978 research outputs found

    ‘Trial and error…’, ‘…happy patients’ and ‘…an old toy in the cupboard’: a qualitative investigation of factors that influence practitioners in their prescription of foot orthoses

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    Background: Foot orthoses are used to manage of a plethora of lower limb conditions. However, whilst the theoretical foundations might be relatively consistent, actual practices and therefore the experience of patients is likely to be less so. The factors that affect the prescription decisions that practitioners make about individual patients is unknown and hence the way in which clinical experience interacts with knowledge from training is not understood. Further, other influences on orthotic practice may include the adoption (or not) of technology. Hence the aim of this study was to explore, for the first time, the influences on orthotic practice. Methods: A qualitative approach was adopted utilising two focus groups (16 consenting participants in total; 15 podiatrists and 1 orthotist) in order to collect the data. An opening question “What factors influence your orthotic practice?” was followed with trigger questions, which were used to maintain focus. The dialogue was recorded digitally, transcribed verbatim and a thematic framework was used to analyse the data. Results: There were five themes: (i) influences on current practice, (ii) components of current practice, (iii) barriers to technology being used in clinical practice, (iv) how technology could enhance foot orthoses prescription and measurement of outcomes, and (v) how technology could provide information for practitioners and patients. A final global theme was agreed by the researchers and the participants: ‘Current orthotic practice is variable and does not embrace technology as it is perceived as being not fit for purpose in the clinical environment. However, practitioners do have a desire for technology that is usable and enhances patient focussed assessment, the interventions, the clinical outcomes and the patient’s engagement throughout these processes’. Conclusions: In relation to prescribing foot orthoses, practice varies considerably due to multiple influences. Measurement of outcomes from orthotic practice is a priority but there are no current norms for achieving this. There have been attempts by practitioners to integrate technology into their practice, but with largely negative experiences. The process of technology development needs to improve and have a more practice, rather than technology focus

    The quasar feedback survey: discovering hidden Radio-AGN and their connection to the host galaxy ionized gas

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    We present the first results from the Quasar Feedback Survey, a sample of 42 z 1042.1 ergs s−1) with moderate radio luminosities (i.e. L1.4GHz > 1023.4 W Hz−1; median L1.4GHz = 5.9 × 1023 W Hz−1). Using high spatial resolution (∼0.3–1 arcsec), 1.5–6 GHz radio images from the Very Large Array, we find that 67 per cent of the sample have spatially extended radio features on ∼1–60 kpc scales. The radio sizes and morphologies suggest that these may be lower radio luminosity versions of compact, radio-loud AGNs. By combining the radio-to-infrared excess parameter, spectral index, radio morphology, and brightness temperature, we find radio emission in at least 57 per cent of the sample that is associated with AGN-related processes (e.g. jets, quasar-driven winds, or coronal emission). This is despite only 9.5–21 per cent being classified as radio-loud using traditional criteria. The origin of the radio emission in the remainder of the sample is unclear. We find that both the established anticorrelation between radio size and the width of the [O III] line, and the known trend for the most [O III] luminous AGNs to be associated with spatially extended radio emission, also hold for our sample of moderate radio luminosity quasars. These observations add to the growing evidence of a connection between the radio emission and ionized gas in quasar host galaxies. This work lays the foundation for deeper investigations into the drivers and impact of feedback in this unique sample

    Secular Evolution and the Formation of Pseudobulges in Disk Galaxies

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    We review internal processes of secular evolution in galaxy disks, concentrating on the buildup of dense central features that look like classical, merger-built bulges but that were made slowly out of disk gas. We call these pseudobulges. As an existence proof, we review how bars rearrange disk gas into outer rings, inner rings, and gas dumped into the center. In simulations, this gas reaches high densities that plausibly feed star formation. In the observations, many SB and oval galaxies show central concentrations of gas and star formation. Star formation rates imply plausible pseudobulge growth times of a few billion years. If secular processes built dense central components that masquerade as bulges, can we distinguish them from merger-built bulges? Observations show that pseudobulges retain a memory of their disky origin. They have one or more characteristics of disks: (1) flatter shapes than those of classical bulges, (2) large ratios of ordered to random velocities indicative of disk dynamics, (3) small velocity dispersions, (4) spiral structure or nuclear bars in the bulge part of the light profile, (5) nearly exponential brightness profiles, and (6) starbursts. These structures occur preferentially in barred and oval galaxies in which secular evolution should be rapid. So the cleanest examples of pseudobulges are recognizable. Thus a large variety of observational and theoretical results contribute to a new picture of galaxy evolution that complements hierarchical clustering and merging.Comment: 92 pages, 21 figures in 30 Postscript files; to appear in Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 42, 2004, in press; for a version with full resolution figures, see http://chandra.as.utexas.edu/~kormendy/ar3ss.htm

    Impacts of climate change on plant diseases – opinions and trends

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    There has been a remarkable scientific output on the topic of how climate change is likely to affect plant diseases in the coming decades. This review addresses the need for review of this burgeoning literature by summarizing opinions of previous reviews and trends in recent studies on the impacts of climate change on plant health. Sudden Oak Death is used as an introductory case study: Californian forests could become even more susceptible to this emerging plant disease, if spring precipitations will be accompanied by warmer temperatures, although climate shifts may also affect the current synchronicity between host cambium activity and pathogen colonization rate. A summary of observed and predicted climate changes, as well as of direct effects of climate change on pathosystems, is provided. Prediction and management of climate change effects on plant health are complicated by indirect effects and the interactions with global change drivers. Uncertainty in models of plant disease development under climate change calls for a diversity of management strategies, from more participatory approaches to interdisciplinary science. Involvement of stakeholders and scientists from outside plant pathology shows the importance of trade-offs, for example in the land-sharing vs. sparing debate. Further research is needed on climate change and plant health in mountain, boreal, Mediterranean and tropical regions, with multiple climate change factors and scenarios (including our responses to it, e.g. the assisted migration of plants), in relation to endophytes, viruses and mycorrhiza, using long-term and large-scale datasets and considering various plant disease control methods

