436 research outputs found

    Diagnostic relevance of spatial orientation for vascular dementia: A case study

    Get PDF
    Background: Spatial orientation is emerging as an early and reliable cognitive biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathophysiology. However, no evidence exists as to whether spatial orientation is also affected in vascular dementia (VaD). Objective: To examine allocentric (map-based) and egocentric (viewpoint-based) spatial orientation in an early stage VaD case. Methods: A spatial test battery was administered following clinical and neuropsychological cognitive evaluation. Results: Despite the patient’s complaints, little evidence of episodic memory deficits were detected when cueing was provided to overcome executive dysfunction. Similarly, medial temporal lobe-mediated allocentric orientation was intact. By contrast, medial parietal-mediated egocentric orientation was impaired, despite normal performance on standard visuospatial tasks. Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first in-depth investigation of spatial orientation deficits in VaD. Isolated egocentric deficits were observed. This differs from AD orientation deficits which encompass both allocentric and egocentric orientation deficits. A combination of egocentric orientation and executive function tests could serve as a promising cognitive marker for VaD pathophysiology

    Societal Learning in Epidemics: Intervention Effectiveness during the 2003 SARS Outbreak in Singapore

    Get PDF
    BACKGROUND: Rapid response to outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases is impeded by uncertain diagnoses and delayed communication. Understanding the effect of inefficient response is a potentially important contribution of epidemic theory. To develop this understanding we studied societal learning during emerging outbreaks wherein patient removal accelerates as information is gathered and disseminated. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We developed an extension of a standard outbreak model, the simple stochastic epidemic, which accounts for societal learning. We obtained expressions for the expected outbreak size and the distribution of epidemic duration. We found that rapid learning noticeably affects the final outbreak size even when learning exhibits diminishing returns (relaxation). As an example, we estimated the learning rate for the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Singapore. Evidence for relaxation during the first eight weeks of the outbreak was inconclusive. We estimated that if societal learning had occurred at half the actual rate, the expected final size of the outbreak would have reached nearly 800 cases, more than three times the observed number of infections. By contrast, the expected outbreak size for societal learning twice as effective was 116 cases. CONCLUSION: These results show that the rate of societal learning can greatly affect the final size of disease outbreaks, justifying investment in early warning systems and attentiveness to disease outbreak by both government authorities and the public. We submit that the burden of emerging infections, including the risk of a global pandemic, could be efficiently reduced by improving procedures for rapid detection of outbreaks, alerting public health officials, and aggressively educating the public at the start of an outbreak

    X-ray emission from the Sombrero galaxy: discrete sources

    Get PDF
    We present a study of discrete X-ray sources in and around the bulge-dominated, massive Sa galaxy, Sombrero (M104), based on new and archival Chandra observations with a total exposure of ~200 ks. With a detection limit of L_X = 1E37 erg/s and a field of view covering a galactocentric radius of ~30 kpc (11.5 arcminute), 383 sources are detected. Cross-correlation with Spitler et al.'s catalogue of Sombrero globular clusters (GCs) identified from HST/ACS observations reveals 41 X-rays sources in GCs, presumably low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs). We quantify the differential luminosity functions (LFs) for both the detected GC and field LMXBs, whose power-low indices (~1.1 for the GC-LF and ~1.6 for field-LF) are consistent with previous studies for elliptical galaxies. With precise sky positions of the GCs without a detected X-ray source, we further quantify, through a fluctuation analysis, the GC LF at fainter luminosities down to 1E35 erg/s. The derived index rules out a faint-end slope flatter than 1.1 at a 2 sigma significance, contrary to recent findings in several elliptical galaxies and the bulge of M31. On the other hand, the 2-6 keV unresolved emission places a tight constraint on the field LF, implying a flattened index of ~1.0 below 1E37 erg/s. We also detect 101 sources in the halo of Sombrero. The presence of these sources cannot be interpreted as galactic LMXBs whose spatial distribution empirically follows the starlight. Their number is also higher than the expected number of cosmic AGNs (52+/-11 [1 sigma]) whose surface density is constrained by deep X-ray surveys. We suggest that either the cosmic X-ray background is unusually high in the direction of Sombrero, or a distinct population of X-ray sources is present in the halo of Sombrero.Comment: 11 figures, 5 tables, ApJ in pres

    Silicon uptake by a pasture grass experiencing simulated grazing is greatest under elevated precipitation

    Get PDF
    Background Grasses are hyper-accumulators of silicon (Si) and often up-regulate Si following herbivory. Positive correlations exist between Si and plant water content, yet the extent to which Si uptake responses can be mediated by changes in soil water availability has rarely been studied and never, to our knowledge, under field conditions. We used field-based rain-exclusion shelters to investigate how simulated grazing (shoot clipping) and altered rainfall patterns (drought and elevated precipitation, representing 50% and 150% of ambient precipitation levels, respectively) affected initial patterns of root- and shoot-Si uptake in a native Australian grass (Microlaena stipoides) in Si-supplemented and untreated soils. Results Si supplementation increased soil water retention under ambient and elevated precipitation but not under drought, although this had little effect on Si uptake and growth (tiller numbers or root biomass) of M. stipoides. Changes in rainfall patterns and clipping had strong individual effects on plant growth and Si uptake and storage, whereby clipping increased Si uptake by M. stipoides under all rainfall treatments but to the greatest extent under elevated precipitation. Moreover, above-ground–below-ground Si distribution only changed following elevated precipitation by decreasing the ratio of root:shoot Si concentrations. Conclusions Results highlight the importance of soil water availability for Si uptake and suggest a role for both active and passive Si transport mechanisms. Such manipulative field studies may provide a more realistic insight into how grasses initially respond to herbivory in terms of Si-based defence under different environmental conditions

