464 research outputs found

    Convergence towards a European strategic culture? A constructivist framework for explaining changing norms.

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    The article contributes to the debate about the emergence of a European strategic culture to underpin a European Security and Defence Policy. Noting both conceptual and empirical weaknesses in the literature, the article disaggregates the concept of strategic culture and focuses on four types of norms concerning the means and ends for the use of force. The study argues that national strategic cultures are less resistant to change than commonly thought and that they have been subject to three types of learning pressures since 1989: changing threat perceptions, institutional socialization, and mediatized crisis learning. The combined effect of these mechanisms would be a process of convergence with regard to strategic norms prevalent in current EU countries. If the outlined hypotheses can be substantiated by further research the implications for ESDP are positive, especially if the EU acts cautiously in those cases which involve norms that are not yet sufficiently shared across countries

    A Phase-Field Model of Spiral Dendritic Growth

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    Domains of condensed-phase monolayers of chiral molecules exhibit a variety of interesting nonequilibrium structures when formed via pressurization. To model these domain patterns, we add a complex field describing the tilt degree of freedom to an (anisotropic) complex-phase-field solidification model. The resulting formalism allows for the inclusion of (in general, non-reflection symmetric) interactions between the tilt, the solid-liquid interface, and the bond orientation. Simulations demonstrate the ability of the model to exhibit spiral dendritic growth.Comment: text plus Four postscript figure file

    The Shapes of Flux Domains in the Intermediate State of Type-I Superconductors

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    In the intermediate state of a thin type-I superconductor magnetic flux penetrates in a disordered set of highly branched and fingered macroscopic domains. To understand these shapes, we study in detail a recently proposed "current-loop" (CL) model that models the intermediate state as a collection of tense current ribbons flowing along the superconducting-normal interfaces and subject to the constraint of global flux conservation. The validity of this model is tested through a detailed reanalysis of Landau's original conformal mapping treatment of the laminar state, in which the superconductor-normal interfaces are flared within the slab, and of a closely-related straight-lamina model. A simplified dynamical model is described that elucidates the nature of possible shape instabilities of flux stripes and stripe arrays, and numerical studies of the highly nonlinear regime of those instabilities demonstrate patterns like those seen experimentally. Of particular interest is the buckling instability commonly seen in the intermediate state. The free-boundary approach further allows for a calculation of the elastic properties of the laminar state, which closely resembles that of smectic liquid crystals. We suggest several new experiments to explore of flux domain shape instabilities, including an Eckhaus instability induced by changing the out-of-plane magnetic field, and an analog of the Helfrich-Hurault instability of smectics induced by an in-plane field.Comment: 23 pages, 22 bitmapped postscript figures, RevTex 3.0, submitted to Phys. Rev. B. Higher resolution figures may be obtained by contacting the author

    Signature of Chaotic Diffusion in Band Spectra

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    We investigate the two-point correlations in the band spectra of spatially periodic systems that exhibit chaotic diffusion in the classical limit. By including level pairs pertaining to non-identical quasimomenta, we define form factors with the winding number as a spatial argument. For times smaller than the Heisenberg time, they are related to the full space-time dependence of the classical diffusion propagator. They approach constant asymptotes via a regime, reflecting quantal ballistic motion, where they decay by a factor proportional to the number of unit cells. We derive a universal scaling function for the long-time behaviour. Our results are substantiated by a numerical study of the kicked rotor on a torus and a quasi-one-dimensional billiard chain.Comment: 8 pages, REVTeX, 5 figures (eps

    Connective tissue disease related interstitial lung diseases and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: provisional core sets of domains and instruments for use in clinical trials

