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Risk of suicide-related behaviors is elevated among military personnel transitioning to civilian life. An earlier report showed that high-risk U.S. Army soldiers could be identified shortly before this transition with a machine learning model that included predictors from administrative systems, self-report surveys, and geospatial data. Based on this result, a Veterans Affairs and Army initiative was launched to evaluate a suicide-prevention intervention for high-risk transitioning soldiers. To make targeting practical, though, a streamlined model and risk calculator were needed that used only a short series of self-report survey questions.
We revised the original model in a sample of n = 8335 observations from the Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers-Longitudinal Study (STARRS-LS) who participated in one of three Army STARRS 2011–2014 baseline surveys while in service and in one or more subsequent panel surveys (LS1: 2016–2018, LS2: 2018–2019) after leaving service. We trained ensemble machine learning models with constrained numbers of item-level survey predictors in a 70% training sample. The outcome was self-reported post-transition suicide attempts (SA). The models were validated in the 30% test sample.
Twelve-month post-transition SA prevalence was 1.0% (s.e. = 0.1). The best constrained model, with only 17 predictors, had a test sample ROC-AUC of 0.85 (s.e. = 0.03). The 10–30% of respondents with the highest predicted risk included 44.9–92.5% of 12-month SAs.
An accurate SA risk calculator based on a short self-report survey can target transitioning soldiers shortly before leaving service for intervention to prevent post-transition SA.
The transition from military service to civilian life is a high-risk period for suicide attempts (SAs). Although stressful life events (SLEs) faced by transitioning soldiers are thought to be implicated, systematic prospective evidence is lacking.
Participants in the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (STARRS) completed baseline self-report surveys while on active duty in 2011–2014. Two self-report follow-up Longitudinal Surveys (LS1: 2016–2018; LS2: 2018–2019) were subsequently administered to probability subsamples of these baseline respondents. As detailed in a previous report, a SA risk index based on survey, administrative, and geospatial data collected before separation/deactivation identified 15% of the LS respondents who had separated/deactivated as being high-risk for self-reported post-separation/deactivation SAs. The current report presents an investigation of the extent to which self-reported SLEs occurring in the 12 months before each LS survey might have mediated/modified the association between this SA risk index and post-separation/deactivation SAs.
The 15% of respondents identified as high-risk had a significantly elevated prevalence of some post-separation/deactivation SLEs. In addition, the associations of some SLEs with SAs were significantly stronger among predicted high-risk than lower-risk respondents. Demographic rate decomposition showed that 59.5% (s.e. = 10.2) of the overall association between the predicted high-risk index and subsequent SAs was linked to these SLEs.
It might be possible to prevent a substantial proportion of post-separation/deactivation SAs by providing high-risk soldiers with targeted preventive interventions for exposure/vulnerability to commonly occurring SLEs.
The Yellow Chat Epthianura crocea is comprised of three disjunct subspecies. Subspecies E. c. macgregori (Capricorn Yellow Chat) is listed as Critically Endangered under the EPBC Act and has a distribution that also appears to be disjunct, with a limited geographic area of less than 7,000 ha. Some populations are threatened by rapid industrial development, and it is important for conservation of the subspecies to determine the extent to which the putative populations are connected. We used 14 microsatellite markers to measure genetic diversity and to determine the extent of gene flow between two disjunct populations at the northern and southern extremes of the subspecies’ range. No significant differences in genetic diversity (number of alleles and heterozygosity) were observed, but clear population structuring was apparent, with obvious differentiation between the northern and southern populations. The most likely explanation for reduced gene flow between the two populations is either the development of a geographic barrier as a consequence of shrinkage of the marine plains associated with the rise in sea levels following the last glacial maxima, or reduced connectivity across the largely unsuitable pasture and forest habitat that now separates the two populations, exacerbated by declining population size and fewer potential emigrants. Regardless of the mechanism, restricted gene flow between these two populations has important consequences for their ongoing conservation. The relative isolation of the smaller southern groups (the Fitzroy River delta and Curtis Island) from the much larger northern group (both sides of the Broad Sound) makes the southern population more vulnerable to local extinction. Conservation efforts should focus on nature refuge agreements with land owners agreeing to maintain favourable grazing management practices in perpetuity, particularly in the northern area where most chats occur. Supplemental exchanges of individuals from northern and southern populations should be explored as a way of increasing genetic diversity and reducing inbreeding.
Introduced accidentally from South America, deeproot sedge is rapidly expanding in a variety of habitats throughout the southeastern United States. Of particular concern is its rapid expansion, naturalization, and formation of monocultures in Texas coastal prairie, one of the most imperiled temperate ecoregions in North America. The objective of this research was to examine how deeproot sedge responds to prescribed fire, to the herbicide imazapic, and to treatment combinations of both. Combinations of prescribed fire and imazapic treatments and imazapic-only treatments effectively reduced deeproot sedge cover and frequency. However, plots exposed to dormant season fires (with no imazapic) had greater deeproot sedge cover after burn treatments were applied, indicating that coastal prairie management using only dormant season prescribed fire will not work toward reduction or management of this exotic invasive species. Although deeproot sedge cover was often reduced in fire–imazapic treatment combinations, it was still present in treatment plots. Moreover, desirable functional plant groups (i.e., native bunchgrasses) did not respond positively to the fire–imazapic treatments, but in some instances, woody plant coverage increased. Repeated, long-term approaches using integrated and coordinated efforts with multiple treatment options will be necessary to restore community structure to desired compositional levels. Such integrated approaches should be effective in reducing deeproot sedge frequency, cover, and extent to more manageable levels throughout its introduced geographic range.
A crucial aspect of behavioural assessment and intervention is the initial interview with the client. Although the interview is the most frequently employed method of assessment, very few published behavioural interview schedules are available to clinicians. The authors present an interview schedule for the behavioural assessment of children's problems. Hopefully, such devices will improve the reliability and validity of problem identification and facilitate effective case management.
There are tantalizing glimpses of the intrinsic ability of the human immune system to control emerging cancer cells. This is seen most clearly in EBV-associated B-cell tumours which emerge in patients undergoing immunosuppression following organ transplantation. Humoral immune responses against tumour antigens of melanoma and of epithelial malignancies have also been detected in patients. However, when patients have cancer, the tumour cells have obviously evaded any immunological weapons. Vaccination as a treatment has to be able to activate a defeated immune system, in a situation where tumour antigens may still be present, and where the patient may be debilitated by disease or treatment.
Tumours of B lymphocytes are attractive for study because of the availability of cells, and because of an increasing understanding of the array of potential target molecules expressed at the cell surface. There is also a clinical need to develop new treatments for the many categories for which chemotherapy has not improved survival. However, these tumours exist despite exposure to the full power of the immune system. If we can succeed in activating an antitumour response against B-cell tumours, therefore, we should be in a strong position to attack other cancers which are less exposed. Molecular technology is facilitating vaccine development in three ways: first, by revealing novel tumour antigens; second, by aiding our understanding of immune mechanisms; and third, by facilitating new delivery systems to mobilize those mechanisms.
This review will focus on malignancies arising from B lymphocytes.