(1/299) Global climate change.

Most of the last 100,000 years or longer has been characterized by large, abrupt, regional-to-global climate changes. Agriculture and industry have developed during anomalously stable climatic conditions. New, high-resolution analyses of sediment cores using multiproxy and physically based transfer functions allow increasingly confident interpretation of these past changes as having been caused by "band jumps" between modes of operation of the climate system. Recurrence of such band jumps is possible and might be affected by human activities.  (+info)

(2/299) Clinical characteristics of unexplained sudden cardiac death in Korea.

In Western countries, sudden cardiac death (SCD) is closely related to coronary artery disease, but in Korea the clinical characteristics of SCD are not well determined. Over a 4-year period (June 1995 to May 1999), 186 cases of SCD, ranging in age from 16 to 75 years, were admitted to the Chonnam National University Hospital. In 82 (44.1%) of these, neither symptoms nor evidence of structural heart disease was found and so their clinical characteristics were investigated. There were 66 (80.5%) men and 16 (19.5%) women (male/female ratio = 4.1:1). The mean age was 50 +/- 14 years: 19 (23.2%) were in their 40s, 21 (25.6%) in their 50s, and 17 (20.7%) in their 60s. The time of circulatory collapse witnessed in 68 cases of SCD showed 2 peaks: between midnight and 03.00h (n=16, 23.5%) and between 09.00h and midday (n=15, 22.1%). Unexplained SCD occurred at home in 48 (64.9%) cases and on the street in 12 (16.2%); it occurred during normal daily routine activity in 23 (39.6%) and during sleep in 15 (25.9%). Thirty-three patients (40.2%) experienced various prodromal symptoms, including chest discomfort (n=13, 15.9%) and dyspnea (n=8, 9.8%). The electrocardiogram taken on arrival recorded asystole in 65 (79.3%) and ventricular fibrillation in 17 (20.7%). Idiopathic ventricular fibrillation was diagnosed in 14 (10 men, 4 women; 45 +/- 11 years) of 21 patients who recovered spontaneous circulation. Five (6.1%) patients were discharged alive, and an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator was implanted in 2. Unexplained SCD is common in Korea and develops predominantly in middle-aged males around midnight or in the late morning usually with no prodromal symptoms (59.8%). Idiopathic ventricular fibrillation is thought to be one of the important causes.  (+info)

(3/299) A genetic analysis of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale in 1560 World War II male veteran twins in the NAS-NRC Twin Registry.

Responses to the eight-item Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) obtained from 1560 World War II male veteran twin pairs [818 monozygotic (MZ), 742 dizygotic (DZ)] were analysed to determine the extent to which genetic influences are involved in self-reported daytime sleepiness in the elderly. Average ESS score (+/- SD) in this sample was 7.1 +/- 3.9, range 0--24. More than half of the twins (65%--67%) reported a moderate to high chance of falling asleep while lying down to rest; fewer than 3% admitted that this would occur while sitting and talking to someone or while stopped in traffic. Daytime sleepiness was not associated with age but was significantly and positively associated with obesity. The intraclass twin correlation on ESS scores was 0.39 in MZ pairs and 0.21 in DZ pairs (both P < 0.001). Structural equation modeling of the observed variance-covariance matrices for MZ and DZ twins estimated the heritability of ESS to be 38% (95% confidence interval 33%--44%). Environmental influences not shared by twin brothers accounted for the remaining variance in daytime sleepiness. A reasonable interpretation of the heritability of ESS in this healthy cohort of elderly male twins is a genetic susceptibility for disordered breathing during sleep.  (+info)

(4/299) Health-related quality of life in narcolepsy.

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterised by symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy. The aim of this study was to describe the health-related quality of life of people with narcolepsy residing in the UK. The study comprised a postal survey of 500 members of the UK narcolepsy patient association, which included amongst other questions the UK Short Form 36 (SF-36), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and the Ullanlinna Narcolepsy Scale (UNS). A total of 305 questionnaires were included in the final analysis. The results showed that the subjects had significantly lower median scores on all eight domains of the SF-36 than normative data, and scored particularly poorly for the domains of role physical, energy/vitality, and social functioning. The BDI indicated that 56.9% of subjects had some degree of depression. In addition, many individuals described limitations on their education, home, work and social life caused by their symptoms. There was little difference between the groups receiving different types of medication. This study is the largest of its type in the UK, although the limitations of using a sample from a patient association have been recognised. The results are consistent with studies of narcolepsy in other countries in demonstrating the extensive impact of this disorder on health-related quality of life.  (+info)

(5/299) Ecological degradation in protected areas: the case of Wolong Nature Reserve for giant pandas.

