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Populations of Critically Endangered White-rumped Gyps bengalensis and Slender-billed G. tenuirostris Vultures in Nepal declined rapidly during the 2000s, almost certainly because of the effects of the use in livestock of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac, which is nephrotoxic to Gyps vultures. In 2006, veterinary use of diclofenac was banned in Nepal and this was followed by the gradual implementation, over most of the geographical range of the two vulture species in Nepal, of a Vulture Safe Zone (VSZ) programme to advocate vulture conservation, raise awareness about diclofenac, provide vultures with NSAID-free food and encourage the veterinary use in livestock of a vulture-safe alternative NSAID (meloxicam). We report the results of long-term monitoring of vulture populations in Nepal before and after this programme was implemented, by means of road transects. Piecewise regression analysis of the count data indicated that a rapid decline of the White-rumped Vulture population from 2002 up to about 2013 gave way to a partial recovery between about 2013 and 2018. More limited data for the Slender-billed Vulture indicated that a rapid decline also gave way to partial recovery from about 2012 onwards. The rates at which populations were increasing in the 2010s exceeded the upper end of the range of increase rates expected in a closed population under optimal conditions. The possibility that immigration from India is contributing to the changes cannot be excluded. We present evidence from open and undercover pharmacy surveys that the VSZ programme had apparently become effective in reducing the availability of diclofenac in a large part of the range of these species in Nepal by about 2011. Hence, community-based advocacy and awareness-raising actions, and possibly also provisioning of safe food, may have made an important contribution to vulture conservation by augmenting the effects of changes in the regulation of toxic veterinary drugs.
Introduction: The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Guidelines prioritizes early cardioversion and discharge home in the management of rapid AF, however not all patients can be safely cardioverted in the emergency department (ED). Given limited ED-based evidence on rate control, we sought to better understand the burden of disease in AF patients not managed by rhythm control and identify opportunities for improved care. Methods: We conducted a health records review of consecutive AF patient visits at two Canadian academic hospital EDs over a 12-month period. We included all patients ≥18 years with AF on electrocardiogram, a heart rate ≥100 beats per minute (bpm), and who did not receive cardioversion. Outcomes included: (1) incidence of patients managed by rate control; (2) specific rate control management practices including choice of agent, route of administration, dosing, and timing; (3) adverse events; (4) compliance with CAEP AF Guidelines; and (5) disposition and outcomes. Results: Of 972 rapid AF patient visits, 307 were excluded and 665 were included, with mean age 77.2, female 51.6%. Of those included, 43.0% were given rate control medications, most common being metoprolol (72.0%). Admission to hospital occurred in 61.4% of visits, and 77.9% of AF cases were secondary to another medical condition. In those given rate control medications, 9.1% suffered adverse events and only 55.6% had a final ED heart rate ≤100 bpm. Inappropriate use of rate control medications was found in 44.8% of cases, specifically inappropriate choice of agent (4.5%), inappropriate route of administration (26.9%), over-dosed (2.4%), under-dosed (5.2%), and inadequate timing (5.6%). Conclusion: We demonstrated that for rapid AF patients not receiving cardioversion, most cases were secondary to a medical cause and of those receiving rate control, there were a concerning number of adverse events related to inappropriate choice of agent, route of administration, dosage, and timing. Moving forward, better awareness of the CAEP AF Guidelines by ED physicians will ensure safer use of rate control agents for rapid AF patients.
We sought to address the prior limitations of symptom checker accuracy by analysing the diagnostic and triage feasibility of online symptom checkers using a consecutive series of real-life emergency department (ED) patient encounters, and addressing a complex patient population – those with hepatitis C or HIV. We aimed to study the diagnostic and triage accuracy of these symptom checkers in relation to an emergency room physician-determined diagnosis. An ED retrospective analysis was performed on 8363 consecutive adult patients. Eligible patients included: 90 HIV, 67 hepatitis C, 11 both HIV and hepatitis C. Five online symptom checkers were utilised for diagnosis (Mayo Clinic, WebMD, Symptomate, Symcat, Isabel), three with triage capabilities. Symptom checker output was compared with ED physician-determined diagnosis data in regards to diagnostic accuracy and differential diagnosis listing, along with triage advice. All symptom checkers, whether for combined HIV and hepatitis C, HIV alone or hepatitis C alone had poor diagnostic accuracy in regards to Top1 (<20%), Top3 (<35%), Top10 (<40%), Listed at All (<45%). Significant variations existed for each individual symptom checker, as some appeared more accurate for listing the diagnosis in the top of the differential, vs. others more apt to list the diagnosis at all. In regards to ED triage data, a significantly higher percentage of hepatitis C patients (59.7%; 40/67) were found to have an initial diagnosis with emergent criteria than HIV patients (35.6%; 32/90). Symptom checker diagnostic capabilities are quite inferior to physician diagnostic capabilities. Complex patients such as those with HIV or hepatitis C may carry a more specific differential diagnosis, warranting symptom checkers to have diagnostic algorithms accounting for such complexity. Symptom checkers carry the potential for real-time epidemiologic monitoring of patient symptoms, as symptom entries and subsequent symptom checker diagnosis could allow health officials a means to track illnesses in specific patient populations and geographic regions. In order to do this, accurate and reliable symptom checkers are warranted.
