281 research outputs found

    Genetic parameters of testicular measurements in Merino rams and the influence of scrotal circumference on total flock fertility

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    Genetic parameter estimates for scrotal circumference (SC), testis diameter (TD) and two-tooth liveweight (LW) were obtained for 1380 two-tooth Merino rams born from 1986 to 1998 on the Tygerhoek Experimental Farm. The effect of SC of service sires (n = 263) on ewe fertility was also investigated. Year of birth, selection group and LW were significant sources of variation for both SC and TD. SC had a significant effect on ewe fertility. Heritability estimates ranged from 0.29 to 0.40, 0.25 to 0.38 and from 0.49 to 0.52 for SC, TD and LW, respectively. Adjustment for LW decreased heritability estimates of SC and TD and the genetic correlations between the latter traits. Rams with an unadjusted SC of less than 30 cm should not be used. South African Journal of Animal Science Vol.32(2) 2002: 76-8

    Universities and community-based research in developing countries: community voice and educational provision in rural Tanzania

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    The main focus of recent research on the community engagement role of universities has been in developed countries, generally in towns and cities and usually conducted from the perspectives of universities rather than the communities with which they engage. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the community engagement role of universities in the rural areas of developing countries, and its potential for strengthening the voice of rural communities. The particular focus is on the provision of primary and secondary education. The paper is based on the assumption that in order for community members to have both the capacity and the confidence to engage in political discourse for improving educational capacity and quality, they need the opportunity to become involved and well-versed in the options available, beyond their own experience. Particular attention is given in the paper to community-based research (CBR). CBR is explored from the perspectives of community members and local leaders in the government-community partnerships which have responsibility for the provision of primary and secondary education in rural Tanzania. The historical and policy background of the partnerships, together with findings from two case studies, provide the context for the paper

    A prospective observational study of preoperative natriuretic peptide testing in adult non-cardiac surgical patients in hospitals in Western Cape Province, South Africa

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    Background. International guidelines recommend risk stratification to identify high-risk non-cardiac surgical patients. It is also recommended that all patients aged ≥45 years with significant cardiovascular disease should have preoperative natriuretic peptide (NP) testing. Abnormal preoperative B-type NPs have a strong association with postoperative cardiac complications. In South African hospitals, it is not known how many patients with significant cardiovascular disease scheduled for intermediate- to high-risk surgery will have raised NPs.Objectives. To determine the prevalence of abnormal (raised) NPs in non-cardiac surgical patients with cardiac clinical risk factors. A secondary objective was to develop a model to identify surgical patients who may benefit from preoperative NP screening.Methods. The inclusion criteria were patients aged ≥45 years presenting for elective, non-obstetric, intermediate- to high-risk non-cardiac surgery with at least one of the following cardiovascular risk factors: a history of ischaemic heart disease or peripheral vascular disease (coronary equivalent); a history of stroke or transient ischaemic attack; a history of congestive cardiac failure; diabetes mellitus currently on an oral hypoglycaemic agent or insulin; and serum creatinine level >175 µmol/L (>2.0 mg/dL). Blood samples for N-terminal-prohormone B-type NP (NT-proBNP) were collected before induction of anaesthesia. The preoperative prognostic threshold for abnormal (raised) NT-proBNP was ≥300 pg/mL. A generalised linear mixed model was used to determine the association between the risk factors and an abnormal NT-proBNP level.Results. Of 172 patients, 63 (37%) had an elevated preoperative NT-proBNP level. The comorbidities independently associated with elevated preoperative NT-proBNP were coronary artery disease or peripheral vascular disease, congestive cardiac failure, diabetes mellitus, and a creatinine level >175 µmol/L.Conclusions. We strongly recommend that non-cardiac surgical patients aged ≥45 years undergoing intermediate- or high-risk non-cardiac surgery with a history of coronary artery disease/peripheral vascular disease, congestive cardiac failure, diabetes mellitus or elevated creatinine have preoperative NP testing as part of risk stratification

    Water Contaminants Detection Using Sensor Placement Approach in Smart Water Networks

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    Incidents of water pollution or contamination have occurred repeatedly in recent years, causing significant disasters and negative health impacts. Water quality sensors need to be installed in the water distribution system (WDS) to allow real-time water contamination detection to reduce the risk of water contamination. Deploying sensors in WDS is essential to monitor and detect any pollution incident at the appropriate time. However, it is impossible to place sensors on all nodes of the network due to the relatively large structure of WDS and the high cost of water quality sensors. For that, it is necessary to reduce the cost of deployment and guarantee the reliability of the sensing, such as detection time and coverage of the whole water network. In this paper, a dynamic approach of sensor placement that uses an Evolutionary Algorithm (EA) is proposed and implemented. The proposed method generates a multiple set of water contamination scenarios in several locations selected randomly in the WDS. Each contamination scenario spreads in the water networks for several hours, and then the proposed approach simulates the various effect of each contamination scenario on the water networks. On the other hand, the multiple objectives of the sensor placement optimization problem, which aim to find the optimal locations of the deployed sensors, have been formulated. The sensor placement optimization solver, which uses the EA, is operated to find the optimal sensor placements. The effectiveness of the proposed method has been evaluated using two different case studies on the example of water networks: Battle of the Water Sensor Network (BWSN) and another real case study from Madrid (Spain). The results have shown the capability of the proposed method to adapt the location of the sensors based on the numbers and the locations of contaminant sources. Moreover, the results also have demonstrated the ability of the proposed approach for maximising the coverage of deployed sensors and reducing the time to detect all the water contaminants using a few numbers of water quality sensor

