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Concept: Ireland


The Neolithic and Bronze Age transitions were profound cultural shifts catalyzed in parts of Europe by migrations, first of early farmers from the Near East and then Bronze Age herders from the Pontic Steppe. However, a decades-long, unresolved controversy is whether population change or cultural adoption occurred at the Atlantic edge, within the British Isles. We address this issue by using the first whole genome data from prehistoric Irish individuals. A Neolithic woman (3343-3020 cal BC) from a megalithic burial (10.3× coverage) possessed a genome of predominantly Near Eastern origin. She had some hunter-gatherer ancestry but belonged to a population of large effective size, suggesting a substantial influx of early farmers to the island. Three Bronze Age individuals from Rathlin Island (2026-1534 cal BC), including one high coverage (10.5×) genome, showed substantial Steppe genetic heritage indicating that the European population upheavals of the third millennium manifested all of the way from southern Siberia to the western ocean. This turnover invites the possibility of accompanying introduction of Indo-European, perhaps early Celtic, language. Irish Bronze Age haplotypic similarity is strongest within modern Irish, Scottish, and Welsh populations, and several important genetic variants that today show maximal or very high frequencies in Ireland appear at this horizon. These include those coding for lactase persistence, blue eye color, Y chromosome R1b haplotypes, and the hemochromatosis C282Y allele; to our knowledge, the first detection of a known Mendelian disease variant in prehistory. These findings together suggest the establishment of central attributes of the Irish genome 4,000 y ago.

Concepts: Gene, United Kingdom, Europe, Ireland, Neolithic, British Isles, Northern Ireland, Celtic languages


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in the UK is declining; however, CVD burden comes not only from deaths, but also from those living with the disease. This review uses national datasets with multiple years of data to present secular trends in mortality, morbidity, and treatment for all CVD and specific subtypes within the UK. We produced all-ages and premature age-standardised mortality rates by gender, standardised to the 2013 European Standard Population, using data from the national statistics agencies of the UK. We obtained data on hospital admissions from the National Health Service records, using the main diagnosis. Prevalence data come from the Quality and Outcome Framework and national surveys. Total CVD mortality declined by 68% between 1980 and 2013 in the UK. Similar decreases were seen for coronary heart disease and stroke. Coronary heart disease prevalence has remained constant at around 3% in England and 4% in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Hospital admissions for all CVD increased by over 46 000 between 2010/2011 and 2013/2014, with more than 36 500 of these increased admissions for men. Hospital admission trends vary by country and CVD condition. CVD prescriptions and operations have increased over the last decade. CVD mortality has declined notably for both men and women while hospital admissions have increased. CVD prevalence shows little evidence of change. This review highlights that improvements in the burden of CVD have not occurred equally between the four constituent countries of the UK, or between men and women.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Heart, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland


Recent lifestyle approaches to physical activity have included the promotion of domestic physical activities such as do-it-yourself or home maintenance, gardening and housework. Although it is acknowledged that any activity is better than none, there is a danger that those undertaking domestic ‘chores’ may assume that this activity is moderate intensity and therefore counts towards this 150 minute per week target The purpose of this paper was to report the contribution domestic physical activity makes to total weekly physical activity and the relationship between domestic physical activity and leanness in the Northern Ireland population.

Concepts: Republic of Ireland, Personal life, Ireland, Home, Homemaker, Northern Ireland, Home improvement, Housekeeping


A 33-year-old man was admitted to the emergency department after a motorcycle accident. Examination of the intubated patient showed a hard, swollen, bluish scrotum and an externally rotated and slightly shortened left leg.

