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As we enter the era of gravitational wave astronomy, we are beginning to collect observations which will enable us to explore aspects of astrophysics of massive stellar binaries which were previously beyond reach. In this paper we describe COMPAS (Compact Object Mergers: Population Astrophysics and Statistics), a new platform to allow us to deepen our understanding of isolated binary evolution and the formation of gravitational-wave sources. We describe the computational challenges associated with their exploration, and present preliminary results on overcoming them using Gaussian process regression as a simulation emulation technique.
The introduction of mammal predators to islands often results in rapid declines in the number and range of seabirds. On Ascension Island the introduction of cats in 1815 resulted in extirpation of large seabird colonies from the main island, with relict populations of most species persisting only in cat-inaccessible locations. We describe the eradication of feral cats from this large and populated island. The campaign had to minimize risk to humans and maintain domestic animals in a state that prevented them re-establishing a feral population. Feral cat numbers declined rapidly in response to the strategic deployment of poisoning and live trapping, and cats were eradicated from the island within 2 years. During the project 38% of domestic cats were killed accidentally, which caused public consternation; we make recommendations for reducing such problems in future eradications. Since the completion of the eradication campaign cat predation of adult seabirds has ceased and five seabird species have recolonized the mainland in small but increasing numbers. Breeding success of seabirds at Ascension was low compared to that of conspecifics elsewhere, and the roles of food availability, inexperience of parent birds and black rat predation in causing this warrant further investigation. It is likely that the low breeding success will result in the rate of increase in seabird populations being slow.
Spina bifida is a congenital neural tube defect, characterized by a fault in the spinal column in which one or more vertebrae fail to form properly leaving a gap or split. Spina bifida occulta is a common condition in which the bones may be incomplete but the defect is covered by skin and the spinal cord usually is unaffected, hence most people do not have any symptoms or clinical problems. Spina bifida aperta refers to an open defect of the spine in which the spinal cord does not form properly and is exposed. There are two forms; meningocele and myelomeningocele. In meningocele, the visible cyst on the back contains cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the meninges but no nerve tissue. In the more common and serious myelomeningocele, the cyst contains both the nerve tissue and its coverings, hence there is always some degree of paralyses and loss of sensation below the affected vertebrae. Spina bifida is often associated with malformations of the brain stem and cerebellum (Arnold Chiari malformations) and hydrocephalus (Shonkoff & Marshall, 1990). Hydrocephalus occurs when there is an abnormal accumulation of CSF within the ventricles and or subarachnoid space of the brain.
The incidence of spina bifida varies from country to country, for example, the incidence in Ireland is 8 per 1000 live births whilst in South East Asia the condition is rare (Chauvel, 1991).
There are a number of ways in which food can influence behaviour, including malnutrition, types of diet, eating habits, pharmacological effects, food allergy, fatty acid deficiency and possibly food additives. The range of behaviour affected is also wide, and includes attention, conduct disorder and mood. A particular focus of interest has been the effects of food on hyperactivity in children. There is some initial evidence that fatty acids may influence hyperactivity in children with specific learning disabilities. The findings also suggest that some food additives (colourings, flavourings and preservatives) may increase hyperactivity in children with behaviour problems. For children showing behaviour problems such as hyperactivity the use of dietary manipulation tends to be a more acceptable approach to treatment than the use of drugs. However, there needs to be awareness of the dangers of the use of unsupervised restriction diets with children, and the use of dietary treatments alone is not likely to be sufficient treatment for many children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. A study is currently underway to investigate the possible effects of additives on behaviour in the general population of children.
The ability to measure neuropsychological outcomes in a comparable
manner in different cultural groups is important if studies conducted
in geographically diverse regions are to advance knowledge of disease
effects and moderating influences. The purpose of this study was to
evaluate the application of neuropsychological test procedures
developed for use in North America and Europe to children in a rural
region of Kenya. Our specific aim was to determine if these methods
could be adapted to a non-Western culture in a manner that would
preserve test reliability and validity. Procedural modifications
yielded reliable tests that were sensitive to both the sequelae of
cerebral malaria and to children's social and school backgrounds.
