Key Areas (key + area)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Medical Sciences


Selected Abstracts


Integrating species life-history traits and patterns of deforestation in amphibian conservation planning

DIVERSITY AND DISTRIBUTIONS, Issue 1 2010
C. G. Becker
Abstract Aim, To identify priority areas for amphibian conservation in southeastern Brazil, by integrating species life-history traits and patterns of deforestation. Location, State of São Paulo, Brazil. Methods, We used the software Marxan to evaluate different scenarios of amphibian conservation planning. Our approach differs from previous methods by explicitly including two different landscape metrics; habitat split for species with aquatic larvae, and habitat loss for species with terrestrial development. We evaluated the effect of habitat requirements by classifying species breeding habitats in five categories (flowing water, still water permanent, still water temporary, bromeliad or bamboo, and terrestrial). We performed analyses using two scales, grid cells and watersheds and also considered nature preserves as protected areas. Results, We found contrasting patterns of deforestation between coastal and inland regions. Seventy-six grid cells and 14 watersheds are capable of representing each species at least once. When accounting for grid cells already protected in state and national parks and considering species habitat requirements we found 16 high-priority grid cells for species with one or two reproductive habitats, and only one cell representing species with four habitat requirements. Key areas for the conservation of species breeding in flowing and permanent still waters are concentrated in southern state, while those for amphibians breeding in temporary ponds are concentrated in central to eastern zones. Eastern highland zones are key areas for preserving species breeding terrestrially by direct or indirect development. Species breeding in bromeliads and bamboos are already well represented in protected areas. Main conclusions, Our results emphasize the need to integrate information on landscape configuration and species life-history traits to produce more ecologically relevant conservation strategies. [source]


Research sensitivities to palliative care patients

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CANCER CARE, Issue 3 2002
J. Addington-Hall phd
Research sensitivities to palliative care patients This paper considers the methodological challenges of researching the health care experiences of palliative care patients and their families. Difficulties in defining a ,palliative care patient' are highlighted, and the question of whether there are specific ethical issues when researching palliative care explored. Methodological issues are discussed, including the negotiation of access via health professionals, the choice of appropriate data collection methods and tools, the consequences of high attrition rates and the use of retrospective surveys of bereaved relatives. Key areas for research are identified. These include patients' and families' experiences of research participation, the impact of being approached on those who decline, how the characteristics of those who participate differ from those who do not and the likely impact of this on findings. Research is also needed into patient and family motivations for participation, and whether and how these change as the disease progresses. To ensure that the voices of palliative care patients and their families are heard by both service providers and policy-makers, research in this area needs to address the methodological challenges raised in this paper, as well as continuing to explore users' views. [source]


Stakeholder perspectives on new ways of delivering unscheduled health care: the role of ownership and organizational identity

JOURNAL OF EVALUATION IN CLINICAL PRACTICE, Issue 2 2007
Gill Haddow MA PhD
Abstract Rationale, aims and objectives, To explore stakeholder perspectives of the implementation of a new, national integrated nurse-led telephone advice and consultation service [National Health Service 24 (NHS 24)], comparing the views of stakeholders from different health care organizations. Methods, Semi-structured interviews with 26 stakeholders including partner organizations located in primary and secondary unscheduled care settings [general practitioner (GP) out-of-hours cooperative; accident and emergency department; national ambulance service, members of NHS 24 and national policy makers. Attendance at key meetings, documentary review and email implementation diaries provided a contextual history of events with which interview data could be compared. Results, The contextual history of events highlighted a fast-paced implementation process, with little time for reflection. Key areas of partner concern were increasing workload, the clinical safety of nurse triage and the lack of communication across the organizations. Concerns were most apparent within the GP out-of-hours cooperative, leading to calls for the dissolution of the partnership. Accident and emergency and ambulance service responses were more conciliatory, suggesting that such problems were to be expected within the developmental phase of a new organization. Further exploration of these responses highlighted the sense of ownership within the GP cooperative, with GPs having both financial and philosophical ownership of the cooperative. This was not apparent within the other two partner organizations, in particular the ambulance service, which operated on a regional model very similar to that of NHS 24. Conclusions, As the delivery of unscheduled primary health care crosses professional boundaries and locations, different organizations and professional groups must develop new ways of partnership working, developing trust and confidence in each other. The results of this study highlight, for the first time, the key importance of understanding the professional ownership and identity of individual organizations, in order to facilitate the most effective mechanisms to enable that partnership working. [source]


