Managing natural resources often depends on influencing people's behaviour, however effectively targeting interventions to discourage environmentally harmful behaviours is challenging because those involved may be unwilling to identify themselves. Non-sensitive indicators of sensitive behaviours are therefore needed. Previous studies have investigated people's attitudes, assuming attitudes reflect behaviour. There has also been interest in using people's estimates of the proportion of their peers involved in sensitive behaviours to identify those involved, since people tend to assume that others behave like themselves. However, there has been little attempt to test the potential of such indicators. We use the randomized response technique (RRT), designed for investigating sensitive behaviours, to estimate the proportion of farmers in north-eastern South Africa killing carnivores, and use a modified logistic regression model to explore relationships between our best estimates of true behaviour (from RRT) and our proposed non-sensitive indicators (including farmers' attitudes, and estimates of peer-behaviour). Farmers' attitudes towards carnivores, question sensitivity and estimates of peers' behaviour, predict the likelihood of farmers killing carnivores. Attitude and estimates of peer-behaviour are useful indicators of involvement in illicit behaviours and may be used to identify groups of people to engage in interventions aimed at changing behaviour.
leopard; randomized response technique; attitude; brown hyaena; illegal; false consensus effect
Macrophage migration and infiltration is an important first step in many pathophysiological processes, in particular inflammatory diseases. Redox modulation of the migratory signalling processes has been reported in endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts. However the redox modulation of the migratory process in macrophages and in particular that from the NADPH oxidase-2 (Nox2) dependent ROS has not been established. To investigate the potential role of Nox2 in the migratory response of macrophages, bone marrow derived macrophages were obtained from WT and NOX2 knockout mice (Nox2KO) and subjected to CSF-1 stimulation. We report here that loss of Nox2 expression in BMM resulted in a significant reduction in the CSF-1 induced spreading response suggesting that Nox2 can modulate cytoskeletal events. Moreover, Nox2KO BMMs were deficient in cellular displacement in the presence of CSF-1. More significantly, when challenged with a gradient of CSF-1, Nox2KO BMMs showed a complete loss of chemotaxis accompanied by a reduction in cell migration speed and directional migration persistence. These results point to a specific role for Nox2KO downstream of CSF-1 during the BMM migratory response. Indeed, we have further found that Nox2KO BMMs display a significant reduction in the levels of ERK1/2 phosphorylation following stimulation with CSF-1.Thus Nox2 is important in BMM cellular motion to CSF-1 stimulation and necessary for their directed migration towards a CSF-1 gradient, highlighting Nox2 dependent signalling as a potential anti-inflammatory target.
Tuberculosis is a major human and animal disease of major importance worldwide. Genetically, the closely related strains within the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex which cause disease are well-characterized but there is an urgent need better to understand their phenotypes. To search rapidly for metabolic differences, a working method using Biolog Phenotype MicroArray analysis was developed. Of 380 substrates surveyed, 71 permitted tetrazolium dye reduction, the readout over 7 days in the method. By looking for ≥5-fold differences in dye reduction, 12 substrates differentiated M. tuberculosis H37Rv and Mycobacterium bovis AF2122/97. H37Rv and a Beijing strain of M. tuberculosis could also be distinguished in this way, as could field strains of M. bovis; even pairs of strains within one spoligotype could be distinguished by 2 to 3 substrates. Cluster analysis gave three clear groups: H37Rv, Beijing, and all the M. bovis strains. The substrates used agreed well with prior knowledge, though an unexpected finding that AF2122/97 gave greater dye reduction than H37Rv with hexoses was investigated further, in culture flasks, revealing that hexoses and Tween 80 were synergistic for growth and used simultaneously rather than in a diauxic fashion. Potential new substrates for growth media were revealed, too, most promisingly N-acetyl glucosamine. Osmotic and pH arrays divided the mycobacteria into two groups with different salt tolerance, though in contrast to the substrate arrays the groups did not entirely correlate with taxonomic differences. More interestingly, these arrays suggested differences between the amines used by the M. tuberculosis complex and enteric bacteria in acid tolerance, with some hydrophobic amino acids being highly effective. In contrast, γ-aminobutyrate, used in the enteric bacteria, had no effect in the mycobacteria. This study proved principle that Phenotype MicroArrays can be used with slow-growing pathogenic mycobacteria and already has generated interesting data worthy of further investigation.
