Key Focus (key + focus)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Taxonomic level, trophic biology and the regulation of local abundance

GLOBAL ECOLOGY, Issue 3 2001
Michael Kaspari
Abstract 1Taxocenes , monophyletic ecological assemblages , are a key focus of macroecology. Abundance (individuals per area) is a basic property of taxocenes but has received less attention than diversity, although the two are probably related. Abundance reflects a taxocene's ability to harvest and sequester available energy and divide it among individuals. This paper explores how two properties of all taxocenes , trophic makeup and taxonomic level (e.g. genus, tribe, subfamily, family , ) , may contribute to patterns of local abundance at geographical scales. 2Forty-nine ground ant taxocenes, in habitats ranging from New World deserts to rain forests, were surveyed along a three-orders of magnitude productivity gradient using transects of 30 1-m2 quadrats at each site. Abundance , the number of nests per transect , varied over two orders of magnitude. 3Over 80% of the genera collected were omnivores. However, herbivore, omnivore, and predator taxa were added to ant taxocenes in roughly 1 order of magnitude steps up the productivity gradient. Specialist detritivores were added last. 4Net primary productivity and mean monthly temperature both consistently entered regression models predicting abundance. However, while productivity was the dominant predictor of abundance for higher taxa (families, subfamilies), temperature was the dominant predictor of abundance for lower taxa (tribes, genera). The answer to the question ,What regulates the abundance of a taxocene?' is thus sensitive to the taxonomic level of analysis. 5These data support the following scenario. Lower taxa are abiotic specialists given the insufficient number of genomes and generations required for the exploration of the entire abiotic envelope. Higher taxa, in contrast, consist of suites of abiotic specialists arrayed along the entire productivity gradient, with access to productivity everywhere the taxon occurs. If this scenario is true, individual species may respond to global changes in temperature; the higher taxa they belong to may most respond to global changes in productivity. [source]

Recent Perspectives on Leprosy in Medieval Western Europe1

Elma Brenner
Responses to leprosy in medieval Western Europe were complex and often contradictory. Recent scholarship has challenged the predominant earlier view that lepers were excluded and stigmatized, suggesting instead that lepers were believed to have been chosen by God to be redeemed, and were thus the objects of sympathy and compassion. Research in the fields of history, archaeology and literature has addressed the social and religious status of lepers, the clinical identity and prevalence of medieval leprosy, and the medieval medical understanding of the disease. Much research has also focused on the endowment and functioning of leper hospitals (leprosaria). Although these institutions were situated outside towns and cities, they were still connected to mainstream society as a key focus of charity. The study of leprosy in the Middle Ages has been a vibrant field of scholarship in recent years , yet much still remains to be discovered about medieval lepers, leprosy and leprosaria. The field would benefit from studies comparing the situation of lepers in different regions, and from greater consideration of leprosy in its broader cultural, political, iconographic and ethical context. Such work would contribute not only to our understanding of leprosy, but also to the wider social, medical and religious history of the medieval West. [source]

Clinical use of physical activity measures

CRNP (Associate Professor), Lorraine M Reiser PhD
Abstract Purpose:, To provide a review of physical activity measures and subjective and objective methods of its measurement. Considerations for the use of these measurements in research and practice will be discussed. Data sources:, The PubMed, CINAHL, and Health and Psychosocial Instruments databases, and the Centers for Disease Control Web site were searched using the search term "Physical Activity Measurement." Conclusions:, Physical activity is a lifestyle factor that is a key focus in chronic disease,related research, prevention, and interventions. Healthy People 2010 set goals of decreasing the prevalence of preventable diseases by encouraging healthier lifestyle patterns. Shifts toward more sedentary lifestyles have resulted in increases in life-limiting disease states, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. Physical activity measurements have been used widely in research studies but are less commonly used in primary care. Measuring individuals' physical activity levels as part of the health assessment will enhance the provider's ability to engage in health promotion and suggest health protection interventions. The strengths, weaknesses, and potential applications to practice of physical activity measures are summarized in an effort to familiarize nurse practitioners (NPs) with commonly used tools and encourage integration of physical activity assessment into their current practice. Implications for practice:, NPs are in an ideal position to promote health by encouraging appropriate amounts of physical activity. Screening, health promotion, and disease prevention are part of the core competencies of NP practice established by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. Increased knowledge of physical activity measures will enhance the NP's ability to evaluate relevant physical activity research for use in evidence-based practice. Incorporation of simple yet appropriate physical activity measurements into practice will expand the NP's ability to identify and thus address sedentary lifestyles in their clientele. [source]

Necessary and Discretionary Activities in Knee Osteoarthritis: Do They Mediate the Pain,Depression Relationship?

