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Michael Weekes

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Nick K. Jones1,2*, Lucy Rivett1,2*, Chris Workman3, Mark Ferris3, Ashley Shaw1, Cambridge COVID-19 Collaboration1,4, Paul J. Lehner1,4, Rob Howes5, Giles Wright3, Nicholas J. Matheson1,4,6¶, Michael P. Weekes1,7¶1 Cambridge University NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK2 Clinical Microbiology & Public Health Laboratory, Public Health England, Cambridge, UK3 Occupational Health and Wellbeing, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, UK4 Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology & Infectious Disease, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK5 Cambridge COVID-19 Testing Centre and AstraZeneca, Anne Mclaren Building, Cambridge, UK6 NHS Blood and Transplant, Cambridge, UK7 Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK*Joint first authorship¶Joint last authorshipCorrespondence: [email protected] UK has initiated mass COVID-19 immunisation, with healthcare workers (HCWs) given early priority because of the potential for workplace exposure and risk of onward transmission to patients. The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended maximising the number of people vaccinated with first doses at the expense of early booster vaccinations, based on single dose efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 disease.1-3At the time of writing, three COVID-19 vaccines have been granted emergency use authorisation in the UK, including the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech). A vital outstanding question is whether this vaccine prevents or promotes asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, rather than symptomatic COVID-19 disease, because sub-clinical infection following vaccination could continue to drive transmission. This is especially important because many UK HCWs have received this vaccine, and nosocomial COVID-19 infection has been a persistent problem.Through the implementation of a 24 h-turnaround PCR-based comprehensive HCW screening programme at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUHNFT), we previously demonstrated the frequent presence of pauci- and asymptomatic infection amongst HCWs during the UK’s first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.4 Here, we evaluate the effect of first-dose BNT162b2 vaccination on test positivity rates and cycle threshold (Ct) values in the asymptomatic arm of our programme, which now offers weekly screening to all staff.Vaccination of HCWs at CUHNFT began on 8th December 2020, with mass vaccination from 8th January 2021. Here, we analyse data from the two weeks spanning 18thto 31st January 2021, during which: (a) the prevalence of COVID-19 amongst HCWs remained approximately constant; and (b) we screened comparable numbers of vaccinated and unvaccinated HCWs. Over this period, 4,408 (week 1) and 4,411 (week 2) PCR tests were performed from individuals reporting well to work. We stratified HCWs <12 days or > 12 days post-vaccination because this was the point at which protection against symptomatic infection began to appear in phase III clinical trial.226/3,252 (0·80%) tests from unvaccinated HCWs were positive (Ct<36), compared to 13/3,535 (0·37%) from HCWs <12 days post-vaccination and 4/1,989 (0·20%) tests from HCWs ≥12 days post-vaccination (p=0·023 and p=0·004, respectively; Fisher’s exact test, Figure). This suggests a four-fold decrease in the risk of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection amongst HCWs ≥12 days post-vaccination, compared to unvaccinated HCWs, with an intermediate effect amongst HCWs <12 days post-vaccination.A marked reduction in infections was also seen when analyses were repeated with: (a) inclusion of HCWs testing positive through both the symptomatic and asymptomatic arms of the programme (56/3,282 (1·71%) unvaccinated vs 8/1,997 (0·40%) ≥12 days post-vaccination, 4·3-fold reduction, p=0·00001); (b) inclusion of PCR tests which were positive at the limit of detection (Ct>36, 42/3,268 (1·29%) vs 15/2,000 (0·75%), 1·7-fold reduction, p=0·075); and (c) extension of the period of analysis to include six weeks from December 28th to February 7th 2021 (113/14,083 (0·80%) vs 5/4,872 (0·10%), 7·8-fold reduction, p=1x10-9). In addition, the median Ct value of positive tests showed a non-significant trend towards increase between unvaccinated HCWs and HCWs > 12 days post-vaccination (23·3 to 30·3, Figure), suggesting that samples from vaccinated individuals had lower viral loads.We therefore provide real-world evidence for a high level of protection against asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection after a single dose of BNT162b2 vaccine, at a time of predominant transmission of the UK COVID-19 variant of concern 202012/01 (lineage B.1.1.7), and amongst a population with a relatively low frequency of prior infection (7.2% antibody positive).5This work was funded by a Wellcome Senior Clinical Research Fellowship to MPW (108070/Z/15/Z), a Wellcome Principal Research Fellowship to PJL (210688/Z/18/Z), and an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship (MR/P008801/1) and NHSBT workpackage (WPA15-02) to NJM. Funding was also received from Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and the Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre. We also acknowledge contributions from all staff at CUHNFT Occupational Health and Wellbeing and the Cambridge COVID-19 Testing Centre.

