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

Concept: 2003 albums


The effects of climate change on the taste and textural attributes of foods remain largely unknown, despite much public interest. On the basis of 30-40 years of records, we provide evidence that the taste and textural attributes of apples have changed as a result of recent global warming. Decreases in both acid concentration, fruit firmness and watercore development were observed regardless of the maturity index used for harvest date (e.g., calendar date, number of days after full bloom, peel colour and starch concentration), whereas in some cases the soluble-solids concentration increased; all such changes may have resulted from earlier blooming and higher temperatures during the maturation period. These results suggest that the qualities of apples in the market are undergoing long-term changes.

Concepts: Climate change, Change, Fruit, Solar variation, 2007 albums, Global warming, Bloom, 2003 albums


This study aimed to explore the effects of mirror therapy integrated with task-oriented exercise on balance function in poststroke hemiparesis. Twenty patients with poststroke hemiparesis were assigned randomly to an experimental group (EG) and a control group (CG), with 10 individuals each. Participants of the EG and CG received a task-oriented exercise program with a focus on the strengthening of the lower limb and the practice of balance-related functional tasks. An additional option for the EG was front and side wall mirrors to provide visual feedback for their own movements while performing the exercise. The program was performed for 30 min, twice a day, five times per week for 4 weeks. Outcome measures included the Berg balance scale, the timed up-and-go test, and quantitative data (balance index and dynamic limits of stability). In the EG and CG, all variables showed significant differences between pretest and post-test (P<0.05), and post-test values of all variables appeared to be significantly different between two groups (P<0.05). Furthermore, in the EG, the change values between pretest and post-test values of Berg balance scale (13.00±3.20 vs. 6.60±4.55 scores), and timed up-and-go test (6.45±3.00 vs. 3.61±1.84 s), balance index (2.29±0.51 vs. 0.96±0.65 scores), dynamic limits of stability (7.70±3.83 vs. 3.70±4.60 scores) were significantly higher than those of the CG (P<0.05). The findings suggest that a mirror therapy may be used as a beneficial therapeutic option to facilitate the effects of a task-oriented exercise on balance function of patients with poststroke hemiparesis.

Concepts: Mass, Sociology, Therapy, Experiment, Measuring instrument, Mirror, Balance, 2003 albums


To revise the Minimum Data Set (MDS) Changes in Health, End-stage disease and Symptoms and Signs (CHESS) scale, an MDS 2.0-based measure widely used to predict mortality in institutional settings, in response to the release of MDS 3.0.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Death, Medical terms, Symptom, Real number, Nursing, 2003 albums


Above- and belowground carbon © stores of terrestrial ecosystems are vulnerable to environmental change. Ecosystem C balances in response to environmental changes have been quantified at individual sites, but the magnitudes and directions of these responses along environmental gradients remain uncertain. Here we show the responses of ecosystem C to 8-12 years of experimental drought and night-time warming across an aridity gradient spanning seven European shrublands using indices of C assimilation (aboveground net primary production: aNPP) and soil C efflux (soil respiration: Rs). The changes of aNPP and Rs in response to drought indicated that wet systems had an overall risk of increased loss of C but drier systems did not. Warming had no consistent effect on aNPP across the climate gradient, but suppressed Rs more at the drier sites. Our findings suggest that above- and belowground C fluxes can decouple, and provide no evidence of acclimation to environmental change at a decadal timescale. aNPP and Rs especially differed in their sensitivity to drought and warming, with belowground processes being more sensitive to environmental change.

Concepts: Natural environment, Precipitation, Climate, Soil, Ecosystem, Erosion, 2003 albums, Deserts and xeric shrublands


Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. We summarise present global efforts to counteract this problem and point the way forward to address the pandemic of physical inactivity. Although evidence for the benefits of physical activity for health has been available since the 1950s, promotion to improve the health of populations has lagged in relation to the available evidence and has only recently developed an identifiable infrastructure, including efforts in planning, policy, leadership and advocacy, workforce training and development, and monitoring and surveillance. The reasons for this late start are myriad, multifactorial, and complex. This infrastructure should continue to be formed, intersectoral approaches are essential to advance, and advocacy remains a key pillar. Although there is a need to build global capacity based on the present foundations, a systems approach that focuses on populations and the complex interactions among the correlates of physical inactivity, rather than solely a behavioural science approach focusing on individuals, is the way forward to increase physical activity worldwide.

Concepts: Psychology, Public health, Epidemiology, Demography, Emergence, Management, Problem solving, 2003 albums


Hitters in fast ball-sports do not align their gaze with the ball throughout ball-flight; rather, they use predictive eye movement strategies that contribute towards their level of interceptive skill. Existing studies claim that (i) baseball and cricket batters cannot track the ball because it moves too quickly to be tracked by the eyes, and that consequently (ii) batters do not - and possibly cannot - watch the ball at the moment they hit it. However, to date no studies have examined the gaze of truly elite batters. We examined the eye and head movements of two of the world’s best cricket batters and found both claims do not apply to these batters. Remarkably, the batters coupled the rotation of their head to the movement of the ball, ensuring the ball remained in a consistent direction relative to their head. To this end, the ball could be followed if the batters simply moved their head and kept their eyes still. Instead of doing so, we show the elite batters used distinctive eye movement strategies, usually relying on two predictive saccades to anticipate (i) the location of ball-bounce, and (ii) the location of bat-ball contact, ensuring they could direct their gaze towards the ball as they hit it. These specific head and eye movement strategies play important functional roles in contributing towards interceptive expertise.

