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The Very High Frequency (VHF) Data Exchange System (VDES) is a new radio communication system being developed by the international maritime community, with the principal objectives to safeguard existing Automatic Identification System (AIS) core functions and enhance maritime communication applications, based on robust, efficient and secure data transmission with wider bandwidth than the AIS. VDES is also being considered as a potential component of the R-mode concept, where the same signals used for communication are also used for ranging, thus mitigating the impact of disruptions to satellite positioning services. This paper establishes statistical performance bounds on the ranging precision of VDES R-mode, assuming an additive white Gaussian noise propagation channel. Modified Cramér-Rao bounds on the pseudorange estimation error are provided for all waveforms currently proposed for use in terrestrial VDES communications. These are then used to estimate the maximum usable ranges for AIS/VDES R-mode stations. The results show that, under the assumed channel conditions, all of the new VDES waveforms provide better ranging performance than the AIS waveform, with the best performance being achieved using the 100 kHz bandwidth terrestrial VDE waveforms.
Precise radiocarbon (14C) dating of sedimentary sequences is important for developing robust chronologies of environmental change, but sampling of suitable components can be challenging in highly dynamic landscapes. Here we investigate radiocarbon determinations of different peat size fractions from six peat sites, representing a range of geomorphological contexts on the South Atlantic subantarctic islands of the Falklands and South Georgia. To investigate the most suitable fraction for dating, 112 measurements were obtained from three components within selected horizons: a fine fraction <0.2 mm, a coarse fraction >0.2 mm, and bulk material. We find site selection is critical, with locations surrounded by high-ground and/or relatively slowly accumulating sites more susceptible to the translocation of older carbon. Importantly, in locations with reduced potential for redeposition of material, our results show that there is no significant or systematic difference between ages derived from bulk material, fine or coarse (plant macrofossil) material, providing confidence in the resulting age model. Crucially, in areas comprising complex terrain with extreme relief, we recommend dating macrofossils or bulk carbon rather than a fine fraction, or employing comprehensive dating of multiple sedimentary fractions to determine the most reliable fraction(s) for developing a robust chronological framework.
Introduction: Lewis–Sumner syndrome (LSS) is a demyelinating peripheral neuropathy described in 1982. Methods: We reviewed the charts of nine LSS patients in neurological care for their symptoms, response to different treatment regimens, and pattern of nerve involvement. Results: One patient had an Adie’s pupil. Every patient studied had median nerve involvement. Seven of nine patients required intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy and all showed improvement with IVIg. Four of nine patients received oral steroid therapy and had some improvement. Two of nine patients received azathioprine to little effect. Two of nine patients experienced significant trauma while receiving neurological follow-up and their symptoms worsened to a clinically significant degree afterward. Discussion: We noticed a possible association between trauma and symptom severity in cases of LSS with preexisting neurological follow-up. We hypothesize that physical trauma exacerbates LSS. To our knowledge, this is an unreported phenomenon.
Pyrolized carbon in biochar can sequester atmospheric CO2 into soil to reduce impacts of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. When estimating the stability of biochar, degradation of biochar carbon, mobility of degradation products, and ingress of carbon from other sources must all be considered. In a previous study we tracked degradation in biochars produced from radiocarbon-free wood and subjected to different physico-chemical treatments over three years in a rainforest soil. Following completion of the field trial, we report here a series of in-vitro incubations of the degraded biochars to determine CO2 efflux rates, 14C concentration and δ13C values in CO2 to quantify the contributions of biochar carbon and other sources of carbon to the CO2 efflux. The 14C concentration in CO2 showed that microbial degradation led to respiration of CO2 sourced from indigenous biochar carbon (≈0.5–1.4 μmoles CO2/g biochar C/day) along with a component of carbon closely associated with the biochars but derived from the local environment. Correlations between 14C concentration, δ13C values and Ca abundance indicated that Ca2+ availability was an important determinant of the loss of biochar carbon.
