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The suspended provisions of Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP will not substantially affect the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Chapter 17 on State-owned enterprises (SOEs). As a consequence, the original TPP scheme remains an important treaty model and poses complex questions notwithstanding a growing literature. This article discusses TPP but unlike current writings which focus on comparative treaty methods of SOE regulation, we focus on how TPP/CPTPP will actually operate, paying attention to how its framers have defined an SOE not least in how they have viewed complex crossholdings, excluded non-profits, and preserved a role for State monopolies. Our answers differ from some of the existing literature – particularly on complex cross-holdings. We also provide detailed illustrations of how TPP's non-discrimination, commercial basis, and non-commercial assistance rules might work and comment on the chances of a rule cascade triggered by TPP, particularly in the current state of heightened Sino-American rivalry and allegations of State control in China's economy.
This cross-sectional study aimed to determine the prevalence and risk factors of S. stercoralis infection among 1142 Orang Asli primary schoolchildren in six different states of Peninsular Malaysia. Fecal samples were examined using direct smear, formalin-ether sedimentation (FES), agar plate culture (APC) and PCR techniques. Overall, 15.8% of the children were found to be infected with S. stercoralis. The prevalence was 0.2, 1.3, 15.2 and 13.7% by direct smear, FES, APC and PCR, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that an age of >10 years, being male, belonging to a Proto-Malay tribe, belonging to the Senoi tribe, indiscriminate defecation, using an unimproved water source for drinking water and not wearing shoes when outside were the significant risk factors of infection among these children. In conclusion, we provide new evidence on the occurrence of S. stercoralis in Malaysia to show that there is a relatively high prevalence of infection among Orang Asli schoolchildren. Therefore, the use of specific methods for detecting S. stercoralis should be considered when screening these children for intestinal parasites. Moreover, prevention and control measures specific to S. stercoralis should be integrated into the intestinal parasitic infections control programme in Malaysia.
Firefighters are routinely exposed to various traumatic events and often experience a range of trauma-related symptoms. Although these repeated traumatic exposures rarely progress to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, firefighters are still considered to be a vulnerable population with regard to trauma.
To investigate how the human brain responds to or compensates for the repeated experience of traumatic stress.
We included 98 healthy firefighters with repeated traumatic experiences but without any diagnosis of mental illness and 98 non-firefighter healthy individuals without any history of trauma. Functional connectivity within the fear circuitry, which consists of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, insula, amygdala, hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), was examined using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Trauma-related symptoms were evaluated using the Impact of Event Scale – Revised.
The firefighter group had greater functional connectivity between the insula and several regions of the fear circuitry including the bilateral amygdalae, bilateral hippocampi and vmPFC as compared with healthy individuals. In the firefighter group, stronger insula–amygdala connectivity was associated with greater severity of trauma-related symptoms (β = 0.36, P = 0.005), whereas higher insula–vmPFC connectivity was related to milder symptoms in response to repeated trauma (β = −0.28, P = 0.01).
The current findings suggest an active involvement of insular functional connectivity in response to repeated traumatic stress. Functional connectivity of the insula in relation to the amygdala and vmPFC may be potential pathways that underlie the risk for and resilience to repeated traumatic stress, respectively.
