4,669 research outputs found

    Tropical field stations yield high conservation return on investment

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    Conservation funding is currently limited; cost-effective conservation solutions are essential. We suggest that the thousands of field stations worldwide can play key roles at the frontline of biodiversity conservation and have high intrinsic value. We assessed field stations’ conservation return on investment and explored the impact of COVID-19. We surveyed leaders of field stations across tropical regions that host primate research; 157 field stations in 56 countries responded. Respondents reported improved habitat quality and reduced hunting rates at over 80% of field stations and lower operational costs per km2 than protected areas, yet half of those surveyed have less funding now than in 2019. Spatial analyses support field station presence as reducing deforestation. These ‘earth observatories’ provide a high return on investment; we advocate for increased support of field station programs and for governments to support their vital conservation efforts by investing accordingly

    Accelarated immune ageing is associated with COVID-19 disease severity

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    Background The striking increase in COVID-19 severity in older adults provides a clear example of immunesenescence, the age-related remodelling of the immune system. To better characterise the association between convalescent immunesenescence and acute disease severity, we determined the immune phenotype of COVID-19 survivors and non-infected controls. Results We performed detailed immune phenotyping of peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from 103 COVID-19 survivors 3–5 months post recovery who were classified as having had severe (n = 56; age 53.12 ± 11.30 years), moderate (n = 32; age 52.28 ± 11.43 years) or mild (n = 15; age 49.67 ± 7.30 years) disease and compared with age and sex-matched healthy adults (n = 59; age 50.49 ± 10.68 years). We assessed a broad range of immune cell phenotypes to generate a composite score, IMM-AGE, to determine the degree of immune senescence. We found increased immunesenescence features in severe COVID-19 survivors compared to controls including: a reduced frequency and number of naïve CD4 and CD8 T cells (p < 0.0001); increased frequency of EMRA CD4 (p < 0.003) and CD8 T cells (p < 0.001); a higher frequency (p < 0.0001) and absolute numbers (p < 0.001) of CD28−ve CD57+ve senescent CD4 and CD8 T cells; higher frequency (p < 0.003) and absolute numbers (p < 0.02) of PD-1 expressing exhausted CD8 T cells; a two-fold increase in Th17 polarisation (p < 0.0001); higher frequency of memory B cells (p < 0.001) and increased frequency (p < 0.0001) and numbers (p < 0.001) of CD57+ve senescent NK cells. As a result, the IMM-AGE score was significantly higher in severe COVID-19 survivors than in controls (p < 0.001). Few differences were seen for those with moderate disease and none for mild disease. Regression analysis revealed the only pre-existing variable influencing the IMM-AGE score was South Asian ethnicity ( = 0.174, p = 0.043), with a major influence being disease severity ( = 0.188, p = 0.01). Conclusions Our analyses reveal a state of enhanced immune ageing in survivors of severe COVID-19 and suggest this could be related to SARS-Cov-2 infection. Our data support the rationale for trials of anti-immune ageing interventions for improving clinical outcomes in these patients with severe disease

    Investigation of hospital discharge cases and SARS-CoV-2 introduction into Lothian care homes

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    Background The first epidemic wave of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Scotland resulted in high case numbers and mortality in care homes. In Lothian, over one-third of care homes reported an outbreak, while there was limited testing of hospital patients discharged to care homes. Aim To investigate patients discharged from hospitals as a source of SARS-CoV-2 introduction into care homes during the first epidemic wave. Methods A clinical review was performed for all patients discharges from hospitals to care homes from 1st March 2020 to 31st May 2020. Episodes were ruled out based on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test history, clinical assessment at discharge, whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data and an infectious period of 14 days. Clinical samples were processed for WGS, and consensus genomes generated were used for analysis using Cluster Investigation and Virus Epidemiological Tool software. Patient timelines were obtained using electronic hospital records. Findings In total, 787 patients discharged from hospitals to care homes were identified. Of these, 776 (99%) were ruled out for subsequent introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into care homes. However, for 10 episodes, the results were inconclusive as there was low genomic diversity in consensus genomes or no sequencing data were available. Only one discharge episode had a genomic, time and location link to positive cases during hospital admission, leading to 10 positive cases in their care home. Conclusion The majority of patients discharged from hospitals were ruled out for introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into care homes, highlighting the importance of screening all new admissions when faced with a novel emerging virus and no available vaccine

