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2022 ◽  
Vol 4 ◽  
Lisa Elena Fuchs ◽  
Levi Orero ◽  
Stephen Ngoima ◽  
Shem Kuyah ◽  
Henry Neufeldt

Agroforestry has potential to address the adverse effects of climate change through carbon sequestration, increasing biodiversity and improving adaptive capacity and resilience among smallholder farmers. However, this potential is context specific and insufficiently quantified in smallholder faming systems, partly because of inherent variability of smallholder farms. Our study aimed to determine the tree/shrub diversity and carbon stocks in different agroforestry systems within smallholder farms in two 100 km2 sites, the so-called lower and middle Nyando sites, in western Kenya. In both, context-specific agroforestry adoption had been promoted among households of four community associations through an asset-based community development (ABCD) approach. Their farms were assessed and compared with those of relevant comparison samples. Trees and shrubs were inventoried on a total of 106 farms, and their formations classified in five major agroforestry practices: hedgerows, multipurpose trees on farm (MPT), riparian buffers, woodlots, and boundary planting. To assess above-ground biomass (AGB) of individual trees/shrubs, diameter at breast height measurements were taken. Strong regional differences were considered in data analysis and presentation. Altogether, 3,353 and 6,346 trees/shrubs were inventoried in the lower and middle Nyando sites, respectively. AGB was significantly higher in middle than in lower Nyando. Woodlots had the highest amount of AGB carbon stock, while MPT had the highest diversity of tree/shrub species in all the groups. Conversely, boundary planting had the highest number of trees/shrubs inventoried and hence was the most common agroforestry practice across all the samples in both regions. Dominant AGB contributor species were Grevillea robusta (37.8%) in middle, and Eurphobia tirucalli (16.5%) in lower Nyando. This study provides empirical evidence that asset-based and community-driven selection and implementation of both tree/shrub species and agroforestry practices can contribute positively to species and practice diversity, which are associated with AGB carbon stock levels and wider agro-ecosystem diversity. This study hence provides benchmark information that is relevant for SDG goal 15 on “life on land,” and various specific targets, and can inform sustainable establishment of carbon sink facilities by supporting smallholders to uptake contextually suitable and economically sensible agroforestry practices in an overall effort to foster and support sustainable development.

2022 ◽  
Bowen Song ◽  
Daiyun Huang ◽  
Yuxin Zhang ◽  
Zhen Wei ◽  
Jionglong Su ◽  

As the most pervasive epigenetic marker present on mRNA and lncRNA, N6-methyladenosine (m6A) RNA methylation has been shown to participate in essential biological processes. Recent studies revealed the distinct patterns of m6A methylome across human tissues, and a major challenge remains in elucidating the tissue-specific presence and circuitry of m6A methylation. We present here a comprehensive online platform m6A-TSHub for unveiling the context-specific m6A methylation and genetic mutations that potentially regulate m6A epigenetic mark. m6A-TSHub consists of four core components, including (1) m6A-TSDB: a comprehensive database of 184,554 functionally annotated m6A sites derived from 23 human tissues and 499,369 m6A sites from 25 tumor conditions, respectively; (2) m6A-TSFinder: a web server for high-accuracy prediction of m6A methylation sites within a specific tissue from RNA sequences, which was constructed using multi-instance deep neural networks with gated attention; (3) m6A-TSVar: a web server for assessing the impact of genetic variants on tissue-specific m6A RNA modification; and (4) m6A-CAVar: a database of 587,983 TCGA cancer mutations (derived from 27 cancer types) that were predicted to affect m6A modifications in the primary tissue of cancers. The database should make a useful resource for studying the m6A methylome and genetic factor of epitranscriptome disturbance in a specific tissue (or cancer type). m6A-TSHub is accessible at:

2022 ◽  
Dimiter Toshkov

Attitudes towards vaccination have proven to be a major factor determining the pace of national COVID-19 vaccination campaigns throughout 2021. In Europe, large differences in levels of vaccine hesitancy and refusal have emerged, which are highly correlated with actual vaccination levels. This article explores attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination in 27 European countries based on data from Eurobarometer (May 2021). The statistical analyses show that demographic variables have complex effects on vaccine hesitancy and refusal. Trust in different sources of health-related information has significant effects as well, with people who trust the Internet, social networks and ‘people around’ in particular being much more likely to express vaccine skepticism. As expected, beliefs in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines have large predictive power, but – more interestingly – net of these two beliefs, the effects of trust in Internet, online social networks and people as sources of health information are significantly reduced. This study shows that the effects of demographic, belief-related and other individual-level factors on vaccine hesitancy and refusal are context-specific. Yet, explanations of the differences in vaccine hesitancy across Europe need to consider primarily different levels of trust and vaccine-relevant beliefs, and to a lesser extent their differential effects.

