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Patients’ experience of the quality of care received throughout their continuum of care can be used to direct quality improvement efforts in areas where they are most needed. This study aims to establish validity and reliability of the Healthcare Access and Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (HAPSQ) – a tool that collects patients’ experience that quantifies aspect of care used to make judgments about quality from the perspective of the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health (AQMH).
The AQMH is a framework that can be used to assess and compare the quality of care in different healthcare settings. The AQMH provides a common language, understanding, and approach to assessing quality. The HAPSQ is one tool that is able to assess quality of care according to five of six AQMH’s dimensions.
This was a prospective methodologic study. Between March and October 2015, a convenience sample of patients presenting with chronic full-thickness rotator cuff tears was recruited prospectively from the University of Calgary Sport Medicine Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Reliability of the HAPSQ was assessed using test–retest reliability [interclass correlation coefficient (ICC)>0.70]. Validity was assessed through content validity (patient interviews, floor and ceiling effects), criterion validity (percent agreement >70%), and construct validity (hypothesis testing).
Reliability testing was completed on 70 patients; validity testing occurred on 96 patients. The mean duration of symptoms was three years (SD: 5.0, range: 0.1–29). Only out-of-pocket utilization possessed an ICC<0.70. Patients reported that items were relevant and appropriate to measuring quality of care. No floor or ceiling effects were present. Criterion validity was reached for all items assessed. A priori hypotheses were confirmed. The HAPSQ represents an inexpensive, reliable, and valid approach toward collecting clinical information across a patient’s continuum of care.
Landraces (including heritage varieties) are an important agrobiodiversity resource offering considerable value as a buffer against crop failures, as a crop for niche markets, and as a source of diversity for crop genetic improvement activities underpinning future food security. Home gardens are reservoirs of landrace diversity, but some of the accessions held in them are vulnerable or threatened with extinction. Those associated with seed saving networks have added security, for example, ca. 800 varieties are stored in the Heritage Seed Library (HSL) of Garden Organic, UK. In this study, Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms-based genetic analysis of accessions held in the HSL was used to (a) demonstrate the range of diversity in the collection, (b) characterize accessions to aid collection management and (c) promote broader use of the collection. In total, 171 accessions were included from six crops: Vicia faba L., Pisum sativum L., Daucus carota L., Cucumis sativus L., Lactuca sativa L. and Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala (DC.) Metzq. Average expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.18 to 0.28 in D. carota; 0.02–0.18 in P. sativum; 0.05–0.18 in L. sativa; 0.15–0.26 in B. oleracea var. acephala; 0.15–0.37 in C. sativus and 0.07–0.36 in V. faba. Genetic diversity and Fst values generally reflected the breeding system and cultivation history of the different crops. Comparisons of the diversity found in heritage varieties with that found in commercial varieties did not show a consistent pattern. Principal coordinates analysis and Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic Mean cluster analysis were used to identify four potential duplicate accession pairs.
Phased Array Feed (PAF) technology is the next major advancement in radio astronomy in terms of combining high sensitivity and large field of view. The Focal L-band Array for the Green Bank Telescope (FLAG) is one of the most sensitive PAFs developed so far. It consists of 19 dual-polarization elements mounted on a prime focus dewar resulting in seven beams on the sky. Its unprecedented system temperature of ~17 K will lead to a 3 fold increase in pulsar survey speeds as compared to contemporary single pixel feeds. Early science observations were conducted in a recently concluded commissioning phase of the FLAG where we clearly demonstrated its science capabilities. We observed a selection of normal and millisecond pulsars and detected giant pulses from PSR B1937+21.
In-spiraling supermassive black holes should emit gravitational waves, which would produce characteristic distortions in the time of arrival residuals from millisecond pulsars. Multiple national and regional consortia have constructed pulsar timing arrays by precise timing of different sets of millisecond pulsars. An essential aspect of precision timing is the transfer of the times of arrival to a (quasi-)inertial frame, conventionally the solar system barycenter. The barycenter is determined from the knowledge of the planetary masses and orbits, which has been refined over the past 50 years by multiple spacecraft. Within the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav), uncertainties on the solar system barycenter are emerging as an important element of the NANOGrav noise budget. We describe what is known about the solar system barycenter, touch upon how uncertainties in it affect gravitational wave studies with pulsar timing arrays, and consider future trends in spacecraft navigation.
PSR J0337+1715 is a millisecond radio pulsar in a hierarchical stellar triple system with two white dwarfs. This system is a unique and excellent laboratory in which to test the strong equivalence principle (SEP) of general relativity. An initial SEP-violation test was performed using direct 3-body numerical integration of the orbit in order to model the more than 25000 pulse times of arrival (TOAs) from three radio telescopes: Arecibo, Green Bank and Westerbork. In this work I present our efforts to quantify the effects of systematics in the TOAs and timing residuals, which limit the precision of an SEP test. In particular, we apply Fourier-based techniques to the timing residuals in order to isolate the effects of systematics that can masquerade as an SEP violation.
PSR B1820–30A is located in the globular cluster NGC 6624 and has the smallest projected distance to the centre of any globular cluster in the sky plane. We observe this millisecond pulsar over more than 25 years and obtain higher-order rotational frequency time derivative measurements through high-precision timing. Modelling these higher-order derivatives as being due to orbital motion, we find that the pulsar is in either a low-eccentricity smaller orbit with a low mass companion or a high-eccentricity larger orbit with a massive companion. The cluster mass properties and the observed properties of other nearby sources indicate that the high-eccentricity solution is more probably. This reveals that the pulsar is orbiting around an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) of mass >7500 M⊙ located at the cluster centre. This contribution is based on previous work published in MNRAS 471, 1258 (2017).
