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Life course research embraces the complexity of health and disease development, tackling the extensive interactions between genetics and environment. This interdisciplinary blueprint, or theoretical framework, offers a structure for research ideas and specifies relationships between related factors. Traditionally, methodological approaches attempt to reduce the complexity of these dynamic interactions and decompose health into component parts, ignoring the complex reciprocal interaction of factors that shape health over time. New methods that match the epistemological foundation of the life course framework are needed to fully explore adaptive, multilevel, and reciprocal interactions between individuals and their environment. The focus of this article is to (1) delineate the differences between lifespan and life course research, (2) articulate the importance of complex systems science as a methodological framework in the life course research toolbox to guide our research questions, (3) raise key questions that can be asked within the clinical and translational science domain utilizing this framework, and (4) provide recommendations for life course research implementation, charting the way forward. Recent advances in computational analytics, computer science, and data collection could be used to approximate, measure, and analyze the intertwining and dynamic nature of genetic and environmental factors involved in health development.
We aimed to investigate the heterogeneity of seasonal suicide patterns among multiple geographically, demographically and socioeconomically diverse populations.
Weekly time-series data of suicide counts for 354 communities in 12 countries during 1986–2016 were analysed. Two-stage analysis was performed. In the first stage, a generalised linear model, including cyclic splines, was used to estimate seasonal patterns of suicide for each community. In the second stage, the community-specific seasonal patterns were combined for each country using meta-regression. In addition, the community-specific seasonal patterns were regressed onto community-level socioeconomic, demographic and environmental indicators using meta-regression.
We observed seasonal patterns in suicide, with the counts peaking in spring and declining to a trough in winter in most of the countries. However, the shape of seasonal patterns varied among countries from bimodal to unimodal seasonality. The amplitude of seasonal patterns (i.e. the peak/trough relative risk) also varied from 1.47 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.33–1.62) to 1.05 (95% CI: 1.01–1.1) among 12 countries. The subgroup difference in the seasonal pattern also varied over countries. In some countries, larger amplitude was shown for females and for the elderly population (≥65 years of age) than for males and for younger people, respectively. The subperiod difference also varied; some countries showed increasing seasonality while others showed a decrease or little change. Finally, the amplitude was larger for communities with colder climates, higher proportions of elderly people and lower unemployment rates (p-values < 0.05).
Despite the common features of a spring peak and a winter trough, seasonal suicide patterns were largely heterogeneous in shape, amplitude, subgroup differences and temporal changes among different populations, as influenced by climate, demographic and socioeconomic conditions. Our findings may help elucidate the underlying mechanisms of seasonal suicide patterns and aid in improving the design of population-specific suicide prevention programmes based on these patterns.
The micro-organisms which inhabit the human gut (i.e. the intestinal microbiota) influence numerous human biochemical pathways and physiological functions. The present review focuses on two questions, ‘Are intestinal microbiota effects measurable and meaningful?’ and ‘What research methods and variables are influenced by intestinal microbiota effects?’. These questions are considered with respect to doubly labelled water measurements of energy expenditure, heat balance calculations and models, measurements of RMR via indirect calorimetry, and diet-induced energy expenditure. Several lines of evidence suggest that the intestinal microbiota introduces measurement variability and measurement errors which have been overlooked in research studies involving nutrition, bioenergetics, physiology and temperature regulation. Therefore, we recommend that present conceptual models and research techniques be updated via future experiments, to account for the metabolic processes and regulatory influences of the intestinal microbiota.
The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of radiotherapy students on clinical placement, specifically focussing on the provision of well-being support from clinical supervisors.
Materials and methods:
Twenty-five students from the University of the West of England and City University of London completed an online evaluation survey relating to their experiences of placement, involving Likert scales and open-ended questions.
The quantitative results were generally positive; however, the qualitative findings were mixed. Three themes emerged: (1) provision of information and advice; (2) an open, inclusive and supportive working environment; and (3) a lack of communication, understanding, and consistency.
