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The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.
Registry-based trials have emerged as a potentially cost-saving study methodology. Early estimates of cost savings, however, conflated the benefits associated with registry utilisation and those associated with other aspects of pragmatic trial designs, which might not all be as broadly applicable. In this study, we sought to build a practical tool that investigators could use across disciplines to estimate the ranges of potential cost differences associated with implementing registry-based trials versus standard clinical trials.
We built simulation Markov models to compare unique costs associated with data acquisition, cleaning, and linkage under a registry-based trial design versus a standard clinical trial. We conducted one-way, two-way, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses, varying study characteristics over broad ranges, to determine thresholds at which investigators might optimally select each trial design.
Registry-based trials were more cost effective than standard clinical trials 98.6% of the time. Data-related cost savings ranged from $4300 to $600,000 with variation in study characteristics. Cost differences were most reactive to the number of patients in a study, the number of data elements per patient available in a registry, and the speed with which research coordinators could manually abstract data. Registry incorporation resulted in cost savings when as few as 3768 independent data elements were available and when manual data abstraction took as little as 3.4 seconds per data field.
Registries offer important resources for investigators. When available, their broad incorporation may help the scientific community reduce the costs of clinical investigation. We offer here a practical tool for investigators to assess potential costs savings.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
Observational studies have linked elevated homocysteine to vascular conditions. Folate intake has been associated with lower homocysteine concentration, although randomised controlled trials of folic acid supplementation to decrease the incidence of vascular conditions have been inconclusive. We investigated determinants of maternal homocysteine during pregnancy, particularly in a folic acid-fortified population.
Data were from the Ottawa and Kingston Birth Cohort of 8085 participants. We used multivariable regression analyses to identify factors associated with maternal homocysteine, adjusted for gestational age at bloodwork. Continuous factors were modelled using restricted cubic splines. A subgroup analysis examined the modifying effect of MTHFR 677C>T genotype on folate, in determining homocysteine concentration.
Participants were recruited in Ottawa and Kingston, Canada, from 2002 to 2009.
Women were recruited when presenting for prenatal care in the early second trimester.
In 7587 participants, factors significantly associated with higher homocysteine concentration were nulliparous, smoking and chronic hypertension, while factors significantly associated with lower homocysteine concentration were non-Caucasian race, history of a placenta-mediated complication and folic acid supplementation. Maternal age and BMI demonstrated U-shaped associations. Folic acid supplementation of >1 mg/d during pregnancy did not substantially increase folate concentration. In the subgroup analysis, MTHFR 677C>T modified the effect of folate status on homocysteine concentration.
We identified determinants of maternal homocysteine relevant to the lowering of homocysteine in the post-folic acid fortification era, characterised by folate-replete populations. A focus on periconceptional folic acid supplementation and improving health status may form an effective approach to lower homocysteine.
The understanding of the genetic basis of grain dormancy in wheat has rapidly improved in the last few years, and a number of genes have been identified related to that trait. We recently identified the wheat genes TaPM19-A1 and -A2 and we have now taken the first step towards understanding the role of this class of genes in seeds. By investigating the Arabidopsis homologous PM19-Like 1 (PM19L1) we have found that it has a seed-specific expression pattern and, while its expression is higher in dormant than in non-dormant seeds, knock-out mutations produced seeds with increased dormancy. Not only primary dormancy, but also secondary dormancy in response to high temperature was increased by the loss-of-function. We have also examined the function of PM19L1 by localizing the PM19 protein primarily to the cotyledon cells in seeds, possibly in membranes. By investigating the co-expression network of this gene we have found that it is connected to a small group of abscisic acid (ABA)-induced seed maturation and storage-related genes. The function of PM19L1 represents a good opportunity to explore the interactions of key factors that can influence seed dormancy such as ABA, temperature and membrane properties.
Hypertension prevalence is on the rise in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) like South Africa, and migration and its concomitant urbanization are often considered to be associated with this rise. However, relatively little is known about the relationship between blood pressure (BP) and internal migration – a highly prevalent population process in LMICs. This study employed data for a group of 194 adult men and women from an original pilot dataset drawn from the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System in north-east South Africa conducted in 2012. Migrants in the sample were identified, tracked and interviewed. The relationship between BP and migration distance and the number of months an individual spent away from his/her home village was estimated using robust OLS regression, controlling for a series of socioeconomic, health and behavioural characteristics. It was found that migrants who moved a longer distance and for longer durations had significantly higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures compared with shorter-term migrants and those who remained nearby or in their home village. These associations remained robust and statistically significant when adjusting for measures of socioeconomic conditions, as well as body mass index and the number of meals consumed per day. Migration, both in terms of distance and time away, explained significant variation in the blood pressure of migrants in this typical South African context. The findings suggest the need for further studies of the nutritional and psycho-social factors associated with geographic mobility that may be important to understand rising hypertension levels in LMICs.
