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For three centuries, ballad-singers thrived at the heart of life in London. One of history's great paradoxes, they were routinely disparaged and persecuted, living on the margins, yet playing a central part in the social, cultural, and political life of the nation. This history spans the Georgian heyday and Victorian decline of those who sang in the city streets in order to sell printed songs. Focusing on the people who plied this musical trade, Oskar Cox Jensen interrogates their craft and their repertoire, the challenges they faced and the great changes in which they were caught up. From orphans to veterans, prostitutes to preachers, ballad-singers sang of love and loss, the soil and the sea, mediating the events of the day to an audience of hundreds of thousands. Complemented by sixty-two recorded songs, this study demonstrates how ballad-singers are figures of central importance in the cultural, social, and political processes of continuity, contestation, and change across the nineteenth-century world.
Gender disparities are pronounced in Zomba district, Malawi. Among women aged 15–49 years, HIV prevalence is 16.8%, compared with 9.3% among men of the same age. Complex structural factors are associated with risky sexual behaviour leading to HIV infection. This study’s objective was to explore associations between multilevel measures of economic resources and women’s empowerment with risky sexual behaviour among young women in Zomba. Four measures of risky sexual behaviour were examined: ever had sex, condom use and two indices measuring age during sexual activity and partner history. Multilevel regression models and regression models with cluster-robust standard errors were used to estimate associations, stratified by school enrolment status. Among the schoolgirl stratum, the percentage of girls enrolled in school at the community level had protective associations with ever having sex (OR = 0.76; 95% CI: 0.60, 0.96) and condom use (OR = 1.06; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.11). Belief in the right to refuse sex was protective against ever having sex (OR = 0.76; 95% CI: 0.60, 0.96). Participants from households with no secondary school education had higher odds of ever having sex (OR = 1.59; 95% CI: 1.14, 2.22). Among the dropout stratum, participants who had not achieved a secondary school level of education had riskier Age Factor and Partner History Factor scores (β = 0.51; 95% CI: 0.23, 0.79, and β = 0.24; 95% CI: 0.07, 0.41, respectively). Participants from households without a secondary school level of education had riskier Age Factor scores (β = 0.26; 95% CI: 0.03, 0.48). Across strata, the most consistent variables associated with risky sexual behaviour were those related to education, including girl’s level of education, highest level of education of her household of origin and the community percentage of girls enrolled in school. These results suggest that programmes seeking to reduce risky sexual behaviour among young women in Malawi should consider the role of improving access to education at multiple levels.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is associated with adverse health outcomes and is found in many canned foods. It is not understood if some BPA contamination can be washed away by rinsing. The objective of this single-blinded crossover experiment was to determine whether BPA exposure, as measured by urinary concentrations, could be decreased by rinsing canned beans prior to consumption. Three types of hummus were prepared from dried beans, rinsed, and unrinsed canned beans. Fourteen healthy participants ate two samples of each hummus over six experimental days and collected spot urine specimens for BPA measurement. The geometric mean BPA levels for dried beans BPA (GM = 0.97 ng/ml, 95%CI = 0.74,1.26) was significantly lower than rinsed (GM = 1.89 ng/ml, 1.37,2.59) and unrinsed (GM = 2.46 ng/ml, 1.44,4.19). Difference-in-difference estimates showed an increase in GM BPA from pre- to post-hummus between unrinsed and rinsed canned beans of 1.39 ng/ml, p-value = 0.0400. Rinsing canned beans was an effective method to reduce BPA exposure.
Nutrition education programs for athletes aim to enhance nutrition knowledge and more importantly support positive dietary change to enhance performance, health and well-being. This systematic review assessed changes in the dietary intakes of athletes in response to nutrition education programs. A search was conducted which included studies providing quantitative dietary intake assessment of athletes of any calibre aged between 12-65y in response to a nutrition education program. Standardized differences (effect sizes) were calculated (when possible) for each dietary parameter. The search yielded 6285 papers with 22 studies (974 participants (71.9% female)) eligible for inclusion. Studies described athletes competing at high school (n=3) through to college level or higher (n=19). Study designs were either single-arm with an intervention only group (12 studies; n=241) or double-arm including an intervention and control group (10 studies; n=689). No control groups received an alternative or ‘sham’ intervention. Face-to-face lectures (9/22) and individual nutrition counselling (6/22) were the most common education interventions. Non-weighed, three-day diet records (10/22) were the most frequently utilised dietary assessment method. Although 14/22 studies (n=5 single and n=9 double) reported significant change in at least one nutrition parameter, dietary changes were inconsistent. Poor study quality and heterogeneity of methods prohibits firm conclusions regarding overall intervention success or superior types of educational modalities. Of note, carbohydrate intakes ‘post-intervention’ when assessed often failed to meet recommended guidelines (12/17 studies). Given the substantial investment made in nutrition education interventions with athletes, there is a need for well-designed and rigorous research to inform future best practice.
