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In a widely reported 2011 interview at the Royal Geographic Society, the British– Caribbean novelist and essayist V. S. Naipaul shocked his interlocutors and many members of the reading public when he said: “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think it is unequal to me.” He continued: “A woman is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing, too. My publisher, who was so good as a taste-maker and editor, when she became a writer, lo and behold, it was all this feminine tosh.” Naipaul's valedictory flourish was the clarification: “I don't mean this in any unkind way.”
The notion that a reader may discern the gender of a text's author through close reading is, paradoxically, antithetical to the notion of close reading itself; nevertheless, it still finds roots deep in various literary historiographies and methodologies. In the early years of his career, before becoming the doyen of the social history of the medieval Mediterranean, S. D. Goitein claimed that while listening to the performance of Arabic poetry in Yemen, he could always tell whether a poem had been written by a man or a woman regardless of the gender of the performer. Such a belief, in no way limited to Naipaul and Goitein, bears serious interpretive consequences that have limited scholarly ability to comprehend the boundaries of women's writing. In this chapter, I propose to examine those consequences as they bear upon the construction of a literary history of Andalusi women poets and argue that only by overcoming both gender-essentialist and female-exceptionalist interpretation, two faces of the same critical coin, can we arrive at sound explanations for women's participation in the world of Andalusi courtly literature and the nature and extent of the limits placed upon that participation during the medieval period. The example of the single medieval Hebrew poem attributed to an Andalusi woman, both within its medieval context and in the light of the literary historiography that has tried to interpret and contextualize it, will be the test case for such a reassessment of that literary historiography.
People experiencing severe mental illness (SMI) face a shortened life expectancy of up to 20 years, primarily due to preventable cardiovascular (CV) diseases. Lifestyle interventions are effective in reducing CV risk, yet examples of service-wide interventions are lacking. Staff culture remains a barrier to the successful implementation of lifestyle interventions. The Keeping the Body in Mind (KBIM) program, established by SESLHD (Australia), aims to close the gap in life expectancy through multidisciplinary teams, including clinical nurse consultants, dieticians, exercise physiologists, and peer support workers. Prior to the KBIM rollout, an individualized lifestyle intervention called Keeping Our Staff In Mind (KoSiM) was offered to all district mental health staff.
KoSiM examined the effectiveness of a staff intervention to improve physical health, confidence, knowledge and attitudes of mental health staff.
Mental health staffs were invited to participate in an online survey and a 4-week individualized intervention including personalised health screening and lifestyle advice, with a 16-week follow-up. Outcomes assessed included: attitudes, confidence and knowledge regarding metabolic health, weight, waist circumference (WC), blood pressure, sleep, diet, physical activity and exercise capacity.
Of a total of 702 staff, 204 completed the survey (29%). Among those completing the survey, 154 staff (75%) participated in the intervention. A mean decrease in waist circumference of 2 ± 2.7 cm, (P < 0.001) was achieved. Among staffs that were overweight or obese at baseline, 75% achieved a decrease in WC.
Improving staff culture regarding physical health interventions is an important step in integrating lifestyle interventions into routine care.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Introduction: We examined our local sepsis patient population, and specifically our most vulnerable patients - those presenting to the emergency department (ED) in septic shock - for variables predictive of survival to hospital discharge. We applied the familiar ED paradigm of, “Door to,” to calculate the impact of time to antibiotics against patient survival to hospital discharge. Methods: Retrospective chart review of patients aged > = 18 years, presenting to tertiary care ED between 01 Nov 2014 and 31 Oct 2015. Patients determined to have sepsis if A) > = 2 SIRS criteria and ED suspicion of infection (ED acquisition of blood/urine cultures or antibiotic administration) and/or B) received ED or Hospital discharge diagnosis of sepsis (ICD-10 diagnostic codes A4xx and R65). Patients sub-classified with septic shock if A) triage SBP < = 90mmHg, B) triage MAP < = 65mmHg or C) serum lactate > = 4mmol/L. “Door Time” was defined as the earliest time recorded for the patient encounter, either the time the patient registered in the Emergency Department, or the triage time. A generalized linear model was performed with a binomial distribution using survival to discharge as the response variable. Age, sex, ED arrival method, time to antibiotics, ED serum lactate and ED serum glucose level were the predictor variables. Results: 13506 patient encounters met inclusion criteria (10980 unique patients). Linear regression of time to antibiotics against survival to hospital discharge failed to achieve statistical significance. Linear regression of the secondary outcome variables achieved statistical significance for age and serum lactate level. Per the model, as age increased by 1 year, the odds of dying prior to hospital discharge increased by 3.8% and as serum lactate increased by 1 mmol/L, odds of dying prior to hospital discharge increased by 11.1%. Conclusion: We found no association between time to antibiotic treatment and mortality. Causal relationships require randomized controlled trials, and this analysis contributes to clinical equipoise.
