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The objective of this research was to assess current patterns of hospital antibiotic prescribing in Northern Ireland and to determine targets for improving the quality of antibiotic prescribing. A point prevalence survey was conducted in four acute teaching hospitals. The most commonly used antibiotics were combinations of penicillins including β-lactamase inhibitors (33·6%), metronidazole (9·1%), and macrolides (8·1%). The indication for treatment was recorded in 84·3% of the prescribing episodes. A small fraction (3·9%) of the surgical prophylactic antibiotic prescriptions was for >24 h. The results showed that overall 52·4% of the prescribed antibiotics were in compliance with the hospital antibiotic guidelines. The findings identified the following indicators as targets for quality improvement: indication recorded in patient notes, the duration of surgical prophylaxis and compliance with hospital antibiotic guidelines. The results strongly suggest that antibiotic use could be improved by taking steps to address the identified targets for quality improvement.
Excimer laser crystallisation is used to fabricate nanocrystalline thin film silicon Schottky barrier solar cells, in a superstrate configuration with indium tin oxide as the front contact and chromium as the back contact. 150 nm thick intrinsic absorber layers are used for the solar cells, and was crystallised using an excimer laser with different laser energy densities. These layers were characterised using Raman spectroscopy and optical absorption before device fabrication. External quantum efficiencies of the devices were calculated from the spectral response data of the devices. A maximum efficiency of 70 % is observed for low energy irradiation, which is significant for very thin absorber layers. Device operation is discussed with proposed band structures for the devices and supplementary measurements.
Within the EURECA project (Towards self-sustainable EUropean REgional CAttle breeds), we interviewed a total of 371 farmers of 15 local cattle breeds in eight European countries. Besides collecting data on farmers, land use, herd composition and economic role of cattle, we aimed at understanding farmers' motives and values in keeping local cattle. The most frequent first reason to keep the local breed was productivity, followed by tradition. When comparing the local breed with a mainstream breed, only in four breeds was productivity considered the same, while in three breeds more than 50 percent of farmers valued the local breed as more profitable. The local breed was valued as always superior or the same on functional traits. Farmers were asked which type of appreciation they thought representatives of various stakeholders had on their local breed: a positive appreciation was observed in 33 percent of farmers. On average across breeds, 39 percent of farmers expect to increase the size of their herd in the next few years and 5 percent plan to give up farming. The degree of dependence of farmers on economic incentives was estimated by asking farmers their expected behaviour under three scenarios of change of subsidies. Most farmers demanded activities for promoting local breed farming. The results are discussed in terms of breed sustainability and conservation.
The aim of the present study was to analyse the different food and nutrient intakes of the adult Irish population from the lowest and highest quartiles of intake for total fat (%energy) dietary fibre (g/MJ) and fruit and vegetables (g/day). Data on Irish adults (n = 715) from the Irish National Nutrition Survey conducted in 1989 were used for the analyses and showed that the average diet is low in dietary fibre, with fruit and vegetables being only half the recommended level of 400 g. Comparisons of people with low or high intakes (from lowest and highest quartiles) of total fat (%energy), dietary fibre (g/MJ) and fruit and vegetables (g/day) show patterns of food intake differing in both the percentage of consumers and in the mean intakes among consumers only. This analysis provides data which may be useful as a first step towards the development of food-based dietary guidelines for Ireland. In particular, the low intake of fruit and vegetables in the adult Irish population deserves special attention.
Naloxone hydrochloride eyedrops 1 mg/ml dilated the pupils of 36 out of 47 opiate addicts on methadone maintenance treatment, without precipitation of acute withdrawal effects, but not those of healthy unmedicated subjects. The response in addicts was attenuated by certain ancillary treatments and by withdrawal of methadone treatment. The size of the response suggests some potential clinical use for topical naloxone as a diagnostic test of current opioid influence and possibility of physical dependence. The local mydriatic response, which was restricted to the treated eye, indicates that the effect of opiates on the pupil in man is determined, at least in part, by a peripheral action.
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