This Review describes the objectives and methodology of the DairyWater project as it aims to aid the Irish dairy processing industry in achieving sustainability as it expands. With the abolition of European milk quotas in March 2015, the Republic of Ireland saw a surge in milk production. The DairyWater project was established in anticipation of this expansion of the Irish dairy sector in order to develop innovative solutions for the efficient management of water consumption, wastewater treatment and the resulting energy use within the country's dairy processing industry. Therefore, the project can be divided into three main thematic areas: dairy wastewater treatment technologies and microbial analysis, water re-use and rainwater harvesting and environmental assessment. In order to ensure the project remains as relevant as possible to the industry, a project advisory board containing key industry stakeholders has been established. To date, a number of large scale studies, using data obtained directly from the Irish dairy industry, have been performed. Additionally, pilot-scale wastewater treatment (intermittently aerated sequencing batch reactor) and tertiary treatment (flow-through pulsed ultraviolet system) technologies have been demonstrated within the project. Further details on selected aspects of the project are discussed in greater detail in the subsequent cluster of research communications.
In this Research Communication we investigate potential correlations between key bacterial groups and nutrient removal efficiency in an Intermittently Aerated Sequencing Batch Reactor (IASBR) treating synthetic dairy processing wastewater. Reactor aeration rates of 0·6 and 0·4 litre per minute (LPM) were applied to an 8 l laboratory scale system and the relative impacts on IASBR microbial community structure and orthophosphate (PO4-P) and ammonium (NH4-N) removal efficiencies compared. Aeration at 0·6 LPM over several sludge retention times (SRTs) resulted in approximately 92% removal efficiencies for both PO4-P and NH4-N. Biomass samples subjected to next-generation sequencing (NGS), 16S rRNA profiling revealed a concomitant enrichment of Polaromonas under 0·6 LPM conditions, up to ~50% relative abundance within the reactor biomass. The subsequent shift in reactor aeration to 0·4 LPM, over a period of 3 SRTs, resulted in markedly reduced nutrient removal efficiencies for PO4-P (50%) and NH4-N (45%). An 85·7% reduction in the genus level relative abundance of Polaromonas was observed under 0·4 LPM aeration conditions over the same period.
A predictive risk stratification tool (PRISM) to estimate a patient's risk of an emergency hospital admission in the following year was trialled in general practice in an area of the United Kingdom. PRISM's introduction coincided with a new incentive payment (‘QOF’) in the regional contract for family doctors to identify and manage the care of people at high risk of emergency hospital admission.
Alongside the trial, we carried out a complementary qualitative study of processes of change associated with PRISM's implementation. We aimed to describe how PRISM was understood, communicated, adopted, and used by practitioners, managers, local commissioners and policy makers. We gathered data through focus groups, interviews and questionnaires at three time points (baseline, mid-trial and end-trial). We analyzed data thematically, informed by Normalisation Process Theory (1).
All groups showed high awareness of PRISM, but raised concerns about whether it could identify patients not yet known, and about whether there were sufficient community-based services to respond to care needs identified. All practices reported using PRISM to fulfil their QOF targets, but after the QOF reporting period ended, only two practices continued to use it. Family doctors said PRISM changed their awareness of patients and focused them on targeting the highest-risk patients, though they were uncertain about the potential for positive impact on this group.
Though external factors supported its uptake in the short term, with a focus on the highest risk patients, PRISM did not become a sustained part of normal practice for primary care practitioners.
New approaches are needed to safely reduce emergency admissions to hospital by targeting interventions effectively in primary care. A predictive risk stratification tool (PRISM) identifies each registered patient's risk of an emergency admission in the following year, allowing practitioners to identify and manage those at higher risk. We evaluated the introduction of PRISM in primary care in one area of the United Kingdom, assessing its impact on emergency admissions and other service use.
We conducted a randomized stepped wedge trial with cluster-defined control and intervention phases, and participant-level anonymized linked outcomes. PRISM was implemented in eleven primary care practice clusters (total thirty-two practices) over a year from March 2013. We analyzed routine linked data outcomes for 18 months.
We included outcomes for 230,099 registered patients, assigned to ranked risk groups.
Overall, the rate of emergency admissions was higher in the intervention phase than in the control phase: adjusted difference in number of emergency admissions per participant per year at risk, delta = .011 (95 percent Confidence Interval, CI .010, .013). Patients in the intervention phase spent more days in hospital per year: adjusted delta = .029 (95 percent CI .026, .031). Both effects were consistent across risk groups.
