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Is debate on issues related to faith and reason still possible when dialogue between believers and non-believers has collapsed? Taking God Seriously not only proves that it is possible, but also demonstrates that such dialogue produces fruitful results. Here, Brian Davies, a Dominican priest and leading scholar of Thomas Aquinas, and Michael Ruse, a philosopher of science and well-known non-believer, offer an extended discussion on the nature and plausibility of belief in God and Christianity. They explore key topics in the study of religion, notably the nature of faith, the place of reason in discussions about religion, proofs for the existence of God, the problem of evil, and the problem of multiple competing religious systems, as well as the core concepts of Christian belief including the Trinity and the justification of morality. Written in a jargon-free manner, avoiding the extremes of evangelical literalism and New Atheism prejudice, Taking God Seriously does not compromise integrity or shy from discussing important or difficult issues.
Type 2 diabetes results mainly from weight gain in adult life and affects one in twelve people worldwide. In the Diabetes REmission Clinical Trial (DiRECT), the primary care-led Counterweight-Plus weight management program achieved remission of type 2 diabetes (for up to six years) for forty-six percent of patients after one year and thirty-six percent after two years. The objective of this study was to estimate the implementation costs of the program, as well as its two-year within-trial cost effectiveness and lifetime cost effectiveness.
Within-trial cost effectiveness included the Counterweight-Plus costs (including training, practitioner appointments, and low-energy diet), medications, and all routine healthcare contacts, combined with achieved remission rates. Lifetime cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) was estimated according to projected durations of remissions, assuming continued relapse rates as seen in year two of DiRECT and the consequent life expectancy, quality of life and healthcare costs.
The two-year intervention cost was EUR 1,580 per participant, with over eighty percent of the costs incurred in year one. Compared with the control group, medication savings were EUR 259 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 166–352) for anti-diabetes drugs and EUR 29 (95% CI: 12–47) for anti-hypertensive medications. The intervention was modeled with a lifetime horizon to achieve a mean 0.06 (95% CI: 0.04–0.09) gain in QALYs for the DiRECT population and a mean total lifetime cost saving per participant of EUR 1,497 (95% CI: 755–2,331), with the intervention becoming cost-saving within six years.
The intensive weight loss and maintenance program reduced the cost of anti-diabetes drugs through improved metabolic control, achieved diabetes remission in over one-third of participants, and reduced total healthcare contacts and costs over two years. A substantial lifetime healthcare cost saving is anticipated from periods of diabetes remission and delaying complications. Healthcare resources could be shifted cost effectively to establish diabetes remission services, using the existing DiRECT intervention, even if remissions are only maintained for limited durations. However, more research investment is needed to further improve weight-loss maintenance and extend remissions.
Potential effectiveness of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) systems depends upon seed shatter of the target weed species at crop maturity, enabling its collection and processing at crop harvest. However, seed retention likely is influenced by agroecological and environmental factors. In 2016 and 2017, we assessed seed shatter phenology in thirteen economically important broadleaf weed species in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] from crop physiological maturity to four weeks after physiological maturity at multiple sites spread across fourteen states in the southern, northern, and mid-Atlantic U.S. Greater proportions of seeds were retained by weeds in southern latitudes and shatter rate increased at northern latitudes. Amaranthus species seed shatter was low (0 to 2%), whereas shatter varied widely in common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) (2 to 90%) over the weeks following soybean physiological maturity. Overall, the broadleaf species studied shattered less than ten percent of their seeds by soybean harvest. Our results suggest that some of the broadleaf species with greater seed retention rates in the weeks following soybean physiological maturity may be good candidates for HWSC.