Guangming Wang

and 4 more

Tam Hunt

and 1 more

Tam Hunt [1], Jonathan SchoolerUniversity of California Santa Barbara Synchronization, harmonization, vibrations, or simply resonance in its most general sense seems to have an integral relationship with consciousness itself. One of the possible “neural correlates of consciousness” in mammalian brains is a combination of gamma, beta and theta synchrony. More broadly, we see similar kinds of resonance patterns in living and non-living structures of many types. What clues can resonance provide about the nature of consciousness more generally? This paper provides an overview of resonating structures in the fields of neuroscience, biology and physics and attempts to coalesce these data into a solution to what we see as the “easy part” of the Hard Problem, which is generally known as the “combination problem” or the “binding problem.” The combination problem asks: how do micro-conscious entities combine into a higher-level macro-consciousness? The proposed solution in the context of mammalian consciousness suggests that a shared resonance is what allows different parts of the brain to achieve a phase transition in the speed and bandwidth of information flows between the constituent parts. This phase transition allows for richer varieties of consciousness to arise, with the character and content of that consciousness in each moment determined by the particular set of constituent neurons. We also offer more general insights into the ontology of consciousness and suggest that consciousness manifests as a relatively smooth continuum of increasing richness in all physical processes, distinguishing our view from emergentist materialism. We refer to this approach as a (general) resonance theory of consciousness and offer some responses to Chalmers’ questions about the different kinds of “combination problem.”  At the heart of the universe is a steady, insistent beat: the sound of cycles in sync…. [T]hese feats of synchrony occur spontaneously, almost as if nature has an eerie yearning for order. Steven Strogatz, Sync: How Order Emerges From Chaos in the Universe, Nature and Daily Life (2003) If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.Nikola Tesla (1942) I.               Introduction Is there an “easy part” and a “hard part” to the Hard Problem of consciousness? In this paper, we suggest that there is. The harder part is arriving at a philosophical position with respect to the relationship of matter and mind. This paper is about the “easy part” of the Hard Problem but we address the “hard part” briefly in this introduction.  We have both arrived, after much deliberation, at the position of panpsychism or panexperientialism (all matter has at least some associated mind/experience and vice versa). This is the view that all things and processes have both mental and physical aspects. Matter and mind are two sides of the same coin.  Panpsychism is one of many possible approaches that addresses the “hard part” of the Hard Problem. We adopt this position for all the reasons various authors have listed (Chalmers 1996, Griffin 1997, Hunt 2011, Goff 2017). This first step is particularly powerful if we adopt the Whiteheadian version of panpsychism (Whitehead 1929).  Reaching a position on this fundamental question of how mind relates to matter must be based on a “weight of plausibility” approach, rather than on definitive evidence, because establishing definitive evidence with respect to the presence of mind/experience is difficult. We must generally rely on examining various “behavioral correlates of consciousness” in judging whether entities other than ourselves are conscious – even with respect to other humans—since the only consciousness we can know with certainty is our own. Positing that matter and mind are two sides of the same coin explains the problem of consciousness insofar as it avoids the problems of emergence because under this approach consciousness doesn’t emerge. Consciousness is, rather, always present, at some level, even in the simplest of processes, but it “complexifies” as matter complexifies, and vice versa. Consciousness starts very simple and becomes more complex and rich under the right conditions, which in our proposed framework rely on resonance mechanisms. Matter and mind are two sides of the coin. Neither is primary; they are coequal.  We acknowledge the challenges of adopting this perspective, but encourage readers to consider the many compelling reasons to consider it that are reviewed elsewhere (Chalmers 1996, Griffin 1998, Hunt 2011, Goff 2017, Schooler, Schooler, & Hunt, 2011; Schooler, 2015).  Taking a position on the overarching ontology is the first step in addressing the Hard Problem. But this leads to the related questions: at what level of organization does consciousness reside in any particular process? Is a rock conscious? A chair? An ant? A bacterium? Or are only the smaller constituents, such as atoms or molecules, of these entities conscious? And if there is some degree of consciousness even in atoms and molecules, as panpsychism suggests (albeit of a very rudimentary nature, an important point to remember), how do these micro-conscious entities combine into the higher-level and obvious consciousness we witness in entities like humans and other mammals?  This set of questions is known as the “combination problem,” another now-classic problem in the philosophy of mind, and is what we describe here as the “easy part” of the Hard Problem. Our characterization of this part of the problem as “easy”[2] is, of course, more than a little tongue in cheek. The authors have discussed frequently with each other what part of the Hard Problem should be labeled the easier part and which the harder part. Regardless of the labels we choose, however, this paper focuses on our suggested solution to the combination problem.  Various solutions to the combination problem have been proposed but none have gained widespread acceptance. This paper further elaborates a proposed solution to the combination problem that we first described in Hunt 2011 and Schooler, Hunt, and Schooler 2011. The proposed solution rests on the idea of resonance, a shared vibratory frequency, which can also be called synchrony or field coherence. We will generally use resonance and “sync,” short for synchrony, interchangeably in this paper. We describe the approach as a general resonance theory of consciousness or just “general resonance theory” (GRT). GRT is a field theory of consciousness wherein the various specific fields associated with matter and energy are the seat of conscious awareness.  A summary of our approach appears in Appendix 1.  All things in our universe are constantly in motion, in process. Even objects that appear to be stationary are in fact vibrating, oscillating, resonating, at specific frequencies. So all things are actually processes. Resonance is a specific type of motion, characterized by synchronized oscillation between two states.  An interesting phenomenon occurs when different vibrating processes come into proximity: they will often start vibrating together at the same frequency. They “sync up,” sometimes in ways that can seem mysterious, and allow for richer and faster information and energy flows (Figure 1 offers a schematic). Examining this phenomenon leads to potentially deep insights about the nature of consciousness in both the human/mammalian context but also at a deeper ontological level.

