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Life course research embraces the complexity of health and disease development, tackling the extensive interactions between genetics and environment. This interdisciplinary blueprint, or theoretical framework, offers a structure for research ideas and specifies relationships between related factors. Traditionally, methodological approaches attempt to reduce the complexity of these dynamic interactions and decompose health into component parts, ignoring the complex reciprocal interaction of factors that shape health over time. New methods that match the epistemological foundation of the life course framework are needed to fully explore adaptive, multilevel, and reciprocal interactions between individuals and their environment. The focus of this article is to (1) delineate the differences between lifespan and life course research, (2) articulate the importance of complex systems science as a methodological framework in the life course research toolbox to guide our research questions, (3) raise key questions that can be asked within the clinical and translational science domain utilizing this framework, and (4) provide recommendations for life course research implementation, charting the way forward. Recent advances in computational analytics, computer science, and data collection could be used to approximate, measure, and analyze the intertwining and dynamic nature of genetic and environmental factors involved in health development.
Although the U.S. judiciary is designed to be an independent and counter-majoritarian arbiter of the law, many states feature electoral institutions that may expose judges to public pressure. Scholars have demonstrated that judicial elections provide a clear link between public opinion and judicial decision making that may undermine the ability of courts to act in counter-majoritarian ways to protect minority rights. We extend this line of inquiry by examining whether direct democracy institutions have a similar effect of enhancing the impact of public opinion on judicial behavior and reducing the likelihood of judges voting in favor of minority rights. Empirical results from an analysis of gay rights cases in the American states from 1981 to 2004 provide evidence that direct democracy, in conjunction with electoral retention methods, significantly increases the effect of public opinion on judicial decisions.
No standard exists for provision of care following catastrophic natural disasters. Host nations, funders, and overseeing agencies need a method to identify the most effective interventions when allocating finite resources. Measures of effectiveness are real-time indicators that can be used to link early action with downstream impact.
Group consensus methods can be used to develop measures of effectiveness detailing the major functions of post natural disaster acute phase medical response.
A review of peer-reviewed disaster response publications (2001-2011) identified potential measures describing domestic and international medical response. A steering committee comprised of six persons with publications pertaining to disaster response, and those serving in leadership capacity for a disaster response organization, was assembled. The committee determined which measures identified in the literature review had the best potential to gauge effectiveness during post-disaster acute-phase medical response. Using a modified Delphi technique, a second, larger group (Expert Panel) evaluated these measures and novel measures suggested (or “free-texted”) by participants for importance, validity, usability, and feasibility. After three iterations, the highest rated measures were selected.
The literature review identified 397 measures. The steering committee approved 116 (29.2%) of these measures for advancement to the Delphi process. In Round 1, 25 (22%) measures attained >75% approval and, accompanied by 77 free-text measures, graduated to Round 2. There, 56 (50%) measures achieved >75% approval. In Round 3, 37 (66%) measures achieved median scores of 4 or higher (on a 5-point ordinal scale). These selected measures describe major aspects of disaster response, including: Evaluation, Treatment, Disposition, Public Health, and Team Logistics. Of participants from the Expert Panel, 24/39 (63%) completed all rounds. Thirty-three percent of these experts represented international agencies; 42% represented US government agencies.
Experts identified response measures that reflect major functions of an acute medical response. Measures of effectiveness facilitate real-time assessment of performance and can signal where practices should be improved to better aid community preparedness and response. These measures can promote unification of medical assistance, allow for comparison of responses, and bring accountability to post-disaster acute-phase medical care. This is the first consensus-developed reporting tool constructed using objective measures to describe the functions of acute phase disaster medical response. It should be evaluated by agencies providing medical response during the next major natural disaster.
DaftaryRK, CruzAT, ReavesEJ, BurkleFMJr, ChristianMD, FagbuyiDB, GarrettAL, KapurGB, SirbaughPE. Making Disaster Care Count: Consensus Formulation of Measures of Effectiveness for Natural Disaster Acute Phase Medical Response. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014;29(5):1-7.
