Is part of the Bibliography
A close eye on the eagle-eyed visual acuity hypothesis of autism
Christine M. Freitag
- Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been associated with sensory hypersensitivity. A recent study reported visual acuity (VA) in ASD in the region reported for birds of prey. The validity of the results was subsequently doubted. This study examined VA in 34 individuals with ASD, 16 with schizophrenia (SCH), and 26 typically developing (TYP). Participants with ASD did not show higher VA than those with SCH and TYP. There were no substantial correlations of VA with clinical severity in ASD or SCH. This study could not confirm the eagle-eyed acuity hypothesis of ASD, or find evidence for a connection of VA and clinical phenotypes. Research needs to further address the origins and circumstances associated with altered sensory or perceptual processing in ASD.
Ships, ports and particulate air pollution - an analysis of recent studies
Jan David Alexander Groneberg
- The duration of use is usually significantly longer for marine vessels than for roadside vehicles. Therefore, these vessels are often powered by relatively old engines which may propagate air pollution. Also, the quality of fuel used for marine vessels is usually not comparable to the quality of fuels used in the automotive sector and therefore, port areas may exhibit a high degree of air pollution. In contrast to the multitude of studies that addressed outdoor air pollution due to road traffic, only little is known about ship-related air pollution. Therefore the present article aims to summarize recent studies that address air pollution, i.e. particulate matter exposure, due to marine vessels. It can be stated that the data in this area of research is still largely limited. Especially, knowledge on the different air pollutions in different sea areas is needed.
Vom Forschungsfilm zur Veröffentlichung
Seismicity at the Rwenzori Mountains, East African Rift: earthquake distribution, magnitudes and source mechanisms
- We have analysed the microseismic activity within the Rwenzori Mountains area in the western branch of the East African Rift. Seismogram recordings from a temporary array of up to 27 stations reveal approximately 800 events per month with local magnitudes ranging from –0.5 to 5.1. The earthquake distribution is highly heterogeneous. The majority of located events lie within faults zones to the East and West of the Rwenzoris with the highest seismic activity observed in the northeastern area, where the mountains are in contact with the rift shoulders. The hypocentral depth distribution exhibits a pronounced peak of seismic energy release at 15 km depth. The maximum extent of seismicity ranges from 20 to 32 km and correlates well with Moho depths that were derived from teleseismic receiver functions. We observe two general features: (i) beneath the rift shoulders seismicity extends from the surface down to ca. 30 km depth; (ii) beneath the rift valley seismicity is confined to depths greater than 10 km. From the observations there is no indication for a crustal root beneath the Rwenzori Mountains. The magnitude frequency distribution reveals a b-value of 1.1, which is consistent with the hypothesis that part of the seismicity is caused by magmatic processes within the crust. Fault plane solutions of 304 events were derived from P-polarities and SV/P amplitude ratios. More than 70 % of the source mechanisms exhibit pure or predominantly normal faulting. T-axis trends are highly uniform and oriented WNW-ESE, which is perpendicular to the rift axis and in good agreement with kinematic rift models. At the northernmost part of the region we observe a rotation of the T-axis trends to NEN-SWS, which may be indicative of a local perturbation of the regional stress field.
The emergence of information systems: a communication-based theory
- An information system is more than just the information technology; it is the system that emerges from the complex interactions and relationships between the information technology and the organization. However, what impact information technology has on an organization and how organizational structures and organizational change influence information technology remains an open question. We propose a theory to explain how communication structures emerge and adapt to environmental changes. We operationalize the interplay of information technology and organization as language communities whose members use and develop domain-specific languages for communication. Our theory is anchored in the philosophy of language. In developing it as an emergent perspective, we argue that information systems are self-organizing and that control of this ability is disseminated throughout the system itself, to the members of the language community. Information technology influences the dynamics of this adaptation process as a fundamental constraint leading to perturbations for the information system. We demonstrate how this view is separated from the entanglement in practice perspective and show that this understanding has far-reaching consequences for developing, managing, and examining information systems.
Improvement and evaluation of simulated global biogenic soil NO emissions in an AC-GCM
Mark Gary Lawrence
- Soil biogenic NO emissions (SNOx) play important direct and indirect roles in chemical processes of the troposphere. The most widely applied algorithm to calculate SNOx in global models was published 15 years ago by Yienger and Levy (1995), was based on very few measurements. Since then numerous new measurements have been published, which we used to build up a atabase of field measurements conducted world wide covering the period from 1978 to 2009, including 108 publications with 560 measurements.
Recently, several satellite based top-down approaches, which recalculated the different sources of NOx (fossil fuel, biomass burning, soil and lightning), have shown an underestimation of SNOx by the algorithm of Yienger and Levy (1995). Nevertheless, to our knowledge no general improvements of this algorithm have yet been published.
