Environmental Determinants (environmental + determinant)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Environmental determinants of amphibian and reptile species richness in China

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 4 2007
Hong Qian
Understanding the factors that regulate geographical variation in species richness has been one of the fundamental questions in ecology for decades, but our knowledge of the cause of geographical variation in species richness remains poor. This is particularly true for herpetofaunas (including amphibians and reptiles). Here, using correlation and regression analyses, we examine the relationship of herpetofaunal species richness in 245 localities across China with 30 environmental factors, which include nearly all major environmental factors that are considered to explain broad-scale species richness gradients in such theories as ambient energy, water,energy dynamics, productivity, habitat heterogeneity, and climatic stability. We found that the species richness of amphibians and reptiles is moderately to strongly correlated with most of the environmental variables examined, and that the best fit models, which include explanatory variables of temperature, precipitation, net primary productivity, minimum elevation, and range in elevation, explain ca 70% the variance in species richness for both amphibians and reptiles after accounting for sample area. Although water and temperature are important explanatory variables to both amphibians and reptiles, water variables explain more variance in amphibian species richness than in reptile species richness whereas temperature variables explain more variance in reptile species richness than in amphibian species richness, which is consistent with different physiological requirements of the two groups of organisms. [source]

Environmental determinants correlated to Vibrio harveyi -mediated death of marine gastropods

Youhei Fukui
Summary Vibrio harveyi is an emerging pathogen that causes mass mortality in a wide variety of marine animal species; however, it is still unclear which environmental determinants correlate V. harveyi dynamics and the bacterium-mediated death of marine animal life. We conducted a correlation analysis over a 5-year period (2003,2007) analysing the following data: V. harveyi abundance, marine animal mortality and environmental variables (seawater temperature, salinity, pH, chlorophyll a, rainfall and total viable bacterial counts). The samples were collected from a coastal area in northern Japan, where deaths of a marine gastropod species (Haliotis discus hannai) have been reported. Our analysis revealed significant positive correlations between average seawater temperature and average V. harveyi abundance (R = 0.955; P < 0.05), and between average seawater temperature and V. harveyi -mediated abalone death (R = 0.931; P < 0.05). Based on the regression model, n°C rise in seawater temperature gave rise to a 21n -fold increase in the risk of mortality caused by V. harveyi infection. This is the first report providing evidence of the strong positive correlation between seawater temperature and V. harveyi -mediated death of marine species. [source]

Environmental determinants of vascular plant species richness in the Austrian Alps

Dietmar Moser
Abstract Aim, To test predictions of different large-scale biodiversity hypotheses by analysing species richness patterns of vascular plants in the Austrian Alps. Location, The Austrian part of the Alps (c. 53,500 km2). Methods, Within the floristic inventory of Central Europe the Austrian part of the Alps were systematically mapped for vascular plants. Data collection was based on a rectangular grid of 5 × 3 arc minutes (34,35 km2). Emerging species richness patterns were correlated with several environmental factors using generalized linear models. Primary environmental variables like temperature, precipitation and evapotranspiration were used to test climate-related hypotheses of species richness. Additionally, spatial and temporal variations in climatic conditions were considered. Bedrock geology, particularly the amount of calcareous substrates, the proximity to rivers and lakes and secondary variables like topographic, edaphic and land-use heterogeneity were used as additional predictors. Model results were evaluated by correlating modelled and observed species numbers. Results, Our final multiple regression model explains c. 50% of the variance in species richness patterns. Model evaluation results in a correlation coefficient of 0.64 between modelled and observed species numbers in an independent test data set. Climatic variables like temperature and potential evapotranspiration (PET) proved to be by far the most important predictors. In general, variables indicating climatic favourableness like the maxima of temperature and PET performed better than those indicating stress, like the respective minima. Bedrock mineralogy, especially the amount of calcareous substrate, had some additional explanatory power but was less influential than suggested by comparable studies. The amount of precipitation does not have any effect on species richness regionally. Among the descriptors of heterogeneity, edaphic and land-use heterogeneity are more closely correlated with species numbers than topographic heterogeneity. Main conclusions, The results support energy-driven processes as primary determinants of vascular plant species richness in temperate mountains. Stressful conditions obviously decrease species numbers, but presence of favourable habitats has higher predictive power in the context of species richness modelling. The importance of precipitation for driving global species diversity patterns is not necessarily reflected regionally. Annual range of temperature, an indicator of short-term climatic stability, proved to be of minor importance for the determination of regional species richness patterns. In general, our study suggests environmental heterogeneity to be of rather low predictive value for species richness patterns regionally. However, it may gain importance at more local scales. [source]