Novosphingobium nitrogenifigens Y88T (Y88) is a free-living, diazotrophic Alphaproteobacterium, capable of producing 80% of its biomass as the biopolymer polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). We explored the potential utility of this species as a polyhydroxybutyrate production strain, correlating the effects of glucose, nitrogen availability, dissolved oxygen concentration, and extracellular pH with polyhydroxybutyrate production and changes in the Y88 proteomic profile. Using two-dimensional differential in-gel electrophoresis and tandem mass spectrometry, we identified 217 unique proteins from six growth conditions. We observed reproducible, characteristic proteomic signatures for each of the physiological states we examined. We identified proteins that changed in abundance in correlation with either nitrogen fixation, dissolved oxygen concentration, or acidification of the growth medium. The proteins that correlated with nitrogen fixation were identified either as known nitrogen fixation proteins or as novel proteins that we predict play roles in aspects of nitrogen fixation based on their proteomic profiles. In contrast, the proteins involved in central carbon and polyhydroxybutyrate metabolism were constitutively abundant, consistent with the constitutive polyhydroxybutyrate production that we observed in this species. Three proteins with roles in detoxification of reactive oxygen species were identified in this obligate aerobe. The most abundant protein in all experiments was a polyhydroxyalkanoate granule-associated protein, phasin. The full-length isoform of this protein has a long, intrinsically disordered Ala/Pro/Lys-rich N-terminal segment, a feature that appears to be unique to sphingomonad phasins. The data suggest that Y88 has potential as a PHB production strain due to its aerobic tolerance and metabolic orientation toward polyhydroxybutyrate accumulation, even in low-nitrogen growth medium.
After transendothelial cell migration, neutrophils actively crawl along pericyte processes before exiting the venular wall via selected gaps between adjacent pericytes.
Neutrophil transmigration through venular walls that are composed of endothelial cells (ECs), pericytes, and the venular basement membrane is a key component of innate immunity. Through direct analysis of leukocyte–pericyte interactions in inflamed tissues using confocal intravital microscopy, we show how pericytes facilitate transmigration in vivo. After EC migration, neutrophils crawl along pericyte processes to gaps between adjacent pericytes in an ICAM-1–, Mac-1–, and LFA-1–dependent manner. These gaps were enlarged in inflamed tissues through pericyte shape change and were used as exit points by neutrophils in breaching the venular wall. The findings identify previously unknown roles for pericytes in neutrophil transmigration in vivo and add additional steps to the leukocyte adhesion cascade that supports leukocyte trafficking into sites of inflammation.
To define the causes of hypokalaemia in an unselected adult population.
Retrospective survey of biochemistry database.
District general hospital in southwest Scotland.
Participants and main outcome measures
There were 187,704 measurements of urea and electrolytes in 2010. Sixty-one patients had serum potassium <2.5 mmol/L on at least one occasion.
Average age of the patients was 71 (range 33–99) years. The most common causes were diarrhoea and/or vomiting (51% of cases), diuretic therapy (47%), nutritional causes including poor dietary intake, re-feeding syndrome and inadequate potassium supplementation when patients were nil by mouth (37%). In 25% of patients a transient and profound fall in serum potassium appeared to coincide with their acute illness. Acute alcohol intoxication and/or alcohol withdrawal were prominent features in 11% of patients. More than one cause was commonly present. There were no cases of Bartter's, Gitelman's or Liddle's syndromes or of hypokalaemic periodic paralysis in this study.
Severe hypokalaemia <2.5 mmol/L occurs at least once a week in a district general hospital with a catchment population of around 150,000, suggesting there may be around 300 cases a week in the UK (population around 50,000,000). Diuretics, vomiting and diarrhoea are commonly implicated as are nutritional causes, acute illness and alcohol. Bartter's, Gitelman's, Liddle's syndrome and hypokalaemic period paralysis are all extremely uncommon.
