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This paper explores the characteristics of health technology assessment (HTA) systems and practices in Asia. Representatives from nine countries were surveyed to understand each step of the HTA pathway. The analysis finds that although there are similarities in the processes of HTA and its application to inform decision making, there is variation in the number of topics assessed and the stakeholders involved in each step of the process. There is limited availability of resources and technical capacity and countries adopt different means to overcome these challenges by accepting industry submissions or adapting findings from other regions. Inclusion of stakeholders in the process of selecting topics, generating evidence, and making funding recommendations is critical to ensure relevance of HTA to country priorities. Lessons from this analysis may be instructive to other countries implementing HTA processes and inform future research on the feasibility of implementing a harmonized HTA system in the region.
Alpine glaciers are valuable archives for the reconstruction of human impact on the environment. Besides dating purposes, measurement of radiocarbon (14C) content provides a powerful tool for long-term source apportionment studies on the carbonaceous aerosols incorporated in ice cores. In this work, we present an extraction system for 14C analyses of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in ice cores. The setup can process ice samples of up to 350 g mass and offers ultra-clean working conditions for all extraction steps. A photo-oxidation method is applied by means of external UV irradiation of the sample. For an irradiation time of 30 min with catalyzation by addition of Fe2+ and H2O2, we achieve an efficiency of 96 ± 6% on average. Inert gas working conditions and stringent decontamination procedures enable a low overall blank of 1.9 ± 1.6 μg C with a F14C value of 0.68 ± 0.13. This makes it possible to analyze the DOC in ice samples with a carbon content of as low as 25 μg C kg−1 ice. For a first validation, the new method was applied to ice core samples from the Swiss Alps. The average DOC concentration and F14C values for the Fiescherhorn ice core samples show good agreement with previously reported data for the investigated period of 1925–1936 AD.
We present the first data release of the SkyMapper Southern Survey, a hemispheric survey carried out with the SkyMapper Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. Here, we present the survey strategy, data processing, catalogue construction, and database schema. The first data release dataset includes over 66 000 images from the Shallow Survey component, covering an area of 17 200 deg2 in all six SkyMapper passbands uvgriz, while the full area covered by any passband exceeds 20 000 deg2. The catalogues contain over 285 million unique astrophysical objects, complete to roughly 18 mag in all bands. We compare our griz point-source photometry with Pan-STARRS1 first data release and note an RMS scatter of 2%. The internal reproducibility of SkyMapper photometry is on the order of 1%. Astrometric precision is better than 0.2 arcsec based on comparison with Gaia first data release. We describe the end-user database, through which data are presented to the world community, and provide some illustrative science queries.
Many women experience both vasomotor menopausal symptoms (VMS) and depressed mood at midlife, but little is known regarding the prospective bi-directional relationships between VMS and depressed mood and the role of sleep difficulties in both directions.
A pooled analysis was conducted using data from 21 312 women (median: 50 years, interquartile range 49−51) in eight studies from the InterLACE consortium. The degree of VMS, sleep difficulties, and depressed mood was self-reported and categorised as never, rarely, sometimes, and often (if reporting frequency) or never, mild, moderate, and severe (if reporting severity). Multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine the bi-directional associations adjusted for within-study correlation.
At baseline, the prevalence of VMS (40%, range 13–62%) and depressed mood (26%, 8–41%) varied substantially across studies, and a strong dose-dependent association between VMS and likelihood of depressed mood was found. Over 3 years of follow-up, women with often/severe VMS at baseline were more likely to have subsequent depressed mood compared with those without VMS (odds ratios (OR) 1.56, 1.27–1.92). Women with often/severe depressed mood at baseline were also more likely to have subsequent VMS than those without depressed mood (OR 1.89, 1.47–2.44). With further adjustment for the degree of sleep difficulties at baseline, the OR of having a subsequent depressed mood associated with often/severe VMS was attenuated and no longer significant (OR 1.13, 0.90–1.40). Conversely, often/severe depressed mood remained significantly associated with subsequent VMS (OR 1.80, 1.38–2.34).
Difficulty in sleeping largely explained the relationship between VMS and subsequent depressed mood, but it had little impact on the relationship between depressed mood and subsequent VMS.
With the rapid development of telescopes, both temporal cadence and the spatial resolution of observations are increasing. This in turn generates vast amount of data, which can be efficiently searched only with automated detections in order to derive the features of interest in the observations. A number of automated detection methods and algorithms have been developed for solar activities, based on the image processing and machine learning techniques. In this paper, after briefly reviewing some automated detection methods, we describe our efficient and versatile automated detection method for solar filaments. It is able not only to recognize filaments, determine the features such as the position, area, spine, and other relevant parameters, but also to trace the daily evolution of the filaments. It is applied to process the full disk Hα data observed in nearly three solar cycles, and some statistic results are presented.
To explore the effects of maternal nutrition on offspring muscle characteristics, a total of 56 sows were assigned to one of the four dietary groups during gestation: control (CON), or control diets supplemented with methyl donor (MET), bisphenol A (BPA), and combined BPA and MET (BPA+MET). Compared with CON offspring, MET offspring showed a higher meat redness value, but lower glycogen content in the longissimus thoracis (LT). Moreover, compared with CON offspring, MET offspring showed lower LT glycogen synthase (GS) mRNA levels at birth and the finishing stage, and increased methylation at the GS promoter. Prenatal BPA exposure reduced the pH and redness value of meat, but increased the lightness value, lactate content, glycolytic potential and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) enzyme activity in the LT muscle. Prenatal BPA exposure increased LDH mRNA levels in the LT muscle at birth and the finishing stage, and reduced methylation at the LDH promoter. Thus, maternal MET affects muscle GS and LDH expression via DNA methylation, thereby resulting in persistent effects on pork quality.
Doubts about the integrity of ballot secrecy persist and depress political participation among the American public. Prior experiments have shown that official communications directly addressing these doubts increase turnout among recently registered voters who had not previously voted, but evaluations of similar messages sent by nongovernmental campaigns have yielded only suggestive effects. We build on past research and analyze two large-scale field experiments where a private nonpartisan nonprofit group sought to increase turnout by emphasizing ballot secrecy assurances alongside a reminder to vote in a direct mail voter mobilization campaign during the 2014 midterm election. Our main finding is that a private group’s mailing increases turnout by about 1 percentage point among recently registered nonvoters. This finding is precisely estimated and robust across state political contexts, but is not statistically distinguishable from the effect of a standard voter mobilization appeal. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.