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The volume of evidence from scientific research and wider observation is greater than ever before, but much is inconsistent and scattered in fragments over increasingly diverse sources, making it hard for decision-makers to find, access and interpret all the relevant information on a particular topic, resolve seemingly contradictory results or simply identify where there is a lack of evidence. Evidence synthesis is the process of searching for and summarising a body of research on a specific topic in order to inform decisions, but is often poorly conducted and susceptible to bias. In response to these problems, more rigorous methodologies have been developed and subsequently made available to the conservation and environmental management community by the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence. We explain when and why these methods are appropriate, and how evidence can be synthesised, shared, used as a public good and benefit wider society. We discuss new developments with potential to address barriers to evidence synthesis and communication and how these practices might be mainstreamed in the process of decision-making in conservation.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
The present study evaluates the use of multiple correspondence analysis (MCA), a type of exploratory factor analysis designed to reduce the dimensionality of large categorical data sets, in identifying behaviours associated with measures of overweight/obesity in Vanuatu, a rapidly modernizing Pacific Island country.
Starting with seventy-three true/false questions regarding a variety of behaviours, MCA identified twelve most significantly associated with modernization status and transformed the aggregate binary responses of participants to these twelve questions into a linear scale. Using this scale, individuals were separated into three modernization groups (tertiles) among which measures of body fat were compared and OR for overweight/obesity were computed.
Ni-Vanuatu adults (n 810) aged 20–85 years.
Among individuals in the tertile characterized by positive responses to most of or all the twelve modernization questions, weight and measures of body fat and the likelihood that measures of body fat were above the US 75th percentile were significantly greater compared with individuals in the tertiles characterized by mostly or partly negative responses.
The study indicates that MCA can be used to identify individuals or groups at risk for overweight/obesity, based on answers to simply-put questions. MCA therefore may be useful in areas where obtaining detailed information about modernization status is constrained by time, money or manpower.
To determine the efficacy of 2 types of antimicrobial privacy curtains in clinical settings and the costs involved in replacing standard curtains with antimicrobial curtains.
A prospective, open-labeled, multicenter study with a follow-up duration of 6 months.
This study included 12 rooms of patients with multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) (668 patient bed days) and 10 cubicles (8,839 patient bed days) in the medical, surgical, neurosurgical, orthopedics, and rehabilitation units of 10 hospitals.
Culture samples were collected from curtain surfaces twice a week for 2 weeks, followed by weekly intervals.
With a median hanging time of 173 days, antimicrobial curtain B (quaternary ammonium chlorides [QAC] plus polyorganosiloxane) was highly effective in reducing the bioburden (colony-forming units/100 cm2, 1 vs 57; P < .001) compared with the standard curtain. The percentages of MDRO contamination were also significantly lower on antimicrobial curtain B than the standard curtain: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, 0.5% vs 24% (P < .001); carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter spp, 0.2% vs 22.1% (P < .001); multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter spp, 0% vs 13.2% (P < .001). Notably, the median time to first contamination by MDROs was 27.6 times longer for antimicrobial curtain B than for the standard curtain (138 days vs 5 days; P = .001).
Antimicrobial curtain B (QAC plus polyorganosiloxane) but not antimicrobial curtain A (built-in silver) effectively reduced the microbial burden and MDRO contamination compared with the standard curtain, even after extended use in an active clinical setting. The antimicrobial curtain provided an opportunity to avert indirect costs related to curtain changing and laundering in addition to improving patient safety.
Little is known about terrestrial climate dynamics in the Levant during the penultimate interglacial-glacial period. To decipher the palaeoclimatic history of the Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 6 glacial period, a well-dated stalagmite (~194 to ~154 ka) from Kanaan Cave on the Mediterranean coast in Lebanon was analyzed for its petrography, growth history, and stable isotope geochemistry. A resolved climate record has been recovered from this precisely U–Th dated speleothem, spanning the late MIS 7 and early MIS 6 at low resolution and the mid–MIS 6 at higher resolution. The stalagmite grew discontinuously from ~194 to ~163 ka. More consistent growth and higher growth rates between ~163 and ~154 ka are most probably linked to increased water recharge and thus more humid conditions. More distinct layering in the upper part of the speleothem suggests strong seasonality from ~163 ka to ~154 ka. Short-term oxygen and carbon isotope excursions were found between ~155 and ~163 ka. The inferred Kanaan Cave humid intervals during the mid–MIS 6 follow variations of pollen records in the Mediterranean basins and correlate well with the synthetic Greenland record and East Asian summer monsoon interstadial periods, indicating short warm/wet periods similar to the Dansgaard-Oeschger events during MIS 4–3 in the eastern Mediterranean region.
Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) are increasingly reported in residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs). We assessed whether implementation of directly observed hand hygiene (DOHH) by hand hygiene ambassadors can reduce environmental contamination with MDROs.