N-linked glycosylation of protein is a posttranslational modification found in all three domains of life. The flagellin proteins of the archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis are known to be modified with an N-linked tetrasaccharide consisting of N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc), a diacetylated glucuronic acid (GlcNAc3NAc), an acetylated and acetamidino-modified mannuronic acid with a substituted threonine group (ManNAc3NAmA6Thr), and a novel terminal sugar residue [(5S)-2-acetamido-2,4-dideoxy-5-O-methyl-α-l-erythro-hexos-5-ulo-1,5-pyranose]. To identify genes involved in biosynthesis of the component sugars of this glycan, three genes, mmp1081, mmp1082, and mmp1083, were targeted for in-frame deletion, based on their annotation and proximity to glycosyltransferase genes known to be involved in assembly of the glycan. Mutants carrying a deletion in any of these three genes remained flagellated and motile. A strain with a deletion of mmp1081 had lower-molecular-mass flagellins in Western blots. Mass spectrometry of purified flagella revealed a truncated glycan with the terminal sugar absent and the threonine residue and the acetamidino group missing from the third sugar. No glycan modification was seen in either the Δmmp1082 or Δmmp1083 mutant grown in complex Balch III medium. However, a glycan identical to the Δmmp1081 glycan was observed when the Δmmp1082 or Δmmp1083 mutant was grown under ammonia-limited conditions. We hypothesize that MMP1082 generates ammonia and tunnels it through MMP1083 to MMP1081, which acts as the amidotransferase, modifying the third sugar residue of the M. maripaludis glycan with the acetamidino group.
Low back pain is a common musculoskeletal disorder defined as pain and soreness, muscle tension, or stiffness in the lumbosacral area of the spine which does not have a specific cause. Low back pain results in high health costs and incapacity to work causing an economic burden to society. The optimal management of non-specific low back pain appears to be undecided. Recently published guidelines support the use of acupuncture for treating non-specific low back pain and it has become a popular alternative treatment modality for patients with low back pain.
A comprehensive systematic literature search was conducted through Medline using Ovid and Medical Subject Headings for randomized controlled trials published in the last 10 years. The outcomes scored were subjective pain scores and functional outcome scores.
Eighty two randomized studies were identified, of which 7 met our inclusion criteria. Three studies found a significant difference in pain scores when comparing acupuncture, or sham acupuncture, with conventional therapy or no care. Two studies demonstrated a significant difference between acupuncture treatment and no treatment or routine care at 8 weeks and 3 months. Three studies demonstrated no significant difference between acupuncture and minimal/sham acupuncture with no difference in pain relief or function over 6 to 12 months.
This review provides some evidence to support acupuncture as more effective than no treatment, but no conclusions can be drawn about its effectiveness over other treatment modalities as the evidence is conflicting.
Bats face a great risk of dehydration, so sensory mechanisms for water recognition are crucial for their survival. In the laboratory, bats recognized any smooth horizontal surface as water because these provide analogous reflections of echolocation calls. We tested whether bats also approach smooth horizontal surfaces other than water to drink in nature by partly covering watering troughs used by hundreds of bats with a Perspex layer mimicking water. We aimed 1) to confirm that under natural conditions too bats mistake any horizontal smooth surface for water by testing this on large numbers of individuals from a range of species and 2) to assess the occurrence of learning effects. Eleven bat species mistook Perspex for water relying chiefly on echoacoustic information. Using black instead of transparent Perspex did not deter bats from attempting to drink. In Barbastella barbastellus no echolocation differences occurred between bats approaching the water and the Perspex surfaces respectively, confirming that bats perceive water and Perspex to be acoustically similar. The drinking attempt rates at the fake surface were often lower than those recorded in the laboratory: bats then either left the site or moved to the control water surface. This suggests that bats modified their behaviour as soon as the lack of drinking reward had overridden the influence of echoacoustic information. Regardless of which of two adjoining surfaces was covered, bats preferentially approached and attempted to drink from the first surface encountered, probably because they followed a common route, involving spatial memory and perhaps social coordination. Overall, although acoustic recognition itself is stereotyped and its importance in the drinking process overwhelming, our findings point at the role of experience in increasing behavioural flexibility under natural conditions.
A peptide cocktail derived from the mycobacterial antigens ESAT-6, CFP-10, and Rv3615c allowed differentiation between Mycobacterium bovis-infected and M. bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-vaccinated cattle when used as a skin test reagent for a “DIVA” test (i.e., a test capable of differentiating infected and uninfected vaccinated animals). Addition of the antigen Rv3020c improves the diagnostic sensitivity without compromising specificity in the face of BCG or Johne's disease vaccination.
Genetic analyses in zebrafish identify a novel physical signaling mechanism that drives formation of invadopodia-like structures and promotes cell invasion in vivo.
