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The purpose of this paper is to identify a workhorse mortality model for the adult age range (i.e., excluding the accident hump and younger ages). It applies the “general procedure” (GP) of Hunt & Blake [(2014), North American Actuarial Journal, 18, 116–138] to identify an age-period model that fits the data well before adding in a cohort effect that captures the residual year-of-birth effects arising in the original age-period model. The resulting model is intended to be suitable for a variety of populations, but economises on the number of period effects in comparison with a full implementation of the GP. We estimate the model using two different iterative maximum likelihood (ML) approaches – one Partial ML and the other Full ML – that avoid the need to specify identifiability constraints.
The addition of a set of cohort parameters to a mortality model can generate complex identifiability issues due to the collinearity between the dimensions of age, period and cohort. These issues can lead to robustness problems and difficulties making projections of future mortality rates. Since many modern mortality models incorporate cohort parameters, we believe that a comprehensive analysis of the identifiability issues in age/period/cohort mortality models is needed. In this paper, we discuss the origin of identifiability issues in general models before applying these insights to simple but commonly used mortality models. We then discuss how to project mortality models so that our forecasts of the future are independent of any arbitrary choices we make when fitting a model to data in order to identify the historical parameters.
As the field of modelling mortality has grown in recent years, the number and importance of identifiability issues within mortality models has grown in parallel. This has led both to robustness problems and to difficulties in making projections of future mortality rates. In this paper, we present a comprehensive analysis of the identifiability issues in age/period mortality models in order to first understand them better and then to resolve them. To achieve this, we discuss how these identification issues arise, how to choose identification schemes which aid our demographic interpretation of the models and how to project the models so that our forecasts of the future do not depend upon the arbitrary choices used to identify the historical parameters estimated from historical data.
Introduction: Children diagnosed with medulloblastoma (MB) who are refractory to upfront therapy or experience recurrence have very poor prognoses. Although phase I and phase II trials exist, these treatments bear significant treatment-related morbidity and mortality. Methods: A retrospective review of children diagnosed with a recurrence of MB from 2002 to 2015 at McMaster University was undertaken. Results: Recurrent disease in 10 patients involved leptomeningeal dissemination, with 3 experiencing local recurrence. In three recurrent patients the disease significantly progressed, and the children were palliated. The remaining 10 children underwent some form of salvage therapy, including surgical re-resection, radiation, and chemotherapy, either in isolation or in varying combinations. Of the 13 children experiencing treatment-refractory or recurrent disease, 4 are currently alive with a median follow-up of 38.5 months (75.5 months). Of the eight patients with molecular subgrouping data, none of the Wnt MB experienced recurrence. Conclusion: Recurrent MB carried a poor prognosis with a 5-year overall survival (OS) of 18.2% despite the administration of salvage therapy. The upfront therapy received, available treatment, and tolerability of the proposed salvage therapy resulted in significant heterogeneity in the treatment of our recurrent cohort.
Residual herbicides are routinely applied to control troublesome weeds in pumpkin production. Fluridone and acetochlor, Groups 12 and 15 herbicides, respectively, provide broad-spectrum PRE weed control. Field research was conducted in Virginia and New Jersey to evaluate pumpkin tolerance and weed control to PRE herbicides. Treatments consisted of fomesafen at two rates, ethalfluralin, clomazone, halosulfuron, fluridone, S-metolachlor, acetochlor emulsifiable concentrate (EC), acetochlor microencapsulated (ME), and no herbicide. At one site, fluridone, acetochlor EC, acetochlor ME, and halosulfuron injured pumpkin 81%, 39%, 34%, and 35%, respectively, at 14 d after planting (DAP); crop injury at the second site was 40%, 8%, 19%, and 33%, respectively. Differences in injury between the two sites may have been due to the amount and timing of rainfall after herbicides were applied. Fluridone provided 91% control of ivyleaf morningglory and 100% control of common ragweed at 28 DAP. Acetochlor EC controlled redroot pigweed 100%. Pumpkin treated with S-metolachlor produced the most yield (10,764 fruits ha–1) despite broadcasting over the planted row; labeling requires a directed application to row-middles. A separate study specifically evaluated fluridone applied PRE at 42, 84, 126, 168, 252, 336, and 672 g ai ha–1. Fluridone resulted in pumpkin injury ≥95% when applied at rates of ≥168 g ai ha–1; significant yield loss was noted when the herbicide was applied at rates >42 g ai ha–1. We concluded that fluridone and acetochlor formulations are unacceptable candidates for pumpkin production.
We introduce a new modelling framework to explain socio-economic differences in mortality in terms of an affluence index that combines information on individual wealth and income. The model is illustrated using data on older Danish males over the period 1985–2012 reported in the Statistics Denmark national register database. The model fits the historical mortality data well, captures their key features, generates smoothed death rates that allow us to work with a larger number of sub-groups than has previously been considered feasible, and has plausible projection properties.