Susanne Schilling*^

and 9 more

Jessica mead

and 6 more

The construct of wellbeing has been criticised as a neoliberal construction of western individualism that ignores wider systemic issues including increasing burden of chronic disease, widening inequality, concerns over environmental degradation and anthropogenic climate change. While these criticisms overlook recent developments, there remains a need for biopsychosocial models that extend theoretical grounding beyond individual wellbeing, incorporating overlapping contextual issues relating to community and environment. Our first GENIAL model \cite{Kemp_2017} provided a more expansive view of pathways to longevity in the context of individual health and wellbeing, emphasising bidirectional links to positive social ties and the impact of sociocultural factors. In this paper, we build on these ideas and propose GENIAL 2.0, focusing on intersecting individual-community-environmental contributions to health and wellbeing, and laying an evidence-based, theoretical framework on which future research and innovative therapeutic innovations could be based. We suggest that our transdisciplinary model of wellbeing - focusing on individual, community and environmental contributions to personal wellbeing - will help to move the research field forward. In reconceptualising wellbeing, GENIAL 2.0 bridges the gap between psychological science and population health health systems, and presents opportunities for enhancing the health and wellbeing of people living with chronic conditions. Implications for future generations including the very survival of our species are discussed.  

Mark Ferris

and 14 more

IntroductionConsistent with World Health Organization (WHO) advice [1], UK Infection Protection Control guidance recommends that healthcare workers (HCWs) caring for patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) should use fluid resistant surgical masks type IIR (FRSMs) as respiratory protective equipment (RPE), unless aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) are being undertaken or are likely, when a filtering face piece 3 (FFP3) respirator should be used [2]. In a recent update, an FFP3 respirator is recommended if “an unacceptable risk of transmission remains following rigorous application of the hierarchy of control” [3]. Conversely, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that HCWs caring for patients with COVID-19 should use an N95 or higher level respirator [4]. WHO guidance suggests that a respirator, such as FFP3, may be used for HCWs in the absence of AGPs if availability or cost is not an issue [1].A recent systematic review undertaken for PHE concluded that: “patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection who are breathing, talking or coughing generate both respiratory droplets and aerosols, but FRSM (and where required, eye protection) are considered to provide adequate staff protection” [5]. Nevertheless, FFP3 respirators are more effective in preventing aerosol transmission than FRSMs, and observational data suggests that they may improve protection for HCWs [6]. It has therefore been suggested that respirators should be considered as a means of affording the best available protection [7], and some organisations have decided to provide FFP3 (or equivalent) respirators to HCWs caring for COVID-19 patients, despite a lack of mandate from local or national guidelines [8].Data from the HCW testing programme at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUHNFT) during the first wave of the UK severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic indicated a higher incidence of infection amongst HCWs caring for patients with COVID-19, compared with those who did not [9]. Subsequent studies have confirmed this observation [10, 11]. This disparity persisted at CUHNFT in December 2020, despite control measures consistent with PHE guidance and audits indicating good compliance. The CUHNFT infection control committee therefore implemented a change of RPE for staff on “red” (COVID-19) wards from FRSMs to FFP3 respirators. In this study, we analyse the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in HCWs before and after this transition.

