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How should education be structured to most effectively increase civic outcomes such as political knowledge and democratic values? We present results from a field experiment in which we compare the effects of deliberative education and traditional teacher-centered education. The study is the largest field experiment on deliberative education to date and involved more than 1,200 students in 59 classrooms. We test the effects on four forms of civic competence: political knowledge, political interest, democratic values, and political discussion. In contrast to previous research, we find little evidence that deliberative education significantly increases civic competence.
The design of government portfolios – that is, the distribution of competencies among government ministries and office holders – has been largely ignored in the study of executive and coalition politics. This article argues that portfolio design is a substantively and theoretically relevant phenomenon that has major implications for the study of institutional design and coalition politics. The authors use comparative data on portfolio design reforms in nine Western European countries since the 1970s to demonstrate how the design of government portfolios changes over time. Specifically, they show that portfolios are changed frequently (on average about once a year) and that such shifts are more likely after changes in the prime ministership or the party composition of the government. These findings suggest a political logic behind these reforms based on the preferences and power of political parties and politicians. They have major implications for the study of institutional design and coalition politics.
Individuals may perceive personalised dietary advice as more relevant and motivational than national guidelines. Personal preference and food cost are factors that can affect consumer decisions. The objective of this study was to present a method for modelling and analysing the trade-off between deviation from preference and food cost for optimised personalised dietary recommendations. Quadratic programming was applied to minimise deviation from fish preference and cost simultaneously with different weights on the cost for 3016 Danish adults (whose dietary intake and body weight were recorded in a national dietary survey). Model constraints included recommendations for EPA, DHA and vitamin D and tolerable levels for methyl mercury, dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls. When only minimising deviation from preference, 50 % of the study population should be recommended to increase fish intake, 48 % should be suggested to maintain current consumption and 2 % should be suggested to decrease fish consumption. When only minimising cost, the vast majority (99 %) should be recommended to only consume herring, which is the least-expensive fish species. By minimising deviation from preference and cost simultaneously with different weights on the cost, personalised optimal trade-off curves between deviation from fish intake preference and fish cost could be generated for each individual in our study population, except for twenty-two individuals (0·7 %) whose contaminant background exposure was too high. In the future, the method of this paper could be applied in the personal communication of healthy and safe food recommendations that fit the preferences of individual consumers.
In Europe, Scandinavia holds the largest concentration of rock art (i.e. petroglyphs), created c. 5000–first century bc, many of them showing figurative and seemingly narrative representations. In this paper, we will discuss possible narratological approaches applied to these images. We might reasonably distinguish between three levels of pictorial narrativity: representations of (i) single events, understood as the transition from one state of affairs to another, usually involving (groups of) agents interacting; (ii) stories, e.g. particular sequences of related events that are situated in the past and retold for e.g. ideological or religious purposes; and (iii) by implication, master-narratives deeply embedded in a culture, which provide and consolidate cosmological explanations and social structures. Some concrete examples of petroglyphs will be presented and analysed from narratological and iconographical perspectives. We will as a point of departure focus on (i), i.e. single events, though we shall also further consider the possibility of narrative interpretations according to (ii) and (iii).
Cortisol dysregulation has been reported in dementia and depression. Cortisol levels and its associates were investigated among older people living at home and in nursing homes, in a cross-sectional study. A sample of 650 older people, from the community (home and nursing homes) and specialized care (memory clinics and old age psychiatry wards), mean age 76.8 (SD = 10.3) (dementia n = 319, depression, n = 154, dementia plus depression n = 53, and reference group n = 124), was included. Assessment included the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Cornell scale for depression in dementia, activities of daily living scales, and salivary cortisol. Number of drugs was registered. The results showed that the cortisol ratio was highest among patients with dementia and co-morbid depression in comparison to those with either depression or dementia and the reference group. Characteristics significantly associated with cortisol levels were higher MMSE score (in patients with dementia and co-morbid depression), male gender (in people with dementia), and number of medications (in the reference group). We conclude that the cortisol ratio was highest among patients with dementia and co-morbid depression in comparison to those with either depression or dementia and the reference group. The association of cortisol level with MMSE score among patients with dementia and depression could further indicate that increased stress is related to cognitive function.
It is well documented that voter turnout is lower among persons who
grow up in families from a low socioeconomic status compared with
persons from high-status families. This paper examines whether
reforms in education can help reduce this gap. We establish
causality by exploiting a pilot scheme preceding a large reform of
Swedish upper secondary education in the early 1990s, which gave
rise to exogenous variation in educational attainment between
individuals living in different municipalities or born in different
years. Similar to recent studies employing credible identification
strategies, we fail to find a statistically significant average
effect of education on political participation. We move past
previous studies, however, and show that the reform nevertheless
contributed to narrowing the voting gap between individuals of
different social backgrounds by raising turnout among those from low
socioeconomic status households. The results thus square well with
other recent studies arguing that education is particularly
important for uplifting politically marginalized groups.