During the 1950s, while blacklisted from the music industry and investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee, Pete Seeger performed at colleges and universities across the United States. Although these concerts were crucial to his political work during the decade—Seeger repeatedly called them “the most important job I ever did in my life”—they have been neglected in scholarship. This article positions Seeger's campus concerts as crucial sites for demonstrating the democratic potential of folk music. Seeger sought to teach his audiences that folk music was an everyday activity created by people around the world, as well as an inherently participatory genre that could model civic cooperation. The democratic and educational purposes of his concerts marked a change from the labor advocacy of his 1940s work, and reflected ideas that he was then promulgating in his Sing Out! columns and Folkways Records. This essay examines his appearance at Cornell University on December 6, 1954 to illustrate three dimensions of Seeger's conception of democracy: audience participation, pluralistic repertoire, and rejection of the music industry. While illustrating Seeger's political actions, the Cornell concert also surfaces a tension between democratic participation and the class dynamics inherent in performing folk music for collegiate audiences.
In 2018, the Clostridium difficile LabID event methodology changed so that hospitals doing 2-step tests, nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) plus enzyme immunofluorescence assay (EIA), had their adjustment modified to EIA-based tests, and only positive final tests (eg, EIA) were counted in the numerator. We report the immediate impact of this methodological change at 3 Milwaukee hospitals.
The goal of this study was to perform in situ electrochemical polymerization of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) in peripheral nerves to create a soft, precisely located injectable conductive polymer electrode for bi-directional communication. Intraneural PEDOT polymerization was performed to target both outer and inner fascicles via custom fabricated 3D printed cuff electrodes and monomer injection strategies using a combination electrode-cannula system. Electrochemistry, histology, and laser light sheet microscopy revealed the presence of PEDOT at specified locations inside of peripheral nerve. This work demonstrates the potential for using in situ PEDOT electrodeposition as an injectable electrode for recording and stimulation of peripheral nerves.
Aspects of species life histories may increase their susceptibility to climate change. Owing to their exclusive reliance on environmental sources of heat for incubation, megapodes may be especially vulnerable. We employed a trait-based vulnerability assessment to weigh their exposure to projected climate variables of increasing temperatures, fluctuating rainfall and sea level rise and their biological sensitivity and capacity to adapt. While all 21 species were predicted to experience at least a 2 °C increase in mean annual temperature, 12 to experience a moderate or greater fluctuation in rainfall and 16 to experience rising seas, the most vulnerable megapodes are intrinsically rare and range restricted. Species that employ microbial decomposition for incubation may have an adaptive advantage over those that do not and may be more resilient to climate change. The moderate microclimate necessary for mound incubation, however, may in some areas be threatened by anthropogenic habitat loss exacerbated by warmer and seasonally drier conditions. As with many avian species, little is known about the capacity of megapodes to adapt to a changing climate. We therefore recommend that future research efforts investigate megapode fecundity, gene flow and genetic connectivity at the population level to better determine their adaptive capacity.
The ability to interface electronic materials with the peripheral nervous system is required for stimulation and monitoring of neural signals. Thus, the design and engineering of robust neural interfaces that maintain material-tissue contact in the presence of material or tissue micromotion offer the potential to conduct novel measurements and develop future therapies that require chronic interface with the peripheral nervous system. However, such remains an open challenge given the constraints of existing materials sets and manufacturing approaches for design and fabrication of neural interfaces. Here, we investigated the potential to leverage a rapid prototyping approach for the design and fabrication of nerve cuffs that contain supporting features to mechanically stabilize the interaction between cuff electrodes and peripheral nerve. A hybrid 3D printing and robotic-embedding (i.e., pick-and-place) system was used to design and fabricate silicone nerve cuffs (800 µm diameter) containing conforming platinum (Pt) electrodes. We demonstrate that the electrical impedance of the cuff electrodes can be reduced by deposition of the conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) on cuff electrodes via a post-processing electropolymerization technique. The computer-aided design and manufacturing approach was also used to design and integrate supporting features to the cuff that mechanically stabilize the interface between the cuff electrodes and the peripheral nerve. Both ‘self-locking’ and suture-assisted locking mechanisms are demonstrated based on the principle of making geometric alterations to the cuff opening via 3D printing. Ultimately, this work shows 3D printing offers considerable opportunity to integrate supporting features, and potentially even novel electronic materials, into nerve cuffs that can support the design and engineering of next generation neural interfaces.
We compare two bootstrap methods for assessing mutual fund performance. The first produces narrow confidence intervals due to pooling over time, whereas the second produces wider confidence intervals because it preserves the cross correlation of fund returns. We then show that the average U.K. equity mutual fund manager is unable to deliver outperformance net of fees under either bootstrap. Gross of fees, 95% of fund managers on the basis of the first bootstrap and all fund managers on the basis of the second bootstrap fail to outperform the luck distribution of gross returns.
For many pension schemes, a shortage of data limits their ability to use sophisticated stochastic mortality models to assess and manage their exposure to longevity risk. In this study, we develop a mortality model designed for such pension schemes, which compares the evolution of mortality rates in a sub-population with that observed in a larger reference population. We apply this approach to data from the CMI Self-Administered Pension Scheme study, using U.K. population data as a reference. We then use the approach to investigate the potential differences in the evolution of mortality rates between these two populations and find that, in many practical situations, basis risk is much less of a problem than is commonly believed.