Multiple sclerosis (MS) has undergone a significant increase in incidence in the industrialised nations over the last 130 years. Changing environmental factors, possibly infections or a lack of or altered timing of them, determine the prevalence of the disease. Although a plethora of aetiological factors, clearly evident in a group of children with MS, appear relevant, there may nevertheless be a single factor essential for the aetiopathogenesis and clinical manifestation of MS.
Description and discussion
This hitherto unknown factor is postulated to be a ‘melanoma-like neuromelanin’ (MLN) dependent on the activation of a gene for syncytin-1. An involvement of MLN could explain the diverse findings in the epidemiology, immunology and pathology of MS, requiring a consideration of a complex infectious background, the human leucocyte antigens, as well as cosmic radiation causing geomagnetic disturbances, vitamin D deficiency, smoking, and lower levels of uric acid.
In principle, the MLN-based concept is a unifying one, capable of explaining a number of characteristics of the disease. To date, MLN has not been addressed in studies on MS and future work will need to be done on human patients, as there is little or no neuromelanin (the precursor of MLN) in the animals used as experimental models in the study of MS.
Multiple sclerosis; Risk factors; Latency; Melanoma; Neuro-melanin; Epstein-Barr virus; Human endogenous retrovirus; Vitamin D; Geomagnetic disturbances
Zebra finches can be trained to use the geomagnetic field as a directional cue for short distance orientation. The physical mechanisms underlying the primary processes of magnetoreception are, however, largely unknown. Two hypotheses of how birds perceive magnetic information are mainly discussed, one dealing with modulation of radical pair processes in retinal structures, the other assuming that iron deposits in the upper beak of the birds are involved. Oscillating magnetic fields in the MHz range disturb radical pair mechanisms but do not affect magnetic particles. Thus, application of such oscillating fields in behavioral experiments can be used as a diagnostic tool to decide between the two alternatives.
In a setup that eliminates all directional cues except the geomagnetic field zebra finches were trained to search for food in the magnetic north/south axis. The birds were then tested for orientation performance in two magnetic conditions. In condition 1 the horizontal component of the geomagnetic field was shifted by 90 degrees using a helmholtz coil. In condition 2 a high frequently oscillating field (1.156 MHz) was applied in addition to the shifted field. Another group of birds was trained to solve the orientation task, but with visual landmarks as directional cue. The birds were then tested for their orientation performance in the same magnetic conditions as applied for the first experiment.
The zebra finches could be trained successfully to orient in the geomagnetic field for food search in the north/south axis. They were also well oriented in test condition 1, with the magnetic field shifted horizontally by 90 degrees. In contrast, when the oscillating field was added, the directional choices during food search were randomly distributed. Birds that were trained to visually guided orientation showed no difference of orientation performance in the two magnetic conditions.
The results indicate that zebra finches use a receptor that bases on radical pair processes for sensing the direction of the earth magnetic field in this short distance orientation behavior.
In Göttingen, Germany, circadian variations in melatonin had been determined time-macroscopically in pineal glands, blood plasma and duodenum of chicken and rats. When these data were meta-analyzed, they agreed with the results from an independent survey on tissues from rats collected in a laboratory in Pécs, Hungary. In the latter study, tissues were analyzed chemically in Bratislava, Slovakia, and numerically in Minneapolis, MN, USA, all by single- and multiple-component cosinor and parameter tests. In rats and chickens, these inferential statistical procedures clearly demonstrated a lead in phase of the 24-h cosine curves best fitting all of the duodenal vs. those best fitting all of the pineal melatonin values in each species in 2 geographic (geomagnetic) locations. The 24-h cosine curve of circulating melatonin was found to be in an intermediate phase position. Mechanisms of the phase differences and the contribution of gastrointestinal melatonin to circulating hormone concentrations are discussed.
