2,990 research outputs found

    When a Nudge Isn’t Enough: Defaults and Saving Among Low-Income Tax Filers

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    Recent evidence suggests that the default options implicit in economic choices (e.g., 401(k) savings by white-collar workers) have extraordinarily large effects on decision-making. This study presents a field experiment that evaluates the effect of defaults on savings among a highly policy-relevant population: low-income tax filers. In the control condition, tax filers could choose (i.e., opt in) to receive some of their federal tax refund in the form of U.S. Savings Bonds. In the treatment condition, a fraction of the tax refund was automatically directed to U.S. Savings Bonds unless tax filers actively chose another allocation. We find that the opt-out default had no impact on savings behavior. Furthermore, our treatment estimate is sufficiently precise to reject effects as small as one-fifth of the participation effects found in the 401(k) literature. Ancillary evidence suggests that this "nudge" was ineffective in part because the low-income tax filers in our study had targeted plans to spend their refunds. These results suggest that choice architecture based on defaults may be less effective in certain policy-relevant settings, particularly where intentions are strong.

    Characterisation of a new VUV beamline at the Daresbury SRS using a dispersed fluorescence apparatus incorporating CCD detection

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    The design and performance of a new normal incidence monochromator at the Daresbury Synchrotron Radiation Source, optimised for experiments requiring high flux of vacuum-UV radiation, are described. The re-developed beamline 3.1, based on the Wadsworth design of monochromator, is the source of tunable vacuum-UV photons in the range 4 – 31 eV, providing over two orders of magnitude more flux than the vacuum-UV, Seya monochromator in its previous manifestation. The undispersed and dispersed fluorescence spectra resulting from photoexcitation of N2_2, CO2_2, CF4_4 and C6_6F6_6 are presented. Emitting species observed were N2+_2^+ B2Σu+^2\Sigma_u^+ - X2Σg+^2\Sigma_g^+, CO2+_2^+ A2Πu^2\Pi_u - X2Πg^2\Pi_g and B2Σu+^2\Sigma_u^+ - X2Πg^2\Pi_g, CF4_4+^+ C2^2T2_2 - X2^2T1_1 and C2^2T2_2 - A2^2T2_2, CF3_3* 2^2A2^’_2 - 2^2A2^”_2, and C6_6F6+_6^+ B2^2A2u_{2u} - X2^2E1g_{1g}. A CCD multi-channel detector has significantly reduced the time period needed to record dispersed fluorescence spectra with a comparable signal-to-noise ratio

    The TRMM Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA): Quasi-Global Precipitation Estimates at Fine Scales

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    The TRMM Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) provides a calibration-based sequential scheme for combining multiple precipitation estimates from satellites, as well as gauge analyses where feasible, at fine scales (0.25 degrees x 0.25 degrees and 3-hourly). It is available both after and in real time, based on calibration by the TRMM Combined Instrument and TRMM Microwave Imager precipitation products, respectively. Only the after-real-time product incorporates gauge data at the present. The data set covers the latitude band 50 degrees N-S for the period 1998 to the delayed present. Early validation results are as follows: The TMPA provides reasonable performance at monthly scales, although it is shown to have precipitation rate dependent low bias due to lack of sensitivity to low precipitation rates in one of the input products (based on AMSU-B). At finer scales the TMPA is successful at approximately reproducing the surface-observation-based histogram of precipitation, as well as reasonably detecting large daily events. The TMPA, however, has lower skill in correctly specifying moderate and light event amounts on short time intervals, in common with other fine-scale estimators. Examples are provided of a flood event and diurnal cycle determination

    Dust and the spectral energy distribution of the OH/IR star OH 127.8+0.0: Evidence for circumstellar metallic iron

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    We present a fit to the spectral energy distribution of OH 127.8+0.0, a typical asymptotic giant branch star with an optically thick circumstellar dust shell. The fit to the dust spectrum is achieved using non-spherical grains consisting of metallic iron, amorphous and crystalline silicates and water ice. Previous similar attempts have not resulted in a satisfactory fit to the observed spectral energy distributions, mainly because of an apparent lack of opacity in the 3--8 micron region of the spectrum. Non-spherical metallic iron grains provide an identification for the missing source of opacity in the near-infrared. Using the derived dust composition, we have calculated spectra for a range of mass-loss rates in order to perform a consistency check by comparison with other evolved stars. The L-[12 micron] colours of these models correctly predict the mass-loss rate of a sample of AGB stars, strengthening our conclusion that the metallic iron grains dominate the near-infrared flux. We discuss a formation mechanism for non-spherical metallic iron grains.Comment: 10 pages, 6 figures, accepted for publication by A&

    A Pilot Study of Home-Based Exercise and Personalized Nutrition Counseling Intervention in Endometrial Cancer Survivors

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    IntroductionTo assess the feasibility of a home-based aerobic exercise and nutrition counseling intervention and effect on cardiorespiratory fitness, cardiovascular disease risk profile, and immune response in obese endometrial cancer survivors.MethodsA longitudinal pilot study assessed a 12-week home-based aerobic exercise and nutrition counseling intervention in obese endometrial cancer survivors. The primary outcome was feasibility defined as 80% adherence to weekly walking sessions calculated among individuals that completed the intervention. Secondary outcomes comprised pre- and post-intervention differences in cardiorespiratory fitness, cardiovascular risk factors, and T-cell function. Descriptive statistics summarized data. Wilcoxon sign tests identified differences between and pre and post-intervention variables.ResultsNineteen women with stage 1 endometrial cancer consented; 9 withdrew and one was a screen failure. Median adherence to weekly walking sessions was 83.3%. Body composition was significantly altered with a reduction in median fat mass from 52.5 kg to 46.9 kg (p=0.04), and BMI from 37.5 kg/m2 to 36.2 kg/m2 (p = 0.004). There was no significant difference in cardiorespiratory fitness or cardiovascular parameters. The percentage of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells producing IFNγ towards MAGE-A4 significantly increased from and 5.9% to 7.2% (p=0.043) and 13.9% to 14.8% (p=0.046), respectively. There were 3 related adverse events: hip pain, back sprain, and abdominal pain.DiscussionOur home-based exercise and nutrition counseling program was feasible based on 80% adherence to walking sessions and favored altered body composition. However, the discontinuation rate was high and further research is needed to overcome barriers to implementation. Improvement in cardiovascular parameters will most likely require longer and more intensive programs

