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The hedging practices survey took place towards the end of 2015 in the final few months prior to Solvency II regulations coming into force. At the point of completing the survey we would expect that companies would have largely transitioned their hedging approaches to work in a Solvency II environment. There may be some cases where further changes were planned but not implemented at the point of completing the survey. Further, as familiarity with working under the new regulations increases, approaches are expected to continue to develop over time. The working party hopes that this report is useful in summarising industry attitudes at this point in time and as a comparator in future years. Before launching the survey we did have several conjectures of what we may expect to see in the results. Some proved true, for some it was difficult to glean any strong conclusion from the data, and there were one or two where results countered what we expected to see.
Yoga and physical exercise have been used as adjunctive intervention for cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia (SZ), but controlled comparisons are lacking.
A single-blind randomised controlled trial was designed to evaluate whether yoga training or physical exercise training enhance cognitive functions in SZ, based on a prior pilot study.
Consenting, clinically stable, adult outpatients with SZ (n=286) completed baseline assessments and were randomised to treatment as usual (TAU), supervised yoga training with TAU (YT) or supervised physical exercise training with TAU (PE). Based on the pilot study, the primary outcome measure was speed index for the cognitive domain of ‘attention’ in the Penn computerised neurocognitive battery. Using mixed models and contrasts, cognitive functions at baseline, 21 days (end of training), 3 and 6 months post-training were evaluated with intention-to-treat paradigm.
Speed index of attention domain in the YT group showed greater improvement than PE at 6 months follow-up (p<0.036, effect size 0.51). In the PE group, ‘accuracy index of attention domain showed greater improvement than TAU alone at 6-month follow-up (p<0.025, effect size 0.61). For several other cognitive domains, significant improvements were observed with YT or PE compared with TAU alone (p<0.05, effect sizes 0.30–1.97).
Both YT and PE improved attention and additional cognitive domains well past the training period, supporting our prior reported beneficial effect of YT on speed index of attention domain. As adjuncts, YT or PE can benefit individuals with SZ.
We apply gravitational lensing statistics to: (1) place a limit on the cosmological constant (ΩΛ); (2) place a limit on the average red-shift (< z >) of gamma-ray bursters (GRBs); (3) investigate models of galaxy evolution to see how compatible these models are with lensing statistics. We also point out the sources of uncertainty in lensing statistics, leading to uncertainty in the results.
The SAS 2 and COS B observations have established the existence of diffuse γ-rays in our Galaxy in various energy ranges. The diffuse radiation is attributed to the interaction of cosmic ray nuclei and electrons with the particles of interstellar atomic and molecular gas (via the decay of pions and bremsstrahlung, respectively). Inverse Compton scattering of interstellar photons by the high energy electrons of cosmic rays may also be contributing to this background. In addition some contribution may come from discrete sources of γ-rays.
We assessed the effect of vitamin D supplementation on related biochemistry, infection and dentition of the infant. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted in Lucknow, India (latitude 26°N), 230 mother –newborn pairs were randomised to receive, for 9 months, 3000µg/month oral vitamin D3 by the mother (group A) or 10µg/d by the infant (group B) or double placebo (group C). All babies received 15 min of sun exposure (unclothed) during massage. Infants’ median 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) was lower in group C (median 45·3; interquartile range (IQR) 22–59·5 nmol/l) than in groups A (median 60·8; IQR 41·3–80·5 nmol/l (P<0·01)) and B (median 61·3; IQR 41·3–75·3 nmol/l (P<0·05)) at 3·5 months. Infant 25(OH)D correlated negatively with infant parathyroid hormone (r −0·46, P<0·01). Elevated alkaline phosphatase (>7.5µkat/l) was significantly more frequent in group C babies (16 %) than in group A (4 %) or group B (0 %) babies. The number of days with respiratory or diarrhoeal infection by 9 months of age was higher in group C (median 46·5; IQR 14·8–73·3 d) than in group A (median 18·5; IQR 8·8–31·0 d (P<0·01)) or group B (median 13·0; IQR 7·0–28·5 (P<0·05)). We conclude that monthly maternal or daily infant supplementation with vitamin D along with sun exposure is superior to sun exposure alone in maintaining normal infant 25(OH)D at 3·5 months, and provide protection from elevated alkaline phosphatase and infectious morbidity.