    Impaired Representation of Geometric Relationships in Humans with Damage to the Hippocampal Formation

    Get PDF
    The pivotal role of the hippocampus for spatial memory is well-established. However, while neurophysiological and imaging studies suggest a specialization of the hippocampus for viewpoint-independent or allocentric memory, results from human lesion studies have been less conclusive. It is currently unclear whether disproportionate impairment in allocentric memory tasks reflects impairment of cognitive functions that are not sufficiently supported by regions outside the medial temporal lobe or whether the deficits observed in some studies are due to experimental factors. Here, we have investigated whether hippocampal contributions to spatial memory depend on the spatial references that are available in a certain behavioral context. Patients with medial temporal lobe lesions affecting systematically the right hippocampal formation performed a series of three oculomotor tasks that required memory of a spatial cue either in retinal coordinates or relative to a single environmental reference across a delay of 5000 ms. Stimulus displays varied the availability of spatial references and contained no complex visuo-spatial associations. Patients showed a selective impairment in a condition that critically depended on memory of the geometric relationship between spatial cue and environmental reference. We infer that regions of the medial temporal lobe, most likely the hippocampal formation, contribute to behavior in conditions that exceed the potential of viewpoint-dependent or egocentric representations. Apparently, this already applies to short-term memory of simple geometric relationships and does not necessarily depend on task difficulty or integration of landmarks into more complex representations. Deficient memory of basic geometric relationships may represent a core deficit that contributes to impaired performance in allocentric spatial memory tasks

    Changes in neuronal activation patterns in response to androgen deprivation therapy: a pilot study

    Get PDF
    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>A common treatment option for men with prostate cancer is androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). However, men undergoing ADT may experience physical side effects, changes in quality of life and sometimes psychiatric and cognitive side effects.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>In this study, hormone naïve patients without evidence of metastases with a rising PSA were treated with nine months of ADT. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain during three visuospatial tasks was performed at baseline prior to treatment and after nine months of ADT in five subjects. Seven healthy control patients, underwent neuroimaging at the same time intervals.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>ADT patients showed reduced, task-related BOLD-fMRI activation during treatment that was not observed in control subjects. Reduction in activation in right parietal-occipital regions from baseline was observed during recall of the spatial location of objects and mental rotation.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>Findings, while preliminary, suggest that ADT reduces task-related neural activation in brain regions that are involved in mental rotation and accurate recall of spatial information.</p

    Assessment of optimal strategies in a two-patch dengue transmission model with seasonality

    Get PDF
    Emerging and re-emerging dengue fever has posed serious problems to public health officials in many tropical and subtropical countries. Continuous traveling in seasonally varying areas makes it more difficult to control the spread of dengue fever. In this work, we consider a two-patch dengue model that can capture the movement of host individuals between and within patches using a residence-time matrix. A previous two-patch dengue model without seasonality is extended by adding host demographics and seasonal forcing in the transmission rates. We investigate the effects of human movement and seasonality on the two-patch dengue transmission dynamics. Motivated by the recent Peruvian dengue data in jungle/rural areas and coast/urban areas, our model mimics the seasonal patterns of dengue outbreaks in two patches. The roles of seasonality and residence-time configurations are highlighted in terms of the seasonal reproduction number and cumulative incidence. Moreover, optimal control theory is employed to identify and evaluate patch-specific control measures aimed at reducing dengue prevalence in the presence of seasonality. Our findings demonstrate that optimal patch-specific control strategies are sensitive to seasonality and residence-time scenarios. Targeting only the jungle (or endemic) is as effective as controlling both patches under weak coupling or symmetric mobility. However, focusing on intervention for the city (or high density areas) turns out to be optimal when two patches are strongly coupled with asymmetric mobility.ope

    Dissection of QTL effects for root traits using a chromosome arm-specific mapping population in bread wheat

    Get PDF
    A high-resolution chromosome arm-specific mapping population was used in an attempt to locate/detect gene(s)/QTL for different root traits on the short arm of rye chromosome 1 (1RS) in bread wheat. This population consisted of induced homoeologous recombinants of 1RS with 1BS, each originating from a different crossover event and distinct from all other recombinants in the proportions of rye and wheat chromatin present. It provides a simple and powerful approach to detect even small QTL effects using fewer progeny. A promising empirical Bayes method was applied to estimate additive and epistatic effects for all possible marker pairs simultaneously in a single model. This method has an advantage for QTL analysis in minimizing the error variance and detecting interaction effects between loci with no main effect. A total of 15 QTL effects, 6 additive and 9 epistatic, were detected for different traits of root length and root weight in 1RS wheat. Epistatic interactions were further partitioned into inter-genomic (wheat and rye alleles) and intra-genomic (rye–rye or wheat–wheat alleles) interactions affecting various root traits. Four common regions were identified involving all the QTL for root traits. Two regions carried QTL for almost all the root traits and were responsible for all the epistatic interactions. Evidence for inter-genomic interactions is provided. Comparison of mean values supported the QTL detection
    corecore