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Communication at the science-policy interface can be bewildering not only for early-career researchers, but also for many within the research community. In the context of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, decision-makers operating within the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) aspire to use the best available science as a basis for their decision-making. Therefore, to maximize the impact of Antarctic Treaty Parties' substantial investment in southern polar research, researchers wishing to contribute to policy and management must understand 1) how their work relates to and can potentially inform Antarctic and/or global policy and 2) the available mechanisms by which their research can be communicated to decision-makers. Recognizing these needs, we describe the main legal instruments relevant to Antarctic governance (primarily the ATS) and the associated meetings and stakeholders that contribute to policy development for the region. We highlight effective mechanisms by which Antarctic researchers may communicate their science into the policy realm, including through National Delegations or the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), and we detail the key contemporary topics of interest to decision-makers, including those issues where further research is needed. Finally, we describe challenges at the Antarctic science-policy interface that may potentially slow or halt policy development.
Potato producers in Canada’s Atlantic provinces of Prince Edward Island (PE) and New Brunswick rely on photosystem II (PSII)-inhibiting herbicides to provide season-long weed control. Despite this fact, a high proportion of common lambsquarters populations in the region have been identified as resistant to this class of herbicides. Crop-topping is a late-season weed management practice that exploits the height differential between weeds and a developing crop canopy. Two field experiments were conducted in Harrington, PE, in 2020 and 2021, one each to evaluate the efficacy of a different crop-topping strategy, above-canopy mowing or wick-applied glyphosate, at two potato phenological stages, on common lambsquarters viable seed production and potato yield and quality. Mowing common lambsquarters postflowering decreased viable seed production (72% to 91%) in 2020 but increased seed production (78% to 278%) in 2021. Mowing had minimal impact on potato marketable yield across cultivars in both years. In contrast, treating common lambsquarters with wick-applied glyphosate had variable impacts on seed output in 2020 but dramatically reduced seed production (up to 95%) in 2021 when treatments were applied preflowering. Glyphosate damage to potato tubers was not influenced by timing and resulted in a 14% to 15% increase in culled tubers due to black spotting and rot. Our results highlight the importance of potato and common lambsquarters phenology when selecting a crop-topping strategy and demonstrate that above-canopy mowing and wick-applied glyphosate can be utilized for seedbank management of herbicide-resistant common lambsquarters in potato production systems.
With the aim of producing a 3D representation of tumors, imaging and molecular annotation of xenografts and tumors (IMAXT) uses a large variety of modalities in order to acquire tumor samples and produce a map of every cell in the tumor and its host environment. With the large volume and variety of data produced in the project, we developed automatic data workflows and analysis pipelines. We introduce a research methodology where scientists connect to a cloud environment to perform analysis close to where data are located, instead of bringing data to their local computers. Here, we present the data and analysis infrastructure, discuss the unique computational challenges and describe the analysis chains developed and deployed to generate molecularly annotated tumor models. Registration is achieved by use of a novel technique involving spherical fiducial marks that are visible in all imaging modalities used within IMAXT. The automatic pipelines are highly optimized and allow to obtain processed datasets several times quicker than current solutions narrowing the gap between data acquisition and scientific exploitation.
The argument that there exist a causal link between national savings and current account deficits is often simplistically formulated in terms of national income accounting identities. However the validity of formulating national saving-argmenting policies to target current account deficits is open to much debate when the possible theoretical linkages between these aggregates are investigated more closely. In particular; if the adjustment mechanism to external balance is expenditure driven rather than relying on exchange rate induced relative price changes, the alternative case of interventionist policy to promote net exports is strengthened. Theoretical arguments opposing the use of interventionist trade policies are often derived form inappropriately constructed, or simplistically interpreted, economic models.
Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments are facing increasing pressure from multiple threats. The Antarctic Treaty System regularly looks to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) for the provision of independent and objective advice based on the best available science to support decision-making, policy development and effective environmental management. The recently approved SCAR Scientific Research Programme Ant-ICON - ‘Integrated Science to Inform Antarctic and Southern Ocean Conservation‘ - facilitates and coordinates high-quality transdisciplinary research to inform the conservation and management of Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and the sub-Antarctic in the context of current and future impacts. The work of Ant-ICON focuses on three research themes examining 1) the current state and future projections of Antarctic systems, species and functions, 2) human impacts and sustainability and 3) socio-ecological approaches to Antarctic and Southern Ocean conservation, and one synthesis theme that seeks to facilitate the provision of timely scientific advice to support effective Antarctic conservation. Research outputs will address the most pressing environmental challenges facing Antarctica and offer high-quality science to policy and advisory bodies including the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, the Committee for Environmental Protection and the Scientific Committee of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
Theorists acknowledge that conspiracy beliefs represent an established psychological construct. The study of conspiracy beliefs is important because allied ideation potentially influences everyday attitudes and behaviors across a range of domains (i.e., cognitive, social, cross-cultural, and political psychology). In this article, we analyze the internal structure and construct validity of the Spanish adaptation of the Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale (GCBS). Correlational and confirmatory factor analyses using an international sample of 732 Spanish-speakers revealed a five-factor structure equivalent to the original instrument. Convergent validity was demonstrated using educational level, political orientation, need for uniqueness, and four social axioms (social cynicism, religiosity, reward for application, and fate control). In comparison to two English samples (N = 794 and N = 421), the adaptation demonstrated satisfactory, although restricted, levels of invariance. Accordingly, findings support the use of this translated form of the GCBS with Spanish speakers.
To examine differences in surgical practices between salaried and fee-for-service (FFS) surgeons for two common degenerative spine conditions. Surgeons may offer different treatments for similar conditions on the basis of their compensation mechanism.
The study assessed the practices of 63 spine surgeons across eight Canadian provinces (39 FFS surgeons and 24 salaried) who performed surgery for two lumbar conditions: stable spinal stenosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis. The study included a multicenter, ambispective review of consecutive spine surgery patients enrolled in the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network registry between October 2012 and July 2018. The primary outcome was the difference in type of procedures performed between the two groups. Secondary study variables included surgical characteristics, baseline patient factors, and patient-reported outcome.
For stable spinal stenosis (n = 2234), salaried surgeons performed statistically fewer uninstrumented fusion (p < 0.05) than FFS surgeons. For degenerative spondylolisthesis (n = 1292), salaried surgeons performed significantly more instrumentation plus interbody fusions (p < 0.05). There were no statistical differences in patient-reported outcomes between the two groups.
Surgeon compensation was associated with different approaches to stable lumbar spinal stenosis and degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. Salaried surgeons chose a more conservative approach to spinal stenosis and a more aggressive approach to degenerative spondylolisthesis, which highlights that remuneration is likely a minor determinant in the differences in practice of spinal surgery in Canada. Further research is needed to further elucidate which variables, other than patient demographics and financial incentives, influence surgical decision-making.
Health technology assessment conducted to inform decisions during technology development (development-focused or DF-HTA) has a number of distinct features compared with HTA conducted to inform reimbursement and usage decisions. In particular, there are a broad range of decisions to be informed related to the development of a technology; multiple markets and decision makers to be considered; a limited (and developing) evidence base; and constrained resources for analysis. These features impact upon methods adopted by analysts. In this paper, we (i) set out methods of DF-HTA against a timeline of technology development; (ii) provide examples of the methods’ use; and (iii) explain how they have been adapted as a result of the features of DF-HTA. We present a toolkit of methods for analysts working with developers of medical technologies. Three categories of methods are described: literature review, stakeholder consultation, and decision analytic modeling. Literature review and stakeholder consultation are often used to fill evidence gaps. Decision analytic modeling is used to synthesize available evidence alongside plausible assumptions to inform developers about price or performance requirements. Methods increase in formality and complexity as the development and evidence base progresses and more resources are available for assessment. We hope this toolkit will be used in conjunction with the framework of features of DF-HTA presented in our earlier article in order to improve the clarity and appropriateness of methods of HTA used in DF-HTA. We also seek to contribute to a continuing dialogue about the nature of, and the best approach to, DF-HTA.
