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Some UK insurers have been using real-world economic scenarios for more than 30 years. Popular approaches have included random walks, time series models, arbitrage-free models with added risk premiums or 1-year Value at Risk distribution fits. Based on interviews with experienced practitioners as well as historical documents and meeting minutes, this paper traces historical model evolution in the United Kingdom and abroad. We examine the possible catalysts for changes in modelling practice with a particular emphasis on regulatory and socio-cultural influences. We apply past lessons to provide some guidance to the direction of capital market modelling in future, which has been key for business and strategy decisions.
Community stakeholders often participate in community research training curricula development. There is limited information describing how their input informs curricula. This paper describes input solicitation methods, input received, and examples of its integration.
From June 2014 to June 2016, community members (CMs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) guided curricula development tailored for CMs and CBOs, respectively. Engagement methods included a strategic planning retreat, surveys, a listening session, workgroup meetings, and community engagement studios. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize survey input. For other methods, input was extracted and compiled from facilitator notes.
CMs (n=37) and CBOs (n=83) providing input included patients and caregivers and advocacy, community service, and faith-based organizations, respectively. The major feedback categories were training topic priorities, format (e.g., face-to-face vs. online), logistics (e.g., training frequency), and compensation (e.g., appropriateness). Input directly guided design of CBO and CM curricula (e.g., additional time devoted to specific topics based on feedback) or helped to finalize logistics.
Multiple quantitative and qualitative methods can be used to elicit input from community stakeholders to inform the development of community research training curricula. This input is essential for the development of training curricula that are culturally relevant and acceptable.
Introduction: Adherence to transdermal nicotine patches, one of the most popular and effective treatments for nicotine dependence, remains very low and is a strong predictor of cessation rates.
Aims: This study examined individual factors related to adherence as well as differences over time between adherent (>85% of daily patch use) and non-adherent participants (<85% of daily patch use).
Methods: We analysed data from 440 participants who received 8 weeks of 21 mg transdermal nicotine and four behavioural counselling sessions within an effectiveness trial that examined the effects of long-term treatment. Multiple logistical regression assessed baseline variables associated with patch adherence and generalised estimating equations (GEE) were used to evaluate changes in craving and withdrawal, depressive and anxiety symptoms, substitute and complementary reinforcers, and side effects between participants who were or were not adherent.
Results: Adherence to patch use was strongly associated with smoking cessation at week 8 (p < 0.05). In a logistic regression model, being female, living with a child or children, and higher self-reported anxiety symptoms were predictive of lower patch adherence (p < 0.05). In the GEE analysis, adherence was significantly associated with a greater reduction in craving, a greater engagement in substitute reinforcers, and a greater decrease in complementary reinforcers over time (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Difficulties adhering to transdermal nicotine patches may be related to psychiatric comorbidity, difficulty managing nicotine craving, and challenges with engaging in substitute reinforcers and reducing exposure to complementary reinforcers. These constructs may serve as targets for interventions designed to increase treatment adherence.
Because of unforeseen difficulties, Dr Sinzi, President of the Commission, was not able to prepare this Report. It was then too late for asking the Directors of the almanac offices and the other Members of the Commission for informations. This Report is therefore based on the material just available, and it must be apologized for some lack from which it necessarily suffers. If possible, any omitted facts which appear to be serious, may be included in the Report for the following triennium.
The period of this Report includes 1984 January 1, the date which was probably the most drastic caesura in the history of astronomical almanacs. It seemed, therefore, appropriate to concentrate here to the general aspects rather than to describe the works going on at the particular almanac offices. It is, however, hoped that the past years with their developments and changes will be followed by a period of consolidation and continuity. This would be also of great benefit for the users of the almanacs who still need some time for getting accustomed to so many innovations.
This paper is a report from the Extreme Events Working Party. The paper considers some of the difficulties in calculating capital buffers to cover potential losses. This paper considers the reasons why a purely mechanical approach to calculating capital buffers may bot be possible or justified. A range of tools and techniques is presented to help address some of the difficulties identified.
Of the radiation types, alpha-(α) particles are of particular interest as they are an environmental concern, predominately due to inhalation of radon and its daughter progeny. Furthermore, α-particle emitters like Americium-241, Plutonium-238 and Polonium-210 have been identified as probable isotopes to be used in radiological dispersal devices. Thus, the identification of potential biomarkers to α-particle radiation exposure would be useful for the development of field deployable bioassays which could be used for human risk assessment and public health protection. Human lung cells were exposed to α-particle radiation and assessed for modulations in protein expression using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2D-GE). Concurrently, cell culture supernatants were analyzed for cytokine secretion using a multiplex-27 bead array assay. Cell culture supernatants assessed for cytokine secretion expressed 8 statistically significant cytokines following α-particle exposure, among which VEGF was confirmed to be dose-responsive and not modulated in X-irradiated cells. Analysis of whole cell lysates using 2-D gel electrophoresis showed 15 upregulated and 1 downregulated protein spot, of which 4 were identified by mass spectrometry. These data suggest that α-particle exposure results in the alterations in expression-levels of specific proteins which may be potential biomarkers used further for the development of fast and reliable bioassays.
The dissolution behaviour of Zircaloy clad used CANDU fuel in aqueous solutions has been examined under mildly reducing conditions at 95°C for a period of 16 months. The effects of various container components and groundwaters on the dissolution of the fuel have been investigated. The components studied were titanium (container material), carbon steel (fuel bundle support basket) and soda-lime glass beads (container infill material). Leaching solutions included deionized water (DIW) and synthetic saline groundwaters.