Results suggest that adaptations of existing tests can be made in such
a way as to preserve their utility in measuring the cross-cultural
sequelae of childhood neurological diseases. (JINS, 2004,
This study examined the impact of severity and type of condition and family resources on quality of life in children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. A national UK sample of children aged between 6 and 13 years with spina bifida (n=62), hydrocephalus (n=354), and spina bifida plus hydrocephalus (n=128) were identified via the register of the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (ASBAH). Parents completed standardized measures of Child Health Related Quality Of Life (CQOL), family needs survey (FNS), and caregiving self-efficacy scale (CSES) as well as questions on children's health and physical ability. Results showed there were no significant differences in the overall quality of life for the three disability conditions. The overall CQOL was over 1 SD lower for those with spina bifida and hydrocephalus than for children with other physical conditions. Sex and age were not related to overall CQOL. Specific aspects of CQOL differentiated the three groups. Children with spina bifida had poorer CQOL scores on self-care, continence, and mobility/activities whilst those with hydrocephalus had poorer scores on school activities, worries, sight, and communication. Severity of condition and family resources, i.e. CSES and FNS, predicted 32% of the variance in CQOL. Associations were also found between overall CQOL and problems discernible at birth as well as epilepsy. Other factors, including those related to shunts, were not significantly related to CQOL. It was concluded that hydrocephalus is just as great a threat to CQOL as spina bifida. Beyond the general effect of condition severity on CQOL, family resources (as measured by the CSES and FNS) represent an additional influence on CQOL.
The issue of the relationship between the quality, quantity, and timing of childcare outside the home and later
psychological development has been one of the most
hotly contested social policy issues for developmental
psychology. The Emanuel Miller lecture in this issue of
the JCPP is by Jay Belsky, whose writing on this topic has
been at the centre of the debate. The paper provides a
current perspective on the issue and summarises evidence
indicating that early, extensive, and continuous non-maternal care is related to less harmonious patterns of
mother–child interaction and high levels of noncompliance and aggression in later childhood. Belsky suggests
that this evidence should be seen as a cause for concern
but not necessarily alarm. Although the effects detected
are not attributed to low-quality care, nor do they merely
reflect assertiveness rather than true aggression, it would
be a mistake to exaggerate the magnitude of what are
clearly modest negative effects of early childcare. Moreover, the evidence does not suggest that prolonged
periods in care predict later clinical levels of behaviour
problems. Even though the findings summarised in this
paper may therefore be of limited clinical relevance,
especially when considered from the perspective of an
individual child or family, they would seem to be
important when seen from the perspective of society as a
whole. This becomes even more important given that
full-time or near-full-time care initiated in the first year of
life and which continues until school entry, i.e. early,
extensive, and continuous care, is rapidly becoming the
usual experience of children in America and perhaps in
other countries too. Thus there is a need to distinguish
implications for individual children and for society at
large. This is why the paper recommends policy that
extends parental leave and gives parents more options to
work on a part-time basis, something that some research
indicates is exactly what parents want.
The continuity in antisocial behaviour into adulthood from middle childhood is well established but it is not clear whether this is also true of the pre-school period.
To determine whether preschool behaviour problems increase the risk of later criminal convictions and add to risk associated with family and social circumstances.
The records of adult convictions were traced for a general population sample (n=828) initially assessed at age 3 years.
The risk of having any adult conviction was related to soiling, daytime enuresis, activity level and management difficulties, and that of having an adult violent offence to recent-onset daytime enuresis, management difficulties and temper tantrums. The only other predictors of later convictions were the child's gender and social competence at age 3 years.
The presence of specific behaviour problems in the pre-school period places the child at increased risk of being convicted of an adult offence. Family and social circumstances at age 3 years did not predict later convictions.
The main aim of this study was to combine two research approaches to hyperactivity: the behaviour genetic approach and the testing of psychological theories of hyperactivity. For a sample of 268 twin pairs aged 7–11 years we obtained ratings on the Conners' scales from both teachers (CTRS-28) and parents (CPRS-48). Forty-six hyperactive twin pairs (pairs in which at least one twin was pervasively hyperactive) and 47 control twin pairs were assessed on a psychological test battery. Confirming findings from previous twin studies, a substantial proportion of the variance in hyperactivity considered as a dimension was due to genetic effects. There was significant evidence of genetic effects also on extreme hyperactivity, although the present group heritability estimates were somewhat lower than those reported in most previous studies. We investigated the possibility that the psychological mechanisms we reported to be associated with hyperactivity (Kuntsi, Oosterlaan, & Stevenson, 2001) share common genetic factors with hyperactive behaviour. The data produced significant evidence of such shared genetic effects only on hyperactivity and the variability of reaction times. Given that the high variability in speed of responding would indicate a state-regulation problem, this is the psychological mechanism that could possibly be the “link” between genetic effects and hyperactive behaviour.
