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Most techniques for pollen-based quantitative climate reconstruction use modern assemblages as a reference data set. We examine the implication of methodological choices in the selection and treatment of the reference data set for climate reconstructions using Weighted Averaging Partial Least Squares (WA-PLS) regression and records of the last glacial period from Europe. We show that the training data set used is important because it determines the climate space sampled. The range and continuity of sampling along the climate gradient is more important than sampling density. Reconstruction uncertainties are generally reduced when more taxa are included, but combining related taxa that are poorly sampled in the data set to a higher taxonomic level provides more stable reconstructions. Excluding taxa that are climatically insensitive, or systematically overrepresented in fossil pollen assemblages because of known biases in pollen production or transport, makes no significant difference to the reconstructions. However, the exclusion of taxa overrepresented because of preservation issues does produce an improvement. These findings are relevant not only for WA-PLS reconstructions but also for similar approaches using modern assemblage reference data. There is no universal solution to these issues, but we propose a number of checks to evaluate the robustness of pollen-based reconstructions.
Reliably estimating population parameters for highly secretive or rare animals is challenging. We report on the status of the two largest remaining populations of the Critically Endangered Bermuda skink Plestiodon longirostris, using a robust design capture–mark–recapture analysis. Skinks were tagged with passive integrated transponders on two islands and captured on 15 sampling occasions per year over 3 years. The models provided precise estimates of abundance, capture and survival probabilities and temporary emigration. We estimated skink abundance to be 547 ± SE 63.5 on Southampton Island and 277 ± SE 28.4 on Castle Island. The populations do not appear to be stable and fluctuated at both sites over the 3-year period. Although the populations on these two islands appear viable, the Bermuda skink faces population fluctuations and remains threatened by increasing anthropogenic activities, invasive species and habitat loss. We recommend these two populations for continued monitoring and conservation efforts.
An improved understanding of diagnostic and treatment practices for patients with rare primary mitochondrial disorders can support benchmarking against guidelines and establish priorities for evaluative research. We aimed to describe physician care for patients with mitochondrial diseases in Canada, including variation in care.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey of Canadian physicians involved in the diagnosis and/or ongoing care of patients with mitochondrial diseases. We used snowball sampling to identify potentially eligible participants, who were contacted by mail up to five times and invited to complete a questionnaire by mail or internet. The questionnaire addressed: personal experience in providing care for mitochondrial disorders; diagnostic and treatment practices; challenges in accessing tests or treatments; and views regarding research priorities.
We received 58 survey responses (52% response rate). Most respondents (83%) reported spending 20% or less of their clinical practice time caring for patients with mitochondrial disorders. We identified important variation in diagnostic care, although assessments frequently reported as diagnostically helpful (e.g., brain magnetic resonance imaging, MRI/MR spectroscopy) were also recommended in published guidelines. Approximately half (49%) of participants would recommend “mitochondrial cocktails” for all or most patients, but we identified variation in responses regarding specific vitamins and cofactors. A majority of physicians recommended studies on the development of effective therapies as the top research priority.
While Canadian physicians’ views about diagnostic care and disease management are aligned with published recommendations, important variations in care reflect persistent areas of uncertainty and a need for empirical evidence to support and update standard protocols.
On October 7, 2016, Hurricane Matthew traveled along the coasts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina causing flooding and power outages. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) developed the Web-based Responder Safety, Tracking, and Resilience (R-STaR) system to monitor the health and safety of public health responders and to inform disaster response planning for Hurricane Matthew. Using R-STaR, responders (n = 126) were e-mailed a daily survey while deployed to document injuries or harmful exposures and a post-deployment survey on their post-deployment health and satisfaction with using R-STaR. DPH epidemiologists contacted responders reporting injuries or exposures to determine the need for medical care. Frequencies were tabulated for quantitative survey responses, and qualitative data were summarized into key themes. Five percent (6/126) of responders reported injuries, and 81% (43/53) found R-STaR easy to use. Suggestions for R-STaR improvement included improving accessibility using mobile platforms and conducting pre-event training of responders on R-STaR. Lessons learned from R-STaR development and evaluation can inform the development and improvement of responder health surveillance systems at other local and state health departments and disaster and emergency response agencies. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:74–81).
Older adults represent the highest proportion of gamblers (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation [OLG], 2012). Unpartnered older adults may be more socially isolated and lonely (Dykstra & de Jong Gierveld, 2004), thus more likely to be at risk for problem gambling (McQuade & Gill, 2012). We examined whether gambling to socialize or from loneliness and going to the casino with friends/family mediate the relation between marital status and problem gambling. Data from a random sample of older adults at gambling venues across Southwestern Ontario indicated that gambling with family/friends and gambling due to loneliness mediated the relationship between marital status and problem gambling. Relative to those married, unpartnered older adults were less likely to gamble with family/friends, more likely to gamble due to loneliness, and had higher problem gambling. Prevention and treatment initiatives should examine ways to decrease loneliness and social isolation among older adults and offer alternative social activities.