PAIN MEDICINE, Issue 5 2007
Patricia A. Parmelee PhD
ABSTRACT Objective., This study examined direct vs indirect associations of pain and physical function with depression in 369 older adults with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. A key focus was the distinction of functional disability in necessary tasks (basic and instrumental activities of daily living) from discretionary, leisure activities. Design., A naturalistic longitudinal study examined effects of demographic variables, indicators of arthritis status, general health, pain, and several measures of functional disability upon depressive symptoms at baseline and 1 year later. Setting and Patients., Participants with diagnosed knee OA were recruited from rheumatological and general geriatric outpatient clinics, as well as public service announcements. Outcome Measure., Depressive symptoms, measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale. Results., At baseline, the relationships of depression with functional disability and activity limitation were wholly mediated by pain. In contrast, activity participation was independently linked with depression, even controlling health and demographic variables. A 1-year follow-up revealed that depressive symptoms increased with increasing health problems, and with reduction in activity participation over time. Having and retaining favorite pastimes were also associated with reduced depressive symptomatology at baseline and follow-up, respectively. Conclusions., These data highlight the disease-specific nature of paths among depression, pain, and disability, and the importance of considering discretionary as well as necessary activities in evaluating effects of pain upon quality of life. [source]

Front and Back Covers, Volume 26, Number 5.

October 2010
Front and back cover caption, volume 26 issue 5 Front cover RETHINKING SUICIDE BOMBING The body is a key focus for anthropological research and analysis. The cover photographs highlight the way multiple aspects of life, including political life, are mapped onto the body, and the emergence of a collective, as well as individual, identity through these experiences. The front cover shows a young Palestinian boy staring at an Israeli guard's gun, inches from his face, while waiting at the Abu Dis checkpoint in East Jerusalem. Although the scene is calm, the photograph captures an implicit violence (any step out of line can and will be punished) and reveals the daily reality of political and structural violence in the lives of Palestinians. In this image, the child can be seen as an individual who may experience personal trauma as a result of these daily encounters with violence. But he can also be seen as representing a collective Palestinian body which, under the occupation, is humiliated and forced into a childlike position, with daily decisions, including over movement, entirely in the control of Israeli forces. In her article in this issue, Natalia Linos calls on anthropology to offer a critical analysis of suicide bombing and examine the central role of the body in this act. She posits that in a context of political and structural violence that encroaches on both individual and group identity, suicide attacks may be considered an extreme form of reclaiming the violated body through self-directed violence. Through suicide attacks in public spaces, the body may be used to contest physical barriers imposed by an oppressor, resist power imbalances, and reclaim authority over one's body as well as geographical space. Back cover ASSEMBLING BODIES The back cover shows a South African ,body map', on display at the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) until 6 November 2010 as part of the exhibition ,Assembling bodies: Art, science and imagination', reviewed in this issue. This self-portrait by Babalwa depicts her life as an activist and epitomizes the ethical and political negotiations that surround definition and treatment of particular bodies in contemporary South Africa. Babalwa was a member of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), which successfully campaigned for the widespread availability of antiretroviral treatment therapies. Her self-portrait is one of a series of life-sized body maps made by members of the Bambanani Womens Group in 2003, as part of a project documenting the lives of women with HIV/AIDS. The body maps and associated narratives trace the co-existence of multiple ways of understanding and experiencing bodies and disease in these women's lives. The imagery , referring to family and friends, political life, biomedical science, anatomical details, moral pollution and religious beliefs , suggests many bodies existing within a single corporeal form. In addition to revealing individual subjectivities, the body maps also highlight the shifting dynamics of sociality. Behind each self-portrait is the outline of another shadowy form, a reminder of the help received and the potential for future support. [source]

Moralising geographies: stigma, smoking islands and responsible subjects

AREA, Issue 4 2007
Lee Thompson
As the long-term negative health effects of continued smoking have become more obvious, smoking cessation has become a key focus of government attention across the developed world. Smoking cessation programmes have had mixed outcomes, with rates of smoking in certain socio-economically disadvantaged and ethnic minority groups remaining high. The increasing stigmatisation of those who continue to smoke, coupled with the spatial segregation of poor and minority populations, may compound to produce ,smoking islands' that may serve to reinforce rather than discourage continued smoking. This paper examines practices of compliance and resistance by disadvantaged smokers and ex-smokers to strategies of biopower. [source]

An overview of the Scottish multidisciplinary child protection review

Brigid Daniel
ABSTRACT Following the murder of a young child by her stepfather a ministerial review of child protection across Scotland was established. It was carried out by a multidisciplinary team of representatives from education, health-nursing, health-medical, police, social work and the Reporter to the Children's Hearing. The review comprised a number of subprojects and included a direct audit of the practice of all the key agencies. The views of the general public, parents, children and professionals were obtained via a set of consultation subprojects. The audit of practice was built around a set of individual, in-depth case studies. The cases were drawn from the spectrum of child care and protection cases by sampling from cases known to health visitors, education departments, the police and social work departments. The audit considered compliance with guidance, but the key focus was on outcomes for children. The findings indicated that although there were many examples of good practice with children, a significant number of children were left unprotected or their needs were not met. The issues were not unique to Scotland and are discussed under four key areas. The paper sets out the extent of chronic need amongst the child population that the audit revealed, looks at the messages from consultation about issues of accessing help for children or by children directly, and describes some shortcomings of the current system. Finally the paper analyses the ways that the different agencies interact and sets out a model for how the system can provide a protective network for children who are in need of protection and support. [source]