Students’ experiences on placement differed greatly and appeared to relate to their specific interactions with different members of staff. It is suggested that additional training around providing well-being support to students may be of benefit to clinical supervisors.
A multichannel calorimeter system is designed and constructed which is capable of delivering single-shot and broad-band spectral measurement of terahertz (THz) radiation generated in intense laser–plasma interactions. The generation mechanism of backward THz radiation (BTR) is studied by using the multichannel calorimeter system in an intense picosecond laser–solid interaction experiment. The dependence of the BTR energy and spectrum on laser energy, target thickness and pre-plasma scale length is obtained. These results indicate that coherent transition radiation is responsible for the low-frequency component (
1 THz) of BTR. It is also observed that a large-scale pre-plasma primarily enhances the high-frequency component (
3 THz) of BTR.
Giant electromagnetic pulses (EMP) generated during the interaction of high-power lasers with solid targets can seriously degrade electrical measurements and equipment. EMP emission is caused by the acceleration of hot electrons inside the target, which produce radiation across a wide band from DC to terahertz frequencies. Improved understanding and control of EMP is vital as we enter a new era of high repetition rate, high intensity lasers (e.g. the Extreme Light Infrastructure). We present recent data from the VULCAN laser facility that demonstrates how EMP can be readily and effectively reduced. Characterization of the EMP was achieved using B-dot and D-dot probes that took measurements for a range of different target and laser parameters. We demonstrate that target stalk geometry, material composition, geodesic path length and foil surface area can all play a significant role in the reduction of EMP. A combination of electromagnetic wave and 3D particle-in-cell simulations is used to inform our conclusions about the effects of stalk geometry on EMP, providing an opportunity for comparison with existing charge separation models.
To determine the patterns and predictors of treatment response trajectories for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Conditional latent growth mixture modelling was used to identify classes and predictors of class membership. In total, 2686 veterans treated for PTSD between 2002 and 2015 across 14 hospitals in Australia completed the PTSD Checklist at intake, discharge, and 3 and 9 months follow-up. Predictor variables included co-morbid mental health problems, relationship functioning, employment and compensation status.
Five distinct classes were found: those with the most severe PTSD at intake separated into a relatively large class (32.5%) with small change, and a small class (3%) with a large change. Those with slightly less severe PTSD separated into one class comprising 49.9% of the total sample with large change effects, and a second class comprising 7.9% with extremely large treatment effects. The final class (6.7%) with least severe PTSD at intake also showed a large treatment effect. Of the multiple predictor variables, depression and guilt were the only two found to predict differences in response trajectories.
These findings highlight the importance of assessing guilt and depression prior to treatment for PTSD, and for severe cases with co-morbid guilt and depression, considering an approach to trauma-focused therapy that specifically targets guilt and depression-related cognitions.
The SkyMapper Transient survey (SMT) is exploring variability in the southern sky by performing (a) a rolling search to discover and study supernovæ, and (b) a Target of Opportunity programme that uses the robotic SkyMapper Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory. The supernova survey is obtaining a non-targeted sample of Type Ia supernovæ (SNe Ia) at low redshifts, z < 0.1, and studying other interesting transients found with the search strategy. We have a Target of Opportunity programme with an automatic response mechanism to search for optical counterparts to gravitational-wave and fast radio-burst events; it benefits from SkyMapper’s large field of view of 5.7 sq. deg. and a rapid data reduction pipeline.
We present first results of the SMT survey. The SMT pipeline can process and obtain potential candidates within 12 hours of observation. It disentangles real transients from processing artefacts using a machine-learning algorithm. To date, SMT has discovered over 60 spectroscopically confirmed supernovæ, several peculiar objects, and over 40 SNe Ia including one (SNIa 2016hhd) which was found within the first few days of explosion. We have also participated in searches for optical counterparts of gravitational waves, fast radio bursts and other transients, and have published observations of the optical counterpart of the gravitational-wave event GW170817. We also participate in coordinated observations with the Deeper Wider Faster programme, and the Kepler K2 cosmology project.
