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Australian conservation cropping systems are practiced on very large farms (approximately 3,000 ha) where herbicides are relied on for effective and timely weed control. In many fields, though, there are low weed densities (e.g., <1.0 plant 10 m−2) and whole-field herbicide treatments are wasteful. For fallow weed control, commercially available weed detection systems provide the opportunity for site-specific herbicide treatments, removing the need for whole-field treatment of fallow fields with low weed densities. Concern about the sustainability of herbicide-reliant weed management systems remain and there has not been interest in the use of weed detection systems for alternative weed control technologies, such as targeted tillage. In this paper, we discuss the use of a targeted tillage technique for site-specific weed control in large-scale crop production systems. Three small-scale prototypes were used for engineering and weed control efficacy testing across a range of species and growth stages. With confidence established in the design approach and a demonstrated 100% weed-control potential, a 6-m wide pre-commercial prototype, the “Weed Chipper,” was built incorporating commercially available weed-detection cameras for practical field-scale evaluation. This testing confirmed very high (90%) weed control efficacies and associated low levels (1.8%) of soil disturbance where the weed density was fewer than 1.0 plant 10 m−2 in a commercial fallow. These data established the suitability of this mechanical approach to weed control for conservation cropping systems. The development of targeted tillage for fallow weed control represents the introduction of site-specific, nonchemical weed control for conservation cropping systems.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants including genetics, environmental data and imaging. An online mental health questionnaire was designed for UK Biobank participants to expand its potential.
Describe the development, implementation and results of this questionnaire.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting a patient group. Operational criteria were agreed for defining likely disorder and risk states, including lifetime depression, mania/hypomania, generalised anxiety disorder, unusual experiences and self-harm, and current post-traumatic stress and hazardous/harmful alcohol use.
A total of 157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Participants were aged 45–82 (53% were ≥65 years) and 57% women. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status. Lifetime depression was a common finding, with 24% (37 434) of participants meeting criteria and current hazardous/harmful alcohol use criteria were met by 21% (32 602), whereas other criteria were met by less than 8% of the participants. There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with a high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The UK Biobank questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed because of selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Between 2010 and 2019 the international health care organization Partners In Health (PIH) and its sister organization Zanmi Lasante (ZL) mounted a long-term response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, focused on mental health. Over that time, implementing a Theory of Change developed in 2012, the organization successfully developed a comprehensive, sustained community mental health system in Haiti's Central Plateau and Artibonite departments, directly serving a catchment area of 1.5 million people through multiple diagnosis-specific care pathways. The resulting ZL mental health system delivered 28 184 patient visits and served 6305 discrete patients at ZL facilities between January 2016 and September 2019. The experience of developing a system of mental health services in Haiti that currently provides ongoing care to thousands of people serves as a case study in major challenges involved in global mental health delivery. The essential components of the effort to develop and sustain this community mental health system are summarized.
Lieder and Griffiths rightly urge that computational cognitive models be constrained by resource usage, but they should go further. The brain's primary function is to regulate resource usage. As a consequence, resource usage should not simply select among algorithmic models of “aspects of cognition.” Rather, “aspects of cognition” should be understood as existing in the service of resource management.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
A national need is to prepare for and respond to accidental or intentional disasters categorized as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE). These incidents require specific subject-matter expertise, yet have commonalities. We identify 7 core elements comprising CBRNE science that require integration for effective preparedness planning and public health and medical response and recovery. These core elements are (1) basic and clinical sciences, (2) modeling and systems management, (3) planning, (4) response and incident management, (5) recovery and resilience, (6) lessons learned, and (7) continuous improvement. A key feature is the ability of relevant subject matter experts to integrate information into response operations. We propose the CBRNE medical operations science support expert as a professional who (1) understands that CBRNE incidents require an integrated systems approach, (2) understands the key functions and contributions of CBRNE science practitioners, (3) helps direct strategic and tactical CBRNE planning and responses through first-hand experience, and (4) provides advice to senior decision-makers managing response activities. Recognition of both CBRNE science as a distinct competency and the establishment of the CBRNE medical operations science support expert informs the public of the enormous progress made, broadcasts opportunities for new talent, and enhances the sophistication and analytic expertise of senior managers planning for and responding to CBRNE incidents.
