborhoods with greater street connectivity and residential density, more street lights and bikeways, closer proximity to waterways, and less tree coverage. Interventions targeting these neighborhood characteristics may lead to improved environmental quality as well as lower rates of overweight and obesity and associated chromic disease
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