Research Repository

    Appropriacy judgements and pragmatic performance

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    This paper examines judgements of inappropriacy made by groups of independent raters from different professional backgrounds when presented with data from two boys with semantic, pragmatic and syntactic difficulties, who are interacting with adults, and when presented with data in a transcript or video format. The purpose is to explore the nature of such judgements with the view to highlighting the centrality and the complex nature of inappropriacy judgements in the clinical management of pragmatic impairment. The current study suggests that consensus of view as to what is or is not appropriate in interactions involving child clients may not exist in the general population. It further suggests that professional experience with children may direct one's attention primarily to the child client. Video presentation of information also appeared to direct attention to the child inter-actant. Given that audiovisual presentation of data is able to reproduce the non-linguistic ‘oddness’ of a child (e.g. averted gaze, slumped posture, monotonous voice), a situation seems to be created in which the linguistic content is perceived as equally ‘odd’ or inappropriate. This study has implications for assessment, diagnosis and treatment of pragmatic difficulties in children

    Why pragmatic impairment? A case study in the comprehension of infe rential meaning

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    This paper discusses a case study of Sarah (aged 9; 8-10; 3) who is reported to have pragmatic difficulties. The focus is on her comprehension of questions, which are asked on the basis of pictures and heard stories. Particular focus is on the pragmatic (or inferential) demands of the input questions and their relationship to the (in) appropriacy of the answer. Data from 16 normally functioning 6- and 8-year-old children are also presented for comparative purposes. The study shows that Sarah has difficulty with questions which require her to go beyond visually presented or verbally stated information. On one set of tasks she was to answer questions on the basis of composite pictures: for some of the questions, the answer was obvious from the picture (descriptive questions) and for others information needed to be inferred beyond the picture (for example, by imagining what had happened before and what is likely to happen next). Sarah's performance was poorer on the inferential questions than the descriptive questions and poorer than the performance of 6- and 8-year-old normally functioning control children. Although the control children also found the inferential questions more difficult than the descriptive questions, this difficulty was not as pronounced as Sarah's. This trend was also apparent in a set of tasks which required the children to answer questions on the basis of verbally told stories. This study suggests that pragmatically impaired children may have difficulty going beyond explicitly presented information and this would manifest as pragmatic production and comprehension problems. In cognitive terms, this may indicate difficulty with the process of inferencing

    Answering contextually demanding questions: Pragmatic errors produced by children with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism

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    This study examined irrelevant/incorrect answers produced by children with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism (7–9-year-olds and 10–12-year-olds) and normally developing children (7–9-year-olds). The errors produced were divided into three types: in Type 1, the child answered the original question incorrectly, in Type 2, the child gave a correct answer, but when asked a follow-up question, he/she explained the answer incorrectly, and in Type 3, the child first gave a correct answer or explanation, but continued answering, which ultimately led to an irrelevant answer. Analyses of Type 1 and 2 errors indicated that all the children tried to utilize contextual information, albeit incorrectly. Analyses of Type 3 errors showed that topic drifts were almost non-existent in the control group, but common in the clinical group, suggesting that these children had difficulties in stopping processing after deriving a relevant answer. Learning outcomes: The reader becomes aware of the different instances which may lead to the irrelevance of answers and get knowledge about features of answers of children with AS/HFA

    Dissolution of metal ferrites and iron oxides by HCl under oxidising and reducing conditions

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    A study has been carried out on the relative rates of dissolution of copper, zinc, and nickel ferrites in HCl solutions and on the effect of various oxidant and reductant species in solution. The results are compared with the rates of dissolution of hematite, magnetite, and nickel oxide, and correlated with their electrochemical behaviour. Cyclic voltammograms of the metal ferrites and oxides show oxidation or reduction peaks corresponding to changes in the oxidation state of the metal in the lattice. It is shown that the relative reactivity in 1 M HCl at 25° is in the order Fe3O4 ≫ ZnFe2O4 > CuFe2O4 > Fe2O3 > NiFe2O4. The leaching of the metal ferrites and iron oxides is enhanced by the presence of 0.01 M Cu(I) or Sn(II) but the leaching of NiO is enhanced by oxidants such as 0.01 M Cu(II) in chloride media

    NO(x) emissions from radiant gas burners

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    The generation of NO(x) by a modified domestic radiant gas burner was found to depend mainly on the level of primary aeration, and to a lesser extent on the gas input rate and tile surface temperature. Significant reductions in NO(x) emission from radiant burners were achieved by using excess air in the primary mixture. Further tests with an experimental radiant burner, in which combustion air was selectively replaced by an oxygen/argon mixture, indicated that NO(x) formation in conditions of high primary aeration was mainly by the prompt mechanism