Birth weight and early growth have been associated with later blood pressure. However, not all studies consistently find a significant reduction in blood pressure with an increase in birth weight. In addition, the relative importance of birth weight and of other lifestyle and environmental factors is often overlooked and the association is rarely studied in adolescents. We investigated early life predictors, including birth weight, of adolescent blood pressure in the Gateshead Millennium Study (GMS). The GMS is a cohort of 1029 individuals born in 1999–2000 in Gateshead in Northern England. Throughout infancy and early childhood, detailed information were collected, including birth weight and measures of height and weight. Assessments of 491 returning participants at age 12 years included measures of body mass and blood pressure. Linear regression and path analysis were used to determine predictors and their relative importance on blood pressure. Birth weight was not directly associated with blood pressure at the age of 12. However, after adjustment for contemporaneous body mass index (BMI), an inverse association of standardized birth weight on systolic blood pressure was significant. The relative importance of birth weight on later systolic blood pressure was smaller than other contemporaneous body measures (height and BMI). There was no independent association of birth weight on blood pressure seen in this adolescent population. Contemporaneous body measures have an important role to play. Lifestyle factors that influence body mass or size, such as diet and physical activity, where interventions are directed at early prevention of hypertension should be targeted.
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.
Mental health and wellbeing, including addressing impacts of historical trauma and substance use among young people, has been identified as a key priority by Indigenous communities and leaders across Canada and globally. Yet, research to understand mental health among young Indigenous people who have used drugs is limited.
To examine longitudinal risk and strengths-based factors associated with psychological distress among young Indigenous people who use drugs.
The Cedar Project is an ongoing cohort study involving young Indigenous people who use drugs in Vancouver, Prince George, and Chase, British Columbia, Canada. This study included participants who completed the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, returned for follow-up between 2010 and 2012, and completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Adjusted linear mixed-effects models estimated effects of study variables on changes in area T-scores of psychological distress.
Of 202 eligible participants, 53% were women and the mean age was 28 years. Among men, childhood maltreatment (emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect), any drug use, blackouts from drinking, and sex work were associated with increased distress. Among women, childhood maltreatment (emotional abuse, physical abuse, physical neglect), blackouts from drinking, and sexual assault were associated with increased distress, while having attempted to quit using drugs was associated with reduced distress. Marginal associations were observed between speaking their traditional language and living by traditional culture with lower distress among men.
Culturally safe mental wellness interventions are urgently needed to address childhood trauma and harmful coping strategies that exacerbate distress among young Indigenous people who use drugs.
A crops ability to both suppress weed growth and tolerate weed competition is a key consideration when taking an agroecological approach to weed management. Amongst other cereals, oats are widely considered to have superior weed competitiveness yet studies examining competitive ability of oat varieties are rare. We investigated the ability of oats to suppress weeds and yield in the presence of competition from weeds in trials involving five husked and three naked oat varieties at an organic site in the east of England over four trial years (2009-13). We identified a number of key traits that were important for weed suppression including establishment rate, tillering ability, and early leaf area index (LAI) which highlight the importance of rapid early growth rate. Furthermore, taller varieties tended to be more weed tolerant but not necessarily more suppressive. Trade-offs between competitive traits and yield were not found in this study. Crop tillering ability was highlighted as an important trait for selection due to its beneficial effects on weed suppression as well as grain yield and also its high heritability.
