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Concept: Cyprus


During the Middle Ages, the partition of the cadaver of the elite members was a current practice, with highly technical treatment given to symbolic organs such as the heart. Considered mostly from a theoretical point of view, this notion of dilaceratio corporis has never been biologically explored. To assess the exact kind of embalming reserved to the heart, we performed a full biomedical analysis of the mummified heart of the English King Richard I (1199 A.D.). Here we show among other aspects, that the organ has been embalmed using substances inspired by Biblical texts and practical necessities of desiccation. We found that the heart was deposed in linen, associated with myrtle, daisy, mint, frankincense, creosote, mercury and, possibly, lime. Furthermore, the goal of using such preservation materials was to allow long-term conservation of the tissues, and good-smelling similar to the one of the Christ (comparable to the odor of sanctity).

Concepts: Middle Ages, Organ, Embalming, Cyprus, Richard I of England, Henry II of England, John of England, Henry the Young King


The Republic of Cyprus is the only country in the European Union (EU) whose health system is comprised of public and private sectors of relatively similar sizes. The division within the health system, combined with a lack of efficient payment mechanisms and monitoring systems, contributes to inequalities in access to care, and inefficient allocation and utilization of resources. In part to address these issues, a new General Health Insurance Scheme (GHIS), was proposed by stakeholders from the Cypriot government along with a team of international consultants in 1992 and eventually approved by the Parliament in 2001. However implementation of the GHIS has been repeatedly delayed since that time due to cost concerns. In 2012, following recommendations by the European Commission, the Cypriot Cabinet decided to recommit to the reform. In light of this development, the recent Cyprus application for accession to the EU support mechanism due to the economic crisis, and the international spotlight associated with Cyprus' EU Presidency, this article discusses the anticipated Cypriot health system reform-which is now slated to go into effect in 2016-and examines lessons from other countries.

Concepts: European Union, Treaty of Lisbon, European Commission, European Council, Council of the European Union, Belgium, Cyprus, President of the European Commission


Despite international advancements in gender equality across a variety of societal domains, the underrepresentation of girls and women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) related fields persists. In this study, we explored the possibility that the sex difference in mathematics anxiety contributes to this disparity. More specifically, we tested a number of predictions from the prominent gender stratification model, which is the leading psychological theory of cross-national patterns of sex differences in mathematics anxiety and performance. To this end, we analyzed data from 761,655 15-year old students across 68 nations who participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Most importantly and contra predictions, we showed that economically developed and more gender equal countries have a lower overall level of mathematics anxiety, and yet a larger national sex difference in mathematics anxiety relative to less developed countries. Further, although relatively more mothers work in STEM fields in more developed countries, these parents valued, on average, mathematical competence more in their sons than their daughters. The proportion of mothers working in STEM was unrelated to sex differences in mathematics anxiety or performance. We propose that the gender stratification model fails to account for these national patterns and that an alternative model is needed. In the discussion, we suggest how an interaction between socio-cultural values and sex-specific psychological traits can better explain these patterns. We also discuss implications for policies aiming to increase girls' STEM participation.

Concepts: Male, Mathematics, Sexual dimorphism, Gender, Developed country, Sex, Cyprus, Sexual differentiation


Domestic cats are one of the most popular pets globally, but the process of their domestication is not well understood. Near Eastern wildcats are thought to have been attracted to food sources in early agricultural settlements, following a commensal pathway to domestication. Early evidence for close human-cat relationships comes from a wildcat interred near a human on Cyprus ca. 9,500 y ago, but the earliest domestic cats are known only from Egyptian art dating to 4,000 y ago. Evidence is lacking from the key period of cat domestication 9,500-4,000 y ago. We report on the presence of cats directly dated between 5560-5280 cal B.P. in the early agricultural village of Quanhucun in Shaanxi, China. These cats were outside the wild range of Near Eastern wildcats and biometrically smaller, but within the size-range of domestic cats. The δ(13)C and δ(15)N values of human and animal bone collagen revealed substantial consumption of millet-based foods by humans, rodents, and cats. Ceramic storage containers designed to exclude rodents indicated a threat to stored grain in Yangshao villages. Taken together, isotopic and archaeological data demonstrate that cats were advantageous for ancient farmers. Isotopic data also show that one cat ate less meat and consumed more millet-based foods than expected, indicating that it scavenged among or was fed by people. This study offers fresh perspectives on cat domestication, providing the earliest known evidence for commensal relationships between people and cats.

Concepts: Human, Food, Mammal, Rat, Cat, Domestication, Cyprus, Felis


Genetics can provide invaluable information on the ancestry of the current inhabitants of Cyprus. A Y-chromosome analysis was performed to (i) determine paternal ancestry among the Greek Cypriot (GCy) community in the context of the Central and Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East; and (ii) identify genetic similarities and differences between Greek Cypriots (GCy) and Turkish Cypriots (TCy). Our haplotype-based analysis has revealed that GCy and TCy patrilineages derive primarily from a single gene pool and show very close genetic affinity (low genetic differentiation) to Calabrian Italian and Lebanese patrilineages. In terms of more recent (past millennium) ancestry, as indicated by Y-haplotype sharing, GCy and TCy share much more haplotypes between them than with any surrounding population (7-8% of total haplotypes shared), while TCy also share around 3% of haplotypes with mainland Turks, and to a lesser extent with North Africans. In terms of Y-haplogroup frequencies, again GCy and TCy show very similar distributions, with the predominant haplogroups in both being J2a-M410, E-M78, and G2-P287. Overall, GCy also have a similar Y-haplogroup distribution to non-Turkic Anatolian and Southwest Caucasian populations, as well as Cretan Greeks. TCy show a slight shift towards Turkish populations, due to the presence of Eastern Eurasian (some of which of possible Ottoman origin) Y-haplogroups. Overall, the Y-chromosome analysis performed, using both Y-STR haplotype and binary Y-haplogroup data puts Cypriot in the middle of a genetic continuum stretching from the Levant to Southeast Europe and reveals that despite some differences in haplotype sharing and haplogroup structure, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots share primarily a common pre-Ottoman paternal ancestry.