Introduction: Despite strong evidence that antithrombotic drugs in atrial fibrillation/flutter (AF) patients reduce stroke risk, previous emergency department (ED) pre-novel anticoagulant (NOAC) studies have shown that most discharged patients are not optimally treated. This study sought to determine baseline antithrombotic management in AF patients, and appropriate antithrombotic prescription upon ED discharge since the introduction of NOACs. Methods: Consecutive AF patients discharged by the ED physician from three academic EDs in Toronto, Canada were retrospectively identified using ECG data. Primary AF was defined as AF in patients ≥18 years without congenital heart disease or other acute medical conditions. All management and disposition decisions were left to the discretion of the emergency doctor. Results: From July 2012 to October 2014, 691 patients with primary AF were identified. Of these, 34.4% (n=238) had new onset AF and 66.4% (n=459) were discharged home directly from the ED. Of those with previously known AF (n= 453), 44.2% (n=200) were on anticoagulation at ED arrival (warfarin 59.5%, dabigatran 23.0%, rivaroxaban 11.5%); 25.6% (n=116) on antiplatelets, and 29 (6.4%) on both. Based on 2012 Canadian AF guidelines, 60.1% of those who should have received anticoagulation were receiving it. In discharged patients meeting de novo criteria for anticoagulation (n=130), 20.0% (n=26) were started on anticoagulation and 23.1% (n=30) on antiplatelets. In patients with CHADS2 score ≥ 2 (n=61), 26.2% (n=16) were started on anticoagulation. Warfarin (73.1%) was most commonly prescribed followed by dabigatran (15.4%) and rivaroxaban (11.5%). Age was the only inverse independent predictor for appropriate anticoagulation (OR 0.92 per 5 year of age 95% CI 0.89-0.95, p <0.0001) i.e. older patients were less likely to be anticoagulated. The CHADS2 score was not an independent predictor of appropriate anticoagulation. Conclusion: Our study shows a persistent gap in the antithrombotic treatment of ED AF patients irrespective of their risk.
A field experiment was carried out at the farm of Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi to quantify the effect of elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) and different levels of N fertiliser application on nitrous oxide (N2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from soil under maize. The experiment included five treatments: 60 kg N ha−1 under ambient CO2 (385 ppm) in open plots, 120 kg N ha−1 under ambient CO2 (385 ppm) in open plots, 160 kg N ha−1 under ambient CO2 (385 ppm) in open plots, 120 kg N ha−1 under ambient CO2 (385 ppm) in open top chambers (OTC) and 120 kg N ha−1 under elevated CO2 (500 ± 50 ppm) in the OTC. Peaks of N2O flux were observed after every dose of N application. Cumulative N2O emission was 13% lower under ambient CO2 as compared to the elevated CO2 concentrations. There was an increase in CO2 emissions with application of N from 60 kg ha−1 to 160 kg ha−1. Higher yield and root biomass was observed under higher N treatment (160 kg N ha−1). There was no significant increase in maize yield under elevated CO2 as compared to ambient CO2. The carbon emitted was more than the carbon fixed under elevated CO2 as compared to ambient CO2 levels. The carbon efficiency ratio (C fixed/C emitted) was highest in ambient CO2 treatment in the OTC.
Background: Yoga therapy (YT) improves cognitive function in healthy individuals, but its impact on cognitive function among persons with schizophrenia (SZ) has not been investigated.
Objective: To evaluate the adjunctive YT for cognitive domains impaired in SZ.
Methods: Patients with SZ received YT or treatment as usual (TAU; n = 65, n = 23, respectively). Accuracy and speed for seven cognitive domains were assessed using a computerised neurocognitive battery (CNB), thus minimising observer bias. Separately, YT was evaluated among patients with bipolar I disorder (n = 40), major depressive disorder (n = 37) and cardiology outpatients (n = 68). All patients also received routine pharmacotherapy. Patients were not randomised to YT or TAU.
Results: In comparison with the SZ/TAU group, the SZ/YT group showed significantly greater improvement with regard to measures of attention following corrections for multiple comparisons; the changes were more prominent among the men. In the other diagnostic groups, differing patterns of improvements were noted with small-to-medium effect sizes.
Conclusions: Our initial analyses suggest nominally significant improvement in cognitive function in SZ with adjunctive therapies such as YT. The magnitude of the change varies by cognitive domain and may also vary by diagnostic group.