Blood; Chronomics; Cosinor; Duodenum; Melatonin; Sink; Sources
The geographic distribution of genetic variation reflects trends in past population migrations, and can be used to make inferences about these migrations. It has been proposed that the east-west orientation of the Eurasian landmass facilitated the rapid spread of ancient technological innovations across Eurasia, while the north-south orientation of the Americas led to a slower diffusion of technology there. If the diffusion of technology was accompanied by gene flow, then this hypothesis predicts that genetic differentiation in the Americas along lines of longitude will be greater than that in Eurasia along lines of latitude. We use 678 microsatellite loci from 68 indigenous populations in Eurasia and the Americas to investigate the spatial axes that underlie population-genetic variation. We find that genetic differentiation increases more rapidly along lines of longitude in the Americas than along lines of latitude in Eurasia. Distance along lines of latitude explains a sizeable portion of genetic distance in Eurasia, whereas distance along lines of longitude does not explain a large proportion of Eurasian genetic variation. Genetic differentiation in the Americas occurs along both latitudinal and longitudinal axes and has a greater magnitude than corresponding differentiation in Eurasia, even when adjusting for the lower level of genetic variation in the American populations. These results support the view that continental orientation has influenced migration patterns and has played an important role in determining both the structure of human genetic variation and the distribution and spread of cultural traits. (240 words)
genetic distance; HGDP-CEPH; microsatellites; migration; spatial variation
Bird migration and orientation at high latitudes are of special interest because of the difficulties associated with different compass systems in polar areas and because of the considerable differences between flight routes conforming to loxodromes (rhumblines) or orthodromes (great circle routes). Regular and widespread east-north-east migration of birds from the northern tundra of Siberia towards North America across the Arctic Ocean (without landmark influences) were recorded by ship-based tracking radar studies in July and August. Field observations indicated that waders, including species such as Phalaropusfulicarius and Calidris melanotos, dominated, but also terns and skuas may have been involved. Analysis of flight directions in relation to the wind showed that these movements are not caused by wind drift. Assuming possible orientation principles based on celestial or geomagnetic cues, different flight trajectories across the Arctic Ocean were calculated: geographical loxodromes, sun compass routes, magnetic loxodromes and magnetoclinic routes. The probabilities of these four alternatives are evaluated on the basis of both the availability of required orientation cues and the predicted flight paths. This evaluation supports orientation along sun compass routes. Because of the longitudinal time displacement sun compass routes show gradually changing compass courses in close agreement with orthodromes. It is suggested that an important migration link between Siberia and North American stopover sites 1000-2500km apart across the Arctic Ocean has evolved based on sun compass orientation along orthodrome-like routes.
Large-scale geographical patterns of biotic specialization and the underlying drivers are poorly understood, but it is widely believed that climate plays an important role in determining specialization. As climate-driven range dynamics should diminish local adaptations and favor generalization, one hypothesis is that contemporary biotic specialization is determined by the degree of past climatic instability, primarily Quaternary climate-change velocity. Other prominent hypotheses predict that either contemporary climate or species richness affect biotic specialization. To gain insight into geographical patterns of contemporary biotic specialization and its drivers, we use network analysis to determine the degree of specialization in plant-hummingbird mutualistic networks sampled at 31 localities, spanning a wide range of climate regimes across the Americas. We found greater biotic specialization at lower latitudes, with latitude explaining 20–22% of the spatial variation in plant-hummingbird specialization. Potential drivers of specialization - contemporary climate, Quaternary climate-change velocity, and species richness - had superior explanatory power, together explaining 53–64% of the variation in specialization. Notably, our data provides empirical evidence for the hypothesized roles of species richness, contemporary precipitation and Quaternary climate-change velocity as key predictors of biotic specialization, whereas contemporary temperature and seasonality seem unimportant in determining specialization. These results suggest that both ecological and evolutionary processes at Quaternary time scales can be important in driving large-scale geographical patterns of contemporary biotic specialization, at least for co-evolved systems such as plant-hummingbird networks.
It has been proposed that vitamin D deficiency may be responsible for an increase in the prevalence of allergic diseases and asthma worldwide. Human ability to generate physiologically required quantities of vitamin D through sun exposure is decreasing with increasing geographical latitude.
Considering that vitamin D deficiency is usually due to lack of outdoor sun exposure, this study is designed to test the hypothesis that a higher prevalence of asthma should be expected at high relative to low geographical latitudes.
Linear regression analyses are performed on asthma prevalence in the U.S. adult population vs. geographical latitude, insolation, air temperature, and air pollution (PM2.5) for 97 major metropolitan/micropolitan statistical areas of the continental United States of America and on general population asthma prevalence vs. geographical latitude in eight metropolitan areas of Australia.
