11,535 research outputs found

    DATA CONFESSION in the PORTUGUESE EDM REGION

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    A dual profit model is used to characterize the Entre Douro e Minho (EDM) region agriculture. The data comes from budgets for twelve representative farms. Positive Mathematical Programming (PMP) is applied. First, shadow prices of fixed inputs are obtained for each farm from a linear program (LP) forcing base year (1994) net output and fixed input allocations. Second, the Maximum Entropy (ME) technique is used to recover the restricted profit functions. The model purely reproduces observed net output and fixed input data. A short run profit function is derived for the region from aggregation of the model. The corresponding long run profit function is also derived. The profit model reveals an inelastic response to prices in the short run, and a more elastic response in the long run. Nitrogen and water appear as complements. The inelasticity of nitrogen response to its own price precludes taxing nitrogen to control its use. In contrast, pricing water is an effective strategy, not only to control water use but also nitrogen use. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) recommends both strategies.water, agricultural economics, elasticities, positive mathematical programming, maximum entropy

    SHAPING a NEW LUSO SPANISH CONVENTION

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    In 1998, Portugal and Spain signed, at Albufeira, a Convention to regulate access to their common rivers. Most of them have their upstream basins in Spain and flow into Portugal. A growing water demand in Spain had much reduced their flows into Portugal. The Portuguese priority in the Convention was to assure stream flows for the Alqueva dam, located on the Guadiana River. This paper discusses the functioning of the Albufeira Convention and makes proposals for its revision. The bilateral Commission has hardly operated. In 2005, the exceptional dry year regime has been activated by Spain only on the Duero/Douro River. The Water Framework Directive, the Berlin Rules, Water Markets and the Catalan Voting Rules might help to a revised Convention aiming at better protecting the common rivers.Albufeira Convention, Water Framework Directive, Berlin Rules, Water Markets, Catalan Voting Rules

    CONVERSION to ORGANIC FARMING in MAINLAND PORTUGAL

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    The objectives of the research were: i) to assess the in-conversion period as a barrier impeding farms conversion to organic; ii) to assess the potential of conversion-grade markets in removing this barrier; iii) to identify other barriers (drives) along the food chain impeding (easing) farms conversion in mainland Portugal. Results show that the in-conversion period is not the major barrier to conversion nor is a good idea the set-up of conversion grade markets to help Portuguese farms’ conversion. Conversion feasibility depends of the organic market premium prices, in intensive farms, and of the CAP organic agri-environmental area payments, in extensive farms.organic farming, conversion, conversion grade markets, market premium prices, CAP payments.

    Likelihood of Succession and Farmers’ Attitudes: Evidence from a Survey in Germany, the United Kingdom and Portugal

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    The likelihood of succession in the family farm is referred to in the literature as an influential variable for several family farm management decisions. In this paper, we investigate this relationship for a selection of farm management variables, such as the timing of farmer’s retirement, the willingness of farmers to change the current mix of activities, their readiness to adopt new farm activities, and aim their readiness to intensify production. The categorical data analyzed, mostly Likert scales, comes from a mail survey carried out in 2002 to a sample of German, British and Portuguese farmers, amounting to approximately 4500 valid responses. Statistical association between the variables was studied computing the Chi2 statistic and testing the null hypothesis of no association between pairs of variables. The main conclusions were that the likelihood of succession was positively related to the length of active farmers’ live, to the farmer’s adoption of new activities (only for the Portuguese respondents), and to farmer’s willingness to intensify production. It was also found that the likelihood of succession was negatively related to the intention of leaving farmland idle. On the other hand, no empirical evidence was found of a statistical significant relationship between likelihood of succession and readiness to change the mix of farm activities.Family Farming; Succession; Agricultural Policy

    Data confession in the portuguese EDM

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    Este trabalho resulta da apresentação efectuada pelo autor no International Symposium Environment 2010: Situation and Perspectives for the European Union, Porto, Portugal, 6-10 May 2003A dual profit model is used to characterize the Entre Douro e Minho (EDM) region agriculture. The data comes from budgets for twelve representative farms. Positive Mathematical Programming (PMP is applied. First, shadow prices of fixed inputs are obtained for each farm from a linear program (LP) forcing base year (1994) net output and fixed input allocations. Second, the Maximum Entropy (ME) technique is used to recover the restricted profit functions. The model purely reproduces observed net output and fixed input data. A short run profit function is derived for the region from aggregation of the model. The corresponding long run profit function is also derived. The profit model reveals an inelastic response to prices in the short run, and a more elastic response in the long run. Nitrogen and water appear as complements. The inelasticity of nitrogen response to its own price precludes taxing nitrogen to control its use. In contrast, pricing water is an effective strategy, not only to control water use but also nitrogen use. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) recommends both strategies