With the development of nuclear power programme, an additional consideration outside the existing radiation protection framework appeared: the need to assess not only the level of exposure, but also to take into consideration the accidents which could release large inventories of radioactivity. With the expansion of nuclear commitments, the inventories of Tritium are bound to increase. The possible use of tritium as the fuel for fusion reactors in the near future may result in an additional source of tritium. Swiss albino mice of 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6 weeks of age were injected with tritiated water (HTO) at the dose 111 kBq/gram body weight and the animals from each age group autopsied on 1, 7 and 30 days post- injection. The mouse show radiovulnerability with a capability to repair and recover from the rendered damage during the first half (1 week to 3 week) of postnatal development, whereas during the second half (4 week to 6 week of age) a tendency towards radioresistance is achieved. The presentation is an attempt to revisit the behaviour of tritium with its possible implications on the environment in accordance with the presently projected radiation protection framework.
We have developed a novel electrochemical system for field assisted, fluidic assembly of objects on a microfabricated silicon substrate by means of electrical addressing. The principle of our technique is based on the movement of charged species in solution to oppositely charged electrodes, as seen commonly in electrophoresis. Here, charged species such as beads and cells are moved electrokinetically through an aqueous solution towards a charged electrode. Micro patterning of the electrodes allows localization of charged species. We present a theoretical framework to predict the electric potential for assembly and disassembly of spherical objects. We correlate theoretical predictions with the motion of negatively charged polystyrene beads of 20 μm diameter on 100 μm feature micro patterned substrates. In addition, we extended these results to arraying of 20-30 μm diameter live mammalian cells by means of electrical addressing. This technique has applications in creation of ‘active’ cellular arrays for cell biology research, drug discovery and tissue engineering.
We have performed for the first time a complete structural characterization of PLA-PEO-PLA in the solution and hydrogel states. Previous studies on hydrogels of these polymers have shown that these gels have excellent mechanical properties suitable for possible application in tissue engineering and drug delivery. We have performed SANS, USAXS and confocal microscopy to relate the change in micro to nano scale self-assembled structure of these polymers in aqueous solution with changes in the block length and stereospecificity of the PLA block. A significant difference in structure and association behavior was seen between the polymers made from amorphous D/L-lactide as compared to those with crystalline L lactide blocks. In the former case spherical micelles were seen to form whereas the latter forms nonspherical polydisperse micellar assemblies. Both polymers form an associative network structure at higher concentrations, leading to gelation. USAXS and confocal microscopy show the presence of large-scale fractal aggregates in the hydrogels of these polymers. The fractal structure was denser for the L lactide series polymers as compared to the D/L-lactide series polymers. These results show that we can tune the microstructure and thereby the mechanical strength of these gels depending upon the specific application we need it for. We also show profiles for release of hydrophobic drug sulindac from 5 weight% solutions of these polymers in phosphate buffer saline. The profiles follows an almost zero order release behavior that continues slowly and steadily over several days and is again found to be strongly dependent on the crystallinity and molecular weight of the PLA block.
Tribochemical studies of the effect of lubricant bonding on the tribology of the head/disk interface (HDI) were conducted using hydrogenated (CHx) carbon disk samples coated with perfluoropolyether ZDOL lubricant. The studies involved drag tests with uncoated and carboncoated Al2O3-TiC sliders and also thermal desorption experiments in an ultra-high vacuum (UHV) tribochamber. We observed that a larger mobile lubricant portion significantly enhances the wear durability of the (head/disk interface) HDI by providing a reservoir to constantly replenish the lubricant displaced in the wear track during drag tests. In the thermal desorption tests we observed two distinct temperatures of desorption. The mobile ZDOL layer is desorbed at the lower thermal desorption temperature and the residual bonded ZDOL layer is desorbed at the higher thermal desorption temperature. We also observed that the hydrogen evolution from CHx overcoats initiates lubricant catalytic decomposition with uncoated Al2O3/TiC sliders, forming CF3 (69) and C2F5 (119). The generation of Hydroflouric acid (HF) during thermal desorption experiments provides the formation mechanism of Lewis acid, which is the necessary component for catalytic reaction causing Z-DOL lube degradation.
The deformation behavior of BCC metals is being investigated by x-ray microdiffraction measurements (μXRD) for the purpose of characterizing the dislocation structure that results from uniaxial compression experiments. The high brilliance synchrotron source at the Advanced Light Source (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab) and the micron resolution of the focusing optics allow for the mapping of Laue diffraction patterns across a sample. These measurements are then analyzed in order to map the distribution of residual stresses in the crystal. An important finding is the observation of Laue spot “streaking”, which indicates localized rotations in the lattice. These may represent an accumulation of same-sign dislocations. Theoretical modeling of the diffraction response for various slip systems is presented, and compared to experimental data. Preliminary results include orientation maps from a highly strained Ta bicrystal and a less highly strained Mo single crystal. The orientation maps of the bicrystal indicate a cell-like structure of dense dislocation walls. This deformation structure is consistent with previous OIM studies of the same crystal. The results suggest that μXRD may be a particularly useful tool for microscale studies of deformation patterns in a multi-scale investigation of the mechanisms of deformation that ranges from macroscopic deformation tests to high resolution TEM studies of dislocation structures.