Maternal and paternal condition effects on offspring phenotype in Telostylinus angusticollis (Diptera: Neriidae)

Abstract It is widely recognized that maternal phenotype can have important effects on offspring, but paternal phenotype is generally assumed to have no influence in animals lacking paternal care. Nonetheless, selection may favour the transfer of environmentally acquired condition to offspring from both parents. Using a split-brood, cross-generational laboratory design, we manipulated a key environmental determinant of condition , larval diet quality , of parents and their offspring in the fly Telostylinus angusticollis, in which there is no evidence of paternal provisioning. Parental diet did not affect offspring survival, but high-condition mothers produced larger eggs, and their offspring developed more rapidly when on a poor larval diet. Maternal condition had no effect on adult body size of offspring. By contrast, large, high-condition fathers produced larger offspring, and follow-up assays showed that this paternal effect can be sufficient to increase mating success of male offspring and fecundity of female offspring. Our findings suggest that both mothers and fathers transfer their condition to offspring, but with effects on different offspring traits. Moreover, our results suggest that paternal effects can be important even in species lacking conventional forms of paternal care. In such species, the transfer of paternal condition to offspring could contribute to indirect selection on female mate preferences. [source]

Separating host-tree and environmental determinants of honeydew production by Ultracoelostoma scale insects in a Nothofagus forest

Abstract 1.,Sugar-rich honeydew excreted (,produced') by insects feeding on phloem sap is a key energy flow in a range of temperate and tropical ecosystems. The present study measured honeydew produced by Ultracoelostoma sp. (Homoptera: Coelostomidiidae) scale insects feeding on Nothofagus solandri var. solandri (Hook f.) Oerst. trees in a temperate evergreen forest in New Zealand. Simultaneous measurements of environmental variables and canopy photosynthesis were conducted to allow separation of host-tree and environmental determinants of honeydew production. These relationships were further examined in experiments where canopy photosynthesis was manipulated by shading or plant nitrogen levels increased by foliar spray. 2.,Rates of honeydew production varied nine-fold from a maximum (± 1 SE) of 64.4 ± 15.2 mg dry mass m,2 bark h,1 in early summer (December) to a minimum of 7.4 ± 4.2 mg m,2 h,1 in winter (August). Rates of production measured 1.4 m from the base of the trees' stems varied significantly with stem diameter, and were higher on medium-sized (18 cm diameter) than small or large stems. 3.,Rates of production were significantly related to environmental conditions over the hours preceding measurement (air temperature and air saturation deficit averaged over the preceding 24 and 12 h respectively). There was no evidence that rates of production were directly related to short-term changes in the supply of carbohydrates from the canopy (either when compared with measurements of unmanipulated photosynthetic rate, or after sugar levels were manipulated by shading 80% of host-trees' leaf area), or to changes in phloem nitrogen content. 4.,The results show that there is no clear effect of host-tree carbon supply on honeydew production; if production is related to photosynthesis, the effect of this is much less important that the large and significant direct effect of environmental conditions on honeydew production. [source]

Environmental determinants correlated to Vibrio harveyi -mediated death of marine gastropods

