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Twins Research Australia (TRA) is a community of twins and researchers working on health research to benefit everyone, including twins. TRA leads multidisciplinary research through the application of twin and family study designs, with the aim of sustaining long-term twin research that, both now and in the future, gives back to the community. This article summarizes TRA’s recent achievements and future directions, including new methodologies addressing causation, linkage to health, economic and educational administrative datasets and to geospatial data to provide insight into health and disease. We also explain how TRA’s knowledge translation and exchange activities are key to communicating the impact of twin studies to twins and the wider community. Building researcher capability, providing registry resources and partnering with all key stakeholders, particularly the participants, are important for how TRA is advancing twin research to improve health outcomes for society. TRA provides researchers with open access to its vibrant volunteer membership of twins, higher order multiples (multiples) and families who are willing to consider participation in research. Established four decades ago, this resource facilitates and supports research across multiple stages and a breadth of health domains.
Healthy young adults often demonstrate a leftward spatial bias called “pseudoneglect” which often diminishes with aging. One hypothesis for this phenomenon is an age-related deterioration in right hemisphere functions (right hemi-aging). If true, then a greater rightward bias should be evident on all spatial attention tasks regardless of content. Another hypothesis is a decrease in asymmetrical hemispheric activation with age (HAROLD). If true, older participants may show reduced bias in all spatial tasks, regardless of leftward or rightward biasing of specific spatial content.
Seventy right-handed healthy participants, 33 younger (21–40) and 37 older (60–78), were asked to bisect solid and character-letter lines as well as to perform left and right trisections of solid lines.
Both groups deviated toward the left on solid line bisections and left trisections. Both groups deviated toward the right on right trisections and character line bisections. In all tasks, the older participants were more accurate than the younger participants.
The finding that older participants were more accurate than younger participants across all bisection and trisection conditions suggests a decrease in the asymmetrical hemispheric activation of these specialized networks important in the allocation of contralateral spatial attention or spatial action intention.
Although grand, explanatory theories of tort law come apart from one another in many ways, they also have a fair amount in common. One core claim found in the work of various Kantian theorists, as well as a number of leading rights theorists, is that tort law develops, incrementally, in such a way as to achieve ever greater coherence (where such coherence is measured according to key tenets of the particular theories). This article takes issue with that claim. It shows, by reference to a host of legal landmarks, that tort law neither does, nor must, develop in this way. A great many important innovations in tort cannot be reconciled with central aspects of the theories in view, but they are easily explained by reference to major changes in material conditions of life, shifts in the ideological Zeitgeist, judicial partiality and juristic influence. As long as such factors are free to exert their influence – and there is nothing to suggest that they are not so free – it is implausible to suggest that tort law will inexorably move towards a state of ever greater coherence.
This article is concerned with the question of whether malice is an appropriate touchstone of liability in tort law. It begins by identifying four torts in which malice may properly be regarded as an ingredient of liability (distinguishing various other torts, such as private nuisance and defamation, in which malice plays a merely secondary and contingent role). Having identified these four torts – namely malicious prosecution, abuse of process, misfeasance in a public office and lawful means conspiracy – the article then seeks to identify a common juridical thread which links them together. So doing serves to rebut the allegation, often made in respect of all them, namely, that they are anomalous actions. It then concludes by considering the individual worth of these torts, bearing in mind the important difference between not being anomalous on the one hand, and being positively meritorious on the other. It concludes that a respectable defence of each of the four torts can be made even though malice is an atypical touchstone of liability.
Involuntary admission can be traumatic and is associated with negative attitudes that persist after the episode of illness has abated.
We aimed to prospectively assess satisfaction with care at the points of involuntary admission and symptomatic recovery, and identify their sociodemographic, clinical and service experience predictors.
Levels of satisfaction with care, and clinical and sociodemographic variables were obtained from a representative cohort of 263 patients at the point of involuntary admission and from 155 of these patients 3 months after termination of the involuntary admission. Data were analysed with multiple linear regression modelling.
Higher baseline awareness of illness (B = 0.19, P < 0.001) and older age (B = 0.05, P = 0.001) were associated with more satisfaction with care at baseline and follow-up. Transition to greater satisfaction with care was associated with improvements in awareness of illness (B = 0.13, P < 0.001) and in symptoms (B = 0.05, P = 0.02), as well as older age (B = 0.04, P = 0.01). Objective coercive experiences were not associated with variation in satisfaction with care.
There is wide variation in satisfaction with coercive care. Greater satisfaction with care is positively associated with clinical variables such as increased awareness of illness.
