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Capacity building is essential in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to address the gap in skills to conduct and implement research. Capacity building must not only include scientific and technical knowledge, but also broader competencies, such as writing, disseminating research and achieving work–life balance. These skills are thought to promote long-term career success for researchers in high-income countries (HICs) but the availability of such training is limited in LMICs.
This paper presents the contextualisation and implementation of the Academic Competencies Series (ACES). ACES is an early-career researcher development programme adapted from a UK university. Through consultation between HIC and LMIC partners, an innovative series of 10 workshops was designed covering themes of self-development, engagement and writing skills. ACES formed part of the African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI), a multi-national LMIC-led consortium to recruit, train, support and network early-career mental health researchers from four sub-Saharan African countries.
Of the 10 ACES modules, three were HIC-LMIC co-led, four led by HIC facilitators with LMIC training experience and three led by external consultants from HICs. Six workshops were delivered face to face and four by webinar. Course attendance was over 90% and the delivery cost was approximately US$4500 per researcher trained. Challenges of adaptation, attendance and technical issues are described for the first round of workshops.
This paper indicates that a skills development series for early-career researchers can be contextualised and implemented in LMIC settings, and is feasible for co-delivery with local partners at relatively low cost.
To assess the psychological impact of a mass casualty incident (MCI) in a subset of personnel in a level I hospital.
Emergency department staff responded to an MCI in June 2017 in Turin, Italy by an unexpected sudden surge of casualties following a stampede (mass escape). Participants completed the Psychological Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment Responder Self-Triage System (PsySTART-R), which classified the potential risk of psychological distress in “no risk” versus “at risk” categorization and identified a range of impacts aggregated for the population of medical responders. Participants were administered a questionnaire on the perceived effectiveness of management of the MCI. Two months later, the participants were evaluated using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6), and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-5).
The majority of the responders were classified as “no risk” by the PsySTART-R; no significant differences on HADS, K6, and PCL-5 were found in the participants grouped by the PsySTART-R categories. The personnel acquainted to work in emergency contexts (emergency department and intensive care unit) scored significantly lower in the HADS than the personnel usually working in other wards. The number of positive PsySTART-R criteria correlated with the HADS depression score.
Most of the adverse psychological implications of the MCI were well handled and averted by the responders. A possible explanation could be related to factors such as the clinical condition of the victims (most were not severely injured, no fatalities), the small number of casualties (87) brought to the hospital, the event not being considered life-threatening, and its brief duration, among others. Responders had mainly to cope with a sudden surge in casualties and with organizational issues.
Experiments on the National Ignition Facility show that multi-dimensional effects currently dominate the implosion performance. Low mode implosion symmetry and hydrodynamic instabilities seeded by capsule mounting features appear to be two key limiting factors for implosion performance. One reason these factors have a large impact on the performance of inertial confinement fusion implosions is the high convergence required to achieve high fusion gains. To tackle these problems, a predictable implosion platform is needed meaning experiments must trade-off high gain for performance. LANL has adopted three main approaches to develop a one-dimensional (1D) implosion platform where 1D means measured yield over the 1D clean calculation. A high adiabat, low convergence platform is being developed using beryllium capsules enabling larger case-to-capsule ratios to improve symmetry. The second approach is liquid fuel layers using wetted foam targets. With liquid fuel layers, the implosion convergence can be controlled via the initial vapor pressure set by the target fielding temperature. The last method is double shell targets. For double shells, the smaller inner shell houses the DT fuel and the convergence of this cavity is relatively small compared to hot spot ignition. However, double shell targets have a different set of trade-off versus advantages. Details for each of these approaches are described.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
We describe the challenges inherent to low surface brightness imaging and present some early results from the Dragonfly Nearby Galaxies survey. Wide field, ultra-low surface brightness imaging (μg > 31 mag arcsec−2) of the first eight galaxies in the survey reveals a rich variety in the distribution of stars in the outskirts of luminous nearby galaxies. The mean stellar halo mass fraction is 0.009 ± 0.005 with a peak-to-peak scatter of a factor of > 100. Some galaxies in the sample feature strongly structured halos resembling that of M31, but three of the eight galaxies have halos that are completely undetected in our data. We conclude that spiral galaxies as a class exhibit a rich variety in stellar halo properties, implying that their assembly histories have been highly non-uniform. While the outskirts of some galaxies are dominated by halos with the rich substructures predicted by numerical simulations, in other cases the outermost parts of galaxies are simply the extrapolated smooth starlight from enormous stellar disks that closely trace neutral gas morphology out to around 20 scale lengths.
