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Author: John McNamara (161)


Jan
2017

Addressing the obesity epidemic depends on a holistic understanding of the reasons that people become and maintain excessive fat. Theories about the causes of obesity usually focus proximately or evoke evolutionary mismatches, with minimal clinical value. There is potential for substantial progress by adapting strategic body mass regulation models from evolutionary ecology to human obesity by assessing the role of information.

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Oct
2017

Signal detection theory has influenced the behavioural sciences for over 50 years. The theory provides a simple equation that indicates numerous 'intuitive' results; e.g.

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Oct
2017

We provide a kinetic characterization of (Na+, K+)-ATPase activity in a posterior gill microsomal fraction from the semi-terrestrial mangrove crab Cardisoma guanhumi. Sucrose density gradient centrifugation reveals two distinct membrane fractions showing considerable (Na+, K+)-ATPase activity, but also containing other microsomal ATPases. The (Na+, K+)-ATPase, notably immuno-localized to the apical region of the epithelial pillar cells, and throughout the pillar cell bodies, has an M r of around 110 kDa and hydrolyzes ATP with V M = 146.

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Oct
2017

Palaemonid shrimps exhibit numerous adaptive strategies, both in their life cycles and in biochemical, physiological, morphological and behavioral characteristics that reflect the wide variety of habitats in which they occur, including species that are of particular interest when analyzing adaptive osmoregulatory strategies. The present investigation evaluates the short- (hours) and long-term (days) time courses of responses of two palaemonid shrimps from separate yet overlapping osmotic niches, Palaemon northropi (marine) and Macrobrachium acanthurus (diadromous, fresh water), to differential salinity challenges at distinct levels of structural organization: (i) transcriptional, analyzing quantitative expression of gill mRNAs that encode for subunits of the Na+/K+-ATPase and V(H+)-ATPase ion transporters; (ii) translational, examining the kinetic behavior of gill Na+/K+-ATPase specific activity; and (iii) systemic, accompanying consequent adjustment of hemolymph osmolality. Palaemon northropi is an excellent hyper-hypo-osmoregulator in dilute and concentrated seawater, respectively.

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Dec
1969

This article describes levels of implementation of occupational health and safety (OHS) controls on a sample of Irish farms following completion of a risk assessment document (RAD) made available as part of a statutory code of practice (COP) for the agriculture sector. The article describes the legislation mandating the COP and the operation of a prevention initiative (PI) among key stakeholders to develop and promote farmer use of the COP and RAD.
RADs were collected for farmers (N = 475) and the number and type of OHS controls listed for action were tabulated.

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May
2017

The objective was to investigate the effect of placing mats on concrete slatted floors on performance, behaviour, hoof condition, dirt scores, physiological and immunological variables of beef steers, and to compare responses with animals on out-wintering pads. Continental crossbred beef steers [n = 360; mean (±SD) initial live weight 539 kg (42.2)] were blocked by breed and live weight and randomly assigned to one of five treatments; (1) Concrete slats alone, (2) Mat 1 (Natural Rubber structure) (Durapak Rubber Products), (3) Mat 2 (Natural rubber structure) (EasyFix), (4) Mat 3 (modified ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foam structure) and (5) Out-wintering pads (OWP's).

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Sep
2017

The effects of exposure to copper (Cu) on tissue Cu accumulation, on hemolymph osmotic, Na+ and Cl- regulation, and on gill Na+/K+-ATPase (NKA) and carbonic anhydrase (CA) activities were evaluated in the fiddler crab Minuca rapax. Waterborne copper was delivered to the crabs at one of three salinities (seawater at 25‰ salinity [S] = isosmotic control; distilled water [<0.1‰ S] = hypo-osmotic medium; or 60‰ S = hyper-osmotic seawater) either for 5 days in a 0.

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May
2017

Thermal tolerance underpins most biogeographical patterns in ectothermic animals. Macroevolutionary patterns of thermal limits have been historically evaluated, but a role for the phylogenetic component in physiological variation has been neglected. Three marine zoogeographical provinces are recognized throughout the Neotropical region based on mean seawater temperature (Tm): the Brazilian (Tm = 26 °C), Argentinian (Tm = 15 °C), and Magellanic (Tm = 9 °C) provinces.