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Hailu Tilahun Argaw

and 5 more

Geographical distribution and diversity patterns of bird species are influenced by climate change. The Rouget’s rail (Rougetius rougetii) is a ground-dwelling endemic bird species distributed in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is a near-threatened species menaced by habitat loss, one of the main causes of population declines for bird species. The increasing effects of climate change may further threaten the species’ survival. So far, the spatial distribution of this species is not fully documented. With this study, we develop current potential suitable habitat and predict the future habitat shift of R. rougetii based on environmental data such as bioclimatic variables, population density, vegetation cover, and elevation using ten algorithms. We evaluated the importance of environmental factors in shaping the bird’s distribution and how it shifts under climate change scenarios. We used 182 records of R. rougetii from Ethiopia and nine bioclimatic, population density, vegetation cover, and elevation variables to run the 10 model algorithms. Among 10 algorithms, eight were selected for ensembling models according to their predictive abilities. The current suitable habitats for R. rougetii were predicted to cover an area of about 82,000 km² despite being highly fragmented. The model suggested that temperature seasonality (bio4), elevation, and mean daily air temperatures of the driest quarter (bio9) contributed the most to delimiting suitable areas for this species. R. rougetii is sensitive to climate change associated with elevation, leading to a large, shrinking distribution of suitable areas. The projected spatial and temporal pattern of habitat loss of R. rougetii suggests the importance of climate change mitigation and implementing long-term conservation and management strategies for this threatened endemic bird species.

Rebecca L. Shamah

and 4 more

Background: Pediatric palliative care (PPC) is associated with improved end-of-life (EOL) outcomes. Inpatient and outpatient PPC have unique roles during the disease course. Yet, it is unknown whether the location of PPC receipt (inpatient vs outpatient) is associated with healthcare utilization and EOL outcomes for pediatric oncology patients. Procedure: A retrospective single-institution chart review of pediatric patients (age 0-28) with cancer who died between January 2015 – December 2022 was performed to compare EOL outcomes and healthcare utilization metrics among only inpatient PPC, any outpatient PPC, and non-PPC recipients. Demographics and clinical factors were analyzed by location of PPC receipt. Results: Among 450 patients, 292 (64.9%) received PPC (inpatient only (35%), any outpatient (65%)). The proportion of patients who died without receiving PPC dropped from 69% to 22% following development of an outpatient PPC clinic (p<0.001). In the last six months, one month and week of life, inpatient PPC recipients spent more days admitted to the hospital and intensive care unit (all p<0.001), and had more intensive medical interventions performed (p<0.01). Outpatient PPC recipients were less likely to receive IV chemotherapy (p<0.01) or intubation (p=0.05), and more likely to receive hospice, die at home, and have an outpatient Do-Not-Resuscitate order (all p<0.001). Conclusions: PPC receipt substantially increased after the creation of an outpatient PPC clinic, suggesting that outpatient PPC is critical in the provision of PPC to children with cancer. Outpatient PPC was associated with fewer hospital days, IV chemotherapy and intubation at EOL, while improving hospice enrollment and home death.