Exploring the relationship between genetic factors and outcome following brain injury has received increased attention in recent years. However, few studies have evaluated the influence of genes on specific sequelae of concussion. The purpose of this study was to determine how the ϵ4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene influences symptom expression following sports-related concussion. Participants included 42 collegiate athletes who underwent neuropsychological testing, including completion of the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS), within 3 months after sustaining a concussion (73.8% were evaluated within 1 week). Athletes provided buccal samples that were analyzed to determine the make-up of their APOE genotype. Dependent variables included a total symptom score and four symptom clusters derived from the PCSS. Mann-Whitney U tests showed higher scores reported by athletes with the ϵ4 allele compared to those without it on the total symptom score and the physical and cognitive symptom clusters. Furthermore, logistic regression showed that the ϵ4 allele independently predicted those athletes who reported physical and cognitive symptoms following concussion. These findings illustrate that ϵ4+ athletes report greater symptomatology post-concussion than ϵ4- athletes, suggesting that the ϵ4 genotype may confer risk for poorer post-concussion outcome. (JINS, 2016, 22, 89–94)
Pattern analysis has emerged as a tool to depict the role of multiple nutrients/foods in relation to health outcomes. The present study aimed at extracting nutrient patterns with respect to breast cancer (BC) aetiology.
Nutrient patterns were derived with treelet transform (TT) and related to BC risk. TT was applied to twenty-three log-transformed nutrient densities from dietary questionnaires. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % confidence intervals computed using Cox proportional hazards models quantified the association between quintiles of nutrient pattern scores and risk of overall BC, and by hormonal receptor and menopausal status. Principal component analysis was applied for comparison.
The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Women (n 334 850) from the EPIC study.
The first TT component (TC1) highlighted a pattern rich in nutrients found in animal foods loading on cholesterol, protein, retinol, vitamins B12 and D, while the second TT component (TC2) reflected a diet rich in β-carotene, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamins C and B6, fibre, Fe, Ca, K, Mg, P and folate. While TC1 was not associated with BC risk, TC2 was inversely associated with BC risk overall (HRQ5 v. Q1=0·89, 95 % CI 0·83, 0·95, Ptrend<0·01) and showed a significantly lower risk in oestrogen receptor-positive (HRQ5 v. Q1=0·89, 95 % CI 0·81, 0·98, Ptrend=0·02) and progesterone receptor-positive tumours (HRQ5 v. Q1=0·87, 95 % CI 0·77, 0·98, Ptrend<0·01).
TT produces readily interpretable sparse components explaining similar amounts of variation as principal component analysis. Our results suggest that participants with a nutrient pattern high in micronutrients found in vegetables, fruits and cereals had a lower risk of BC.
We describe a laboratory plasma physics experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory that uses two merging supersonic plasma jets formed and launched by pulsed-power-driven railguns. The jets can be formed using any atomic species or mixture available in a compressed-gas bottle and have the following nominal initial parameters at the railgun nozzle exit: ne ≈ ni ~ 1016 cm−3, Te ≈ Ti ≈ 1.4 eV, Vjet ≈ 30–100 km/s, mean charge
≈ 1, sonic Mach number Ms ≡ Vjet/Cs > 10, jet diameter = 5 cm, and jet length ≈20 cm. Experiments to date have focused on the study of merging-jet dynamics and the shocks that form as a result of the interaction, in both collisional and collisionless regimes with respect to the inter-jet classical ion mean free path, and with and without an applied magnetic field. However, many other studies are also possible, as discussed in this paper.