A 2018 workshop on the White Mountain Apache Tribe lands in Arizona examined ways to enhance investigations into cultural property crime (CPC) through applications of rapidly evolving methods from archaeological science. CPC (also looting, graverobbing) refers to unauthorized damage, removal, or trafficking in materials possessing blends of communal, aesthetic, and scientific values. The Fort Apache workshop integrated four generally partitioned domains of CPC expertise: (1) theories of perpetrators’ motivations and methods; (2) recommended practice in sustaining public and community opposition to CPC; (3) tactics and strategies for documenting, investigating, and prosecuting CPC; and (4) forensic sedimentology—uses of biophysical sciences to link sediments from implicated persons and objects to crime scenes. Forensic sedimentology served as the touchstone for dialogues among experts in criminology, archaeological sciences, law enforcement, and heritage stewardship. Field visits to CPC crime scenes and workshop deliberations identified pathways toward integrating CPC theory and practice with forensic sedimentology’s potent battery of analytic methods.
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is responsible for 5%-10% of all deaths among children 5-19 years-of-age. The incidence of SCD in youth in Michigan (USA) and nationwide is higher in racial/ethnic minorities and in certain geographic areas. School cardiac emergency response plans (CERPs) increase survival after cardiac arrest. However, school cardiac emergency preparedness remains variable. Studying population-level factors associated with school cardiac emergency preparedness and incidence of SCD in the young may improve understanding of disparities in the incidence of SCD.
The objective of this pilot study was to determine the association of elements of high school cardiac emergency preparedness, including Automated External Defibrillator (AED) distribution and the presence of CERPs with county sociodemographic characteristics and county incidence of SCD in the young.
Surveys were sent to representatives from all public high schools in 30 randomly selected Michigan counties. Counties with greater than 50% response rate were included (n=19). Association of county-level sociodemographic characteristics with incidence of SCD in the young and existence of CERPs were evaluated using Spearman correlation coefficient.
Factors related to the presence of AEDs were similar across counties. Schools in counties of lower socioeconomic status (SES; lower-median income, lower per capita income, and higher population below poverty level) were less likely to have a CERP than those with higher SES (all P<.01). Lack of a CERP was associated with a higher incidence of SCD in youth (r=-0.71; P=.001). Overall incidence of SCD in youth was higher in lower SES counties (r=-0.62 in median income and r=0.51 in population below poverty level; both P<.05).
County SES is associated with the presence of CERPs in schools, suggesting a link between school cardiac emergency preparedness and county financial resources. Additionally, counties of lower SES demonstrated higher incidence of SCD in the young. Statewide and national studies are required to further explore the factors relating to geographic and socioeconomic differences in cardiac emergency preparedness and the incidence of SCD in the young.
WhiteMJ, LoccohEC, GobleMM, YuS, OdetolaFO, RussellMW. High School Cardiac Emergency Response Plans and Sudden Cardiac Death in the Young. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(3):269–272.
We present an overview of the survey for radio emission from active stars that has been in progress for the last six years using the observatories at Fleurs, Molonglo, Parkes and Tidbinbilla. The role of complementary optical observations at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, Mount Burnett, Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories and Mount Tamborine are also outlined. We describe the different types of star that have been included in our survey and discuss some of the problems in making the radio observations.
To examine the association between BMI and folate concentrations in serum and red blood cells (RBC) in pregnant women.
A cross-sectional comparison of folate concentrations in serum and RBC sampled simultaneously from the same individual.
The Ottawa Hospital and Kingston General Hospital, Ontario, Canada.
Pregnant women recruited between 12 and 20 weeks of gestation.