    Contemporary management of low back pain

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    Abstract Low back pain is a significant public health problem in many countries of the world being one of the major causes of work absence and disability. Although the outlook for evidence-based management of low back pain has greatly improved over the past decades, many questions remain. Questions related to treatment options, underlying mechanisms of treatment effects and optimal assessment of low back pain have yet to be fully addressed by researchers. The broad aim of this thesis therefore was to contribute to a better understanding of the contemporary management of low back pain by performing studies in these key research areas. Most clinical practice guidelines recommend exercise as an effective treatment option for chronic low back pain. However the evidence for this recommendation comes from trials that are not placebo-controlled and so this may potentially provide biased estimates of the effects of exercise. Therefore a randomised controlled trial testing the effect of motor control exercise versus placebo in patients with chronic low back pain was conducted. Chapters 2 and 3 describe the trial protocol and the report of the trial respectively. A total of 154 patients with chronic low back pain were randomised to receive a motor control exercise program, or placebo (i.e. detuned short-wave therapy and detuned ultrasound therapy). Primary outcomes were pain, function, and the patient’s global impression of recovery measured at 2 months. The exercise intervention improved function and patient’s global impression of recovery, but not pain, at 2 months. The mean effect of exercise on function was 1.1 points (95%CI, 0.3 to 1.8), the mean effect on global impression of recovery was 1.5 points (95%CI, 0.4 to 2.5) and the mean effect on pain was 0.9 points (95%CI, - 0.01 to 1.8), all measured on 11 point scales. Secondary outcomes also favoured motor control exercise. This is the first study ever to demonstrate that motor control exercise is better than placebo for patients with chronic low back pain. Most of the treatment effects were maintained at 6 and 12 months follow-up. These results suggest that this intervention should be considered for patients with chronic low back pain in order to improve disability, function, and global impression of recovery, and to improve pain intensity in the long term, but not in the short term. Rehabilitative ultrasound imaging (RUSI) has been increasingly used by physiotherapists in order to identify impairments in motor control as well as to monitor progress of patients with low back pain. As with any other clinical measure it is important to know how reproducible the RUSI measures are, and although there are some reproducibility studies in the literature, no systematic review on this topic has been conducted. Therefore a systematic review was performed with the objective of assessing the reproducibility studies of RUSI for abdominal wall muscles (Chapter 4). Eligible studies were indentified via searches in CINAHL, EMBASE and MEDLINE with citation tracking via the Web of Science Index. A total of 21 studies were included. Due to heterogeneity of the studies’ designs, pooling the data for a meta-analysis was not possible. RUSI measures of thickness of abdominal wall muscles were found to be reliable. Few studies analysed the reliability for the measurement of thickness changes (reflecting the muscle activity) finding good to poor results. Evidence for the reproducibility of the difference in thickness changes over time (necessary to evaluate improvements in muscle activity with treatment) was not available. A limitation of the existing literature is that studies typically had suboptimal designs and analysis. The current evidence for the reproducibility of RUSI for measuring abdominal muscle activity is mainly based upon studies with suboptimal designs that included mostly healthy subjects, making generalisability to clinical settings uncertain. Some questions about the reproducibility of RUSI measures of abdominal wall muscles are still unanswered; this is mainly due to design issues, such as inadequate statistics, inadequate sampling and lack of control of sources of bias (e.g. blinding and absence of controlling for ordering effects). In addition the clinically important questions about the reproducibility of thickness changes (reflecting the muscle activity) and differences in thickness changes over time (reflecting the improvement or deterioration of muscle activity) have not been adequately investigated. Therefore a reproducibility study that aimed to answer these questions was performed (Chapter 5). Thirty-five patients seeking care for chronic low back pain participated in this study. RUSI measures were taken at baseline and eight weeks post-baseline. Replicate measures of thickness, thickness changes and differences in thickness changes over time were analysed. The reproducibility of static images (thickness) was excellent (ICC2,1 = 0.97, 95%CI = 0.96-0.97, Standard Error of the Measurement (SEM) = 0.04cm, Smallest Detectable Change (SDC) = 0.11cm), the reproducibility of thickness changes was moderate (ICC2,1 = 0.72, 95%CI 0.65-0.76 SEM = 15%, SDC 41%), while the reproducibility of differences in thickness changes over time was poor. Improvements in the test protocol should be undertaken in order to enhance the reproducibility of RUSI measures, especially for differences in thickness chang over time. Self-report outcome measures (questionnaires) are widely used by health care providers for measuring patient’s health status or treatment outcomes. Most of the questionnaires related to low