Specific roles of individual CDPKs vary, but in general they mediate essential biological functions necessary for parasite survival. A comparative analysis of the structure-activity relationships (SAR) of Neospora caninum, Eimeria tenella and Babesia bovis calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs) together with those of Plasmodium falciparum, Cryptosporidium parvum and Toxoplasma gondii was performed by screening against 333 bumped kinase inhibitors (BKIs). Structural modelling and experimental data revealed that residues other than the gatekeeper influence compound–protein interactions resulting in distinct sensitivity profiles. We subsequently defined potential amino-acid structural influences within the ATP-binding cavity for each orthologue necessary for consideration in the development of broad-spectrum apicomplexan CDPK inhibitors. Although the BKI library was developed for specific inhibition of glycine gatekeeper CDPKs combined with low inhibition of threonine gatekeeper human SRC kinase, some library compounds exhibit activity against serine- or threonine-containing CDPKs. Divergent BKI sensitivity of CDPK homologues could be explained on the basis of differences in the size and orientation of the hydrophobic pocket and specific variation at other amino-acid positions within the ATP-binding cavity. In particular, BbCDPK4 and PfCDPK1 are sensitive to a larger fraction of compounds than EtCDPK1 despite the presence of a threonine gatekeeper in all three CDPKs.
We assessed the feasibility and impact on knowledge, attitudes, and reported practices of psychological first-aid (PFA) training in a sample of Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) members. Data have been limited on the uptake of PFA training in surge responders (eg, MRC) who are critical to community response.
Our mixed-methods approach involved self-administered pre- and post-training surveys and within-training focus group discussions of 76 MRC members attending a PFA training and train-the-trainer workshop. Listen, protect, connect (a PFA model for lay persons) focuses on listening and understanding both verbal and nonverbal cues; protecting the individual by determining realistic ways to help while providing reassurance; and connecting the individual with resources in the community.
From pre- to post-training, perceived confidence and capability in using PFA after an emergency or disaster increased from 71% to 90% (P < .01), but no significant increase was found in PFA-related knowledge. Qualitative analyses suggest that knowledge and intentions to use PFA increased with training. Brief training was feasible, and while results were modest, the PFA training resulted in greater reported confidence and perceived capability in addressing psychological distress of persons affected by public health threats.
PFA training is a promising approach to improve surge responder confidence and competency in addressing postdisaster needs. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1-6)
High throughput, asymmetric carbon membranes derived from pyrolysis of polyfurfuryl alcohol (PFA) have been fabricated on a novel support composed of porous stainless steel filled with nanoparticles. Variation of PFA molecular weight was found to have a significant impact on the single gas permeances of the resultant carbon membranes. High molecular weight precursor material yielded the best results; oxygen permeance values for membranes synthesized from high molecular weight resins were on the order of ∼1×10−8 mol m−2s−1Pa−1 with oxygen over nitrogen ideal selectivities greater than 7. Binary separations of hydrogen from nitrogen and hydrogen from carbon monoxide were carried out using a NPC membrane synthesized from high molecular weight precursor material. For both separations, hydrogen purities of better than 99% by volume were obtained in the permeate stream.
A method is described for the fabrication of arrays of conducting, high aspect-ratio microwires for use as electrodes. The electrode arrays are fabricated by electrochemical deposition of metals, including Ni, Pt, Ag, Au and Rh, in channel glass templates having parallel, uniform, hollow channels with diameters that range from sub-micrometer to over 100 micrometers. The metals completely fill the hollow channels, yielding highly uniform electrodes with aspect ratios on the order of 1000 or more. The glass template electrically insulates the electrodes from one another. The electrode array wafers are cut and polished to a thickness ranging from about 100 to 2000 micrometers. The overall surface area is as large as 1 square centimeter. Alternatively, the wafers can be partially etched with acid to remove some of the glass matrix surrounding the electrodes, exposing an array of bare, solid wire stubs. The high aspect ratio microelectrode arrays were initially fabricated in order to provide the electrical interface for an intraocular retinal prosthesis, but have additional applications including biological and chemical sensing. Arrays with different channel sizes, different electrode spacing (with pitch from approximately 3R to 20R, where R is the electrode radius), and different geometrical arrangement are presented.