A 10° change in geographical latitude from southern to northern regions of the Eastern Seaboard is associated with a 2% increase in adult asthma prevalence (p<0.001). Total insolation in winter months is almost as strong as latitude in its ability to explain the observed spatial variation in the prevalence of asthma (r2 = 0.43; p<0.001). Similar results are obtained using the Australian data (r2 = 0.73; p<0.01), suggesting a consistent association between the latitude/insolation and asthma prevalence worldwide.
The results of this study suggest that, as a known modulator of the immune response closely linked with the geographical latitude and erythemal UV irradiation, vitamin D may play an important role in the development/exacerbation of asthma.
The Earth's magnetic field and celestial cues provide animals with compass information during migration. Inherited magnetic compass courses are selected based on the angle of inclination, making it difficult to orient in the near vertical fields found at high geomagnetic latitudes. Orientation cage experiments were performed at different sites in high Arctic Canada with adult and young white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) in order to investigate birds' ability to use the Earth's magnetic field and celestial cues for orientation in naturally very steep magnetic fields at and close to the magnetic North Pole. Experiments were performed during the natural period of migration at night in the local geomagnetic field under natural clear skies and under simulated total overcast conditions. The experimental birds failed to select a meaningful magnetic compass course under overcast conditions at the magnetic North Pole, but could do so in geomagnetic fields deviating less than 3 degrees from the vertical. Migratory orientation was successful at all sites when celestial cues were available.
Microorganisms play key roles in biogeochemical and nutrient cycling in all ecosystems on Earth, yet little is known about the processes controlling their biogeographic distributions. Here we report an investigation of magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) designed to evaluate the roles of niche-based process and spatial process in explaining variation in bacterial communities across large spatial scales. Our results show that both environmental heterogeneity and geographic distance play significant roles in shaping dominant populations of MTB community composition. At the spatial scale in this study, the biogeography of MTB is relatively more influenced by environmental factors than geographic distance, suggesting that local conditions override the effects of dispersal history on structuring MTB community. Of note, we found that the strength of geomagnetic field may influence the biogeography of MTB. We argue that MTB have the potential to serve as a model group to uncover the underlying processes that influence microbial biogeography.
Nearly twenty anomalous geoelectric field changes were observed before earthquakes at Kozu-shima Island, Japan, from 1997 to 2000. In order to help locating the current sources of the observed anomalous changes, a bipole-dipole resistivity survey was conducted. From the resistivity survey, including current injection into the ground, it was found that various features of the anomalous changes were systematically different from those of changes caused by artificial sources and induction of geomagnetic disturbances. Moreover, it is suspected that the currents of anomalous changes were generated not near the ground surface but deep under the ground.
geoelectric field changes; geoelectric potential difference; bipole-dipole resistivity survey; heterogeneous electrical structure
Magnetotactic bacteria have the unique capacity of synthesizing intracellular single-domain magnetic particles called magnetosomes. The magnetosomes are usually organized in a chain that allows the bacteria to align and swim along geomagnetic field lines, a behavior called magnetotaxis. Two mechanisms of magnetotaxis have been described. Axial magnetotactic cells swim in both directions along magnetic field lines. In contrast, polar magnetotactic cells swim either parallel to the geomagnetic field lines toward the North Pole (north seeking) or antiparallel toward the South Pole (south seeking). In this study, we used a magnetospectrophotometry (MSP) assay to characterize both the axial magnetotaxis of “Magnetospirillum magneticum” strain AMB-1 and the polar magnetotaxis of magneto-ovoid strain MO-1. Two pairs of Helmholtz coils were mounted onto the cuvette holder of a common laboratory spectrophotometer to generate two mutually perpendicular homogeneous magnetic fields parallel or perpendicular to the light beam. The application of magnetic fields allowed measurements of the change in light scattering resulting from cell alignment in a magnetic field or in absorbance due to bacteria swimming across the light beam. Our results showed that MSP is a powerful tool for the determination of bacterial magnetism and the analysis of alignment and swimming of magnetotactic bacteria in magnetic fields. Moreover, this assay allowed us to characterize south-seeking derivatives and non-magnetosome-bearing strains obtained from north-seeking MO-1 cultures. Our results suggest that oxygen is a determinant factor that controls magnetotactic behavior.
