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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) are studying how samples might be brought back to Earth from Mars safely. Backward planetary protection is key in this complex endeavour, as it is required to prevent potential adverse effects from returning materials to Earth's biosphere. As the question of whether or not life exists on Mars today or whether it ever did in the past is still unanswered, the effort to return samples from Mars is expected to be categorized as a ‘Restricted Earth Return’ mission, for which NASA policy requires the containment of any unsterilized material returned to Earth. NASA is investigating several solutions to contain Mars samples and sterilize any uncontained Martian particles. This effort has significant implications for both NASA's scientific mission, and the Earth's environment; and so special care and vigilance are needed in planning and execution in order to assure acceptance of safety to Earth's biosphere. To generate a technically acceptable sterilization process across a wide array of scientific and other stakeholders, on 30–31 January 2019, 10–11 June 2019 and 19–20 February 2020, NASA informally convened a Sterilization Working Group (SWG) composed of experts from industry, academia and government to assess methods for sterilization and inactivation, to identify future work needed to verify these methods against biological challenges, and to determine their feasibility for implementation on robotic spacecraft in deep space. The goals of the SWG were:
(1) Understand what it means to sterilize and/or inactivate Martian materials and how that understanding can be applied to the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission.
(2) Assess methods for sterilization and inactivation, and identify future work needed to verify these methods.
(3) Provide an effective plan for communicating with other agencies and the public.
This paper provides a summary of the discussions and conclusions of the SWG over these three workshops. It reflects a consensus position based on qualitative discussion of how agencies might approach the problem of sterilization of Mars material. The SWG reached a consensus that sterilization options can be considered on the basis of biology as we know it, and that sterilization modalities that are effective on terrestrial materials and organisms should be part of the MSR planetary protection strategy. Conclusions pointed to several industry standards for sterilization to include heat, chemical, UV radiation and low-heat plasma. Technical trade-offs for each sterilization modality were discussed while simultaneously considering the engineering challenges and limitations for spaceflight. Future work includes more in-depth discussions on technical trade-offs of sterilization modalities, identifying and testing Earth analogue challenge organisms and proteinaceous molecules against chosen modalities, and executing collaborative agreements between NASA and external working group partners to help close data gaps, and to establish strong, scientifically grounded sterilization and inactivation standards for MSR.
In recent years, a variety of efforts have been made in political science to enable, encourage, or require scholars to be more open and explicit about the bases of their empirical claims and, in turn, make those claims more readily evaluable by others. While qualitative scholars have long taken an interest in making their research open, reflexive, and systematic, the recent push for overarching transparency norms and requirements has provoked serious concern within qualitative research communities and raised fundamental questions about the meaning, value, costs, and intellectual relevance of transparency for qualitative inquiry. In this Perspectives Reflection, we crystallize the central findings of a three-year deliberative process—the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD)—involving hundreds of political scientists in a broad discussion of these issues. Following an overview of the process and the key insights that emerged, we present summaries of the QTD Working Groups’ final reports. Drawing on a series of public, online conversations that unfolded at www.qualtd.net, the reports unpack transparency’s promise, practicalities, risks, and limitations in relation to different qualitative methodologies, forms of evidence, and research contexts. Taken as a whole, these reports—the full versions of which can be found in the Supplementary Materials—offer practical guidance to scholars designing and implementing qualitative research, and to editors, reviewers, and funders seeking to develop criteria of evaluation that are appropriate—as understood by relevant research communities—to the forms of inquiry being assessed. We dedicate this Reflection to the memory of our coauthor and QTD working group leader Kendra Koivu.1
Antibiotics are among the most common medications prescribed in nursing homes. The annual prevalence of antibiotic use in residents of nursing homes ranges from 47% to 79%, and more than half of antibiotic courses initiated in nursing-home settings are unnecessary or prescribed inappropriately (wrong drug, dose, or duration). Inappropriate antibiotic use is associated with a variety of negative consequences including Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI), adverse drug effects, drug–drug interactions, and antimicrobial resistance. In response to this problem, public health authorities have called for efforts to improve the quality of antibiotic prescribing in nursing homes.
A total of 5478 fishes were sampled between 2009 and 2020 to assess length–weight, length–length and weight–weight relationships in 39 marine species from 10 families caught in the Seychelles waters by the artisanal fishery. Two types of length (total length TL, fork length FL) and three types of weight (whole weight WT, gutted weight GW and gilled-gutted weight GGW) were measured. The parameters of the relationships were estimated using the log-transformed allometric model with bias correction. Our results include length–weight, length–length and weight–weight relationships for 39, 20 and 18 species, respectively. Our length–weight data and resulting relationships were compared against FishBase database for 36 species and were in the Bayesian 95% confidence interval of the relationships available for 33 species and above for Gnathanodon speciosus, Lutjanus gibbus and Variola louti. Finally, for five abundant and widely dispersed species we tested for spatial differences in morphometric relationships between the Mahé Plateau and three southern atoll groups. Significant differences were found for two species only, but their magnitude was small. We thus argue for the regression relationships based on pooled data to be used for most types of population and community analyses. The availability of these morphometric relationships will support the application of accurate size-based analyses for Seychelles fisheries survey data, and so enhance understanding of the ecology of the reef-associated fish component of marine ecosystems and food webs, and improve fisheries research management.
