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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.
We conducted a matched case-control (MCC), test-negative case-control (TNCC) and case-cohort study in 2016 in Lusaka, Zambia, following a mass vaccination campaign. Confirmed cholera cases served as cases in all three study designs. In the TNCC, control-subjects were cases with negative cholera culture and polymerase chain reaction results. Matched controls by age and sex were selected among neighbours of the confirmed cases in the MCC study. For the case-cohort study, we recruited a cohort of randomly selected individuals living in areas considered at-risk of cholera. We recruited 211 suspected cases (66 confirmed cholera cases and 145 non-cholera diarrhoea cases), 1055 matched controls and a cohort of 921. Adjusted vaccine effectiveness of one dose of oral cholera vaccine (OCV) was 88.9% (95% confidence interval (CI) 42.7–97.8) in the MCC study, 80.2% (95% CI: 16.9–95.3) in the TNCC design and 89.4% (95% CI: 64.6–96.9) in the case-cohort study. Three study designs confirmed the short-term effectiveness of single dose OCV. Major healthcare-seeking behaviour bias did not appear to affect our estimates. Most of the protection among vaccinated individuals could be attributed to the direct effect of the vaccine.
The adoption of chemical fallow rotations in Pacific Northwest dryland winter wheat production has caused a weed species composition shift in which scouringrush has established in production fields. Thus, there has been interest in identifying herbicides that effectively control scouringrush in winter wheat–chemical fallow cropping systems. Field experiments were established in growers’ fields near Reardan, WA, in 2014, and The Dalles, OR, in 2015. Ten herbicide treatments were applied to mowed and nonmowed plots during chemical fallow rotations. Scouringrush stem densities were quantified the following spring and after wheat harvest at both locations. Chlorsulfuron plus MCPA-ester resulted in nearly 100% control of scouringrush through wheat harvest. Before herbicide application, mowing had no effect on herbicide efficacy. We conclude chlorsulfuron plus MCPA-ester is a commercially acceptable treatment for smooth and intermediate scouringrush control in winter wheat–chemical fallow cropping systems; however, the lack of a positive yield response when scouringrushes were controlled should factor into management decisions.
This paper updates Living with Mortality published in 2006. It describes how the longevity risk transfer market has developed over the intervening period, and, in particular, how insurance-based solutions – buy-outs, buy-ins and longevity insurance – have triumphed over capital markets solutions that were expected to dominate at the time. Some capital markets solutions – longevity-spread bonds, longevity swaps, q-forwards and tail-risk protection – have come to market, but the volume of business has been disappointingly low. The reason for this is that when market participants compare the index-based solutions of the capital markets with the customised solutions of insurance companies in terms of basis risk, credit risk, regulatory capital, collateral and liquidity, the former perform on balance less favourably despite a lower potential cost. We discuss the importance of stochastic mortality models for forecasting future longevity and examine some applications of these models, e.g. determining the longevity risk premium and estimating regulatory capital relief. The longevity risk transfer market is now beginning to recognise that there is insufficient capacity in the insurance and reinsurance industries to deal fully with demand and new solutions for attracting capital markets investors are now being examined – such as longevity-linked securities and reinsurance sidecars.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression are prevalent in older adults.
To compare clinician-guided and self-guided versions of a transdiagnostic
internet-delivered cognitive–behavioural therapy (iCBT) intervention for
adults aged 60 years and above.
Adults (n=433) with symptoms of anxiety and depression
were randomly allocated to: (1) clinician-guided treatment
(n=153); (2) initial clinician interview followed by
self-guided treatment (n=140); or (3) self-guided
treatment without interview (n=140).
Large reductions (d ≥1.00) in symptoms of depression and
anxiety were observed across groups, and sustained at follow-up. No
differences were observed in clinical outcomes or satisfaction ratings.
Age did not affect outcomes.
Carefully developed iCBT interventions may significantly reduce symptoms
of anxiety and depression in older adults when delivered in either
clinician-guided or self-guided formats.
The Wellbeing Plus Course is an internet-delivered psychological intervention for older adults with anxiety or depression.
To compare the effectiveness of the Wellbeing Plus Course in a public health setting (clinic group) with its efficacy in a randomised controlled trial (research group).
Participants (n = 949) were Australian adults aged 60 and above. Primary outcome measures were the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7).