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May
2017

Aiming to clarify the mechanism of inhibition of (Na+, K+)-ATPase activity by polyamines, we examined the effects of exogenous putrescine, spermidine, and spermine on the kinetic behavior of phosphoenzyme-linked partial reactions using a microsomal gill (Na+, K+)-ATPase from juvenile and adult M. amazonicum, a freshwater palaemonid shrimp. The time course of phosphointermediate formation is greater (0.

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Dec
1969

Salinity is the primary driver of osmoregulatory evolution in decapods, and may have influenced their diversification into different osmotic niches. In semi-terrestrial crabs, hyper-osmoregulatory ability favors sojourns into burrows and dilute media, and provides a safeguard against hemolymph dilution; hypo-osmoregulatory ability underlies emersion capability and a life more removed from water sources. However, most comparative studies have neglected the roles of the phylogenetic and environmental components of inter-specific physiological variation, hindering evaluation of phylogenetic patterns and the adaptive nature of osmoregulatory evolution.

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Dec
1969

This study was designed to determine whether yoga might alleviate symptoms of pain, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and depression in children with cystic fibrosis (CF). CF is the most common genetic, life-limiting chronic disease among Caucasian populations. It primarily affects the lungs but also many other secretory organs and consequently leads to significant morbidities.

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Nov
2016

Pigment aggregation in shrimp chromatophores is triggered by red pigment concentrating hormone (RPCH), a neurosecretory peptide whose plasma membrane receptor may be a G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR). While RPCH binding activates the Ca2+ /cGMP signaling cascades, a role for cyclic AMP (cAMP) in pigment aggregation is obscure, as are the steps governing Ca2+ release from the smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER). A role for the antagonistic neuropeptide, pigment dispersing homone (α-PDH) is also unclear.

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Dec
2016

It has been described that the sensitivity of the Carba NP test may be low in the case of OXA-48-like carbapenamases and mass spectrometry based methods as well as a colorimetry based method have been described as alternatives. We evaluated 84 Enterobacteriaceae isolates including 31 OXA-48-like producing isolates and 13 isolates that produced either an imipenemase (IMP; n=8), New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase (NDM; n=3), or Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC; n=2), as well as 40 carbapenemase negative Enterobacteriaceae isolates. We used the Neo-Rapid CARB kit, assessing the results with the unaided eye and compared it with a colorimetric approach.

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Dec
1969

There are many inputs during development that influence an organism's fit to current or upcoming environments. These include genetic effects, transgenerational epigenetic influences, environmental cues and developmental noise, which are rarely investigated in the same formal framework. We study an analytically tractable evolutionary model, in which cues are integrated to determine mature phenotypes in fluctuating environments.

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Apr
2016

The tendency for animals at higher latitudes to be larger (Bergmann's rule) is generally explained by recourse to latitudinal effects on ambient temperature and the food supply, but these receive only mixed support and do not explain observations of the inverse to Bergmann's rule. Our aim was to better understand how ecological variables might influence body size and thereby explain this mixed support.
World-wide.

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Dec
1969

Farming is dangerous, with fatalities among the highest in any occupation. Farmers often work alone, for long hours, with unreliable equipment and in difficult weather conditions with hazardous chemicals and livestock. In addition, farmers make large financial commitments exposing them to high levels of financial risk.

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Jun
2016

There are many situations where relatives interact while at the same time there is genetic polymorphism in traits influencing survival and reproduction. Examples include cheater-cooperator polymorphism and polymorphic microbial pathogens. Environmental heterogeneity, favoring different traits in nearby habitats, with dispersal between them, is one general reason to expect polymorphism.

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Sep
2016

The contamination of estuaries by metals can impose additional stresses on estuarine species, which may exhibit a limited capability to adjust their regulatory processes and maintain physiological homeostasis. The mudflat fiddler crab Uca rapax is a typical estuarine crab, abundant in both pristine and contaminated areas along the Atlantic coast of Brazil. This study evaluates osmotic and ionic regulatory ability and gill Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase activity in different salinities (<0.