The Numeniini is a tribe of 13 wader species (Scolopacidae, Charadriiformes) of which seven are Near Threatened or globally threatened, including two Critically Endangered. To help inform conservation management and policy responses, we present the results of an expert assessment of the threats that members of this taxonomic group face across migratory flyways. Most threats are increasing in intensity, particularly in non-breeding areas, where habitat loss resulting from residential and commercial development, aquaculture, mining, transport, disturbance, problematic invasive species, pollution and climate change were regarded as having the greatest detrimental impact. Fewer threats (mining, disturbance, problematic native species and climate change) were identified as widely affecting breeding areas. Numeniini populations face the greatest number of non-breeding threats in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, especially those associated with coastal reclamation; related threats were also identified across the Central and Atlantic Americas, and East Atlantic flyways. Threats on the breeding grounds were greatest in Central and Atlantic Americas, East Atlantic and West Asian flyways. Three priority actions were associated with monitoring and research: to monitor breeding population trends (which for species breeding in remote areas may best be achieved through surveys at key non-breeding sites), to deploy tracking technologies to identify migratory connectivity, and to monitor land-cover change across breeding and non-breeding areas. Two priority actions were focused on conservation and policy responses: to identify and effectively protect key non-breeding sites across all flyways (particularly in the East Asian- Australasian Flyway), and to implement successful conservation interventions at a sufficient scale across human-dominated landscapes for species’ recovery to be achieved. If implemented urgently, these measures in combination have the potential to alter the current population declines of many Numeniini species and provide a template for the conservation of other groups of threatened species.
Observational evidence suggests that increased whole grain (WG) intake reduces the risks of many non-communicable diseases, such as CVD, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. More recently, studies have shown that WG intake lowers all-cause and cause-specific mortality. Much of the reported evidence on risk reduction is from US and Scandinavian populations, where there are tangible WG dietary recommendations. At present there is no quantity-specific WG dietary recommendation in the UK, instead we are advised to choose WG or higher fibre versions. Despite recognition of WG as an important component of a healthy diet, monitoring of WG intake in the UK has been poor, with the latest intake assessment from data collected in 2000–2001 for adults and in 1997 for children. To update this information we examined WG intake in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme 2008–2011 after developing our database of WG food composition, a key resource in determining WG intake accurately. The results showed median WG intakes remain low in both adults and children and below that of countries with quantity-specific guidance. We also found a reduction in C-reactive protein concentrations and leucocyte counts with increased WG intake, although no association with other markers of cardio-metabolic health. The recent recommendations by the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition to increase dietary fibre intake will require a greater emphasis on consuming more WG. Specific recommendations on WG intake in the UK are warranted as is the development of public health policy to promote consumption of these important foods.
Few studies have investigated nitrogen (N) fertilizer management in no-tillage (NT) tobacco (Nicotiana tobacum L.) production systems, even though N fertilization is known to influence tobacco cured leaf yield and quality. The present study evaluated how tillage practice and N fertilizer rate affected burley tobacco agronomic performance, plant available nitrogen (PAN) supply, and leaf chemical constituents. In 2012 and 2013, three N fertilizer rates (0, 140 and 280 kg N/ha) were introduced as split-plots within a long-term NT and conventional tillage (CT) (mouldboard plough) comparison study. Results (2007–2013) showed that the effect of tillage on tobacco yield depended on seasonal weather; NT tobacco appeared to have lower yield than CT tobacco in seasons with <450 mm growing season rainfall, but similar yields when rainfall was >500 mm. In 2012 (432 mm rainfall; 84% of the long-term seasonal mean), leaf SPAD reading, leaf nitrate concentration, total nitrogen concentration at the topping day (i.e. removal of flowers/buds at the tops of the plants) and cured leaf nicotine and alkaloid content suggested that N deficiency was more pronounced in NT than CT at the lowest N fertilizer rate. The PAN supply, as measured by a modified in situ resin core method, was similar in 2012 between NT and CT, suggesting that plant factors may have had a role in N uptake efficiency. This scenario did not repeat in 2013 (706 mm rainfall; 137% of the long-term seasonal mean). Even though N fertilization rates were identical for both tillage practices in 2012 and 2013, PAN was lower, on average, in 2012. Because N uptake is largely the result of mass flow, the impact of reduced root density in NT tobacco would be expected to be more pronounced in a season such as 2012, when water was limited. Banding N close to the tobacco root system and/or side-dressing some portion of N may be recommended strategies to improve N use efficiency in NT burley tobacco production.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
This work focused on the modification of milled GaN powder. Successful attachment of a porphyrin derivative to a GaN powder was performed via in situ functionalization in the presence of phosphoric acid. The GaN powder was imaged using scanning electron microscopy and was found to be heterogeneous in nature, adopting no consistent geometry in the aggregates. The aqueous stability of the porphyrin used was observed in deionized water and a solution of phosphoric acid using ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy. Surface chemistry was characterized with x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy, which identified evidence of successful functionalization through the presence of characteristic peaks. The interface stability of the covalent bond between GaN and porphyrin was evaluated using fluorescence spectroscopy and demonstrated no leaching of dye in water solutions for 20 days.