Youhei Fukui
Summary Vibrio harveyi is an emerging pathogen that causes mass mortality in a wide variety of marine animal species; however, it is still unclear which environmental determinants correlate V. harveyi dynamics and the bacterium-mediated death of marine animal life. We conducted a correlation analysis over a 5-year period (2003,2007) analysing the following data: V. harveyi abundance, marine animal mortality and environmental variables (seawater temperature, salinity, pH, chlorophyll a, rainfall and total viable bacterial counts). The samples were collected from a coastal area in northern Japan, where deaths of a marine gastropod species (Haliotis discus hannai) have been reported. Our analysis revealed significant positive correlations between average seawater temperature and average V. harveyi abundance (R = 0.955; P < 0.05), and between average seawater temperature and V. harveyi -mediated abalone death (R = 0.931; P < 0.05). Based on the regression model, n°C rise in seawater temperature gave rise to a 21n -fold increase in the risk of mortality caused by V. harveyi infection. This is the first report providing evidence of the strong positive correlation between seawater temperature and V. harveyi -mediated death of marine species. [source]

Genetic and environmental determinants of temperament: a comparative study based on Polish and German samples

odzimierz Oniszczenko
This study of 1555 adult mono- and dizygotic twins reared together estimates the heritability of temperament traits in a Polish and a German sample. We test whether the etiology of temperament traits differs between the two cultures and between different temperament traits. We assessed temperament traits with the Formal Characteristics of Behaviour,Temperament Inventory (FCB-TI), the Pavlovian Temperament Survey (PTS), the Revised Dimensions of Temperament Survey (DOTS-R), and the Emotionality,Activity,Sociability Temperament Survey (EAS-TS). Taking error of measurement into account, genetic sources of variance explained about 50% of the variance of temperament traits. We found neither reliable cultural differences nor robust differences in the etiology of the traits. However, the four questionnaires differed systematically with respect to the proportion of genetic and environmental influences on their scales. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

The concept and status of trait in research on temperament

Jan Strelau
The aim of the paper is to show that research on temperament is inescapably bound with the concept of trait as applied in personality research. It is the individual differences approach on which temperament studies are based, and traits are the basic units by means of which these differences are described. Taking as a point of departure the definition of trait understood as a relatively stable and individual-specific generalized tendency to behave or react in a certain way expressed in a variety of situations, the hypothetical status of temperament traits is discussed. Special attention is paid to states and behaviour by means of which temperament traits are inferred as well as to the biological and environmental determinants of these traits. Temperamental traits constitute only a part of the personality structure viewed from the perspective of individual differences and this perspective is only one of the many from which the complex nature of personality should be viewed. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]


EVOLUTION, Issue 3 2004
Dany Garant
Abstract Despite great interest in sexual selection, relatively little is known in detail about the genetic and environmental determinants of secondary sexual characters in natural populations. Such information is important for determining the way in which populations may respond to sexual selection. We report analyses of genetic and large-scale environmental components of phenotypic variation of two secondary sexual plumage characters (forehead and wing patch size) in the collared flycatcher Ficedula albicollis over a 22-year period. We found significant heritability for both characters but little genetic covariance between the two. We found a positive association between forehead patch size and a large-scale climatic index, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index, but not for wing patch. This pattern was observed in both cross-sectional and longitudinal data suggesting that the population response to NAO index can be explained as the result of phenotypic plasticity. Heritability of forehead patch size for old males, calculated under favorable conditions (NAO index median), was greater than that under unfavorable conditions (NAO index < median). These changes occurred because there were opposing changes in additive genetic variance (VA) and residual variance (VR) under favorable and unfavorable conditions, with VA increasing and VR decreasing in good environments. However, no such effect was detected for young birds, or for wing patch size in either age class. In addition to these environmental effects on both phenotypic and genetic variances, we found evidence for a significant decrease of forehead patch size over time in older birds. This change appears to be caused by a change in the sign of viability selection on forehead patch size, which is associated with a decline in the breeding value of multiple breeders. Our data thus reveal complex patterns of environmental influence on the expression of secondary sexual characters, which may have important implications for understanding selection and evolution of these characters. [source]

Genetic Probes of Three Theories of Maternal Adjustment: I. Recent Evidence and a Model,