Multiple transitions to obligate parthenogenesis have occurred in the Daphnia pulex complex in North America. These newly formed asexual lineages are differentially distributed being found predominantly at high latitudes. This conforms to the rule of geographical parthenogenesis postulating prevalence of asexuals at high latitudes and altitudes. While the reproductive mode of high-latitude populations is relatively well studied, little is known about the reproduction mode in high altitudes. This study aimed to assess the reproductive mode of Daphnia pulicaria, a species of the D. pulex complex, from high altitude lakes in Europe.
Variation at eight microsatellite loci revealed that D. pulicaria from the High Tatra Mountains (HTM) had low genotype richness and showed excess of heterozygotes and significant deviations from Hardy-Weinberg expectations, and was thus congruent with reproduction by obligate parthenogenesis. By contrast, populations from the Pyrenees (Pyr) were generally in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and had higher genotypic richness, suggesting that they are cyclic parthenogens. Four lakes from lowland areas (LLaP) had populations with an uncertain or mixed breeding mode. All D. pulicaria had mtDNA ND5 haplotypes of the European D. pulicaria lineage. Pyr were distinct from LLaP and HTM at the ND5 gene. By contrast, HTM shared two haplotypes with LLaP and one with Pyr. Principal Coordinate Analysis of the microsatellite data revealed clear genetic differentiation into three groups. HTM isolates were intermediate to Pyr and LLaP, congruent with a hybrid origin.
Inferred transitions to obligate parthenogenesis have occurred only in HTM, most likely as a result of hybridizations. In contrast to North American populations, these transitions do not appear to involve meiosis suppressor genes and have not been accompanied by polyploidy. The absence of obligate parthenogenesis in Pyr, an environment highly similar to the HTM, may be due to the lack of opportunities for hybridization.
Scotland and Ireland have the highest death rates from multiple sclerosis and high rates are recorded in an area extending south-eastward from Britain through central Europe. The rates tend to diminish with rising latitude and longitude. In England and Wales the county boroughs with notably high rates during 1958-67 were mostly textile towns with cotton and wool mills, situated in the area recording the lowest average levels of sunshine. In the London area mortality from multiple sclerosis was high in those western boroughs and adjacent counties most exposed to the noise of aircraft using the airports of London. The geographical pattern in England suggests that noise and vibration of particular kinds may be a factor in causation along with a climatic factor, but this hypothesis is speculative until further evidence is found to support it.
The fact that climate influences the continental-scale distributions of species is one of the central tenets of ecology and biogeography. Equally elemental is that species exhibit enormous variation in geographic range size, with most occupying comparatively small areas. The degree to which climate can account for this variation remains unclear. Here, I test three alternative climate-based hypotheses for variation in range size using a large sample of tree and shrub species native to North America north of Mexico. I show that the lowest value of January average daily minimum temperature encompassed by a species' geographic range (T(MIN)), representing the 'climate extremes hypothesis', explains almost 80% of the variation in range size. Hypotheses based on seasonality and climate optima find substantially less support. The relationship between range size and T(MIN) does not change across the breadth of latitudes examined, and is general for conifers and hardwoods, and growth form (tree versus shrub). Differential freezing resistance gains support as the mechanism underlying interspecific variation in range size: using 35 species for which data were available, both T(MIN) and range size are shown to be strongly correlated with measures of freezing resistance.
This paper reviews the directional orientation of birds with the help of the geomagnetic field under various light conditions. Two fundamentally different types of response can be distinguished. (i) Compass orientation controlled by the inclination compass that allows birds to locate courses of different origin. This is restricted to a narrow functional window around the total intensity of the local geomagnetic field and requires light from the short-wavelength part of the spectrum. The compass is based on radical-pair processes in the right eye; magnetite-based receptors in the beak are not involved. Compass orientation is observed under ‘white’ and low-level monochromatic light from ultraviolet (UV) to about 565 nm green light. (ii) ‘Fixed direction’ responses occur under artificial light conditions such as more intense monochromatic light, when 590 nm yellow light is added to short-wavelength light, and in total darkness. The manifestation of these responses depends on the ambient light regime and is ‘fixed’ in the sense of not showing the normal change between spring and autumn; their biological significance is unclear. In contrast to compass orientation, fixed-direction responses are polar magnetic responses and occur within a wide range of magnetic intensities. They are disrupted by local anaesthesia of the upper beak, which indicates that the respective magnetic information is mediated by iron-based receptors located there. The influence of light conditions on the two types of response suggests complex interactions between magnetoreceptors in the right eye, those in the upper beak and the visual system.