Initial symptom severity was higher in the clinic group and course completion was lower. Both groups showed significant symptom reductions at post-treatment and were satisfied with the treatment. Results were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Within-group symptom changes were comparable between settings; there were no between-group differences on primary outcomes or satisfaction.
The Wellbeing Plus Course is as effective and acceptable in routine clinical care, as it is in controlled research trials.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
Aphthona spp. flea beetles were released in two ecological sites of the Little Missouri National Grasslands in southwestern North Dakota in 1999 to control leafy spurge. The change in leafy spurge density and soil seedbank composition was monitored to evaluate the effectiveness of the biological weed control agent and the associated change in plant communities 5, 10, and 15 yr after release in loamy overflow (valleys) and loamy sites (ridges). In 2014, 15 yr after release, leafy spurge stem density had decreased 94% from 110 to 7 stems m−2 in the loamy overflow sites and 88% from 78 to 9 stems m−2 in the loamy sites. Leafy spurge represented only 2% and 6% of the loamy overflow and loamy seedbanks in 2004, respectively, compared with nearly 67% and 70%, respectively, in 1999. There was a slow shift to reintroduction of native species into the seedbank over the last 15 yr. The number of desirable species increased to 21 by 2014 (more than three times the number of species in 1999) in the loamy overflow sites, and doubled to 14 species in the loamy sites, while less desirable forb species doubled in both sites. Desirable grass species doubled in the loamy overflow sites by 2014 but remained unchanged in loamy sites. Aphthona spp. successfully controlled leafy spurge for more than 15 yr without any additional control methods or costs to land managers and resulted in the slow return of a subset of native species.
Aminocyclopyrachlor (AMCP) will control many invasive broadleaf weeds, but the susceptibility of desirable forbs is not widely known. Native prairie response to AMCP was evaluated near Fargo, ND, and Felton, MN, in the Northern Great Plains. Both sites had high floristic quality prior to treatment, with 33 and 80 different species at Fargo and Felton, respectively. AMCP was applied at 140 g ha−1 in July 2014 to coincide with leafy spurge and Canada thistle treatment timing. AMCP altered the plant communities and reduced foliar cover of undesirable species, high seral forbs (undisturbed stable communities), and low seral forbs (early succession in disturbed communities) at both locations at 10 and 14 mo after treatment (MAT). AMCP reduced Canada thistle and leafy spurge in Fargo and eliminated hedge bindweed, prickly lettuce, and black medic in Felton. High seral forb foliar cover was reduced at 10 and 14 MAT from 20% to 2% and 3% in Fargo and from 19% to 1.6% and 2% in Felton, respectively. The high seral forb species birdfoot violet, white panicled aster, northern bedstraw, Canada goldenrod, purple meadowrue, and American vetch were reduced at both locations. Low seral forb cover also decreased at 10 MAT from 22% to 10% in Fargo and from 12% to 1% in Felton, respectively. By 14 MAT, low seral species in Fargo recovered to 16%, but recovery was much slower in Felton and slightly increased to 1.5%. After treatment high and low seral monocot species increased at both sites, likely due to reduced competition from susceptible species. AMCP reduced richness, evenness, and diversity at both locations at 10 and 14 MAT; therefore, floristic quality declined. A decline in diversity is generally undesirable but could have beneficial effects if invasive weeds and other undesirable species are reduced or eliminated.
Parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus (Apicomplexa: Haemosporida) are a diverse group of pathogens that infect birds nearly worldwide. Despite their ubiquity, the ecological and evolutionary factors that shape the diversity and distribution of these protozoan parasites among avian communities and geographic regions are poorly understood. Based on a survey throughout the Neotropics of the haemosporidian parasites infecting manakins (Pipridae), a family of Passerine birds endemic to this region, we asked whether host relatedness, ecological similarity and geographic proximity structure parasite turnover between manakin species and local manakin assemblages. We used molecular methods to screen 1343 individuals of 30 manakin species for the presence of parasites. We found no significant correlations between manakin parasite lineage turnover and both manakin species turnover and geographic distance. Climate differences, species turnover in the larger bird community and parasite lineage turnover in non-manakin hosts did not correlate with manakin parasite lineage turnover. We also found no evidence that manakin parasite lineage turnover among host species correlates with range overlap and genetic divergence among hosts. Our analyses indicate that host switching (turnover among host species) and dispersal (turnover among locations) of haemosporidian parasites in manakins are not constrained at this scale.
