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Between 2001 and 2017, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh conducted training and research in Belize built around an annual two-week field course, part of the Edinburgh M.Sc. programme in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants, focused on tropical plant identification, botanical-collecting and tropical fieldwork skills. This long-term collaboration in one country has led to additional benefits, most notably capacity building, acquisition of new country records, completion of M.Sc. thesis projects and publication of the findings in journal articles, and continued cooperation. Detailed summaries are provided for the specimens collected by students during the field course or return visits to Belize for M.Sc. thesis projects. Additionally, 15 species not recorded in the national checklist for Belize are reported. The information in this paper highlights the benefits of collaborations between institutions and countries for periods greater than the typical funding cycles of three to five years.
A classic example of microbiome function is its role in nutrient assimilation in both plants and animals, but other less obvious roles are becoming more apparent, particularly in terms of driving infectious and non-infectious disease outcomes and influencing host behaviour. However, numerous biotic and abiotic factors influence the composition of these communities, and host microbiomes can be susceptible to environmental change. How microbial communities will be altered by, and mitigate, the rapid environmental change we can expect in the next few decades remain to be seen. That said, given the enormous range of functional diversity conferred by microbes, there is currently something of a revolution in microbial bioengineering and biotechnology in order to address real-world problems including human and wildlife disease and crop and biofuel production. All of these concepts are explored in further detail throughout the book.
Extensive marketing of ‘toddler milks’ (sugar-sweetened milk-based drinks for toddlers) promotes unsubstantiated product benefits and raises concerns about consumption by young children. The present study documents trends in US toddler milk sales and assesses relationships with brand and category marketing.
We report annual US toddler milk and infant formula sales and marketing from 2006 to 2015. Sales response models estimate associations between marketing (television advertising spending, product price, number of retail displays) and volume sales of toddler milks by brand and category.
US Nielsen retail scanner sales and advertising spending data from 2006 to 2015.
Researchers analysed all Universal Product Codes (n 117·4 million) sold by seven infant formula and eight toddler milk brands from 2006 to 2015.
Advertising spending on toddler milks increased fourfold during this 10-year period and volume sales increased 2·6 times. In contrast, advertising spending and volume sales of infant formulas declined. Toddler milk volume sales were positively associated with television advertising and retail displays, and negatively associated with price, at both the brand and category levels.
Aggressive marketing of toddler milks has likely contributed to rapid sales increases in the USA. However, these sugar-sweetened drinks are not recommended for toddler consumption. Health-care providers, professional organizations and public health campaigns should provide clear guidance and educate parents to reduce toddler milk consumption and address misperceptions about their benefits. These findings also support the need to regulate marketing of toddler milks in countries that prohibit infant formula marketing to consumers.
Early studies of children’s questions focused primarily on the epistemic motive that prompted them. Increasingly, however, investigators have recognized that questions are situated within a dialogue in which the child’s interlocutor and the answers that the interlocutor supplies are likely to determine what children learn from their questions and the broader stance that children take to curiosity–driven conversations. Moreover, children do not ask questions with one single motive. Many of their questions are aimed at gathering information about the world but some are aimed at securing help, or permission or clarification of what has just been said. Even in the second year of life toddlers use nonverbal gestures such as pointing to seek input from a partner. Such gestures appear to be interrogative in the sense that information provided in their wake is especially well remembered. Toddlers also signal their ignorance again nonverbally via shrug gestures but increasingly via explicit admissions of ignorance: “I don’t know.” Finally, despite the alleged lack of metacognitive awareness among young children, they are prompt in seeking to resolve comprehension glitches by asking clarification questions.
Scientific quality and feasibility are part of ethics review by Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). Scientific Review Committees (SRCs) were proposed to facilitate this assessment by the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) SRC Consensus Group. This study assessed SRC feasibility and impact at CTSA-affiliated academic health centers (AHCs).
SRC implementation at 10 AHCs was assessed pre/post-intervention using quantitative and qualitative methods. Pre-intervention, four AHCs had no SRC, and six had at least one SRC needing modifications to better align with Consensus Group recommendations.
Facilitators of successful SRC implementation included broad-based communication, an external motivator, senior-level support, and committed SRC reviewers. Barriers included limited resources and staffing, variable local mandates, limited SRC authority, lack of anticipated benefit, and operational challenges. Research protocol quality did not differ significantly between study periods, but respondents suggested positive effects. During intervention, median total review duration did not lengthen for the 40% of protocols approved within 3 weeks. For the 60% under review after 3 weeks, review was lengthened primarily due to longer IRB review for SRC-reviewed protocols. Site interviews recommended designing locally effective SRC processes, building buy-in by communication or by mandate, allowing time for planning and sharing best practices, and connecting SRC and IRB procedures.
The CTSA SRC Consensus Group recommendations appear feasible. Although not conclusive in this relatively short initial implementation, sites perceived positive impact by SRCs on study quality. Optimal benefit will require local or federal mandate for implementation, adapting processes to local contexts, and employing SRC stipulations.