    Para-infectious brain injury in COVID-19 persists at follow-up despite attenuated cytokine and autoantibody responses

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    To understand neurological complications of COVID-19 better both acutely and for recovery, we measured markers of brain injury, inflammatory mediators, and autoantibodies in 203 hospitalised participants; 111 with acute sera (1–11 days post-admission) and 92 convalescent sera (56 with COVID-19-associated neurological diagnoses). Here we show that compared to 60 uninfected controls, tTau, GFAP, NfL, and UCH-L1 are increased with COVID-19 infection at acute timepoints and NfL and GFAP are significantly higher in participants with neurological complications. Inflammatory mediators (IL-6, IL-12p40, HGF, M-CSF, CCL2, and IL-1RA) are associated with both altered consciousness and markers of brain injury. Autoantibodies are more common in COVID-19 than controls and some (including against MYL7, UCH-L1, and GRIN3B) are more frequent with altered consciousness. Additionally, convalescent participants with neurological complications show elevated GFAP and NfL, unrelated to attenuated systemic inflammatory mediators and to autoantibody responses. Overall, neurological complications of COVID-19 are associated with evidence of neuroglial injury in both acute and late disease and these correlate with dysregulated innate and adaptive immune responses acutely

    Full MARC Examples to Accompany OLAC Best Practices for Cataloging DVD-Video and Blu- ray Discs, Objects, Streaming Media, and Video Games Using the Original RDA Toolkit and MARC 21

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    Examples of MARC 21 catalog records to accompany the OLAC Best Practices for Cataloging DVD-Video and Blu-ray Discs, Objects, Streaming Media, and Video Games Using the Original RDA Toolkit and MARC 21

    Heterogeneous sensor data fusion for multiscale, shape agnostic flaw detection in laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing

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    We developed and applied a novel approach for shape agnostic detection of multiscale flaws in laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) additive manufacturing using heterogenous in-situ sensor data. Flaws in LPBF range from porosity at the micro-scale (\u3c 100 μm), layer related inconsistencies at the meso-scale (100 μm to 1 mm) and geometry-related flaws at the macroscale (\u3e 1 mm). Existing data-driven models are primarily focused on detecting a specific type of LPBF flaw using signals from one type of sensor. Such approaches, which are trained on data from simple cuboid and cylindrical-shaped coupons, have met limited success when used for detecting multiscale flaws in complex LPBF parts. The objective of this work is to develop a heterogenous sensor data fusion approach capable of detecting multiscale flaws across different LPBF part geometries and build conditions. Accordingly, data from an infrared camera, spatter imaging camera, and optical powder bed imaging camera were acquired across separate builds with differing part geometries and orientations (Inconel 718). Spectral graph-based process signatures were extracted from this heterogeneous thermo-optical sensor data and used as inputs to simple machine learning models. The approach detected porosity, layer-level distortion, and geometry-related flaws with statistical fidelity exceeding 93% (F-score)

    Robustness of performance during domain change in an esport: A study of within-expertise transfer.

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    Research on the transfer of skill from the circumstances in which it was learned to partially or completely novel tasks or situations is a foundational topic in the study of learning, memory, education, and expertise. A long history of transfer research has led to the conclusion that skill learning is generally domain specific. One important transfer problem occurs when a domain of expertise undergoes a fundamental shift, as when experts must adapt to changes in technology, rules, or professional practice. Here we examine skill maintenance in StarCraft 2, a video game of skills which undergoes frequent changes due to updates and includes a variety of gameplay options. Of particular interest are two competing predictions about how transfer will interact with expertise in this domain. The first approach emphasizes perceived similarity of the domains and predicts that skilled individuals will exhibit more favourable transfer than novices as these people will know enough to avoid processes, methods, and strategies which no longer apply after a domain change. The second emphasizes maximal adaptation to task constraints and predicts that experts will suffer the most during a domain change because of the loss of exploitable affordances. Neither approach did a good job explaining behaviour after the major game update called 'StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm,' perhaps because transfer was generally strong across all players. However, when examining transfer in the context of larger changes to gameplay, transfer seemed slightly better in more experienced players. The theoretical implications of this apparent interaction effect, and of the apparent resilience of more experienced StarCraft 2 players to transfer costs, are discussed