FAMILY PROCESS, Issue 3 2001
David Reiss M.D.
Studies focusing on genetic and social influences on maternal adjustment will illumine mother's marriage, parenting, and the development of psychopathology in her children. Recent behavioral genetic research suggests mechanisms by which genetic and social influences determine psychological development and adjustment. First, heritable, personal attributes may influence individuals' relationships with their family members. These genetically influenced family patterns may amplify the effects of adverse, heritable personal attributes on adjustment. Second, influences unique to siblings may be the most important environmental determinants of adjustment. We derive three hypotheses on maternal adjustment from integrating these findings from genetic studies with other contemporary research on maternal adjustment. First, mother's marriage mediates the influence of her heritable, personal attributes on her adjustment. Second, mother's recall of how she was parented is partially genetically influenced, and both her relationships with her spouse and her child mediate the impact of these genetically influenced representations on her current adjustment. Third, characteristics of mother's spouse are important influences on difference between her adjustment and that of her sister's These sibling-specific influences are unrelated to mother's heritable attributes. The current article develops this model, and the companion article describes the Twin Mom Study that was designed to test it as well, as its first findings. Data from this study can illumine the role of family process in the expression of genetic influence and lead to specific family interventions designed to offset adverse genetic influences. [source]

Sex differences in genetic and environmental determinants of pulse pressure

Katrina J. Scurrah
Abstract Pulse pressure (PP) is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. PP rises with age, more so in women. We examined sex differences in the correlations and variance components of PP in adult subjects from 767 nuclear families, enriched with those containing twins, from the Victorian Family Heart Study. After adjusting for age, we found no significant differences in the means or variances of PP in males and females. Under the assumption of no sex differences, the proportions of variance due to shared genes, shared environment, and individual-specific environment were 20%, 23% and 57%, respectively. However, same-sex relative pairs had significantly higher correlations than opposite-sex pairs (P=0.005), implying the existence of sex-dependent effects. Extensions to the simple variance components model suggested three possible explanations for these differences: smaller genetic correlation between opposite-sex pairs (,G,MF=0.45, P=0.007); smaller environmental correlation between opposite-sex pairs (P=0.0003); or different environmental and genetic correlations obtained by estimating genetic, environmental, and individual variance components separately for males and females (not nested, Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC) smaller by 6.69). Under the last model, the genetic component of PP variance is greater for males (1.62 vs 0.33) while the environmental component is greater for females (1.84 vs 0), which would have implications for the planning of gene discovery studies, since heritability would be higher in males. However, the second (environmental) approach best fits the data according to the AIC. Genetic explanations for sex differences in phenotypic correlations may be misleading unless shared environmental factors are also considered. PP illustrates a phenotype in which sex dependency represents an important component of phenotypic determination that can be revealed by detailed variance components modelling. Genet. Epidemiol. 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

The regional variation of aboveground live biomass in old-growth Amazonian forests

Abstract The biomass of tropical forests plays an important role in the global carbon cycle, both as a dynamic reservoir of carbon, and as a source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in areas undergoing deforestation. However, the absolute magnitude and environmental determinants of tropical forest biomass are still poorly understood. Here, we present a new synthesis and interpolation of the basal area and aboveground live biomass of old-growth lowland tropical forests across South America, based on data from 227 forest plots, many previously unpublished. Forest biomass was analyzed in terms of two uncorrelated factors: basal area and mean wood density. Basal area is strongly affected by local landscape factors, but is relatively invariant at regional scale in moist tropical forests, and declines significantly at the dry periphery of the forest zone. Mean wood density is inversely correlated with forest dynamics, being lower in the dynamic forests of western Amazonia and high in the slow-growing forests of eastern Amazonia. The combination of these two factors results in biomass being highest in the moderately seasonal, slow growing forests of central Amazonia and the Guyanas (up to 350 Mg dry weight ha,1) and declining to 200,250 Mg dry weight ha,1 at the western, southern and eastern margins. Overall, we estimate the total aboveground live biomass of intact Amazonian rainforests (area 5.76 × 106 km2 in 2000) to be 93±23 Pg C, taking into account lianas and small trees. Including dead biomass and belowground biomass would increase this value by approximately 10% and 21%, respectively, but the spatial variation of these additional terms still needs to be quantified. [source]