Perinatal light exposure predisposes towards health and behaviour in adulthood. Season of birth is associated with psychiatric, allergic, cardiovascular and metabolic problems. It has been proposed that early-life environmental light disrupts the development of biological rhythms which, in turn, influence later-life health. However, the mechanisms linking perinatal seasonal light to later-life biological rhythm and health in humans are unknown. In this study, we investigated the association between season of birth and epigenome-wide DNA methylation of two postmortem human brain regions (16 hypothalamus, 14 temporal cortex). We did not find statistically significant differences at the whole epigenome level, either because we lacked statistical power or that no association exists. However, when we examined 24 CpG sites that had the highest significance or differential methylation, we identified regions which may be associated with circadian rhythm entrainment, cholinergic neurotransmission and neural development. Amongst methylation of the core clock genes, we identified that hypothalamus Neuronal PAS Domain Protein 2 (NPAS2) gene has hypermethylated regions in long photoperiod-born individuals. In addition, we found nominal associations between season of birth and genes linked to chronotype and narcolepsy. Season of birth-related brain DNA methylation profile was different than a previously reported blood methylation profile, suggesting a tissue-specific mechanism of perinatal light programming. Overall, we are the first to analyse the relationship between season of birth and human brain DNA methylation. Further studies with larger sample sizes are required to confirm an imprinting effect of perinatal light on the circadian clock.
In England and Wales there are four types of collective redress or multiparty claim: (1) test case litigation, supported by the staying of related individual actions; (2) consolidation or joinder, that is, procedural adjustment to accommodate multiparty actions; the result is that multiple parties are coupled together in a single case; (3) opt-in claims coordinated as a Group Litigation Order; and (4) representative proceedings. As for (4), there are two manifestations. First there is a general mechanism, not restricted to any particular context, but aggregated damages have not been available and the relief is normally confined to declarations or injunctions.
Health technology assessment (HTA) conducted to inform developers of health technologies (development-focused HTA, DF-HTA) has a number of distinct features when compared to HTA conducted to inform usage decisions (use-focused HTA). To conduct effective DF-HTA, it is important that analysts are aware of its distinct features as analyses are often not published. We set out a framework of ten features, drawn from the literature and our own experience: a target audience of developers and investors; an underlying user objective to maximize return on investment; a broad range of decisions to inform; wide decision space; reduced evidence available; earlier timing of analysis; fluid business model; constrained resources for analysis; a positive stance of analysis; and a “consumer”-specific burden of proof. This paper presents a framework of ten features of DF-HTA intended to initiate debate as well as provide an introduction for analysts unfamiliar with the field.
Subclinical Narcissism (SN) is part of the Dark Triad (DT), which includes also Subclinical Psychopathy (SP) and Machiavellianism. SN comprises facets retained from the clinical syndrome, such as grandiosity and dominance. Previous cross-sectional and longitudinal research indicates that SN may increase Mental Toughness (MT) resulting in various positive outcomes, including lower levels of psychopathy.
The researchers conducted three studies (N = 364, 244 and 144 for Study 1, 2 and 3 respectively) to test if the path model from SN to higher MT predicted lower symptoms of depression (DS). An extension to the model considered Openness to Experience (OE) as a possible mediator. Participants completed self-report measures of SN, MT, OE and DS. In Study 3, participants responded to an additional measure of SN to allow differentiation between grandiose and vulnerable aspects.
SN exerted a negative indirect effect on DS through MT across studies; and a negative indirect effect on DS through MT and OE in Study 2. In Study 3, Grandiose SN increased MT contributing to lower DS. Vulnerable SN demonstrated the reverse pattern. MT subfactors of Control and Confidence had a mediating effect across studies.
The current findings support the model that SN to MT predicts positive outcomes in various domains, including lower levels of psychiatric symptoms. Exploring the link between SN with prosocial traits can be particularly helpful when seeking to identify and promote SN’s adaptive tendencies against symptoms of psychopathology.
Background: Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is the leading cause of spinal cord impairment. In a public healthcare system, wait times to see spine specialists and eventually access surgical treatment for CSM can be substantial. The goals of this study were to determine consultation wait times (CWT) and surgical wait times (SWT), and identify predictors of wait time length. Methods: Consecutive patients enrolled in the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network (CSORN) prospective and observational CSM study from March 2015 to July 2017 were included. A data-splitting technique was used to develop and internally validate multivariable models of potential predictors. Results: A CSORN query returned 264 CSM patients for CWT. The median was 46 days. There were 31% mild, 35% moderate, and 33% severe CSM. There was a statistically significant difference in median CWT between moderate and severe groups; 207 patients underwent surgical treatment. Median SWT was 42 days. There was a statistically significant difference in SWT between mild/moderate and severe groups. Short symptom duration, less pain, lower BMI, and lower physical component score of SF-12 were predictive of shorter CWT. Only baseline pain and medication duration were predictive of SWT. Both CWT and SWT were shorter compared to a concurrent cohort of lumbar stenosis patients (p <0.001). Conclusions: Patients with shorter duration (either symptoms or medication) and less neck pain waited less to see a spine specialist in Canada and to undergo surgical treatment. This study highlights some of the obstacles to overcome in expedited care for this patient population.