magnetoreception; compass orientation; fixed-direction responses; radical-pair processes; magnetite-based receptors; monochromatic light
Laboratory and field experiments have provided evidence that sea turtles use geomagnetic cues to navigate in the open sea. For instance, green turtles (Chelonia mydas) displaced 100 km away from their nesting site were impaired in returning home when carrying a strong magnet glued on the head. However, the actual role of geomagnetic cues remains unclear, since magnetically treated green turtles can perform large scale (>2000 km) post-nesting migrations no differently from controls.
In the present homing experiment, 24 green turtles were displaced 200 km away from their nesting site on an oceanic island, and tracked, for the first time in this type of experiment, with Global Positioning System (GPS), which is able to provide much more frequent and accurate locations than previously used tracking methods. Eight turtles were magnetically treated for 24–48 h on the nesting beach prior to displacement, and another eight turtles had a magnet glued on the head at the release site. The last eight turtles were used as controls. Detailed analyses of water masses-related (i.e., current-corrected) homing paths showed that magnetically treated turtles were able to navigate toward their nesting site as efficiently as controls, but those carrying magnets were significantly impaired once they arrived within 50 km of home.
While green turtles do not seem to need geomagnetic cues to navigate far from the goal, these cues become necessary when turtles get closer to home. As the very last part of the homing trip (within a few kilometers of home) likely depends on non-magnetic cues, our results suggest that magnetic cues play a key role in sea turtle navigation at an intermediate scale by bridging the gap between large and small scale navigational processes, which both appear to depend on non-magnetic cues.
In order to investigate infradian aspects of sudden death, the daily incidence of 70,531 cases recorded in response to a call for an ambulance during 3 years (1979–1981) in Moscow, Russia, were re-analysed, focusing on multiseptans (components with periods of 7 days and/or multiples thereof). Apart from a prominent yearly and half-yearly variation in the daily incidence of sudden death, least squares spectra revealed the presence of about-weekly and two-weekly components. The about 15.2–day variation was validated by nonlinear least squares and shown to differ in period length from that found in the local index of geomagnetic activity, K. This result suggests that apart from any geomagnetic influence on sudden death, changes in lifestyle (such as alcohol consumption) associated with the twice-a-month salary schedule may affect the occurrence of sudden death. Such a component is not prominently seen for the incidence of other cardiovascular conditions recorded in the same database. The weekly pattern of sudden death, peaking on Saturdays, also differs from those of other cardiovascular conditions, characterized by a higher daily incidence on Mondays. The possibility to now record events in cardioverter-defibrillators offers an opportunity to explore broad chronomes of potentially lethal arrhythmia that may lead to a better understanding of underlying triggers, so that novel countermeasures may be designed and implemented.
Sudden cardiac death; Circaseptan rhythm; Geomagnetic influence; Alcohol intake
Collision geocoding is the process of assigning geographic descriptors, usually latitude and longitude coordinates, to a traffic collision record. On California police reports, relative collision location is recorded using a highway postmile marker or a street intersection. The objective of this study was to create a geocoded database of all police-reported, fatal and severe injury collisions in the California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) for years 1997-2006 for use by public agencies.
Geocoding was completed with a multi-step process. First, pre-processing was performed using a scripting language to clean and standardize street name information. A state highway network with postmile values was then created using a custom tool written in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in ArcGIS software. Custom VBA functionality was also used to incorporate the offset direction and distance. Intersection and address geocoding was performed using ArcGIS, StreetMap Pro 2003 digital street network, and Google Earth Pro. A total of 142,007 fatal and severe injury collisions were identified in SWITRS. The geocoding match rate was 99.8% for postmile-coded collisions and 86% for intersection-coded collisions. The overall match rate was 91%.