Emergency Medicine in the Developing World: A Delphi Study

ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE, Issue 7 2010
Peter W. Hodkinson MPhil(EM)
ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2010; 17:765,774 © 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Abstract Objectives:, Emergency medicine (EM) as a specialty has developed rapidly in the western world, but remains largely immature in developing nations. There is an urgent need for emergency services, but no clear guidelines are available on the priorities for establishing EM in the developing world. This study seeks to establish consensus on key areas of EM development in developing world settings, with respect to scope of EM, staffing needs, training requirements, and research priorities. Methods:, A three-round Delphi study was conducted via e-mail. A panel was convened of 50 EM specialists or equivalent, with experience in or interest in EM in the developing world. In the first round, panelists provided free-text statements on scope, staffing, training, and research priorities for EM in the developing world. A five-point Likert scale was used to rate agreement with the statements in Rounds 2 and 3. Consensus statements are presented as a series of synopsis statements for each of the four major themes. Results:, A total of 168 of 208 statements (81%) had reached consensus at the end of the study. Key areas in which consensus was reached included EM being a specialist-driven service, with substantial role for nonphysicians. International training courses should be adapted to local needs. EM research in developing countries should be clinically driven and focus on local issues of importance. Conclusions:, The scope and function of EM and relationships with other specialties are defined. Unambiguous principles are laid out for the development of the specialty in developing world environments. The next step required in this process is translation into practical guidelines for the development of EM in developing world settings where they may be used to drive policy, protocols, and research. [source]


The State of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Research

CHILD AND ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH, Issue 2 2002
Alan E. Kazdin
Child and adolescent therapy has progressed considerably, as reflected in the number of controlled studies, their methodological quality, and identification of evidence-based treatments. The progress is qualified by several characteristics of the therapy research that depart from the characteristics of clinical practice. Key areas of research are being neglected and this neglect greatly limits progress and what we know about treatment. Prominent among these is the neglect of research on the mechanisms of change and the moderators of treatment outcome. This article highlights progress, characteristics, and limitations of current therapy research. In addition, a research plan is offered to advance research by: 1) understanding the mechanisms or processes through which therapeutic change occurs; 2) drawing on developmental psychopathology research to inform treatment; and 3) expanding the range of questions that guide treatment research and the range of outcome domains on which treatment conclusions are based. [source]


State-of-the-art methodologies in alcohol-related health services research

ADDICTION, Issue 11s3 2000
Harold I. Perl
Many of the failures to replicate clinical findings of treatment efficacy in more realistic field and community settings can be attributed to inappropriate research designs and other methodological shortcomings. In order to increase research designers' awareness of existing methodologies that may be better suited to answer the critical questions inherent in health services research on alcohol-related issues, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) convened an expert conference with three specific goals: (1) to identify the critical issues involved in alcohol services research; (2) to develop a primer that explicated each key area; and (3) to compile the resulting primers into an accessible resource for researchers, policy makers and consumers. The 9 papers in this special supplement are the product of that conference and are organized broadly around three phases of the research process: study design and implementation, data collection and use, and the analysis and interpretation of data. A final summary paper discusses the issues and offers a synthesis of key themes as well as some direction for the future. [source]


Occupational Knowledge and Practice amongst UK University Research Administrators

HIGHER EDUCATION QUARTERLY, Issue 2 2009
John Hockey
With the exception of lecturing staff, research on occupational groups and cultures within the UK higher education system is relatively sparse. This paper focuses upon one specialist group, to-date under-researched but which plays a central role in contemporary higher education administration: graduate research administrators. This occupational group is of particular interest as its members administer and manage an increasing complex and key area of university life, which in many cases appears to span the putative occupational divide between ,academic' and ,administrative' work. Based upon qualitative interviews with 27 research administrators, and using some of Bourdieu's conceptual devices, the paper analyses particular kinds of informal occupational knowledge and practice, necessary in order effectively to ,do' the complex task of research administration in the pressurized environment of contemporary British higher education. [source]


Observer variation in immunohistochemical analysis of protein expression, time for a change?

