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Background: Hereditary transthyretin-mediated (hATTR) amyloidosis is a multi-systemic, heterogenous, life-threatening disease. Patisiran resulted in significant improvement in neuropathy and QoL at 18-months compared to placebo, and was generally well-tolerated in the Phase 3 APOLLO study. Methods: Multi-center, OLE study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of long-term patisiran dosing for ≤ 5 years in hATTR amyloidosis patients with polyneuropathy who have completed the APOLLO study (NCT02510261). Endpoints include safety, tolerability and long-term efficacy of patisiran. Measures of clinical benefit are the same endpoints used in APOLLO including changes in mNIS+7 composite neuropathy impairment score and QoL (Norfolk QoL-DN) Results: As of December 2017, 184 of 186 (99%) patients who completed APOLLO and 25 patients from the Ph 2 OLE study enrolled in the Global OLE study. Baseline data for 211(APOLLO/placebo, n=49; APOLLO/patisiran, n=137 and patisiran Ph 2 OLE, n=25) patients included: median age 61 years (26-84); 74% males; 46% V30M. Interim safety data and 12-month efficacy results will be presented. Conclusions: The global OLE study includes a diverse population of hATTR amyloidosis patients. Interim data will include the long-term safety and maintenance of effect in patients continuing on patisiran, as well as the impact of treatment with patisiran on patients previously treated with placebo.
The Commensal Real-time Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder Fast Transients survey is the first extensive astronomical survey using phased array feeds. Since January 2017, it has been searching for fast radio bursts in fly’s eye mode. Here, we present a calculation of the sensitivity and total exposure of the survey that detected the first 20 of these bursts, using the pulsars B1641-45 and B0833-45 as calibrators. The beamshape, antenna-dependent system noise, and the effects of radio-frequency interference and fluctuations during commissioning are quantified. Effective survey exposures and sensitivities are calculated as a function of the source counts distribution. Statistical ‘stat’ and systematics ‘sys’ effects are treated separately. The implied fast radio burst rate is significantly lower than the 37 sky−1 day−1 calculated using nominal exposures and sensitivities for this same sample by Shannon et al. (2018). At the Euclidean (best-fit) power-law index of −1.5 (−2.2), the rate is
(sys) ± 3.6 (stat) sky−1 day−1 (
(sys) ± 2.8 (stat) sky−1 day−1) above a threshold of 56.6 ± 6.6(sys) Jy ms (40.4 ± 1.2(sys) Jy ms). This strongly suggests that these calculations be performed for other FRB-hunting experiments, allowing meaningful comparisons to be made between them.
In the past few years, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of forcibly displaced migrants worldwide, of which a substantial proportion is refugees and asylum seekers. Refugees and asylum seekers may experience high levels of psychological distress, and show high rates of mental health conditions. It is therefore timely and particularly relevant to assess whether current evidence supports the provision of psychosocial interventions for this population. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the efficacy and acceptability of psychosocial interventions compared with control conditions (treatment as usual/no treatment, waiting list, psychological placebo) aimed at reducing mental health problems in distressed refugees and asylum seekers.
We used Cochrane procedures for conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs. We searched for published and unpublished RCTs assessing the efficacy and acceptability of psychosocial interventions in adults and children asylum seekers and refugees with psychological distress. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive and anxiety symptoms at post-intervention were the primary outcomes. Secondary outcomes include: PTSD, depressive and anxiety symptoms at follow-up, functioning, quality of life and dropouts due to any reason.
We included 26 studies with 1959 participants. Meta-analysis of RCTs revealed that psychosocial interventions have a clinically significant beneficial effect on PTSD (standardised mean difference [SMD] = −0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI] −1.01 to −0.41; I2 = 83%; 95% CI 78–88; 20 studies, 1370 participants; moderate quality evidence), depression (SMD = −1.02; 95% CI −1.52 to −0.51; I2 = 89%; 95% CI 82–93; 12 studies, 844 participants; moderate quality evidence) and anxiety outcomes (SMD = −1.05; 95% CI −1.55 to −0.56; I2 = 87%; 95% CI 79–92; 11 studies, 815 participants; moderate quality evidence). This beneficial effect was maintained at 1 month or longer follow-up, which is extremely important for populations exposed to ongoing post-migration stressors. For the other secondary outcomes, we identified a non-significant trend in favour of psychosocial interventions. Most evidence supported interventions based on cognitive behavioural therapies with a trauma-focused component. Limitations of this review include the limited number of studies collected, with a relatively low total number of participants, and the limited available data for positive outcomes like functioning and quality of life.
Considering the epidemiological relevance of psychological distress and mental health conditions in refugees and asylum seekers, and in view of the existing data on the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions, these interventions should be routinely made available as part of the health care of distressed refugees and asylum seekers. Evidence-based guidelines and implementation packages should be developed accordingly.
Exposure to armed conflict and forced displacement constitute significant risks for mental health. Existing evidence-based psychological interventions have limitations for scaling-up in low-resource humanitarian settings. The WHO has developed a guided self-help intervention, Self Help Plus (SH+), which is brief, implemented by non-specialists, and designed to be delivered to people with and without specific mental disorders. This paper outlines the study protocol for an evaluation of the SH+ intervention in northern Uganda, with South Sudanese refugee women.