From July to August 2017, a cluster-randomized controlled study was conducted at 10 RCHEs (5 intervention versus 5 nonintervention controls), where DOHH was performed at two-hourly intervals during daytime, before meals and medication rounds by a one trained nurse in each intervention RCHE. Environmental contamination by MRDOs, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter species (CRA), and extended-spectrum β-lactamse (ESBL)–producing Enterobacteriaceae, was evaluated using specimens collected from communal areas at baseline, then twice weekly. The volume of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) consumed per resident per week was measured.
The overall environmental contamination of communal areas was culture-positive for MRSA in 33 of 100 specimens (33%), CRA in 26 of 100 specimens (26%), and ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in 3 of 100 specimens (3%) in intervention and nonintervention RCHEs at baseline. Serial monitoring of environmental specimens revealed a significant reduction in MRSA (79 of 600 [13.2%] vs 197 of 600 [32.8%]; P<.001) and CRA (56 of 600 [9.3%] vs 94 of 600 [15.7%]; P=.001) contamination in the intervention arm compared with the nonintervention arm during the study period. The volume of ABHR consumed per resident per week was 3 times higher in the intervention arm compared with the baseline (59.3±12.9 mL vs 19.7±12.6 mL; P<.001) and was significantly higher than the nonintervention arm (59.3±12.9 mL vs 23.3±17.2 mL; P=.006).
The direct observation of hand hygiene of residents could reduce environmental contamination by MDROs in RCHEs.
Genetic variants and medication adherence have been identified to be the main factors contributing to lithium treatment response in bipolar disorders.
To simultaneously examine effects of variant glutamate decarboxylase-like protein 1 (GADL1) and medication adherence on response to lithium maintenance treatment in Han Chinese patients with bipolar I (BPI) disorder.
Frequencies of manic and depressive episodes between carriers and non-carriers of the effective GADL1 rs17026688 T allele during the cumulative periods of off-lithium, poor adherence to lithium treatment and good adherence to lithium treatment were compared in Han Chinese patients with BPI disorder (n = 215).
GADL1 rs17026688 T carriers had significantly lower frequencies of recurrent affective episodes than non-T carriers during the cumulative period of good adherence, but not during those of poor adherence.
GADL1 rs17026688 and medication adherence jointly predict response to lithium maintenance treatment in Han Chinese BPI patients.
Anomalous origin of a pulmonary artery from the ascending aorta is a congenital defect that can be complicated by pulmonary arterial hypertension, typically due to vascular disease if the anomaly is left uncorrected past 6 months of age. We describe a unique case of severe pulmonary arterial hypertension with this defect in a 1-month-old infant unexpectedly caused instead by bronchial compression from her dilated left pulmonary artery.
The Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) co-ordinates the activities of the six Australian research institutions and a group of industrial partners in the Australia-US Institute for Advanced Photovoltaics (AUSIAPV) to develop the next generations of photovoltaic device technology and to provide a pipeline of opportunities for performance increase and cost reduction. AUSIAPV links ACAP with US-based partners. These national and international research collaborations provide a pathway for highly visible, structured photovoltaic research collaboration between Australian and US researchers, institutes and agencies with significant joint programs based on the clear synergies between the participating organizations. The research program is organized in five collaborative Program Packages (PPs). PP1 deals with silicon wafer-based cells, focusing on three main areas: cells from solar grade silicon, rear contact and silicon-based tandem cells. PP2 involves research into a range of organic solar cells, organic/inorganic hybrid cells, "earth abundant" thin-film materials and "third generation" approaches. PP3 is concerned with optics and characterization. PP4 will deliver a substantiated methodology for assessing manufacturing costs of the different technologies and PP5 involves education, training and outreach. The main research topics, results and plans for the future are presented.
Currently, organic photovoltaics are not a viable renewable source of energy in comparison to silicon solar panels because of its low efficiencies, due to its disorganized morphology which leads to charge recombination and an overall loss of energy production. It was hypothesized that simultaneously organizing the morphology and increasing the area of the active sites for exciton dissociation would improve overall efficiency.
Our synthesized gold-graphene (AuRGO) was dispersed in sulfonated polystyrene (PSS) and added to the active layer. We also blended polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) with graphene, which was then incorporated into the active layer. AFM imaging demonstrated that the polymers self-assembled into column structures. Additionally, the AuRGO showed an affinity for both P3HT and the PSS, migrating to the interfaces. Solar simulation results show that both polymer-graphene blends demonstrated enhanced current and efficiency.
The self-organization helped increase the efficiency of both samples, but the AuRGO/PSS had a greater efficiency improvement over the cG/PMMA by 170%. This increase is attributed to the fact that since the AuRGO migrated to the interfaces, the sheet acts as a bridge that improved the electron flow through a connection between the electron donating and accepting materials, improving exciton dissociation and charge transport, and therefore efficiency.