NHS England has commissioned intensity-modulated radiotherapy for head and neck cancers from Newcastle hospitals for patients in North Cumbria. This study assessed whether travel distances affected the decision to travel to Newcastle (to receive intensity-modulated radiotherapy) or Carlisle (to receive conformal radiotherapy).
All patients for whom the multidisciplinary team recommended intensity-modulated radiotherapy between December 2013 and January 2016 were included. Index of multiple deprivation scores and travel distances were calculated. Patients were also asked why they chose their treating centre.
Sixty-nine patients were included in this study. There were no significant differences in travel distance (p = 0.53) or index of multiple deprivation scores (p = 0.47) between patients opting for treatment in Carlisle or Newcastle. However, 29 of the 33 patients gave travel distance as their main reason for not travelling for treatment.
Quantitatively, travel distance and deprivation does not impact on whether patients accept intensity-modulated radiotherapy. However, patients say distance is a major barrier for access. Future research should explore how to reduce this.
Describing the current state of gamification, Chamorro-Premuzic, Winsborough, Sherman, and Hogan (2016) provide a troubling contradiction: They offer examples of a broad spectrum of gamification interventions, but they then summarize the entirety of gamification as “the digital equivalent of situational judgment tests.” This mischaracterization grossly oversimplifies a rapidly growing area of research and practice both within and outside of industrial–organizational (I-O) psychology. We agree that situational judgment tests (SJTs) can be considered a type of gamified assessment, and gamification provides a toolkit to make SJTs even more gameful. However, the term gamification refers to a much broader and potentially more impactful set of tools than just SJTs, which are incremental, versatile, and especially valuable to practitioners in an era moving toward business-to-consumer (B2C) assessment models. In this commentary, we contend that gamification is commonly misunderstood and misapplied by I-O psychologists, and our goals are to remedy such misconceptions and to provide a research agenda designed to improve both the science and the practice surrounding gamification of human resource processes.
Although adolescence is marked by increased negative life events and internalizing problems, few studies investigate this association as an ongoing longitudinal process. Moreover, while there are considerable individual differences in the degree to which these phenomena are linked, little is known about the origins of these differences. The present study examines early life stress (ELS) exposure and early-adolescent longitudinal afternoon cortisol level as predictors of the covariation between internalizing symptoms and negative life events across high school. ELS was assessed by maternal report during infancy, and the measure of cortisol was derived from assessments at ages 11, 13, and 15 years. Life events and internalizing symptoms were assessed at ages 15, 17, and 18 years. A two-level hierarchical linear model revealed that ELS and cortisol were independent predictors of the covariation of internalizing symptoms and negative life events. Compared to those with lower levels of ELS, ELS-exposed adolescents displayed tighter covariation between internalizing symptoms and negative life events. Adolescents with lower longitudinal afternoon cortisol displayed tighter covariation between negative life events and internalizing symptoms, while those with higher cortisol demonstrated weaker covariation, partially due to increased levels of internalizing symptoms when faced with fewer negative life events.
The electrodeposition of hydrated ruthenium dioxide (hRuO2) on Ti interdigitated current collectors deposited onto silicon substrate has been investigated with the objective of preparing a high capacitance and high power micro-supercapacitor (µ-SC) device. Ti current collectors were synthesised by typical photolithography processes, and hRuO2 thin films were electrodeposited from ruthenium chloride precursors. Device specific capacitances exceeding 20 mF·cm−2 were obtained, and more than 80 % of that value is retained even at scan rate as high as 1 V∙s−1 in 0.5 M H2SO4. The mean specific power per active surface area of the device is 368 mW·cm−2. The device is stable and 90% of the initial capacity is retained after 105 cycles (1 V potential window). The characteristic response time of the hRuO2 µ-SC is 250 ms, with low ESR (0.61 Ω cm−2) and EDR (0.07 Ω cm−2) values. All these characteristics demonstrate the potential of such µ-SC devices to be part of the next generation of micro-supercapacitors.