Contemporary landscape burning patterns in the far North Kimberley region of north-west Australia: human influences and environmental determinants

T. Vigilante
Abstract Aim, This study of contemporary landscape burning patterns in the North Kimberley aims to determine the relative influences of environmental factors and compare the management regimes occurring on Aboriginal lands, pastoral leases, national park and crown land. Location, The study area is defined at the largest scale by Landsat Scene 108,70 that covers a total land area of 23,134 km2 in the North Kimberley Bioregion of north-west Australia, including the settlement of Kalumburu, coastline between Vansittart Bay in the west and the mouth of the Berkeley River in the east, and stretching approximately 200 km inland. Methods, Two approaches are applied. First, a 10-year fire history (1990,1999) derived from previous study of satellite (Landsat-MSS) remote sensing imagery is analysed for broad regional patterns. And secondly, a 2-year ground-based survey of burning along major access roads leading to an Aboriginal community is used to show fine-scale burning patterns. anova and multiple regression analyses are used to determine the influence of year, season, geology, tenure, distance from road and distance from settlement on fire patterns. Results, Satellite data indicated that an average of 30.8% (±4.4% SEM) of the study area was burnt each year with considerable variability between years. Approximately 56% of the study area was burnt on three or more occasions over the 10-year period. A slightly higher proportion of burning occurred on average in the late dry season (17.2 ± 3.6%), compared with the early dry season (13.6 ± 3.3%). The highest fire frequency occurred on basalt substrates, on pastoral tenures, and at distances 5,25 km from roads. Three-way anova demonstrated that geological substrate and land use were the most significant factors influencing fire history, however a range of smaller interactions were also significant. Analysis of road transects, originating from an Aboriginal settlement, showed that the timing of fire and geology type were the most significant factors affecting the pattern of area burnt. Of the total transect area, 28.3 ± 2.9% was burnt annually with peaks in burning occurring into the dry season months of June, August and September. Basalt uplands (81.2%) and lowlands (30.1%) had greater areas burnt than sandstone (12.3%) and sands (17.7%). Main conclusions, Anthropogenic firing is constrained by two major environmental determinants; climate and substrate. Seasonal peaks in burning activity in both the early and late dry season relate to periods of optimal fire-weather conditions. Substrate factors (geology, soils and physiognomy) influence vegetation-fuel characteristics and the movement of fire in the landscape. Basalt hills overwhelmingly supported the most frequent wildfire regime in the study region because of their undulating topography and relatively fertile soils that support perennial grasslands. Within these spatial and temporal constraints people significantly influenced the frequency and extent of fire in the North Kimberley thus tenure type and associated land uses had a significant influence on fire patterning. Burning activity is high on pastoral lands and along roads and tracks on some tenure types. While the state government uses aerial control burning and legislation to try to restrict burning to the early dry season across all geology types, in practice burning is being conducted across the full duration of the dry season with early dry season burning focused on sandstone and sand substrates and late dry season burning focused on basalt substrates. There is greater seasonal and spatial variation in burning patterns on landscapes managed by Aboriginal people. [source]

Floral free fall in the Swiss lowlands: environmental determinants of local plant extinction in a peri-urban landscape

Summary 1Local floras are being depleted by a host of human activities, including habitat destruction and fragmentation, eutrophication, and the intensification of agriculture. Species with particular ecological demands or life-history attributes are more prone to extinction than species with a broader niche. 2We used an old herbarium from the municipality of Küsnacht (Swiss lowlands) as a historical record for comparison with contemporary plant diversity. This comparison revealed that 17% to 28% of all vascular plants that occurred between 1839 and 1915 were extinct by 2003. 3Species of different habitats and life-forms had significantly different rates of extinction: wetlands, disturbed sites and meadows lost most species, whereas forests and rocky habitats were least affected; aquatics and annuals were most prone to extinction, geophytes and hemicryptophytes were intermediate, and phanerophytes and chamaephytes were least affected. 4Species adapted to nutrient-poor soils suffered highest extinction in all habitats, indicating that eutrophication poses an urgent threat to species diversity. Light and soil moisture requirements also had significant effects on extinction, but the direction of the effect varied by habitat. 5When species were grouped into IUCN categories of the red list of Switzerland, the rank order of the observed extinction matched the red list assignment. 6Because many of the remaining species had high estimated extinction probabilities and because extinction is often delayed (extinction debt), a substantial part of the remaining flora of Küsnacht is likely to go extinct in the near future. This will increase the dominance of the common species that already comprise 81% of the local flora. 7The rates and patterns of extinction in Küsnacht are probably representative of surrounding Swiss lowlands and peri-urban landscapes in most developed countries. Studies such as ours can serve as a call for action and form a basis for future monitoring of biodiversity. [source]

