Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Individual


The Rising Star cave system has produced abundant fossil hominin remains within the Dinaledi Chamber, representing a minimum of 15 individuals attributed to Homo naledi. Further exploration led to the discovery of hominin material, now comprising 131 hominin specimens, within a second chamber, the Lesedi Chamber. The Lesedi Chamber is far separated from the Dinaledi Chamber within the Rising Star cave system, and represents a second depositional context for hominin remains. In each of three collection areas within the Lesedi Chamber, diagnostic skeletal material allows a clear attribution to H. naledi. Both adult and immature material is present. The hominin remains represent at least three individuals based upon duplication of elements, but more individuals are likely present based upon the spatial context. The most significant specimen is the near-complete cranium of a large individual, designated LES1, with an endocranial volume of approximately 610 ml and associated postcranial remains. The Lesedi Chamber skeletal sample extends our knowledge of the morphology and variation of H. naledi, and evidence of H. naledi from both recovery localities shows a consistent pattern of differentiation from other hominin species.

Concepts: Sample, DNA, Human, Individual, Cave, Specimen, Cave Automatic Virtual Environment, The Rising


Combatting chronic, lifestyle-related disease has become a healthcare priority in the developed world. The role personal responsibility should play in healthcare provision has growing pertinence given the growing significance of individual lifestyle choices for health. Media reporting focussing on the ‘bad behaviour’ of individuals suffering lifestyle-related disease, and policies aimed at encouraging ‘responsibilisation’ in healthcare highlight the importance of understanding the scope of responsibility ascriptions in this context. Research into the social determinants of health and psychological mechanisms of health behaviour could undermine some commonly held and tacit assumptions about the moral responsibility of agents for the sorts of lifestyles they adopt. I use Philip Petit’s conception of freedom as ‘fitness to be held responsible’ to consider the significance of some of this evidence for assessing the moral responsibility of agents. I propose that, in some cases, factors outside the agent’s control may influence behaviour in such a way as to undermine her freedom along the three dimensions described by Pettit: freedom of action; a sense of identification with one’s actions; and whether one’s social position renders one vulnerable to pressure from more powerful others.

Concepts: Medicine, Individual, Personal life, Responsibility, Individual rights, Sociological terms, Philippe Petit, Individual responsibility


Connectivity is the key process that characterizes the structural and functional properties of social networks. However, the bursty activity of dyadic interactions may hinder the discrimination of inactive ties from large interevent times in active ones. We develop a principled method to detect tie de-activation and apply it to a large longitudinal, cross-sectional communication dataset (≈19 months, ≈20 million people). Contrary to the perception of ever-growing connectivity, we observe that individuals exhibit a finite communication capacity, which limits the number of ties they can maintain active in time. On average men display higher capacity than women, and this capacity decreases for both genders over their lifespan. Separating communication capacity from activity reveals a diverse range of tie activation strategies, from stable to exploratory. This allows us to draw novel relationships between individual strategies for human interaction and the evolution of social networks at global scale.

Concepts: Interaction, Sociology, The Key, Communication, Individual, Global, TiE, Draw


Are we able to infer what happened to a person from a brief sample of his/her behaviour? It has been proposed that mentalising skills can be used to retrodict as well as predict behaviour, that is, to determine what mental states of a target have already occurred. The current study aimed to develop a paradigm to explore these processes, which takes into account the intricacies of real-life situations in which reasoning about mental states, as embodied in behaviour, may be utilised. A novel task was devised which involved observing subtle and naturalistic reactions of others in order to determine the event that had previously taken place. Thirty-five participants viewed videos of real individuals reacting to the researcher behaving in one of four possible ways, and were asked to judge which of the four ‘scenarios’ they thought the individual was responding to. Their eye movements were recorded to establish the visual strategies used. Participants were able to deduce successfully from a small sample of behaviour which scenario had previously occurred. Surprisingly, looking at the eye region was associated with poorer identification of the scenarios, and eye movement strategy varied depending on the event experienced by the person in the video. This suggests people flexibly deploy their attention using a retrodictive mindreading process to infer events.

Concepts: Psychology, Person, Eye, Visual perception, Thought, Individual, Reasoning, Parker Posey


BACKGROUND: This systematic review sought to evaluate critically the health benefits of physical activity among persons with atrial fibrillation (AF). AF is increasing in Western society. While health benefits of physical activity are well established, benefits of physical activity among individuals with AF are not clearly identified. METHODS: Literature was retrieved systematically through searching electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane), cross-referencing, and drawing on the authors' knowledge. Identified original research articles evaluated health benefits of physical activity among persons with AF or effects of physical activity on AF incidence. From 1056 individual citations, 36 eligible articles were identified. RESULTS: Moderate-intensity physical activity was found to improve exercise capacity, quality of life, and the ability to carry out activities of daily living among persons with AF (n = 6). Increased incidence of AF was not associated with physical activity among the general population (n = 2), although long-term vigorous endurance exercise may be associated with increased incidence of AF (n = 7), and greater risks may be associated with high-intensity physical activity among those with AF (n = 2). Moderate-intensity physical activity among individuals with AF does not adversely alter training outcomes, functional capacity, morbidity, or mortality compared with those in sinus rhythm (n = 12). Physical activity may improve management and treatment of AF (n = 6) and, among at-risk populations, may reduce incidence of AF (n = 3). CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, moderate-intensity physical activity should be encouraged among persons with or at risk of AF. Further research is needed.