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Jan
2016

To explore the logic of evolutionary explanations of obesity we modelled food consumption in an animal that minimizes mortality (starvation plus predation) by switching between activities that differ in energy gain and predation. We show that if switching does not incur extra predation risk, the animal should have a single threshold level of reserves above which it performs the safe activity and below which it performs the dangerous activity. The value of the threshold is determined by the environmental conditions, implying that animals should have variable 'set points'.

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Jan
2016

We evaluate the effects of total ammonia nitrogen-N (TAN) exposure for 72h on (Na(+),K(+))- and V(H(+))-ATPase activities and on their subunit expressions in gills of the diadromous freshwater shrimp Macrobrachium amazonicum. Specific (Na(+),K(+))- and V(H(+))-ATPase activities increased roughly 1.5- to 2-fold, respectively, after exposure to 2.

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Dec
1969

Obesity is an important medical problem affecting humans and animals in the developed world, but the evolutionary origins of the behaviours that cause obesity are poorly understood. The potential role of occasional gluts of food in determining fat-storage strategies for avoiding mortality have been overlooked, even though animals experienced such conditions in the recent evolutionary past and may follow the same strategies in the modern environment. Humans, domestic, and captive animals in the developed world are exposed to a surplus of calorie-rich food, conditions characterised as 'constant-glut'.

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Jan
2016

Abundant evidence from the medical, veterinary, and animal science literature demonstrates that there is substantial room for improvement of the clarity, completeness, and accuracy of reporting of intervention studies. More rigorous reporting guidelines are needed to improve the quality of data available for use in comparisons of outcomes (or meta-analyses) of multiple studies. Because of the diversity of factors that affect reproduction and the complexity of interactions between these, a systematic approach is required to design, conduct, and analyze basic and applied studies of dairy cattle reproduction.

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Jan
2016

The road to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission.

J Pediatr (Rio J) 2015 Nov-Dec;91(6):509-11. Epub 2015 Sep 4.
Andrew M Redmond, John F McNamara

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Dec
1969

The objectives of this study were to design a health booklet specifically targeted to farmers with clear and understandable messages through the use of simple terminologies, pictures, agricultural references, and farmer-related case studies; and to maximize the profile and reach of the booklet to empower farmers to take increased control of their own health. Seven focus groups were carried out with farmers and professionals from the agricultural sector to explore the health needs of farmers and their attitudes and behaviors in relation to their health. Findings from these focus groups informed the content and design of the booklet "Staying Fit for Farming-A Health Booklet for Farmers.

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Jun
2015

The development of multicellular organisms involves a delicate interplay between genetic and environmental influences. It is often useful to think of developmental systems as integrating available sources of information about current conditions to produce organisms. Genes and inherited physiology provide cues, as does the state of the environment during development.

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Aug
2015

We evaluate (Na(+), K(+))-ATPase activity, and protein and gene expression of the α-subunit in posterior gills 6 and 7 of Callinectes ornatus, a euryhaline crab, during a 10-day acclimation period from seawater (33‰ S) to low salinity (21‰ S). (Na(+), K(+))-ATPase activity decreased within 1h after transfer to 21‰ S, values recovering by 24h and attaining a maximum of ≈180 nmol Pi min(-1) mg(-1) after 10 days (≈2.5-fold increase).

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Apr
2015

Depression is a major medical problem diagnosed in an increasing proportion of people and for which commonly prescribed psychoactive drugs are frequently ineffective. Development of treatment options may be facilitated by an evolutionary perspective; several adaptive reasons for proneness to depression have been proposed. A common feature of many explanations is that depressive behaviour is a way to avoid costly effort where benefits are small and/or unlikely.

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Apr
2015

A striking feature of human decision making is the fourfold pattern of risk attitudes, involving risk-averse behavior in situations of unlikely losses and likely gains, but risk-seeking behavior in response to likely losses and unlikely gains. Current theories to explain this pattern assume particular psychological processes to reproduce empirical observations, but do not address whether it is adaptive for the decision maker to respond to risk in this way. Here, drawing on insights from behavioral ecology, we build an evolutionary model of risk-sensitive behavior, to investigate whether particular types of environmental conditions could favor a fourfold pattern of risk attitudes.