Ecological play in the coevolutionary theatre: genetic and environmental determinants of attack by a specialist weevil on milkweed

Anurag A. Agrawal
Summary 1We studied the genetic and environmental determinants of attack by the specialist stem-attacking weevil, Rhyssomatus lineaticollis on Asclepias syriaca. 2In natural populations, the extent of stem damage and oviposition were positively correlated with stem width, but not stem height. We hypothesized that both genotypic and environmental factors influencing stem morphology would affect attack by weevils. 3In a common garden study with 21 full-sib families of milkweed, both phenotypic and genetic correlations indicated that weevils impose more damage and lay more eggs on thicker stemmed plants. 4Of three other putative resistance traits, only latex production showed a negative genetic correlation with weevil attack. 5When neighbouring grasses were clipped to reduce light competition, focal milkweed plants received up to 2.6 times the photosynthetically active radiation and 1.6 times the red to far red ratio of light compared with plants with intact grass neighbours. Focal milkweed plants were therefore released from the classic neighbour avoidance response and had 20% shorter internode lengths, were 30% shorter, and had 90% thicker stems compared with controls. 6Clipping of grass neighbours resulted in nearly 2.7 times the damage and oviposition by stem weevils, thus supporting the hypothesis of an environmental or trait-mediated indirect influence on resistance. 7Although attack of plants by weevils strongly increases the probability of stem mortality, thicker stems experience lower mortality, thus counteracting the selective impact of weevil-induced plant mortality. 8The determinants of attack on milkweeds include both genetic variation for stem thickness and an indirect environmental influence of plant neighbours. If milkweeds and weevils are coevolving, the interaction is diffuse because the ecological neighbourhood is likely to modify the patterns of reciprocal natural selection. [source]

The burden of kidney disease in Indigenous children of Australia and New Zealand, epidemiology, antecedent factors and progression to chronic kidney disease

Andrew White
Aims: To review and present the most important issues related to kidney disease in Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Maori and Pacific Islander children from Australia and New Zealand. Methods: A review of medical literature about: 1. incidence of kidney disease in Indigenous children in Australia and New Zealand, especially where rates are different from the general populations, 2. factors in early life which increase risk for chronic kidney disease in adult life, and 3. early identification and primary and secondary interventions in childhood which may prevent chronic kidney disease in adults. Results: Kidney diseases, both acute and chronic are more common in Maori, Pacific Islander, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The reasons are multiple and include genetic, environmental and socio-economic factors. In childhood post streptococcal glomerulonephritis, haemolytic uraemic syndrome, renal stones and acute kidney injury all occur at higher frequency in at least some of the Indigenous populations. Chronic kidney disease CKD occurs more commonly, and at a younger age in Indigenous than non Indigenous people. Factors involved may include reduced nephron endowment at birth, and subsequent insults including nephritis, obesity, and early onset type 2 diabetes, as well as underlying socioeconomic and environmental determinants. Conclusion: A lifecourse understanding allows one to conceptualise multiple risk factors and target interventions. [source]

APOE,4 influences the pathological phenotype of Alzheimer's disease by favouring cerebrovascular over parenchymal accumulation of A, protein