This study tested the predictions of three different theories of hyperactivity: response inhibition deficit, working memory impairment, and delay aversion. A sample of 51 pervasively hyperactive children and 119 control children, identified by screening a general population sample of 1316 twin pairs, were assessed on tests relating to each of these theories. The hyperactive group performed worse than the control group on the delay aversion measure and some of the working memory tasks. Controlling for IQ removed the significant group differences on the working memory measures, however. There were no significant group differences on the inhibition variables derived from the stop task. However, there was evidence of a pattern of responding on the stop task that was strongly characteristic of hyperactivity: hyperactive children were variable in their speed, generally slow and inaccurate in responding. This pattern of responses may indicate a nonoptimal effort/activation state. Hyperactive girls were indistinguishable from hyperactive boys in their performance on the tasks.
The readers of the Journal may not be aware that the
Joint Editors act independently in making decisions on
accepting papers for publication. This means that as an
Editor I am just as intrigued as any other reader when I
see a new issue of the Journal since it is likely that I will
have been responsible for selecting only one third of the
papers in that issue. In reading the material in this present
issue I was struck by the conceptual and methodological
links between a sub-set of papers that were concerned
with adverse events and circumstances and their long-term sequelae; moreover, that these papers had between
them some important implications for clinical practice.
The first of these papers is by Dunn et al. and investigates
the transmission within families of qualities of relationships.
They found that father–child and mother–child
relationships in stepfamilies, single-parent, and non-stepfamilies were found to be related to a number of
factors. These included the parents' own earlier life course
experiences, current family circumstances, and how a
partner and child were getting along. The links with life
course experiences meant that children were at risk of a
“double dose” of less affectionate relationships in families
in which parents had experienced early adversities.
They found evidence for both selection effects (similarities
in the early experience of both partners) and co-parenting
effects (effects of one parent's relationship with a child on
the other parent) and effects of biological relatedness.
We obtained ratings on the Conners' scales from teachers (CTRS-28) and parents (CPRS-48) for 61 monozygotic and 64 dizygotic twin pairs, aged between 7 and 11 years. Model-fitting analyses were carried out to estimate the extent of genetic and environmental influences on problem behaviours, and to explore possible contrast effects in ratings by parents and teachers. Confirming previous findings with other measures, there was evidence of moderate to strong genetic effects on a range of problem behaviours. Parents' ratings on the Anxiety, Impulsive-Hyperactive and Learning Problem sub-scales showed significant evidence of contrast effects. There was no evidence of such rater bias or competitive sibling interaction effects in ratings by teachers, or in parents' ratings on the Conduct Problem and Psychosomatic sub-scales. Twin Research (2000) 3, 251–258.
It is nearly 30 years since the publication of the edited
book by Rutter and Martin (1972), The child with delayed
speech (London: Heinemann), which drew attention to
the two-way relationship between language and behaviour.
In the book the mechanisms whereby psychiatric
disorders can have an involvement with language development
were identified. Also, Mike Rutter suggested
various ways in which delayed language development
could impinge upon other aspects of psychological
development. The current issue of the JCPP has a number
of papers that examine the relationship between language
development and aspects of cognition and behaviour.
These include a long-term follow-up for a group of
individuals with receptive language disorder who were
first studied at about the time that the 1972 book was
There has been a consensus that children “in care” show
a much increased frequency of behavioural difficulties
but the reasons why this should be so are much less well
understood. The study by Roy et al. sheds important new
light on this issue. They found that children admitted into
residential group homes as babies are much more likely
than children admitted into foster care at the same age to
show hyperactivity and inattention. Although the study
sample was small, the groups were closely comparable
in coming from a very high-risk family background. The
evidence from both questionnaire and observational
measures was consistent in indicating that the difference
in the pattern of rearing made a substantial difference to
the child's behaviour. The findings are sobering in their
implication that the pattern of care provided to protect
children at high risk seemed to have acted in a detrimental
manner. The study clearly provides food for thought in
terms of the need to improve provision for this vulnerable
group of children. The findings are also provocative in
their implication that hyperactivity/inattention, although
strongly influenced by the child's biology, can
also be affected by the pattern of rearing. The message is
that clinicians should not assume that the causes of this
hyperactive behaviour necessarily reside entirely within
the child but there is also the need to clarify whether the
form of hyperactivity/inattention arising from these
experiences is in someway atypical.
The paper by Reynolds and colleagues is an attempt to
evaluate the efficacy of emotional disclosure to offset
distress in children experiencing negative life events.
There is a developing literature on such interventions in
adults but, as these authors suggest, little work has yet
been done to test the value of such disclosure in children.
Using a randomised controlled trial Reynolds et al. were
unable to show a specific benefit from the opportunity
provided to write about negative events. Rather, there
was a general reduction in symptoms from all groups.
Although the results suggest that the efficacy of writing
about negative events is less marked in 8–13-year-olds
than in adults, they also indicate that it is both feasible
and potentially valuable to give children opportunities to
engage in discussion about sources of stress and their
reaction to them.