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Concept: 19th century


We assess the relationship between temperature and global sea-level (GSL) variability over the Common Era through a statistical metaanalysis of proxy relative sea-level reconstructions and tide-gauge data. GSL rose at 0.1 ± 0.1 mm/y (2σ) over 0-700 CE. A GSL fall of 0.2 ± 0.2 mm/y over 1000-1400 CE is associated with ∼0.2 °C global mean cooling. A significant GSL acceleration began in the 19th century and yielded a 20th century rise that is extremely likely (probability [Formula: see text]) faster than during any of the previous 27 centuries. A semiempirical model calibrated against the GSL reconstruction indicates that, in the absence of anthropogenic climate change, it is extremely likely ([Formula: see text]) that 20th century GSL would have risen by less than 51% of the observed [Formula: see text] cm. The new semiempirical model largely reconciles previous differences between semiempirical 21st century GSL projections and the process model-based projections summarized in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report.

Concepts: Statistics, Climate change, 20th century, 21st century, Centuries, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Global warming, 19th century


Since their appearance at the end of the 19th century, traffic lights have been the primary mode of granting access to road intersections. Today, this centuries-old technology is challenged by advances in intelligent transportation, which are opening the way to new solutions built upon slot-based systems similar to those commonly used in aerial traffic: what we call Slot-based Intersections (SIs). Despite simulation-based evidence of the potential benefits of SIs, a comprehensive, analytical framework to compare their relative performance with traffic lights is still lacking. Here, we develop such a framework. We approach the problem in a novel way, by generalizing classical queuing theory. Having defined safety conditions, we characterize capacity and delay of SIs. In the 2-road crossing configuration, we provide a capacity-optimal SI management system. For arbitrary intersection configurations, near-optimal solutions are developed. Results theoretically show that transitioning from a traffic light system to SI has the potential of doubling capacity and significantly reducing delays. This suggests a reduction of non-linear dynamics induced by intersection bottlenecks, with positive impact on the road network. Such findings can provide transportation engineers and planners with crucial insights as they prepare to manage the transition towards a more intelligent transportation infrastructure in cities.

Concepts: Transport, Road, Street, Traffic, Infrastructure, Traffic light, 19th century, Pedestrian crossing


Cerebral palsy (CP) is a term that has been applied over the years to a group of children with motor disability and related service requirements. The first conceptions of cerebral palsy and our knowledge about aetiology and pathogeny allow us to assume that cerebral palsy existed in the Ancient World. Although there is lack of detailed medical descriptions from before the 19th century, mentions to cerebral palsy can be found in representational art, literary sources and paleopathology; however, because of the poor medical documentation, the diagnosis of cerebral palsy must remain a more or less well-justified supposition. In the Ancient World, the first medical description of cerebral palsy was made by Hippocrates in his work “Corpus Hippocraticum”. Concrete examples and definitions of cerebral palsy, however, did not emerge until the early 19th century with observations by William John Little; thus, Little was the first personality to intensely engage cerebral palsy. Towards the end of the 19th century, two more personalities emerged, adding to the historical hallmarks of cerebral palsy: William Osler and Sigmund Freud. The significant developments that have followed since then are all due to the contributions of these three personalities in the field of cerebral palsy.

Concepts: Personality psychology, Physician, Cerebral palsy, Sigmund Freud, 19th century, Hippocrates, Carl Jung, Hippocratic Corpus


In the 19th century, there were several major cholera pandemics in the Indian subcontinent, Europe, and North America. The causes of these outbreaks and the genomic strain identities remain a mystery. We used targeted high-throughput sequencing to reconstruct the Vibrio cholerae genome from the preserved intestine of a victim of the 1849 cholera outbreak in Philadelphia, part of the second cholera pandemic. This O1 biotype strain has 95 to 97% similarity with the classical O395 genome, differing by 203 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), lacking three genomic islands, and probably having one or more tandem cholera toxin prophage (CTX) arrays, which potentially affected its virulence. This result highlights archived medical remains as a potential resource for investigations into the genomic origins of past pandemics.

Concepts: Bioinformatics, Epidemiology, Microbiology, Pandemic, Vibrio cholerae, Cholera, 19th century, El Tor


The use of ancient DNA in paleopathological studies of tuberculosis has largely been restricted to confirmation of disease identifications made by skeletal analysis; few attempts at obtaining genotype data from archaeological samples have been made because of the need to perform different PCRs for each genetic locus being studied in an ancient DNA extract. We used a next generation sequencing approach involving hybridization capture directed at specific polymorphic regions of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome to identify a detailed genotype for a historic strain of M. tuberculosis from an individual buried in the 19th century St. George’s Crypt, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. We obtained 664,500 sequencing by oligonucleotide ligation and detection (SOLiD) reads that mapped to the targeted regions of the M. tuberculosis genome; the coverage included 218 of 247 SNPs, 10 of 11 insertion/deletion regions, and the repeat elements IS1081 and IS6110. The accuracy of the SOLiD data was checked by conventional PCRs directed at 11 SNPs and two insertion/deletions. The data placed the historic strain of M. tuberculosis in a group that is uncommon today, but it is known to have been present in North America in the early 20th century. Our results show the use of hybridization capture followed by next generation sequencing as a means of obtaining detailed genotypes of ancient varieties of M. tuberculosis, potentially enabling meaningful comparisons between strains from different geographic locations and different periods in the past.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Allele, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, 19th century


