SciCombinator

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Dysphagia is common in patients with neurological disorders. There is a need to identify patients at risk early by a useful clinical tool to prevent its serious complications. The study aims to determine the ability of the Eating Assessment Tool-10 (EAT-10) to detect aspiration in patients with neurological disorders.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Psychoanalysis

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Air pollution levels (NO2, PAHs, O3) were investigated, before (BLE) and after (ALE) leaf emergence, in the urban landscape of Gothenburg, Sweden. The aims were to study the 1) spatial and temporal variation in pollution levels between urban green areas, 2) effect of urban vegetation on air pollution levels at the same distance from a major emission source (traffic route), 3) improvement of urban air quality in urban parks compared to adjacent sites near traffic, 4) correlation between air pollution and noise in a park. O3 varied little over the urban landscape. NO2 varied strongly and was higher in situations strongly influenced by traffic. Four PAH variables were included: total PAH, total particle-bound PAH, the quantitatively important gaseous phenanthrene and the highly toxic particle-bound benzo(a)pyrene. The variation of PAHs was similar to NO2, but for certain PAHs the difference between highly and less polluted sites was larger than for NO2. At a vegetated site, NO2 and particulate PAH levels were lower than at a non-vegetated site at a certain distance from a busy traffic route. This effect was significantly larger ALE compared to BLE for NO2, indicating green leaf area to be highly significant factor for air quality improvement. For particulate PAHs, the effect was similar BLE and ALE, indicating that tree bark and branches also could be an important factor in reducing air pollution. Parks represented considerably cleaner local environments (park effect), which is likely to be a consequence of both a dilution (distance effect) and deposition. Noise and air pollution (NO2 and PAH) levels were strongly correlated. Comparison of noise levels BLE and ALE also showed that the presence of leaves significantly reduced noise levels. Our results are evidence that urban green spaces are beneficial for urban environmental quality, which is important to consider in urban planning.

Concepts: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Pollution, Smog, Urban planning, Environmentalism, Noise pollution, Air pollution, Park

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Resource polymorphism, whereby ancestral trophic generalists undergo divergence into multiple specialist morphs, is common in salmonid fish populations inhabiting subarctic lakes. However, the extent to which such resource specialization into the three principal lake habitats (littoral, profundal, and pelagic) affects patterns of contaminant bioaccumulation remains largely unexplored. We assessed total mercury concentrations (THg) of European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus (L.)) and their invertebrate prey in relation to potential explanatory variables across 6 subarctic lakes, of which three are inhabited by polymorphic (comprised of four morphs) and three by monomorphic populations. Among invertebrate prey, the highest THg concentrations were observed in profundal benthic macroinvertebrates, followed by pelagic zooplankton, with concentrations lowest in littoral benthic macroinvertebrates in both lake types. Broadly similar patterns were apparent in whitefish in polymorphic systems, where average age-corrected THg concentrations and bioaccumulation rates were the highest in pelagic morphs, intermediate in the profundal morph, and the lowest in the littoral morph. In monomorphic systems, age-corrected THg concentrations were generally lower, and showed pronounced lake-specific variation. In the polymorphic systems, we found significant relationships between whitefish muscle tissue THg concentration and gill raker count, resource use, lipid content and maximum length, whilst no such relationships were apparent in the monomorphic systems. Across all polymorphic lakes, the major variables explaining THg in whitefish were gill raker count and age, whereas in monomorphic systems, the factors were lake-specific. Whitefish resource polymorphism across the three main lake habitats therefore appears to have profound impacts on THg concentration and bioaccumulation rate. This highlights the importance of recognizing such intraspecific diversity in both future scientific studies and mercury monitoring programs.

Concepts: Lake, Benthic zone, Coregonus, Profundal zone

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Here we used organic composition and stable isotopic analysis to evaluate the effects of drainage and restoration at an ombrotrophic peatland, to assess whether rewetting of blanket bogs will reverse degradation. The organic composition of the peat and the isotopic fractionation between the solid (peat), liquid (pore water) and gas (soil gas) phases on actively accumulating, degrading and restored locations are compared. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis of the organic material has shown a high level of humification (low decomposition) in the active peat. Stable isotope analysis in the solid, liquid and gas phases has corresponded with this and indicated that the active location is enriched in (13)C in the solid and gas phases, (15)N in the solid phase, (18)O in the liquid and gas phases and D in the liquid phase, suggesting a closed system with limited isotopic fractionation and thus limited water movement and decomposition. The degrading location has a lower level of humification, and is depleted in (13)C in the solid phase due to ingression of vascular plants. The restored location has high humification and enrichment of (13)C and (15)N in the solid phase, and D in the liquid phase suggesting increased microbial activity. (13)C and (18)O in the gas phase and (18)O in the liquid phase are depleted, as a result of microbial mediated gas production and rewetting. FTIR analysis has also indicated a subsurface zone of increased decomposition between the acrotelm and catotelm in both the active and degrading peat. This is due to a stable water table and is not present within the restored location, which we attribute to water table fluctuation associated with rewetting. This zone of increased decomposition adds to the complexity of blanket bog peatlands and the assumption that all systems can be generalized under one conceptual model.