    Determinants of recovery from post-COVID-19 dyspnoea: analysis of UK prospective cohorts of hospitalised COVID-19 patients and community-based controls

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    Background The risk factors for recovery from COVID-19 dyspnoea are poorly understood. We investigated determinants of recovery from dyspnoea in adults with COVID-19 and compared these to determinants of recovery from non-COVID-19 dyspnoea. Methods We used data from two prospective cohort studies: PHOSP-COVID (patients hospitalised between March 2020 and April 2021 with COVID-19) and COVIDENCE UK (community cohort studied over the same time period). PHOSP-COVID data were collected during hospitalisation and at 5-month and 1-year follow-up visits. COVIDENCE UK data were obtained through baseline and monthly online questionnaires. Dyspnoea was measured in both cohorts with the Medical Research Council Dyspnoea Scale. We used multivariable logistic regression to identify determinants associated with a reduction in dyspnoea between 5-month and 1-year follow-up. Findings We included 990 PHOSP-COVID and 3309 COVIDENCE UK participants. We observed higher odds of improvement between 5-month and 1-year follow-up among PHOSP-COVID participants who were younger (odds ratio 1.02 per year, 95% CI 1.01–1.03), male (1.54, 1.16–2.04), neither obese nor severely obese (1.82, 1.06–3.13 and 4.19, 2.14–8.19, respectively), had no pre-existing anxiety or depression (1.56, 1.09–2.22) or cardiovascular disease (1.33, 1.00–1.79), and shorter hospital admission (1.01 per day, 1.00–1.02). Similar associations were found in those recovering from non-COVID-19 dyspnoea, excluding age (and length of hospital admission). Interpretation Factors associated with dyspnoea recovery at 1-year post-discharge among patients hospitalised with COVID-19 were similar to those among community controls without COVID-19. Funding PHOSP-COVID is supported by a grant from the MRC-UK Research and Innovation and the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) rapid response panel to tackle COVID-19. The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the National Health Service (NHS), the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. COVIDENCE UK is supported by the UK Research and Innovation, the National Institute for Health Research, and Barts Charity. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the funders

    A Search for Pulsars around Sgr A* in the First Event Horizon Telescope Data Set

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    In 2017 the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observed the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), at a frequency of 228.1 GHz (λ = 1.3 mm). The fundamental physics tests that even a single pulsar orbiting Sgr A* would enable motivate searching for pulsars in EHT data sets. The high observing frequency means that pulsars—which typically exhibit steep emission spectra—are expected to be very faint. However, it also negates pulse scattering, an effect that could hinder pulsar detections in the Galactic center. Additionally, magnetars or a secondary inverse Compton emission could be stronger at millimeter wavelengths than at lower frequencies. We present a search for pulsars close to Sgr A* using the data from the three most sensitive stations in the EHT 2017 campaign: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, the Large Millimeter Telescope, and the IRAM 30 m Telescope. We apply three detection methods based on Fourier-domain analysis, the fast folding algorithm, and single-pulse searches targeting both pulsars and burst-like transient emission. We use the simultaneity of the observations to confirm potential candidates. No new pulsars or significant bursts were found. Being the first pulsar search ever carried out at such high radio frequencies, we detail our analysis methods and give a detailed estimation of the sensitivity of the search. We conclude that the EHT 2017 observations are only sensitive to a small fraction (≲2.2%) of the pulsars that may exist close to Sgr A*, motivating further searches for fainter pulsars in the region