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Gender representation is a pervasive problem in political science. We draw on evidence from the 2017 and 2018 American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting programs to discuss diversity and representation in large political science disciplinary conferences. APSA program divisions differ substantially in their gender representation: although some are representative of their organized-section membership, others are not, and some sections are particularly likely to feature “manels.” We present representation data by organized section, with discussions of what representation looks like and identifying different types of representation goals. We conclude by offering guidelines for increasing gender representation, for both future submitters and program chairs.
Exemplar models are a popular class of models used to describe language change. Here we study how limiting the memory capacity of an individual in these models affects the system's behaviour. In particular, we demonstrate the effect this change has on the extinction of categories. Previous work in exemplar dynamics has not addressed this question. In order to investigate this, we will inspect a simplified exemplar model. We will prove for the simplified model that all the sound categories but one will always become extinct, whether memory storage is limited or not. However, computer simulations show that changing the number of stored memories alters how fast categories become extinct.
The nature of glass transitions in chalcogenides and modified oxides depends on the network mean coordination number
. These display systematic trends when spanning across the three topological phases: flexible, intermediate, and stressed-rigid. Trends in the glass-transition temperature Tg(
) show a monotonic increase with
, but the nonreversing enthalpy of relaxation at Tg, ΔHnr(
), shows a deep- and square-well-like minimum with the walls representing the rigidity and stress transitions with increasing
, respectively. In the well, the ΔHnr(
) term remains minuscule (∼0) corresponding to the isostatically rigid intermediate phase (IP). The melt fragility index (m) shows rather low values, m(
) < 20 for IP compositions, but increases outside the IP. Glass compositions in the IP show absence of network stress, form compacted networks, possess thermally reversing glass transitions, and display high glass-forming tendency—functionalities that have attracted widespread interest in understanding the physics of glasses and applications of the new IP formed.
This paper addresses the levels of psychological distress experienced at age 42 years by men and women born in 1958 and 1970. Comparing these cohorts born 12 years apart, we ask whether psychological distress has increased, and, if so, whether this increase can be explained by differences in their childhood conditions.
Data were utilized from two well-known population-based birth cohorts, the National Child Development Study and the 1970 British Cohort Study. Latent variable models and causal mediation methods were employed.
After establishing the measurement equivalence of psychological distress in the two cohorts we found that men and women born in 1970 reported higher levels of psychological distress compared with those born in 1958. These differences were more pronounced in men (b = 0.314, 95% confidence interval 0.252–0.375), with the magnitude of the effect being twice as strong compared with women (b = 0.147, 95% confidence interval 0.076–0.218). The effect of all hypothesized early-life mediators in explaining these differences was modest.
Our findings have implications for public health policy, indicating a higher average level of psychological distress among a cohort born in 1970 compared with a generation born 12 years earlier. Due to increases in life expectancy, more recently born cohorts are expected to live longer, which implies – if such differences persist – that they are likely to spend more years with mental health-related morbidity compared with earlier-born cohorts.
This paper investigates the association between perinatal health and all-cause mortality for specific age intervals, assessing the contribution of maternal socioeconomic characteristics and the presence of maternal-level confounding. Our study is based on a cohort of 12,564 singletons born between 1915 and 1929 at the Uppsala University Hospital. We fitted Cox regression models to estimate age-varying hazard ratios of all-cause mortality for absolute and relative birth weight and for gestational age. We found that associations with mortality vary by age and according to the measure under scrutiny, with effects being concentrated in infancy, childhood or early adult life. For example, the effect of low birth weight was greatest in the first year of life and then continued up to 44 years of age (HR between 2.82 and 1.51). These associations were confirmed in within-family analyses, which provided no evidence of residual confounding by maternal characteristics. Our findings support the interpretation that policies oriented towards improving population health should invest in birth outcomes and hence in maternal health.
Low income is a widely studied risk factor for child and adolescent
behavioural difficulties. Previous research on this relationship has
produced mixed findings.