Concepts: Water, Soil, Liquid, Emulsion, Peat, Phases of matter, Bog, Isotope analysis

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An efficient dairy system, that implemented a combination of nitrogen (N) leaching mitigation strategies including lower N fertilizer input, standing cows off pasture for part of the day in autumn and winter (stand-off), and importing limited amounts of low protein supplements was evaluated over four consecutive years of a farmlet study. This efficient system consistently demonstrated a lower measured annual N leaching of 40 to 50% compared with a baseline system representing current practice with no mitigations. To maximize return from this system fewer cows but of higher genetic merit were used resulting in an average decrease in milk production of 2% and operating profit by 5% compared with the baseline system. The magnitude of the N leaching reduction from mitigation strategies was predicted in pre-trial modelling. Using similar mechanistic models in a post-trial study, we were able to satisfactorily predict the trends in the observed N leaching data over the four years. This enabled us to use the calibrated models to explore the contributions of the different mitigation strategies to the overall leaching reduction in the efficient system. In one of the years half of the leaching reduction was achieved by the ‘input’ component of the strategy (less feed N flowing through the herd from lower fertilizer use, less grass grown, and low-protein supplement use), while the other half was achieved by the stand-off strategy. However, these contributions are determined by the weather of a particular year. We estimate that on average stand-off would contribute 60% and ‘input’ 40% to the reduction. The implication is that farmers facing nutrient loss limitations have some current and some future technologies available to them for meeting these limitations. A shift towards the mitigations described here can result in a downward trend in their own N-loss metrics. The challenge will be to negate any reductions in production and profit, and remain competitive.

Concepts: Fertilizer, Milk, Nitrogen, Cattle, Dairy farming, Dairy cattle, Profit

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Understanding DOM transport and reactivity in rivers is essential to having a complete picture of the global carbon cycle. In this study, we explore the effects of hydrological variability and downstream transport on dissolved organic matter (DOM) dynamics in a Mediterranean river. We sampled the main stem of the river Tordera from the source to the sea, over a range of fifteen hydrological conditions including extreme events (flood and drought). By exploring spatial and temporal gradients of DOM fluorescence properties, river hydrology was found to be a significant predictor of DOM spatial heterogeneity. An additional space-resolved mass balance analysis performed on four contrasting hydrological conditions revealed that this was due to a shift in the biogeochemical function of the river. Flood conditions caused a conservative transport of DOM, generating a homogeneous, humic-like spatial profile of DOM quality. Lower flows induced a non-conservative, reactive transport of DOM, which enhanced the spatial heterogeneity of DOM properties. Moreover, the downstream evolution of DOM chemostatic behaviour revealed that the role of hydrology in regulating DOM properties increased gradually downstream, indicating an organised inter-dependency between the spatial and the temporal dimensions. Overall, our findings reveal that riverine DOM dynamics is in constant change owing to varying hydrological conditions, and emphasize that in order to fully understand the role of rivers in the global carbon cycle, it is necessary to take into account the full range of hydrological variability, from floods to droughts.

Concepts: Hydrology, Carbon, River, Flood, Carbon cycle, River Thames, Drought, Geomorphology

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Previous investigations have reported intake fraction (iF) for different environments, which include ambient concentrations (outdoor exposure) and microenvironments (indoor exposure). However, little is known about iF variations due to space-time factors, especially in microenvironments. In this paper, we performed a spatio-temporal analysis of particulate matter (PM2.5) intake fractions for vehicular emissions. Specifically, we investigated hourly variation (12:00am-11:00pm) by micro-environments (residences and workplaces) in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), Canada. We used GIS modeling to estimate air pollution data (ambient concentration, and traffic emission) and population data in each microenvironment. Our estimates showed that the total iF at residences and workplaces accounts for 85% and 15%, respectively. Workplaces presented the highest 24h average iF (1.06ppm), which accounted for 25% higher than residences. Observing the iF by hour at residences, our estimates showed the highest average iF at 2:00am (iF=3.72ppm). These estimates indicate that approximately 4g of PM2.5 emitted from motor vehicles are inhaled for every million grams of PM2.5 emitted. For the workplaces, the highest exposure was observed at 10:00am, with average iF equal to 2.04ppm. The period of the day with the lower average iF for residences was at 8:00am (average iF=0.11ppm), while for the workplaces was at 4:00am (average iF=0.47ppm). Our approach provides a new perspective on human exposure to air pollution. Our results showed significant hourly variation in iF across the GTHA. Our findings can be incorporated in future investigations to advance environmental health effects research and human health risk assessment.