To identify potential participants for clinical trials, electronic health records (EHRs) are searched at potential sites. As an alternative, we investigated using medical devices used for real-time diagnostic decisions for trial enrollment.
To project cohorts for a trial in acute coronary syndromes (ACS), we used electrocardiograph-based algorithms that identify ACS or ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) that prompt clinicians to offer patients trial enrollment. We searched six hospitals’ electrocardiograph systems for electrocardiograms (ECGs) meeting the planned trial’s enrollment criterion: ECGs with STEMI or > 75% probability of ACS by the acute cardiac ischemia time-insensitive predictive instrument (ACI-TIPI). We revised the ACI-TIPI regression to require only data directly from the electrocardiograph, the e-ACI-TIPI using the same data used for the original ACI-TIPI (development set n = 3,453; test set n = 2,315). We also tested both on data from emergency department electrocardiographs from across the US (n = 8,556). We then used ACI-TIPI and e-ACI-TIPI to identify potential cohorts for the ACS trial and compared performance to cohorts from EHR data at the hospitals.
Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve areas on the test set were excellent, 0.89 for ACI-TIPI and 0.84 for the e-ACI-TIPI, as was calibration. On the national electrocardiographic database, ROC areas were 0.78 and 0.69, respectively, and with very good calibration. When tested for detection of patients with > 75% ACS probability, both electrocardiograph-based methods identified eligible patients well, and better than did EHRs.
Using data from medical devices such as electrocardiographs may provide accurate projections of available cohorts for clinical trials.
Skilled nursing home facilities (SNFs) house a vulnerable population frequently exposed to respiratory pathogens. Our study aims to gain a better understanding of the transmission of nursing home-acquired viral respiratory infections in non-epidemic settings. Symptomatic surveillance was performed in three SNFs for residents exhibiting acute respiratory symptoms. Environmental surveillance of five high-touch areas was performed to assess possible transmission. All resident and environmental samples were screened using a commercial multiplex polymerase chain reaction platform. Bayesian methods were used to evaluate environmental contamination. Among nursing home residents with respiratory symptoms, 19% had a detectable viral pathogen (parainfluenza-3, rhinovirus/enterovirus, RSV, or influenza B). Environmental contamination was found in 20% of total room surface swabs of symptomatic residents. Environmental and resident results were all concordant. Target period prevalence among symptomatic residents ranged from 5.5 to 13.3% depending on target. Bayesian analysis quantifies the probability of environmental shedding due to parainfluenza-3 as 92.4% (95% CI: 86.8–95.8%) and due to rhinovirus/enterovirus as 65.6% (95% CI: 57.9–72.5%). Our findings confirm that non-epidemic viral infections are common among SNF residents exhibiting acute respiratory symptoms and that environmental contamination may facilitate further spread with considerable epidemiological implications. Findings further emphasise the importance of environmental infection control for viral respiratory pathogens in long-term care facilities.
Childhood adversity is associated with cognitive impairments in schizophrenia. However, findings to date are inconsistent and little is known about the relationship between social cognition and childhood trauma. We investigated the relationship between childhood abuse and neglect and cognitive function in patients with a first-episode of schizophrenia or schizophreniform disorder (n = 56) and matched healthy controls (n = 52). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study assessing this relationship in patients and controls exposed to similarly high levels of trauma.
Pearson correlational coefficients were used to assess correlations between Childhood Trauma Questionnaire abuse and neglect scores and cognition. For the MCCB domains displaying significant (p < 0.05) correlations, within group hierarchical linear regression, was done to assess whether abuse and neglect were significant predictors of cognition after controlling for the effect of education.