HISTOPATHOLOGY, Issue 7 2006
T Kirkegaard
Aim :,Immunohistochemical analysis of protein expression is central to most clinical translational studies and defines patient treatment or selection criteria for novel drugs. Interobserver variation is rarely analysed despite recognition that this is a key area of potential inaccuracy. Therefore our aim was to examine observer variation and suggest the revision of current standards. Methods and results :,We analysed inter- and intra-observer variation, by interclass correlation coefficient (ICCC) and , statistics, in 8661 samples. Intra-observer assessment of nuclear, cytoplasmic and membrane staining for seven proteins in 1323 samples resulted in an ICCC of 0.94 and a , -value of 0.787. Interobserver reproducibility, assessed on 28 proteins by seven observer pairs in 8661 carcinomas, gave an ICCC of 0.90 and a , -value of 0.70. No significant effect of either antibody or cellular compartmentalization was observed. Conclusion :,We have demonstrated that ICCC is a consistent method to assess observer variation when a continuous scoring system is used, compared with , statistics, which depends on a categorical system. Given the importance of accurate assessment of protein expression in diagnostic and experimental medicine, we suggest raising thresholds for observer variation: ICCC of 0.7 should be regarded as the minimum acceptable standard, ICCC of 0.8 as good and ICCC of ,,0.9 as excellent. [source]


Neural correlates of verbal episodic memory in patients with MCI and Alzheimer's disease,,a VBM study

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY, Issue 11 2008
Dirk T. Leube
Abstract Objective The hippocampus is a key area for episodic memory processes. Hippocampal atrophy is a hallmark feature of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We used a new and automatized morphometric technique to better characterize brain atrophy in subjects with different levels of cognitive deficit. Methods In this study 21 participants with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), 12 patients with early AD and 29 elderly control subjects were subjected to high resolution MRI and a neuropsychological test battery. Brain volume across participants, measured by voxel-based morphometry (VBM), was correlated with verbal memory capacity, measured with a verbal memory test (VLMT). Results Atrophy in the anterior hippocampus, the ento- and perirhinal cortex as well as the parahippocampal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus and anterior cingulate cortex correlated closely with episodic memory performance. Conclusions These brain areas are known to subserve episodic encoding of verbal material. The data contribute to a better understanding of atrophic brain processes in subjects at risk for AD. A combination of neuropsychological testing and voxel-based morphometry may serve as a diagnostic tool in the future. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]


The UK air inclusive-tour industry: a reassessment of the competitive positioning of the ,independent' sector

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TOURISM RESEARCH, Issue 6 2001
Nigel G. Evans
Abstract This paper investigates the increasing concentration in the UK air inclusive-tour (AIT) market and the behaviour of the dominant companies (Thomson, Airtours, First Choice and Thomas Cook) operating in the sector. Arguments relating to the theoretical organisational structure of the industry are explored and regulatory investigations that have taken place are discussed. Research evidence as to the competitive position of independent tour operators in the overall UK AIT market is provided. The research indicates that a key area of difficulty for the independent sector relates to the provision of charter airline capacity although access to distribution channels and the ability to contract accommodation are viewed as further concerns. The paper concludes that regulatory authorities are faced with trying to ensure that diversity is maintained while at the same time ensuring any economies of scale derived from consolidation of the sector are passed on to consumers. In order to properly understand the true effects of industrial concentration the assembled package must be dissembled into its component parts and an increasingly a pan-European perspective is necessary. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]


Benefits and limitations of nurses taking on aspects of the clinical role of doctors in primary care: integrative literature review

JOURNAL OF ADVANCED NURSING, Issue 8 2010
Claire RashidArticle first published online: 2 JUL 2010
rashid c. (2010) Benefits and limitations of nurses taking on aspects of the clinical role of doctors in primary care: integrative literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing,66(8), 1658,1670. Abstract Aim., This paper presents an integrative literature review of studies exploring the benefits and limitations of the recent expansion of the clinical role of nurses working in general practice in the United Kingdom. Background., Similar clinical outcomes and high levels of satisfaction with consultations undertaken by nurse practitioners compared to general practitioners in primary care have been reported in a Cochrane review [Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2004) vol. 5, p. CD001271]. Since then, nurse consultations have increased considerably as general practitioners have delegated part of their clinical workload to other general practice nurses. However, whether all general practice nurses can fulfil this extended role remains open to question. Method., An integrative review was performed. Nine electronic databases were searched. UK studies were included if they were published after the previous Cochrane review, i.e. between 2004 and 2009. Results., Eight studies were identified, most using qualitative methodology. The evidence suggested that the changes in nurses' role have been predominantly driven by the perceived increase in workload arising from the new general practitioner contract. Delegating work to nurses provided a means of organizing workload within a practice without necessarily allowing patient choice. Patients generally thought that all general practice nurses would be able to deal with simple conditions, but they would prefer to consult with a general practitioner if they thought it necessary. There were concerns about nurses' knowledge base, particularly in diagnostics and therapeutics, and their levels of training and competence in roles formerly undertaken by general practitioners. Conclusion., There have been few studies in this key area of healthcare policy. There is a need for better training and support for nurses undertaking roles in consultation and for patients' views to be better represented. [source]


