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Registry-based trials have emerged as a potentially cost-saving study methodology. Early estimates of cost savings, however, conflated the benefits associated with registry utilisation and those associated with other aspects of pragmatic trial designs, which might not all be as broadly applicable. In this study, we sought to build a practical tool that investigators could use across disciplines to estimate the ranges of potential cost differences associated with implementing registry-based trials versus standard clinical trials.
We built simulation Markov models to compare unique costs associated with data acquisition, cleaning, and linkage under a registry-based trial design versus a standard clinical trial. We conducted one-way, two-way, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses, varying study characteristics over broad ranges, to determine thresholds at which investigators might optimally select each trial design.
Registry-based trials were more cost effective than standard clinical trials 98.6% of the time. Data-related cost savings ranged from $4300 to $600,000 with variation in study characteristics. Cost differences were most reactive to the number of patients in a study, the number of data elements per patient available in a registry, and the speed with which research coordinators could manually abstract data. Registry incorporation resulted in cost savings when as few as 3768 independent data elements were available and when manual data abstraction took as little as 3.4 seconds per data field.
Registries offer important resources for investigators. When available, their broad incorporation may help the scientific community reduce the costs of clinical investigation. We offer here a practical tool for investigators to assess potential costs savings.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
Observational studies have linked elevated homocysteine to vascular conditions. Folate intake has been associated with lower homocysteine concentration, although randomised controlled trials of folic acid supplementation to decrease the incidence of vascular conditions have been inconclusive. We investigated determinants of maternal homocysteine during pregnancy, particularly in a folic acid-fortified population.
Data were from the Ottawa and Kingston Birth Cohort of 8085 participants. We used multivariable regression analyses to identify factors associated with maternal homocysteine, adjusted for gestational age at bloodwork. Continuous factors were modelled using restricted cubic splines. A subgroup analysis examined the modifying effect of MTHFR 677C>T genotype on folate, in determining homocysteine concentration.
Participants were recruited in Ottawa and Kingston, Canada, from 2002 to 2009.
Women were recruited when presenting for prenatal care in the early second trimester.
In 7587 participants, factors significantly associated with higher homocysteine concentration were nulliparous, smoking and chronic hypertension, while factors significantly associated with lower homocysteine concentration were non-Caucasian race, history of a placenta-mediated complication and folic acid supplementation. Maternal age and BMI demonstrated U-shaped associations. Folic acid supplementation of >1 mg/d during pregnancy did not substantially increase folate concentration. In the subgroup analysis, MTHFR 677C>T modified the effect of folate status on homocysteine concentration.
We identified determinants of maternal homocysteine relevant to the lowering of homocysteine in the post-folic acid fortification era, characterised by folate-replete populations. A focus on periconceptional folic acid supplementation and improving health status may form an effective approach to lower homocysteine.
The second and final year of the Erasmus Plus programme ‘Innovative Education and Training in high power laser plasmas’, otherwise known as PowerLaPs, is described. The PowerLaPs programme employs an innovative paradigm in that it is a multi-centre programme, where teaching takes place in five separate institutes with a range of different aims and styles of delivery. The ‘in-class’ time is limited to 4 weeks a year, and the programme spans 2 years. PowerLaPs aims to train students from across Europe in theoretical, applied and laboratory skills relevant to the pursuit of research in laser plasma interaction physics and inertial confinement fusion. Lectures are intermingled with laboratory sessions and continuous assessment activities. The programme, which is led by workers from the Hellenic Mediterranean University and supported by co-workers from the Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Bordeaux, the Czech Technical University in Prague, Ecole Polytechnique, the University of Ioannina, the University of Salamanca and the University of York, has just finished its second and final year. Six Learning Teaching Training activities have been held at the Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Bordeaux, the Czech Technical University, the University of Salamanca and the Institute of Plasma Physics and Lasers of the Hellenic Mediterranean University. The last of these institutes hosted two 2-week-long Intensive Programmes, while the activities at the other four universities were each 5 days in length. In addition, a ‘Multiplier Event’ was held at the University of Ioannina, which will be briefly described. In this second year, the work has concentrated on training in both experimental diagnostics and simulation techniques appropriate to the study of plasma physics, high power laser matter interactions and high energy density physics. The nature of the programme will be described in detail, and some metrics relating to the activities carried out will be presented. In particular, this paper will focus on the overall assessment of the programme.
