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

Concept: Summer of Love


The adequacy of provider networks for plans sold through insurance Marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act has received much scrutiny recently. Various studies have established that networks are generally narrow. To learn more about network adequacy and access to care, we investigated two questions. First, no matter the nominal size of a network, can patients gain access to primary care services from providers of their choice in a timely manner? Second, how does access compare to plans sold outside insurance Marketplaces? We conducted a “secret shopper” survey of 743 primary care providers from five of California’s nineteen insurance Marketplace pricing regions in the summer of 2015. Our findings indicate that obtaining access to primary care providers was generally equally challenging both inside and outside insurance Marketplaces. In less than 30 percent of cases were consumers able to schedule an appointment with an initially selected physician provider. Information about provider networks was often inaccurate. Problems accessing services for patients with acute conditions were particularly troubling. Effectively addressing issues of network adequacy requires more accurate provider information.

Concepts: Accuracy and precision, Summer of Love, Market, Marketplace


Heat waves have been linked to increased risk of mortality and morbidity, and are projected to increase in frequency and intensity in a changing climate. Houston and other areas in Texas experienced an exceptional heat wave in the summer of 2011 producing the hottest August on record. This study aims to assess the health-related impact of this heat wave.

Concepts: Optics, Fundamental physics concepts, Light, Electromagnetic radiation, Wave, Mortality displacement, Summer of Love, Heat wave


Numerous articles have recently reported on gas seepage offshore Svalbard, because the gas emission from these Arctic sediments was thought to result from gas hydrate dissociation, possibly triggered by anthropogenic ocean warming. We report on findings of a much broader seepage area, extending from 74° to 79°, where more than a thousand gas discharge sites were imaged as acoustic flares. The gas discharge occurs in water depths at and shallower than the upper edge of the gas hydrate stability zone and generates a dissolved methane plume that is hundreds of kilometer in length. Data collected in the summer of 2015 revealed that 0.02-7.7% of the dissolved methane was aerobically oxidized by microbes and a minor fraction (0.07%) was transferred to the atmosphere during periods of low wind speeds. Most flares were detected in the vicinity of the Hornsund Fracture Zone, leading us to postulate that the gas ascends along this fracture zone. The methane discharges on bathymetric highs characterized by sonic hard grounds, whereas glaciomarine and Holocene sediments in the troughs apparently limit seepage. The large scale seepage reported here is not caused by anthropogenic warming.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Climate change, Atmosphere, Natural gas, Wind, Global warming, Summer of Love, Methane clathrate


Trentepohlia is a genus of subaerial green algae which is widespread in tropical, subtropical, and also temperate regions with humid climates. For many years, small-scale Trentepohlia coverage had been found on the rocks of some glacier valleys on the northern slopes of Mt. Gongga, China. However, since 2005, in the Yajiageng river valley, most of the rocks are covered with deep red coloured algal carpets, which now form a spectacular sight and a tourist attraction known as ‘Red-Stone-Valley’. Based on morphology and molecular data, we have named this alga as a new variety: Trentepohlia jolithus var. yajiagengensis var. nov., it differs from the type variety in that its end cells of the main filament are often rhizoid, unilateral branches. This new variety only grows on the native rock, both global warming and human activity have provided massive areas of suitable substrata: the rocks surfaces of the Yajiageng river valley floodplain were re-exposed because of heavy debris flows in the summer of 2005; plus human activities such as tourism and road-building have also created a lot of exposed rock! In summer, the glaciers of the northern slopes of Mt. Gongga have brought to the valleys wet and foggy air, ideal for Trentepohlia growth. The cells of the new variety are rich in secondary carotenoids (astaxanthin?), which helps the algal cells resistance to strong ultraviolet radiation at high altitudes (they are only found on rock surfaces at alt. 1900-3900 m); the cells are also rich in oils, which gives them high resistance to cold dry winters.

Concepts: Algae, Cyanobacteria, Photosynthesis, Plastid, Water, Climate, Antarctica, Summer of Love


BACKGROUND: This article highlights the experiences of a unique group. In January 2011, Dave Murray organized a group of participants from the North American Opiate Medication Initiative (NAOMI) heroin-assisted treatment clinical trials from 2005 to 2008 in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver (DTES), B.C., Canada. The NAOMI Patients Association (NPA) is an independent group that currently meets every Saturday in the DTES. Currently, all members of the NPA are former participants in the heroin stream of the clinical trials. The NPA offers support, education, and advocacy to its members. METHODS: Drawing on brainstorming sessions and focus groups that were conducted in the summer of 2011, this paper highlights the experiences of NPA members in their own words. RESULTS: The findings provide a lens to understand how becoming a research subject for the NAOMI trial impacted the lives of NPA members, both positive and negative. The NPA members discuss ethics, consent, recommendations for future HAT programs and studies, and ongoing advocacy.