The interaction of multiple environmental stressors affects adaptation to a novel habitat in the natterjack toad Bufo calamita

JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, Issue 11 2009
B. ROGELL
Abstract The potential to adapt to novel environmental conditions is a key area of interest for evolutionary biology. However, the role of multiple selection pressures on adaptive responses has rarely been investigated in natural populations. In Sweden, the natterjack toad Bufo calamita inhabits two separate distribution areas, one in southernmost Sweden and one on the west coast. We characterized the larval habitat in terms of pond size and salinity in the two areas, and found that the western populations are more affected by both desiccation risk and pond salinity than the southern populations. In a common garden experiment manipulating salinity and temperature, we found that toads from the west coast populations were locally adapted to shorter pond duration as indicated by their higher development and growth rates. However, despite being subjected to higher salinity stress in nature, west coast toads had a poorer performance in saline treatments. We found that survival in the saline treatments in the west coast populations was positively affected by larger body mass and longer larval period. Furthermore, we found negative genetic correlations between body mass and growth rate and their plastic responses to salinity. These results implicate that the occurrence of multiple environmental stressors needs to be accounted for when assessing the adaptive potential of organisms and suggest that genetic correlations may play a role in constraining adaptation of natural populations. [source]


Preventing War Through Nation-Building: A Self-Interested Approach to Peace

NEGOTIATION JOURNAL, Issue 4 2002
David Hamburg
The author, in this adaptation of his talk at the Hewlett Centers meeting, reflects on the post-September 11 world and the critical need to develop peacemaking processes in the 21st Century. One key area that needs attention is nation-building, or sharing the knowledge, skills, and democratic resources of the well-developed countries with less-developed nations. Such development activity is not only morally and ethically correct; it is in our own nation's self-interest as a security measure. Other important post-9/11 considerations include paying attention to what our critics are saying; understanding the media's pivotal role; working with NGOs; and encouraigng conflict resolution education. [source]


Brain size and the human cranial base: A prenatal perspective

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, Issue 4 2002
Nathan Jeffery
Abstract Pivotally positioned as the interface between the neurocranium and the face, the cranial base has long been recognized as a key area to our understanding of the origins of modern human skull form. Compared with other primates, modern humans have more coronally orientated petrous bones and a higher degree of basicranial flexion, resulting in a deeper and wider posterior cranial fossa. It has been argued that this derived condition results from a phylogenetic increase in the size of the brain and its subcomponents (infra- and supratentorial volumes) relative to corresponding lengths of the cranial base (posterior and anterior, respectively). The purpose of this study was to test such evolutionary hypotheses in a prenatal ontogenetic context. We measured the degree of basicranial flexion, petrous reorientation, base lengths, and endocranial volumes from high-resolution magnetic resonance images (hrMRI) of 46 human fetuses ranging from 10,29 weeks of gestation. Bivariate comparisons with age revealed a number of temporal trends during the period investigated, most notable of which were coronal rotation of the petrous bones and basicranial retroflexion (flattening). Importantly, the results reveal significant increases of relative endocranial sizes across the sample, and the hypotheses therefore predict correlated variations of cranial base flexion and petrous orientation in accordance with these increases. Statistical analyses did not yield results as predicted by the hypotheses. Thus, the propositions that base flexion and petrous reorientation are due to increases of relative endocranial sizes were not corroborated by the findings of this study, at least for the period investigated. Am J Phys Anthropol 118:324,340, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]


Dendritic Cells: Tools and Targets for Transplant Tolerance

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION, Issue 12 2005
Simon M. Barratt-Boyes
Our knowledge of the role of dendritic cells (DC) in the generation and maintenance of T-cell tolerance has expanded rapidly and is now a key area of research in basic and applied DC biology. This minireview highlights recent developments in the field that are leading to new avenues for exploiting DC in the promotion of transplant tolerance. [source]


Delivering culturally appropriate residential rehabilitation for urban Indigenous Australians: a review of the challenges and opportunities

AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, Issue 2010
Kate Taylor
Abstract Objective: To review the challenges facing Indigenous and mainstream services in delivering residential rehabilitation services to Indigenous Australians, and explore opportunities to enhance outcomes. Methods: A literature review was conducted using keyword searches of databases, on-line journals, articles, national papers, conference proceedings and reports from different organisations, with snowball follow-up of relevant citations. Each article was assessed for quality using recognised criteria. Results: Despite debate about the effectiveness of mainstream residential alcohol rehabilitation treatment, most Indigenous Australians with harmful alcohol consumption who seek help have a strong preference for residential treatment. While there is a significant gap in the cultural appropriateness of mainstream services for Indigenous clients, Indigenous-controlled residential organisations also face issues in service delivery. Limitations and inherent difficulties in rigorous evaluation processes further plague both areas of service provision. Conclusion: With inadequate evidence surrounding what constitutes ,best practice' for Indigenous clients in residential settings, more research is needed to investigate, evaluate and contribute to the further development of culturally appropriate models of best practice. In urban settings, a key area for innovation involves improving the capacity and quality of service delivery through effective inter-agency partnerships between Indigenous and mainstream service providers. [source]


Examining understanding, acceptance, and support for the biorefinery concept among EU policy-makers

BIOFUELS, BIOPRODUCTS AND BIOREFINING, Issue 3 2009
Philip Peck
Abstract This paper outlines how an understanding of the processes of building cognitive and sociopolitical legitimacy is relevant to the formation of a biorefining sector. First we describe a number of theoretical insights into challenges faced by emerging industries and how these can relate to the formation of a biorefining sector. Second, we present the conduct and results of an initial exploration of understanding, acceptance, and support for the biorefinery concept among a sample of actors in the EU policy community. General conclusions of this study are then provided in these two areas. Addressing theory versus evidence from the fi eld, it is found that many phenomena predicted by theory indeed appear in the empirical results and seem immediately relevant to the formative biorefining industry. Analysis of the perceptions of members of the policy community toward biorefinery-related environmental, social, policy, reputational and policy issues reveals that there are a number of areas where prompt action from the political and scientifi c communities could yield signifi cant benefi ts. We conclude that theories enfolding the concepts of cognitive and sociopolitical legitimacy are relevant to discussions of biofuels, bioproducts and biorefining. Importantly, proponents of the biorefinery concept can draw upon a broad body of knowledge generated in both related and non-related industries, to support their work reducing barriers to the emergence of commercial biorefineries. A key area in this regard will be improved communication of biorefinery contributions to sustainable development. © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd [source]


The good, the bad and the wiki: Evaluating student-generated content for collaborative learning

BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, Issue 6 2008
Steve Wheeler
This paper explores the potential for wiki-type open architecture software to promote and support collaborative learning through the use of student-created content. It delineates some of the affordances and constraints of wiki software as an open architecture that has the potential to facilitate collaborative learning through community-focused enquiry. It seeks to promote debate in this key area of development, and highlights some recent key contributions to the developing discourse on social software in what has been termed ,the architecture of participation'. [source]


The interface between the child welfare and criminal justice systems in England

CHILD ABUSE REVIEW, Issue 5 2004
Jenny Gray
Abstract The development of government guidance can seem a mysterious process to those outside government. This paper, which draws on the author's experience, is intended to give some insight into how guidance in two areas,child witnesses and children involved in prostitution,was developed within the existing legal framework. Since that time, the Sexual Offences Act 2003 has come into force in England and Wales and the Children Bill is currently before Parliament. The paper begins by setting out the key legislation, regulations and guidance that underpinned the child welfare and criminal justice systems as they related to child protection at the time the guidance was being developed. It then describes how the different guidance documents relate to each other and the implications for practice. The development of speci,c guidance is drawn upon to illustrate some of the tensions that had to be resolved during the drafting and the processes by which they were ,nalized for approval by the Government. A key area requiring careful consideration was the differences between the family and criminal justice systems. In the former, the welfare of the child is paramount when making decisions and in the latter, the court has a duty to ensure the defendant has a fair trial. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]


