Tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus) like many waterfowl species are susceptible to lead (Pb) poisoning, and Pb-induced mortality has been reported from many areas of their wintering range. Little is known however about Pb levels throughout the annual cycle of tundra swans, especially during summer when birds are on remote northern breeding areas where they are less likely to be exposed to anthropogenic sources of Pb. Our objective was to document summer Pb levels in tundra swans throughout their breeding range in Alaska to determine if there were population-specific differences in blood Pb concentrations that might pose a threat to swans and to humans that may consume them. We measured blood Pb concentrations in tundra swans at five locations in Alaska, representing birds that winter in both the Pacific Flyway and Atlantic Flyway. We also marked swans at each location with satellite transmitters and coded neck bands, to identify staging and wintering sites and determine if winter site use correlated with summer Pb concentrations. Blood Pb levels were generally low (
Hypertension is the most powerful risk factor for stroke. The aim of this study was to characterize baseline blood pressure in participants in the Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes trial.
For this cross-sectional analysis, participants were categorized by baseline systolic blood pressure (SBP)
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Previous studies incorporating Motivational Interviewing administered via Co-Active Life Coaching tools (MI-via-CALC) have elicited positive results among adults with obesity. However, there is a paucity of this research that includes sufficient power and a comparison group. This study's purpose was to compare MI-via-CALC with a validated obesity intervention among university students.
Participants (n?=?45) were randomised to either a telephone-based 12-week: (a) MI-via-CALC program whereby a certified coach worked with subjects to achieve goals through dialogue; or (b) lifestyle modification treatment following the LEARN Program for Weight Management. Participants completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and Short Form Functional Health Status Scale (SF-36) at baseline, mid-, and post-treatment, and 3 and 6 months following the program.
Analyses revealed that both conditions elicited significant time effects between baseline and 6 months for self-esteem and all dimensions of the SF-36 (e.g. overall health).
MI-via-CALC compares favorably with LEARN as an obesity treatment. Given that self-esteem and quality of life are essential for promoting behavior change among individuals with obesity, this study offers unique insights into their change processes. Future research should provide both treatments and allow participants to choose based on their personal preferences, learning styles, and needs.
Although the association between continuity of care and health outcomes among persons with severe mental illness is beginning to be elucidated, the association between continuity and costs has remained virtually unexplored. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of continuity of care and health care costs in a sample of 437 adults with severe mental illness in three health regions of Alberta, Canada.
Service use events and costs were tracked through self-reported and administrative data. Associations between continuity and costs were examined by using analysis of variance and regression analysis.
Mean+/-SD total, hospital, and community cost over the 17-month study period were $24,070+/-$25,643, $12,505+/-$20,991, and $2,848+/-$4,420, respectively. The difference in means across levels of observer-rated continuity was not statistically significant for total cost, but improved continuity was associated with both lower hospital cost and higher community cost. Total cost was significantly lower for patients with a higher self-rated quality of life as indicated on the EQ-5D visual analogue scale, although associations did not hold up in the regression analysis. Patients with higher functioning as rated by the Multnomah Community Abilities Scale had significantly lower total and community costs.
The study showed a relationship between continuity of care and both hospital and community costs. The data also indicate that a relationship exists between cost and level of patient functioning. It will be necessary to conduct further studies using experimental designs to examine the impact of shifting resources from hospitals to the community, particularly for high-need patients, on continuity of care and subsequent outcomes.
Comment On: Psychiatr Serv. 2005 Sep;56(9):1061-916148318
The purpose of this research was to examine whether exercisers and nonexercisers are rated similarly on a variety of characteristics by a sample of randomly selected regular exercisers, nonexercisers who intend to exercise, and nonexercisers with no intention to exercise. Previous research by Martin Ginis et al. (2003) has demonstrated an exerciser stereotype that advantages exercisers. It is unknown, however, the extent to which an exerciser stereotype is shared by nonexercisers, particularly nonintenders. Following an item-generation procedure, a sample of 470 (n=218 men; n=252 women) people selected using random digit dialing responded to a questionnaire assessing the extent to which they agreed that exercisers and nonexercisers possessed 24 characteristics, such as "happy," "fit," "fat," and "lazy." The results strongly support a positive exerciser bias, with exercisers rated more favorably on 22 of the 24 items. The degree of bias was equivalent in all groups of respondents. Examination of the demographic characteristics revealed no differences among the three groups on age, work status, or child-care responsibilities, suggesting that there is a pervasive positive exerciser bias.
Dispersal and migratory behavior are influential factors in determining how genetic diversity is distributed across the landscape. In migratory species, genetic structure can be promoted via several mechanisms including fidelity to distinct migratory routes. Particularly within North America, waterfowl management units have been delineated according to distinct longitudinal migratory flyways supported by banding data and other direct evidence. The greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons) is a migratory waterfowl species with a largely circumpolar distribution consisting of up to six subspecies roughly corresponding to phenotypic variation. We examined the rangewide population genetic structure of greater white-fronted geese using mtDNA control region sequence data and microsatellite loci from 23 locales across North America and Eurasia. We found significant differentiation in mtDNA between sampling locales with flyway delineation explaining a significant portion of the observed genetic variation (~12%). This is concordant with band recovery data which shows little interflyway or intercontinental movements. However, microsatellite loci revealed little genetic structure suggesting a panmictic population across most of the Arctic. As with many high-latitude species, Beringia appears to have played a role in the diversification of this species. A common Beringian origin of North America and Asian populations and a recent divergence could at least partly explain the general lack of structure at nuclear markers. Further, our results do not provide strong support for the various taxonomic proposals for this species except for supporting the distinctness of two isolated breeding populations within Cook Inlet, Alaska (A. a. elgasi) and Greenland (A. a. flavirostris), consistent with their subspecies status.