2022 ◽  
Vol 5 (4) ◽  
pp. e202101315
Stefanie Dichtl ◽  
David E Sanin ◽  
Carolin K Koss ◽  
Sebastian Willenborg ◽  
Andreas Petzold ◽  

Anti-TNF therapies are a core anti-inflammatory approach for chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s Disease. Previously, we and others found that TNF blocks the emergence and function of alternative-activated or M2 macrophages involved in wound healing and tissue-reparative functions. Conceivably, anti-TNF drugs could mediate their protective effects in part by an altered balance of macrophage activity. To understand the mechanistic basis of how TNF regulates tissue-reparative macrophages, we used RNAseq, scRNAseq, ATACseq, time-resolved phospho-proteomics, gene-specific approaches, metabolic analysis, and signaling pathway deconvolution. We found that TNF controls tissue-reparative macrophage gene expression in a highly gene-specific way, dependent on JNK signaling via the type 1 TNF receptor on specific populations of alternative-activated macrophages. We further determined that JNK signaling has a profound and broad effect on activated macrophage gene expression. Our findings suggest that TNF’s anti-M2 effects evolved to specifically modulate components of tissue and reparative M2 macrophages and TNF is therefore a context-specific modulator of M2 macrophages rather than a pan-M2 inhibitor.

2022 ◽  
Vol 14 (2) ◽  
pp. 836
Peter Nijkamp ◽  
Karima Kourtit

Since the outbreak of the corona virus in the end of 2019, many worldwide attempts have been made to monitor and control the COVID-19 pandemic. A wealth of empirical data has been collected and used by national health authorities to understand and mitigate the spread and impacts of the corona virus. In various countries this serious health concern has led to the development of corona dashboards monitoring the COVID-19 evolution. The present study aims to design and test an extended corona dashboard, in which—beside up-to-date daily core data on infections, hospital and intensive care admissions, and numbers of deceased people—also the evolution of vaccinations in a country is mapped out. This dashboard system is next extended with time-dependent contextual information on lockdown and policy stringency measures, while disaggregate information on the geographic spread of the COVID-19 disease is provided by means of big data on contact intensity and mobility motives based on detailed Google Mobility data. Finally, this context-specific corona dashboard, named ‘Dutchboard’, is further extended towards the regional and local level so as to allow also for space-specific ‘health checks’ and assessments.

2022 ◽  
Vol 23 (1) ◽  
John Kanazawa ◽  
Sara Gianella ◽  
Susanna Concha-Garcia ◽  
Jeff Taylor ◽  
Andy Kaytes ◽  

Abstract Background One of the next frontiers in HIV research is focused on finding a cure. A new priority includes people with HIV (PWH) with non-AIDS terminal illnesses who are willing to donate their bodies at the end-of-life (EOL) to advance the search towards an HIV cure. We endeavored to understand perceptions of this research and to identify ethical and practical considerations relevant to implementing it. Methods We conducted 20 in-depth interviews and 3 virtual focus groups among four types of key stakeholders in the United States (PWH, biomedical HIV cure researchers, HIV clinicians, and bioethicists) to obtain triangulated viewpoints because little was known about the ethics of this topic. Each group was queried as to ethical considerations, safeguards, and protections for conducting HIV cure-related research at the EOL to ensure this research remains acceptable. Results All four key stakeholder groups generally supported HIV cure-related research conducted at the EOL because of the history of altruism within the PWH community and the potential for substantial scientific knowledge to be gained. Our informants expressed that: (1) Strong stakeholder and community involvement are integral to the ethical and effective implementation, as well as the social acceptability of this research; (2) PWH approaching the EOL should not inherently be considered a vulnerable class and their autonomy must be respected when choosing to participate in HIV cure-related research at the EOL; (3) Greater diversity among study participants, as well as multi-disciplinary research teams, is necessitated by HIV cure-related research at the EOL; (4) The sensitive nature of this research warrants robust oversight to ensure a favorable risk/benefit balance and to minimize the possibility of therapeutic misconception or undue influence; and (5) Research protocols should remain flexible to accommodate participants’ comfort and needs at the EOL. Conclusion Because of the ethical issues presented by HIV cure-related research at the EOL, robust ethical safeguards are of utmost importance. The proposed ethical and practical considerations presented herein is a first step in determining the best way to maximize this research’s impact and social value. More much inquiry will need to be directed towards understanding context-specific and cultural considerations for implementing EOL HIV cure research in diverse settings.