Introduction: Emergency medicine (EM) is known to be a high-stress specialty. Work related stress and burnout have been reported to negatively impact physician-patient interactions, collaboration and ultimately overall physician mental and physical health. We sought to assess the rates of burnout among emergency physicians working at a single large Canadian tertiary care center and to identify higher risk groups. We hypothesized burnout rates to be uniformly high. Methods: We conducted a local cross-sectional study to assess burnout among adult and pediatric emergency physicians, fellows and residents at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). A total of 118 participants were invited to complete an anonymous online survey encompassing demographics, the validated MBI tool (Maslach Burnout Inventory) with additional questions aimed at identifying determinants of emergency physician burnout at LHSC. Each respondents three MBI scale scores for Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization and Personal Accomplishment were recorded with a possible range of 0-6. Descriptive statistics were calculated and relationships between risk factors (age, gender, years of practice, marital status, and credentials) and burnout scores were examined using t-tests, one-way ANOVAs, and/or regression analyses where appropriate. Results: To date the survey had a 50% (59/118) response rate. Of the 59 respondents 24 (40%) were female, the mean (SD) age was 40.6 years (10.5) and years of practice ranged from 1 to 35, with a mean of 13. Survey results indicated a high degree of burnout among LHSC EM physicians with a mean (SD) Emotional Exhaustion Score of 2.9 (1.3) and Depersonalization score of 2.4 (1.3), indicating that physicians felt burnt out from work between once a day to once a week. Inversely, the protective variable of Personal Accomplishment, with a score of 4.7 (0.9), indicated daily to weekly feelings of accomplishment. Female physicians (independent samples t-test, p=0.003) and those having fewer years of practice (linear regression, R2=0.188, p=0.04) were identified to have higher burnout. We did not identify any factors associated with Personal Accomplishment. Conclusion: Consistent with previous literature, LHSC emergency physicians were shown to be at risk for moderate to severe burnout. High risk groups identified included gender (female) and fewer years of practice. We did not identify any factors to be protective. Despite this, LHSC emergency physicians showed a high degree of personal accomplishment. While all physicians experience burnout, targeted interventions to newer female staff could have the highest benefit.
Children with a history of maltreatment suffer from altered emotion processing but the neural basis of this phenomenon is unknown. This pioneering functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study investigated the effects of severe childhood maltreatment on emotion processing while controlling for psychiatric conditions, medication and substance abuse.
Twenty medication-naive, substance abuse-free adolescents with a history of childhood abuse, 20 psychiatric control adolescents matched on psychiatric diagnoses but with no maltreatment and 27 healthy controls underwent a fMRI emotion discrimination task comprising fearful, angry, sad happy and neutral dynamic facial expressions.
Maltreated participants responded faster to fearful expressions and demonstrated hyper-activation compared to healthy controls of classical fear-processing regions of ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and anterior cingulate cortex, which survived at a more lenient threshold relative to psychiatric controls. Functional connectivity analysis, furthermore, demonstrated reduced connectivity between left vmPFC and insula for fear in maltreated participants compared to both healthy and psychiatric controls.
The findings show that people who have experienced childhood maltreatment have enhanced fear perception, both at the behavioural and neurofunctional levels, associated with enhanced fear-related ventromedial fronto-cingulate activation and altered functional connectivity with associated limbic regions. Furthermore, the connectivity adaptations were specific to the maltreatment rather than to the developing psychiatric conditions, whilst the functional changes were only evident at trend level when compared to psychiatric controls, suggesting a continuum. The neurofunctional hypersensitivity of fear-processing networks may be due to childhood over-exposure to fear in people who have been abused.
Nacre is a hierarchical multi-composite matrix consisting of mineral plate-like structures stacked up similar to brick and mortar. When impacted with a projectile this type of structure is expected to reduce the overall shock loading into the system as well as projectile velocity as a consequence of variations in structural stiffness between the composite plates and the organic interlayers. Bio-mimicked nacre derived from alumina as the base ceramic is also shown to have increased fracture toughness over an alumina monolith. One challenge to building the nacre alumina structure is the design and processing of the composite mineral plates which should be comprised of roughly 90-95% nano-filler and 5-10% organic binder. In order for these plates to accurately mimic the nacre mineral plates they must also emulate aspect ratios on the order of 1:10 to 1:20. This paper will discuss the design and processing of nacre-alumina plates for studies into the impact behavior of nacre composites.
Childhood abuse is associated with abnormalities in brain structure and function. Few studies have investigated abuse-related brain abnormalities in medication-naïve, drug-free youth that also controlled for psychiatric comorbidities by inclusion of a psychiatric control group, which is crucial to disentangle the effects of abuse from those associated with the psychiatric conditions.