The Geriatric Anxiety Scale (GAS; Segal et al. (Segal, D. L., June, A., Payne, M., Coolidge, F. L. and Yochim, B. (2010). Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 24, 709–714. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.05.002) is a self-report measure of anxiety that was designed to address unique issues associated with anxiety assessment in older adults. This study is the first to use item response theory (IRT) to examine the psychometric properties of a measure of anxiety in older adults.
A large sample of older adults (n = 581; mean age = 72.32 years, SD = 7.64 years, range = 60 to 96 years; 64% women; 88% European American) completed the GAS. IRT properties were examined. The presence of differential item functioning (DIF) or measurement bias by age and sex was assessed, and a ten-item short form of the GAS (called the GAS-10) was created.
All GAS items had discrimination parameters of 1.07 or greater. Items from the somatic subscale tended to have lower discrimination parameters than items on the cognitive or affective subscales. Two items were flagged for DIF, but the impact of the DIF was negligible. Women scored significantly higher than men on the GAS and its subscales. Participants in the young-old group (60 to 79 years old) scored significantly higher on the cognitive subscale than participants in the old-old group (80 years old and older).
Results from the IRT analyses indicated that the GAS and GAS-10 have strong psychometric properties among older adults. We conclude by discussing implications and future research directions.
Catalyzing the combustion of liquid fuels offers interesting prospects for further improvement of the fuel economy and the performance of engines, in particular for jets and advanced propulsion systems. Polyoxometalates are well-known oxidation catalysts which are expected to also catalyze combustion reactions. However, their polarity makes their dispersion in fuels particularly challenging. Herein, functionalized graphene sheets were used as a support due to their high surface area as well as their compatibility with the target reaction. In order to further improve the dispersion of the catalyst in fuels, alkyl chains were grafted to the sheets’ surface. An innovative grafting technique was developed to attach alkyls at a variety of oxygen-containing functionalities already present on reduced graphene oxide, such as hydroxyl and epoxy groups. A phase transfer to the organic phase was observed when dispersing the dry powder in water:toluene mixtures. In addition, the dry alkyl chain-modified graphene sheets readily dispersed in common organic solvents without the assistance of sonication. Polyoxometalates (H3PMo12O40 and H4PMo11VO40) were dispersed on the modified sheets as discrete clusters even at a relatively high loading (20 wt.%). The catalytic activity of these nanostructured materials was demonstrated for the combustion of methylcylcohexane, tested here as a model fuel.
The Goethe Yearbook is a publication of the Goethe Society of North America, publishing original English-language contributions to the understanding of Goethe and other authors of the Goethezeit, while also welcoming contributions from scholars around the world. Goethe Yearbook 17 covers the full range of the era, from Karl Guthke's essay on the early Lessing to Peter Hoeyng's on Grillparzer. Notable is a special section, co-edited by Clark Muenzer and Karin Schutjer, that samples some of the exciting new work presented at the Goethe Society conference in November 2008: 200 years after the publication of Faust I, eight essays offer fresh views of this epic masterpiece, often through novel and surprising connections. Authors link for example Faust's final ascension and the circulation of weather, verse forms in the drama and the performance of national identity, the fate of Gretchen and the occult politics of Francis Bacon. Other papers explore epistemological structures and taxonomies at work in Goethe's prose, essays, and scientific writings.
Contributors: Frederick Amrine, Johannes Anderegg, Matthew Bell, Benjamin Bennett, Gerrit Bruening, Christian Clement, Pamela Currie, Ulrich Gaier, Karl Guthke, Stefan Hajduk, Peter Hoeyng, Clark Muenzer, Andrew Piper, Herb Rowland, Heather Sullivan, Chad Wellmon, Ellwood Wiggins, Markus Wilczek.