A two-arm, single-blind cluster-randomised controlled trial will be conducted in 14 villages in Rhino Camp refugee settlement, with at least 588 women experiencing psychological distress. Villages will be randomly assigned to receive either SH+ with enhanced usual care (EUC), or EUC alone. SH+ is a five-session guided self-help intervention delivered in workshops with audio-recorded materials and accompanying pictorial guide. The primary outcome is reduction in overall psychological distress over time, with 3 months post-treatment as the primary end-point. Secondary outcomes are self-defined psychosocial concerns, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, hazardous alcohol use, feelings of anger, interethnic relations, psychological flexibility, functional impairment and subjective wellbeing. Psychological flexibility is a hypothesised mediator, and past trauma history and intervention attendance will be explored as potential moderators.
This trial will provide important information on the effectiveness of a scalable, guided self-help intervention for improving psychological health and wellbeing among people affected by adversity.
In this period of unprecedented levels of displacement, scalable interventions are needed to address mental health concerns of forced migrants in low-resource settings. This paper describes the adaptation and piloting of a guided, multi-media, self-help intervention, Self-Help Plus (SH+), which was developed to reduce psychological distress in large groups of people affected by adversity.
Using a phased approach that included community consultations, cognitive interviewing, facilitator training, pilot implementation, and a qualitative process evaluation, we adapted SH+ for use among South Sudanese refugees in a refugee settlement in northern Uganda.
The SH+ materials, including audio-recorded sessions and an accompanying illustrated manual, were translated into Juba Arabic. Cognitive interviewing primarily resulted in adaptations to language with some minor adaptations to content. Facilitator training and supervision led to further suggested changes to delivery methods. An uncontrolled pilot study (n = 65) identified changes in the expected direction on measures of psychological distress, functional impairment, depression, wellbeing, and psychological flexibility. The process evaluation resulted in further adaptations to intervention materials and the decision to focus future effectiveness evaluations of the intervention in its current form on South Sudanese female refugees.
We found that this potentially scalable, guided self-help intervention could be adapted for and feasibly implemented among female South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda. These findings lay the groundwork for a future rigorous evaluation of SH+ in this context.
Do minority voters respond to co-racial or co-ethnic candidates? That is does the increased chance of substantive representation translate into increased participation? Here, we focus on this question among African American voters. While much of the empirical literature on this question has produced conflicting answers, recent studies suggest that minority candidates can significantly increase minority turnout. We argue that past work on this topic does not adequately account for the fact that minority voters in places with minority candidates may systematically differ in their level of participation than minority voters in places without minority candidates. In this study we address the weaknesses of previous research designs and offer a new design that exploits the redistricting process to gain additional leverage over this question. We find little evidence that African American voter turnout increases when voters are moved to African American candidates. We find some evidence that white voters, however, tend to vote at lower rates when they are represented by African American candidates.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Six snow-pit records recovered from Siple Dome, West Antarctica, during 1994 are used to study seasonal variations in chemical (major ion and H202), isotopic (deuterium) and physical stratigraphic properties during the 1988-94 period. Comparison of δD measurements and satellite-derived brightness temperature for the Siple Dome area suggests that most seasonal SD maxima occur within ±4 weeks of each 1 January. Several other chemical species (H2O2, non-sea-salt (nss) SO42-, methanesulfonic acid and NO3-) show coeval peaks with SD, together providing an accurate method for identifying summer accumulation. Sea-salt-derived species generally peak during winter/spring, but episodic input is noted throughout some years. No reliable seasonal signal is identified in species with continental sources (nssCa2+ nss Mg2+), NH4+ or nssCl-. Visible strata such as large depth-hoar layers (>5 cm) are associated with summer accumulation and its metamorphosis, but smaller hoar layers and crusts are more difficult to interpret. A multi-parameter approach is found to provide the most accurate dating of these snow-pit records, and is used to determine annual layer thicknesses at each site Significant spatial accumulation variability exists on an annual basis, but mean accumulation in the sampled 10 km2 grid for the 1988-94 period is fairly uniform.
We are investigating complete samples of southern hemisphere flat spectrum extra-galactic radio sources drawn from the Parkes 2.7 GHz Survey (see Bolton et al. 1979 and references therein). These samples are being used for a variety of investigations, including a determination of the space distribution and luminosity function of radio QSOs, their radio size distribution, as well as the structures of the individual sources. Accurate positions are being determined, as well, in order to establish an extra-galactic position reference frame in the southern hemisphere.