Cortical volume (CV), cortical thickness (CT) and surface area (SA) were measured in 22 age- and gender-matched medication-naïve youth (aged 13–20) exposed to childhood abuse, 19 psychiatric controls matched for psychiatric diagnoses and 27 healthy controls. Both region-of-interest (ROI) and whole-brain analyses were conducted.
For the ROI analysis, the childhood abuse group compared with healthy controls only, had significantly reduced CV in bilateral cerebellum and reduced CT in left insula and right lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). At the whole-brain level, relative to healthy controls, the childhood abuse group showed significantly reduced CV in left lingual, pericalcarine, precuneus and superior parietal gyri, and reduced CT in left pre-/postcentral and paracentral regions, which furthermore correlated with greater abuse severity. They also had increased CV in left inferior and middle temporal gyri relative to healthy controls. Abnormalities in the precuneus, temporal and precentral regions were abuse-specific relative to psychiatric controls, albeit at a more lenient level. Groups did not differ in SA.
Childhood abuse is associated with widespread structural abnormalities in OFC–insular, cerebellar, occipital, parietal and temporal regions, which likely underlie the abnormal affective, motivational and cognitive functions typically observed in this population.
This paper presents latest thinking from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Model Risk Working Party and follows on from their Phase I work, Model Risk: Daring to Open the Black Box. This is a more practical paper and presents the contributors’ experiences of model risk gained from a wide range of financial and non-financial organisations with suggestions for good practice and proven methods to reduce model risk. After a recap of the Phase I work, examples of model risk communication are given covering communication: to the Board; to the regulator; and to external stakeholders. We present a practical framework for model risk management and quantification with examples of the key actors, processes and cultural challenge. Lessons learned are then presented from other industries that make extensive use of models and include the weather forecasting, software and aerospace industries. Finally, a series of case studies in practical model risk management and mitigation are presented from the contributors’ own experiences covering primarily financial services.
The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism Met allele exacerbates amyloid (Aβ) related decline in episodic memory (EM) and hippocampal volume (HV) over 36–54 months in preclinical Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the extent to which Aβ+ and BDNF Val66Met is related to circulating markers of BDNF (e.g. serum) is unknown. We aimed to determine the effect of Aβ and the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism on levels of serum mBDNF, EM, and HV at baseline and over 18-months.
Non-demented older adults (n = 446) underwent Aβ neuroimaging and BDNF Val66Met genotyping. EM and HV were assessed at baseline and 18 months later. Fasted blood samples were obtained from each participant at baseline and at 18-month follow-up. Aβ PET neuroimaging was used to classify participants as Aβ– or Aβ+.
At baseline, Aβ+ adults showed worse EM impairment and lower serum mBDNF levels relative to Aβ- adults. BDNF Val66Met polymorphism did not affect serum mBDNF, EM, or HV at baseline. When considered over 18-months, compared to Aβ– Val homozygotes, Aβ+ Val homozygotes showed significant decline in EM and HV but not serum mBDNF. Similarly, compared to Aβ+ Val homozygotes, Aβ+ Met carriers showed significant decline in EM and HV over 18-months but showed no change in serum mBDNF.
While allelic variation in BDNF Val66Met may influence Aβ+ related neurodegeneration and memory loss over the short term, this is not related to serum mBDNF. Longer follow-up intervals may be required to further determine any relationships between serum mBDNF, EM, and HV in preclinical AD.
Identification of priority populations such as men who have sex with men (MSM) is important in surveillance systems to monitor trends of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We explored using routinely collected non-behavioural data as a means to establish MSM status in surveillance by assessing anorectal swab as a marker of male-to-male sexual exposure. We used chlamydia testing data from a sexual health clinic, 2007–2012. Men reporting any male sexual partner(s) in the previous 12 months were considered MSM. The dataset was split into development and validation samples to develop a univariate predictive model and assess the model fit. The dataset included 30 358 individual men and 48 554 episodes of STI testing; 45% were among reported MSM and an anorectal swab was performed in 40% of testing episodes. Anorectal swabbing had good diagnostic performance as a marker for MSM status (sensitivity = 87%, specificity = 99%, positive predictive value = 98·6%, negative predictive value = 90·3%). The model showed good fit against the internal validation sample (area under the curve = 0·93). Anorectal swabs are a valid marker of MSM behaviour in surveillance data from sexual health clinics, and they are likely to be particularly useful for monitoring STI trends among MSM with higher risk behaviour.