It is generally perceived that biodiversity is better protected from human activities after an area is designated as a protected area. However, we found that this common perception was not true in Wolong Nature Reserve (southwestern China), which was established in 1975 as a "flagship" protected area for the world-renowned endangered giant pandas. Analyses of remote sensing data from pre- and post-establishment periods indicate that the reserve has become more fragmented and less suitable for giant panda habitation. The rate of loss of high-quality habitat after the reserve's establishment was much higher than before the reserve was created, and the fragmentation of high-quality habitat became far more severe. After the creation of the reserve, rates of habitat loss and fragmentation inside the reserve unexpectedly increased to levels that were similar to or higher than those outside the reserve, in contrast to the situation before the reserve was created.  (+info)

(6/299) Differential effects of activity and climate on onset of subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Conflicting findings of the effect of climate on onset of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) may result from the influence of strenuous activities which can trigger aneurysmal rupture independent of climatological factors. The effect of climate and patient activities on onset of SAH were analyzed. The clinical records of 786 consecutive patients with aneurysmal SAH admitted to our hospital for 10 years were reviewed. Activities at onset were categorized according to the intensity of strain at onset. Seasonal variation, circannual cyclic trend, and association with 90 meteorological factors were examined in each category and the results were compared between categories. Bimonthly occurrence in the light strain group showed a significant seasonal variation and cyclic trend with two peaks in early spring and fall, whereas no significant trend was detected in the overall patients and in the heavy strain group. The significant meteorological factors were global solar radiation, sunshine hours, changes in mean and minimum temperature and mean vapor pressure from the previous day, and minimum pressure in the previous 7 days. Lower global solar radiation in the light strain group was associated with onset with the lowest p value (p = 0.0046). No factors were significant in the heavy strain group. There is some evidence of the possible influence of climatological factors on onset of SAH without strenuous activity. Strenuous activity seems to affect onset more strongly, which masks any effect of climate.  (+info)

(7/299) A multispecies overkill simulation of the end-Pleistocene megafaunal mass extinction.

A computer simulation of North American end-Pleistocene human and large herbivore population dynamics correctly predicts the extinction or survival of 32 out of 41 prey species. Slow human population growth rates, random hunting, and low maximum hunting effort are assumed; additional parameters are based on published values. Predictions are close to observed values for overall extinction rates, human population densities, game consumption rates, and the temporal overlap of humans and extinct species. Results are robust to variation in unconstrained parameters. This fully mechanistic model accounts for megafaunal extinction without invoking climate change and secondary ecological effects.  (+info)

(8/299) Energy costs of standard activities among Indian adults.

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the energy cost of resting (RMR), sitting and standing for urban Indian adults and compare these estimates with the reported values. DESIGN: Energy costs were measured using oxylog while body fat was estimated using equipment (HBF300, OMRON Corporation, Japan) that works on the principle of bioelectrical impedance, for 24 men and 40 women, aged 20-50 y, engaged in sedentary activities. SETTINGS: Agharkar Research Institute, Pune, India. RESULTS: Mean energy cost (kJ/min) of resting (RMR), sitting and standing were significantly (P<0.01, for all) higher for men (4.01+/-0.42, 5.0+/-0.72 and 5.74+/-0.69, respectively) than women (3.54+/-0.28, 4.03+/-0.41 and 4.35+/-0.52, respectively). Gender difference increased with the level of activity, from 13% for RMR to 32% for standing. These differences reduced when adjusted (using analysis of covariance) for body weight and became non-significant on adjusting for fat-free mass (FFM) in the case of RMR and sitting activity. The measured values of energy cost (absolute and per kg weight) for these activities were similar to African subjects but lower compared to Asian or European subjects for both sexes. The stepwise regression analysis done separately by sexes showed weight (29%) in men and body mass index (44%) in women to be the best predictors of RMR, while regression analysis for combined sexes indicated FFM and height as predictors of RMR (r(2)=56%, P<0.01). If means to estimate body fat were not available, RMR could best be predicted with BMI and sex as predictors (r(2)=55%; P<0.01). This was mainly due to the fact that the sex differences in our population were more prominent in FFM than that in BMI. Our observations thus indicate the need to develop prediction equations separately for different populations owing to differences in their body compositions, especially in fat mass (FM) or FFM. CONCLUSION: The energy costs of activities were associated with body composition, especially with absolute fat-free mass, which may vary even with the same body fat percentage. Therefore, there is a need to develop separate prediction equations for different communities.  (+info)