The signals that initiate cell invasion are not well understood, but there is increasing evidence that extracellular physical signals play an important role. Here we show that epithelial cell invasion in the intestine of zebrafish meltdown (mlt) mutants arises in response to unregulated contractile tone in the surrounding smooth muscle cell layer. Physical signaling in mlt drives formation of membrane protrusions within the epithelium that resemble invadopodia, matrix-degrading protrusions present in invasive cancer cells. Knockdown of Tks5, a Src substrate that is required for invadopodia formation in mammalian cells blocked formation of the protrusions and rescued invasion in mlt. Activation of Src-signaling induced invadopodia-like protrusions in wild type epithelial cells, however the cells did not migrate into the tissue stroma, thus indicating that the protrusions were required but not sufficient for invasion in this in vivo model. Transcriptional profiling experiments showed that genes responsive to reactive oxygen species (ROS) were upregulated in mlt larvae. ROS generators induced invadopodia-like protrusions and invasion in heterozygous mlt larvae but had no effect in wild type larvae. Co-activation of oncogenic Ras and Wnt signaling enhanced the responsiveness of mlt heterozygotes to the ROS generators. These findings present the first direct evidence that invadopodia play a role in tissue cell invasion in vivo. In addition, they identify an inducible physical signaling pathway sensitive to redox and oncogenic signaling that can drive this process.
The epithelial cells lining the digestive tract are separated from the connective tissue stroma by a thin layer of extracellular matrix called the basement membrane. During cell invasion, as occurs during cancer metastasis, epithelial cells breach the basement membrane and invade the tissue stroma. The proteases used by invasive cells to degrade basement membrane in vitro are localized in specialized plasma membrane protrusions known as invadopodia. It is not known, however, whether invadopodia are required for cell invasion in vivo or what triggers their formation. Here, we show that epithelial cells in the intestine of the zebrafish mutant meltdown form invadopodia-like protrusions and invade the tissue stroma in response to unregulated contractile tone in the surrounding smooth muscle layer. The invadopodia-like protrusions that form in response to this physical signal are required for epithelial cell invasion in this in vivo model, and they can be induced when unregulated smooth muscle contraction is induced by oxidative stress. These findings provide the first direct evidence that invadopodia play a role in tissue cell invasion in vivo and identify a novel inducible physical signaling mechanism that can drive this process.
Females with Parkinson's disease (PD) are vulnerable to frailty. PD eventually leads to decreased physical activity, an indicator of frailty. We speculate PD results in frailty through reduced physical activity. Objective. Determine the contribution of physical activity on frailty in PD (n = 15, 65 ± 9 years) and non-PD (n = 15, 73 ± 14 years) females. Methods. Frailty phenotype (nonfrail/prefrail/frail) was categorized and 8 hours of physical activity was measured using accelerometer, global positioning system, and self-report. Two-way ANCOVA (age as covariate) was used to compare physical activity between disease and frailty phenotypes. Spearman correlation assessed relationships, and linear regression determined associations with frailty. Results. Nonfrail recorded more physical activity (intensity, counts, self-report) compared with frail. Self-reported physical activity was greater in PD than non-PD. In non-PD, step counts, light physical activity time, sedentary time, and self-reported physical activity were related to frailty (R = 0.91). In PD, only carbidopa-levodopa dose was related to frailty (r = 0.61). Conclusion. Physical activity influences frailty in females without PD. In PD females, disease management may be a better indicator of frailty than physical activity. Further investigation into how PD associated factors contribute to frailty is warranted.
We demonstrate a localization microscopy analysis method that is able to extract results in live cells using standard fluorescent proteins and Xenon arc lamp illumination. Our Bayesian analysis of blinking and bleaching (3B analysis) method models the entire dataset simultaneously as being generated by a number of fluorophores which may or may not be emitting light at any given time. The resulting technique allows many overlapping fluorophores in each frame, and unifies the analysis of localization from blinking and bleaching events. By modeling the entire dataset we are able to use each reappearance of a fluorophore to improve the localization accuracy. The high performance of this technique allows us to reveal the nanoscale dynamics of podosome formation and dissociation with a resolution of 50 nm on a four second timescale.
The extent to which patients follow treatments as prescribed is pivotal to treatment success. An exceptionally high level (> 95%) of HIV medication adherence is required to suppress viral replication and protect the immune system and a similarly high level (> 80%) of adherence has also been suggested in order to benefit from prescribed exercise programmes. However, in clinical practice, adherence to both often falls below the desirable level. This project aims to investigate a wide range of psychological and personality factors that may lead to adherence/non-adherence to medical treatment and exercise programmes.