Traumatic events are common globally; however, comprehensive population-based cross-national data on the epidemiology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the paradigmatic trauma-related mental disorder, are lacking.
Data were analyzed from 26 population surveys in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys. A total of 71 083 respondents ages 18+ participated. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview assessed exposure to traumatic events as well as 30-day, 12-month, and lifetime PTSD. Respondents were also assessed for treatment in the 12 months preceding the survey. Age of onset distributions were examined by country income level. Associations of PTSD were examined with country income, world region, and respondent demographics.
The cross-national lifetime prevalence of PTSD was 3.9% in the total sample and 5.6% among the trauma exposed. Half of respondents with PTSD reported persistent symptoms. Treatment seeking in high-income countries (53.5%) was roughly double that in low-lower middle income (22.8%) and upper-middle income (28.7%) countries. Social disadvantage, including younger age, female sex, being unmarried, being less educated, having lower household income, and being unemployed, was associated with increased risk of lifetime PTSD among the trauma exposed.
PTSD is prevalent cross-nationally, with half of all global cases being persistent. Only half of those with severe PTSD report receiving any treatment and only a minority receive specialty mental health care. Striking disparities in PTSD treatment exist by country income level. Increasing access to effective treatment, especially in low- and middle-income countries, remains critical for reducing the population burden of PTSD.
Although specific phobia is highly prevalent, associated with impairment, and an important risk factor for the development of other mental disorders, cross-national epidemiological data are scarce, especially from low- and middle-income countries. This paper presents epidemiological data from 22 low-, lower-middle-, upper-middle- and high-income countries.
Data came from 25 representative population-based surveys conducted in 22 countries (2001–2011) as part of the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys initiative (n = 124 902). The presence of specific phobia as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition was evaluated using the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview.
The cross-national lifetime and 12-month prevalence rates of specific phobia were, respectively, 7.4% and 5.5%, being higher in females (9.8 and 7.7%) than in males (4.9% and 3.3%) and higher in high- and higher-middle-income countries than in low-/lower-middle-income countries. The median age of onset was young (8 years). Of the 12-month patients, 18.7% reported severe role impairment (13.3–21.9% across income groups) and 23.1% reported any treatment (9.6–30.1% across income groups). Lifetime co-morbidity was observed in 60.5% of those with lifetime specific phobia, with the onset of specific phobia preceding the other disorder in most cases (72.6%). Interestingly, rates of impairment, treatment use and co-morbidity increased with the number of fear subtypes.
Specific phobia is common and associated with impairment in a considerable percentage of cases. Importantly, specific phobia often precedes the onset of other mental disorders, making it a possible early-life indicator of psychopathology vulnerability.
Nodal metastasis is an important prognostic factor in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. This study aimed to determine the average nodal basin yield per level of neck dissection, and to investigate if age, gender, body mass index, tumour size, depth of tumour invasion and p16 status influence nodal yield.
A retrospective review of 185 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma generated 240 neck dissection specimens.
The respective mean nodal yields for levels I, II, III, IV and V were 5.27, 9.43, 8.49, 7.43 and 9.02 in non-cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma patients, and 4.2, 7.57, 9.65, 4.33 and 12.29 in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma patients. Multiple regression analysis revealed that p16-positive patients with mucosal squamous cell carcinoma yielded, on average, 2.4 more nodes than their p16-negative peers (p = 0.04, 95 per cent confidence interval = 0.116 to 4.693). This figure was 3.84 (p = 0.008, 95 per cent confidence interval = 1.070 to 6.605) for p16-positive patients with oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma.