    The effects of clinical task interruptions on subsequent performance of a medication pre-administration task

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    There is a surge of research exploring the role of task interruptions in the manifestation of primary task errors both in controlled experimental settings, and safety critical workplaces such as healthcare. Despite such research providing valuable insights into the disruptive properties of task interruption, and, the importance of considering the likely disruptive consequences of clinical task interruptions in healthcare environments, there is an urgent need for an approach that best mimics complex working environments such as healthcare, whilst allowing better control over experimental variables with minimal constraints. We propose that this can be achieved with ecologically sensitive experimental tasks designed to have high levels of experimental control so that theoretical as well as practical parameters and factors can be tested. We developed a theoretically and ecologically informed procedural memory-based task - the CAMROSE Medication Pre-Administration Task. Results revealed significantly more sequence errors were made on low, moderate and high complex conditions compared to no interruption condition. There was no significant difference in non-sequence errors. Findings reveal the importance of developing ecologically valid tasks to explore non-observable characteristics of clinical task interruptions. Both theoretical and possible practical implications are discussed

    Mitigating losses: how scientific organisations can help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on early-career researchers.

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    Scientific collaborations among nations to address common problems and to build international partnerships as part of science diplomacy is a well-established notion. The international flow of people and ideas has played an important role in the advancement of the 'Sciences' and the current pandemic scenario has drawn attention towards the genuine need for a stronger role of science diplomacy, science advice and science communication. In dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, visible interactions across science, policy, science communication to the public and diplomacy worldwide have promptly emerged. These interactions have benefited primarily the disciplines of knowledge that are directly informing the pandemic response, while other scientific fields have been relegated. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on scientists of all disciplines and from all world regions are discussed here, with a focus on early-career researchers (ECRs), as a vulnerable population in the research system. Young academies and ECR-driven organisations could suggest ECR-powered solutions and actions that could have the potential to mitigate these effects on ECRs working on disciplines not related to the pandemic response. In relation with governments and other scientific organisations, they can have an impact on strengthening and creating fairer scientific systems for ECRs at the national, regional, and global level

    From research to practice: Lay adherence counsellors' fidelity to an evidence-based intervention for promoting adherence to antiretroviral treatment in the Western Cape, South Africa

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    In the Western Cape, lay counsellors are tasked with supporting antiretroviral (ARV) adherence in public healthcare clinics. Thirty-nine counsellors in 21 Cape Town clinics were trained in Options for Health (Options), an evidence-based intervention based on motivational interviewing (MI). We evaluated counsellors’ ability to deliver Options for addressing poor adherence following 5 days training. Audio-recordings of counselling sessions collected following training were transcribed and translated into English. Thirty-five transcripts of sessions conducted by 35 counsellors were analysed for fidelity to the Options protocol, and using the Motivational Interviewing Treatment and Integrity (MITI) code. Counsellors struggled with some of the strategies associated with MI, such as assessing readiness-to-change and facilitating change talk. Overall, counsellors failed to achieve proficiency in the approach of MI according to the MITI. Counsellors were able to negotiate realistic plans for addressing patients’ barriers to adherence. Further efforts aimed at strengthening the ARV adherence counselling programme are needed.Department of HE and Training approved lis

    Quantification and identification of sperm subpopulations using computer-aided sperm analysis and species-specific cut-off values for swimming speed

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    Motility is an essential characteristic of all fl agellated spermatozoa and assessment of this parameter is one criterion for most semen or sperm evaluations. Computer-aided sperm analysis (CASA) can be used to measure sperm motility more objectively and accurately than manual methods, provided that analysis techniques are standardized. Previous studies have shown that evaluation of sperm subpopulations is more important than analyzing the total motile sperm population alone. We developed a quantitative method to determine cut-off values for swimming speed to identify three sperm subpopulations. We used the Sperm Class Analyzer ® (SCA) CASA system to assess the total percentage of motile spermatozoa in a sperm preparation as well as the percentages of rapid, medium and slow swimming spermatozoa for six mammalian species. Curvilinear velocity (VCL) cut-off values were adjusted manually for each species to include 80% rapid, 15% medium and 5% slow swimming spermatozoa. Our results indicate that the same VCL intervals cannot be used for all species to classify spermatozoa according to swimming speed. After VCL intervals were adjusted for each species, three unique sperm subpopulations could be identifi ed. The effects of medical treatments on sperm motility become apparent in changes in the distribution of spermatozoa among the three swimming speed classes.Web of Scienc
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