BUILDING A DATA-MINING GRID FOR MULTIPLE HUMAN BRAIN DATA ANALYSIS

COMPUTATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, Issue 2 2005
Ning Zhong
E-science is about global collaboration in key areas of science such as cognitive science and brain science, and the next generation of infrastructure such as the Wisdom Web and Knowledge Grids. As a case study, we investigate human multiperception mechanism by cooperatively using various psychological experiments, physiological measurements, and data mining techniques for developing artificial systems which match human ability in specific aspects. In particular, we observe fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and EEG (electroencephalogram) brain activations from the viewpoint of peculiarity oriented mining and propose a way of peculiarity oriented mining for knowledge discovery in multiple human brain data. Based on such experience and needs, we concentrate on the architectural aspect of a brain-informatics portal from the perspective of the Wisdom Web and Knowledge Grids. We describe how to build a data-mining grid on the Wisdom Web for multiaspect human brain data analysis. The proposed methodology attempts to change the perspective of cognitive scientists from a single type of experimental data analysis toward a holistic view at a long-term, global field of vision. [source]


Integrating species life-history traits and patterns of deforestation in amphibian conservation planning

DIVERSITY AND DISTRIBUTIONS, Issue 1 2010
C. G. Becker
Abstract Aim, To identify priority areas for amphibian conservation in southeastern Brazil, by integrating species life-history traits and patterns of deforestation. Location, State of São Paulo, Brazil. Methods, We used the software Marxan to evaluate different scenarios of amphibian conservation planning. Our approach differs from previous methods by explicitly including two different landscape metrics; habitat split for species with aquatic larvae, and habitat loss for species with terrestrial development. We evaluated the effect of habitat requirements by classifying species breeding habitats in five categories (flowing water, still water permanent, still water temporary, bromeliad or bamboo, and terrestrial). We performed analyses using two scales, grid cells and watersheds and also considered nature preserves as protected areas. Results, We found contrasting patterns of deforestation between coastal and inland regions. Seventy-six grid cells and 14 watersheds are capable of representing each species at least once. When accounting for grid cells already protected in state and national parks and considering species habitat requirements we found 16 high-priority grid cells for species with one or two reproductive habitats, and only one cell representing species with four habitat requirements. Key areas for the conservation of species breeding in flowing and permanent still waters are concentrated in southern state, while those for amphibians breeding in temporary ponds are concentrated in central to eastern zones. Eastern highland zones are key areas for preserving species breeding terrestrially by direct or indirect development. Species breeding in bromeliads and bamboos are already well represented in protected areas. Main conclusions, Our results emphasize the need to integrate information on landscape configuration and species life-history traits to produce more ecologically relevant conservation strategies. [source]


The merging of community ecology and phylogenetic biology

ECOLOGY LETTERS, Issue 7 2009
Jeannine Cavender-Bares
Abstract The increasing availability of phylogenetic data, computing power and informatics tools has facilitated a rapid expansion of studies that apply phylogenetic data and methods to community ecology. Several key areas are reviewed in which phylogenetic information helps to resolve long-standing controversies in community ecology, challenges previous assumptions, and opens new areas of investigation. In particular, studies in phylogenetic community ecology have helped to reveal the multitude of processes driving community assembly and have demonstrated the importance of evolution in the assembly process. Phylogenetic approaches have also increased understanding of the consequences of community interactions for speciation, adaptation and extinction. Finally, phylogenetic community structure and composition holds promise for predicting ecosystem processes and impacts of global change. Major challenges to advancing these areas remain. In particular, determining the extent to which ecologically relevant traits are phylogenetically conserved or convergent, and over what temporal scale, is critical to understanding the causes of community phylogenetic structure and its evolutionary and ecosystem consequences. Harnessing phylogenetic information to understand and forecast changes in diversity and dynamics of communities is a critical step in managing and restoring the Earth's biota in a time of rapid global change. [source]


Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity , a summary of the second edition

ADDICTION, Issue 5 2010
Alcohol, Public Policy Group
ABSTRACT This article summarizes the contents of Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity (2nd edn). The first part of the book describes why alcohol is not an ordinary commodity, and reviews epidemiological data that establish alcohol as a major contributor to the global burden of disease, disability and death in high-, middle- and low-income countries. This section also documents how international beer and spirits production has been consolidated recently by a small number of global corporations that are expanding their operations in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. In the second part of the book, the scientific evidence for strategies and interventions that can prevent or minimize alcohol-related harm is reviewed critically in seven key areas: pricing and taxation, regulating the physical availability of alcohol, modifying the drinking context, drink-driving countermeasures, restrictions on marketing, education and persuasion strategies, and treatment and early intervention services. Finally, the book addresses the policy-making process at the local, national and international levels and provides ratings of the effectiveness of strategies and interventions from a public health perspective. Overall, the strongest, most cost-effective strategies include taxation that increases prices, restrictions on the physical availability of alcohol, drink-driving countermeasures, brief interventions with at risk drinkers and treatment of drinkers with alcohol dependence. [source]