HIV positive patients who are referred to the physiotherapist-led 10-week exercise programme as part of the standard care are continuously recruited. Data on social cognitive variables (attitude, intention, subjective norms, self-efficacy, and outcome beliefs) about the goal and specific behaviours, selected personality factors, perceived quality of life, physical activity, self-reported adherence and physical assessment are collected at baseline, at the end of the exercise programme and again 3 months later. The project incorporates objective measures of both exercise (attendance log and improvement in physical measures such as improved fitness level, weight loss, improved circumferential anthropometric measures) and medication adherence (verified by non-invasive hair analysis).
The novelty of this project comes from two key aspects, complemented with objective information on exercise and medication adherence. The project assesses beliefs about both the underlying goal such as following prescribed treatment; and about the specific behaviours such as undertaking the exercise or taking the medication, using both implicit and explicit assessments of patients’ beliefs and attitudes. We predict that i) the way people think about the underlying goal of their treatments explains medication and exercise behaviours over and above the effects of the behaviour-specific thinking and ii) the relationship between adherence to exercise and to medical treatment is stronger among those with more favourable views about the goal. Results from this study should identify the key contributing factors to inform subsequent adherence research and afford a more streamlined assessment matrix. The project also aims to inform patient care practices.
UK Clinical Research Network registration number
HIV; Adherence; Health related exercise; Social cognition; Implicit association test; Hair analysis
Cholinergic transmission has been implicated in learning, memory and cognition. However, the cellular effects induced by muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) activation are poorly understood in the neocortex. We investigated the effects of the cholinergic agonist carbachol (CCh) and various agonists and antagonists on neuronal activity in rat neocortical slices using intracellular (sharp microelectrode) and field potential recordings.
CCh increased neuronal firing but reduced synaptic transmission. The increase of neuronal firing was antagonized by pirenzepine (M1/M4 mAChRs antagonist) but not by AF-DX 116 (M2/M4 mAChRs antagonist). Pirenzepine reversed the depressant effect of CCh on excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP) but had marginal effects when applied before CCh. AF-DX 116 antagonized the depression of EPSP when applied before or during CCh. CCh also decreased the paired-pulse inhibition of field potentials and the inhibitory conductances mediated by GABAA and GABAB receptors. The depression of paired-pulse inhibition was antagonized or prevented by AF-DX 116 or atropine but only marginally by pirenzepine. The inhibitory conductances were unaltered by xanomeline (M1/M4 mAChRs agonist), yet the CCh-induced depression was antagonized by AF-DX 116. Linopirdine, a selective M-current blocker, mimicked the effect of CCh on neuronal firing. However, linopirdine had no effect on the amplitude of EPSP or on the paired-pulse inhibition, indicating that M-current is involved in the increase of neuronal excitability but neither in the depression of EPSP nor paired-pulse inhibition.
These data indicate that the three effects are mediated by different mAChRs, the increase in firing being mediated by M1 mAChR, decrease of inhibition by M2 mAChR and depression of excitatory transmission by M4 mAChR. The depression of EPSP and increase of neuronal firing might enhance the signal-to-noise ratio, whereas the concomitant depression of inhibition would facilitate long-term potentiation. Thus, this triade of effects may represent a “neuronal correlate” of attention and learning.
Carbachol; M-current; Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors; Sensorimotor cortex; Cognition; Synaptic transmission
Huhu grubs (Prionoplus reticularis) are wood-feeding beetle larvae endemic to New Zealand and belonging to the family Cerambycidae. Compared to the wood-feeding lower termites, very little is known about the diversity and activity of microorganisms associated with xylophagous cerambycid larvae. To address this, we used pyrosequencing to evaluate the diversity of metabolically active and inactive bacteria in the huhu larval gut. Our estimate, that the gut harbors at least 1,800 phylotypes, is based on 33,420 sequences amplified from genomic DNA and reverse-transcribed RNA. Analysis of genomic DNA- and RNA-derived data sets revealed that 71% of all phylotypes (representing 95% of all sequences) were metabolically active. Rare phylotypes contributed considerably to the richness of the community and were also largely metabolically active, indicating their participation in digestive processes in the gut. The dominant families in the active community (RNA data set) included Acidobacteriaceae (24.3%), Xanthomonadaceae (16.7%), Acetobacteraceae (15.8%), Burkholderiaceae (8.7%), and Enterobacteriaceae (4.1%). The most abundant phylotype comprised 14% of the active community and affiliated with Dyella ginsengisoli (Gammaproteobacteria), suggesting that a Dyella-related organism is a likely symbiont. This study provides new information on the diversity and activity of gut-associated microorganisms that are essential for the digestion of the nutritionally poor diet consumed by wood-feeding larvae. Many huhu gut phylotypes affiliated with insect symbionts or with bacteria present in acidic environments or associated with fungi.