Primary care activity increased in the intervention phase overall delta = .011 (95 percent CI .007, .014), except for the two highest risk groups which showed a decrease in the number of days with recorded activity.
Introduction of a predictive risk model in primary care was associated with increased emergency episodes across the general practice population and at each risk level, in contrast to the intended purpose of the model. Future evaluation work could assess the impact of targeting of different services to patients across different levels of risk, rather than the current policy focus on those at highest risk.
Emergency admissions to hospital are a major financial burden on health services. In one area of the United Kingdom (UK), we evaluated a predictive risk stratification tool (PRISM) designed to support primary care practitioners to identify and manage patients at high risk of admission. We assessed the costs of implementing PRISM and its impact on health services costs. At the same time as the study, but independent of it, an incentive payment (‘QOF’) was introduced to encourage primary care practitioners to identify high risk patients and manage their care.
We conducted a randomized stepped wedge trial in thirty-two practices, with cluster-defined control and intervention phases, and participant-level anonymized linked outcomes. We analysed routine linked data on patient outcomes for 18 months (February 2013 – September 2014). We assigned standard unit costs in pound sterling to the resources utilized by each patient. Cost differences between the two study phases were used in conjunction with differences in the primary outcome (emergency admissions) to undertake a cost-effectiveness analysis.
We included outcomes for 230,099 registered patients. We estimated a PRISM implementation cost of GBP0.12 per patient per year.
Costs of emergency department attendances, outpatient visits, emergency and elective admissions to hospital, and general practice activity were higher per patient per year in the intervention phase than control phase (adjusted δ = GBP76, 95 percent Confidence Interval, CI GBP46, GBP106), an effect that was consistent and generally increased with risk level.
Despite low reported use of PRISM, it was associated with increased healthcare expenditure. This effect was unexpected and in the opposite direction to that intended. We cannot disentangle the effects of introducing the PRISM tool from those of imposing the QOF targets; however, since across the UK predictive risk stratification tools for emergency admissions have been introduced alongside incentives to focus on patients at risk, we believe that our findings are generalizable.
With 30 threatened species (14 categorized as Critically Endangered and 16 as Endangered, sensu IUCN), Coccothrinax (c. 54 species) is the flagship palm genus for conservation in the Caribbean Island Biodiversity Hotspot. Coccothrinax has its centre of taxonomic diversity in these islands, with c. 51 endemic species. We present a conservation framework for the 14 Critically Endangered species, found in Cuba, Haiti or the Dominican Republic. Only two species (C. jimenezii, C. montana) occur in more than one country (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Immediate threats include oil drilling and nickel mining, intrusion of saline water into soil, urban and agricultural development, low population recruitment, uncontrolled fires, interspecific hybridization, and unsustainable ethnobotanical practices. Coccothrinax bermudezii, C. borhidiana, C. crinita ssp. crinita, C. leonis and C. spissa are not conserved in protected areas. Coccothrinax bermudezii, C. jimenezii, C. leonis and C. nipensis are not part of ex situ collections. Based on results from a conservation project targeting C. jimenezii, we recommend international cooperation between the three range states to implement integrative conservation management plans, plant exploration initiatives, taxonomic revisions, outreach, and fundraising. The ultimate aim of this review is to provide baseline information that will develop conservation synergy among relevant parties working on Coccothrinax conservation in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Such collaborations could also benefit through partnerships with botanists working in other countries.
Recent 13C solid state nuclear magnetic resonance studies have demonstrated differences in the composition of sporopollenins (the inert biomolecule forming spore and pollen walls) from the major groups of extant plants. This substance is also the main constituent of fossil spore walls.
We have obtained 13C NMR spectra from three species of Carboniferous lycopod megaspores, and in one case, the associated microspores. Additionally, spores from the Devonian plant Parka decipiens Fleming have been analyzed. The spectra obtained are relatively similar although at present it is unclear how much of this similarity results from diagenesis.
The spectra of the fossil spores have been compared to those obtained from extant lycopods and from other plant groups. The fossil lycopod spores share some of the distinctive features of modern lycopod sporopollenin but are, none the less, very different. The spectra of the fossil species also demonstrate the loss of constituents known to form a significant part of the sporopollenin in extant species. Our studies show that some of the chemical characteristics of sporopollenins are retained in fossil spores, allowing the investigation of evolutionary changes of sporopollenin within a group and facilitating the assignment of taxonomically enigmatic fossil species. Further investigation of a range of fossil material, combined with data obtained from pyrolysis, should provide further information on the composition of sporopollenin from different plant groups and on its diagenesis.