Background: Neuroticism is associated with inflated somatic symptom reporting. Worry and rumination are a cognitive concomitant of neuroticism and potentially mediate the neuroticism–somatic complaint relationship. Aims: The present study examined the degree to which worry and rumination mediated the relationship between neuroticism and somatic complaints. Method: A sample of 170 volunteers, recruited via convenience sampling, took part. Participants completed a series of self-report measures: the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire Revised-Short Form, Penn State Worry Questionnaire, the Ruminative Response Scale and the Somatic Symptom Scale-8. Results: Analysis revealed significant positive correlations between neuroticism, rumination and worry. Neuroticism, rumination and worry also correlated positively with somatic complaints. Using structural equation modelling, a mediational model indicated that rumination fully mediated the relationship between neuroticism and somatic complaints. Conclusions: Findings are consistent with the symptom perception hypothesis and have implications for healthcare in terms of managing individuals who present with multiple somatic complaints. Future research would benefit from adopting a longitudinal approach to test how rumination interacts with neuroticism and somatic complaints over time.
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus the conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) requires information on land-use and land-cover changes (LULCCs) and carbon emission trends from the past to the present and into the future. Here, we use the results of participatory scenario development in Tanzania to assess the potential interacting impacts on carbon stock, biodiversity and water yield of alternative scenarios where REDD+ is or is not effectively implemented by 2025, a green economy (GE) scenario and a business as usual (BAU) scenario, respectively. Under the BAU scenario, LULCCs will cause 296 million tonnes of carbon (MtC) national stock loss by 2025, reduce the extent of suitable habitats for endemic and rare species (mainly in encroached protected mountain forests) and change water yields. In the GE scenario, national stock loss decreases to 133 MtC. In this scenario, consistent LULCC impacts occur within small forest patches with high carbon density, water catchment capacity and biodiversity richness. Opportunities for maximizing carbon emission reductions nationally are largely related to sustainable woodland management, but also contain trade-offs with biodiversity conservation and changes in water availability.
Invasive rodents detrimentally affect native bird species on many islands worldwide, and rodent eradication is a useful tool to safeguard endemic and threatened species. However, especially on tropical islands, rodent eradications can fail for various reasons, and it is unclear whether the temporary reduction of a rodent population during an unsuccessful eradication operation has beneficial effects on native birds. Here we examine the response of four endemic land bird species on subtropical Henderson Island in the Pitcairn Island Group, South Pacific Ocean, following an unsuccessful rodent eradication in 2011. We conducted point counts at 25 sampling locations in 14 survey periods between 2011 and 2015, and modelled the abundance trends of all species using binomial mixture models accounting for observer and environmental variation in detection probability. Henderson Reed Warbler Acrocephalus taiti more than doubled in abundance (2015 population estimate: 7,194-28,776), and Henderson Fruit Dove Ptilinopus insularis increased slightly between 2011 and 2015 (2015 population estimate: 4,476–10,072), while we detected no change in abundance of the Henderson Lorikeet Vini stepheni (2015 population estimate: 554–3014). Henderson Crake Zapornia atra increased to pre-eradication levels following anticipated mortality during the operation (2015 population estimate: 4,960–20,783). A temporary reduction of rat predation pressure and rat competition for fruit may have benefitted the reed warbler and the fruit dove, respectively. However, a long drought may have naturally suppressed bird populations prior to the rat eradication operation in 2011, potentially confounding the effects of temporary rat reduction and natural recovery. We therefore cannot unequivocally ascribe the population recovery to the temporary reduction of the rat population. We encourage robust monitoring of island biodiversity both before and after any management operation to better understand responses of endemic species to failed or successful operations.