Streptococcus pneumoniae (Spn) is a leading cause of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), yet existing diagnostic tools remain inadequate. We aimed to evaluate laboratory and radiological methods for detecting pneumococcal aetiology in CAP patients and to estimate Spn prevalence in this group. All-aged patients hospitalized with clinically defined CAP in northern Togo were enrolled during 2010–2013. Latent class analysis pooled results of semi-automated blood culture (SABC), whole blood lytA real-time polymerase chain reaction (rt-PCR), serum C-reactive protein (CRP), and chest radiography (CXR) and categorized patients as likely pneumococcal or non-pneumococcal CAP. We enrolled 1684 patients; 1501 had results for all tests. CXR, SABC, lytA rt-PCR and CRP >71·2 mg/l had sensitivities of 94% [95% confidence interval (CI) 87–100], 13% (95% CI 10–16), 17% (95% CI 14–21) and 78% (95% CI 75–80), and specificities of 88% (95% CI 84–93), 100% (95% CI 99–100), 97% (95% CI 96–99) and 77% (95% CI 75–79), respectively. Pneumococcal attributable proportion was 34% (95% CI 32–37), increasing with age and in men. We estimated that Spn caused one third of CAP. Whole blood lytA rt-PCR was more sensitive than SABC; both had low sensitivity and high specificity. Conversely CXR was highly sensitive and reasonably specific; it could be a useful tool for epidemiological studies aiming to define Spn pneumonia incidence across all ages.
This article discusses the First Nations sample of a larger study on dementia care decisions and knowledge sharing. The purpose is to enhance understanding of the process of knowledge sharing among health care practitioners (HCPs), care partners, and persons with dementia (PWDs) within a rural First Nations community. A constructivist grounded theory methodology was used. Nineteen interviews were conducted at three points in time with two dementia care networks that included two PWDs, three care partners, and two HCPs. A sharing dementia care knowledge model was conceived, with the PWDs and their care partners at the centre. Knowledge sharing in the model was represented by three broad themes: (1) developing trusting relationships, (2) accessing and adapting the information, and (3) applying the information. Culturally sensitive approaches were essential to developing trusting relationships. Once developed, knowledge sharing through accessing, adapting, and applying the information was possible.
Two community-based density case-control studies were performed to assess risk factors for cholera transmission during inter-peak periods of the ongoing epidemic in two Haitian urban settings, Gonaives and Carrefour. The strongest associations were: close contact with cholera patients (sharing latrines, visiting cholera patients, helping someone with diarrhoea), eating food from street vendors and washing dishes with untreated water. Protective factors were: drinking chlorinated water, receiving prevention messages via television, church or training sessions, and high household socioeconomic level. These findings suggest that, in addition to contaminated water, factors related to direct and indirect inter-human contact play an important role in cholera transmission during inter-peak periods. In order to reduce cholera transmission in Haiti intensive preventive measures such as hygiene promotion and awareness campaigns should be implemented during inter-peak lulls, when prevention activities are typically scaled back.
In this paper we examine the dynamics of an initially stable bubble due to ultrasonic forcing by an acoustic wave. A tissue layer is modelled as a density interface acted upon by surface tension to mimic membrane effects. The effect of a rigid backing to the thin tissue layer is investigated. We are interested in ultrasound contrast agent type bubbles which have immediate biomedical applications such as the delivery of drugs and the instigation of sonoporation. We use the axisymmetric boundary integral technique detailed in Curtiss et al. (J. Comput. Phys., 2013, submitted) to model the interaction between a single bubble and the tissue layer. We have identified a new peeling mechanism whereby the re-expansion of a toroidal bubble can peel away tissue from a rigid backing. We explore the problem over a large range of parameters including tissue layer depth, interfacial tension and ultrasonic forcing.
The cold, dry, and stable air above the summits of the Antarctic plateau provides the best ground-based observing conditions from optical to sub-millimetre wavelengths to be found on the Earth. Pathfinder for an International Large Optical Telescope (PILOT) is a proposed 2 m telescope, to be built at Dome C in Antarctica, able to exploit these conditions for conducting astronomy at optical and infrared wavelengths. While PILOT is intended as a pathfinder towards the construction of future grand-design facilities, it will also be able to undertake a range of fundamental science investigations in its own right. This paper provides the performance specifications for PILOT, including its instrumentation. It then describes the kinds of projects that it could best conduct. These range from planetary science to the search for other solar systems, from star formation within the Galaxy to the star formation history of the Universe, and from gravitational lensing caused by exo-planets to that produced by the cosmic web of dark matter. PILOT would be particularly powerful for wide-field imaging at infrared wavelengths, achieving near diffraction-limited performance with simple tip–tilt wavefront correction. PILOT would also be capable of near diffraction-limited performance in the optical wavebands, as well be able to open new wavebands for regular ground-based observation, in the mid-IR from 17 to 40 μm and in the sub-millimetre at 200 μm.