Optical tracking systems typically trade off between astrometric precision and field of view. In this work, we showcase a networked approach to optical tracking using very wide field-of-view imagers that have relatively low astrometric precision on the scheduled OSIRIS-REx slingshot manoeuvre around Earth on 22 Sep 2017. As part of a trajectory designed to get OSIRIS-REx to NEO 101955 Bennu, this flyby event was viewed from 13 remote sensors spread across Australia and New Zealand to promote triangulatable observations. Each observatory in this portable network was constructed to be as lightweight and portable as possible, with hardware based off the successful design of the Desert Fireball Network. Over a 4-h collection window, we gathered 15 439 images of the night sky in the predicted direction of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Using a specially developed streak detection and orbit determination data pipeline, we detected 2 090 line-of-sight observations. Our fitted orbit was determined to be within about 10 km of orbital telemetry along the observed 109 262 km length of OSIRIS-REx trajectory, and thus demonstrating the impressive capability of a networked approach to Space Surveillance and Tracking.
This study is aimed at developing a Rural Primary Health Care (PHC) Model for delivering comprehensive PHC for dementia in rural settings and addressing the gap in knowledge about disseminating and implementing evidence-based dementia care in a rural PHC context.
Limited access to specialists and services in rural areas leads to increased responsibility for dementia diagnosis and management in PHC, yet a gap exists in evidence-based best practices for rural dementia care.
Elements of the Rural PHC Model for Dementia were based on seven principles of effective PHC for dementia identified from published research and organized into three domains: team-based care, decision support, and specialist-to-provider support. Since 2013 the researchers have collaborated with a rural PHC team in a community of 1000 people in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan to operationalize these elements in ways that were feasible in the local context. The five-step approach included: building relationships; conducting a problem analysis/needs assessment; identifying core and adaptable elements of a decision support tool embedded in the model and resolving applicability issues; implementing and adapting the intervention with local stakeholders; and sustaining the model while incrementally scaling up.
Developing and sustaining relationships at regional and PHC team levels was critical. A comprehensive needs assessment identified challenges related to all domains of the Rural PHC Model. An existing decision support tool for dementia diagnosis and management was adapted and embedded in the team’s electronic medical record. Strategies for operationalizing other model elements included integrating team-based care co-ordination into the decision support tool and family-centered case conferences. Research team specialists provided educational sessions on topics identified by the PHC team. This paper provides an example of a community-based process for adapting evidence-based practice principles to a real-world setting.
The Pediatric Heart Network designed a career development award to train the next generation of clinician scientists in paediatric-cardiology-related research, a historically underfunded area. We sought to identify the strengths/weaknesses of the programme and describe the scholars’ academic achievements and the network’s return on investment.
Survey questions designed to evaluate the programme were sent to applicants – 13 funded and 19 unfunded applicants – and 20 mentors and/or principal investigators. Response distributions were calculated. χ2 tests of association assessed differences in ratings of the application/selection processes among funded scholars, unfunded applicants, and mentors/principal investigators. Scholars reported post-funding academic achievements.
Survey response rates were 88% for applicants and 100% for mentor/principal investigators. Clarity and fairness of the review were rated as “clear/fair” or “very clear/very fair” by 98% of respondents, but the responses varied among funded scholars, unfunded applicants, and mentors/principal investigators (clarity χ2=10.85, p=0.03; fairness χ2=16.97, p=0.002). Nearly half of the unfunded applicants rated feedback as “not useful” (47%). “Expanding their collaborative network” and “increasing publication potential” were the highest-rated benefits for scholars. Mentors/principal investigators found the programme “very” valuable for the scholars (100%) and the network (75%). The 13 scholars were first/senior authors for 97 abstracts and 109 manuscripts, served on 22 Pediatric Heart Network committees, and were awarded $9,673,660 in subsequent extramural funding for a return of ~$10 for every scholar dollar spent.
Overall, patient satisfaction with the Scholar Award was high and scholars met many academic markers of success. Despite this, programme challenges were identified and improvement strategies were developed.
We describe the successful use of recombinant factor VIIa (rFVIIa) in the control of massive haemoptysis in a 17-year-old patient with a Fontan circulation. The patient was intubated and ventilated in the ICU with deteriorating gas exchange. Conventional methods to control the haemoptysis were ineffective, and rFVIIa was successfully administered as a rescue therapy. rFVIIa is a powerful pro-thrombotic agent, which is only licensed in haemophiliacs with acquired inhibitors to anticoagulation. It has been used off-license in the treatment of massive haemorrhage, although a Cochrane review did not show any significant benefit; however, it may have a role as a rescue therapy where alternatives options have been exhausted after careful risk–benefit analysis.
We present low-frequency spectral energy distributions of 60 known radio pulsars observed with the Murchison Widefield Array telescope. We searched the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array survey images for 200-MHz continuum radio emission at the position of all pulsars in the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) pulsar catalogue. For the 60 confirmed detections, we have measured flux densities in 20 × 8 MHz bands between 72 and 231 MHz. We compare our results to existing measurements and show that the Murchison Widefield Array flux densities are in good agreement.