Daniel Purdy is Associate Professor of German at Pennsylvania State University. Book review editor Catriona MacLeod is Associate Professor of German at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Interregional Research Project Number 4 (IR-4) Specialty Food Crops Program is a publicly-funded program initiated in 1963 to develop and submit regulatory data to support registration of pest control products for specialty crops. In the early to mid 1990s, nearly 45% of the IR-4 residue projects supported new herbicide registrations for fruits and vegetables with the other 55% devoted to fungicides, insecticides, and nematacides. In 2005, the number of residue projects conducted by IR-4 to support herbicide fruit and vegetable registrations was less than 30%. The three main factors that have contributed to this decline are: fewer herbicides available for registration; product liability concerns; and an increased focus on new, safer, and Reduced Risk Pesticides for insect and disease control. It has been a number of years since a new herbicide has been developed for a major crop that could be extended to specialty food crops. Many of the current IR-4 herbicide projects are with products that have been on the market for 20 or more years. Product liability is a concern because of the high value of many specialty crops relative to the potential market opportunity. In many cases, the registrant requires product performance data before IR-4 can proceed with a residue project. With limited funds for developing these data, many new projects never proceed to the regulatory stage. Although registrants can seek indemnification for some of these uses, it is a complicated often state-specific process. IR-4 has been successful in a number of areas, including the registration of a large numbers of uses through reduced data extrapolations for products such as glyphosate and carfentrazone-ethyl. Additionally, IR-4 submitted the first successful petition establishing an exemption of tolerance for a conventional herbicide (imazamox). Future IR-4 initiatives include collaboration with industry, growers, and academia to develop new herbicide technologies such as plant breeding or transgenic crops and generation of appropriate data to extend those products to specialty food crops. IR-4 will also assist in registering products that can be used on crops that have been selected (or developed through biotechnological approaches) to be tolerant to existing herbicides. Registrants should strongly consider developing herbicides for specialty food crops, with IR-4's assistance, as a means to expand markets and also as a means to extend data protection of their products, as allowed under the Food Quality Protection Act.
Cognitive training improves mental abilities in older adults, but the trainability of persons with memory impairment is unclear. We conducted a subgroup analysis of subjects in the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) trial to examine this issue. ACTIVE enrolled 2802 non-demented, community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older and randomly assigned them to one of four groups: Memory training, reasoning training, speed-of-processing training, or no-contact control. For this study, participants were defined as memory-impaired if baseline Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT) sum recall score was 1.5 SD or more below predicted AVLT sum recall score from a regression-derived formula using age, education, ethnicity, and vocabulary from all subjects at baseline. Assessments were taken at baseline (BL), post-test, first annual (A1), and second annual (A2) follow-up. One hundred and ninety-three subjects were defined as memory-impaired and 2580 were memory-normal. Training gain as a function memory status (impaired vs. normal) was compared in a mixed effects model. Results indicated that memory-impaired participants failed to benefit from Memory training but did show normal training gains after reasoning and speed training. Memory function appears to mediate response to structured cognitive interventions in older adults. (JINS, 2007, 13, 953–960.)
Lynntech, Inc has successfully researched and demonstrated a unique method for the manufacture of quasicrystalline (QC) coatings that utilizes the process of electrocodeposition. The purpose of this study was to optimize the physical-mechanical properties of the QC coatings. All metal substrates were aluminum alloy Al-3004 and codeposition was performed using Al65Cu23Fe12 QC powders in nickel plating solutions. X-ray diffraction spectroscopy was performed in order to verify the attachment of quasicrystals to the aluminum alloy substrate and coated samples displayed identical spectra to those of raw QC powders. The average contact angle θ was 117.2° for electrocodeposited QC coatings. Friction was monitored during pin-on-disk wear tests and QC coated samples had coefficients of friction as low as 0.01 and an average value of 0.05 with samples showing no visible wear scar. Lynntech's electrocodeposited quasicrystalline coatings withstand high temperatures and exhibit low wear and friction characteristics with a low surface energy making them ideal for cookware, as well as various other applications such as bearings, landing gear and engine parts, where thermal and mechanical conditions are prime importance.