The objectives of this study were to compare behaviour problems and competencies, at home and school, in 7-year-old children with congenital heart disease with a sibling control group, to examine the prospective determinants of outcome from infancy, and to explore whether any gains were maintained in our sub-group of children who had participated in a previous trial of psychological interventions in infancy.
A total of 40 children who had undergone surgery to correct or palliate a significant congenital heart defect in infancy were compared (Child Behavior Checklist) with a nearest-age sibling control group (18 participants). Comparisons were made between sub-groups of children and families who had and had not participated in an early intervention trial.
Problems with attention, thought and social problems, and limitations in activity and school competencies, were found in comparison with siblings. Teacher reports were consistent with parents, although problems were of a lower magnitude. Disease, surgical, and neurodevelopmental functioning in infancy were related to competence outcomes but not behaviour problems. The latter were mediated by family and maternal mental health profiles from infancy. Limited, but encouraging, gains were maintained in the sub-group that had participated in the early intervention programme.
The present study is strengthened by its longitudinal design, use of teacher informants, and sibling control group. The patterns of problems and limitations discerned, and differential determinants thereof, have clear implications for interventions. We consider these in the light of our previously reported intervention trial with this sample and current outcomes at the 7-year follow-up.
In 2010, an outbreak of cyclosporiasis affected passengers and crew on two successive voyages of a cruise ship that departed from and returned to Fremantle, Australia. There were 73 laboratory-confirmed and 241 suspected cases of Cyclospora infection reported in passengers and crew from the combined cruises. A case-control study performed in crew members found that illness was associated with eating items of fresh produce served onboard the ship, but the study was unable conclusively to identify the responsible food(s). It is likely that one or more of the fresh produce items taken onboard at a south-east Asian port during the first cruise was contaminated. If fresh produce supplied to cruise ships is sourced from countries or regions where Cyclospora is endemic, robust standards of food production and hygiene should be applied to the supply chain.
Diversity within Shigella dysenteriae (n=40) and Shigella boydii (n=30) isolates from children living in Egypt aged <5 years was investigated. Shigella-associated diarrhoea occurred mainly in summer months and in children aged <3 years, it commonly presented with vomiting and fever. Serotypes 7 (30%), 2 (28%), and 3 (23%) accounted for most of S. dysenteriae isolates; 50% of S. boydii isolates were serotype 2. S. dysenteriae and S. boydii isolates were often resistant to ampicillin, chloramphenicol and tetracycline (42%, 17%, respectively), although resistance varied among serotypes. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis separated the isolates into distinct clusters correlating with species and serotype. Genetic differences in trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and β-lactam-encoding resistance genes were also evident. S. dysenteriae and S. boydii are genetically diverse pathogens in Egypt; the high level of multidrug resistance associated with both pathogens and resistance to the most available inexpensive antibiotics underlines the importance of continuing surveillance.
The eccentric orbits of the known extrasolar giant planets provide evidence that most planet-forming environments undergo violent dynamical instabilities. Here, we numerically simulate the impact of giant planet instabilities on planetary systems as a whole. We find that populations of inner rocky and outer icy bodies are both shaped by the giant planet dynamics and are naturally correlated. Strong instabilities – those with very eccentric surviving giant planets – completely clear out their inner and outer regions. In contrast, systems with stable or low-mass giant planets form terrestrial planets in their inner regions and outer icy bodies produce dust that is observable as debris disks at mid-infrared wavelengths. Fifteen to twenty percent of old stars are observed to have bright debris disks (at λ ~ 70μm) and we predict that these signpost dynamically calm environments that should contain terrestrial planets.