A total of 869 pregnant women recruited from April 2008 to April 2009 were included in the final analysis. Serum folate was inversely associated and RBC folate positively associated with BMI, after adjusting for folic acid supplementation, age, gestational age at blood sample collection, race, maternal education, annual income, smoking and MTHFR 677C→T genotype. In stratified analyses, this differential association was significant in women with the MTHFR CC variant. In women with the CT and TT variants, the differential associations were in the same direction but not significant. Folic acid supplementation during pregnancy did not alter the differential association of BMI with serum and RBC folate concentration. This indicates that the current RBC folate cut-off approach for assessing risk of neural tube defects in obese women may be limited.
BMI is inversely associated with serum folate and positively associated with RBC folate in pregnant women, especially for those with the MTHFR CC variant.
Tourism development is one of the main contemporary drivers of habitat loss and fragmentation within the Caribbean Islands biodiversity hotspot. In Saint Lucia, construction of a hotel and golf course within coastal dry forest is directly threatening the largest known subpopulation of the Endangered White-breasted Thrasher Ramphocinclus brachyurus. Understanding how the species is responding to ongoing landscape change and identifying priority sites for conservation are imperative for planning its long-term conservation. In this study, a four year White-breasted Thrasher monitoring dataset (2006–2009) and landscape-scale environmental variables were used to: a) identify, characterise and map spatio-temporal patterns of White-breasted Thrasher encounter rate (an abundance proxy) within and outside the tourist development site; b) determine landscape-scale environmental variables that influence such patterns, and c) produce an island-wide predictive map of potentially suitable habitat. Observed patterns in encounter rates within and outside the development site were consistent with thrashers being displaced from cleared areas of forest and crowding into intact forest patches to the north and west of the golf course. A year after the period of the most extensive habitat clearance, White-breasted Thrasher numbers declined markedly leading to a 55% reduction in encounter rate within the development site over the four years of the study. The habitat suitability model predicted that a range of sites outside of the known geographic range of the thrasher are potentially suitable, some of which merit further surveys for potentially undetected populations. Given these findings, it is vital that patches of suitable dry forest adjacent to the tourist development are protected and contiguous natural habitat inside the tourist development is preserved.
To examine the effects of self-care training workshops for primary healthcare workers on frequently attending patients.
Interventions to promote self-care in frequent users of primary care services have had mixed results. This paper reports an evaluation of a self-care initiative that aimed to develop a practice-based strategy to support self-care.
A 12-month longitudinal-matched comparison study was carried out in seven intervention and four comparison practices. The intervention was a multidisciplinary training package delivered to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and practice staff in three workshops, over a three- to six-month period. Twenty-one managers, health professionals and other staff from participating practices and PCTs and 1454 patients were involved in the study. ‘Frequently attending’ patients were defined as having visited the practice more than eight times in the previous year, and were identified from practice registers and recruited by letter.
Three sets of data were obtained: psychometric scores and other data from structured questionnaires; routinely collected data on use of healthcare services; and self-care beliefs and behaviour from qualitative interviews.
Study recruitment rate was 20% and retention rate 75%. Of those recruited 66% were female and the majority (94.8%) were White. There was poor uptake of the training programme within the participating practices, with few changes agreed or implemented. Few healthcare professionals consented to take part in the evaluation. No significant changes were seen in patients’ use of health services, psychometric scores or self-care beliefs or behaviour.
The initiative did not show any effects during its pilot phase. Uptake and implementation were adversely affected by competing pressures for time and resources in primary care, coupled with a lack of engagement from primary health care professionals.
Deficits in executive function (EF) are reported to occur in individuals with Klinefelter syndrome (XXY). The degree of impairment, if any, is variable and the nature of these deficits has not been clearly elucidated in young males. In this report, we (a) examine EF skills using multiple tasks in a non-clinic referred group of youth with XXY, (b) describe the extent of EF weaknesses in XXY when this group is compared with typical males of a similar SES or typical males with similar verbal abilities, and (c) evaluate the contribution of comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to EF skills. The sample included 27 males with XXY (ages 9–25), 27 typically developing age- and vocabulary-matched males, and 22 age- and socioeconomic status-matched males. EF tasks included Verbal Fluency, the Trail Making Test, and the CANTAB Spatial Working Memory and Stockings of Cambridge tasks. Mixed model analysis of variance was used to compare the groups on EF tasks and revealed a main effect of group but no group by task interaction. Overall, the XXY group performed less well than both control groups, but performance did not differ significantly as a function of task. ADHD comorbidity in males with XXY was related to poorer EF skills. (JINS, 2011, 17, 522–530)