The understanding of the genetic basis of grain dormancy in wheat has rapidly improved in the last few years, and a number of genes have been identified related to that trait. We recently identified the wheat genes TaPM19-A1 and -A2 and we have now taken the first step towards understanding the role of this class of genes in seeds. By investigating the Arabidopsis homologous PM19-Like 1 (PM19L1) we have found that it has a seed-specific expression pattern and, while its expression is higher in dormant than in non-dormant seeds, knock-out mutations produced seeds with increased dormancy. Not only primary dormancy, but also secondary dormancy in response to high temperature was increased by the loss-of-function. We have also examined the function of PM19L1 by localizing the PM19 protein primarily to the cotyledon cells in seeds, possibly in membranes. By investigating the co-expression network of this gene we have found that it is connected to a small group of abscisic acid (ABA)-induced seed maturation and storage-related genes. The function of PM19L1 represents a good opportunity to explore the interactions of key factors that can influence seed dormancy such as ABA, temperature and membrane properties.
A better understood chronological framework for the Middle Pleistocene of Britain has enabled archaeologists to detect a number of temporally-restricted assemblage-types, based not on ‘culture historical’ schemes of typological progression but on independent dating methods and secure stratigraphic frameworks, especially river-terrace sequences. This includes a consistent pattern in the timing of Clactonian and Levalloisian industries, as well as a number of handaxe assemblage types that belong to different interglacial cycles. In other words, Derek Roe’s hunch that the apparent lack of coherent ‘cultural’ patterning was due to an inaccurate and inadequate chronological framework was correct. Some variation in handaxe shape is culturally significant. Here we focus on twisted ovate handaxes, which we have previously argued to belong predominantly to MIS 11. Recent discoveries have enabled us to refine our correlations. Twisted ovate assemblages are found in different regions of Britain in different substages of MIS 11 (East Anglia in MIS 11c and south of the Thames in MIS 11a), the Thames, and the MIS 11b cold interval separating the two occurrences. These patterns have the potential to reveal much about hominin settlement patterns, behaviour, and social networks during the Middle Pleistocene.
Hypertension prevalence is on the rise in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) like South Africa, and migration and its concomitant urbanization are often considered to be associated with this rise. However, relatively little is known about the relationship between blood pressure (BP) and internal migration – a highly prevalent population process in LMICs. This study employed data for a group of 194 adult men and women from an original pilot dataset drawn from the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System in north-east South Africa conducted in 2012. Migrants in the sample were identified, tracked and interviewed. The relationship between BP and migration distance and the number of months an individual spent away from his/her home village was estimated using robust OLS regression, controlling for a series of socioeconomic, health and behavioural characteristics. It was found that migrants who moved a longer distance and for longer durations had significantly higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures compared with shorter-term migrants and those who remained nearby or in their home village. These associations remained robust and statistically significant when adjusting for measures of socioeconomic conditions, as well as body mass index and the number of meals consumed per day. Migration, both in terms of distance and time away, explained significant variation in the blood pressure of migrants in this typical South African context. The findings suggest the need for further studies of the nutritional and psycho-social factors associated with geographic mobility that may be important to understand rising hypertension levels in LMICs.
A 2018 workshop on the White Mountain Apache Tribe lands in Arizona examined ways to enhance investigations into cultural property crime (CPC) through applications of rapidly evolving methods from archaeological science. CPC (also looting, graverobbing) refers to unauthorized damage, removal, or trafficking in materials possessing blends of communal, aesthetic, and scientific values. The Fort Apache workshop integrated four generally partitioned domains of CPC expertise: (1) theories of perpetrators’ motivations and methods; (2) recommended practice in sustaining public and community opposition to CPC; (3) tactics and strategies for documenting, investigating, and prosecuting CPC; and (4) forensic sedimentology—uses of biophysical sciences to link sediments from implicated persons and objects to crime scenes. Forensic sedimentology served as the touchstone for dialogues among experts in criminology, archaeological sciences, law enforcement, and heritage stewardship. Field visits to CPC crime scenes and workshop deliberations identified pathways toward integrating CPC theory and practice with forensic sedimentology’s potent battery of analytic methods.
