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Early in the fall of 1964, the governor of Mississippi, Paul B. Johnson, embarked on an unusual journey. His destination was the small railroad city of McComb, located halfway between Jackson, the state’s capitol, and New Orleans. Awaiting him at the end of the 80-mile drive were the area’s two top policing officials: McComb Police Chief George Guy and Pike County Sheriff R. W. Warren. The situation was urgent for all concerned, as McComb had become a steady presence in the national news for its charged racial situation – a series of vicious bombings had targeted supporters of a voter registration campaign mounted by a coalition of civil rights organizations. Local residents and national reporters alike were in on the open secret: the bombings had been perpetrated by members of local chapters of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a violent vigilante outfit that had mobilized extensively in McComb over the past year.
The eastern bettong Bettongia gaimardi, a potoroid marsupial, has been extinct on the Australian mainland since the 1920s. Sixty adult bettongs were reintroduced from the island of Tasmania to two predator-free fenced reserves on mainland Australia. We examined baseline health parameters (body weight, haematology and biochemistry, parasites and infectious disease exposure) in a subset of 30 (13 male, 17 female) individuals at translocation and again at 12–24 months post-reintroduction. The mean body weight increased significantly post-reintroduction but there were no significant differences in body weight between the two reintroduction sites or between the sexes in response to reintroduction. Differences were evident in multiple haematological and biochemical variables post-reintroduction but there were few differences between the two reintroduced populations or between the sexes in response to reintroduction. Ectoparasite assemblages differed, with five of 13 species failing to persist, and an additional four species were identified post-reintroduction. None of the bettongs had detectable antibodies to the alphaherpesviruses Macropodid herpesvirus 1 and 2 post-reintroduction, including one individual that was seropositive at translocation. Similarly, the novel gammaherpesvirus potoroid herpesvirus 1 was not detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in any of the bettongs post-reintroduction, including one individual that was PCR-positive at translocation. None of the bettongs had detectable antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii either at translocation or post-reintroduction. Our data demonstrate changing baseline health parameters in eastern bettongs following reintroduction to the Australian mainland are suggestive of improved health in the reintroduced populations, and provide additional metrics for assessing the response of macropodoids to reintroduction.
A large literature has demonstrated that international action can promote the resolution of civil wars. However, international actors do not wait until violence starts to seek to manage conflicts. This article considers the ways in which the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reduces the propensity for self-determination movements to escalate to civil war, through actions that directly pertain to the disputing actors or that indirectly shape actor incentives. It examines the relationship between the content of UNSC resolutions in all self-determination disputes from 1960 to 2005 and the onset of armed conflict in the disputes. The study finds that diplomatic actions that directly address disputes reduce the likelihood of armed conflict, and that military force and sanctions have more indirect preventive effects.
In light of the low success rate of target-based genomics and HTS (High Throughput Screening) approaches in anti-infective drug discovery, in silico structure-based drug design (SBDD) is becoming increasingly prominent at the forefront of drug discovery. In silico SBDD can be used to identify novel enzyme inhibitors rapidly, where the strength of this approach lies with its ability to model and predict the outcome of protein-ligand binding. Over the past 10 years, our group have applied this approach to a diverse number of anti-infective drug targets ranging from bacterial D-ala-D-ala ligase to Plasmodium falciparum DHODH. Our search for new inhibitors has produced lead compounds with both enzyme and whole-cell activity with established on-target mode of action. This has been achieved with greater speed and efficiency compared with the more traditional HTS initiatives and at significantly reduced cost and manpower.
Synthetic κ-opioid receptor (KOR) agonists induce dysphoric and pro-depressive effects and variations in the KOR (OPRK1) and prodynorphin (PDYN) genes have been shown to be associated with alcohol dependence. We genotyped 23 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the PDYN and OPRK1 genes in 816 alcohol-dependent subjects and investigated their association with: (1) negative craving measured by a subscale of the Inventory of Drug Taking Situations; (2) a self-reported history of depression; (3) the intensity of depressive symptoms measured by the Beck Depression Inventory-II. In addition, 13 of the 23 PDYN and OPRK1 SNPs, which were previously genotyped in a set of 1248 controls, were used to evaluate association with alcohol dependence. SNP and haplotype tests of association were performed. Analysis of a haplotype spanning the PDYN gene (rs6045784, rs910080, rs2235751, rs2281285) revealed significant association with alcohol dependence (p = 0.00079) and with negative craving (p = 0.0499). A candidate haplotype containing the PDYN rs2281285-rs1997794 SNPs that was previously associated with alcohol dependence was also associated with negative craving (p = 0.024) and alcohol dependence (p = 0.0008) in this study. A trend for association between depression severity and PDYN variation was detected. No associations of OPRK1 gene variation with alcohol dependence or other studied phenotypes were found. These findings support the hypothesis that sequence variation in the PDYN gene contributes to both alcohol dependence and the induction of negative craving in alcohol-dependent subjects.