In late 19th century Paris, people with epilepsy were treated alongside those with hysteria in the now famous Salpêtrière Hospital, where both conditions were deemed to have a neurological basis. When Jean Martin Charcot became chief physician at the Salpêtrière Hospital in 1862, he described himself ‘in possession of a kind of museum of living pathology whose holdings were virtually inexhaustible’. He opened the doors of his ‘living museum’ and exhibited his prize specimens to all of Paris. By putting his patients on display, Charcot introduced a vogue for pathology that permeated well beyond the world of medical enquiry and into the public psyche and vernacular. Not only did Charcot’s demonstrations provide the inspiration for high culture in the form of operas, plays and novels, they also provided the inspiration for the ‘gommeuses epileptiques’ (epileptic singers), who entertained the masses at the café concerts. This paper explores the foundations of our current medical approaches to mental illness and epilepsy, with a particular focus on the boundaries that emerged between hysteria and epilepsy in 19th century Paris. These clinical boundaries were both shaped by and reflected in the popular entertainments in the city.

Concepts: Medicine, Hospital, Neurology, Psychiatry, Jean-Martin Charcot, 19th century, Belle Époque, Hysteria


Although there are a number of descriptions of ‘blood infusion’ in antiquity, it was the publication of the discovery of the circulation of blood in 1628 by William Harvey and the work of Christopher Wren and Robert Boyle in 1663 on the infusion of different materials into dogs that paved the way to the possible practical attempts at actual blood transfusion. Although these early experiments, principally by Richard Lower in England and Jean Denis in France provided valuable information regarding inter-species incompatibility and the problems of blood coagulation, it was not until the work of James Blundell in the early part of the 19th century that blood transfusion was used as a means of blood replacement. However, blood transfusion was not to become an accepted therapeutic possibility until the discovery of practical anticoagulation and the ABO blood groups at the start of the 20th century.

Concepts: Blood, Red blood cell, Blood type, 20th century, Blood transfusion, 19th century, ABO blood group system, Robert Hooke


Although endogenous retroviruses are common across vertebrate genomes, the koala retrovirus (KoRV) is the only retrovirus known to be currently invading the germ line of its host. KoRV is believed to have first infected koalas in northern Australia less than two centuries ago. We examined KoRV in 28 koala museum skins collected in the late 19th and 20th centuries and deep sequenced the complete proviral envelope region from five northern Australian specimens. Strikingly, KoRV env sequences were conserved among koalas collected over the span of a century, and two functional motifs that affect viral infectivity were fixed across the museum koala specimens. We detected only 20 env polymorphisms among the koalas, likely representing derived mutations subject to purifying selection. Among northern Australian koalas, KoRV was already ubiquitous by the late 19th century, suggesting that KoRV evolved and spread among koala populations more slowly than previously believed. Given that museum and modern koalas share nearly identical KoRV sequences, it is likely that koala populations, for more than a century, have experienced increased susceptibility to diseases caused by viral pathogenesis.

Concepts: DNA, Natural selection, Molecular biology, Australia, Retrovirus, Centuries, 19th century, Koala


The populations of light-demanding trees that dominate the canopy of central African forests are now aging. Here, we show that the lack of regeneration of these populations began ca. 165 ya (around 1850) after major anthropogenic disturbances ceased. Since 1885, less itinerancy and disturbance in the forest has occurred because the colonial administrations concentrated people and villages along the primary communication axes. Local populations formerly gardened the forest by creating scattered openings, which were sufficiently large for the establishment of light-demanding trees. Currently, common logging operations do not create suitable openings for the regeneration of these species, whereas deforestation degrades landscapes. Using an interdisciplinary approach, which included paleoecological, archaeological, historical, and dendrological data, we highlight the long-term history of human activities across central African forests and assess the contribution of these activities to present-day forest structure and composition. The conclusions of this sobering analysis present challenges to current silvicultural practices and to those of the future.

Concepts: Forestry, Forest, Silviculture, World Forestry Congress, Rainforest, Trees, 19th century


Historical text archives constitute a rich and diverse source of information, which is becoming increasingly readily accessible, due to large-scale digitisation efforts. However, it can be difficult for researchers to explore and search such large volumes of data in an efficient manner. Text mining ™ methods can help, through their ability to recognise various types of semantic information automatically, e.g., instances of concepts (places, medical conditions, drugs, etc.), synonyms/variant forms of concepts, and relationships holding between concepts (which drugs are used to treat which medical conditions, etc.). TM analysis allows search systems to incorporate functionality such as automatic suggestions of synonyms of user-entered query terms, exploration of different concepts mentioned within search results or isolation of documents in which concepts are related in specific ways. However, applying TM methods to historical text can be challenging, according to differences and evolutions in vocabulary, terminology, language structure and style, compared to more modern text. In this article, we present our efforts to overcome the various challenges faced in the semantic analysis of published historical medical text dating back to the mid 19th century. Firstly, we used evidence from diverse historical medical documents from different periods to develop new resources that provide accounts of the multiple, evolving ways in which concepts, their variants and relationships amongst them may be expressed. These resources were employed to support the development of a modular processing pipeline of TM tools for the robust detection of semantic information in historical medical documents with varying characteristics. We applied the pipeline to two large-scale medical document archives covering wide temporal ranges as the basis for the development of a publicly accessible semantically-oriented search system. The novel resources are available for research purposes, while the processing pipeline and its modules may be used and configured within the Argo TM platform.

Concepts: Medicine, Evolution, Linguistics, Semantics, Semantic Web, 19th century