Patients and controls reported similarly high levels of abuse and neglect. Cognitive performance was poorer for patients compared with controls for all cognitive domains except working memory and social cognition. After controlling for education, exposure to childhood neglect remained a significant predictor of impairment in social cognition in both patients and controls. Neglect was also a significant predictor of poorer verbal learning in patients and of attention/vigilance in controls. However, childhood abuse did not significantly predict cognitive impairments in either patients or controls.
These findings are cross sectional and do not infer causality. Nonetheless, they indicate that associations between one type of childhood adversity (i.e. neglect) and social cognition are present and are not illness-specific.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Recent analysis pointed towards visual imaging analysis (VIA), which yields pig body size measures and shape indices from two-dimensional visual images of living pigs, as a potential technique for estimating fat and lean content in pig carcasses (Doeschl et al., 2004). The present analysis further explored the potential of using VIA body size and shape indices as indicators of the proportion of lean and fat in various carcass joints, either alone or in combination with ultrasonic backfat depth of the live animal. Due to increasing interest in the shape of retail cuts in the meat industry, the association between VIA size measures and the dimensions of the longissimus dorsi and gluteobiceps muscles is also assessed.
Visual imaging systems provide daily plan (overhead) measurements of pigs. These allow monitoring and control of pig growth, as is essential to production efficiency. Schofield et al., 1999 suggest that size measurements can provide accurate estimates of live weight, but a description of growth in terms of size and shape may also give a direct quantification of body form and value. This report presents analyses of the growth of pigs of two commercial breed types in terms of live weight, body plan area and ham width, and examines the relationship between observed body shapes of living pigs and their dissected body composition.
The Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) is an 18000 m2 radio telescope located 40 km from Canberra, Australia. Its operating band (820–851 MHz) is partly allocated to telecommunications, making radio astronomy challenging. We describe how the deployment of new digital receivers, Field Programmable Gate Array-based filterbanks, and server-class computers equipped with 43 Graphics Processing Units, has transformed the telescope into a versatile new instrument (UTMOST) for studying the radio sky on millisecond timescales. UTMOST has 10 times the bandwidth and double the field of view compared to the MOST, and voltage record and playback capability has facilitated rapid implementaton of many new observing modes, most of which operate commensally. UTMOST can simultaneously excise interference, make maps, coherently dedisperse pulsars, and perform real-time searches of coherent fan-beams for dispersed single pulses. UTMOST operates as a robotic facility, deciding how to efficiently target pulsars and how long to stay on source via real-time pulsar folding, while searching for single pulse events. Regular timing of over 300 pulsars has yielded seven pulsar glitches and three Fast Radio Bursts during commissioning. UTMOST demonstrates that if sufficient signal processing is applied to voltage streams, innovative science remains possible even in hostile radio frequency environments.
The increased use of the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) to investigate cognitive dysfunctions in schizophrenia fostered interest in its sensitivity in the context of family studies. As various measures of the same cognitive domains may have different power to distinguish between unaffected relatives of patients and controls, the relative sensitivity of MCCB tests for relative–control differences has to be established. We compared MCCB scores of 852 outpatients with schizophrenia (SCZ) with those of 342 unaffected relatives (REL) and a normative Italian sample of 774 healthy subjects (HCS). We examined familial aggregation of cognitive impairment by investigating within-family prediction of MCCB scores based on probands’ scores.
Multivariate analysis of variance was used to analyze group differences in adjusted MCCB scores. Weighted least-squares analysis was used to investigate whether probands’ MCCB scores predicted REL neurocognitive performance.
SCZ were significantly impaired on all MCCB domains. REL had intermediate scores between SCZ and HCS, showing a similar pattern of impairment, except for social cognition. Proband's scores significantly predicted REL MCCB scores on all domains except for visual learning.
In a large sample of stable patients with schizophrenia, living in the community, and in their unaffected relatives, MCCB demonstrated sensitivity to cognitive deficits in both groups. Our findings of significant within-family prediction of MCCB scores might reflect disease-related genetic or environmental factors.
A new man-portable drill designed to perform in ice with entrained sand and rock has been built. Designated the ‘Koci drill’, it was first used on rock-covered glaciers in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, during the 2006/07 field season. This drill is designed to be disassembled into component parts no heavier than 30 kg (not including the generator). For stability, the drill platform weight can be augmented with available rock. The field performance of the drill was generally good and both ice and rock were successfully penetrated and acceptable-quality ice cores up to 1 m long were collected during the 2007/08 season. The maximum depth achieved was 10.25 m. Given a concentrated effort at one or two sites per season, a depth of 40 m is achievable. Problems encountered in the field will be addressed in the next-generation design.