X-ray diffraction with hard X-rays (E = 70 keV) was used to investigate the grain nucleation and grain growth during solidification of a grain refined Al-0.3Ti-0.02B (wt.%) alloy. The investigations showed for the first time the nucleation profile during solidification and how nucleation rate increases with cooling rate. The results indicate that the nucleation process is complete for solid fraction below 30 %, irrespective of the cooling rate. This is explained in terms of the release of latent heat during solidification. The growth of individual aluminium grains during solidification is experimentally observed and compared to model predictions for the diffusion limited grain growth. The experimental results are only in agreement with the theory in the first stage of the transformation. The difference between the experiment and the theory is discussed qualitatively.
We report rheological data on hydrogels formed from triblock copolymers of poly(L-lactide) (PLLA) and poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO). We are able to create gels with elastic moduli greater than 10,000 Pa, which is an order of magnitude higher than previously achieved with related physically associated gels of similar chemistry. Moreover, the value of the elastic modulus strongly depends on PLLA block length, offering a mechanism to control the mechanical properties as desired for particular applications. Additionally, we have developed protocols for using these materials for cell encapsulation and present preliminary cell viability studies for encapsulated human liver cells (HepG2 cell line). Our results have implications for the design of new materials for soft tissue engineering, where native tissues have moduli in the kPa range.
Zinc Oxide nanoparticles (ZnO) being biocompatible and chemically stable have great potential for bio-medical applications that includes anti-bacterial and mold prevention, air ventilation and purification, water purification, self cleaning and photosynthesis, and disease detection. Also ZnO is a wide band gap semiconductor and exhibits piezoelectric and pyroelectric properties, which makes it a perfect candidate for building electrochemically coupled sensors and transducers. With all these unique properties, ZnO has the potential to be very important nanomaterial in material research area. Therefore, research, development, and production of ZnO nanoparticles would make notable contributions to the field of nanotechnology. In this paper we report a novel approach for the fabrication of ZnO nanoparticles suspension in deionized water at room temperature using pulsed laser deposition (PLD) technique. Particle size was controlled by the number of shots of the laser beam used. Characterization of the nanoparticles has been done using UV-Visible spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and dynamic light scattering (DLS). UV-Visible study confirmed the existence of ZnO nanoparticles showing a peak at around 300 nm which is consistent with the absorption spectra of standard ZnO nanoparticles. Presence of ZnO was reconfirmed by the excitation and emission spectra obtained from fluorescence spectroscopy. The excitation and emission peaks were found at 305 nm and 410 nm respectively, strongly suggesting the characteristic peaks for ZnO nanoparticles. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) photographs established that we have successfully prepared ZnO nanoparticles suspension with particle size ranging from 6 nm to 90 nm.
A total of 675 stdrains of Salmonella bareilly received from different parts of India and France during 1959–92 were phage typed using six bacteriophages. Overall ttypability achieved was 90·8% with 23 distinctphage types excluding a group of untypable strains. Phage types have been defined in octal code. Simpson's coefficient was applied for diversity index having a value of 0·839. This system was found to be reproducible, stable and epidemiologically useful.
Gold eyelid implantation is widely considered the procedure of choice to reanimate the upper eyelid in paralytic lagophthalmos. Commercially supplied implants are not readily available in all places and are sometimes cumbersome to import.
We aimed to devise a method whereby every surgeon performing gold eyelid implantation could have easy and quick access to the implant. Furthermore, we aimed to develop a means of creating an implant of the exact weight required for complete eyelid closure.
Study design and setting:
A prospective study was performed from 1997 to 2005 in a tertiary research hospital, involving 50 subjects requiring gold upper eyelid implantation and using the technique in question.
Only patients with a minimum follow up of one year were included in the study group. Symptoms improved in 96 per cent of subjects, who were able to dispense with eyedrops and eye ointments. Visual acuity improved in 92 per cent of patients. There were two extrusions amongst the early cases.
Conclusion and significance:
Customised gold eyelid implantation offers an alternative in regions where commercial implants are not easily obtained.