Todd Downing (Choctaw), John Joseph Mathews (Osage), John Milton Oskison (Cherokee), Lynn Riggs (Cherokee), and Will Rogers (Cherokee) developed a transindigenous and transborder imaginary while travelling in Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s. The work of Riggs and Downing especially coheres in their conception of Indigenous Mexicans as political inspiration for (and, potentially, anti-colonial allies of) Native Americans, and in their critical challenge to modernist aesthetics, including primitivism. With its recent history of revolution, a new constitution with an article sanctioning land redistribution from large haciendas to communally owned ejidos, and a national commitment to indigenismo and mestizaje, which appeared to affirm the centrality of Indigenous Mexican culture and history to the nation’s identity, Mexico offered fertile political ground for American Indian writers looking for a path forward for their tribal nations in the final years of the assimilation era and the first years of the Indian New Deal in the mid-1930s.
This paper investigates party use of seniority systems to allocate nominations for elected and appointed offices. Such systems, which can regulate party members’ access to offices at multiple levels of their careers, are defined by two main rules or norms: an incumbent re-nomination norm and a seniority progression norm. Using comprehensive electoral and candidate data from Norwegian local and national elections from 1945 to 2019, we find systematic patterns consistent with these two norms. Our work illuminates an institutional aspect of candidate selection that the current literature has ignored while noting some of the important consequences of seniority-based nominations for party cohesion and stability.
Parasites sometimes expand their host range and cause new disease aetiologies. Genetic changes can then occur due to host-specific adaptive alterations, particularly when parasites cross between evolutionarily distant hosts. Characterizing genetic variation in Cryptosporidium from humans and other animals may have important implications for understanding disease dynamics and transmission. We analyse sequences from four loci (gp60, HSP-70, COWP and actin) representing multiple Cryptosporidium species reported in humans. We predicted low genetic diversity in species that present unusual human infections due to founder events and bottlenecks. High genetic diversity was observed in isolates from humans of Cryptosporidium meleagridis, Cryptosporidium cuniculus, Cryptosporidium hominis and Cryptosporidium parvum. A deviation of expected values of neutrality using Tajima's D was observed in C. cuniculus and C. meleagridis. The high genetic diversity in C. meleagridis and C. cuniculus did not match our expectations but deviations from neutrality indicate a recent decrease in genetic variability through a population bottleneck after an expansion event. Cryptosporidium hominis was also found with a significant Tajima's D positive value likely caused by recent population expansion of unusual genotypes in humans. These insights indicate that changes in genetic diversity can help us to understand host-parasite adaptation and evolution.
At a time when nationalism has reappeared in Europe, when COVID-19 is not yet quarantined and when compassion coexists with grief, there is a need to consider the impact of these societal changes on international collaboration, frequency and management of perinatal mental disorder – and new roles for psychiatrists and other health professionals in the digital and AI (artificial intelligence) post-COVID era.
We critically review potential involvement of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) as a link between diet, the gut microbiota and CVD. Generated primarily from dietary choline and carnitine by gut bacteria and hepatic flavin-containing mono-oxygenase (FMO) activity, TMAO could promote cardiometabolic disease when chronically elevated. However, control of circulating TMAO is poorly understood, and diet, age, body mass, sex hormones, renal clearance, FMO3 expression and genetic background may explain as little as 25 % of TMAO variance. The basis of elevations with obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis or CHD is similarly ill-defined, although gut microbiota profiles/remodelling appear critical. Elevated TMAO could promote CVD via inflammation, oxidative stress, scavenger receptor up-regulation, reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) inhibition, and cardiovascular dysfunction. However, concentrations influencing inflammation, scavenger receptors and RCT (≥100 µm) are only achieved in advanced heart failure or chronic kidney disease (CKD), and greatly exceed pathogenicity of <1–5 µm levels implied in some TMAO–CVD associations. There is also evidence that CVD risk is insensitive to TMAO variance beyond these levels in omnivores and vegetarians, and that major TMAO sources are cardioprotective. Assessing available evidence suggests that modest elevations in TMAO (≤10 µm) are a non-pathogenic consequence of diverse risk factors (ageing, obesity, dyslipidaemia, insulin resistance/diabetes, renal dysfunction), indirectly reflecting CVD risk without participating mechanistically. Nonetheless, TMAO may surpass a pathogenic threshold as a consequence of CVD/CKD, secondarily promoting disease progression. TMAO might thus reflect early CVD risk while providing a prognostic biomarker or secondary target in established disease, although mechanistic contributions to CVD await confirmation.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused a global pandemic which has affected patients and healthcare systems around the world. Patients with underlying health conditions seem to be more severely affected. There are limited reports of patients with univentricular circulations and COVID 19; thus, we report a case of COVID-19 in a patient with a univentricular circulation.