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Mar
2015

Strong asymmetries in parental care, with one sex providing more care than the other, are widespread across the animal kingdom. At present, two factors are thought to ultimately cause sex differences in care: certainty of parentage and sexual selection. By contrast, we here show that the coevolution of care and the ability to care can result in strong asymmetries in both the ability to care and the level of care, even in the absence of these factors.

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Mar
2015

An organism's phenotype can be influenced by maternal cues and directly perceived environmental cues, as well as by its genotype at polymorphic loci, which can be interpreted as a genetic cue. In fluctuating environments, natural selection favors organisms that efficiently integrate different sources of information about the likely success of phenotypic alternatives. In such situations, it can be beneficial to pass on maternal cues that offspring can respond to.

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Jan
2015

One possible explanation for the widespread existence of cooperation in nature is that individuals cooperate to establish reputations and so benefit in future interactions with others. We consider a class of games in which individuals contribute to a common good at a cost to themselves. Population members vary in type, that is, in the cost paid for a given level of contribution.

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Apr
2015

We characterize the kinetic properties of a gill (Na(+), K(+))-ATPase from the pelagic marine seabob Xiphopenaeus kroyeri. Sucrose density gradient centrifugation revealed membrane fractions distributed mainly into a heavy fraction showing considerable (Na(+), K(+))-ATPase activity, but also containing mitochondrial F0F1- and Na(+)- and V-ATPases. Western blot analysis identified a single immunoreactive band against the (Na(+), K(+))-ATPase α-subunit with an Mr of ≈ 110 kDa.

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Mar
2015

Novel kinetic properties of a microsomal gill V(H(+))-ATPase from juvenile and adult Amazon River shrimp, Macrobrachium amazonicum, are described. While protein expression patterns are markedly different, Western blot analysis reveals a sole immunoreactive band, suggesting a single V(H(+))-ATPase subunit isoform, distributed in membrane fractions of similar density in both ontogenetic stages. Immunofluorescence labeling locates the V(H(+))-ATPase in the apical regions of the lamellar pillar cells in both stages in which mRNA expression of the V(H(+))-ATPase B-subunit is identical.

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Dec
2014

The binding of red pigment concentrating hormone (RPCH) to membrane receptors in crustacean chromatophores triggers Ca²⁺/cGMP signaling cascades that activate cytoskeletal motors, driving pigment granule translocation. We investigate the distributions of microfilaments and microtubules and their associated molecular motors, myosin and dynein, by confocal and transmission electron microscopy, evaluating a functional role for the cytoskeleton in pigment translocation using inhibitors of polymer turnover and motor activity in vitro. Microtubules occupy the chromatophore cell extensions whether the pigment granules are aggregated or dispersed.

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Oct
2014

The primary function of lipid storage by animals is as an energy source for surviving periods without food. However, muscle and organ protein can be metabolised for energy, and empirical studies have shown that the onset of protein metabolism begins before the exhaustion of lipid reserves. Since protein tissues are important for reasons other than resisting starvation, the adaptive basis for this early onset is unclear.

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Apr
2014

An aspect of life history that has seen increasing attention in recent years is that of strategies for financing the costs of offspring production. These strategies are often described by a continuum ranging from capital breeding, in which costs are met purely from endogenous reserves, to income breeding, in which costs are met purely from concurrent intake. A variety of factors that might drive strategies toward a given point on the capital-income continuum has been reviewed, and assessed using analytical models.

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Dec
1969

Low back pain (LBP) is the most commonly reported musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) among farmers. There is limited researching regarding the lived experience of LBP among farmers. Video interviews were conducted with three dairy farmers who reported having a significant episode of LBP.