The future of centimetre and metre-wave astronomy lies with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a telescope under development by a consortium of 17 countries that will be 50 times more sensitive than any existing radio facility. Most of the key science for the SKA will be addressed through large-area imaging of the Universe at frequencies from a few hundred MHz to a few GHz. The Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a technology demonstrator aimed in the mid-frequency range, and achieves instantaneous wide-area imaging through the development and deployment of phased-array feed systems on parabolic reflectors. The large field-of-view makes ASKAP an unprecedented synoptic telescope that will make substantial advances in SKA key science. ASKAP will be located at the Murchison Radio Observatory in inland Western Australia, one of the most radio-quiet locations on the Earth and one of two sites selected by the international community as a potential location for the SKA. In this paper, we outline an ambitious science program for ASKAP, examining key science such as understanding the evolution, formation and population of galaxies including our own, understanding the magnetic Universe, revealing the transient radio sky and searching for gravitational waves.
The objectives of the study were to determine the effect of the partial replacement of soyabean meal and rapeseed meal with feed grade urea or a slow-release urea on the performance, metabolism and whole-tract digestibility in mid-lactation dairy cows. Forty-two Holstein–Friesian dairy cows were allocated to one of three dietary treatments in each of three periods of 5 weeks duration in a Latin square design. Control (C) cows were offered a total mixed ration based on grass and maize silages and straight feeds that included 93 g/kg dry matter (DM) soyabean meal and 61 g/kg DM rapeseed meal. Cows that received either of the other two treatments were offered the same basal ration with the replacement of 28 g/kg DM soyabean and 19 g/kg DM rapeseed meal with either 5 g/kg DM feed grade urea (U) or 5.5 g/kg DM of the slow-release urea (S; Optigen®; Alltech Inc., Kentucky, USA), with the content of maize silage increasing. There was no effect (P > 0.05) of dietary treatment on DM intake, which averaged 22.5 kg/day. Similarly, there was no effect (P > 0.05) of treatment on daily milk or milk fat yield but there was a trend (P = 0.09) for cows offered either of the diets containing urea to have a higher milk fat content (average of 40.1 g/kg for U and S v. 38.9 g/kg for C). Milk true protein concentration and yield were not affected by treatment (P > 0.05). Milk yield from forage and N efficiency (g milk N output/g N intake) were highest (P < 0.01) in cows when offered S and lowest in C, with cows receiving U having intermediate values. Cows offered S also tended to have the highest live weight gain (0.38 kg/day) followed by U (0.23 kg/day) and C (0.01 kg/day; P = 0.07). Plasma urea concentrations were higher (P < 0.05) at 2 and 4 h post feeding in cows when offered U and lowest in C, with animals receiving S having intermediate values. There was no effect (P > 0.05) of treatment on whole-tract digestibility. In conclusion, the partial replacement of soyabean meal and rapeseed meal with feed grade urea or a slow-release urea can be achieved without affecting milk performance or diet digestibility, with the efficiency of conversion of dietary N into milk being improved when the slow-release urea was fed.
We identified and quantified regional and local environmental factors and spatial variation associated with tree-species composition across a 2000-m altitudinal gradient of Andean forest in north-western Argentina. A network of 47 1-ha plots was established along the altitudinal gradient within an area of about 25 000 km2; all trees ≥ 10 cm dbh were identified and measured. Constrained ordinations and variance-partitioning analyses were performed to investigate the determinants of tree-species distribution at the regional scale, across and within forest types (i.e. dry and cloud forests). We marked and measured a total of 22 240 trees belonging to 160 species. Significant environmental factors and spatial location combined accounted for 35% of total variation explained. A high proportion of variation was explained by climatic factors that were spatially structured; after removing the spatial effect, climate explained more variation in species composition across the complete gradient than did local factors. Relative importance of regional and local factors varied with geographic extent. Local factors explained more variation in tree-species composition at the within-forest scale than at the scale of the complete gradient. Our findings support the conceptual model of multi-scale controls on vegetation distribution, where local community composition and abundance result from processes at both regional and local scales.