Concepts: Hospital, Tram accident, Ireland, Dublin


The extent of population structure within Ireland is largely unknown, as is the impact of historical migrations. Here we illustrate fine-scale genetic structure across Ireland that follows geographic boundaries and present evidence of admixture events into Ireland. Utilising the ‘Irish DNA Atlas’, a cohort (n = 194) of Irish individuals with four generations of ancestry linked to specific regions in Ireland, in combination with 2,039 individuals from the Peoples of the British Isles dataset, we show that the Irish population can be divided in 10 distinct geographically stratified genetic clusters; seven of ‘Gaelic’ Irish ancestry, and three of shared Irish-British ancestry. In addition we observe a major genetic barrier to the north of Ireland in Ulster. Using a reference of 6,760 European individuals and two ancient Irish genomes, we demonstrate high levels of North-West French-like and West Norwegian-like ancestry within Ireland. We show that that our ‘Gaelic’ Irish clusters present homogenous levels of ancient Irish ancestries. We additionally detect admixture events that provide evidence of Norse-Viking gene flow into Ireland, and reflect the Ulster Plantations. Our work informs both on Irish history, as well as the study of Mendelian and complex disease genetics involving populations of Irish ancestry.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Ireland, British Isles, Northern Ireland, Irish language, Irish people, Ulster


Applications for surgical training have declined over the last decade, and anecdotally the costs of training at the expense of the surgical trainee are rising. We aimed to quantify the costs surgical trainees are expected to cover for postgraduate training.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Training, Europe, Ireland, British Isles, Northern Ireland



A 42-year-old man presented to the emergency department (ED) with newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation of unknown duration. Interrogation of the patient’s wrist-worn activity tracker and smartphone application identified the onset of the arrhythmia as within the previous 3 hours, permitting electrocardioversion and discharge of the patient from the ED.

Concepts: Patient, Hospital, Atrial fibrillation, Atrial flutter, Ireland, The Onset, Dublin


Previous studies of the genetic landscape of Ireland have suggested homogeneity, with population substructure undetectable using single-marker methods. Here we have harnessed the haplotype-based method fineSTRUCTURE in an Irish genome-wide SNP dataset, identifying 23 discrete genetic clusters which segregate with geographical provenance. Cluster diversity is pronounced in the west of Ireland but reduced in the east where older structure has been eroded by historical migrations. Accordingly, when populations from the neighbouring island of Britain are included, a west-east cline of Celtic-British ancestry is revealed along with a particularly striking correlation between haplotypes and geography across both islands. A strong relationship is revealed between subsets of Northern Irish and Scottish populations, where discordant genetic and geographic affinities reflect major migrations in recent centuries. Additionally, Irish genetic proximity of all Scottish samples likely reflects older strata of communication across the narrowest inter-island crossing. Using GLOBETROTTER we detected Irish admixture signals from Britain and Europe and estimated dates for events consistent with the historical migrations of the Norse-Vikings, the Anglo-Normans and the British Plantations. The influence of the former is greater than previously estimated from Y chromosome haplotypes. In all, we paint a new picture of the genetic landscape of Ireland, revealing structure which should be considered in the design of studies examining rare genetic variation and its association with traits.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, England, Ireland, Scotland, British Isles, Celtic languages, Irish language


Northern peatlands can emit large amounts of carbon and harmful smoke pollution during a wildfire. Of particular concern are drained and mined peatlands, where management practices destabilize an array of ecohydrological feedbacks, moss traits and peat properties that moderate water and carbon losses in natural peatlands. Our results demonstrate that drained and mined peatlands in Canada and northern Europe can experience catastrophic deep burns (>200 t C ha(-1) emitted) under current weather conditions. Furthermore, climate change will cause greater water losses in these peatlands and subject even deeper peat layers to wildfire combustion. However, the rewetting of drained peatlands and the restoration of mined peatlands can effectively lower the risk of these deep burns, especially if a new peat moss layer successfully establishes and raises peat moisture content. We argue that restoration efforts are a necessary measure to mitigate the risk of carbon loss in managed peatlands under climate change.

Concepts: Climate, Weather, Soil, Climate change, Netherlands, Ireland, Coal, Finland