A question of balance: prioritizing public health responses to harm from gambling

ADDICTION, Issue 5 2009
Peter J. Adams
ABSTRACT Aim To provide an overview on the nature and importance of public health approaches to the global expansion of commercial gambling. Method Three key areas of public health activity are examined: harm minimization, health promotion and the political determinants for change. Findings The rapid proliferation of gambling experienced in many countries is driven by the commercial development of new products orientated around continuous and rapid mass consumption. This is particularly the case with ongoing refinements to electronic gambling machines and the development of new gambling technologies using the internet and mobile telephones. So far responses to negative impacts have, on the whole, focused upon individualized treatment interventions. A public health approach to gambling offers a broad range of strategies to tackle the wider implications of gambling expansion: harm reduction provides evidence-based strategies for managing identifiable harm; health promotion focuses upon communities building their capacity, knowledge and resilience with regard to the attractions of gambling, and action on the political determinants sets out to increase the accountability and reduce the conflicts of interest that influence government resolve in managing their gambling environments. Conclusion In this new environment of mass consumption, efforts in developing treatment responses to problem gambling need to be balanced with, at least, equal efforts in developing public health responses. With the expansion of commercial gambling occurring globally, international agencies could play a critical role in supporting public health initiatives. [source]


Policy profile: addressing environmental inequalities through UK research and policy

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND GOVERNANCE, Issue 6 2005
Helen Chalmers
Abstract In the United Kingdom, political and governmental attention is being paid to the growing evidence that shows that the poorest people live in the worst quality environments. This paper will describe the development of work within the Environment Agency over the past three years to help understand such environmental inequalities, and how these can be addressed through UK policy for sustainable development. This paper will examine the following key areas of this work. iHow have we used the research process to understand environmental inequalities and develop evidence based policy? iiWhat progress have we made in shaping the Environment Agency's role, and ensuring that its environmental policies do not contribute to further environmental inequalities? iiiHow have we worked to ensure that environmental inequalities are addressed through wider government sustainable development policy? It concludes by exploring how research and policy development to address environmental inequalities requires integration across at least three fields of practice: different types of evidence; research and policy; and environment and social policy for sustainable development. © Crown copyright 2005. Reproduced with the permission of Her Majesty's Stationary Office. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment. [source]


Toward a New Sexual Selection Paradigm: Polyandry, Conflict and Incompatibility (Invited Article)

ETHOLOGY, Issue 12 2003
Jeanne A. Zeh
Darwin's recognition that male,male competition and female choice could favor the evolution of exaggerated male traits detrimental to survival set the stage for more than a century of theoretical and empirical work on sexual selection. While this Darwinian paradigm represents one of the most profound insights in biology, its preoccupation with sexual selection as a directional evolutionary force acting on males has diverted attention away from the selective processes acting on females. Our understanding of female reproduction has been further confounded by discreet female mating tactics that have perpetuated the illusion of the monogamous female and masked the potential for conflict between the sexes. With advances in molecular techniques leading to the discovery that polyandry is a pervasive mating strategy, recognition of these shortcomings has brought the study of sexual selection to its current state of flux. In this paper, we suggest that progress in two key areas is critical to formulation of a more inclusive, sexual selection paradigm that adequately incorporates selection from the female perspective. First, we need to develop a better understanding of male × female and maternal × paternal genome interactions and the role that polyandry plays in providing females with non-additive genetic benefits such as incompatibility avoidance. Consideration of these interaction effects influencing natural selection on females is important because they can complicate and even undermine directional sexual selection on males. Secondly, because antagonistic coevolution maintains a balance between opposing sides that obscures the conflict itself, many more experimental evolution studies and interventionist investigations (e.g. gene knockouts) are needed to tease apart male manipulative adaptations and female counter-adaptations. It seems evident that the divisiveness and controversy that has plagued sexual selection theory since Darwin first proposed the idea has often stalled progress in this important field of evolutionary biology. What is now needed is a more pluralistic and integrative approach that considers natural as well as sexual selection acting on females, incorporates multiple sexual selection mechanisms, and exploits advances in physiology and molecular biology to understand the mechanisms through which males and females achieve reproductive success. [source]