Introduction:The aim of this study was to assess Veterans' and primary care clinic staff's knowledge about, and experiences with, tobacco cessation services available through their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facility. Methods:Qualitative, semi-structured, in-depth interviews and surveys were conducted with 7 patients and 12 providers/clinic staff members at three VA primary care clinics serving large numbers of rural Veterans. Interviews were transcribed and coded for the- matic content. Results:Five primary themes emerged: (1) lack of knowledge about available cessation services, (2) smoking cessation services provided to patients, (3) perceived barriers to cessation and the provision of treatment, (4) patient receptiveness to treatment and primary care provider involvement, (5) recommended strategies for improving smoking cessation services. Discussion:Our findings suggest there is a considerable lack of knowledge regarding available tobacco cessation services in VA primary care clinics serving rural Veterans. While many patients expressed the opinion that VA was providing adequate care for nicotine dependence, they also identified important barriers to cessation and offered opinions regarding what more could be done to help them to quit smoking. Clinicians/staff also provided insight into barriers they encounter in the delivery of cessation services. Future work should focus on attempting to address these barriers.
We report an experimental study of photocarrier lifetime, transport, and excitation spectra in silicon-on-insulator doped with sulfur far above thermodynamic saturation. The spectral dependence of photocurrent in coplanar structures is consistent with photocarrier generation throughout the hyperdoped and undoped sub-layers, limited by collection of holes transported along the undoped layer. Holes photoexcited in the hyperdoped layer are able to diffuse to the undoped layer, implying (μτ)h ∼ 5 × 10−9 cm2/V. Although high absorptance of hyperdoped silicon is observed from 1200 to 2000 nm in transmission experiments, the number of collected electrons per absorbed photon is 10−4 of the above-bandgap response of the device, consistent with (μτ)e < 1 × 10−7cm2/V.
The mountain gazelle Gazella gazella in Saudi Arabia is categorized as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. On the mainland the species’ survival depends on a few remnant populations in the western Mountains and coastal plains and on two reintroduced populations. The largest natural population of G. gazella in Saudi Arabia is the Farasan gazelle subspecies G. g. farasani, which inhabits the Farasan Islands in the Red Sea. We review and collate the available literature on this subspecies, mainly unpublished reports presenting wildlife census data, and supplement this with the most recent, 2009, count. The number of free-ranging gazelles has remained approximately constant since the first counts in 1988, with an overall density of 0.64 km-2 and an estimated population of 1,039 on Farasan Kebir in 2009. The populations on two other islands, As Saqid and Zifaf, have not fared as well, possibly because of uncontrolled hunting pressure, competition with domestic stock or poor habitat conditions overall. The population on Qummah Island is extinct. Threats to this subspecies include uncontrolled hunting and uncoordinated development. Continued protection of this apparently stable population of mountain gazelle in Saudi Arabia is imperative to ensure the survival of the species.
To measure the effectiveness of an industrial systems-engineering approach to a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevention program.
Before-after intervention study
An intensive care unit (ICU) and a surgical unit that was not an ICU in the Pittsburgh Veterans Administration hospital
Allpatientsadmittedtothe study units
We implemented an MRSA infection control program that consisted of the following 4 elements: (1) the use of standard precautions for all patient contact, with emphasis on hand hygiene; (2) the use of contact precautions for interactions with patients known to be infected or colonized with MRSA; (3) the use of active surveillance cultures to identify patients who were asymptomatically colonized with MRSA; and (4) use of an industrial systems-engineering approach, the Toyota Production System, to facilitate consistent and reliable adherence to the infection control program.
The rate of healthcare-associated MRSA infection in the surgical unit decreased from 1.56 infections per 1,000 patient-days in the 2 years before the intervention to 0.63 infections per 1,000 patient-days in the 4 years after the intervention (a 60% reduction; P = .003). The rate of healthcare-associated MRSA infection in the ICU decreased from 5.45 infections per 1,000 patient-days in the 2 years before to the intervention to 1.35 infections per 1,000 patient-days in the 3 years after the intervention (a 75% reduction; P = .001). The combined estimate for reduction in the incidence of infection after the intervention in the 2 units was 68% (95% confidence interval, 50%-79%; P < .001).
Sustained reduction in the incidence of MRSA infection is possible in a setting where this pathogen is endemic. An industrial systems-engineering approach can be adapted to facilitate consistent and reliable adherence to MRSA infection prevention practices in healthcare facilities.