The Erasmus Plus programme ‘Innovative Education and Training in high power laser plasmas’, otherwise known as PowerLaPs, is described. The PowerLaPs programme employs an innovative paradigm in that it is a multi-centre programme where teaching takes place in five separate institutes with a range of different aims and styles of delivery. The ‘in class’ time is limited to four weeks a year, and the programme spans two years. PowerLaPs aims to train students from across Europe in theoretical, applied and laboratory skills relevant to the pursuit of research in laser–plasma interaction physics and inertial confinement fusion (ICF). Lectures are intermingled with laboratory sessions and continuous assessment activities. The programme, which is led by workers from the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Crete, and supported by co-workers from the Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Bordeaux, the Czech Technical University in Prague, Ecole Polytechnique, the University of Ioannina, the University of Salamanca and the University of York, has just completed its first year. Thus far three Learning Teaching Training (LTT) activities have been held, at the Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Bordeaux and the Centre for Plasma Physics and Lasers (CPPL) of TEI Crete. The last of these was a two-week long Intensive Programme (IP), while the activities at the other two universities were each five days in length. Thus far work has concentrated upon training in both theoretical and experimental work in plasma physics, high power laser–matter interactions and high energy density physics. The nature of the programme will be described in detail and some metrics relating to the activities carried out to date will be presented.
The use of grammars in design and analysis has been set back by the lack of automated ways to induce them from arbitrarily structured datasets. Machine translation methods provide a construct for inducing grammars from coded data which have been extended to be used for design through pre-coded design data. This work introduces a four-step process for inducing grammars from un-coded structured datasets which can constitute a wide variety of data types, including many used in the design. The method includes: (1) extracting objects from the data, (2) forming structures from objects, (3) expanding structures into rules based on frequency, and (4) finding rule similarities that lead to consolidation or abstraction. To evaluate this method, grammars are induced from generated data, architectural layouts and three-dimensional design models to demonstrate that this method offers usable grammars automatically which are functionally similar to grammars produced by hand.
Bilateral symmetry in handaxes has significant implications for hominin cognitive and socio-behavioural evolution. Here the authors show that high levels of symmetry occur in the British Late Middle Pleistocene Acheulean, which they consider to be a deliberate, socially mediated act. Furthermore, they argue that lithic technology in general, and handaxes in particular, were part of a pleasure-reward system linked to dopamine-releasing neurons in the brain. Making handaxes made Acheulean hominins happy, and one particularly pleasing property was symmetry.
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is responsible for 5%-10% of all deaths among children 5-19 years-of-age. The incidence of SCD in youth in Michigan (USA) and nationwide is higher in racial/ethnic minorities and in certain geographic areas. School cardiac emergency response plans (CERPs) increase survival after cardiac arrest. However, school cardiac emergency preparedness remains variable. Studying population-level factors associated with school cardiac emergency preparedness and incidence of SCD in the young may improve understanding of disparities in the incidence of SCD.
The objective of this pilot study was to determine the association of elements of high school cardiac emergency preparedness, including Automated External Defibrillator (AED) distribution and the presence of CERPs with county sociodemographic characteristics and county incidence of SCD in the young.
Surveys were sent to representatives from all public high schools in 30 randomly selected Michigan counties. Counties with greater than 50% response rate were included (n=19). Association of county-level sociodemographic characteristics with incidence of SCD in the young and existence of CERPs were evaluated using Spearman correlation coefficient.
Factors related to the presence of AEDs were similar across counties. Schools in counties of lower socioeconomic status (SES; lower-median income, lower per capita income, and higher population below poverty level) were less likely to have a CERP than those with higher SES (all P<.01). Lack of a CERP was associated with a higher incidence of SCD in youth (r=-0.71; P=.001). Overall incidence of SCD in youth was higher in lower SES counties (r=-0.62 in median income and r=0.51 in population below poverty level; both P<.05).
County SES is associated with the presence of CERPs in schools, suggesting a link between school cardiac emergency preparedness and county financial resources. Additionally, counties of lower SES demonstrated higher incidence of SCD in the young. Statewide and national studies are required to further explore the factors relating to geographic and socioeconomic differences in cardiac emergency preparedness and the incidence of SCD in the young.
WhiteMJ, LoccohEC, GobleMM, YuS, OdetolaFO, RussellMW. High School Cardiac Emergency Response Plans and Sudden Cardiac Death in the Young. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(3):269–272.
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.
A grant from the Department of Employment, Education and Training and matching funding from the University of Western Sydney, Nepean, has allowed the construction of a teaching and public access observatory on the University’s Werrington North campus. The observatory consists of a lecture theatre for about 50 students, an office for administration and project/souvenir sales, and an enclosed office for research activities. The 6·5 m dome will house a fork-mounted 0·6 m (24 inch) Ritchey-Chrétien telescope working at f/10. There will also be two outside observation areas for tripod-mounted telescopes. The expected completion date for the entire project is mid-1994.