Henry P. Schmidt

and 1 more

Title: Anomalous Systemic Venous Return: An Extremely Rare Cause of Hypoxemia in a NeonateTo the Editor,A newborn male born at 42 weeks gestation was found to be hypoxemic with intermittent tachypnea in the newborn nursery at 24 hours of life. His birth was complicated by meconium-stained fluid, but no advanced resuscitation was required. He was empirically treated for sepsis in the neonatal intensive care unit. Despite time and observation, he continued to have hypoxemia requiring low flow nasal cannula support. He had a normal transthoracic echocardiogram except for an anomalous origin of the right coronary artery and newborn-related pulmonary hypertension.  Chest computed tomography (CT) was performed without contrast which did not show evidence of pulmonary pathology. An arterial blood gas done with patient on FiO2 0.55 demonstrated a partial pressure of arterial oxygen of 44 millimeters of mercury, consistent with an absent response to supplemental oxygen. Due to concern for an extracardiac shunt, a bubble echocardiogram was performed which was positive for air bubbles in the left atrium within several beats (Figure 1). A CT chest with intravenous contrast was performed which demonstrated a right-sided superior vena cava (SVC) connected to the left atrium (Figure 2). After pediatric cardiology consultation, the patient was discharged home without oxygen. He will have definitive repair of the lesion via Warden procedure at age 2 years, accepting saturations of 80% and above in the interim.

Johan Elmberg

and 4 more

Geese and swans are focal species in conservation and in management aimed at reducing crop damage. In the former disturbance should be minimized, and in the latter it is important to know how different species react to scaring activities. Previous research about trade-offs between predation risk and foraging in birds often use ‘Flight Initiation Distance’ (FID) as a proxy to compare fearfulness under different circumstances and among species. We studied variation in FID in geese and swans by species, flock size and composition, time of day, and body size (408 scaring trials on agricultural land in the winters 2018—2021). In single-species flocks mean FID decreased in the order: bean goose (171 m) > greylag goose (104 m) > whooper swan (102 m) > Canada goose (92 m) > barnacle goose (77 m). In line with predictions based on body mass, the lightest species (barnacle goose) was the least fearful, but contrary to prediction neither of the two heaviest species (whooper swan, Canada goose) was the most fearful. FID was negatively correlated with flock size in bean goose. Flock size and FID did not correlate in greylag, Canada, and barnacle geese. FID did not differ between morning and afternoon in the 4 species with a sample of >20 single-species trials. When in multi-species flocks, FID differed less among species, converging in the 108—138 m range. Accordingly, bean goose FID decreased significantly whereas it increased significantly in barnacle and greylag geese. Barnacle goose (protected from hunting by the EU bird directive) was less fearful than species with an open hunting season in the EU, implying that exposure to hunting affect species-specific FID. We show that the level of fearfulness varied among swan and goose species, making it necessary to adopt diverse strategies in conservation as well as crop protection.