Thin diamond foils are needed in many particle accelerator experiments regarding nuclear and atomic physics, as well as in some interdisciplinary research. Particularly, nanodiamond texture is attractive for this purpose as it possesses a unique combination of diamond properties such as high thermal conductivity, mechanical strength and high radiation hardness; therefore, it is a potential material for energetic ion beam stripper foils. At the ORNL Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), the installed set of foils must be able to survive a nominal five-month operation period, without the need for unscheduled costly shutdowns and repairs. Thus, a single nanodiamond foil about the size of a postage stamp is critical to the entire operation of SNS and similar sources in U.S. laboratories and around the world. We are investigating nanocrystalline, polycrystalline and their admixture films fabricated using a hot filament chemical vapor deposition (HFCVD) system for H- stripping to support the SNS at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Here we discuss optimization of process variables such as substrate temperature, process gas ratio of H2/Ar/CH4, substrate to filament distance, filament temperature, carburization conditions, and filament geometry to achieve high purity diamond foils on patterned silicon substrates with manageable intrinsic and thermal stresses so that they can be released as free standing foils without curling. An in situ laser reflectance interferometry tool (LRI) is used for monitoring the growth characteristics of the diamond thin film materials. The optimization process has yielded free standing foils with no pinholes. The sp3/sp2 bonds are controlled to optimize electrical resistivity to reduce the possibility of surface charging of the foils. The integrated LRI and HFCVD process provides real time information on the growth of films and can quickly illustrate growth features and control over film thickness. The results are discussed in the light of development of nanodiamond foils that will be able to withstand a few MW proton beam and hopefully will be able to be used after possible future upgrades to the SNS to greater than a 3MW beam.
An epitaxial shell of cadmium sulphide is grown on lead sulphide quantum dots in order to reduce the concentration of surface defects. Thin solid films of these core/shell materials are found to have low carrier concentrations due to effective surface passivation which reduces the number of dangling bonds. In this paper PbS/CdS is used as a quasi-intrinsic layer in p-i-n photovoltaic devices where PbS acts as the p-layer and ZnO the n-layer. By studying different permutations of these layers and the degree of PbS p-type doping by annealing we optimise fill factor and open-circuit voltage.
To determine the prevalence, risk factors, and molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization at the time of admission to acute medical units and to develop a cost-effective screening strategy.
Nasal and groin screening cultures were performed for patients at admission to 15 acute medical units in all 7 catchment regions in Hong Kong. All MRSA isolates were subjected to spa typing.
The overall carriage rate of MRSA was 14.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 13.5–15.1). MRSA history within the past 12 months (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 4.60 [95% CI, 3.28–6.44]), old age home residence (adjusted OR, 3.32 [95% CI, 2.78–3.98]), and bedbound state (adjusted OR, 2.19 [95% CI, 1.75–2.74]) were risk factors selected as MRSA screening criteria that provided reasonable sensitivity (67.4%) and specificity (81.8%), with an affordable burden (25.2%). spa typing showed that 89.5% (848/948) of the isolates were clustered into the 4 spa clonal complexes (CCs): spa CC1081, spa CC032, spa CC002, and spa CC4677. Patients colonized with MRSA spa types t1081 (OR, 1.77 [95% CI, 1.49–2.09]) and t4677 (OR, 3.09 [95% CI, 1.54–6.02]) were more likely to be old age home residents.
MRSA carriage at admission to acute medical units was prevalent in Hong Kong. Our results suggest that targeted screening is a pragmatic approach to increase the detection of the MRSA reservoir. Molecular typing suggests that old age homes are epicenters in amplifying the MRSA burden in acute hospitals. Enhancement of infection control measures in old age homes is important for the control of MRSA in hospitals.
This paper determines the properties of standard generalized method of moments (GMM) estimators, tests, and confidence sets (CSs) in moment condition models in which some parameters are unidentified or weakly identified in part of the parameter space. The asymptotic distributions of GMM estimators are established under a full range of drifting sequences of true parameters and distributions. The asymptotic sizes (in a uniform sense) of standard GMM tests and CSs are established.
The paper also establishes the correct asymptotic sizes of “robust” GMM-based Wald, t, and quasi-likelihood ratio tests and CSs whose critical values are designed to yield robustness to identification problems.
The results of the paper are applied to a nonlinear regression model with endogeneity and a probit model with endogeneity and possibly weak instrumental variables.
This paper summarizes the mathematical and numerical theories and computational elements of the adaptive fast multipole Poisson-Boltzmann (AFMPB) solver. We introduce and discuss the following components in order: the Poisson-Boltzmann model, boundary integral equation reformulation, surface mesh generation, the nodepatch discretization approach, Krylov iterative methods, the new version of fast multipole methods (FMMs), and a dynamic prioritization technique for scheduling parallel operations. For each component, we also remark on feasible approaches for further improvements in efficiency, accuracy and applicability of the AFMPB solver to large-scale long-time molecular dynamics simulations. The potential of the solver is demonstrated with preliminary numerical results.