In mucosal squamous cell carcinoma, p16-positive status significantly influenced nodal yield, with the impact being more pronounced in oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma patients.
We report the discovery of carbonates in the Planetary Nebulae NGC 6302 and NGC 6537 (Kemper et al. 2002). In the ISO LWS spectra far-infrared features have been identified with calcite and dolomite by comparison with laboratory spectra of these minerals. This is the first time that carbonates have been identified outside the solar system. In a follow-up study (Kemper et al., in prep.) a detailed analysis of the mineral composition of the dust in NGC 6302 is presented.
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.
During 1990 we surveyed the southern sky using a multi-beam receiver at frequencies of 4850 and 843 MHz. The half-power beamwidths were 4 and 25 arcmin respectively. The finished surveys cover the declination range between +10 and −90 degrees declination, essentially complete in right ascension, an area of 7.30 steradians. Preliminary analysis of the 4850 MHz data indicates that we will achieve a five sigma flux density limit of about 30 mJy. We estimate that we will find between 80 000 and 90 000 new sources above this limit. This is a revised version of the paper presented at the Regional Meeting by the first four authors; the surveys now have been completed.
Previous research suggests prevalent vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women residing in South Australia and the Eastern Seaboard, however recent data from Perth, Western Australia (WA) is lacking. This cross-sectional study of n=209 pregnant women (36–40 weeks of gestation, 84% white Caucasian) reports on the vitamin D (25[OH]D) status of a contemporary population of pregnant women in Perth, WA, with a focus on the relative contributions of supplemental vitamin D and ambient ultraviolet (UV) radiation to 25(OH)D levels. Mean (SD) season-adjusted 25(OH)D levels were 77.7 (24.6) nmol/l. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (25[OH]D<50 nmol/l) was 13.9%. Ambient UV radiation levels in the 90 days preceding blood draw were significantly correlated with serum 25(OH)D levels (unstandardized coefficient 2.82; 95% CI 1.77, 3.86, P<0.001). Vitamin D supplementation expressed as dose per kg of body weight was also positively correlated with serum 25(OH)D levels (unstandardized coefficient 0.744; 95% CI 0.395, 1.092, P<0.001). In conclusion, this study finds that vitamin D deficiency in a predominantly white Caucasian cohort of pregnant women is less prevalent than has been reported in other studies, providing useful information relating to supplementation and screening in this, and similar, populations.
The subsurface exploration of other planetary bodies can be used to unravel their geological history and assess their habitability. On Mars in particular, present-day habitable conditions may be restricted to the subsurface. Using a deep subsurface mine, we carried out a program of extraterrestrial analog research – MINe Analog Research (MINAR). MINAR aims to carry out the scientific study of the deep subsurface and test instrumentation designed for planetary surface exploration by investigating deep subsurface geology, whilst establishing the potential this technology has to be transferred into the mining industry. An integrated multi-instrument suite was used to investigate samples of representative evaporite minerals from a subsurface Permian evaporite sequence, in particular to assess mineral and elemental variations which provide small-scale regions of enhanced habitability. The instruments used were the Panoramic Camera emulator, Close-Up Imager, Raman spectrometer, Small Planetary Linear Impulse Tool, Ultrasonic drill and handheld X-ray diffraction (XRD). We present science results from the analog research and show that these instruments can be used to investigate in situ the geological context and mineralogical variations of a deep subsurface environment, and thus habitability, from millimetre to metre scales. We also show that these instruments are complementary. For example, the identification of primary evaporite minerals such as NaCl and KCl, which are difficult to detect by portable Raman spectrometers, can be accomplished with XRD. By contrast, Raman is highly effective at locating and detecting mineral inclusions in primary evaporite minerals. MINAR demonstrates the effective use of a deep subsurface environment for planetary instrument development, understanding the habitability of extreme deep subsurface environments on Earth and other planetary bodies, and advancing the use of space technology in economic mining.