Paper currency by its very nature is frequently transferred from one person to another and represents an important medium for human contact with-and potential exchange of-microbes. In this pilot study, we swabbed circulating $1 bills obtained from a New York City bank in February (Winter) and June (Summer) 2013 and used shotgun metagenomic sequencing to profile the communities found on their surface. Using basic culture conditions, we also tested whether viable microbes could be recovered from bills.
In winter 2013/14 a succession of storms hit the UK leading to record rainfall and flooding in many regions including south east England. In the Thames river valley there was widespread flooding, with clean-up costs of over £1 billion. There was no observational precedent for this level of rainfall. Here we present analysis of a large ensemble of high-resolution initialised climate simulations to show that this event could have been anticipated, and that in the current climate there remains a high chance of exceeding the observed record monthly rainfall totals in many regions of the UK. In south east England there is a 7% chance of exceeding the current rainfall record in at least one month in any given winter. Expanding our analysis to some other regions of England and Wales the risk increases to a 34% chance of breaking a regional record somewhere each winter.A succession of storms during the 2013-2014 winter led to record flooding in the UK. Here, the authors use high-resolution climate simulations to show that this event could have been anticipated and that there remains a high chance of exceeding observed record monthly rainfall totals in many parts of the UK.
The 14th-18th century pandemic of Yersinia pestis caused devastating disease outbreaks in Europe for almost 400 years. The reasons for plague’s persistence and abrupt disappearance in Europe are poorly understood, but could have been due to either the presence of now-extinct plague foci in Europe itself, or successive disease introductions from other locations. Here we present five Y. pestis genomes from one of the last European outbreaks of plague, from 1722 in Marseille, France. The lineage identified has not been found in any extant Y. pestis foci sampled to date, and has its ancestry in strains obtained from victims of the 14th century Black Death. These data suggest the existence of a previously uncharacterized historical plague focus that persisted for at least three centuries. We propose that this disease source may have been responsible for the many resurgences of plague in Europe following the Black Death.
Women born around 1940 in countries such as the UK and USA were the first generation in which many smoked substantial numbers of cigarettes throughout adult life. Hence, only in the 21st century can we observe directly the full effects of prolonged smoking, and of prolonged cessation, on mortality among women in the UK.
Oral health is important both for well-being and successful elite sporting performance. Reports from Olympic Games have found significant treatment needs; however, few studies have examined oral health directly. The aim of this study was to evaluate oral health, the determinants of oral health and the effect of oral health on well-being, training and performance of athletes participating in the London 2012 Games.
Candida auris is a globally emerging multidrug resistant fungal pathogen causing nosocomial transmission. We report an ongoing outbreak of C. auris in a London cardio-thoracic center between April 2015 and July 2016. This is the first report of C. auris in Europe and the largest outbreak so far. We describe the identification, investigation and implementation of control measures.
The medieval Black Death (c. 1347-1351) was one of the most devastating epidemics in human history. It killed tens of millions of Europeans, and recent analyses have shown that the disease targeted elderly adults and individuals who had been previously exposed to physiological stressors. Following the epidemic, there were improvements in standards of living, particularly in dietary quality for all socioeconomic strata. This study investigates whether the combination of the selective mortality of the Black Death and post-epidemic improvements in standards of living had detectable effects on survival and mortality in London. Samples are drawn from several pre- and post-Black Death London cemeteries. The pre-Black Death sample comes from the Guildhall Yard (n = 75) and St. Nicholas Shambles (n = 246) cemeteries, which date to the 11th-12th centuries, and from two phases within the St. Mary Spital cemetery, which date to between 1120-1300 (n = 143). The St. Mary Graces cemetery (n = 133) was in use from 1350-1538 and thus represents post-epidemic demographic conditions. By applying Kaplan-Meier analysis and the Gompertz hazard model to transition analysis age estimates, and controlling for changes in birth rates, this study examines differences in survivorship and mortality risk between the pre- and post-Black Death populations of London. The results indicate that there are significant differences in survival and mortality risk, but not birth rates, between the two time periods, which suggest improvements in health following the Black Death, despite repeated outbreaks of plague in the centuries after the Black Death.
To assess potential reductions in premature mortality that could have been achieved in 2008 to 2012 if the minimum wage had been $15 per hour in New York City.
Cultural psychologists have shown that people from Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democratic (WEIRD) countries often exhibit different psychological processing to people from less-WEIRD countries. The former exhibit more individualistic and less collectivistic social orientation, and more analytic and less holistic cognition, than non-Westerners. Yet the mechanisms responsible for maintaining this cultural variation are unclear. Immigration is an ideal ‘natural experiment’ for uncovering such mechanisms. We used a battery of psychological measures previously shown to vary cross-culturally to compare the social orientation and cognitive style of 286 residents of East London from three cultural backgrounds: (i) 1st-generation British Bangladeshi immigrants; (ii) 2nd-generation British Bangladeshis raised in the UK to Bangladeshi-raised parents; and (iii) non-migrants whose parents were born and raised in the UK. Model comparison revealed that individualism and dispositional attribution, typical of Western societies, are driven primarily by horizontal cultural transmission (e.g. via mass media), with parents and other family members having little or no effect, while collectivism, social closeness and situational attribution were driven by a mix of vertical/oblique cultural transmission (e.g. via family contact) and horizontal cultural transmission. These individual-level transmission dynamics can explain hitherto puzzling population-level phenomena, such as the partial acculturation of 2nd-generation immigrants on measures such as collectivism (due to the mix of vertical and horizontal cultural transmission), or the observation in several countries of increasing individualism (which is transmitted horizontally and therefore rapidly) despite little corresponding change in collectivism (which is transmitted partly vertically and therefore more slowly). Further consideration of cultural transmission mechanisms, in conjunction with the study of migrant communities and model comparison statistics, can shed light on the persistence of, and changes in, culturally-variable psychological processes.
Cities are economically open systems that depend on goods and services imported from national and global markets to satisfy their material and energy requirements. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) footprints are thus a highly relevant metric for urban climate change mitigation since they not only include direct emissions from urban consumption activities, but also upstream emissions, i.e. emissions that occur along the global production chain of the goods and services purchased by local consumers. This complementary approach to territorially-focused emission accounting has added critical nuance to the debate on climate change mitigation by highlighting the responsibility of consumers in a globalized economy. Yet, city officials are largely either unaware of their upstream emissions or doubtful about their ability to count and control them. This study provides the first internationally comparable GHG footprints for four cities (Berlin, Delhi NCT, Mexico City, and New York metropolitan area) applying a consistent method that can be extended to other global cities using available data. We show that upstream emissions from urban household consumption are in the same order of magnitude as cities' overall territorial emissions and that local policy leverage to reduce upstream emissions is larger than typically assumed.