Original studies published over the last decade regarding time trends in dementia report mixed results. The aims of the present study were to use linked administrative health data for the province of Saskatchewan for the period 2005/2006 to 2012/2013 to: (1) examine simultaneous temporal trends in annual age- and sex-specific dementia incidence and prevalence among individuals aged 45 and older, and (2) stratify the changes in incidence over time by database of identification.
Using a population-based retrospective cohort study design, data were extracted from seven provincial administrative health databases linked by a unique anonymized identification number. Individuals 45 years and older at first identification of dementia between April 1, 2005 and March 31, 2013 were included, based on case definition criteria met within any one of four administrative health databases (hospital, physician, prescription drug, and long-term care).
Between 2005/2006 and 2012/2013, the 12-month age-standardized incidence rate of dementia declined significantly by 11.07% and the 12-month age-standardized prevalence increased significantly by 30.54%. The number of incident cases decreased from 3,389 to 3,270 and the number of prevalent cases increased from 8,795 to 13,012. Incidence rate reductions were observed in every database of identification.
We observed a simultaneous trend of decreasing incidence and increasing prevalence of dementia over a relatively short 8-year time period from 2005/2006 to 2012/2013. These trends indicate that the average survival time of dementia is lengthening. Continued observation of these time trends is warranted given the short study period.
We present the results of an approximately 6 100 deg2 104–196 MHz radio sky survey performed with the Murchison Widefield Array during instrument commissioning between 2012 September and 2012 December: the MWACS. The data were taken as meridian drift scans with two different 32-antenna sub-arrays that were available during the commissioning period. The survey covers approximately 20.5 h < RA < 8.5 h, − 58° < Dec < −14°over three frequency bands centred on 119, 150 and 180 MHz, with image resolutions of 6–3 arcmin. The catalogue has 3 arcmin angular resolution and a typical noise level of 40 mJy beam− 1, with reduced sensitivity near the field boundaries and bright sources. We describe the data reduction strategy, based upon mosaicked snapshots, flux density calibration, and source-finding method. We present a catalogue of flux density and spectral index measurements for 14 110 sources, extracted from the mosaic, 1 247 of which are sub-components of complexes of sources.
Hand hygiene surveillance programs that rely on direct observations of healthcare worker activity may be limited by the Hawthorne effect. In addition, comparing compliance rates from period to period requires adequately sized samples of observations. We aimed to statistically determine whether the Hawthorne effect is stable over an observation period and statistically derive sample sizes of observations necessary to compare compliance rates.
Prospective multicenter cohort study.
Five intensive care units and 6 medical/surgical wards in 3 geographically distinct acute care hospitals.
Trained observers monitored hand hygiene compliance during routine care in fixed 1-hour periods, using a standardized collection tool. We estimated the impact of the Hawthorne effect using empirical fluctuation processes and F tests for structural change. Standard sample-size calculation methods were used to estimate how many hand hygiene opportunities are required to accurately measure hand hygiene across various levels of baseline and target compliance.
Exit hand hygiene compliance increased after 14 minutes of observation (from 56.2% to 60.5%; P < .001) and increased further after 50 minutes (from 60.5% to 66.0%; P < .001). Entry compliance increased after 38 minutes (from 40.4% to 43.4%; P = .005). Between 79 and 723 opportunities are required during each period, depending on baseline compliance rates (range, 35%–90%) and targeted improvement (5% or 10%).
Limiting direct observation periods to approximately 15 minutes to minimize the Hawthorne effect and determining required number of hand hygiene opportunities observed per period on the basis of statistical power calculations would be expected to improve the validity of hand hygiene surveillance programs.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(9):1163-1168
We present a deterministic approach to the ptychographic retrieval of the wave at the exit surface of a specimen of condensed matter illuminated by X-rays. The method is based on the solution of an overdetermined set of linear equations, and is robust to measurement noise. The set of linear equations is efficiently solved using the conjugate gradient least-squares method implemented using fast Fourier transforms. The method is demonstrated using a data set obtained from a gold–chromium nanostructured test object. It is shown that the transmission function retrieved by this linear method is quantitatively comparable with established methods of ptychography, with a large decrease in computational time, and is thus a good candidate for real-time reconstruction.
Significant new opportunities for astrophysics and cosmology have been identified at low radio frequencies. The Murchison Widefield Array is the first telescope in the southern hemisphere designed specifically to explore the low-frequency astronomical sky between 80 and 300 MHz with arcminute angular resolution and high survey efficiency. The telescope will enable new advances along four key science themes, including searching for redshifted 21-cm emission from the EoR in the early Universe; Galactic and extragalactic all-sky southern hemisphere surveys; time-domain astrophysics; and solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric science and space weather. The Murchison Widefield Array is located in Western Australia at the site of the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-band telescope and is the only low-frequency SKA precursor facility. In this paper, we review the performance properties of the Murchison Widefield Array and describe its primary scientific objectives.