Concepts: Informed consent,, Clinical research, Summer of Love, Downtown Eastside, Vancouver, Chinatown, Vancouver


This study focuses on the impact of a program aimed at reducing heat-related mortality among older adults residing in central Rome by counteracting social isolation. The mortality of citizens over the age of 75 living in three Urban Areas (UAs) located in central Rome is compared with that of the residents of four adjacent UAs during the summer of 2015. The data, broken down by UA, were provided by the Statistical Office of the Municipality of Rome, which gathers them on a routine basis. During the summer of 2015, 167 deaths were recorded in those UAs in which the Long Live the Elderly (LLE) program was active and 169 in those in which it was not, implying cumulative mortality rates of 25‰ (SD ± 1.4; Cl 95%: 23-29) and 29‰ (SD ± 6.7; Cl 95%: 17-43), respectively. Relative to the summer of 2014, the increase of deaths during the summer of 2015 was greater in UAs in which the LLE program had not been implemented (+97.3% vs. +48.8%). In conclusion, the paper shows the impact of a community-based active monitoring program, focused on strengthening individual relationship networks and the social capital of the community, on mortality in those over 75 during heat waves.

Concepts: Death, Middle age, Sociology, Gerontology, Old age, Ageing, Retirement, Summer of Love


The devastating North China drought in the summer of 2015 was roughly captured by a dynamical seasonal climate forecast model with a good prediction of the 2015/16 big El Niño. This raises a question of whether strong El Niños imply higher predictability of extreme droughts. Here we show that a strong El Niño does not necessarily result in an extreme drought, but it depends on whether the El Niño evolves synergistically with Eurasian spring snow cover reduction to trigger a positive summer Eurasian teleconnection (EU) pattern that favors anomalous northerly and air sinking over North China. The dynamical forecast model that only well represents the El Niño underpredicts the drought severity, while a dynamical-statistical forecasting approach that combines both the low- and high-latitudes precursors is more skillful at long lead. In a warming future, the vanishing cryosphere should be better understood to improve predictability of extreme droughts.

Concepts: Snow, Ice, Prediction, Future, Precipitation, Forecasting, Weather forecasting, Summer of Love


In this commentary, we discuss a photography competition, launched during the summer of 2014, to explore the everyday stories of how gender plays out within health systems around the world. While no submission fees were charged nor financial awards involved, the winning entries were exhibited at the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Cape Town, South Africa, in October 2014, with credits to the photographers involved. Anyone who had an experience of, or interest in, gender and health systems was invited to participate. Underlying the aims of the photo competition was a recognition of the importance of participation of community members, health workers and other non-academics in our research engagement and in venues where their perspectives are often missing. The competition elicited participation from a range of stakeholders engaged in health systems: professional photographers, project managers, donors, researchers, activists and community members. In total, 54 photos were submitted by 29 participants from 15 different nationalities and country locations. We unpack what the photos suggest about gender and health systems and the pivotal role of community-level systems that support health, including that of close-to-community health providers. Three themes emerged: women active on the frontlines of service delivery and as primary unpaid carers, the visibility of men in gender and health systems and the inter-sectoral nature and intra-household dynamics of community health that embed close-to-community health providers. The question of who has the right to take and display images, under what contexts and for what purpose also permeated the photo competition. We reflect on how photos can be valuable representations of the worlds that we, health workers and health systems are embedded in. Photographs broaden our horizons by capturing and connecting us to subjects from afar in seemingly unmediated ways but also reflect the politics, values and subjectivities of the photographer. They represent stereotypes, but also showcase alternate realities of people and health systems, and thereby can engender further reflection and change. We conclude with thoughts about the place of photography in health systems research and practice in highlighting and potentially transforming how we look at and address close-to-community providers.

Concepts: Healthcare, Participation, E-participation, Photography, Summer of Love


In the summer of 2010, Europe experienced outbreaks of West Nile Fever (WNF) in humans, which was preceded by hot spells. The objective of this study was to identify potential drivers of these outbreaks, such as spring and summer temperatures, relative humidity (RH), and precipitation.

Concepts: Precipitation, Physical quantities, Humidity, Water vapor, Relative humidity, Psychrometrics, Hygrometer, Summer of Love


Wings of flying insects are part of the cuticle which forms the exoskeleton. The primary molecular components of cuticle are protein, chitin, and lipid. How these components interact with one another to form the exoskeleton is not completely understood. The difficulty in characterizing the cuticle arises because it is insoluble and noncrystalline. These properties severely limit the experimental tools that can be used for molecular characterization. Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance experiments have been used in the past to characterize the exoskeleton of beetles and have found that chitin and protein make comparable contributions to the molecular matrix. However, little work has been done to characterize the components of the wing, which includes vein and membrane. In this work, solid-state NMR was used to characterize the wing of the 17-year cycle cicada (Magicicada cassini) that appeared in northern West Virginia during the summer of 2016. The NMR results show noticeable differences between the molecular components of the vein and membrane.

Concepts: Insect, Arthropod, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Insect wing, Summer of Love, Cicada, Magicicada