A force-plate instrumented treadmill (Hp Cosmos Gaitway) was used to validate the use of a miniaturised lightweight ear-worn sensor (7.4 g) for gait monitoring. Thirty-four healthy subjects were asked to progress up to their maximum walking speed on the treadmill (starting at 5 km/h, with 0.5 km increments). The sensor houses a 3D accelerometer which measures medio-lateral (ML), vertical (VT) and anterior–posterior (AP) acceleration. Maximum signal ranges and zero crossings were derived from accelerometer signals per axis, having corrected for head motion and signal noise. The maximal force, measured by the instrumented treadmill correlated best with a combination of VT and AP acceleration (R-squared = 0.36, p = 0), and combined VT, ML, and AP acceleration (R-squared = 0.36, p = 0). Weight-acceptance peak force and impulse values also correlated well with VT and AP acceleration (Weight acceptance: R-squared = 0.35, p = 0, Impulse: 0.26, p = 0), and combined VT, ML, and AP acceleration (Weight acceptance: R-squared = 0.35, p = 0, Impulse: 0.26, p = 0). Zero crossing features on the ML axis provided an accurate prediction of the gait-cycle, with a mean difference of 0.03 s (−0.01, 0.05 confidence intervals).
Wearable sensors; Body sensor networks; Accelerometer; Gait cycle; Instrumented treadmill
To examine the relationship between diet and lifestyle, and chronic widespread pain (CWP). If persons with CWP have dietary and lifestyle habits consistent with an increased risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease, it may partially explain evidence in the literature suggesting an association between CWP and these diseases.
The 1958 British Birth Cohort Study comprises individuals born in England, Scotland and Wales in the United Kingdom during one week in March 1958. At 45 years of age, pain was recorded using a self-completion questionnaire. CWP was classified using the American College of Rheumatology definition for fibromyalgia. Data were collected on diet and lifestyle at 33 and 42 years of age.
A total of 8572 participants provided pain data at 45 years of age, of whom 12% reported CWP. Women with CWP, compared with those without, reported an unhealthy diet (ie, fruit/vegetable consumption less than once per week [OR 2.0; 95% CI 1.3 to 3.1], and fatty food [OR 1.7; 95% CI 1.1 to 2.7] and chips (french fries) [OR 1.5; 95% CI 1.0 to 2.4] at least once per day) that may have predisposed them to other chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Women with CWP were also more likely to be unemployed (adjusted OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.8), to have had high physical exertion at work (adjusted OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.2 to 2.2) and elevated body mass index (overweight – adjusted OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.2 to 1.9; obese – adjusted OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 2.5). Similar relationships between lifestyle (but not diet) and the risk of CWP were identified in men.
The findings for smoking, body mass index and (for women) diet offer support for the hypothesis that lifestyle factors may partially explain the association between CWP and cancer or cardiovascular disease. Prospective studies are necessary to confirm this relationship.
1958 British Birth Cohort; Cancer; Cardiovascular disease; Chronic widespread pain; Diet; Lifestyle; Physical activity
Single-item physical activity questions provide a quick approximation of physical activity levels. While recall questionnaires provide a more detailed picture of an individual's level of physical activity, single-item questions may be more appropriate in certain situations. The aim of this study was to evaluate two single-item physical activity questions (one absolute question and one relative question) for test-retest reliability, convergent validity, and discriminant validity, in a sample of older adults.
Data was obtained from the Project to Prevent Falls in Veterans, a fall risk-factor screening and modification trial. One question measured absolute physical activity (seldom, moderately, vigorously active) and one measured relative physical activity (more, about as, less active than peers). Test-retest reliability was examined using weighted Kappa statistics (κ) in a sample of 43 subjects. Validity was assessed using correlation coefficients (r) in participants who received clinical assessments (n = 159).