The anisotropie oxide superconductors YBa2Cu3O7-Dgr; and Sr2RuO4 have been epitaxially combined in various ways (c-axis on c-axis, c-axis on a-axis, and a-axis on a-axis) though the use of appropriate substrates. Phase-pure a-axis oriented or c-axis oriented epitaxial Sr2RuO4 films were grown by pulsed laser deposition. YBa2Cu3O7-δ films were then grown on both orientations of Sr2RuO4 films and the resulting epitaxy was characterized.
The nineties have brought us to an era of environmental crisis. We are faced with problems of air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, acid rain, water pollution, hazardous wastes, toxic landfills and leaking storage tanks in our soil, to name a few. Our rapid advances into the industrial and technological age have contributed to these problems. However, our advancing technology in the areas of remediation and such “green” engineering tools as ceramic membranes can certainly make a significant contribution in terms of environmental clean-up and a healthier world.
This paper examines the legacy of the Duchy of Courland's overseas colony of Tobago as it relates to present-day Latvian national identity using the ethno-symbolist approach of Anthony D. Smith and comparative cases. As Latvia is a small nation that has been an independent nation-state for only two short periods, national legitimacy and pride pose particular problems for Latvians. To this end, Latvian historians have worked to reinterpret the Baltic German-dominated Duchy of Courland as a positive period of Latvian national history and have sought to emphasize ethnic Latvian involvement in the Duchy's colonial endeavors, especially on the island of Tobago. Their efforts have then filtered into the general Latvian consciousness through books, film, plays, and place names. Since Latvia's independence from the USSR, the former colony of Tobago has gained renewed importance for Latvians who are experiencing a widely perceived notion of postcolonialism. This paper concludes that the appropriated colony of Tobago will continue to rise in importance as a component of Latvian national identity.
Listeriosis is a foodborne disease associated with significant mortality. This study attempts to identify risk factors for sporadic listeriosis in Australia. Information on underlying illnesses was obtained from cases' treating doctors and other risk factors were elicited from the patient or a surrogate. We attempted to recruit two controls per case matched on age and primary underlying immune condition. Between November 2001 and December 2004 we recruited 136 cases and 97 controls. Of perinatal cases, living in a household where a language other than English was spoken was the main risk factor associated with listeriosis (OR 11·3, 95% CI 1·5–undefined). Of non-perinatal cases we identified the following risk factors for listeriosis: prior hospitalization (OR 4·3, 95% CI 1·0–18·3), use of gastric acid inhibitors (OR 9·4, 95% CI 2·4–37·4), and consumption of camembert (OR 4·7, 95% CI 1·1–20·6). Forty percent of cases with prior hospitalization were exposed to high-risk foods during hospitalization.
In November 2002, the first of three outbreaks of Salmonella Montevideo infection in Australia and New Zealand was identified in New South Wales, Australia. Affected persons were interviewed, and epidemiologically linked retail outlets inspected. Imported tahini was rapidly identified as the source of infection. The contaminated tahini was recalled and international alerts posted. A second outbreak was identified in Australia in June–July 2003 and another in New Zealand in August 2003. In a total of 68 S. Montevideo infections, 66 cases were contacted. Fifty-four (82%) reported consumption of sesame seed-based foods. Laboratory analyses demonstrated closely related PFGE patterns in the S. Montevideo isolates from human cases and sesame-based foods imported from two countries. On the basis of our investigations sesame-based products were sampled in other jurisdictions and three products in Canada and one in the United Kingdom were positive for Salmonella spp., demonstrating the value of international alerts when food products have a wide distribution and a long shelf life. A review of the controls for Salmonella spp. during the production of sesame-based products is recommended.
From the neodymium glass laser system Novette with two beams of 74 cm diameter and 18 kJ energy per pulse output in the nanosecond range, the design, the steps of the construction, and results of the system are reported. The two beams are synchronized to 5 psec and conversion to green light up to 78% has been realized. Conversion to four times the laser frequency is measured with more than 25% conversion. Simulation and measurement of laser beam properties at several locations permit an analysis to define the final Nova configuration. About half of Novette's experiments were to study short wave length laser–plasma interactions for the then better coupling by inverse bremsstrahlung mechanisms for inertial confinement fusion with laser intensities up to 1017 W/cm2. Experiments were divided between high density implosion research and non-local thermodynamic equilibrium plasma conditions.