    Interventions to Modify Psychological Well-Being: Progress, Promises, and an Agenda for Future Research

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    Psychological well-being, characterized by feelings, cognitions, and strategies that are associated with positive functioning (including hedonic and eudaimonic well-being), has been linked with better physical health and greater longevity. Importantly, psychological well-being can be strengthened with interventions, providing a strategy for improving population health. But are the effects of well-being interventions meaningful, durable, and scalable enough to improve health at a population-level? To assess this possibility, a cross-disciplinary group of scholars convened to review current knowledge and develop a research agenda. Here we summarize and build on the key insights from this convening, which were: (1) existing interventions should continue to be adapted to achieve a large-enough effect to result in downstream improvements in psychological functioning and health, (2) research should determine the durability of interventions needed to drive population-level and lasting changes, (3) a shift from individual-level care and treatment to a public-health model of population-level prevention is needed and will require new infrastructure that can deliver interventions at scale, (4) interventions should be accessible and effective in racially, ethnically, and geographically diverse samples. A discussion examining the key future research questions follows

    Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies from the CHARGE consortium identifies common variants associated with carotid intima media thickness and plaque

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    Carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) and plaque determined by ultrasonography are established measures of subclinical atherosclerosis that each predicts future cardiovascular disease events. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association data in 31,211 participants of European ancestry from nine large studies in the setting of the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium. We then sought additional evidence to support our findings among 11,273 individuals using data from seven additional studies. In the combined meta-analysis, we identified three genomic regions associated with common carotid intima media thickness and two different regions associated with the presence of carotid plaque (P < 5 × 10 -8). The associated SNPs mapped in or near genes related to cellular signaling, lipid metabolism and blood pressure homeostasis, and two of the regions were associated with coronary artery disease (P < 0.006) in the Coronary Artery Disease Genome-Wide Replication and Meta-Analysis (CARDIoGRAM) consortium. Our findings may provide new insight into pathways leading to subclinical atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular events

    Raman scattering in C_{60} and C_{48}N_{12} aza-fullerene: First-principles study

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    We carry out large scale {\sl ab initio} calculations of Raman scattering activities and Raman-active frequencies (RAFs) in C48N12{\rm C}_{48}{\rm N}_{12} aza-fullerene. The results are compared with those of C60{\rm C}_{60}. Twenty-nine non-degenerate polarized and 29 doubly-degenerate unpolarized RAFs are predicted for C48N12{\rm C}_{48}{\rm N}_{12}. The RAF of the strongest Raman signal in the low- and high-frequency regions and the lowest and highest RAFs for C48N12{\rm C}_{48}{\rm N}_{12} are almost the same as those of C60{\rm C}_{60}. The study of C60{\rm C}_{60} reveals the importance of electron correlations and the choice of basis sets in the {\sl ab initio} calculations. Our best calculated results for C60{\rm C}_{60} with the B3LYP hybrid density functional theory are in excellent agreement with experiment and demonstrate the desirable efficiency and accuracy of this theory for obtaining quantitative information on the vibrational properties of these molecules.Comment: submitted to Phys.Rev.

    A novel inflammatory biomarker, GlycA, associates with disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis and cardio-metabolic risk in BMI-matched controls

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    Abstract Background RA and CVD both have inflammation as part of the underlying biology. Our objective was to explore the relationships of GlycA, a measure of glycosylated acute phase proteins, with inflammation and cardiometabolic risk in RA, and explore whether these relationships were similar to those for persons without RA. Methods Plasma GlycA was determined for 50 individuals with mild-moderate RA disease activity and 39 controls matched for age, gender, and body mass index (BMI). Regression analyses were performed to assess relationships between GlycA and important markers of traditional inflammation and cardio-metabolic health: inflammatory cytokines, disease activity, measures of adiposity and insulin resistance. Results On average, RA activity was low (DAS-28 = 3.0 ± 1.4). Traditional inflammatory markers, ESR, hsCRP, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-18 and TNF-α were greater in RA versus controls (P < 0.05 for all). GlycA concentrations were significantly elevated in RA versus controls (P = 0.036). In RA, greater GlycA associated with disease activity (DAS-28; RDAS-28 = 0.5) and inflammation (RESR = 0.7, RhsCRP = 0.7, RIL-6 = 0.3: P < 0.05 for all); in BMI-matched controls, these inflammatory associations were absent or weaker (hsCRP), but GlycA was related to IL-18 (RhsCRP = 0.3, RIL-18 = 0.4: P < 0.05). In RA, greater GlycA associated with more total abdominal adiposity and less muscle density (Rabdominal-adiposity = 0.3, Rmuscle-density = −0.3, P < 0.05 for both). In BMI-matched controls, GlycA associated with more cardio-metabolic markers: BMI, waist circumference, adiposity measures and insulin resistance (R = 0.3-0.6, P < 0.05 for all). Conclusions GlycA provides an integrated measure of inflammation with contributions from traditional inflammatory markers and cardio-metabolic sources, dominated by inflammatory markers in persons with RA and cardio-metabolic factors in those without