Introduction: Many barriers exist to integrating smoking cessation into delivery of lung cancer screening including limited provider time and patient misconceptions.
Aims: To demonstrate that proactive outreach from a telephone counsellor outside of the patient's usual care team is feasible and acceptable to patients.
Methods: Smokers undergoing lung cancer screening were approached for a telephone counselling study. Patients agreeing to participate in the intervention (n = 27) received two telephone counselling sessions. A 30-day follow-up evaluation was conducted, which also included screening participants receiving usual care (n = 56).
Results/Findings: Most (89%) intervention participants reported being satisfied with the proactive calls, and 81% reported the sessions were helpful. Use of behavioural cessation support programs in the intervention group was four times higher (44%) compared to the usual care group (11%); Relative Risk (RR) = 4.1; 95% CI: 1.7 to 9.9), and seven-day abstinence in the intervention group was double (19%) compared to the usual care group (7%); RR = 2.6; 95% CI: 0.8 to 8.9).
Conclusions: This practical telephone-based approach, which included risk messages clarifying continued risks of smoking in the context of screening results, suggests such messaging can boost utilisation of evidence-based tobacco treatment, self-efficacy, and potentially increase the likelihood of successful quitting.
We present the results from the Australian Long Baseline Array (LBA) observations of the ground- and excited-state OH masers at high resolutions towards the massive star-forming region G351.417+0.645 in 2012. We obtain the most accurate spatial gradient of magnetic fields at ground state transitions and verify the reliability of magnetic field strengths measured from previous lower resolution observations. In comparison with previous LBA observations in 2001 at 6.0 GHz, we identified several matched Zeeman pairs. We found that the OH maser features have no significant change of magnetic field strengths and directions with small internal proper motions, implying quite stable physical conditions. Additionally, we found that 1665- and 6035-MHz OH maser features reveal the same trend of reversal of magnetic fields. Moreover, we also analyzed the physical conditions at different locations from the coincidence of different OH maser transitions based on current OH maser models.
Predicting recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (rCDI) remains difficult. METHODS. We employed a retrospective cohort design. Granular electronic medical record (EMR) data had been collected from patients hospitalized at 21 Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals. The derivation dataset (2007–2013) included data from 9,386 patients who experienced incident CDI (iCDI) and 1,311 who experienced their first CDI recurrences (rCDI). The validation dataset (2014) included data from 1,865 patients who experienced incident CDI and 144 who experienced rCDI. Using multiple techniques, including machine learning, we evaluated more than 150 potential predictors. Our final analyses evaluated 3 models with varying degrees of complexity and 1 previously published model.
Despite having a large multicenter cohort and access to granular EMR data (eg, vital signs, and laboratory test results), none of the models discriminated well (c statistics, 0.591–0.605), had good calibration, or had good explanatory power.
Our ability to predict rCDI remains limited. Given currently available EMR technology, improvements in prediction will require incorporating new variables because currently available data elements lack adequate explanatory power.
This paper presents latest thinking from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Model Risk Working Party and follows on from their Phase I work, Model Risk: Daring to Open the Black Box. This is a more practical paper and presents the contributors’ experiences of model risk gained from a wide range of financial and non-financial organisations with suggestions for good practice and proven methods to reduce model risk. After a recap of the Phase I work, examples of model risk communication are given covering communication: to the Board; to the regulator; and to external stakeholders. We present a practical framework for model risk management and quantification with examples of the key actors, processes and cultural challenge. Lessons learned are then presented from other industries that make extensive use of models and include the weather forecasting, software and aerospace industries. Finally, a series of case studies in practical model risk management and mitigation are presented from the contributors’ own experiences covering primarily financial services.
Between 1013 - 1017 Hz the continua of all PG quasars can be described in the most general terms by a model consisting of two broad peaks of thermal radiation. There is no evidence for energetically significant nonthermal radiation in this frequency range in the continua of the PG quasars. We have compiled continuum observations for PG quasars from 6 cm to 2 KeV, including IRAS data for all these objects and new ground-based infrared data at 10 μm for many of these quasars. Sixty-three of the PG quasars were detected by IRAS in at least one band. The overall energy distributions for these sixty-three PG quasars are shown in Figure 1.
Six radio telescopes were operated as the first southern hemisphere VLBI array in April and May 1982. Observations were made at 2.3 and 8.4 Ghz. This array produced VLBI images of 28 southern hemisphere radio sources, high accuracy VLBI geodesy between southern hemisphere sites, and subarcsecond radio astrometry of celestial sources south of declination −45 degrees. This paper discusses only the astrophysical aspects of the experiment.