To investigate the level, shape and homogeneity of income gradients in
different types of antisocial behaviour.
A representative sample of 7977 British children and adolescents, aged
5–16 years, was analysed. Hypotheses concerning the shapes and
homogeneity of the relationships between family socioeconomic status and
multiple antisocial behaviour outcomes, including clinical diagnoses of
oppositional-defiant disorder, conduct disorder and symptom subscales,
such as irritability and hurtfulness, were tested by structural equation
Consistent income gradients were demonstrated across all antisocial
behaviours studied. Disorder prevalence and mean symptom counts decreased
across income quintiles in a non-linear fashion.
Our findings emphasise that income gradients are similar across different
forms of antisocial behaviour and indicate that income may lead to
greater behavioural differences in the mid-income range and less
variation at low- and high-income extremes.
Suicide is a devastating public health problem and very few biological treatments have been found to be effective for quickly reducing the intensity of suicidal ideation (SI). We have previously shown that a single dose of ketamine, a glutamate N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, is associated with a rapid reduction in depressive symptom severity and SI in patients with treatment-resistant depression.
We conducted a randomized, controlled trial of ketamine in patients with mood and anxiety spectrum disorders who presented with clinically significant SI (n = 24). Patients received a single infusion of ketamine or midazolam (as an active placebo) in addition to standard of care. SI measured using the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation (BSI) 24 h post-treatment represented the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included the Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale – Suicidal Ideation (MADRS-SI) score at 24 h and additional measures beyond the 24-h time-point.
The intervention was well tolerated and no dropouts occurred during the primary 7-day assessment period. BSI score was not different between the treatment groups at 24 h (p = 0.32); however, a significant difference emerged at 48 h (p = 0.047). MADRS-SI score was lower in the ketamine group compared to midazolam group at 24 h (p = 0.05). The treatment effect was no longer significant at the end of the 7-day assessment period.
The current findings provide initial support for the safety and tolerability of ketamine as an intervention for SI in patients who are at elevated risk for suicidal behavior. Larger, well-powered studies are warranted.
Helicobacter pylori infection is a major cause of peptic ulcer and is also associated with chronic gastritis, mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma, and adenocarcinoma of the stomach. Guidelines have been developed in the United States and Europe (areas with low prevalence) for the diagnosis and management of this infection, including the recommendation to ‘test and treat’ those with dyspepsia. A group of international experts performed a targeted literature review and formulated an expert opinion for evidenced-based benefits and harms for screening and treatment of H. pylori in high-prevalence countries. They concluded that in Arctic countries where H. pylori prevalence exceeds 60%, treatment of persons with H. pylori infection should be limited only to instances where there is strong evidence of direct benefit in reduction of morbidity and mortality, associated peptic ulcer disease and MALT lymphoma and that the test-and-treat strategy may not be beneficial for those with dyspepsia.
Resilience is the capacity of individuals to resist mental disorders despite exposure to stress. Little is known about its neural underpinnings. The putative variation of white-matter microstructure with resilience in adolescence, a critical period for brain maturation and onset of high-prevalence mental disorders, has not been assessed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Lower fractional anisotropy (FA) though, has been reported in the corpus callosum (CC), the brain's largest white-matter structure, in psychiatric and stress-related conditions. We hypothesized that higher FA in the CC would characterize stress-resilient adolescents.
Three groups of adolescents recruited from the community were compared: resilient with low risk of mental disorder despite high exposure to lifetime stress (n = 55), at-risk of mental disorder exposed to the same level of stress (n = 68), and controls (n = 123). Personality was assessed by the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Voxelwise statistics of DTI values in CC were obtained using tract-based spatial statistics. Regional projections were identified by probabilistic tractography.
Higher FA values were detected in the anterior CC of resilient compared to both non-resilient and control adolescents. FA values varied according to resilience capacity. Seed regional changes in anterior CC projected onto anterior cingulate and frontal cortex. Neuroticism and three other NEO-FFI factor scores differentiated non-resilient participants from the other two groups.