The widespread use of herbicides in cropping systems has led to the evolution of resistance in major weeds. The resultant loss of herbicide efficacy is compounded by a lack of new herbicide sites of action, driving demand for alternative weed control technologies. While there are many alternative methods for control, identifying the most appropriate method to pursue for commercial development has been hampered by the inability to compare techniques in a fair and equitable manner. Given that all currently available and alternative weed control methods share an intrinsic energy consumption, the aim of this review was to compare methods based on energy consumption. Energy consumption was compared for chemical, mechanical, and thermal weed control technologies when applied as broadcast (whole-field) and site-specific treatments. Tillage systems, such as flex-tine harrow (4.2 to 5.5 MJ ha−1), sweep cultivator (13 to 14 MJ ha−1), and rotary hoe (12 to 17 MJ ha−1) consumed the least energy of broadcast weed control treatments. Thermal-based approaches, including flaming (1,008 to 4,334 MJ ha−1) and infrared (2,000 to 3,887 MJ ha−1), are more appropriate for use in conservation cropping systems; however, their energy requirements are 100- to 1,000-fold greater than those of tillage treatments. The site-specific application of weed control treatments to control 2-leaf-stage broadleaf weeds at a density of 5 plants m−2 reduced energy consumption of herbicidal, thermal, and mechanical treatments by 97%, 99%, and 97%, respectively. Significantly, this site-specific approach resulted in similar energy requirements for current and alternative technologies (e.g., electrocution [15 to 19 MJ ha−1], laser pyrolysis [15 to 249 MJ ha−1], hoeing [17 MJ ha−1], and herbicides [15 MJ ha−1]). Using similar energy sources, a standardized energy comparison provides an opportunity for estimation of weed control costs, suggesting site-specific weed management is critical in the economically realistic implementation of alternative technologies.
Furnished cage housing for laying hens has been introduced in some countries as a ‘welfare-friendly’ alternative to conventional cage systems. Whether this housing system would be acceptable to the public remains unknown. This pilot study aimed to engage the public through online discussions in order to investigate their knowledge, support and perception of laying hen welfare housed in furnished cages. During these discussions, a science-based information statement about furnished cages was introduced. Through a mixed method approach, surveys to assess beliefs and knowledge were administered to participants before and after the online discussion. We qualitatively analysed the online discussion transcripts to determine recurrent themes, and quantitatively measured levels of knowledge and support for furnished cages using pre- and post-forum surveys. Support for the introduction increased from 55% pre-forum to 65% post-forum. Additionally, the participants’ perceived welfare of laying hens in furnished cages and objective knowledge of furnished cages significantly increased after online discussion. These results suggest that engagement with the public combined with the delivery of science-based information may be important factors when considering whether to introduce new farming practices. Trust in industry through transparency and willingness to engage in discussions with the public might also mitigate public concerns.
There is community concern about the treatment of farm animals post-farm gate, particularly animal transport and slaughter. Relationships between lamb behavioural and physiological variables on farm, stockperson, dog and lamb behavioural variables pre-slaughter and plasma cortisol, glucose and lactate in lambs post-slaughter were studied in 400 lambs. The lambs were observed in three behavioural tests, novel arena, flight distance to a human and temperament tests, before transport for slaughter. Closed-circuit television video footage was used to record stockperson, dog and lamb behaviour immediately before slaughter. Blood samples for cortisol, glucose and lactate analyses were collected on farm following the three behavioural tests and immediately post-slaughter. The regression models that best predicted plasma cortisol, glucose and lactate concentrations post-slaughter included a mixture of stockperson and dog behavioural variables as well as lamb variables both on-farm and pre-slaughter. These regression models accounted for 33%, 34% and 44% of the variance in plasma cortisol, glucose and lactate concentrations post-slaughter, respectively. Some of the stockperson and dog behaviours pre-slaughter that were predictive of the stress and metabolic variables post-slaughter included the duration of negative stockperson behaviours such as fast locomotion and lifting/pulling lambs, and the duration of dog behaviours such as lunging and barking at the lamb, while some of the predictive lamb behaviour variables included the durations of jumping and fleeing. Some of the physiological and behavioural responses to the behavioural tests on farm were also predictive of the stress and metabolic variables post-slaughter. These relationships support the well-demonstrated effect of handling on fear and stress responses in livestock, and although not direct evidence of causal relationships, highlight the potential benefits of training stockpeople to reduce fear and stress in sheep at abattoirs.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants that offers unique opportunities to investigate multiple diseases and risk factors.
An online mental health questionnaire completed by UK Biobank participants was expected to expand the potential for research into mental disorders.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting with a patient group regarding acceptability. Case definitions were defined using operational criteria for lifetime depression, mania, anxiety disorder, psychotic-like experiences and self-harm, as well as current post-traumatic stress and alcohol use disorders.