The availability of geocoded collision data will be beneficial to clinicians, researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in the fields of traffic safety and public health. Potential uses of the data include studies of collision clustering on the highway system, examinations of the associations between collision occurrence and a variety of variables on environmental and social characteristics, including housing and personal demographics, alcohol outlets, schools, and parks. The ability to build maps may be useful in research planning and conduct and in the delivery of information to both technical and non-technical audiences.
We estimated the prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) in 3 large geographic areas in the southern, middle, and northern United States.
The primary data source was medical records from office visits to private neurologists' practices or to neurology departments in tertiary care facilities during a 3-year period. Additional data sources included patient advocacy groups, nursing homes, and general practitioners.
Three-year US age-adjusted prevalence estimates for the study areas varied substantially. The prevalence was lowest (47.2 per 100,000 population) in the Texas study area (33°30′ north latitude), intermediate (86.3 per 100,000 population) in the Missouri study area (39°07′ north latitude), and highest (109.5 per 100,000 population) in the Ohio study area (41°24′ north latitude). The geographic differences remained strong after age-adjustment to the world standard population. The inverse association between UV light exposure and MS prevalence estimates was consistent with this observed latitude gradient. In all 3 areas, MS prevalence was highest among women, people aged 40 to 59 years, and non-Hispanics.
These results provide necessary prevalence estimates for community cluster investigations and establish baseline estimates for future studies to evaluate temporal trends in disease prevalence.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder with a highly characteristic disease distribution. Prevalence and incidence in general increase with increasing distance from the equator. Similarly the female to male sex ratio increases with increasing latitude. Multiple possible risk factors have been hypothesised for this epidemiological trend, including human leukocyte antigen allele frequencies, ultraviolet exposure and subsequent vitamin D levels, smoking and Epstein-Barr virus. In this study we undertook a study of medical records across Scotland on an NHS health board level of resolution to examine the epidemiology of MS in this region.
Methods and Results
We calculated the number and rate of patient-linked hospital admissions throughout Scotland between 1997 and 2009 from the Scottish Morbidity Records. We used weighted-regression to examine correlations between these measures of MS, and latitude and smoking prevalence. We found a highly significant relationship between MS patient-linked admissions and latitude (r weighted by standard error (rsw) = 0.75, p = 0.002). There was no significant relationship between smoking prevalence and MS patient-linked admissions.
There is a definite latitudinal effect on MS risk across Scotland, arising primarily from an excess of female MS patients at more Northerly latitudes. Whether this is a true gradient or whether a threshold effect may apply at particular latitude will be revealed only by further research. A number of genetic and environmental factors may underlie this effect.
Water and energy have emerged as the best contemporary environmental correlates of broad-scale species richness patterns. A corollary hypothesis of water–energy dynamics theory is that the influence of water decreases and the influence of energy increases with absolute latitude. We report the first use of geographically weighted regression for testing this hypothesis on a continuous species richness gradient that is entirely located within the tropics and subtropics. The dataset was divided into northern and southern hemispheric portions to test whether predictor shifts are more pronounced in the less oceanic northern hemisphere. American palms (Arecaceae, n = 547 spp.), whose species richness and distributions are known to respond strongly to water and energy, were used as a model group. The ability of water and energy to explain palm species richness was quantified locally at different spatial scales and regressed on latitude. Clear latitudinal trends in agreement with water–energy dynamics theory were found, but the results did not differ qualitatively between hemispheres. Strong inherent spatial autocorrelation in local modeling results and collinearity of water and energy variables were identified as important methodological challenges. We overcame these problems by using simultaneous autoregressive models and variation partitioning. Our results show that the ability of water and energy to explain species richness changes not only across large climatic gradients spanning tropical to temperate or arctic zones but also within megathermal climates, at least for strictly tropical taxa such as palms. This finding suggests that the predictor shifts are related to gradual latitudinal changes in ambient energy (related to solar flux input) rather than to abrupt transitions at specific latitudes, such as the occurrence of frost.
