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This reflection article presents insights on conducting fieldwork during and after COVID-19 from a diverse collection of political scientists—from department heads to graduate students based at public and private universities in the United States and abroad. Many of them contributed to a newly published volume, Stories from the Field: A Guide to Navigating Fieldwork in Political Science (Krause and Szekely 2020). As in the book, these contributors draw on their years of experience in the field to identify the unique ethical and logistical challenges posed by COVID-19 and offer suggestions for how to adjust and continue research in the face of the pandemic's disruptions. Key themes include how contingency planning must now be a central part of our research designs; how cyberspace has increasingly become “the field” for the time being; and how scholars can build lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships with “field citizens,” now and in the future.
To assess the contribution of different food groups to total salt purchases and to evaluate the estimated reduction in salt purchases if mandatory maximum salt limits in South African legislation were being complied with.
This study conducted a cross-sectional analysis of purchasing data from Discovery Vitality members. Data were linked to the South African FoodSwitch database to determine the salt content of each food product purchased. Food category and total annual salt purchases were determined by summing salt content (kg) per each unit purchased across a whole year. Reductions in annual salt purchases were estimated by applying legislated maximum limits to product salt content.
The study utilised purchasing data from 344,161 households, members of Discovery Vitality, collected for a whole year between January and December 2018.
Vitality members purchased R12.8 billion worth of food products in 2018, representing 9,562 products from which 264,583 kg of salt were purchased. The main contributors to salt purchases were bread and bakery products (23.3%); meat and meat products (19%); dairy (12.2%); sauces, dressings, spreads and dips (11.8%); and convenience foods (8.7%). The projected total quantity of salt that would be purchased after implementation of the salt legislation was 250,346 kg, a reduction of 5.4% from 2018 levels.
A projected reduction in salt purchases of 5.4% from 2018 levels suggests that meeting the mandatory maximum salt limits in South Africa will make a meaningful contribution to reducing salt purchases.
Insomnia is a common major health concern, which causes significant distress and disruption in a person's life. The objective of this paper was to evaluate a 6-week version of Mindfulness-Based Therapy for Insomnia (MBTI) in a sample of people attending a sleep disorders clinic with insomnia, including those with comorbidities. Thirty participants who met the DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of insomnia participated in a 6-week group intervention. Outcome measures were a daily sleep diary and actigraphy during pre-treatment and follow-up, along with subjective sleep outcomes collected at baseline, end-of-treatment, and 3-month follow-up. Trend analyses showed that MBTI was associated with a large decrease in insomnia severity (p < .001), with indications of maintenance of treatment effect. There were significant improvements in objective sleep parameters, including sleep onset latency (p = .005), sleep efficiency (p = .033), and wake after sleep onset (p = .018). Significant improvements in subjective sleep parameters were also observed for sleep efficiency (p = .005) and wake after sleep onset (p < .001). Overall, this study indicated that MBTI can be successfully delivered in a sleep disorders clinic environment, with evidence of treatment effect for both objective and subjective measures of sleep.
Trypanosomes are blood-borne parasites that can infect a variety of different vertebrates, including animals and humans. This study aims to broaden scientific knowledge about the presence and biodiversity of trypanosomes in Australian bats. Molecular and morphological analysis was performed on 86 blood samples collected from seven different species of microbats in Western Australia. Phylogenetic analysis on 18S rDNA and glycosomal glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase (gGAPDH) sequences identified Trypanosoma dionisii in five different Australian native species of microbats; Chalinolobus gouldii, Chalinolobus morio, Nyctophilus geoffroyi, Nyctophilus major and Scotorepens balstoni. In addition, two novels, genetically distinct T. dionisii genotypes were detected and named T. dionisii genotype Aus 1 and T. dionisii genotype Aus 2. Genotype Aus 2 was the most prevalent and infected 20.9% (18/86) of bats in the present study, while genotype Aus 1 was less prevalent and was identified in 5.8% (5/86) of Australian bats. Morphological analysis was conducted on trypomastigotes identified in blood films, with morphological parameters consistent with trypanosome species in the subgenus Schizotrypanum. This is the first report of T. dionisii in Australia and in Australian native bats, which further contributes to the global distribution of this cosmopolitan bat trypanosome.
Cognitive models propose that behavioural responses to voices maintain distress by preventing disconfirmation of negative beliefs about voices. We used Experience Sampling Methodology (ESM) to examine the hypothesized maintenance role of behavioural responses during daily life.
Thirty-one outpatients with frequent voices completed a smartphone-based ESM questionnaire 10 times a day over 9 days, assessing voice-related distress; resistance and compliance responses to voices; voice characteristics (intensity and negative content); appraisals of voice dominance, uncontrollability and intrusiveness.
In line with predictions, behavioural responses were associated with voice appraisals (dominance and uncontrollability), but not voice characteristics. Greater resistance and compliance were reported in moments of increased voice distress, but these associations did not persist after controlling for concurrent voice appraisals and characteristics. Voice distress was predicted by appraisals, and, unexpectedly, also by voice characteristics. As predicted, compliance and resistance were related to increases in distress at subsequent timepoints, whilst antecedent voice appraisals and characteristics had no such effect. Compliance, but not resistance, additionally predicted subsequent increases in voice uncontrollability. In both cases, the reverse models showed no association, indicating directional effects of responses on subsequent distress, and of compliance on uncontrollability appraisals.