K. Chalmers
The relative amounts of amyloid ,-protein (A,) in cerebral blood vessels and parenchyma vary considerably amongst patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although several mechanisms have been proposed to explain this variability, the underlying genetic and environmental determinants are still unclear, as are the functional consequences. Polymorphisms in APOE, the gene for apolipoprotein E (ApoE), influence the risk of developing AD and of deposition of A, within the brain. We examined the relationship between the APOE genotype and the relative extent of accumulation of A, as plaques within the cerebral parenchyma and in cortical blood vessels in the form of cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), in autopsy brain tissue from 125 AD cases and from 53 elderly, neurologically normal controls of which 19 had CAA without other neuropathological features of AD. In the AD cases, we also assessed whether the severity of CAA was related to the age of onset and duration of dementia, risk factors for atherosclerotic vascular disease, and histologically demonstrable cerebral in-farcts or foci of haemorrhage. The APOE genotype was determined by a standard polymerase chain reaction-based method. Paraffin sections of frontal, temporal and parietal lobes were immunolabelled for A, and the parenchymal A, load (total A, minus vessel-associated A,) was quantified by computer-assisted image analysis. CAA severity was scored for cortical and leptomeningeal vessels. The relevant clinical data were obtained from the database of the South West Brain Bank. In AD, we found the severity of CAA to be strongly associated with the number of ,4 alleles (P < 0.0001) but the parenchymal A, load to be independent of APOE genotype. Cases with severe CAA had a lower parenchymal A, load than had those with moderate CAA (P = 0.003). Neither the severity of CAA nor the parenchymal A, load correlated with age of onset, duration of disease or age at death, and the severity of CAA also did not correlate with the presence of cerebral infarcts or foci of haemorrhage. These findings indicate that possession of the APOE,4 allele favours vascular over parenchymal accumulation of A, in AD. This may influence the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in ,4-associated AD. [source]

Movement-to-music computer technology: a developmental play experience for children with severe physical disabilities

Cynthia Tam
Abstract Children with severe physical disabilities often lack the physical skills to explore their environment independently, and to play with toys or musical instruments. The movement-to-music (MTM) system is an affordable computer system that allows children with limited movements to play and create music. The present study explored parents' experiences of using the MTM system with their children. A qualitative methodology employing in-depth interview techniques was used with six mothers and their children. The themes extracted from the data were organized under two main concepts of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) (WHO, 2001) framework. The results showed that the MTM expanded horizons for the child along the ICF health dimensions and the MTM had a positive impact on ICF environmental determinants of health. The small sample size should be noted as a limitation of this study. Further research should be carried out with a larger sample of children with restricted mobility to obtain a better understanding of the impact of MTM technology on children's psychosocial development. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Predictability of plant species composition from environmental conditions is constrained by dispersal limitation

OIKOS, Issue 3 2005
Wim A. Ozinga
Despite recent modelling approaches integrating the effects of niche-based processes and dispersal-based processes on local plant species composition, their relative importance is still not clear. We test whether the predictability of local species composition from environmental conditions is influenced by dispersal traits. We analyzed a large database with co-occurrence data, using ordination techniques (DCA and CCA) to identify the major environmental determinants of species composition. The percentage of explained variance in occurrence was quantified for individual species with CCA. Effects of life-history traits on the predictability of occurrence patterns were tested by means of regression analysis, using a generalized linear models approach. The results reveal close correlations between species composition and environmental conditions, implying that the predictability of the set of species that might occur in a given environmental setting ("habitat species pool") is high. The habitat species pool, however, reflects the potential species composition, and not the actual local situation. At the level of individual species, a large proportion (>90%) of the variation in occurrence remained unexplained. Predictability of species occurrence patterns was increased by a greater capacity for long-distance dispersal, greater adult longevity and the capacity to build a persistent seed bank. The results indicate that the predictability of species composition from environmental conditions is reduced by a few orders of magnitude by dispersal limitation and that poor dispersers are underrepresented. [source]

Mixed-longitudinal growth of Karimojong girls and boys in Moroto District, Uganda