High FA was detected in resilient adolescents in an anterior CC region projecting to frontal areas subserving cognitive resources. Psychiatric risk was associated with personality characteristics. Resilience in adolescence may be related to white-matter microstructure.
The Roman town of Forum Novum lies in the Sabine hills to the northeast of Rome. Its study forms part of the British School at Rome's Tiber Valley Project, a collaborative research initiative which studies the Tiber valley as the hinterland of Rome, tracing the impact of Rome's development on the history of its settlement, economy, and cultural identity from 1000 B.C. to A.D. 1300 (Patterson and Millett 1999; Patterson et al. 2000) (fig. 1). The project draws on the extensive work carried out in this area to produce a new, material-based history of the valley. While the project seeks to re-evaluate past survey material, a vital contrast is provided by the development of new field projects to fill the gaps in settlement knowledge. Three main lacunae have been identified: the study of urban centres; the dearth of data from the E bank of the Tiber; and the poor understanding of the late-antique and early Mediaeval landscape. Forum Novum offers an opportunity to address all these lacunae.
Urbanism forms a key research theme for the Tiber Valley Project. In marked contrast to the intensity of archaeological work on rural settlement in this area, there has been little systematic research on towns. Study has tended to concentrate on the excavation of monumental structures or, more rarely, the investigation of single and exceptional towns such as Ostia and Rome itself. Surprisingly little is known of the organization of the smaller towns and knowledge of their history is based largely on the epigraphic and documentary evidence.
If words fall into disrepair, what will substitute? They are all we have.
(T. Judt. The memory chalet. London, Vintage, 2011.)
A medical writer, when asked why he had used the words ‘were haemorrhaged’ instead of ‘were bled’, replied that he thought haemorrhaged was more scientific. Sometimes we do need to use a term more precise than the one in common usage, but bled is a perfectly good word, and haemorrhaged tells us no more about the process.
Haemorrhaged is also incorrect grammatically. To bleed (COD) can be transitive or intransitive, in other words may or may not have an object: you can bleed someone to death, or you can yourself bleed to death. To haemorrhage is intransitive and so cannot have an object: you can only bleed to death yourself; you can’t haemorrhage someone else to death.
During Alice’s adventures through the looking glass, the birds held a meeting.
‘In that case,’ said the Dodo solemnly, rising to its feet, ‘I move that the meeting adjourn, for the immediate adoption of more energetic remedies –’
‘Speak English!’ said the Eaglet. ‘I don’t know the meaning of half those long words, and what’s more, I don’t believe you do either!’ And the Eaglet bent down its head to hide a smile: some of the other birds tittered audibly.
Resist the urge to use less familiar words. There is danger that the unfamiliar will contribute to confusion; or to put it another way, inflated language often sets out to confuse. Most of the words in the lists that follow can be replaced by words that are more common.
A curious situation has arisen with the English language in medical writing and the publication of scientific research. Researchers the world over discuss science in English using their own accent and grammatical variety of the language. English is used by about twice as many people as a foreign language than as a first language. The number of people living in China alone who speak ‘China English’ will soon exceed native speakers of English in the UK and USA. What is curious, bearing in mind that correct English depends solely on usage, is that most peer-reviewed journals still require English as an additional language (EAL) authors to write not just in English but in standard British or American English. [There is no authority that regulates written English equivalent to the Spanish Real Academia Española or the French Académie française.]
Manuscripts with too many errors that give away EAL authorship are returned to authors with a requirement that the language be checked by a native English speaker. Journal editors and peer reviewers seem to read manuscripts more critically for language errors when the authors are based in a non-native English speaking country, even when their own English is faulty.
The quality of written English still needs some language corrections before being published . . . . In this sentence the cited literature is incomplete and misunderstanding . . . . It is more clearly when information will follow this Figure.