    Type-N, shear-free, perfect-fluid spacetimes with a barotropic equation of state

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    We present the class of Petrov-type N, shear-free, perfect-fluid solutions of Einstein's field equations in which the fluid satisfies a barotropic equation of state p=p(w) and w+p≢0. All solutions are stationary and possess a three- parameter, abelian group of local isometries which act simply transitively on timelike hypersurfaces. Furthermore, there exists one Killing vector parallel to the vorticity vector and another parallel to the four-velocity. This class of solutions is identified as part of a larger class present in the literature

    Sources of indoor fungi in non-problem buildings and dwellings

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    Recent concern over the potential health effects of airborne fungi in buildings has lead to an urgent need for regulating bodies to establish guidelines and standards for indoor fungi. However, indoor fungi have been described based on our knowledge of "outdoor'' fungal ecology and there is a lack of basic understanding of fungal ecology in indoor environments. To date, most of the data on indoor fungi comes from buildings with moisture damage or mould infestation problems and there is a lack of data on fungi occurring in non-problem buildings. The limited number of studies on non-problem buildings suggests that the species range is different and the numbers of fungi are normally very low compared to problem buildings. However, where there is an alteration of the species mixture compared to the outdoor air, and this is due to fungi growing and reproducing indoors, then this may represent an unknown but important health risk from exposure to fungi. The main hypothesis tested in this thesis is that the fungi in the indoor air in nonproblem and well maintained buildings with no history of water damage and no occupant complaints, are sourced from fungi growing outdoors. A second hypothesis was that where indoor airborne fungi in non-problem buildings are not sourced from the outdoors, then they are from internal sources of fungal growth. The best available methods from the fields of aerobiology, microbiology, food & soil mycology, and some novel techniques were used for sampling fungi. Techniques and equipment used included the six-stage Andersen sampler for airborne samples, a Kirby vacuum cleaner for extracting dust samples, an Airotester unit for testing filter material in situ, both normal light and fluorescence microscopy, and both direct and dilution plating for analysing dust samples. Samples were collected only from non-problem indoor environments, which had no records or low levels of complaints or problems and that had no water or moisture damage. The results determined sources of fungi in non-problem buildings and provided direct evidence that fungi are able to grow on air filtration materials and interior furnishings that are kept in good order. In particular, the fungi in indoor air of the healthy buildings were found to be sourced from a mixture of indoor and outdoor sources. Despite the fact that the IAQ and SBS parameters, and the lack of complaints, moisture damage or visible mould all characterised the buildings in this study as healthy or non-problem, the buildings had indoor fungal problems according to the guidelines given in the mycological literature. The HVAC systems investigated were shown to generally reduced the prevalence or eliminated typical outdoor air fungi. However, this filtration effect was shown to be a complex pattern of changes in species mixture at each of the HVAC systems components. Some species reached their highest numbers in the indoor air. The fungal species range isolated from air filtration media was shown to be significantly affected by the type of filter material. The new multi layered polymer filtration media was shown to initially reduced the ability of fungi to grow on the media. This was most likely due to its ability to disperse nutrients and fungi spatially and by having lower water content and pH value. There were indications that the survival of fungi beyond their initial capture may be very brief due to the aggressive environment on the filters. The study provided direct evidence that fungi were able to grow in interior sources such as carpets and furnishings that were kept in dry condition (in non-problem buildings). Each of the different furnishing types were shown to provide a different habitat for fungal growth. The microbial activity of fungi in the furnishings was the same level as reported in several productive soil types. The growth rate and the relative absence of xerophilic fungi indicate that either moist conditions must have existed in the furnishings (despite their good condition) or that the mesophilic fungi had adapted and used a stress tolerant strategy to surviving under the environmental conditions in the furniture. The study concluded that no single study, including this study, has adequately characterised the source(s) of indoor fungi in non-problem buildings. This is due to a lack of understanding that the indoors is a separate and unique ecosystem, which is exacerbated by our lack of basic knowledge about indoor ecosystems. Improving this basic knowledge would require examining the interrelationships among organisms, all aspects of their environment, the flow of energy and substances, and the cycling of nutrients that occurs indoors. The implications of this study suggest that further information on the sources of fungi in non-problem buildings needs to be collected. The next step in research will be to adopt the approach of describing the indoor environment as a separate and functioning ecosystem. This would include investigating the proportion, diversity, different types and species of organisms; the interrelationships among organisms and between organisms and their environment. Fundamental concepts that need to be examined include the flow of energy via food-chains and food-webs and the cycling of nutrients biochemically. The results of this study have serious implications for our ecological understanding and for ensuring the health of people who use and occupy indoor environments, especially considering the toxic, allergenic and pathogenic potential of many of the fungi that are commonly occur indoors