Understanding the genomic basis of host-parasite adaptation is important for predicting the long-term viability of species and developing successful management practices. However, in wild populations, identifying specific signatures of parasite-driven selection often presents a challenge, as it is difficult to unravel the molecular signatures of selection driven by different, but correlated, environmental factors. Furthermore, separating parasite-mediated selection from similar signatures due to genetic drift and population history can also be difficult. Populations of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) from northern Europe have pronounced differences in their reactions to the parasitic flatworm Gyrodactylus salaris Malmberg 1957 and are therefore a good model to search for specific genomic regions underlying inter-population differences in pathogen response. We used a dense Atlantic salmon SNP array, along with extensive sampling of 43 salmon populations representing the two G. salaris response extremes (extreme susceptibility vs resistant), to screen the salmon genome for signatures of directional selection while attempting to separate the parasite effect from other factors. After combining the results from two independent genome scan analyses, 57 candidate genes potentially under positive selection were identified, out of which 50 were functionally annotated. This candidate gene set was shown to be functionally enriched for lymph node development, focal adhesion genes and anti-viral response, which suggests that the regulation of both innate and acquired immunity might be an important mechanism for salmon response to G. salaris. Overall, our results offer insights into the apparently complex genetic basis of pathogen susceptibility in salmon and highlight methodological challenges for separating the effects of various environmental factors.
Kelp forests (Order Laminariales) form key biogenic habitats in coastal regions of temperate and Arctic seas worldwide, providing ecosystem services valued in the range of billions of dollars annually. Although local evidence suggests that kelp forests are increasingly threatened by a variety of stressors, no comprehensive global analysis of change in kelp abundances currently exists. Here, we build and analyze a global database of kelp time series spanning the past half-century to assess regional and global trends in kelp abundances. We detected a high degree of geographic variation in trends, with regional variability in the direction and magnitude of change far exceeding a small global average decline (instantaneous rate of change = -0.018 y-1). Our analysis identified declines in 38% of ecoregions for which there are data (-0.015 to -0.18 y-1), increases in 27% of ecoregions (0.015 to 0.11 y-1), and no detectable change in 35% of ecoregions. These spatially variable trajectories reflected regional differences in the drivers of change, uncertainty in some regions owing to poor spatial and temporal data coverage, and the dynamic nature of kelp populations. We conclude that although global drivers could be affecting kelp forests at multiple scales, local stressors and regional variation in the effects of these drivers dominate kelp dynamics, in contrast to many other marine and terrestrial foundation species.
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Kelp forests (Order Laminariales) form key biogenic habitats in coastal regions of temperate and Arctic seas worldwide, providing ecosystem services valued in the range of billions of dollars annually. Although local evidence suggests that kelp forests are increasingly threatened by a variety of stressors, no comprehensive global analysis of change in kelp abundances currently exists. Here, we build and analyze a global database of kelp time series spanning the past half-century to assess regional and global trends in kelp abundances. We detected a high degree of geographic variation in trends, with regional variability in the direction and magnitude of change far exceeding a small global average decline (instantaneous rate of change = -0.018 y(-1)). Our analysis identified declines in 38% of ecoregions for which there are data (-0.015 to -0.18 y(-1)), increases in 27% of ecoregions (0.015 to 0.11 y(-1)), and no detectable change in 35% of ecoregions. These spatially variable trajectories reflected regional differences in the drivers of change, uncertainty in some regions owing to poor spatial and temporal data coverage, and the dynamic nature of kelp populations. We conclude that although global drivers could be affecting kelp forests at multiple scales, local stressors and regional variation in the effects of these drivers dominate kelp dynamics, in contrast to many other marine and terrestrial foundation species.
Medusae can be conspicuous and abundant members of seafloor communities in deep-sea benthic boundary layers. The epibenthic trachymedusa, Ptychogastria polaris Allman, 1878 (Hydrozoa: Trachylina: Ptychogastriidae) occurs in the cold, high latitude systems of both the northern and southern hemispheres, with a circumpolar distribution in Arctic and sub-Arctic areas, and disjunct reports of a few individuals from Antarctica. In January-February 2010, during benthic megafaunal photosurveys in three subpolar fjords along the West Antarctic Peninsula (Andvord, Flandres and Barilari Bays), P. polaris was recorded in Antarctic Peninsula waters. The trachymedusa, identified from megacore-collected specimens, was a common component of the epifauna in the sediment floored basins at 436-725 m depths in Andvord and Flandres Bays, reaching densities up to 13 m-2, with mean densities in individual basins ranging from 0.06 to 4.19 m-2. These densities are 2 to 400-fold higher than previously reported for P. polaris in either the Arctic or Antarctic. This trachymedusa had an aggregated distribution, occurring frequently in Andvord Bay, but was often solitary in Flandres Bay, with a distribution not significantly different from random. Epibenthic individuals were similar in size, typically measuring 15-25 mm in bell diameter. A morphologically similar trachymedusa, presumably the same species, was also observed in the water column near the bottom in all three fjords. This benthopelagic form attained abundances of up to 7 m-2 of seafloor; however, most P. polaris (~ 80%), were observed on soft sediments. Our findings indicate that fjords provide a prime habitat for the development of dense populations of P. polaris, potentially resulting from high and varied food inputs to the fjord floors. Because P. polaris resides in the water column and at the seafloor, large P. polaris populations may contribute significantly to pelagic-benthic coupling in the WAP fjord ecosystems.