The presence of glass beads or carbon steel did not appear to significantly affect solution concentrations of 137Cs, 90Sr, 99Tc, or 238U. Radionuclide concentrations were one to two orders of magnitude higher in saline groundwaters than in DIW. After about 30 days leaching, continued radionuclide release from the fuel was strongly inhibited in the absence of oxygen, and radionuclide concentrations in solution remained virtually constant. X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurements of the oxidation state of fuel fragments leached in groundwaters, showed a surface composition of less than UO2.33, below the postulated threshold for oxidative dissolution.
The in situ formation of conductive carbon lines in polymeric substrates was demonstrated by “writing” with CO2 and Nd:YAG lasers. The formation of conductive carbon lines on polymer substrates proceeds through a series of steps including; absorption of light, initiation of decomposition reactions, and thermal propagation of the pyrolysis. The effect of material composition, power density, energy density, and wavelength on the electrical resistance and morphology of the carbon lines was investigated.
Above a critical laser energy density (= 400 J/cm2) sufficient light is absorbed by the substrate such that initiation of the pyrolysis reactions occurs. The decomposed polymer strongly absorbs the incident radiation and the thermal propagation of the reactions forms shiny, conductive, carbon lines. The dimensions of these lines are dependent on the energy density impinging on the polymer and are independent of the wavelengths investigated. If too high a power density is employed (∼ 104 Watts/cm2), an ablated track is formed down the center of the carbon line. This results in the relative insensitivity of the linear resistance with increasing power above 104 Watts/cm2.
Fluorinated Single Wall Nanotubes (f-SWNTs) have been processed in polyethylene by an incipient wetting technique to achieve a well dispersed nanocomposite for radiation protection. In some cases, samples were further processed using the rapid prototyping method of extrusion freeform fabrication. Composites were exposed to 40 MeV proton radiation with a flux of about 1.7×107 protons/cm2/sec to a total fluence of 3×1010 protons/cm2.This exposure is consistent with a long-term space mission in low earth orbit. The samples were evaluated by means of Raman spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). These results were compared to the unexposed composite and unfilled polymer samples. This study has focused on the stability of the nanotube composites when exposed to radiation and prior to hydrogen exposure. It was shown that the stability of the functional group is not constant with SWNTs produced by different processes and that radiation exposure is capable of defluorinating SWNTs in polyethylene.
Authorised discharges of radionuclides into sewers can result in contamination of the sludge, and so provide a pathway by which radionuclides can enter the foodchain. Specific data on the uptake of radionuclides from sludge amended land into crops is scarce. A study has been undertaken to generate data on tritium uptake by crops grown in soil amended with tritium contaminated sewage sludge using a range of soil types and crops common to the UK. The study was performed over two years. The concentration of tritium in soil fell throughout the study. It was therefore not possible to quantify individual soil to crop transfer in terms of conventional concentration ratios. Instead, an aggregated transfer quotient was estimated relating the concentration in the edible part of the crop in Bq kg-1 to the original amount of activity applied to the soil in Bq m-2. The values obtained were broadly similar at for all crop and soil types studied, being about 2 10-4 m2 kg-1. The observed values depend on factors such as temperature and rainfall, and so they should not be used in generalised radiological assessments. They are however indicative of the small amounts of tritium transferred to crops from amended soil.
This paper focusses on some practical issues that can arise when developing methodologies for calculating benchmark figures for extreme market events, particularly in the context of the Financial Services Authority's ICAS regime. The paper limits discussion to equity and interest rate risks. Whilst not intended to constitute formal guidance, it is hoped that the material contained within the paper will be useful to practitioners. The paper acknowledges the role of prior beliefs in the choice of data to be used for modelling and its influence upon the ensuing results.
A cross-sectional field study was performed to evaluate infection in dogs and cats living on farms with Mycobacterium bovis-infected cattle. The purpose was to determine pet infection status and assess their risk to farm families and/or tuberculosis-free livestock. Data and specimens were collected from 18 cats and five dogs from nine participating farms. ELISA testing for M. bovis and M. avium was conducted. Fifty-one biological samples were cultured; all were negative for M. bovis, although other Mycobacterium species were recovered. No radiographic, serological or skin test evidence of mycobacterial infection was found. These negative results may be due to the low level of M. bovis infection in the cattle and the limited duration of exposure of pets to infected cattle residing on the same farm. No evidence was found to indicate that pets residing on M. bovis-infected Michigan cattle farms pose a risk to humans or M. bovis-free livestock; however, precautionary advice for farm owners was provided.
This paper was written by the Derivatives Working Party, a permanent working party of the Life Research Committee of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Our aim is to consider how life assurers may use, or may wish to use, derivatives, and if their use is unduly constrained, e.g. by regulation. This paper focuses on credit derivatives. We provide an overview of the credit derivatives market, and the strong growth in this market over recent years. We then focus on the two main traded credit derivative instruments — Credit Default Swaps (CDSs) and Collateralised Debt Obligations (CDOs). We explain how these instruments work and are priced, and clarify some of the more complex topics involved, such as the settlement of CDSs, basis risk and the relevance of implied correlation in pricing CDOs. We then consider how life insurers could make use of credit derivatives, for example to provide more efficient investment management in taking exposure to credit risk, or to hedge credit exposures, and consider the regulatory implications of so doing. Finally, in the Appendix, we discuss the credit spread puzzle, and the existence or otherwise of a liquidity premium in corporate bond spreads, with implications for the valuation of illiquid liabilities.