Using estimates of the primary production required (PPR) to support fisheries catches (a measure of the footprint of fishing), we analyzed the geographical expansion of the global marine fisheries from 1950 to 2005. We used multiple threshold levels of PPR as percentage of local primary production to define ‘fisheries exploitation’ and applied them to the global dataset of spatially-explicit marine fisheries catches. This approach enabled us to assign exploitation status across a 0.5° latitude/longitude ocean grid system and trace the change in their status over the 56-year time period. This result highlights the global scale expansion in marine fisheries, from the coastal waters off North Atlantic and West Pacific to the waters in the Southern Hemisphere and into the high seas. The southward expansion of fisheries occurred at a rate of almost one degree latitude per year, with the greatest period of expansion occurring in the 1980s and early 1990s. By the mid 1990s, a third of the world's ocean, and two-thirds of continental shelves, were exploited at a level where PPR of fisheries exceed 10% of PP, leaving only unproductive waters of high seas, and relatively inaccessible waters in the Arctic and Antarctic as the last remaining ‘frontiers.’ The growth in marine fisheries catches for more than half a century was only made possible through exploitation of new fishing grounds. Their rapidly diminishing number indicates a global limit to growth and highlights the urgent need for a transition to sustainable fishing through reduction of PPR.
Vitamin D status of nonwestern immigrants in Europe was poor. Vitamin D status of nonwestern populations in their countries of origin varied, being either similar to the immigrant populations in Europe or higher than in European indigenous populations. Vitamin D concentrations in nonwestern immigrant populations should be improved.
The higher the latitude, the less vitamin D is produced in the skin. Most European countries are located at higher latitudes than the countries of origin of their nonwestern immigrants. Our aim was to compare the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration of nonwestern immigrant populations with those of the population in their country of origin, and the indigenous population of the country they migrated to.
We performed literature searches in the “PubMed” and “Embase” databases, restricted to 1990 and later. The search profile consisted of terms referring to vitamin D or vitamin D deficiency, prevalence or cross-sectional studies, and countries or ethnicity. Titles and abstracts were reviewed to identify studies on population-based mean serum 25(OH)D concentrations among Turkish, Moroccan, Indian, and sub-Sahara African populations in Europe, Turkey, Morocco, India, and sub-Sahara Africa.
The vitamin D status of immigrant populations in Europe was poor compared to the indigenous European populations. The vitamin D status of studied populations in Turkey and India varied and was either similar to the immigrant populations in Europe (low) or similar to or even higher than the indigenous European populations (high).
In addition to observed negative consequences of low serum 25(OH)D concentrations among nonwestern populations, this overview indicates that vitamin D status in nonwestern immigrant populations should be improved. The most efficacious strategy should be the subject of further study.
Indian; Moroccan; Prevalence; Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D; Sub-Sahara African; Turkish
A tenet of macroecology is that physiological processes of organisms are linked to large-scale geographical patterns in environmental conditions. Species at higher latitudes experience greater seasonal temperature variation and are consequently predicted to withstand greater temperature extremes. We tested for relationships between breadths of thermal tolerance in ectothermic animals and the latitude of specimen location using all available data, while accounting for habitat, hemisphere, methodological differences and taxonomic affinity. We found that thermal tolerance breadths generally increase with latitude, and do so at a greater rate in the Northern Hemisphere. In terrestrial ectotherms, upper thermal limits vary little while lower thermal limits decrease with latitude. By contrast, marine species display a coherent poleward decrease in both upper and lower thermal limits. Our findings provide comprehensive global support for hypotheses generated from studies at smaller taxonomic subsets and geographical scales. Our results further indicate differences between terrestrial and marine ectotherms in how thermal physiology varies with latitude that may relate to the degree of temperature variability experienced on land and in the ocean.
macroecology; macrophysiology; thermal tolerance breadth; latitude; thermal niche; climate variability hypothesis
A first survey of the Brighton and Mid-Downs health districts in Sussex showed a prevalence of multiple sclerosis of 111 per 100,000 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 103-120) in a population of 596,594 on prevalence day, 1 July 1991. Cases were notified by multiple sources and to maximise case notification patients were not contacted. Cases were classified by hospital and family practitioner notes. The Poser criteria were used for classification. These criteria are precise and exclude cases of isolated spinal cord syndrome. The Allison and Millar criteria used in the surveys in Scotland may lack specificity and it is concluded that the high prevalence of multiple sclerosis in Scotland needs to be reassessed with the more precise criteria. Until this is done, the latitude effect within the United Kingdom remains not proved.