Concepts: Eye, Track and field athletics, 2003 albums, The Eye


BACKGROUND:Fatalities in football are rare but tragic events. PURPOSE:The purpose was to describe the causes of fatalities in high school and college football players and potentially provide preventive strategies. STUDY DESIGN:Descriptive epidemiology study. METHODS:We reviewed the 243 football fatalities reported to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research from July 1990 through June 2010. RESULTS:Football fatalities averaged 12.2 per year, or 1 per 100,000 participants. There were 164 indirect (systemic) fatalities (average, 8.2 annually [or 0.7 per 100,000 participants]) and 79 direct (traumatic) fatalities (average, 4.0 annually [or 0.3 per 100,000 participants]). Indirect fatalities were 2.1 times more common than direct fatalities. The risk of a fatality in college compared with high school football players was 2.8 (95% CI, 0.7-8.2) times higher for all fatalities, 3.6 (95% CI, 2.5-5.3) times higher for indirect events, 1.4 (95% CI, 0.6-3.0) times higher for direct injuries, 3.8 (95% CI, 1.8-8.3) times higher for heat illness, and 66 (95% CI, 14.4-308) times higher for sickle cell trait (SCT) fatalities. Most indirect events occurred in practice sessions; preseason practices and intense conditioning sessions were vulnerable periods for athletes to develop heat illness or SCT fatalities, respectively. In contrast, most brain fatalities occurred during games. The odds of a fatality during the second decade, compared with the first decade of the study, were 9.7 (95% CI, 1.2-75.9) for SCT, 1.5 (95% CI, 0.8-2.9) for heat illness, 1.1 (95% CI, 0.8-1.7) for cardiac fatalities, and 0.7 (95% CI, 0.4-1.2) for brain fatalities. The most common causes of fatalities were cardiac failure (n = 100, 41.2%), brain injury (n = 62, 25.5%), heat illness (n = 38, 15.6%), SCT (n = 11, 4.5%), asthma and commotio cordis (n = 7 each, 2.9% each), embolism/blood clot (n = 5, 2.1%), cervical fracture (n = 4, 1.7%), and intra-abdominal injury, infection, and lightning (n = 3, 1.2% each). CONCLUSION:High school and college football have approximately 12 fatalities annually with indirect systemic causes being twice as common as direct blunt trauma. The most common causes are cardiac failure, brain injury, and heat illness. The incidence of fatalities is much higher at the college level for most injuries other than brain injuries, which were only slightly more common at the college level. The risk of SCT, heat-related, and cardiac deaths increased during the second decade of the study, indicating these conditions require a greater emphasis on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Injuries, High school, American football, Concussion, National Football League, High school football, 2003 albums


Will be part of a Tenth Anniversary Collection.

Concepts: 2003 albums, Pentangle


Wildfires burn over 7 million US acres annually, according to the US Forest Service. Little is known regarding which subpopulations are more vulnerable to health risks from wildfire smoke, including fine particles. We estimated exposure to fine particles specifically from wildfires and associations between wildfire-specific fine particles and respiratory hospital admissions for subpopulations > 65 years in the Western US (2004-2009). Higher fractions of Blacks and people in urban counties and in California are exposed to > 1 smoke wave (high-pollution episodes from wildfire smoke) compared to other populations. Risk of respiratory admissions on smoke-wave days compared to non-smoke-wave days increased 10.4% (95% confidence interval: 1.9%, 19.6%) for females and 21.7% (95% confidence interval: 0.4%, 47.3%) for Blacks. Findings suggest that increased risk of respiratory admissions from wildfire smoke was significantly higher for females than males (10.4% versus 3.7%) and Blacks than Whites (21.7% versus 6.9%), and, although associations were not statistically different, lower-education counties than higher-educated counties (12.7% versus 6.1%). Our study raised important environmental justice issues that can inform public health programs and wildfire management. As climate change increases the frequency and intensity of wildfires, evidence on vulnerable subpopulations can inform disaster preparedness and understanding of climate change consequences.

Concepts: Public health, Statistics, Interval finite element, Confidence interval, Visibility, Smog, 2003 albums, Smokey Bear


Anthropogenic changes in climate and land use are driving changes in migration patterns of birds worldwide. Spatial changes in migration have been related to long-term temperature trends, but the intrinsic mechanisms by which migratory species adapt to environmental change remain largely unexplored. We show that, for a long-lived social species, older birds with more experience are critical for innovating new migration behaviours. Groups containing older, more experienced individuals establish new overwintering sites closer to the breeding grounds, leading to a rapid population-level shift in migration patterns. Furthermore, these new overwintering sites are in areas where changes in climate have increased temperatures and where food availability from agriculture is high, creating favourable conditions for overwintering. Our results reveal that the age structure of populations is critical for the behavioural mechanisms that allow species to adapt to global change, particularly for long-lived animals, where changes in behaviour can occur faster than evolution.

Concepts: Psychology, Evolution, Biology, Bird, Human migration, Behavior, Human behavior, 2003 albums