This paper addresses a straightforward question: ‘Should tort law recognise a defence of duress?’ Previous scholarship concerning this issue is thin on the ground, and the answers it supplies are demonstrably inadequate. Those who have favoured the development of a duress defence in tort have done so by analogy with criminal law where duress is, of course, well established. The rival school of thought has sought to highlight the fact that excuse defences are out of place in tort and that, therefore, there is no room for duress in tort. This paper rejects both approaches. It accepts that the criminal law is a poor source of analogy, but rejects the idea that duress must be seen as an excuse (and hence the idea that there can be no space for it in tort). It offers a fresh start based on the role of duress within tort law's sibling, the law of contract. It identifies three possible conceptions of duress in contract and then asks whether these conceptions could be used to ground a comparable defence of duress in tort by analogy. It concludes that a plausible case can be made in respect of each conception, but – given that the paper has primarily theoretical ambitions – it stops short of advocating any one conception in particular.
Melt electrospinning is a facile fabrication technique that can be utilized in the creation of microfibers without the use of solvent and with good control over feature placement. The available thermal energy of the melt electrospinning technique is often only utilized in the formation of the polymer melt but can also be used to thermodynamically drive chemical reactions. In this study, hybrid perovskite microcrystallites are synthesized in the polymer melt and electrospun to form composite microfibers. Unique hybrid perovskite microstructures were studied, elucidating mechanisms of formation at work in the polymer melt.
We present the first results of the MINDVIEW project. An innovative imaging system for the human brain examination, allowing simultaneous acquisition of PET/MRI images, has been designed and constructed. It consists of a high sensitivity and high resolution PET scanner integrated in a novel, head-dedicated, radio frequency coil for a 3T MRI scanner. Preliminary measurements from the PET scanner show sensitivity 3 times higher than state-of-the-art PET systems that will allow safe repeated studies on the same patient. The achieved spatial resolution, close to 1 mm, will enable differentiation of relevant brain structures for schizophrenia. A cost-effective and simple method of radiopharmaceutical production from 11C-carbon monoxide and a mini-clean room has been demonstrated. It has been shown that 11C-raclopride has higher binding potential in a new VAAT null mutant mouse model of schizophrenia compared to wild type control animals. A significant reduction in TSPO binding has been found in gray matter in a small sample of drug-naïve, first episode psychosis patients, suggesting a reduced number or an altered function of immune cells in brain at early stage schizophrenia.
Bacterial cultures exposed to iron-doped apatite nanoparticles (IDANPs) prior to the introduction of antagonistic viruses experience up to 2.3 times the bacterial destruction observed in control cultures. Maximum antibacterial activity of these bacteria-specific viruses, or phage, occurs after bacterial cultures have been exposed to IDANPs for 1 hr prior to phage introduction, demonstrating that IDANP-assisted phage therapy would not be straight forward, but would instead require controlled time release of IDANPs and phage. These findings motivated the design of an electrospun nanofiber mesh treatment delivery system that allows burst release of IDANPs, followed by slow, consistent release of phage for treatment of topical bacterial infections. IDANPs resemble hydroxyapatite, a biocompatible mineral analogous to the inorganic constituent of mammalian bone, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for many biomedical purposes. The composite nanofiber mesh was designed for IDANP-assisted phage therapy treatment of topical wounds and consists of a superficial, rapid release layer of polyethylene oxide (PEO) fibers doped with IDANPs, followed by inner, coaxial polycaprolactone / polyethylene glycol (PCL/PEG) blended polymer fiber layer for slower phage delivery. Our investigations have established that IDANP-doped PEO fibers are effective vehicles for dissemination of IDANPs for bacterial exposure and resultant increased bacterial death by phage. In this work, slower delivery of the phage behind IDANPs was accomplished using coaxial, electrospun fibers composed of PCL/PEG polymer blend.
Remission and recovery rates for people with first-episode psychosis (FEP) remain uncertain.
To assess pooled prevalence rates of remission and recovery in FEP and to investigate potential moderators.
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess pooled prevalence rates of remission and recovery in FEP in longitudinal studies with more than 1 year of follow-up data, and conducted meta-regression analyses to investigate potential moderators.
Seventy-nine studies were included representing 19072 patients with FEP. The pooled rate of remission among 12301 individuals with FEP was 58% (60 studies, mean follow-up 5.5 years). Higher remission rates were moderated by studies from more recent years. The pooled prevalence of recovery among 9642 individuals with FEP was 38% (35 studies, mean follow-up 7.2 years). Recovery rates were higher in North America than in other regions.