Sandra Gray
In this article we examine results of a mixed-longitudinal study of child and adolescent growth among agropastoral Karimojong children in Moroto District, northeast Uganda. During a 5-month period from August to December, 2004, longitudinal data were collected for a mixed sample of 104 Karimojong children, aged from birth to 18 years. During a previous study in 1998,1999,we had measured 26 of these children who then ranged in Age between 3 months and 7 years. Most of the children were small and thin relative to accepted growth standards, and prevalence of stunting and wasting in childhood was high. In the period from the end of childhood through adolescence, however, Karimojong girls showed marked variability in annual growth, with some attaining a large adult size relative to what we predicted based on their poor childhood growth. Developmental, evolutionary, and environmental determinants are considered. We conclude that growth of these children reflects exposure to environmental insults that vary unpredictably within relatively short intervals. Variability in the magnitude and timing of these insults among children from different birth-cohorts is probably sufficient to account for so-called "shifting" of growth percentiles in childhood and adolescence in this mixed sample. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Framing Disparities Along the Continuum of Care from Chronic Kidney Disease to Transplantation: Barriers and Interventions

K. Ladin
Research in renal transplantation continues to document scores of disparities affecting vulnerable populations at various stages along the transplantation process. Given that both biological and environmental determinants contribute significantly to variation, identifying factors underlying an unfairly biased distribution of the disease burden is crucial. Confounded definitions and gaps in understanding causal pathways impede effectiveness of interventions aimed at alleviating disparities. This article offers an operational definition of disparities in the context of a framework aimed at facilitating interventional research. Utilizing an original framework describing the entire continuum of the transplant process from diagnosis of chronic kidney disease through successful transplant, this article explores the case of racial disparities, illustrating key factors predicting and perpetuating disparities. Though gaps in current research leave us unable to identify which stages of the transplant pathway adversely affect most people, by identifying key risk factors across the continuum of care, this article highlights areas suited for targeted interventions and presents recommendations for improvement and future research. [source]

Early-life nutritional and environmental determinants of thymic size in infants born in rural Bangladesh

SE Moore
Abstract Aim:, The aim was to assess the impact of nutritional status and environmental exposures on infant thymic development in the rural Matlab region of Bangladesh. Methods:, In a cohort of Nmax 2094 infants born during a randomized study of combined interventions to improve maternal and infant health, thymic volume (thymic index, TI) was assessed by ultrasonography at birth and at 8, 24 and 52 weeks of age. Data on birth weight, infant anthropometry and feeding status were also collected. Results:, At all ages, TI was positively associated with infant weight and strongly associated with the month of measurement. Longer duration of exclusive breastfeeding resulted in a larger TI at 52 weeks. TI at birth and at 8 weeks correlated positively with birth weight, but by 24 and 52 weeks and when adjusted for infant weight this effect was no longer present. Thymic size was not affected by pre-natal maternal supplementation or by socioeconomic status but was correlated to arsenic exposure during pregnancy. Conclusion:, In this population of rural Bangladeshi infants, thymic development is influenced by both nutritional and environmental exposures early in life. The long-term functional implications of these findings warrant further investigation. [source]

Single nucleotide polymorphism in CTH associated with variation in plasma homocysteine concentration

J Wang
Plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentration, an independent risk factor of atherosclerosis, has numerous genetic and environmental determinants. While the thermolabile polymorphism in MTHFR encoding methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase is the best-studied genetic factor associated with variation in plasma tHCy, other candidate genes are being evaluated. Recently, we discovered that cystathioninuria was caused by mutations in the CTH gene encoding cystathionine ,-lyase, an enzyme that converts cystathionine to cysteine in the trans-sulfuration pathway. We also identified a common single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), namely c.1364G>T (S403I) in exon 12 of CTH. In the current analysis, we studied the association of genotypes of this SNP with plasma tHcy concentrations in 496 Caucasian subjects. CTH 1364T/T homozygotes had significantly higher mean plasma tHcy concentration than subjects with other genotypes, and the effect sizes of CTH and MTHFR genotypes were similar. The findings suggest that common variation in CTH may be a determinant of plasma tHcy concentrations. [source]