back pain were developed in English and therefore their usefulness in non-English speaking countries is considerably limited. Cross-cultural adaptation and clinimetric testing are possibly the most efficient methods for solving this problem. Although there are many publications on the topic, a simple guide on how to perform a cross-cultural adaptation and clinimetric testing was not available. Therefore a “clinician-friendly” narrative review for Brazilian physical therapists (Chapter 6) was written. This review aimed firstly to explain the concepts and the relevance of cross-cultural adaptation and clinimetrics testing, secondly to summarise the current guidelines on the topic, thirdly to provide advice on how to choose a relevant questionnaire and finally how to evaluate the quality of an adapted questionnaire. Some examples of cross-cultural adaptations and clinimetrics testing of relevant low back pain questionnaires in the Brazilian-Portuguese language were also provided. Although the number of international versions of low back questionnaires is growing, to date it is unclear which questionnaires have been cross-culturally adapted and into which specific language. To answer these questions a systematic review was conducted in order to describe the available cross-cultural adaptations of low back pain self-report outcome measures and the clinimetric testing that has occurred for each adaptation (Chapter 7). Searches were performed in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINALH and LILACS; these searches were supplemented with information from experts in the field of low back pain from 27 different countries to ensure that the results were comprehensive. Sixty-one adaptations were identified. While there are a large number of low back pain questionnaires available, very few have been adapted into other languages, particularly commonly spoken languages such as Mandarin, Hindi and Portuguese. The quality and comprehensiveness of clinimetric testing varied considerably, with the evaluation of reliability and construct validity most common. Further cross-cultural adaptation and clinimetric studies are clearly needed and special consideration must be given to study designs for clinimetric testing. The final aim of this thesis was to cross-culturally adapt self-report instruments relevant to the management of low back pain in Brazil. This was achieved by two independent studies. The first study (Chapter 8) aimed to cross-culturally adapt the Functional Rating Index (FRI) into Brazilian-Portuguese and to test the clinimetric properties of the FRI and also of an existing Brazilian-Portuguese version of the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) which was not fully evaluated in the original study. Both instruments were tested for internal consistency, reliability, construct validity, ceiling and floor effects and internal responsiveness in 140 chronic low back patients presenting for physiotherapy treatment in Brazil. Both instruments were considered reliable and valid for the measurement of disability in Brazilian-Portuguese speakers with low back pain, no ceiling or floor effects were detected, but the internal responsiveness of both instruments was considered small. The second study (Chapter 9) aimed to cross-culturally adapt the Patient-Specific Functional Scale (PSFS) and to perform a head-to-head comparison of the clinimetric properties of the PSFS, RMDQ and FRI. All instruments were tested for internal consistency, reliability, construct validity, ceiling and floor effects, internal and external responsiveness in 99 acute low back patients presenting for physiotherapy treatment in Brazil. In order to fully test the construct validity and external responsiveness, it was necessary to cross-culturally adapt the Pain Numerical Rating Scale and the Global Perceived Effect Scale. The results of this study demonstrate that the Brazilian-Portuguese versions of the RMDQ, FRI and PSFS have similar clinimetric properties to each other and to the original English versions; however the PSFS was the most responsive instrument. The results from the studies in Chapters 8 and 9 will benefit the understanding of low back pain by enabling international comparisons between studies conducted in Brazil and English speaking countries. In addition it will encourage researchers to include Brazilian- Portuguese speakers in their future clinical trials. Overall, the studies included in this thesis have provided an important contribution to the contemporary management of low back pain. Firstly the use of motor control exercise could be considered for patients with chronic low back pain as it produces improvements in global impression of recovery, function, disability and pain. Secondly RUSI measures of abdominal wall muscles in patients with low back pain were considered reproducible for the measurement of muscle activity, but not as an outcome measure to detect improvement/deterioration of muscle activity over the course of treatment. Thirdly just a few high-quality cross-cultural adaptations and clinimetrics testing for self-report outcome measures relevant to the management of low back pain are available, and clearly more studies in this area are needed. Finally the Brazilian-Portuguese versions of the Functional Rating Index, the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire and the Patient-Specific Functional Scale have acceptable clinimetric properties and could be used in clinical practice as well as in research studies in Brazil

    Beyond the EU budget zero-sum game

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    The portuguese agriculture and the CAP

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