We aimed to assess the feasibility of a simple new fifteen-item FFQ as a tool for screening risk of poor dietary patterns in a healthy middle-aged population and to investigate how the results of the FFQ correlated with cardiovascular risk factors and socio-economic factors.
A randomized population-based cross-sectional study. Metabolic measurements for cardiovascular risk factors and information about lifestyle were collected. A fifteen-item FFQ was created to obtain information about dietary patterns. From the FFQ, a healthy eating index was created with three dietary groups: good, average and poor. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess relationships between dietary patterns and cardiovascular risk factors.
Men and women aged 50 years and living in Gothenburg, Sweden.
In total, 521 middle-aged adults (257 men, 264 women) were examined. With good dietary pattern as the reference, there was a gradient association of having obesity, hypertension and high serum TAG in those with average and poor dietary patterns. After adjustment for education and lifestyle factors, individuals with a poor dietary pattern still had significantly higher risk (OR; 95 % CI) of obesity (2·33; 1·10, 4·94), hypertension (2·73; 1·44, 5·20) and high serum TAG (2·62; 1·33, 5·14) compared with those with a good dietary pattern.
Baseline data collected by a short FFQ can predict cardiovascular risk factors in middle-aged Swedish men and women. The FFQ could be a useful tool in health-care settings, when screening for risk of poor dietary patterns.
Improvements in computational resources over the last decade are enabling a new era of computational prediction and design of novel materials. The resulting resources are databases such as the Materials Project (www.materialsproject.org), which is harnessing the power of supercomputing together with state-of-the-art quantum mechanical theory to compute the properties of all known inorganic materials, to design novel materials, and to make the data available for free to the community, together with online analysis and design algorithms. The current release contains data derived from quantum mechanical calculations for more than 70,000 materials and millions of associated materials properties. The software infrastructure carries out thousands of calculations per week, enabling screening and predictions for both novel solids as well as molecular species with targeted properties. As the rapid growth of accessible computed materials properties continues, the next frontier is harnessing that information for automated learning and accelerated discovery. In this article, we highlight some of the emerging and exciting efforts, and successes, as well as current challenges using descriptor-based and machine-learning methods for data-accelerated materials design.
National dietary guidelines are directed at the general population. However, these guidelines may be perceived as unrealistic by a substantial part of the population, as they differ considerably from individual consumption patterns and preferences. Personalised dietary recommendations will probably improve adherence, and it has been shown that these recommendations can be derived by mathematical optimisation methods. However, to better account for risks and benefits of specific foods, the background exposure to nutrients and contaminants needs to be considered as well. This background exposure may come from other foods and supplements, and also from environmental sources like the air and the sun. The objective of this study was therefore to analyse the effect of including individual variation in background exposure when modelling personalised dietary recommendations for fish. We used a quadratic programming model to generate recommended fish intake accounting for personal preference by deviating as little as possible from observed individual intake. Model constraints ensure that the modelled intake meets recommendations for EPA, DHA and vitamin D without violating tolerable exposure to methyl mercury, dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls. Several background exposures were analysed for 3016 Danish adults, whose food intakes and body weights were reported in a national dietary survey. We found that the lower nutrient constraints were critical for the largest part of the study population, and that a total of 55% should be advised to increase their fish intake. The modelled fish intake recommendations were particularly sensitive to the vitamin D background exposure.
There is a growing recognition of the importance of evidence to support allocative policy decisions in health care. This study is based on interviews with politicians in four regional health authorities in Sweden. Drawing on theories of strategic use of knowledge, the article analyses how politicians perceive and make use of expert knowledge represented by the National Guidelines, embracing both a scientific and a political rationale. As health care is an organisation with a dual basis for legitimacy – at the same time a political and an action organisation – it affects knowledge use. We investigate how the context of health care priority setting influences the conditions for knowledge use among regional politicians. Our findings illustrate the dilemma of political decision-makers and how they prefer to use expert knowledge. The politicians use this policy instrument in a legitimising fashion, as it will fit into the current political debate on more equal care. As an instrument for resource allocation the politicians noted that ‘facts’ per se could not provide them with a sufficient basis for legitimising their governing of health care. The dualistic organisational context makes knowledge important as a political weapon in negotiations with the medical profession.