157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status than the general population across a range of indicators. Thirty-five per cent (55 750) of participants had at least one defined syndrome, of which lifetime depression was the most common at 24% (37 434). There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed owing to selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Declaration of interest
G.B. received grants from the National Institute for Health Research during the study; and support from Illumina Ltd. and the European Commission outside the submitted work. B.C. received grants from the Scottish Executive Chief Scientist Office and from The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation during the study. C.S. received grants from the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust during the study, and is the Chief Scientist for UK Biobank. M.H. received grants from the Innovative Medicines Initiative via the RADAR-CNS programme and personal fees as an expert witness outside the submitted work.
One of the biggest medical challenges after the detonation of a nuclear device will be implementing a strategy to assess the severity of radiation exposure among survivors and to triage them appropriately. Those found to be at significant risk for radiation injury can be prioritized to receive potentially lifesaving myeloid cytokines and to be evacuated to other communities with intact health care infrastructure prior to the onset of severe complications of bone marrow suppression. Currently, the most efficient and accessible triage method is the use of sequential complete blood counts to assess lymphocyte depletion kinetics that correlate with estimated whole-body dose radiation exposure. However, even this simple test will likely not be available initially on the scale required to assess the at-risk population. Additional variables such as geographic location of exposure, sheltering, and signs and symptoms may be useful for initial sorting. An interdisciplinary working group composed of federal, state, and local public health experts proposes an Exposure And Symptom Triage (EAST) tool combining estimates of exposure from maps with clinical assessments and single lymphocyte counts if available. The proposed tool may help sort survivors efficiently at assembly centers near the damage and fallout zones and enable rapid prioritization for appropriate treatment and transport. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018; 12: 386–395)
The dietary inflammatory index (DIITM) is a novel composite score based on a range of nutrients and foods known to be associated with inflammation. DII scores have been linked to the risk of a number of cancers, including oesophageal squamous cell cancer and oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC). Given that OAC stems from acid reflux and that the oesophageal epithelium undergoes a metaplasia-dysplasia transition from the resulting inflammation, it is plausible that a high DII score (indicating a pro-inflammatory diet) may exacerbate risk of OAC and its precursor conditions. The aim of this analytical study was to explore the association between energy-adjusted dietary inflammatory index (E-DIITM) in relation to risk of reflux oesophagitis, Barrett’s oesophagus and OAC. Between 2002 and 2005, reflux oesophagitis (n 219), Barrett’s oesophagus (n 220) and OAC (n 224) patients, and population-based controls (n 256), were recruited to the Factors influencing the Barrett’s Adenocarcinoma Relationship study in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. E-DII scores were derived from a 101-item FFQ. Unconditional logistic regression analysis was applied to determine odds of oesophageal lesions according to E-DII intakes, adjusting for potential confounders. High E-DII scores were associated with borderline increase in odds of reflux oesophagitis (OR 1·87; 95 % CI 0·93, 3·73), and significantly increased odds of Barrett’s oesophagus (OR 2·05; 95 % CI 1·22, 3·47), and OAC (OR 2·29; 95 % CI 1·32, 3·96), when comparing the highest with the lowest tertiles of E-DII scores. In conclusion, a pro-inflammatory diet may exacerbate the risk of the inflammation-metaplasia-adenocarcinoma pathway in oesophageal carcinogenesis.
A recent quantitative review in the area of stigma and help seeking in the armed forces has questioned the association between these factors (Sharp et al. 2015). To date, the contribution of qualitative literature in this area has largely been ignored, despite the value this research brings to the understanding of complex social constructs such as stigma. The aim of the current systematic review of qualitative studies was to identify appropriate literature, assess the quality and synthesize findings across studies regarding evidence of stigma-related barriers and facilitators to help seeking for mental health issues within the armed forces. A multi-database text word search incorporating searches of PsycINFO, MEDLINE, Social Policy and Practice, Social Work Abstracts, EMBASE, ERIC and EBM Review databases between 1980 and April 2015 was conducted. Literature was quality assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool. Thematic synthesis was conducted across the literature. The review identified eight studies with 1012 participants meeting the inclusion criteria. Five overarching themes were identified across the literature: (1) non-disclosure; (2) individual beliefs about mental health; (3) anticipated and personal experience of stigma; (4) career concerns; and (5) factors influencing stigma. The findings from the current systematic review found that unlike inconsistent findings in the quantitative literature, there was substantial evidence of a negative relationship between stigma and help seeking for mental health difficulties within the armed forces. The study advocates for refinement of measures to accurately capture the complexity of stigma and help seeking in future quantitative studies.