Concepts: United States Environmental Protection Agency, Particulate, Smog, Air pollution, Dust, Scrubber

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Agriculture forms an essential part of the mountains of the Mediterranean. For centuries, large areas were cultivated to feed the local population, with highly marginal slopes being tilled at times of heavy demographic pressure, using the shifting agriculture system. A great deal of agricultural land was abandoned during the 20th century, giving rise to secondary succession processes that tend to eliminate the agricultural footprint. However, revegetation is a highly complex process leading to areas with dense, well-structured plant cover, and other open areas of scrubland. This article studies the role of traditional agriculture in the deterioration of the landscape. By using experimental plots in the Central Pyrenees to reproduce traditional agriculture and abandonment, maps of field types, and current uses and ground cover, it could be confirmed that shifting agriculture has caused very heavy soil loss, which explains the deterioration of the landscape on several slopes. Burning scrub and adding the ash to the soil as a fertilizer did not greatly help to improve soil quality, but caused high rates of erosion and a very slow process of regrowth. The average data obtained from the shifting experimental plots recorded losses of 1356kgha(-1)years(-1), 1.6 times more than the plot of fertilized cereal, and 8.2 times more than the dense scrub plot. Following abandonment, losses in the shifting agriculture plot were almost three times higher than the abandoned sloping field plot. Traditional shifting agriculture in the Pyrenees is the main cause of the deterioration of the landscape 50-70years after agriculture ceased.

Concepts: Agriculture, Erosion, 20th century, Plot, Pyrenees, Arable land, Shifting cultivation

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The eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems is a serious environmental problem that leads to increased frequency of cyanobacterial blooms and concentrations of cyanotoxins. These changes in aquatic chemistry can negatively affect animal and human health. Environment-friendly methods are needed to control bloom forming cyanobacteria. We investigated the effect of Hordeum vulgare L. (barley) straw degradation extract and its fractions on the growth, oxidative stress, antioxidant enzyme activities, and microcystins content of Microcystis aeruginosa (Kützing) Kützing BCCUSP232. Exposure to the extract significantly (p<0.05) inhibited the growth of M. aeruginosa throughout the study, whereas only the highest concentration of fractions 1 and 2 significantly (p<0.05) reduced the growth of the cyanobacterium on day 10 of the experiment. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), lipid peroxidation and antioxidant enzyme activities were significantly (p<0.05) altered by the extract and fractions 1 and 2. Phytochemical profiling of the extract and its fractions revealed that the barley straw degradation process yielded predominantly phenolic acids. These results demonstrate that barley straw extract and its fractions can efficiently interfere with the growth and development of M. aeruginosa under laboratory conditions.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Oxygen, Antioxidant, Oxidative stress, Oxidative phosphorylation, Reactive oxygen species, Hydrogen peroxide, Lipid peroxidation

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This study demonstrated a new room-temperature method for synthesizing aluminum (hydr)oxide material inside the pores of strong-base ion-exchange resin to fabricate a novel class of hybrid media capable of simultaneously removing nitrate and fluoride as model groundwater contaminants. The aluminum (hydr)oxide hybrid media was fabricated by reducing aluminum ion precursors with borohydride within ion-exchange resin at room temperature, followed by exposure to environmental oxygen. The hybrid media was characterized, and its performance to simultaneously remove nitrate and fluoride was determined in simple and complex water matrices using short-bed column tests operated under conditions realistic for point-of-use systems. Results revealed that, although not optimized, aluminum (hydr)oxide hybrid media was able to simultaneously remove nitrate and fluoride, which was not possible with neither unmodified strong-base ion-exchange resin nor conventional granular activated alumina alone. Future modifications and optimizations of this relatively simple and inexpensive fabrication process have the potential to yield an entire class of hybrid media suitable for point-of-use/point-of-entry water treatment systems.

Concepts: Oxygen, Water, Hydrogen, Water pollution, Aluminium, Oxide, Hybrid, Aluminium oxide