2022 ◽  
Benjamin J. De Corte ◽  
Sean J. Farley ◽  
Kelsey A. Heslin ◽  
Krystal L. Parker ◽  
John H. Freeman

To act proactively, we must predict when future events will occur. Individuals generate temporal predictions using cues that indicate an event will happen after a certain duration elapses. Neural models of timing focus on how the brain represents these cue-duration associations. However, these models often overlook the fact that situational factors frequently modulate temporal expectations. For example, in realistic environments, the intervals associated with different cues will often covary due to a common underlying cause. According to the 'common cause hypothesis,' observers anticipate this covariance such that, when one cue's interval changes, temporal expectations for other cues shift in the same direction. Furthermore, as conditions will often differ across environments, the same cue can mean different things in different contexts. Therefore, updates to temporal expectations should be context-specific. Behavioral work supports these predictions, yet their underlying neural mechanisms are unclear. Here, we asked whether the dorsal hippocampus mediates context-based timing, given its broad role in context-conditioning. Specifically, we trained rats with either hippocampal or sham lesions that two cues predicted reward after either a short or long duration elapsed (e.g., tone-8s / light-16s). Then, we moved rats to a new context and extended the long-cue's interval (e.g., light-32s). This caused rats to respond later to the short cue, despite never being trained to do so. Importantly, when returned to the initial training context, sham rats shifted back toward both cues' original intervals. In contrast, lesion rats continued to respond at the long cue's newer interval. Surprisingly, they still showed contextual modulation for the short cue, responding earlier like shams. These data suggest the hippocampus only mediates context-based timing if a cue is explicitly paired and/or rewarded across distinct contexts. Furthermore, as lesions did not impact timing measures at baseline or acquisiton for the long cue's new interval, our data suggests that the hippocampus only modulates timing when context is relevant.

2022 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
pp. e1009776
Chintan J. Joshi ◽  
Song-Min Schinn ◽  
Anne Richelle ◽  
Isaac Shamie ◽  
Eyleen J. O’Rourke ◽  

2022 ◽  
Abdullah Al Mamun ◽  
A R M Towfiqul Islam ◽  
GM Monirul Alam ◽  
Md. Nazirul Islam Sarker ◽  
Michael Odei Erdiaw-Kwasie ◽  

Abstract Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the world. In general, Charland (Riverine Island) communities are frequently affected by floods, riverbank erosion, and other climatic hazards, which cause many to lose their sources of livelihoods and properties and making them more vulnerable. Using survey data of 262 rural households, this study investigates the extent of livelihood vulnerability to climate change and natural hazards of the Charland communities by applying the climate change vulnerability index (CVI) (i.e. UN-IPCC vulnerability framework) and the livelihood vulnerability index (LVI) to develop context-specific interventions for building climate and livelihood resilience. The two approaches of vulnerability assessment were modified to incorporate local contexts and indigenous knowledge into 41 sub-components. The result shows that LVI and CVI values are different between Charland communities. The LVI index shows that households in Char Jotindro-Narayan (0.148) are more vulnerable than Char Kulaghat (0.139). The CVI values for Char Jotindro-Narayan (0.633) are slightly lower than for Char Kulaghat (0.639). The major vulnerability factors were identified as the social networks, food self-sufficiency, natural disasters, and climatic variability. The study also indicates that flood, riverbank erosion, unemployment, and access to communication, market, and basic service opportunities are the major biophysical and socioeconomic factors determining livelihood vulnerability. The context-specific sustainable policies and development initiatives are required to improve the adaptive capacity of Charland communities across Bangladesh and thereby building their climate and livelihood resilience.

2022 ◽  
Vol 4 ◽  
Sandipan Sikdar ◽  
Rachneet Sachdeva ◽  
Johannes Wachs ◽  
Florian Lemmerich ◽  
Markus Strohmaier

This work quantifies the effects of signaling gender through gender specific user names, on the success of reviews written on the popular shopping platform. Highly rated reviews play an important role in e-commerce since they are prominently displayed next to products. Differences in reviews, perceived—consciously or unconsciously—with respect to gender signals, can lead to crucial biases in determining what content and perspectives are represented among top reviews. To investigate this, we extract signals of author gender from user names to select reviews where the author’s likely gender can be inferred. Using reviews authored by these gender-signaling authors, we train a deep learning classifier to quantify the gendered writing style (i.e., gendered performance) of reviews written by authors who do not send clear gender signals via their user name. We contrast the effects of gender signaling and performance on the review helpfulness ratings using matching experiments. This is aimed at understanding if an advantage is to be gained by (not) signaling one’s gender when posting reviews. While we find no general trend that gendered signals or performances influence overall review success, we find strong context-specific effects. For example, reviews in product categories such as Electronics or Computers are perceived as less helpful when authors signal that they are likely woman, but are received as more helpful in categories such as Beauty or Clothing. In addition to these interesting findings, we believe this general chain of tools could be deployed across various social media platforms.

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