Concepts: Person, Population, Heart, Atrial fibrillation, Physical exercise, Exercise, Weight loss, Individual


Individuals with mal de debarquement syndrome (MdDS) experience a chronic illusion of self-motion triggered by prolonged exposure to passive motion, such as from sea or air travel. The experience is one of rocking dizziness similar to when the individual was originally on the motion trigger such as a boat or airplane. MdDS represents a prolonged version of a normal phenomenon familiar to most individuals but which persists for months or years in others. It represents a natural example of the neuroplasticity of motion adaptation. However, the localization of where that motion adaptation occurs is unknown. Our goal was to localize metabolic and functional connectivity changes associated with persistent MdDS.

Concepts: Prolonged exposure therapy, Individual, Localization, Mal de debarquement, Trigger pad, Exposure therapy, Internationalization and localization


The Livongo for Diabetes Program offers members (1) a cellular technology-enabled, two-way messaging device that measures blood glucose (BG), centrally stores the glucose data, and delivers messages back to the individual in real time; (2) unlimited BG test strips; and (3) access to a diabetes coaching team for questions, goal setting, and automated support for abnormal glucose excursions. The program is sponsored by at-risk self-insured employers, health plans and provider organizations where it is free to members with diabetes or it is available directly to the person with diabetes where they cover the cost.

Concepts: Diabetes mellitus, Diabetes, Blood sugar, Management, Individual, Message, Goal, Peter Milligan


Capture-mark-recapture procedures are a basic tool in population studies and require that individual animals are correctly identified throughout their lifetime. A method that has become more and more popular uses photographic records of natural markings, such as pigmentation pattern and scalation configuration. As with any other marking tool, the validity of the photographic identification technique should be evaluated thoroughly. Here, we report on a large-scale double-marking study in which European adders (Vipera berus) were identified by both microsatellite genetic markers and by the pattern of head scalation. Samples that were successfully genotyped for all nine loci yielded 624 unique genotypes, which matched on a one-to-one basis with the individual assignments based on the head scalation pattern. Thus, adders considered as different individuals by their genotypes were also identified as different individuals by their head scalation pattern, and vice versa. Overall, variation in the numbers, shape, and arrangement of the head scales enabled us to distinguish among 3200+ photographed individual snakes. Adders that were repeatedly sequenced genetically over intervals of 2-3 years showed no indication whatsoever for a change in the head scale pattern. Photographic records of 900+ adders that were recaptured over periods of up to 12 years showed a very detailed and precise match of the head scale characteristics. These natural marks are thus robust over time and do not change during an individual’s lifetime. With very low frequency (0.3%), we detected small changes in scalation that were readily discernible and could be attributed to physical injury or infection. Our study provides a conclusive validation for the use of photo-identification by head scale patterns in the European adder.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Individual, Viperinae, Vipera berus, Vipera, Keeled scales, Mark


Recently, there have been efforts by stakeholders to monitor illegal mining (galamsey)activities, foster their formalization and reclaim the many abandoned wastelands in Ghana. However, limited information exists on the locations, abundance, scope and scale of galamsey types, which hinders the development of effective policy response. This study attempts to map and analyze the distribution patterns, abundance, activity statuses and the extents of nine (9) galamsey types within eleven (11) Municipal and District Assemblies (MDAs) of Ghana’s Western Region. It explores the utility of field-based survey, using the Open Data Kit (ODK) system, ArcGIS and Google Earth Imagery to map and visualize different galamsey types under a hostile working environment. A total of 911 galamsey sightings, of which 547 were found in clusters (corresponding to approximately 7106 individual operational units) and 364 in stand-alone mode. Overall, a total of 7470 individual galamsey operations were encountered in 312 different communities (towns and villages). Operationally, the Alluvial Washing Board, Mill-House and Chamfi were found to be the three most popular and practiced galamsey types. The three main galamsey hotspot districts (out of the 11) are the Tarkwa Nsuaem (294 sightings and 3648 individual galamsey sites), Amenfi East (223 sightings and 1397 individual galamsey sites) and Prestea Huni-Valley Districts (156 sightings and 1130 individual galamsey sites). In terms of their activity statuses, 199 abandoned operations (entailing 1855 individual operations), 664 active (entailing 5055 individuals operations) and 48 semi-active (comprising 560 individuals within clusters) galamsey operations were sighted at the time of the study. Whilegalamseyis generally acknowledged to be widespread in Ghana, the results suggest a scale that probably surpasses any previous estimate or expectation. The findings will adequately inform the prioritization of reclamation efforts.

Concepts: Map, Individualism, Individual, Town, Gold mining, The Western, Reclaim, Reclaimed word


Jean Adams and colleagues argue that population interventions that require individuals to use a low level of agency to benefit are likely to be most effective and most equitable.

Concepts: Individual, Individual rights