Here we present major improvements to the algorithm, which should help to optimize the representation of SNOx in atmospheric-chemistry global climate models, without modifying the underlying principal or mathematical equations. The changes include: 1) Using a new up to date land cover map, with twice the number of land cover classes, and using annually varying fertilizer application rates; 2) Adopting the fraction of SNOx induced by fertilizer application based on our database; 3) Switching from soil water column to volumetric soil moisture, to distinguish between the wet and dry state; 4) Tuning the emission factors to reproduce the measured emissions in our database and calculate the emissions based on their mean value. These steps lead us to increased global yearly SNOx, and our total SNOx source ends up being close to one of the top-down approaches. In some geographical regions the new results agree better with the top-down approach, but there are also distinct differences in other regions. This suggests that a ombination of both top-down and bottom-up approaches could be combined in a future attempt to provide an even better calculation of SNOx.
An investigation of horizontal transfer of feed introduced DNA to the aerobic microbiota of the gastrointestinal tract of rats
Kaare Magne Nielsen
Horizontal gene transfer through natural transformation of members of the microbiota of the lower gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of mammals has not yet been described. Insufficient DNA sequence similarity for homologous recombination to occur has been identified as the major barrier to interspecies transfer of chromosomal DNA in bacteria. In this study we determined if regions of high DNA similarity between the genomes of the indigenous bacteria in the GIT of rats and feed introduced DNA could lead to homologous recombination and acquisition of antibiotic resistance genes.
Plasmid DNA with two resistance genes (nptI and aadA) and regions of high DNA similarity to 16S rRNA and 23S rRNA genes present in a broad range of bacterial species present in the GIT, were constructed and added to standard rat feed. Six rats, with a normal microbiota, were fed DNA containing pellets daily over four days before sampling of the microbiota from the different GI compartments (stomach, small intestine, cecum and colon). In addition, two rats were included as negative controls. Antibiotic resistant colonies growing on selective media were screened for recombination with feed introduced DNA by PCR targeting unique sites in the putatively recombined regions. No transformants were identified among 441 tested isolates.
The analyses showed that extensive ingestion of DNA (100 μg plasmid) per day did not lead to increased proportions of kanamycin resistant bacteria, nor did it produce detectable transformants among the aerobic microbiota examined for 6 rats (detection limit < 1 transformant per 1,1 × 108 cultured bacteria). The key methodological challenges to HGT detection in animal feedings trials are identified and discussed. This study is consistent with other studies suggesting natural transformation is not detectable in the GIT of mammals.
Mean anisotropy of homogeneous Gaussian random fields and anisotropic norms of linear translation-invariant operators on multidimensional integer lattices
Peter E. Kloeden
- Sensitivity of output of a linear operator to its input can be quantified in various ways. In Control Theory, the input is usually interpreted as disturbance and the output is to be minimized in some sense. In stochastic worst-case design settings, the disturbance is considered random with imprecisely known probability distribution. The prior set of probability measures can be chosen so as to quantify how far the disturbance deviates from the white-noise hypothesis of Linear Quadratic Gaussian control. Such deviation can be measured by the minimal Kullback-Leibler informational divergence from the Gaussian distributions with zero mean and scalar covariance matrices. The resulting anisotropy functional is defined for finite power random vectors. Originally, anisotropy was introduced for directionally generic random vectors as the relative entropy of the normalized vector with respect to the uniform distribution on the unit sphere. The associated a-anisotropic norm of a matrix is then its maximum root mean square or average energy gain with respect to finite power or directionally generic inputs whose anisotropy is bounded above by a >= 0. We give a systematic comparison of the anisotropy functionals and the associated norms. These are considered for unboundedly growing fragments of homogeneous Gaussian random fields on multidimensional integer lattice to yield mean anisotropy. Correspondingly, the anisotropic norms of finite matrices are extended to bounded linear translation invariant operators over such fields.
Ubiquitin ligases and beyond
- First paragraph (this article has no abstract): In a review published in 2004  and that still repays reading today, Cecile Pickart traced the evolution of research on ubiquitination from its origins in the proteasomal degradation of proteins through the revelation that it has a central role in cell cycle regulation and the recognition of regulatory roles for ubiquitin in intracellular membrane transport, cell signalling, transcription, translation, and DNA repair.
Sufficient blood, safe blood: can we have both?
- The decision in September 2011 in the UK to accept blood donations from non-practicing men who have sex with men (MSM) has received significant public attention. Will this rule change substantially boost the number of blood donations or will it make our blood less safe? Clearly, most European countries have a blood procurement problem. Fewer young people are donating, while the population is aging and more invasive therapies are requiring more blood. Yet if that was the reason for allowing non-practicing MSM to donate, clearly re-admission of some other, much larger populations that are currently deferred from donation should likewise be considered. As far as risks for blood safety are concerned, evidence has been provided that the current quality of infectious disease marker testing significantly mitigates against, although does not completely eradicate, risks associated with admission of donors with a high risk of carrying certain blood-transmissible agents. However, it could be argued that more effective recruitment of the non-donor pool, which is substantially larger than the group of currently ineligible donors, would be a better strategy. Recruitment of this group will benefit the availability of blood without jeopardizing the current excellent safety profile of blood.