Voting is a fundamental part of any democratic society. But survey-based measures of voting are problematic because a substantial proportion of nonvoters report that they voted. This over-reporting has consequences for our understanding of voting as well as the behaviors and attitudes associated with voting. Relying on the “bogus pipeline” approach, we investigate whether altering the wording of the turnout question can cause respondents to provide more accurate responses. We attempt to reduce over-reporting simply by changing the wording of the vote question by highlighting to the respondent that: (1) we can in fact find out, via public records, whether or not they voted; and (2) we (survey administrators) know some people who say they voted did not. We examine these questions through a survey on US voting-age citizens after the 2010 midterm elections, in which we ask them about voting in those elections. Our evidence shows that the question noting we would check the records improved the accuracy of the reports by reducing the over-reporting of turnout.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
Public Health England conducts enhanced national surveillance of tetanus, a potentially life-threatening vaccine-preventable disease. A standardized questionnaire was used to ascertain clinical and demographic details of individuals reported with clinically suspected tetanus. The 96 cases identified between 2001 and 2014 were analysed. The average annual incidence was 0·13/million (95% confidence interval 0·10–0·16) of which 50·0% were male. Where reported, 70·3% of injuries occurred in the home/garden (45/64). Overall, 40·3% (31/77) cases were in people who inject drugs (PWID), including a cluster of 22 cases during 2003–2004. Where known (n = 68), only 8·8% were age-appropriately immunized. The overall case-fatality rate was 11·0% (9/82). All tetanus-associated deaths occurred in adults aged >45 years, none of whom were fully immunized. Due to the success of the childhood immunization programme, tetanus remains a rare disease in England with the majority of cases occurring in older unimmunized or partially immunized adults. Minor injuries in the home/garden were the most commonly reported likely sources of infection, although cases in PWID increased during this period. It is essential that high routine vaccine coverage is maintained and that susceptible individuals, particularly older adults, are protected through vaccination and are offered timely post-exposure management following a tetanus-prone wound.
Commonly thought of as a disease of poverty and overcrowding in resource-poor settings globally, scabies is also an important public health issue in residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFE) in high-income countries such as the UK. We compared and contrasted current local Health Protection Team (HPT) guidelines for the management of scabies outbreaks in RCFE throughout England. We performed content analysis on 20 guidelines, and used this to create a quantitative report of their variation in key dimensions. Although the guidelines were generally consistent on issues such as the treatment protocols for individual patients, there was substantial variation in their recommendations regarding the prophylactic treatment of contacts, infection control measures and the roles and responsibilities of individual stakeholders. Most guidelines did not adequately address the logistical challenges associated with mass treatment in this setting. We conclude that the heterogeneous nature of the guidelines reviewed is an argument in favour of national guidelines being produced.
The Southern Hemisphere VLBI Experiment (SHEVE) program is aimed at producing high-resolution images of southern radio sources. The radio telescopes of the present SHEVE array are described below and some recent results presented.
In 1987 we began a 5-year program to establish a reference system of at least 400 extragalactic sources which are compact and flat spectrum in the radio and which also display optical emission. This reference frame is to be global with about one source per 100 sq deg (Johnston, et al., 1988). The program incorporates some data which had been obtained previously for other purposes. Altogether, in one or another aspect of the program, 489 sources have been considered so far.
HST ultra-violet and ground-based optical spectroscopy are presented for DI 1388, an early-type star in the Magellanic Bridge. These data have been supplemented with H I radio mapping of its environment. The spectroscopy shows interstellar components at LSR velocities of 0, 90 and 200 km s−1 – corresponding to the local ISM, a high velocity cloud and the Magellanic Bridge ISM, respectively. The last is the first absorption line detection of this material and shows the presence of both low (e.g., N I) and high (Si IV) ionization material. Further optical and HST UV observations of DI 1338 and another Bridge star, DGIK 975, are scheduled to investigate the chemical homogeneity and star formation history of the Bridge.
We present an overview of the survey for radio emission from active stars that has been in progress for the last six years using the observatories at Fleurs, Molonglo, Parkes and Tidbinbilla. The role of complementary optical observations at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, Mount Burnett, Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories and Mount Tamborine are also outlined. We describe the different types of star that have been included in our survey and discuss some of the problems in making the radio observations.
We present a list of bright (< 17 mag) southern QSOs and bright (< 11 mag) stars that may be suitable for the Hubble Space Telescope link between the Hipparcos astrometric reference frame and the VLBI extragalactic frame. The QSOs have been selected from various lists of radio objects and identifications. The stars have been selected from the Strasbourg (CDS) data base and from the Preliminary Second Cape Photographic Catalogue, and supplemented with stars measured from the SERC IIIa-J Schmidt survey. The list of QSOs and stars have been included in the Hipparcos and HST schedule of observations.
The Cosmology Distinction Course is a new one-year course to be introduced for Year 12 candidates in the 1994 Higher School Certificate examinations in NSW. It is one of three challenging courses of study that will enrich the HSC for talented students who accelerate and complete part of the HSC one year early. The courses will be taught through distance learning and will include residential seminars. They will be implemented on behalf of the Board of Studies by Charles Sturt University and the University of New England.
The Cosmology Course is organised into nine modules of course work covering historical and social aspects of cosmology, observational techniques, key observations and the various models developed—Newtonian, de Sitter, Friedmann, Lemaitre, steady-state, quasi-steady-state and big bang. Assessment will be through assignments, exams and a major project.
As the first Distinction Course in a scientific area, the Cosmology Course represents an exciting and important educational initiative that needs the cooperation of NSW astronomers and, in return, promises to benefit the astronomical and general scientific community in Australia.