Background: The Comprehensive Post-Acute Stroke Services (COMPASS) Study is one of the first large pragmatic randomized-controlled clinical trials using comparative effectiveness research methods, funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. In the COMPASS Study, we compare the effectiveness of a patient-centered, transitional care intervention versus usual care for stroke patients discharged home from acute care. Outcomes include stroke patient post-discharge functional status and caregiver strain 90 days after discharge, and hospital readmissions. A central tenet of Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute-funded research is stakeholder engagement throughout the research process. However, evidence on how to successfully implement a pragmatic trial that changes systems of care in combination with robust stakeholder engagement is limited. This combination is not without challenges. Methods: We present our approach for broad-based stakeholder engagement in the context of a pragmatic trial with the participation of patients, caregivers, community stakeholders, including the North Carolina Stroke Care Collaborative hospital network, and policy makers. To maximize stakeholder engagement throughout the COMPASS Study, we employed a conceptual model with the following components: (1) Patient and Other Stakeholder Identification and Selection; (2) Patient and Other Stakeholder Involvement Across the Spectrum of Research Activities; (3) Dedicated Resources for Patient and Other Stakeholder Involvement; (4) Support for Patient and Other Stakeholder Engagement Through Organizational Processes; (5) Communication with Patients and Other Stakeholders; (6) Transparent Involvement Processes; (7) Tracking of Engagement; and (8) Evaluation of Engagement. Conclusion: In this paper, we describe how each component of the model is being implemented and how this approach addresses existing gaps in the literature on strategies for engaging stakeholders in meaningful and useful ways when conducting pragmatic trials.
To describe the frequency, characteristics, and exposure associated with influenza in hospitalized patients in a Toronto hospital
Prospective data collected for consenting patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza and a retrospective review of infection control charts for roommates of cases over 3 influenza seasons
Of the 661 patients with influenza (age range: 1 week–103 years), 557 were placed on additional precautions upon admission. Of 104 with symptoms detected after admission, 57 cases were community onset and 47 were nosocomial (10 nosocomial were part of outbreaks). A total of 78 cases were detected after admission exposing 143 roommates. Among roommates tested for influenza after exposure, no roommates of community-onset cases and 2 of 16 roommates of nosocomial cases were diagnosed with influenza. Of 637 influenza-infected patients, 25% and 57% met influenza-like illness definitions from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), respectively, and 70.3% met the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC) febrile respiratory illness definition. Among the 56 patients with community-onset influenza detected after admission, only 13%, 23%, and 34%, met PHAC, CDC, and PIDAC classifications, respectively.
In a setting with extensive screening and testing for influenza, 1 in 6 patients with influenza was not diagnosed until patients and healthcare workers had been exposed for >24 hours. Only 30% of patients with community-onset influenza detected after admission met the Ontario definition intended to identify cases, hampering efforts to prevent patient and healthcare worker exposures and reinforcing the need for prevention through vaccination.
To explore the frequency of hand hygiene opportunities (HHOs) in multiple units of an acute-care hospital.
Prospective observational study.
The adult intensive care unit (ICU), medical and surgical step-down units, medical and surgical units, and the postpartum mother–baby unit (MBU) of an academic acute-care hospital during May–August 2013, May–July 2014, and June–August 2015.
Healthcare workers (HCWs).
HHOs were recorded using direct observation in 1-hour intervals following Public Health Ontario guidelines. The frequency and distribution of HHOs per patient hour were determined for each unit according to time of day, indication, and profession.
In total, 3,422 HHOs were identified during 586 hours of observation. The mean numbers of HHOs per patient hour in the ICU were similar to those in the medical and surgical step-down units during the day and night, which were higher than the rates observed in medical and surgical units and the MBU. The rate of HHOs during the night significantly decreased compared with day (P<.0001). HHOs before an aseptic procedure comprised 13% of HHOs in the ICU compared with 4%–9% in other units. Nurses contributed >92% of HHOs on medical and surgical units, compared to 67% of HHOs on the MBU.
Assessment of hand hygiene compliance using product utilization data requires knowledge of the appropriate opportunities for hand hygiene. We have provided a detailed characterization of these estimates across a wide range of inpatient settings as well as an examination of temporal variations in HHOs.