7,414 research outputs found

    Successful ageing in an area of deprivation: Part 1—A qualitative exploration of the role of life experiences in good health in old age

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    Objectives: To determine the life histories and current circumstances of healthy and unhealthy older people who share an ecology marked by relative deprivation and generally poor health. Study design: In-depth interview study with a qualitative analysis. Methods: Matched pairs of healthy and unhealthy ‘agers’ were interviewed face-to-face. Healthy ageing was assessed in terms of hospital morbidity and self-reported health. Study participants consisted of 22 pairs (44 individuals), aged 72–89 years, matched for sex, age and deprivation category, and currently resident in the West of Scotland. All study participants were survivors of the Paisley/Renfrew (MIDSPAN) survey, a longitudinal study commenced in 1972 with continuous recording of morbidity and mortality since. Detailed life histories were obtained which focused on family, residence, employment, leisure and health. This information was supplemented by more focused data on ‘critical incidents’, financial situation and position in social hierarchies. Results: Data provided rich insights into life histories and current circumstances but no differences were found between healthy and unhealthy agers. Conclusions: It is important to understand what differentiates individuals who have lived in circumstances characterized by relative deprivation and poor health, yet have aged healthily. This study collected rich and detailed qualitative data. Yet, no important differences were detected between healthy and unhealthy agers. This is an important negative result as it suggests that the phenomenon of healthy ageing and the factors that promote healthy ageing over a lifetime are so complex that they will require even more detailed studies to disentangle

    Regularized Ordinal Regression and the ordinalNet R Package

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    Regularization techniques such as the lasso (Tibshirani 1996) and elastic net (Zou and Hastie 2005) can be used to improve regression model coefficient estimation and prediction accuracy, as well as to perform variable selection. Ordinal regression models are widely used in applications where the use of regularization could be beneficial; however, these models are not included in many popular software packages for regularized regression. We propose a coordinate descent algorithm to fit a broad class of ordinal regression models with an elastic net penalty. Furthermore, we demonstrate that each model in this class generalizes to a more flexible form, for instance to accommodate unordered categorical data. We introduce an elastic net penalty class that applies to both model forms. Additionally, this penalty can be used to shrink a non-ordinal model toward its ordinal counterpart. Finally, we introduce the R package ordinalNet, which implements the algorithm for this model class


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    Dynamic postural stability is a key physical attribute for athletes and can be defined as the ability to maintain postural balance whilst moving from a dynamic to a static state (Wikstrom et al., 2005). This dynamic stability requires the complex integration of sensory afferent systems (visual, somatosensory and vestibular) with efferent responses in both upper and lower body neuromuscular systems. The effect of neuromuscular pathologies on dynamic postural stability has been the focus of a considerable body of research (e.g. Ross et al. 2009), particularly in the areas of chronic ankle instability and ACL injury. Underpinning this research are several functional tests that have been proposed to objectively quantify dynamic postural stability. One of the most commonly cited measures from these tests is known as ‘time to stabilisation’ (TTS) which is defined as the time required to reach stability after landing. As reaching stability is a somewhat non-specific event, several different techniques have been proposed for quantifying the TTS. The majority of techniques use a generalised approach that identifies when the resultant ground reaction forces (GRFs) reach some baseline threshold. One such TTS technique was proposed by Colby et al. (1999) and has since been used by numerous others (e.g. Shaw et al. 2008). This technique uses a process called sequential estimation, whereby a cumulative average of GRF data is calculated by adding one data point at a time. Stabilisation is deemed to occur when the cumulative average reaches and stays within 0.25 SDs of the overall mean. This sequential estimation procedure has been applied to mediolateral (M-L), anterior-posterior (A-P) and vertical GRF data from a range of jump types. While data from this technique has not always supported expected group or condition differences in stability, the technique is still well recognised and used in TTS calculation. To the author’s knowledge, no research has pointed to mechanistic flaws in the use of sequential estimation in calculating TTS values. However, on reviewing the technique, it appears that the use of both the cumulative average and SD values predispose the technique to inaccurate TTS assessments. Use of a cumulative average suggests that increased force oscillations can theoretically reduce the TTS, and similarly, the use of SD values based on the full landing sequence implies that the threshold range is larger for less stable landings and can thus also theoretically lead to shorter TTS values. In seeking to understand the links between dynamic stability and neuromuscular pathologies, it is clearly essential that the measures used are robust and do not provide spurious results. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to assess the validity concerns of the sequential estimation method of TTS calculation by using it to compare jumps with clear differences in dynamic stability

    Picturing the Enemy: The Construction of the Islamic Other in Post 9/11 Comic Anthologies

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    In my paper entitled “Picturing the Enemy: The Construction of the Islamic Other in Post-9/11 Comic Anthologies,” I argue that the philanthropic comic collections created shortly after the September 11th attacks provide an ideal opportunity to explore the cultural constructions of the Islamic Other in the post-9/11 period. In this paper, I will examine three comic anthologies released shortly after 9/11: 9-11: Artists Respond published by DC Comics’ subsidiary Dark Horse Comics, 9-11: September 11th 2001 published by DC Comics, and 9-11: Emergency Relief published by Alternative Comics. These comic collections represent an urge to create and commemorate while the effects of the event were still fresh, and they predominantly portray the Islamic Other in three fashions: as a stereotypical figure adopted into a message of patriotism or multiculturalism, as a victim of continuing racism, or as a symbol of evil. The comics that represent misguided attempts at inclusion via simplistic representations of a “good” Islamic Other instead foster cultural misunderstanding, as they depend on the utilization of Islamophobic stereotypes regarding the dress and behavior of Muslim individuals. In more successful positive representations, comics that remind readers of preexisting racism and Islamophobia in America emphasize the artificial nature of emotion-laden racial definitions and attempt to deconstruct the conflation of individuals from various racial and religious categories into a single Islamic Other. However, the comics that negatively represent the Islamic Other operate through dehumanization and repeated comparisons to other culturally accepted figures of evil, and in this way are able to create a definite enemy on whom all of the misfortunes of 9/11 can be blamed. Ultimately, I argue that these four comic anthologies represent a snapshot of American culture in transition as it attempts to come to grips with a traumatic and destabilizing event while simultaneously paving the way for an increasingly militaristic future. The comics often present a very shallow understanding of the Islamic Other, one that is rife with stereotypes and conjecture, and rely on a cultural Islamophobia shared by both creators and readers. The comics that avoid these misunderstandings only emphasize the extent to which Islamophobia pervades our culture. In these comic anthologies, we see a reflection of an American culture all too willing to believe the worst of the Islamic Other, and willing to assume the roles of both victim and aggressor in order to pursue its ideological goals

    Card from Jane M. Hanlon to Father Pelkington

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    Providence College Department of Theatre, Dance & Film Card from Jane M. Hanlon to Father Pelkington regarding the production of Man of La Mancha March 6, 1973https://digitalcommons.providence.edu/lamancha_commentary/1003/thumbnail.jp