Increased whole grain intake has been shown to reduce the risk of many non-communicable diseases. Countries including the USA, Canada, Denmark and Australia have specific dietary guidelines on whole grain intake but others, including the UK, do not. Data from 1986/87 and 2000/01 have shown that whole grain intake is low and declining in British adults. The aim of the present study was to describe whole grain intakes in the most current dietary assessment of UK households using data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme 2008–11. In the present study, 4 d diet diaries were completed by 3073 individuals between 2008 and 2011, along with details of socio-economic status (SES). The median daily whole grain intake, calculated for each individual on a dry weight basis, was 20 g/d for adults and 13 g/d for children/teenagers. The corresponding energy-adjusted whole grain intake was 27 g/10 MJ per d for adults and 20 g/10 MJ per d for children/teenagers. Whole grain intake (absolute and energy-adjusted) increased with age, but was lowest in teenagers (13–17 years) and younger adults up to the age of 34 years. Of the total study population, 18 % of adults and 15 % of children/teenagers did not consume any whole-grain foods. Individuals from lower SES groups had a significantly lower whole grain intake than those from more advantaged classifications. The whole grain intake in the UK, although higher than in 2000/01, remains low and below that in the US and Danish recommendations in all age classes. Favourable pricing with increased availability of whole-grain foods and education may help to increase whole grain intake in countries without whole-grain recommendations. Teenagers and younger adults may need targeting to help increase whole grain consumption.
Epidemiological evidence suggests an inverse association between whole grain consumption and the risk of non-communicable diseases, such as CVD, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers. A recent analysis of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme (NDNS-RP) has shown lower intake of whole grain in the UK. It is important to understand whether the health benefits associated with whole grain intake are present at low levels of consumption. The present study aimed to investigate the association of whole grain intake with intakes of other foods, nutrients and markers of health (anthropometric and blood measures) in the NDNS-RP 2008–11, a representative dietary survey of UK households. A 4-d diet diary was completed by 3073 individuals. Anthropometric measures, blood pressure levels, and blood and urine samples were collected after diary completion. Individual whole grain intake was calculated with consumers categorised into tertiles of intake. Higher intake of whole grain was associated with significantly decreased leucocyte counts. Significantly higher concentrations of C-reactive protein were seen in adults in the lowest tertile of whole grain intake. No associations with the remaining health markers were seen, after adjustments for sex and age. Over 70 % of this population did not consume the minimum recommend intake associated with disease risk reduction, which may explain small variation across health markers. Nutrient intakes in consumers compared with non-consumers were closer to dietary reference values, such as higher intakes of fibre, Mg and Fe, and lower intakes of Na, suggesting that higher intake of whole grain is associated with improved diet quality.
Abnormalities in the anterior inter-hemispheric connectivity have previously been implicated in major depressive disorder. Disruptions in fractional anisotropy in the callosum and fornix have been reported in schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. Oligodendrocyte density and overall size of the callosum and fornix show no alteration in either illness, suggesting that gross morphology is unchanged but more subtle organizational disruption may exist within these brain regions in mood and affective disorders.
Using high-resolution oil-immersion microscopy we examined the cross-sectional area of the nerve fibre and the axonal myelin sheath, and using standard high-resolution light microscopy we measured the density of myelinated axons. These measurements were made in the genu of the corpus callosum and the medial body of the fornix at its most dorsal point. Measures were taken in the sagittal plane in the callosal genu and in the coronal plane at the most dorsal part of the fornix body.
Cases of major depressive disorder had significantly greater mean myelin cross-sectional area (p = 0.017) and myelin thickness (p = 0.004) per axon in the genu than in control or schizophrenia groups. There was no significant change in the density of myelinated axons, and no changes observed in the fornix.
The results suggest a clear increase of myelin in the axons of the callosal genu in MDD, although this type of neuropathological study is unable to clarify whether this is caused by changes during life or has a developmental origin.