Thibaud Pirlot

and 11 more

“Living High-Training Low and High” (LHTLH) is a training method used to improve physical performance at sea level. The main concept is based on the combination of physiological adaptations related to chronic “Living High-Training Low” altitude residence with additional “Repeated-Sprint training in Hypoxia” (RSH). While the effects of hypoxia on psychophysiological responses and heart rate variability (HRV) are well documented for “Living High-Training High” or “Living High-Training Low”, there is a lack of knowledge for LHTLH, more specifically in elite female athletes. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of LHTLH on sleep, HRV, and psychological responses. Ten elite level female cyclists (mean age: 17.3 ± 1.2 years, VO2max: 54.9 ± 6.9 ml.min.kg-1) were monitored for 19 days divided into 3 periods: i) normoxia (5 days preceding LHTLH), ii) early acclimatization phase (day 1 to 4 of LHTLH) and iii) middle acclimatization (day 5 to 14) performed in hypoxic rooms (FiO2 = 15.09%). Sleep disturbance, sleep architecture, HRV, and psychological responses (stress, emotions, perseverance of effort and consistency of interest) were recorded during the 3 periods. The results found that, during the early acclimatization period, there was no significant difference in total sleep time, sleep efficiency, latency or waking, but a significant increase in the level of effort, sleep disturbance, alterations of HRV and sleep architecture with an increase in stages 1 and 2 of sleep. During the middle acclimatization period, the athletes had restorative sleep, but HRV remained altered, with an increase in external tension.

Yangyang Liu

and 7 more

Aiming at the problem of inaccurate fruit recognition and fruit diameter detection in persimmon inspection process, this research proposes a novel persimmon accurate recognition and fruit diameter detection algorithm based on the Region-based Convolutional Neural Network (RCNN) Mask and instance segmentation algorithm. The algorithm strategically targets the object of interest by integrating cropping, morphological processing, and concave point segmentation modules into the fully connected layer following the Region of Interest (RoI) feature. Initially, the algorithm separates the front and back background of the cropped target object using morphological processing to obtain a binarized image. Subsequently, concave point segmentation is applied to address sticking issues arising from overlapping or occlusion between fruits, while a template matching algorithm helps in image recognition. The improved instance segmentation algorithm enhances the segmentation accuracy of the target fruit and reduces the relative error in the fruit diameter measurement caused by sticking problems during occlusion and overlap. Notably, compared with the original algorithm, the improved Mask RCNN instance segmentation algorithm achieves a mean Average Precision (mAP) of 94.25%, representing an improvement of 8.05%, with the Mean Intersection-over-Union (MIoU) value increases by 18.5%. The maximum relative error in fruit diameter measurement is reduced to 1.3%, while the maximum relative error in fruit thickness measurement is 1.98%, meeting the stringent requirements of orchard inspection. Overall, the proposed method enhances the precision and accuracy of fruit diameter detection, offering valuable theoretical and technical insights for intelligent inspection, yield estimation, fruit detection, and mechanized picking in the agricultural domain.

Mukesh Gupta

and 1 more

Earthquake early warning systems have become vital for minimizing damage from seismic events. However, their automated detection capabilities need strengthening to provide real-time alerts. Current algorithms have limitations in identification of P-waves and magnitude estimation, impacting warning lead times. Additionally, existing single-algorithm dependent systems are prone to errors. There is a need for standardized practices to optimally select and combine algorithms. Machine learning and artificial intelligence show promise to make detection more robust. Models trained on diverse seismological data can learn complex patterns to detect emergent P-waves earlier and refine magnitude assessment. However, research exploring such data driven approaches within early warning systems is limited. This study aims to address this research gap and strengthen automated detection capabilities. It proposes a machine learning model integrating multiple existing algorithms using a novel prioritization framework. Performance is evaluated on real earthquake datasets through simulations vis-à-vis single algorithms. By developing an optimized multi-algorithm framework, this study seeks to improve warning lead times and reliability. The model is designed considering operational requirements of early warning systems. Comparison of results with past methods helps evaluate contributions to the field. Overall, the research strives to enhance seismic hazard mitigation through more efficient automated detection in early warning networks.