Physical activity and exercise have important health benefits for children and adolescents with CHD. The objective of this study was to survey the provision of advice and recommendations in United Kingdom paediatric CHD clinics.
A three-page questionnaire was sent out to paediatric cardiac consultants in the United Kingdom, paediatric consultants with expertise in cardiology, and nursing staff (Paediatricians with Expertise in Cardiology Special Interest Group), as well as all members of the British Congenital Cardiovascular Association. The aim of this questionnaire was to determine the extent and scope of current information provision and to assess the importance that clinicians place on this advice.
There were 68 responses in total, and the data showed that, of these, 24 (36%) clinicians had never provided paediatric CHD patients with written advice about exercise. Only 27 (39%) clinicians provided physical activity advice at every appointment. Lack of time during consultation (n=39, 56.9%), lack of training (n=38, 55.2%), and uncertainty about appropriate recommendations (n=38, 55.2%) were identified as the main factors preventing clinicians from providing patients with advice about physical activity.
Although healthcare providers consider physical activity to be very important, the provision of clear, specific advice and recommendations is underutilised; therefore, more education and provision of resources to support the promotion of exercise need to be provided to clinicians and their support teams.
Late in 1988 the Mt John University Observatory acquired a cryogenic CCD system from Photometrics Ltd (Tucson). The chip is a Thomson CSF TH7882 CDA comprising 384 × 576 pixels. As part of the evaluation process, we have begun two differential photometry programs of the Magellanic Clouds using the Mt John 0.6m Boller & Chivens telescope. On this telescope each CCD pixel corresponds to 0.6 arcsec. Mt John's southerly latitude (44°S) permits year-round observations of the Clouds.
The first program concerns B, V and I photometry of five blue eclipsing binaries selected, on the basis of Gaposchkin's (1970, 1977) photographic light curves, to have roughly equal components with minimal interaction. HV 12634 has also been observed for comparison with the CCD light curves published by Jensen et al. (1988). Fig. 1 shows the B observations so far obtained for HV 1761, but the reduction is preliminary, being based on aperture-integrated magnitudes. The field is populous, and a final reduction will require use of a crowded-field reduction package such as ROMAFOT.
A “giant” outburst of A 0535+262, a transient X-ray binary pulsar, was observed in 1994 February and March with the Burst and Transient Source Experiment (BATSE) onboard the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory. During the outburst power spectra of the hard X-ray flux contained a QPO-like component with a FWHM of approximately 50% of its center frequency. Over the course of the outburst the center frequency rose smoothly from 35 mHz to 70 mHz and then fell to below 40 mHz. We compare this QPO frequency with the neutron star spin-up rate, and discuss the observed correlation in terms of the beat frequency and Keplerian frequency QPO models in conjunction with the Ghosh-Lamb accretion torque model.
Every fourth morning in Melbourne a mother goes to pick up her baby from its cot only to find that her baby is dead. This statement, which ignores the seasonal incidence of cot death, does indicate however both the frequency and the tragic drama of cot death.
The first recorded case of probable cot death in Australia was recorded in 1810. I say probable as we have no means of knowing whether it would really fit the currently accepted definition of cot death which is “the sudden and unexpected death of an infant in whom a thorough post mortem examination does not disclose an adequate cause of death”. Some infants do die suddenly and unexpectedly from diseases such as myocarditis, meningitis, and gastro-enteritis. But these conditions are readily recognised by the pathologist who examines the baby after death. It is when he is unable to find evidence of any such lethal disease after a thorough examination that he records his verdict as cot death, or as it is usually labelled these days, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS.
An in vivo grown human kidney stone was dated using the atmospheric bomb pulse. The growth period was found to be 17.6 yr for a sample size of 6 mm across. The step dissolution method was used, as one of several possibilities, to produce depositional subsamples. A noticeable dead carbon presence is detected in the modern industrialized diet, and as a consequence in human metabolites. The importance for correction when applying bomb-pulse dating is noted.