SciCombinator

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Concept: Central Australia

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The Human T Lymphotropic Virus type 1 (HTLV-1) subtype C is endemic to central Australia where each of the major sequelae of HTLV-1 infection has been documented in the socially disadvantaged Indigenous population. Nevertheless, available epidemiological information relating to HTLV-1c infection is very limited, risk factors for transmission are unknown and no coordinated program has been implemented to reduce transmission among Indigenous Australians. Identifying risk factors for HTLV-1 infection is essential to direct strategies that could control HTLV-1 transmission.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Virus, Human T-lymphotropic virus, Australia, Western Australia, Indigenous Australians, Northern Territory, Central Australia

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The Human T-Lymphotropic Virus type 1c subtype (HTLV-1c) is highly endemic to central Australia where the most frequent complication of HTLV-1 infection in Indigenous Australians is bronchiectasis. We carried out a prospective study to quantify the prognosis of HTLV-1c infection and chronic lung disease and the risk of death according to the HTLV-1c proviral load (pVL).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Virus, Human T-lymphotropic virus, Australia, Indigenous Australians, Northern Territory, Central Australia

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While Indigenous Australians are believed to be at a high risk of psychological illness, few screening instruments have been designed to accurately measure this burden. Rather than simply transposing western labels of symptoms, this paper describes the process by which a screening tool for depression was specifically adapted for use across multiple Indigenous Australian communities.

Concepts: Australia, Western Australia, Indigenous Australian languages, Indigenous Australians, Queensland, Northern Territory, Torres Strait Islanders, Central Australia

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Understanding health inequity is necessary for addressing the disparities in health outcomes in many populations, including the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This report investigates the links between Indigenous health outcomes and socioeconomic disadvantage in the Northern Territory of Australia (NT).

Concepts: Australia, Western Australia, Indigenous Australians, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory, Central Australia

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Livistona mariae is an endemic palm localized in arid central Australia. This species is separated by about 1000 km from its congener L. rigida, which grows distantly in the Roper River and Nicholson-Gregory River catchments in northern Australia. Such an isolated distribution of L. mariae has been assumed to have resulted from contraction of ancestral populations as Australia aridified from the Mid-Miocene (ca 15 Ma). To test this hypothesis at the population level, we examined the genetic relationships among 14 populations of L. mariae and L. rigida using eight nuclear microsatellite loci. Our population tree and Bayesian clustering revealed that these populations comprised two genetically distinct groups that did not correspond to the current classification at species rank, and L. mariae showed closest affinity with L. rigida from Roper River. Furthermore, coalescent divergence-time estimations suggested that the disjunction between the northern populations (within L. rigida) could have originated by intermittent colonization along an ancient river that has been drowned repeatedly by marine transgression. During that time, L. mariae populations could have been established by opportunistic immigrants from Roper River about 15 000 years ago, concurrently with the settlement of indigenous Australians in central Australia, who are thus plausible vectors. Thus, our results rule out the ancient relic hypothesis for the origin of L. mariae.

Concepts: Biology, Arecaceae, Immigration, Australia, Microsatellite, Indigenous Australians, Northern Territory, Central Australia

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It is well established from different population-based studies that visual impairment is associated with increased mortality rate. However, to our knowledge, the association of visual impairment with increased mortality rate has not been reported among indigenous Australian individuals.

Concepts: Australia, Western Australia, Indigenous Australians, Queensland, Northern Territory, Torres Strait Islanders, Central Australia, John Howard

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We would like to thank Safari and Ayubi(1) for their interest in our recent paper.(2) The Central Australia Ocular Health Study, which began in 2005, was the largest epidemiological study of Indigenous Australian ocular health in central Australia since the 1970s.

Concepts: Australia, Western Australia, Indigenous Australians, Queensland, Northern Territory, Torres Strait Islanders, Central Australia, John Howard

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We were interested to read the article by Liu et al. that was published in the Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology (1) . We would like to congratulate the authors on their published results in high quality journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology.

Concepts: Australia, Western Australia, Indigenous Australians, Queensland, Northern Territory, Torres Strait Islanders, Central Australia, John Howard

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At present there is a need for the development of new radioisotopes for soil erosion and sediment tracing especially as fallout (137)Cs levels become depleted. Recent studies have shown that (239)Pu can be a useful new soil erosion and sediment radioisotope tracer. (239)Pu was released in the major atmospheric nuclear weapons tests of 1950’s and 1960’s. However (239)Pu has a half-life of 24110 years and more than 99% of this isotope is still present in the environment today. In contrast (137)Cs with a half-life of 30.07 year has decayed to <35% of initially deposited activities and this isotope will become increasingly difficult to measure in the coming decades especially in the southern hemisphere, which received only about a third of the total global fallout from the atmospheric tests (UNSCEAR, 2000). In this study an assessment of the (239)Pu fallout in Australia was carried out from comparison of measured (239)Pu inventories with expected (239)Pu inventories from fallout models. (239)Pu inventories were also compared with rainfall and measured (240)Pu/(239)Pu ratios across Australia. (239)Pu fallout inventories ranged from 430 to 1461 μB/cm(2). Central Australia, with fallout 107% in excess of expected values, seems to be strongly impacted by local fallout deposition. In comparison other sites typically show 5-40% variation between expected and measured fallout values. The fallout inventories were found to weakly correlate (using power functions, y = ax(b)) with rainfall with r(2) = 0.50 across the southern catchments (25-40°S latitude band). Across the northern catchments (10-25°S latitude band) fallout showed greater variability with rainfall with r(2) = 0.24. Central Australia and Alice Springs which seem to be strongly impacted by local fallout are excluded from the rainfall correlation data (with these sites included r(2) = 0.08 and r(2) < 0.01 respectively). (240)Pu/(239)Pu atom ratios range from 0.045 to 0.197, with averages of 0.139(0.017), 0.111(0.052) and 0.160(0.027) in the 10-20°S, 20-30°S and 30-40°S latitude bands respectively. The (240)Pu/(239)Pu atom ratios in Central Australia (0.069) likely represent fallout from the Australian tests which also have low (240)Pu/(239)Pu atom ratios i.e., Maralinga (0.113) and Montebello (0.045). The average ratios in the 20-30°S and 30-40° bands are closer to the global average (0.139 and 0.177 respectively when not including the close-in fallout data from the nuclear test sites) if the Australian test sites and Central Australian sites are neglected as they clearly represent the effects of close in fallout.

Concepts: Arithmetic mean, Erosion, Australia, Northern Territory, Central Australia, Nevada Test Site, Nuclear weapons, Alice Springs, Northern Territory