    Song Practice Promotes Acute Vocal Variability at a Key Stage of Sensorimotor Learning

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    BACKGROUND: Trial by trial variability during motor learning is a feature encoded by the basal ganglia of both humans and songbirds, and is important for reinforcement of optimal motor patterns, including those that produce speech and birdsong. Given the many parallels between these behaviors, songbirds provide a useful model to investigate neural mechanisms underlying vocal learning. In juvenile and adult male zebra finches, endogenous levels of FoxP2, a molecule critical for language, decrease two hours after morning song onset within area X, part of the basal ganglia-forebrain pathway dedicated to song. In juveniles, experimental 'knockdown' of area X FoxP2 results in abnormally variable song in adulthood. These findings motivated our hypothesis that low FoxP2 levels increase vocal variability, enabling vocal motor exploration in normal birds. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: After two hours in either singing or non-singing conditions (previously shown to produce differential area X FoxP2 levels), phonological and sequential features of the subsequent songs were compared across conditions in the same bird. In line with our prediction, analysis of songs sung by 75 day (75d) birds revealed that syllable structure was more variable and sequence stereotypy was reduced following two hours of continuous practice compared to these features following two hours of non-singing. Similar trends in song were observed in these birds at 65d, despite higher overall within-condition variability at this age. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Together with previous work, these findings point to the importance of behaviorally-driven acute periods during song learning that allow for both refinement and reinforcement of motor patterns. Future work is aimed at testing the observation that not only does vocal practice influence expression of molecular networks, but that these networks then influence subsequent variability in these skills

    Informal “Seed” Systems and the Management of Gene Flow in Traditional Agroecosystems: The Case of Cassava in Cauca, Colombia

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    Our ability to manage gene flow within traditional agroecosystems and their repercussions requires understanding the biology of crops, including farming practices' role in crop ecology. That these practices' effects on crop population genetics have not been quantified bespeaks lack of an appropriate analytical framework. We use a model that construes seed-management practices as part of a crop's demography to describe the dynamics of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) in Cauca, Colombia. We quantify several management practices for cassava—the first estimates of their kind for a vegetatively-propagated crop—describe their demographic repercussions, and compare them to those of maize, a sexually-reproduced grain crop. We discuss the implications for gene flow, the conservation of cassava diversity, and the biosafety of vegetatively-propagated crops in centers of diversity. Cassava populations are surprisingly open and dynamic: farmers exchange germplasm across localities, particularly improved varieties, and distribute it among neighbors at extremely high rates vis-à-vis maize. This implies that a large portion of cassava populations consists of non-local germplasm, often grown in mixed stands with local varieties. Gene flow from this germplasm into local seed banks and gene pools via pollen has been documented, but its extent remains uncertain. In sum, cassava's biology and vegetative propagation might facilitate pre-release confinement of genetically-modified varieties, as expected, but simultaneously contribute to their diffusion across traditional agroecosystems if released. Genetically-modified cassava is unlikely to displace landraces or compromise their diversity; but rapid diffusion of improved germplasm and subsequent incorporation into cassava landraces, seed banks or wild populations could obstruct the tracking and eradication of deleterious transgenes. Attempts to regulate traditional farming practices to reduce the risks could compromise cassava populations' adaptive potential and ultimately prove ineffectual

    Evaluation of the in vitro skin permeation of antiviral drugs from penciclovir 1% cream and acyclovir 5% cream used to treat herpes simplex virus infection

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Herpes simplex virus infection (HSV) is a common and ubiquitous infection of the skin which causes mucocutaneous lesions called cold sores (herpes labialis) or fever blisters. It is estimated that approximately 80% of the population worldwide are carriers of the Herpes simplex virus, approximately 40% suffer from recurrent recurrent infections. This study evaluates the <it>in vitro </it>skin permeation and penetration of penciclovir and acyclovir from commercialized creams for the treatment of herpes labialis (cold sores), using non viable excised human abdominal skin samples, which were exposed to 5 mg/cm<sup>2 </sup>of acyclovir 5% cream or penciclovir 1% cream.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>After 24 h of cream application, excess cream was washed off and layers of stratum corneum were removed by successive tape stripping. Amounts of active ingredients having penetrated through the skin were measured, as well as the amounts in the washed-off cream, in skin strips and creams remaining in the skin. Molecular modelling was used to evaluate physico-chemical differences between the drugs. Western blot analysis enabled to determine whether the marker of basal cells keratin 5 could be detected in the various tape strips.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Application of penciclovir 1% cream yielded higher concentration of drug in the deeper layers of the epidermis as well as a higher drug flux through the skin. Molecular modelling showed two higher hydrophobic moieties for acyclovir. Presence of the basal cell marker keratin 5 was underscored in the deeper tape strips from the skin, giving evidence that both drugs can reach their target cells.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Penciclovir 1% cream has the tendency to facilitate the diffusion of the drug through the stratum corneum into the deeper epidermis layers, in which it could reach the target basal cells at effective therapeutical concentration. The small difference in the surface properties between both molecules might also contribute to favour the passage of penciclovir through the epidermis into the deeper basal cells.</p