Research in our time offers a welcome flood tide of investigation into how cognitively modern human beings use their basic mental operations to think and act. With luck, it will not ebb. It could become standard, in the way that calculus, once it arose, abided. This tide offers special emphasis, crucial for this issue, on the cognitive origins and operations of language and literature, and in particular on the ways in which systems of multimodal forms can be deployed to prompt for mental operation.
Objectives: Treatments for childhood brain tumors (BT) confer substantial risks to neurological development and contribute to neuropsychological deficits in young adulthood. Evidence suggests that individuals who experience more significant neurological insult may lack insight into their neurocognitive limitations. The present study compared survivor, mother, and performance-based estimates of executive functioning (EF), and their associations with treatment intensity history in a subsample of young adult survivors of childhood BTs. Methods: Thirty-four survivors (52.9% female), aged 18 to 30 years (M=23.5; SD=3.4), 16.1 years post-diagnosis (SD=5.9), were administered self-report and performance-based EF measures. Mothers also rated survivor EF skills. Survivors were classified by treatment intensity history into Minimal, Average/Moderate, or Intensive/Most-Intensive groups. Discrepancies among survivor, mother, and performance-based EF estimates were compared. Results: Survivor-reported and performance-based measures were not correlated, although significant associations were found between mother-reported and performance measures. Survivors in the Intensive/Most-Intensive treatment group evidenced the greatest score discrepancies, reporting less executive dysfunction relative to mother-reported F(2,31)=7.81, p<.01, and performance-based measures F(14,50)=2.54, p<.05. Conversely, survivors in the Minimal treatment group reported greater EF difficulties relative to mothers t(8)=2.82, p<.05, but not performance-based estimates (ps>.05). Conclusions: There may be a lack of agreement among survivor, mother, and performance-based estimates of EF skills in young adult survivors of childhood BT, and these discrepancies may be associated with treatment intensity history. Neuropsychologists should use a multi-method, multi-reporter approach to assessment of EF in this population. Providers also should be aware of these discrepancies as they may be a barrier to intervention efforts. (JINS, 2016, 22, 900–910)
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) including high-functioning types such as Asperger's syndrome (AS) are diagnosed when there is evidence of a triad of qualitative impairments in social interaction, communication, and stereotyped/repetitive behaviours. It is not uncommon for these impairments to be accompanied by social anxiety. The present single-case study investigates the use of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to treat a 47-year-old man who was assessed as having difficulties with social skills and social phobia in the context of a late diagnosis of AS. He received 20 h of CBT adapted for his AS in 15 sessions including a 1-month follow-up. Following a highly individualized formulation, treatment included modelling, role-playing, reinforcement, thought challenging, and behavioural experimentation. Results from five self-report measures showed continued improvements from the start of therapy to follow-up in social anxiety, global distress, depression and self-esteem. The client gave positive feedback about his experience of treatment. The case study is discussed with reference to limitations and some reflections for CBT in ASD.
To investigate the attitudes to health and work of general practitioners (GPs) with training in occupational medicine (OM) compared with non-OM trained GPs, since the introduction of the fit note.
Changes to the UK sickness certification system since 2010 and the introduction of the fit note required GPs to change their focus to what patients can do, rather than what they cannot do in relation to work. In an effort to reduce the UK sickness absence burden, GPs completion of the fit note should help to keep people in work, or assist patients to return to work as quickly as possible after a period of absence.
Questionnaire data were collected via the 7th National General Practitioner Worklife Survey.
Results indicate that responses from GPs who had undertaken training in OM, and GPs having received some form of work and health training in the 12-month period before the study were associated with significantly more positive attitudes to patients’ returning to work and to the fit note. This study reveals evidence of a difference between trained and non-trained GPs in their attitude to the fit note, and to work and health generally. Further work investigating the effect of specific training in OM on the management and recognition of ill-health by GPs is recommended.
Soprano Emma Juch (1860–1939), famous in the 1880s and 1890s, combined singing in concerts and festivals with a short English-language operatic career. Because Juch exemplifies a typical prima donna of the late nineteenth century, her life provides a perspective on the American cultural landscape that a focus on star performers cannot capture. Like all female singers, she had to negotiate between competing stereotypes about divas and the nineteenth-century distrust of women who led public lives. In response to these pressures, she constructed an image of a vigorous American singer who nevertheless understood her expected role in society. During the Gilded Age, opera's place in American culture was changing. Foreign-language opera became increasingly associated with wealth, the highest performance quality, and sometimes even cultural and moral uplift, whereas English-language opera suggested popular entertainment for the middle class and mediocre performance standards. The American Opera Company and Juch's own Emma Juch English Grand Opera Company attempted to fight against these assumptions and center opera in English performed by native singers as an important component of a distinctly American musical tradition. She was unsuccessful, however, and Juch's career, which began with great promise, lost momentum after her opera troupe folded and she slid into obscurity.