The absolute physical activity question was more reliable than the relative physical activity question (κ = 0.75 vs. κ = 0.56). Convergent validity, however, was stronger for the relative physical activity question (r = 0.28 to 0.57 vs. r = 0.10 to 0.33). Discriminant validity was similar for both questions. For the relative physical activity question, there was moderate agreement when this question was re-administered seven days later, fair to moderate/good associations when compared with indicators of physical function, and little to no associations when compared with measures hypothesized to be theoretically not related to physical activity.
The relative physical activity question had the best combination of test-retest reliability, convergent validity and discriminant validity. In studies requiring a measure of physical activity, where physical activity is not the primary focus and more detailed measures are not feasible, a single question may be an acceptable alternative.
Physical activity; self-report; single-item measure; assessment; validity; reliability; older adults
Semple et al. (Semple et al. in press, Biol. Lett. (doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.1062)) argued that the ‘law of brevity’ (an inverse relationship between word length and frequency of use) applies not only to human language but also to vocal signalling in non-human primates, because coding efficiency is paramount in both situations. We analysed the frequency of use of signals of different duration in the vocal repertoires of two Neotropical primate species studied in the wild—the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) and the golden-backed uakari (Cacajao melanocephalus). The key prediction of the law of brevity was not supported in either species: although the most frequently emitted calls were relatively brief, they were not the shortest signals in the repertoire. The costs and benefits associated with signals of different duration must be appreciated to understand properly their frequency of use. Although relatively brief vocal signals may be favoured by natural selection in order to minimize energetic costs, the very briefest signals may be ambiguous, contain reduced information or be difficult to detect or locate, and may therefore be selected against. Analogies between human language and vocal communication in animals can be misleading as a basis for understanding frequency of use, because coding efficiency is not the only factor of importance in animal communication, and the costs and benefits associated with different signal durations will vary in a species-specific manner.
law of brevity; Neotropical primates; vocal repertoire; signalling
Assess Aβ deposition longitudinally and explore its relationship with cognition and disease progression.
Clinical follow-up was obtained 20 ± 3 months after [11C]Pittsburgh compound B (PiB)-positron emission tomography in 206 subjects: 35 with dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT), 65 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 106 age-matched healthy controls (HCs). A second PiB scan was obtained at follow-up in 185 subjects and a third scan after 3 years in 57.
At baseline, 97% of DAT, 69% of MCI, and 31% of HC subjects showed high PiB retention. At 20-month follow-up, small but significant increases in PiB standardized uptake value ratios were observed in the DAT and MCI groups, and in HCs with high PiB retention at baseline (5.7%, 2.1%, and 1.5%, respectively). Increases were associated with the number of apolipoprotein E ε4 alleles. There was a weak correlation between PiB increases and decline in cognition when all groups were combined. Progression to DAT occurred in 67% of MCI with high PiB versus 5% of those with low PiB, but 20% of the low PiB MCI subjects progressed to other dementias. Of the high PiB HCs, 16% developed MCI or DAT by 20 months and 25% by 3 years. One low PiB HC developed MCI.
Aβ deposition increases slowly from cognitive normality to moderate severity DAT. Extensive Aβ deposition precedes cognitive impairment, and is associated with ApoE genotype and a higher risk of cognitive decline in HCs and progression from MCI to DAT over 1 to 2 years. However, cognitive decline is only weakly related to change in Aβ burden, suggesting that downstream factors have a more direct effect on symptom progression.
The mammalian inner ear contains sense organs responsible for detecting sound, gravity and linear acceleration, and angular acceleration. Of these organs, the cochlea is involved in hearing, while the sacculus and utriculus serve to detect linear acceleration. Recent evidence from birds and mammals, including humans, has shown that the sacculus, a hearing organ in many lower vertebrates, has retained some of its ancestral acoustic sensitivity. Here we provide not only more evidence for the retained acoustic sensitivity of the sacculus, but we also found that acoustic stimulation of the sacculus has behavioral significance in mammals. We show that the amplitude of an elicited auditory startle response is greater when the startle stimuli are presented simultaneously with a low-frequency masker, including masker tones that are outside the sensitivity range of the cochlea. Masker-enhanced auditory startle responses were also observed in otoconia-absent Nox3 mice, which lack otoconia but have no obvious cochlea pathology. However, masker enhancement was not observed in otoconia-absent Nox3 mice if the low-frequency masker tones were outside the sensitivity range of the cochlea. This last observation confirms that otoconial organs, most likely the sacculus, contribute to behavioral responses to low-frequency sounds in mice.
cochlea; vestibular; sacculus; Nox3 mouse; auditory startle; auditory masker