Neighbouring Regions (neighbouring + regions)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Overview on SARS in Asia and the World

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is the first major novel infectious disease to hit the international community in the 21st century. It originated in southern China in November 2002, reached Hong Kong in February 2003 and spread rapidly thereafter to 29 countries/regions on five continents. At the end of the epidemic, the global cumulative total was 8098 with 774 deaths. Seven Asian countries/regions were among the top ten on the list. Mainland China and Hong Kong, SAR, accounted for 87% of all cases and 84% of all deaths. Severe acute respiratory syndrome is caused by a novel coronavirus. It has alarmed the world with its infectivity and significant morbidity and mortality, its lack of a rapid, reliable diagnostic test and lack of effective specific treatment and vaccination. The adverse impact on travel and business around the world, particularly in Asia, has been enormous. Some lessons learnt from this epidemic included: (1) any outbreak of infectious disease can rapidly spread around the world by air travel; (2) early reporting of the outbreak to neighbouring countries/regions and the World Health Organization is essential to prevent international spread; and (3) infection control, tracing and quarantine of contacts are essential to control the epidemic. Many questions remain unanswered, including the origin and pathogenesis of the novel coronavirus, the natural history and the best specific treatment of the disease. The SARS-CoV has probably jumped from an animal host to humans. There is an urgent need to evaluate the human,animal habitat in southern China and to remove animal reservoirs if found. [source]

Unemployment clusters across Europe's regions and countries

ECONOMIC POLICY, Issue 34 2002
Henry G. Overman
Summary High unemployment and regional inequalities are major concerns for European policy-makers, but so far connections between policies dealing with unemployment and regional inequalities have been few and weak. We think that this should change. This paper documents a regional and transnational dimension to unemployment , i.e., geographical unemployment clusters that do not respect national boundaries. Since the mid 1980s, regions with high or low initial unemployment rates saw little change, while regions with intermediate unemployment moved towards extreme values. During this polarization, nearby regions tended to share similar outcomes due, we argue, to spatially related changes in labour demand. These spatially correlated demand shifts were due in part to initial clustering of low-skilled regions and badly performing industries, but a significant neighbour effect remains even after controlling for these, and the effect is as strong within as it is between nations. We believe this reflects agglomeration effects of economic integration. The new economic geography literature shows how integration fosters employment clusters that need not respect national borders. If regional labour forces do not adjust, regional unemployment polarization with neighbour effects can result. To account for these ,neighbour effects' a cross-regional and transnational dimension should be added to national anti-unemployment policies. Nations should consider policies that encourage regional wage setting, and short distance mobility, and the EU should consider including transnational considerations in its regional policy, since neighbour effects on unemployment mean that an anti-unemployment policy paid for by one region will benefit neighbouring regions. Since local politicians gain no votes or tax revenues from these ,spillovers', they are likely to underestimate the true benefit of the policy and thus tend to undertake too little of it. [source]

Multiple sclerosis complexity in selected populations: the challenge of Sardinia, insular Italy1

S. Sotgiu
Several lines of evidence indicate a genetic contribution to multiple sclerosis (MS) both in terms of predisposition to the disease and of immunological mechanisms which are known to play crucial roles in MS pathogenesis. The presence of high- and low-risk areas for MS in neighbouring regions supports the theory that MS predisposition is influenced by a complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Therefore, the use of genetically homogeneous and geographically isolated populations becomes an increasing requirement to reduce biasing biological variables. Sardinians fulfil these conditions well because of their different phylogeny from Europeans and the unique selective pressures which shaped their genome. Sardinians display amongst the highest MS prevalence rates world-wide and increasing MS incidence rates over time. Also, MS in Sardinia is linked to distinct human leucocyte antigen (HLA) alleles and associated to different patterns of cytokine production from lymphoid cells of different HLA subtypes. In this context, recent findings and future perspectives on the peculiarities of Sardinian MS concerning genetic, immunological and epidemiological aspects are presented. So far, our results indicate that variations at the level of territorial distribution and HLA-association are present which render MS heterogeneous even in this ethnically homogeneous population. [source]

Prediction of species response to atmospheric nitrogen deposition by means of ecological measures and life history traits

Martin Diekmann
Summary 1The main objective of this study was to predict the responses of vascular plant species to atmospheric nitrogen deposition and enhanced soil nitrogen levels. The study was carried out in deciduous forests located in three regions of southern Sweden. The abundance of vascular plants, as well as soil pH and nitrogen mineralization rates, were studied in a total of 661 sample plots. 2We calculated an ecological measure (Ndev value) for all species based on their observed vs. expected nitrification ratios at a given soil pH, and compared its accuracy in predicting abundance changes with results using life history traits. Data from long-term field studies and fertilization experiments were used for validation. 3Ndev values were positively correlated between neighbouring regions. Values for the southernmost region (Skåne) were also positively related to the changes in species frequency observed in large-scale flora surveys and permanent plot studies in that area and with species changes reported from Central Europe. Values from one of two other regions were also consistent. Ndev values from Skåne (but no other region) predicted species responses in short-term fertilization experiments. 4No life history trait was as good a predictor as Ndev, although plant height, leaf anatomy, leaf nitrogen concentration and phenology showed significant correlations. Attributes related to taxonomy, life form, relative growth rate and habitat type showed no agreement with the changes in species abundance. 5We predict that species with the following attribute syndrome will increase in abundance in response to enhanced nitrogen levels: those favoured by a high soil nitrification ratio relative to other species at a given soil pH, tall stature, hydro- to helomorph anatomy, high leaf nitrogen concentration and a late phenological development. [source]

Is R&D investment in lagging areas of Europe worthwhile?

Theory, empirical evidence
R&D, technology; spillovers; economic growth; regions; Western Europe Abstract. Is R&D investment in lagging areas worthwhile? There is no simple answer, nor is there universal theoretical agreement on the question. The Schumpeterian strand of the endogenous growth approach highlights the advantages of spatially concentrating the research and development (R&D) effort in a few areas, in order to maximise external economies and technological spillovers. Innovation is then expected to spill over from these technologically advanced areas into neighbouring regions. The neoclassical view, in contrast, considers that decreasing returns render investment in core areas increasingly less efficient, and makes investment in peripheries more effective. The regional policy view holds that public investment in R&D in lagging regions triggers economic convergence, because it limits congestion in the centre, helps to keep talent, and generates spin-offs in lagging areas. This article surveys these strands and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of investing in R&D in lagging regions. I then turn to the evolution of R&D investment across regions in Western Europe. [source]