Stunting increases a child's susceptibility to diseases, increases mortality, and is associated over long term with reduced cognitive abilities, educational achievement, and productivity. We aimed to assess the most effective public health nutritional intervention to reduce stunting in Myanmar.
We searched the literature and developed a conceptual framework for interventions known to reduce stunting. We focused on the highest impact and most feasible interventions to reduce stunting in Myanmar, described policies to implement them, and compared their costs and projected effect on stunting using data-based decision trees. We estimated costs from the government perspective and calculated total projected cases of stunting prevented and cost per case prevented (cost-effectiveness). All interventions were compared to projected cases of stunting resulting from the current situation (e.g., no additional interventions).
Three new policy options were identified. Operational feasibility for all three options ranged from medium to high. Compared to the current situation, two were similarly cost-effective, at an additional USD 598 and USD 667 per case of stunting averted. The third option was much less cost-effective, at an additional USD 27,741 per case averted. However, if donor agencies were to expand their support in option three to the entire country, the prevalence of 22.5 percent would be reached by 2025 at an additional USD 667 per case averted.
A policy option involving immediate expansion of the current implementation of proven nutrition-specific interventions is feasible. It would have the highest impact on stunting and would approach the WHO 2025 target.
Adverse developmental outcomes for some children following institutional care are well established. Removal from institutional care and placement into families can promote recovery. However, little is known about how positive outcomes are sustained across adolescence among children with histories of severe deprivation. The present study examined the caregiving conditions that are associated with attaining and maintaining competent functioning (i.e., outcomes within typical levels) from middle childhood to adolescence following exposure to early institutional care. The participants included children with and without a history of institutional care who had competence assessed at ages 8, 12, and 16 years across seven domains: family relationships, peer relationships, academic performance, physical health, mental health, substance use (ages 12 and 16 years only), and risk-taking behavior. The participants were grouped based on whether they were always versus not always competent and never versus ever competent at ages 8 through 16 years. Adolescents with a history of institutional care were less likely to be consistently competent than those who were family reared. Among those who were exposed to early institutional rearing, maintaining competent functioning from 8 to 16 years was associated with spending less time in institutions and receiving higher-quality caregiving early in life. Ensuring high quality early caregiving may promote competent functioning following early deprivation.
The Sulawesi civet Macrogalidia musschenbroekii is endemic to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, where it is the largest mammalian predator. Limited field data means that little is known about the species’ distribution, habitat preferences, conservation status and needs, but it is believed to depend on primary forest. We conducted camera-trap surveys across the forests of North Sulawesi, including in two of its main protected areas: Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park and Tangkoko Nature Reserve. From 148 camera trap stations and 10,371 trap nights, Sulawesi civets were recorded 17 times at 12 stations, and in almost equal numbers in primary forest, secondary forest and farmland, including the first photographic records from both the National Park and Nature Reserve. We also collected data on the Malay civet Viverra tangalunga, an introduced species of Viverridae and potential competitor. Our records (n = 21) revealed that it is established in secondary forest; it only co-occurred twice with the Sulawesi civet. With a lapse of > 20 years since the last field record of the Sulawesi civet, our findings offer new insight into its status and new enthusiasm within the provincial government for its conservation, which has led to an extension of camera-trap research into neighbouring Gorontalo province.
The Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Consortium and the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) undertook a Common Metrics Initiative to improve research processes across the national CTSA Consortium. This was implemented by Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the 64 CTSA academic medical centers. Three metrics were collaboratively developed by NCATS staff, CTSA Consortium teams, and outside consultants for Institutional Review Board Review Duration, Careers in Clinical and Translational Research, and Pilot Award Publications and Subsequent Funding. The implementation program included training on the metric operational guidelines, data collection, data reporting system, and performance improvement framework. The implementation team provided small-group coaching and technical assistance. Collaborative learning sessions, driver diagrams, and change packages were used to disseminate best and promising practices. After 14 weeks, 84% of hubs had produced a value for one metric and about half had produced an initial improvement plan. Overall, hubs reported that the implementation activities facilitated their Common Metrics performance improvement process. Experiences implementing the first three metrics can inform future directions of the Common Metrics Initiative and other research groups implementing standardized metrics and performance improvement processes, potentially including other National Institutes of Health institutes and centers.
Computational acceleration of performance metric-based materials discovery via high-throughput screening and machine learning methods is becoming widespread. Nevertheless, development and optimization of the opto-electronic properties that depend on dilute concentrations of point defects in new materials have not significantly benefited from these advances. Here, the authors present an informatics and simulation suite to computationally accelerate these processes. This will enable faster and more fundamental materials research, and reduce the cost and time associated with the materials development cycle. Analogous to the new avenues enabled by current first-principles-based property databases, this type of framework will open entire new research frontiers as it proliferates.