To identify characteristics of encounters between healthcare workers (HCWs) and patients that correlated with hand hygiene adherence among HCWs.
Intensive care unit in a Veterans Affairs hospital.
There were 767 patient encounters observed (48.6% involved nurses, 20.6% involved physicians, and 30.8% involved other HCWs); 39.8% of encounters involved patients placed under contact precautions. HCW contact with either the patient or surfaces in the patient's environment occurred during all encounters; direct patient contact occurred during 439 encounters (57.4%), and contact with environmental surfaces occurred during 710 encounters (92.6%). The median duration of encounters was 2 minutes (range, <1 to 51 minutes); 33.6% of encounters lasted 1 minute or less, with no significant occupation-associated differences in the median duration of encounters. Adherence with hand hygiene practices was correlated with the duration of the encounter, with overall adherences of 30.0% after encounters of ≤1 minute, 43.4% after encounters of >1 to ≤2 minutes, 51.1% after encounters of >3 to ≤5 minutes, and 64.9% after encounters of >5 minutes (P < .001 by the x2 for trend). In multivariate analyses, longer encounter duration, contact precautions status, patient contact, and nursing occupation were independently associated with adherence to hand hygiene recommendations.
In this study, adherence to hand hygiene practices was lowest after brief patient encounters (ie, <2 minutes). Brief encounters accounted for a substantial proportion of all observed encounters, and opportunities for hand contamination occurred during all brief encounters. Therefore, improving adherence after brief encounters may have an important overall impact on the transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens and may deserve special emphasis in the design of programs to promote adherence to hand hygiene practices.
Distributions of flying-fox (Pteropus alecto and P. scapulatus) were examined in relation to use of habitat in the essentially natural landscape of northern Australia. There were differences between the species in terms of the vegetation used for roosting and foraging, which were related to the reproductive cycle and seasonal variation in temperature, rainfall and the availability of preferred foods. Important habitats of P. alecto varied seasonally and included floodplain, mangrove, monsoon rainforest, Melaleuca open-forest, and Eucalyptus miniata/E. tetrodonta open-forest and woodland. The minimum scale at which conservation of P. alecto should be attempted is in the order of 5000 km2, based on seasonal patterns of habitat use. The size of this area will make conservation via traditional reserves difficult and conservation of important habitats outside reserves will be needed. Habitats protected for the benefit of P. alecto will also benefit P. scapulatus but because P. scapulatus is more mobile, displays greater yearly variation in distribution and is less well understood than P. alecto, appropriate conservation actions are less certain.
Many MEMS devices require piezoelectric excitation and readout to actuate and sense motion of mechanical structures. Aluminum nitride is advantageous for MEMS fabrication because it is compatible with silicon integrated circuit foundry impurity contamination requirements, can be deposited at low temperatures, provides a high piezoelectric coefficient, and is easily patterned using conventional photolithographic techniques. In this work, AIN thin films were deposited on silicon substrates for use in a MEMS silicon membrane ultrasonic resonator. The ultrasonic resonator is configured as a gravimetric sensing device for chemical detection. Issues of concern with regard to device performance and yield include the maximization of the electromechanical coupling constant (k2), film stress control, and film uniformity; these issues were addressed through a central composite design set of experiments to resolve the film property responses as a function of the deposition parameters. Film characterization was conducted with x-ray diffraction, spectroscopic ellipsometry, and surface profilometry. Optimization of film deposition parameters improved sensor performance and enabled further device miniaturization with the use of thinner films.
The Stephanian Konservat-Lagerstätte of Hamilton, Kansas, deposited in a marine-estuarine environment preserves a mixture of terrestrial, fresh-water, and marine fossil organisms. The marine component is the most diverse taxonomically, whereas one ostracod species, commonly interpreted as a fresh-water form, together with vascular plant debris dominates volumetrically. Well-preserved terrestrial and aquatic vertebrates and arthropods were embedded in rapidly deposited calcareous mud conducive to microbial early-diagenesis of vertebrate soft tissues in a tidal estuarine setting. Many vertebrate fossils show no evidence of preburial decay or disarticulation. Dark-coloured body silhouettes (‘skin preservation’) are composed of calcitic bacteria, calcite crystals and organic material, and have been interpreted to reflect preservation under saline conditions. The aquatic vertebrates had a broader tolerance of salinity than today. The fishes were perhaps migratory (anadromous or catadromous), and some used the estuarine environment for spawning. The tetrapods (dissorophid amphibians) retained their tolerance to salinity from their marine ancestors and were able to spawn in near-shore environments. The terrestrial biota was dominated by the conifer Walchia and was subjected to forest fires, as evidenced by preserved charcoal fragments.