These results provide support for the cognitive model by suggesting that momentary behavioural and emotional responses to voices are associated with concurrent negative voice appraisals. Findings suggest that behavioural responses may be driven by voice appraisals, rather than directly by distress, and may in turn maintain voice appraisals and associated distress during the course of daily life.
There is evidence that depression can be prevented; however, traditional approaches face significant scalability issues. Digital technologies provide a potential solution, although this has not been adequately tested. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a new smartphone app designed to reduce depression symptoms and subsequent incident depression amongst a large group of Australian workers.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted with follow-up assessments at 5 weeks and 3 and 12 months post-baseline. Participants were employed Australians reporting no clinically significant depression. The intervention group (N = 1128) was allocated to use HeadGear, a smartphone app which included a 30-day behavioural activation and mindfulness intervention. The attention-control group (N = 1143) used an app which included a 30-day mood monitoring component. The primary outcome was the level of depressive symptomatology (PHQ-9) at 3-month follow-up. Analyses were conducted within an intention-to-treat framework using mixed modelling.
Those assigned to the HeadGear arm had fewer depressive symptoms over the course of the trial compared to those assigned to the control (F3,734.7 = 2.98, p = 0.031). Prevalence of depression over the 12-month period was 8.0% and 3.5% for controls and HeadGear recipients, respectively, with odds of depression caseness amongst the intervention group of 0.43 (p = 0.001, 95% CI 0.26–0.70).
This trial demonstrates that a smartphone app can reduce depression symptoms and potentially prevent incident depression caseness and such interventions may have a role in improving working population mental health. Some caution in interpretation is needed regarding the clinical significance due to small effect size and trial attrition.
Trial Registration Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (www.anzctr.org.au/) ACTRN12617000548336
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.
Antipsychotic medication maintenance and the factors influencing it were analyzed using data from the SOHO study, a large observational study of the outcomes of antipsychotic treatment for schizophrenia in Europe. A total of 7186 adult patients in the outpatient setting who were initiating or changing their antipsychotic medication and who were prescribed only one antipsychotic after the baseline visit were analyzed. Medication maintenance at 12 months varied with the type of antipsychotic prescribed, being highest with clozapine (79.5%) and olanzapine (77.0%), and lowest with quetiapine (51.4%) and amisulpride (58.2%). Multiple logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the type of antipsychotic prescribed at baseline was the most important predictor of medication maintenance. Alcohol dependency, taking mood stabilizers, compulsory admission or arrest in the previous 6 months, greater clinical severity, and changing antipsychotic medication due to lack of effectiveness at baseline predicted a higher frequency of medication discontinuation in the subsequent 12 months. In contrast, medication maintenance was higher among patients who were treatment naïve at baseline, socially active or who had loss of libido at baseline. The findings from this study should be interpreted conservatively because of its non-randomized observational design.
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.
Millions of children are on the move worldwide. Children are fleeing conflicts and wars. They move with or without their parents to attain a better future. Children on the move is not a new phenomenon, but its scale is without precedent. UN reports suggests that there are almost 50 million children who have migrated or who have been forcibly displaced. It is also reported that children form half the global refugee population and that many flee from violence, conflict and insecurity. Children who are migrants or refugees often find themselves in a particular vulnerable position, despite rather strong entitlements to human rights protection, as laid down in international and regional legal instruments including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted 30 years ago. This book presents a collection of scientific papers presented at the conference 'Safeguarding Children's Rights in Immigration Law', organised by the Institute of Immigration Law and the Department of Child Law of Leiden Law School, at Leiden University in November 2018. It reflects the growing concern for children and children's rights in immigration in academia and practice. It also shows the diversity of issues related to immigration and children, including family reunification, detention, participation, human trafficking and the rights of siblings in the context of migration, as well as the significance of regional legal systems and infrastructures for the protection of children on the move. The book targets at academics, legal and other professionals and (advanced) students.
The 1930s was a decade energised by crisis and hope. It ended badly on many fronts, including (seemingly) that of literature. Robert Hewison labels the years 1939 and 1940 the ‘grand slaughter of magazines’, noting that The Cornhill Magazine, Criterion, New Verse, Welsh Review, Voice of Scotland, and a range of other journals ‘all fell silent’. John Lehmann, a leading young periodical editor, recalled how ‘In the Christmas  Number I announced the death of New Writing’, an innovative journal he had launched in 1936.
The use of decision-making capacity assessments (DMCA) in clinical medicine is an underdeveloped yet quickly growing practice. Despite the ethical and clinical importance of these assessments as a means of protecting patient autonomy, clinicians, philosophers, and ethicists have identified a number of practical and theoretical hurdles which remain unresolved. One ethically important yet largely unaddressed issue is whether, and to what extent physicians ought to inform and obtain consent from patients prior to initiating a capacity assessment. In what follows, I address the following question: Must, or should, physicians obtain consent for capacity assessments? I argue that physicians have an ethical obligation to obtain express patient consent for capacity assessments, and in doing so, I challenge the predominant view which requires physicians to merely inform patients without obtaining consent. I then identify an underlying philosophical paradox that complicates the clinician's duty to obtain consent: in short, consent is needed for an assessment of one's ability to consent. Finally, I recommend a practical solution to this paradox of consent for capacity assessments by proposing a model of double consent from both the patient and health care representative.