Recent research has shown that children often learn what to believe by attending to the claims of other people. Similarly, they often learn how to act by attending to the actions of other people. Moreover, in each of these two domains, children are selective in their learning – they prefer to endorse and to emulate individuals who, as representatives of the surrounding culture, can serve as good models. I argue that this type of selective social learning also plays a major role in children’s emotional development. Although young children may encounter some situations that have a universal biological significance – for example a steep cliff or a sudden loud noise – the emotional implications of many encounters, especially with artefacts, people and foods, are likely to vary from one culture to another. Children can learn to perceive these encounters through the distinctive emotional lens of their own culture if they attend to and adopt the expressive appraisals of individuals who are representative of their culture. Such appraisals may be conveyed non-verbally, as in the classic social-referencing paradigm, but they can also be conveyed verbally.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
We used a survey to characterize contemporary infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship program practices across 64 healthcare facilities, and we compared these findings to those of a similar 2013 survey. Notable findings include decreased frequency of active surveillance for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, frequent active surveillance for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, and increased support for antibiotic stewardship programs.
Less than half of stool samples from people symptomatic with infectious intestinal disease (IID) will identify a causative organism. A secondary data analysis was undertaken to explore whether symptomology alone could be used to make inferences about causative organisms. Data were utilised from the Second Study of Infectious Intestinal Disease in the Community. A total of 844 cases were analysed. Few symptoms differentiated individual pathogens, but grouping pathogens together showed that viral IID was more likely when symptom onset was in winter (odds ratio (OR) 2.08, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.16–3.75) or spring (OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.11–3.33), the patient was aged under 5 years (OR 3.63, 95% CI 2.24–6.03) and there was loss of appetite (OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.29–3.72). The odds of bacterial IID were higher with diarrhoea in the absence of vomiting (OR 3.54, 95% CI 2.37–5.32), diarrhoea which persisted for >3 days (OR 2.69, 95% CI 1.82–3.99), bloody diarrhoea (OR 4.17, 95% CI 1.63–11.83) and fever (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.11–2.53). Symptom profiles could be of value to help guide clinicians and public health professionals in the management of IID, in the absence of microbiological confirmation.
Applied psychologists commonly use personality tests in employee selection systems because of their advantages regarding incremental criterion-related validity and less adverse impact relative to cognitive ability tests. Although personality tests have seen limited legal challenges in the past, we posit that the use of personality tests might see increased challenges under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) due to emerging evidence that normative personality and personality disorders belong to common continua. This article aims to begin a discussion and offer initial insight regarding the possible implications of this research for personality testing under the ADA. We review past case law, scholarship in employment law, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance regarding “medical examinations,” and recent literature from various psychology disciplines—including clinical, neuropsychology, and applied personality psychology—regarding the relationship between normative personality and personality disorders. More importantly, we review suggestions proposing the five-factor model (FFM) be used to diagnose personality disorders (PDs) and recent changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Our review suggests that as scientific understanding of personality progresses, practitioners will need to exercise evermore caution when choosing personality measures for use in selection systems. We conclude with six recommendations for applied psychologists when developing or choosing personality measures.
To ascertain opinions regarding etiology and preventability of hospital-onset bacteremia and fungemia (HOB) and perspectives on HOB as a potential outcome measure reflecting quality of infection prevention and hospital care.
Hospital epidemiologists and infection preventionist members of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) Research Network.
A web-based, multiple-choice survey was administered via the SHEA Research Network to 133 hospitals.
A total of 89 surveys were completed (67% response rate). Overall, 60% of respondents defined HOB as a positive blood culture on or after hospital day 3. Central line-associated bloodstream infections and intra-abdominal infections were perceived as the most frequent etiologies. Moreover, 61% thought that most HOB events are preventable, and 54% viewed HOB as a measure reflecting a hospital’s quality of care. Also, 29% of respondents’ hospitals already collect HOB data for internal purposes. Given a choice to publicly report central-line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and/or HOB, 57% favored reporting either HOB alone (22%) or in addition to CLABSI (35%) and 34% favored CLABSI alone.
Among the majority of SHEA Research Network respondents, HOB is perceived as preventable, reflective of quality of care, and potentially acceptable as a publicly reported quality metric. Further studies on HOB are needed, including validation as a quality measure, assessment of risk adjustment, and formation of evidence-based bundles and toolkits to facilitate measurement and improvement of HOB rates.
Englerophytum and Synsepalum are two closely related genera of trees and shrubs from the African tropics. Previous molecular studies have shown that these genera collectively form a clade within the subfamily Chrysophylloideae (Sapotaceae). However, little is known about the inter-relationships of the taxa within the Englerophytum–Synsepalum clade. In this study, nuclear ribosomal DNA and plastid trnH–psbA sequences were used to estimate the phylogeny within the clade. Results indicate that the clade consists of six major lineages, two composed solely of taxa from the genus Englerophytum and four composed of taxa from the genus Synsepalum. Each lineage can be distinguished by suites of vegetative and floral characters. Leaf venation patterns, calyx fusion, style length and staminodal structure were among the most useful characters for distinguishing clades. Some of the subclades within the Englerophytum–Synsepalum clade were also found to closely fit descriptions of former genera, most of which were described by Aubréville, that have since been placed in synonymy with Englerophytum and Synsepalum. The clade with the type species of Englerophytum also contains the type species of the genera Wildemaniodoxa and Zeyherella, which are confirmed as synonyms.