    A study of vasectomised men and their wives

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    Studies on vasectomy have seldom included the attitude of wives, and even more rarely involved the use of controls. Further, it has been a clinical impression gained by the author that men undertaking vasectomy as a method of birth control are freer thinkers, less confined or conforming in their general attitudes to life. To correlate all these factors, fifty couples where the husband had been vasectomised by the author, together with a control of fifty couples who were using other methods of contraception as prescribed by the author in his suburban general practice, were circularised two questionnaires. One questionnaire attempted to appraise their self concept, and the second elicited attitudes towards, and satisfaction with, their chosen method of birth control, together with background social and demographic information. There was an 83% response. This thesis sets out the result of these two questionnaires, and attempts to correlate the self concept with attitude, satisfaction and social background. Although the number of respondents were small, the results show that vasectomised men are, in fact, less socially anchored and conforming than men who choose other contraceptive methods. From the second questionnaire a number of conclusions were drawn. The most striking was that the general health of almost half the wives improved after their husband’s vasectomy, whereas the health of the husband largely remained unaltered. A second clear result was that the wives of vasectomised men would, without exception, agree again to their husband being sterilised and would recommend it to others. Two further conclusions of interest were that, firstly, a significant number of those electing vasectomy as a method of birth control used condoms rather than other contraceptives prior to the operation. Secondly, the majority of respondents heard of the operation through newspapers or magazines. Overall there was a high degree of stated satisfaction with the operation, in agreement with other studies

    Distribution of the clpX gene in Brachyspira species and reactivity of recombinant Brachyspira pilosicoli ClpX with sera from mice and humans

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    Previously, a clpX gene encoding a predicted 67 kDa membrane-associated ATPase subunit of the Clp protease (ClpX) was identified in a porcine strain (95/1000) of the intestinal spirochaete Brachyspira pilosicoli. In the current study, the distribution of this large clpX gene was investigated in a collection of strains representing all seven Brachyspira spp. Using PCR with internal primers, an 878 bp portion of the gene was detected in 29 of 35 strains (83%) of B. pilosicoli, 6 of 24 strains (25 %) of Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, 14 of 16 strains (88 %) of Brachyspira intermedia, 6 of 17 strains (35 %) of Brachyspira innocens, 1 of 6 strains (17 %) of Brachyspira murdochii, 1 of 2 strains (50 %) of Brachyspira aalborgi and not in the single strain of Brachyspira alvinipulli. The whole gene was sequenced from 20 Brachyspira spp. strains and compared with the clpX gene from B. pilosicoli 95/1000 (GenBank accession no. AY466377). The genes had 99.3-99.7 % nucleotide sequence similarity and the predicted products had 99.7-100 % amino acid sequence similarity. The clpX gene from WesB, a human strain of B. pilosicoli, was cloned and expressed as a histidine-tagged fusion protein in Escherichia coli BL21. The purified protein was used to vaccinate mice and their sera were found to recognize the expected ∼67 kDa protein in whole-cell preparations of WesB. Sera from mice vaccinated with formalin-treated whole-cell proteins of WesB reacted with the recombinant protein. These results indicate that ClpX is both conserved and immunogenic and hence might be useful as a subunit vaccine component for Brachyspira spp. infections. Sera from humans with no known exposure to B. pilosicoli reacted with the recombinant ClpX protein, indicating that it is unlikely to be useful as a reagent for serological detection of Brachyspira spp. infections

    Beak and feather disease virus infection in cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus)

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    Psittacine beak and feather disease is known to occur in a wide range of psittacine species; however, there are no scientific or credible anecdotal reports of psittacine beak and feather disease occurring in the cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) despite it being one of the world's most commonly kept companion bird species. Consequently, this has resulted in speculation that the species may have some innate resistance to beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) infection. To investigate this hypothesis we conducted a survey of cockatiels (n=88) at commercial aviaries to investigate whether BFDV infection occurs in cockatiels, and found that all birds were virus-free by polymerase chain reaction and haemagglutination assay and had no detectable antibody titre by haemagglutination-inhibition assay. In addition to this, we sequenced the genome of two BFDV isolates obtained from diseased cockatiel feathers and performed cross-reactivity assays using virus eluted from these feathers and sera from naturally immune psittacine birds. Serological cross-reactivity results and phylogenetic analysis of the nucleotide sequences indicated that the cockatiel virus isolates were serologically and genetically different to other BFDV isolates. This is the first paper to report evidence of an antigenically distinct BFDV in psittacine birds
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