Remission and recovery rates in FEP may be more favourable than previously thought. We observed stability of recovery rates after the first 2 years, suggesting that a progressive deteriorating course of illness is not typical. Although remission rates have improved over time recovery rates have not, raising questions about the effectiveness of services in achieving improved recovery.
n-3 PUFA are lipids that play crucial roles in immune-regulation, cardio-protection and neurodevelopment. However, little is known about the role that these essential dietary fats play in modulating caecal microbiota composition and the subsequent production of functional metabolites. To investigate this, female C57BL/6 mice were assigned to one of three diets (control (CON), n-3 supplemented (n3+) or n-3 deficient (n3−)) during gestation, following which their male offspring were continued on the same diets for 12 weeks. Caecal content of mothers and offspring were collected for 16S sequencing and metabolic phenotyping. n3− male offspring displayed significantly less % fat mass than n3+ and CON. n-3 Status also induced a number of changes to gut microbiota composition such that n3− offspring had greater abundance of Tenericutes, Anaeroplasma and Coriobacteriaceae. Metabolomics analysis revealed an increase in caecal metabolites involved in energy metabolism in n3+ including α-ketoglutaric acid, malic acid and fumaric acid. n3− animals displayed significantly reduced acetate, butyrate and total caecal SCFA production. These results demonstrate that dietary n-3 PUFA regulate gut microbiota homoeostasis whereby n-3 deficiency may induce a state of disturbance. Further studies are warranted to examine whether these microbial and metabolic disturbances are causally related to changes in metabolic health outcomes.
Although the rumen fluke, Calicophoron daubneyi is now very common and widespread throughout Western Europe, reports of clinical cases are still rare. This study explores the epidemiological background to a severe rumen fluke outbreak in 6-month-old heifers on a dairy farm in Ireland. Sequence analysis of the cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (Cox1) gene of the rumen fluke metacercariae on pasture failed to identify predominant, possibly pathogenic subtypes. However, estimates of metacercarial load indicated that the animals were exposed to a daily dose of about 5334 C. daubneyi metacercariae for a period of 3 weeks resulting in the build-up of very large numbers of immature worms in the small intestine. It is hypothesized that specific environmental conditions may favour this parasite over its competitor, the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica, possibly by allowing it to emerge earlier. The possibility that C. daubneyi may be better adapted to the Irish climate than F. hepatica together with the fact that selective treatment against F. hepatica effectively frees the niche for C. daubneyi, may result in the gradual replacement of F. hepatica by C. daubneyi.
We used a web-based mixed methods survey (HowsYourHealth – Frail) to explore the health of frail older (78% age 80 or older) adults enrolled in a home-based primary care program in Vancouver, Canada. Sixty per cent of eligible respondents participated, representing over one quarter (92/350, 26.2%) of all individuals receiving the service. Despite high levels of co-morbidity and functional dependence, 50 per cent rated their health as good, very good, or excellent. Adjusted odds ratios for positive self-rated health were 7.50, 95 per cent CI [1.09, 51.81] and 4.85, 95 per cent CI [1.02, 22.95] for absence of bothersome symptoms and being able to talk to family or friends respectively. Narrative responses to questions about end of life and living with illness are also described. Results suggest that greater focus on symptom management, and supporting social contact, may improve frail seniors’ health.
This study focused on an instructional component often neglected when teaching the pronunciation of English as either a second, foreign, or international language—namely, the suprasegmental feature of lexical stress. Extending previous research on collaborative priming tasks and task repetition, the study investigated the impact of task and procedural repetition on eliciting target-stress patterns during collaborative priming tasks. It employed a pretest-posttest design with 57 Korean high school students who were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a control, priming with task repetition, and priming with procedural repetition. Learners participated in a pretest, two priming sessions, and two posttests over a 4-week period. Learners’ ability to produce target-stress patterns was measured through sentence read-aloud tasks. The task repetition group repeated the same primes and prompts twice, whereas the procedural repetition group performed priming tasks with different primes and prompts during two sessions. Results indicate that the amount of primed production was significantly more than unprimed production. Additionally, both experimental conditions promoted learners’ accurate production of target-stress patterns, though, in relation to long-term impacts, repeating the same task (i.e., same procedure and same content) twice was more effective than repeating the procedure for a second time with different content. The results are discussed in light of pronunciation teaching using auditory priming tasks.
Hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites (HOIPs) have been previously compounded with hydrophobic polymers in order to improve the resilience of HOIPs in humid environments. In this study HOIP particles were synthesized and dispersed into a polymer solution. The weight loading of the HOIP phase in the composite was increased until an abrupt change in the electrical conduction was observed indicating a percolation threshold was approached. Additionally, the CH3NH3PbI3/ polystyrene composite media was characterized to assess morphology and the effect it has on the observed electrical properties.
Composite nanostructured foams consisting of a metallic shell deposited on a polymeric core were formed by plating copper via electroless deposition on electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) fiber mats. The final structure consisted of 1000-nm scale PCL fibers coated with 100s of nm of copper, leading to final core-shell thicknesses on the order of 1000-3000 nm. The resulting open cell, core-shell foams had relative densities between 4 and 15 %. By controlling the composition of the adjuncts in the plating bath, particularly the composition of formaldehyde, the relative thickness of copper coating as the fiber diameter could be controlled. As-spun PCL mats had a nominal compressive modulus on the order of 0.1 MPa; adding a uniform metallic shell increased the modulus up to 2 MPa for sub-10 % relative density foams. A computational materials science analysis using density functional theory was used to explore the effects pre-treatment with Pd may have on the density of nuclei formed during electroless plating.