These comments from an EAL reviewer contain several errors. An English native speaker would have written something like: Some English language corrections are still needed before publication. . . . The literature cited in this sentence is incomplete and incomprehensible. . . . It would be clearer if the information were placed after this Figure.
There is probably more bad writing in medical journals than in any other kind of periodical.
(Sir Andrew Macphail, 1864–1938, Professor of the History of Medicine, McGill University, Montréal; quoted by C. Gray. CMAJ’s century reflects a profession and a country. CMAJ 2011; 183: 17–21.)
Do we think in words? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter even if we do not initially form our ideas in words. We have only words to express those ideas to others. If medical researchers write descriptions of experimental work, whether in basic research or applied clinical trials, that confuse readers assumed to be of equal knowledge and understanding, then that is the responsibility of the writers not the readers, who might justifiably wonder whether the conduct of the research had been similarly confused. (The difference between ‘responsibility’ and ‘fault’ serves a purpose here: writers should not necessarily be blamed for their bad habits.)
Medicine is a practical subject so here is an example of confused writing, taken from a clinical report. The investigators were relating the rate of infusion of a drug to its concentration in the blood. They wrote,
The infusion rate was then increased and blood was taken 4, 8, 12 and 20 minutes after the new target concentration had been achieved [our italics].
The meaning of this sentence is clear: blood was taken to ascertain what happened after the new, desired concentration had been reached. This is a reasonable thing to want to know; after all, if the concentration varied, then the effect could be unpredictable.
People who write obscurely are either unskilled in writing or up to some mischief.
(Sir Peter Medawar, 1915–1987, British biologist. The threat and the glory, D. Pyke, ed., Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1990.)
Literary devices and figures of speech are not prominent in routine research papers, but are more likely in editorials and opinion pieces. Used properly, they enliven writing, which is why columnists – both in newspapers and magazines and in their medical equivalents – use them.
Metaphor is the most important and widespread figure of speech, and is (COD) the application of name or descriptive term to an object or action to which it is imaginatively but not literally applicable. It suggests a shared property. It is metaphorical when we write that a drug ‘locks onto’ a receptor, suggesting that drugs and receptors are like keys and locks. In previous chapters we have mentioned drawback (its original meaning now less well-known than its metaphorical one), elevated from bishop to archbishop, falling into groups, hormones having a role, a graveyard full of failed treatments, focusing a service, examining cars in depth, and a cocktail of drugs.
There are two reasons to be wary of metaphors: first, readers may misinterpret them, especially EAL readers, who may not understand them at all; and second, metaphors have a tendency to descend pretty quickly to cliché. Metaphors are intended to enliven writing; clichés, because they are overused, deaden it. There is no strict definition of cliché; nor is there a list in which to check whether a chosen metaphor has degenerated to cliché. As The Economist’s guide (see reference books) points out, ‘clichés weren’t always clichéd. The first person to use window of opportunity . . . was justly pleased with himself. [It] is a strong, vivid expression – or was. The trouble is that such expressions have been copied so often that they have lost their vividness.
We have criticized medical writers, but praise is due to those who write well, and there are many who do. It is not so easy to find their writing because there are not the indicators to good writing that there are to bad. We started our dissection of style with Watson and Crick’s description of DNA (see p. 25), but their article is now 60 years old. With kind permission of the author and of the publishers, we reproduce here a Viewpoint from the Lancet from 2013 that is a model of clarity. We are not asking you to read some deep theory about an arcane disease interesting only to a handful of sub-specialists. It is an essay about type 2 diabetes, a condition so common and important that it will interest almost all medical writers. Now, of course, most research projects are of only limited interest, but the writers’ messages would come across better by reflecting the succinctness and flow of this essay rather than the polysyllables and discursion of too many research articles.
The essay is reproduced here in full, after which we make comments. But a preliminary comment is that the essay does not start by telling us that type 2 diabetes is a disease of epidemic proportions: the author wastes no words telling us what we already know; he tells us right away what he wants to say. And a general comment is to note, as you read through, how few of the words and constructions that appear in our index appear in the essay.