The majority of fast radio bursts (FRBs) are poorly localised, hindering their potential scientific yield as galactic, intergalactic, and cosmological probes. LOFT-e, a digital backend for the U.K.’s e-MERLIN seven-telescope interferometer will provide commensal search and real-time detection of FRBs, taking full advantage of its field of view (FoV), sensitivity, and observation time. Upon burst detection, LOFT-e will store raw data offline, enabling the sub-arcsecond localisation provided by e-MERLIN and expanding the pool of localised FRBs. The high-time resolution backend will additionally introduce pulsar observing capabilities to e-MERLIN.
The LOFAR Tied Array All-Sky Survey (LOTAAS) is an ongoing all northern sky survey for pulsars and transients. It is one of the first large scale pulsar surveys conducted at an observing frequency below 200 MHz. The unique set-up of the survey is the simultaneous formation of 222 beams for each survey pointing by coherently adding signals from the central 6 LOFAR stations. This represents the first SKA-like pulsar survey. As of 12 September 2017, the survey has completed 1456 pointings, more than two-thirds of the total. The survey has discovered 61 new pulsars via Fourier-based periodicity searches and a further 5 via single pulse searches. I present the survey approach and distinctive features including a discussion of an improved machine learning classifier used to identify the best candidates produced by the pipeline for further investigation. I present a summary of the discoveries so far including the first binary pulsar and the pulsar with the longest spin period of 23.5 s.
The PALFA survey, the most sensitive blind search for radio pulsars, has now discovered 180 pulsars in the Galactic Plane, the vast of which have periods shorter than 2 seconds. One reason that pulsar surveys may miss long-period radio pulsars is the strong effect of red noise at low modulation frequencies. It is possible to address this reduction in sensitivity by using a Fast-Folding Algorithm (FFA). We have adapted this algorithm for radio pulsar searching and applied it to PALFA observations. A sensitivity analysis of the algorithm has been conducted using synthetic pulsar signals injected in real observational data and this study shows that the FFA improves the PALFA survey sensitivity, as reported in Lazarus et al.(2015), by at least a factor of two at periods of ~6 sec, implying that the PALFA survey should discover more long-period radio pulsars in the future.
We have used LOFAR to perform targeted millisecond pulsar surveys of Fermi γ-ray sources. Operating at a center frequency of 135 MHz, the surveys use a novel semi-coherent dedispersion approach where coherently dedispersed trials at coarsely separated dispersion measures are incoherently dedispersed at finer steps. Three millisecond pulsars have been discovered as part of these surveys. We describe the LOFAR surveys and the properties of the newly discovered pulsars.
The Square Kilometre Array will be an amazing instrument for pulsar astronomy. While the full SKA will be sensitive enough to detect all pulsars in the Galaxy visible from Earth, already with SKA1, pulsar searches will discover enough pulsars to increase the currently known population by a factor of four, no doubt including a range of amazing unknown sources. Real time processing is needed to deal with the 60 PB of pulsar search data collected per day, using a signal processing pipeline required to perform more than 10 POps. Here we present the suggested design of the pulsar search engine for the SKA and discuss challenges and solutions to the pulsar search venture.
PSR B1828–11 is a young pulsar once thought to be undergoing free precession and recently found instead to be switching magnetospheric states in tandem with spin-down changes. Here we show the two extreme states of the mode-changing found for this pulsar and comment briefly on its interpretation.
The millisecond pulsar PSR J0337+1715 is in a mildly relativistic hierarchical triple system with two white dwarfs. This offers the possibility of testing the universality of free fall: does the neutron star fall with the same acceleration as the inner white dwarf in the gravity of the outer white dwarf? We have carried out an intensive pulsar timing campaign, yielding some 27000 pulse time-of-arrival (TOA) measurements with a median uncertainty of 1.2 μs. Here we describe our analysis procedure and timing model.
Multi-decade observing campaigns of the globular clusters 47 Tucanae and M15 have led to an outstanding number of discoveries. Here, we report on the latest results of the long-term observations of the pulsars in these two clusters. For most of the pulsars in 47 Tucanae we have measured, among other things, their higher-order spin period derivatives, which have in turn provided stringent constraints on the physical parameters of the cluster, such as its distance and gravitational potential. For M15, we have studied the relativistic spin precession effect in PSR B2127+11C. We have used full-Stokes observations to model the precession effect, and to constrain the system geometry. We find that the visible beam of the pulsar is swiftly moving away from our line of sight and may very soon become undetectable. On the other hand, we expect to see the opposite emission beam sometime between 2041 and 2053.
Black widows and redbacks are binary systems consisting of a millisecond pulsar in a close binary with a companion having matter driven off of its surface by the pulsar wind. X-rays due to an intrabinary shock have been observed from many of these systems, as well as orbital variations in the optical emission from the companion due to heating and tidal distortion. We have been systematically studying these systems in radio, optical and X-rays. Here we will present an overview of X-ray and optical studies of these systems, including new XMM-Newton and NuStar data obtained from several of them, along with new optical photometry.
Pulsars were discovered on the basis of their individual pulses, first by Jocelyn Bell and then by many others. This was chart-recorder science as computers were not yet in routine use. Single pulses carry direct information about the emission process as revealed in the detailed properties of their polarization characteristics. Early analyses of single pulses proved so dizzyingly complex that attention shifted to study of average profiles. This is turn led to models of pulsar emission beams—in particular the core/double-cone model—which now provides a foundation for understanding single-pulse sequences. We mention some of the 21stC single-pulse surveys and conclude with a brief discussion of our own recent analyses leading to the identification of the pulsar radio-emission mechanism of both slow and millsecond pulsars.