Novel therapeutic targets in multiple myeloma

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF HAEMATOLOGY, Issue 6 2000
Faith E. Davies
The aim of this review is to focus on a number of key areas where recent advances in the biology of the disease have not only yielded an understanding of the disease pathogenesis but have also suggested novel treatment approaches. Factors mediating myeloma cell growth, survival and the complex interaction of myeloma cells with the bone marrowmicroenvironment have provided a framework for the rational design of therapeutic agents. The development of such biologically based treatments which target both the tumour cell and the microenvironment, in order to achieve more complete and selective eradication of myeloma cells and the maintenance of minimal residual disease states, may ultimately lead to improved disease-free survivial and potentially a cure. [source]


Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CART) is present in peptidergic C primary afferents and axons of excitatory interneurons with a possible role in nociception in the superficial laminae of the rat spinal cord

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, Issue 6 2007
Márk Kozsurek
Abstract Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptides (CART) have been implicated in the regulation of several physiological functions, including pain transmission. A dense plexus of CART-immunoreactive fibres has been described in the superficial laminae of the spinal cord, which are key areas in sensory information and pain processing. In this study, we used antibody against CART peptide, together with markers for various types of primary afferents, interneurons and descending systems to determine the origin of the CART-immunoreactive axons in the superficial laminae of the rat spinal cord. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a marker for peptidergic primary afferents in the dorsal horn, was present in 72.6% and 34.8% of CART-immunoreactive axons in lamina I and II, respectively. The majority of these fibres also contained substance P (SP), while a few were somatostatin (SOM)-positive. The other subpopulation of CART-immunoreactive boutons in lamina I and II also expressed SP and/or SOM without CGRP, but contained vesicular glutamate transporter 2, which is present mainly in excitatory interneuronal terminals. Our data demonstrate that the majority of CART-immunoreactive axons in the spinal dorsal horn originate from peptidergic nociceptive primary afferents, while the rest arise from excitatory interneurons that contain SP or SOM. This strongly suggests that CART peptide can affect glutamatergic neurotransmission as well as the release and effects of SP and SOM in nociception and other sensory processes. [source]


Fragrances: are they safe?

FLAVOUR AND FRAGRANCE JOURNAL, Issue 6 2002
Peter A. Cadby
In recent years it has become fashionable to criticize the use of fragrances in our society, suggesting that this use is associated with a variety of negative effects. We review the key areas of criticism, which have suggested adverse safety and environmental effects, with an emphasis on the science, rather than speculation, regarding these issues. In conclusion, an adequate review and testing mechanism exists to assure the safety of fragrance materials, and their combination in mixtures, for the consumers of fragranced products. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]


The significance of side-arm connectivity for carbon dynamics of the River Danube, Austria

FRESHWATER BIOLOGY, Issue 2 2008
S. PREINER
Summary 1. Side-arms connected to the main stem of the river are key areas for biogeochemical cycling in fluvial landscapes, exhibiting high rates of carbon processing. 2. This work focused on quantifying autochthonous and allochthonous carbon pools and, thereby, on comparing transport and transformation processes in a restored side-arm system of the River Danube (Regelsbrunn). We established a carbon budget and quantified carbon processing from March to September 2003. In addition, data from previous studies during 1997 to 1999 were assessed. 3. Gross primary production (GPP) and community respiration were estimated by diel oxygen time curves and an oxygen mass balance. Plankton primary production was determined to estimate its contribution to GPP under different hydrological conditions. 4. Based on the degree of connectivity, three hydrological phases were differentiated. Most of the organic matter, dominated by allochthonous carbon, was transported in the main channel and through the side-arm during floods, while at intermediate and low flows (and thus connectivity), transformation processes became more important and autochthonous carbon dominated the carbon pool. The side-arm system functioned as a sink for particulate matter [total suspended solids and particulate organic carbon (POC)] and a source of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and chlorophyll- a. 5. Autochthonous primary production of 4.2 t C day,1 in the side-arm was equivalent to about 20% of the allochthonous inputs of 20 t C day,1 (POC and DOC) entering the area at mean flow (1% of the discharge of the main channel). Pelagic photosynthesis was generally high at mean flow (1.3,3.8 g C m,2 day,1), and contributed up to 90% of system productivity. During long stagnant periods at low discharge, the side-arm was controlled by biological processes and a shift from planktonic to benthic activity occurred (benthic primary production of 0.4,14 g C m,2 day,1). 6. The transformation of the organic matter that passes through the side-arm under different hydrological conditions, points to the importance of these subsystems in contributing autochthonous carbon to the food web of the main channel. [source]