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Urbanization modifies ecosystem conditions and evolutionary processes. This includes air pollution, mostly as tropospheric ozone (O3), which contributes to the decline of urban and peri-urban forests. A notable case are fir(Abies religiosa) forests in the peripheral mountains southwest of Mexico City, which have been severely affected by O3 pollution since the 1970s. Interestingly, some young individuals exhibiting minimal O3—related damage have been observed within a zone of significant O3 exposure. Using this setting as a natural experiment, we compared asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals of similar age (≤15 years old; n = 10) using histological, metabolomic and transcriptomic approaches. Plants were sampled during days of high (170 ppb) and moderate (87 ppb) O3 concentration. Given that there have been reforestation efforts in the region, with plants from different source populations, we first confirmed that all analysed individuals clustered within the local genetic group when compared to a species-wide panel (Admixture analysis with ~1.5K SNPs). We observed thicker epidermis and more collapsed cells in the palisade parenchyma of needles from symptomatic individuals than from their asymptomatic counterparts, with differences increasing with needle age. Furthermore, symptomatic individuals exhibited lower concentrations of various terpenes (ß-pinene, ß-caryophylene oxide, α-caryophylene and ß-α-cubebene) than asymptomatic trees, as evidenced through GC-MS. Finally, transcriptomic analyses revealed differential expression for thirteen genes related to carbohydrate metabolism, plant defense, and gene regulation. Our results indicate a rapid and contrasting phenotypic response among trees, likely influenced by standing genetic variation and/or plastic mechanisms. They open the door to future evolutionary studies for understanding how O3 tolerance develops in urban environments, and how this knowledge could contribute to forest restoration.

Mohammad Rowshan

and 4 more

Channel coding plays a pivotal role in ensuring reliable communication over wireless channels. With the growing need for ultra-reliable communication in emerging wireless use cases, the significance of channel coding has amplified. Furthermore, minimizing decoding latency is crucial for critical-mission applications, while optimizing energy efficiency is paramount for mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT) communications. As the fifth generation (5G) of mobile communications is currently in operation and 5G-advanced is on the horizon, the objective of this paper is to assess prominent channel coding schemes in the context of recent advancements and the anticipated requirements for the sixth generation (6G). In this paper, after considering the potential impact of channel coding on key performance indicators (KPIs) of wireless networks, we review the evolution of mobile communication standards and the organizations involved in the standardization, from the first generation (1G) to the current 5G, highlighting the technologies integral to achieving targeted KPIs such as reliability, data rate, latency, energy efficiency, spectral efficiency, connection density, and traffic capacity. Following this, we delve into the anticipated requirements for potential use cases in 6G. The subsequent sections of the paper focus on a comprehensive review of three primary coding schemes utilized in past generations and their recent advancements: lowdensity parity-check (LDPC) codes, turbo codes (including convolutional codes), and polar codes (alongside Reed-Muller codes). Additionally, we examine alternative coding schemes like Fountain codes (also known as rate-less codes), sparse regression codes, among others. Our evaluation includes a comparative analysis of error correction performance and the performance of hardware implementation for these coding schemes, providing insights into their potential and suitability for the upcoming 6G era. Lastly, we will briefly explore considerations such as higher-order modulations and waveform design, examining their contributions to enhancing key performance indicators in conjunction with channel coding schemes.
The involvement of users in the product development process can significantly enhance product quality. The relationship between user experience and knowledge in product design contributes to product efficiency during the development phase. Users often struggle to align their perceptions, leading to extended product usage times and an inability to react to potential performance variations. Product manufacturers also face challenges in identifying suitable features that can positively impact product success and marketability. User experience in product interactions, encompassing both aesthetic and functional aspects, plays a pivotal role in influencing user evaluations and distinguishing characteristics crucial for achieving product success. Determining user knowledge’s influence on product success characteristics can provide valuable insights for the new product development process. This study conducted a survey to gather user experiences and knowledge, aiming to enhance the understanding of how users perceive products. This understanding is crucial for identifying product success characteristics, encompassing aspects such as specifications, sustainability, and recognition, which are instrumental in achieving overall product success. The results of the survey indicate that user knowledge, emotional experiences, and product attribute knowledge can assist product designers and manufacturers in identifying key characteristics for success during the early stages of the new product development process.

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