Dietary restriction of fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) is clinically effective and a commonly utilised approach in the management of functional symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome. Despite this, the low FODMAP diet has a number of challenges: it can alter the gut microbiota; impact nutrient intake and diet quality; is complex to understand; requires the patient to be adequately supported to follow the diet accurately and safely; and lastly, not all patients respond to the diet. The current review highlights the evidence for the clinical effectiveness of the low FODMAP diet, but focusses on the challenges associated with the diet to the patient, health professionals and the wider healthcare service. Finally, the review discusses research findings and practical guidance for how these challenges can be minimised and mitigated. The low FODMAP diet is a useful management strategy for irritable bowel syndrome, with data from clinical trials suggesting a 50–80% response rate, and when administered appropriately, the challenges to implementing the diet can be overcome so that these outcomes can be realised effectively and safely in clinical practice.
Increasing evidence suggests that circulating factors and immune dysfunction may contribute to the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. In particular, proinflammatory cytokines, complement and autoantibodies against CNS epitopes have recently been associated with psychosis. Related concepts in previous decades led to several clinical trials of dialysis and plasmapheresis as treatments for schizophrenia. These trials may have relevance for the current understanding of schizophrenia. We aimed to identify whether dialysis or plasmapheresis are beneficial interventions in schizophrenia. We conducted a systematic search in major electronic databases for high-quality studies (double-blinded randomised trials with sham controls) applying either haemodialysis or plasmapheresis as an intervention in patients with schizophrenia, published in English from the start of records until September 2018. We found nine studies meeting inclusion criteria, reporting on 105 patients in total who received either sham or active intervention. One out of eight studies reported a beneficial effect of haemodialysis on schizophrenia, one a detrimental effect and six no effect. The sole trial of plasmapheresis found it to be ineffective. Adverse events were reported in 23% of patients. Studies were at unclear or high risk of bias. It is unlikely that haemodialysis is a beneficial treatment in schizophrenia, although the studies were of small size and could not consider potential subgroups. Plasmapheresis was only addressed by one study and warrants further exploration as a treatment modality in schizophrenia.
As faculty members, we rely on academic freedom to protect us as we teach, engage in scholarly research, and live as citizens of a community. The American Association of University Professors is the accepted authority in matters of academic freedom, and its guidelines explain protections in teaching, research, and extramural utterances. This article argues that the characteristics of social media and the concerns of academic institutions about their reputation have created an atmosphere that make extramural utterances more vulnerable and riskier than in the past. Some institutions even monitor the social media postings of faculty members and act on such postings, openly criticizing and even disavowing or punishing them for their utterances. I consider these issues and make a modest proposal that may improve the environment for extramural utterances by faculty members.
In its General Comment No. 34 dealing with freedom of expression, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) rejected the idea that a blasphemy law could ever be human-rights compliant, unless its function was to prevent incitement to religious or racial hatred. This is a widely shared view that is consistently endorsed when any international blasphemy controversy (such as that involving the Danish Cartoons in 2005) arises. This article assesses the legitimacy of this view. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) permits freedom of expression to be limited inter alia in the name of public morality, provided that the law in question is also necessary to achieve this end. This article argues that because a blasphemy law can be a response to a public moral vision; therefore a blasphemy law can serve a legitimate purpose insofar as human rights law is concerned. It is further submitted that whereas some blasphemy laws are unacceptably draconian, it is not inherently impossible for such a law to represent a proportionate response to a public morals concern. Thus, the conclusion from the UNHRC is not warranted by the text of the ICCPR. Moreover, there is a risk that, in reaching this conclusion the committee is evincing an exclusively secularist worldview in its interpretation of the ICCPR that undermines its claim to universality.
Rodent models of schizophrenia (SCZ) are indispensable when screening for novel treatments, but quantifying their translational relevance with the underlying human pathophysiology has proved difficult. A novel systems methodology (shown in Figure 1) was developed integrating and comparing proteomic data of anterior prefrontal cortex tissue from SCZ post-mortem brains and matched controls with data obtained from four established glutamatergic rodent models, with the aim of evaluating which of these models represent SCZ most closely. Liquid chromatography coupled tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MSE) proteomic profiling was applied comparing healthy and “disease state” in human post-mortem samples and rodent brain tissue samples. Protein-protein interaction networks were constructed from significant abundance changes and enrichment analyses enabled the identification of pathophysiological characteristics of the disorder, which were represented across all four rodent models. Subsequently, these functional domains were used for cross-species comparisons. Five functional domains such as “development and differentiation” represented across all four rodent models, were identified. It was quantified that the chronic phencyclidine (cPCP) model represented SCZ brain changes most closely for four of these functional domains, by using machine-learning techniques. This is the first study aiming to quantify which rodent model recapitulates the neuropathological features of SCZ most closely. The methodology and findings presented here support recent efforts to overcome translational hurdles of preclinical psychiatric research by associating behavioural endophenotypes with distinct biological processes.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.