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Dec
1969

We investigate the synergistic stimulation by K(+) plus NH4 (+) of (Na(+), K(+))-ATPase activity in microsomal preparations of whole zoea I and decapodid III, and in juvenile and adult river shrimp gills. Modulation of (Na(+), K(+))-ATPase activity is ontogenetic stage-specific, and particularly distinct between juveniles and adults. Although both gill enzymes exhibit two different sites for K(+) and NH4 (+) binding, in the juvenile enzyme, these two sites are equivalent: binding by both ions results in slightly stimulated activity compared to that of a single ionic species.

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Mar
2014

Models and experiments on adaptive decision-making typically consider highly simplified environments that bear little resemblance to the complex, heterogeneous world in which animals (including humans) have evolved. These studies reveal an array of so-called cognitive biases and puzzling features of behaviour that seem irrational in the specific situation presented to the decision-maker. Here we review an emerging body of work that highlights spatiotemporal heterogeneity and autocorrelation as key properties of most real-world environments that may help us understand why these biases evolved.

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Nov
2013

Knee effusions occur due to traumatic and atraumatic causes. Clinical diagnosis currently relies on several provocative techniques to demonstrate knee joint effusions. Portable bedside ultrasonography (US) is becoming an adjunct to diagnosis of effusions.

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Jan
2014

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a common pathogenic or colonizing organism of domestic mammals. In dogs, it causes an infectious tracheobronchitis known as Kennel Cough. Human infections are unusual and almost exclusively described in immunocompromised patients who have had contact with a known animal reservoir.

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Sep
2013

Moods can be regarded as fluctuating dispositions to make positive and negative evaluations. Developing an evolutionary approach to mood as an adaptive process, we consider the structure and function of such states in guiding behavioural decisions regarding the acquisition of resources and the avoidance of harm in different circumstances. We use a drift diffusion model of decision making to consider the information required by individuals to optimise decisions between two alternatives, such as whether to approach or withdraw from a stimulus that may be life enhancing or life threatening.

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Nov
2013

Towards a richer evolutionary game theory.

J R Soc Interface 2013 Nov 21;10(88):20130544. Epub 2013 Aug 21.
John M McNamara
Most examples of the application of evolutionary game theory to problems in biology involve highly simplified models. I contend that it is time to move on and include much more richness in models. In particular, more thought needs to be given to the importance of (i) between-individual variation; (ii) the interaction between individuals, and hence the process by which decisions are reached; (iii) the ecological and life-history context of the situation; (iv) the traits that are under selection, and (v) the underlying psychological mechanisms that lead to behaviour.

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Aug
2013

Apparently irrational biases such as overconfidence, optimism, and pessimism are increasingly studied by biologists, psychologists, and neuroscientists. Functional explanations of such phenomena are essential; we argue that recent proposals, focused on benefits from overestimating the probability of success in conflicts or practising self-deception to better deceive others, are still lacking in crucial regards. Attention must be paid to the difference between cognitive and outcome biases; outcome biases are suboptimal, yet cognitive biases can be optimal.

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Jul
2013

The stimulation by Mg(2+), Na(+), K(+), NH4 (+), and ATP of (Na(+), K(+))-ATPase activity in a gill microsomal fraction from the freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii was examined. Immunofluorescence labeling revealed that the (Na(+), K(+))-ATPase α-subunit is distributed predominantly within the intralamellar septum, while Western blotting revealed a single α-subunit isoform of about 108 kDa M r. Under saturating Mg(2+), Na(+), and K(+) concentrations, the enzyme hydrolyzed ATP, obeying cooperative kinetics with V(M) = 115.

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Jan
2014

A fundamental issue in foraging theory is whether it is possible to find a simple currency that characterizes foraging behaviour. If such a currency exists, then it is tempting to argue that the selective forces that have shaped the evolution of foraging behaviour have been understood. We review previous work on currencies for the foraging behaviour of an animal that maximizes total energy gained.

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May
2013

Successive contrast effects, in which behavior is dependent on whether conditions are currently better or worse than they were before, are a striking illustration of the fact that animals evaluate the world in relative terms. Existing explanations for these effects are based on descriptive models of psychological and physiological processes, but little attention has been paid to the factors promoting their evolution. Using a simple and general optimality model, we show that contrast effects can result from an adaptive response to uncertainty in a changing, unpredictable world.

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