Concepts: Genetic genealogy, Population genetics, Genealogical DNA test, Greek language, Cyprus, Ottoman Empire, Greeks, Greek Cypriots


Respiratory failure is a leading cause of neonatal mortality in the developing world. Bubble continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) is a safe, effective intervention for infants with respiratory distress and is widely used in developed countries. Because of its high cost, bCPAP is not widely utilized in low-resource settings. We evaluated the performance of a new bCPAP system to treat severe respiratory distress in a low resource setting, comparing it to nasal oxygen therapy, the current standard of care.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Intensive care medicine, Developed country, Infant mortality, Respiratory system, Developing country, Cyprus, Nasal cannula


Early Neolithic sedentary villagers started cultivating wild cereals in the Near East 11,500 y ago [Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA)]. Recent discoveries indicated that Cyprus was frequented by Late PPNA people, but the earliest evidence until now for both the use of cereals and Neolithic villages on the island dates to 10,400 y ago. Here we present the recent archaeological excavation at Klimonas, which demonstrates that established villagers were living on Cyprus between 11,100 and 10,600 y ago. Villagers had stone artifacts and buildings (including a remarkable 10-m diameter communal building) that were similar to those found on Late PPNA sites on the mainland. Cereals were introduced from the Levant, and meat was obtained by hunting the only ungulate living on the island, a small indigenous Cypriot wild boar. Cats and small domestic dogs were brought from the mainland. This colonization suggests well-developed maritime capabilities by the PPNA period, but also that migration from the mainland may have occurred shortly after the beginning of agriculture.

Concepts: Neolithic, Fertile Crescent, Cyprus, Göbekli Tepe, Pre-Pottery Neolithic A, Jericho, Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, Natufian culture


Acid burns are not very frequent, occupying between 3% and maximum 14% of all etiologies. They mostly occur at home or at work, however there has been an increase in publications outlining chemical burns where aggression is the cause of this burn. There is a different epidemiological profile between developed countries and developing ones. It seems an ongoing upsurge is occurring in the number of registered attacks within developing countries in recent years. A cross sectional retrospective review of attacks by acid was done in Bogota, Colombia from 1995 to the first trimester 2012. A cumulative number of 35 burn patients were registered during the study period. It is found that the main target, almost the unique target, of this attack are young women belonging to low socioeconomic status with low education degree and high dependence on her partner. The patient’s age mean was 22.7 years, ranging from 13 to 41 years. The physical and psychological scars were very severe.

Concepts: Patient, Socioeconomic status, Developed country, Developing country, Colombia, Burn, Cyprus, Chemical burn


Fifteen autosomal short tandem repeat (STR) markers [D8S1179, D21S11, D7S820, CSF1PO, D3S1358, THO1, D13S317, D16S539, D2S1338, D19S433, vWA, TPOX, D18S51, D5S818 and FGA] were analyzed in 501 unrelated, randomly selected Turkish Cypriot individuals from the island of Cyprus. While no locus duplications or null alleles were detected in these samples, eight allelic variants were observed in total, 75% of which were intermediate allelic variants that were absent in the system allelic ladder. Allelic frequencies and statistical parameters of forensic interest were calculated at each locus. For the 15 STR loci tested, combined matching probability (pM) was 2.15717×10(-18) and combined power of exclusion (PE) was 0.9999995213. No deviations from the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium were observed, except for the vWA locus, which became insignificant after the Bonferroni correction for multiple testing. Locus-by-locus comparisons of the Turkish Cypriot allelic frequencies with those published for the neighboring and/or historically related populations with similar loci coverage (Turkish, Greek, Greek Cypriot, Italian and Lebanese) revealed some statistically significant differences at one to five loci. In general, an increase in the number of such significant differences between the Turkish Cypriot data and those for other populations correlated closely with an increase in the geographic distance and/or a decrease in the amount of historical contact. The Turkish Cypriot autosomal STR population study will find immediate use in the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus Project on the “Exhumation, Identification and Return of Remains of Missing Persons” and it will also be available for criminal, parentage and other missing person investigations.

Concepts: Allele frequency, Short tandem repeat, Genealogical DNA test, Cyprus, Turkish language, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Northern Cyprus


Most studies on the relationship between helminth infections and atopic disorders have been conducted in (sub)tropical developing countries where exposure to multiple parasites and lifestyle can confound the relationship. We aimed to study the relationship between infection with the fish-borne helminth Opishorchis felineus and specific IgE, skin prick testing and atopic symptoms in Western-Siberia, with lifestyle and hygiene standards of a developed country.

Concepts: Immune system, Disease, Intestinal parasite, Developed country, Developing country, Cyprus, Human geography, Human Development Index