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    Rationale Clinical trial design in interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) has been hampered by lack of consensus on appropriate outcome measures for reliably assessing treatment response. In the setting of connective tissue diseases (CTDs), some measures of ILD disease activity and severity may be confounded by non-pulmonary comorbidities. Methods The Connective Tissue Disease associated Interstitial Lung Disease (CTD-ILD) working group of Outcome Measures in Rheumatology—a non-profit international organisation dedicated to consensus methodology in identification of outcome measures—conducted a series of investigations which included a Delphi process including >248 ILD medical experts as well as patient focus groups culminating in a nominal group panel of ILD experts and patients. The goal was to define and develop a consensus on the status of outcome measure candidates for use in randomised controlled trials in CTD-ILD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Results A core set comprising specific measures in the domains of lung physiology, lung imaging, survival, dyspnoea, cough and health-related quality of life is proposed as appropriate for consideration for use in a hypothetical 1-year multicentre clinical trial for either CTD-ILD or IPF. As many widely used instruments were found to lack full validation, an agenda for future research is proposed. Conclusion Identification of consensus preliminary domains and instruments to measure them was attained and is a major advance anticipated to facilitate multicentre RCTs in the field

    Mortality and causes of death in patients with sporadic inclusion body myositis: Survey study based on the clinical experience of specialists in Australia, Europe and the USA

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    Background: There is a paucity of data on mortality and causes of death (CoDs) in patients with sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM), a rare, progressive, degenerative, inflammatory myopathy that typically affects those aged over 50 years. Objective: Based on patient records and expertise of clinical specialists, this study used questionnaires to evaluate physicians’ views on clinical characteristics of sIBM that may impact on premature mortality and CoDs in these patients. Methods: Thirteen physicians from seven countries completed two questionnaires online between December 20, 2012 and January 15, 2013. Responses to the first questionnaire were collated and presented in the second questionnaire to seek elaboration and identify consensus. Results: All 13 physicians completed both questionnaires, providing responses based on 585 living and 149 deceased patients under their care. Patients were reported to have experienced dysphagia (60.2%) and injurious falls (44.3%) during their disease. Over half of physicians reported that a subset of their patients with sIBM had a shortened lifespan (8/13), and agreed that bulbar dysfunction/dysphagia/oropharyngeal involvement (12/13), early-onset disease (8/13), severe symptoms (8/13), and falls (7/13) impacted lifespan. Factors related to sIBM were reported as CoDs in 40% of deceased patients. Oropharyngeal muscle dysfunction was ranked as the leading feature of sIBM that could contribute to death. The risk of premature mortality was higher than the age-matched comparison population. Conclusions: In the absence of data from traditional sources, this study suggests that features of sIBM may contribute to premature mortality and may be used to inform future studies

    Pharmacological Undertreatment of Coronary Risk Factors in Patients with Psoriasis: Observational Study of the Danish Nationwide Registries

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    BACKGROUND: Patients with psoriasis have increased prevalence of coronary risk factors and limited recent results have suggested that these risk factors are undertreated in patients with psoriasis. This may contribute to the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases observed in patients with psoriasis. OBJECTIVE: To examine the pharmacological treatment of coronary risk factors in patients with severe psoriasis treated with biologic agents in a real-world setting. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Medical history of patients with severe psoriasis treated with biologic agents in the time period 2007-09 was retrieved from a Danish nationwide registry (DERMBIO). Individual-level linkage of nationwide administrative registries of hospitalizations, concomitant medications, and socioeconomic status was performed to gain insights into the use of pharmacological treatment. A total of 693 patients (mean age 46.1 ± 12.7 years, 65.7% male) with severe psoriasis treated with biologic agents were identified. Hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes mellitus were identified in 16.6%, 9.2%, and 6.7% of cases, respectively. Patients with severe psoriasis were significantly less likely to receive cardiovascular pharmacotherapy compared to age, sex, and coronary risk factor matched controls. In psoriatic patients with hypertension 27.7% received no antihypertensive pharmacotherapy. Patients with dyslipidemia received cholesterol-lowering medications in 55.8% of cases and patients with diabetes mellitus received angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin II receptor blockers and cholesterol-lowering medications in 42.1% and 23.7% of cases, respectively. Similar results were found for the subset of patients with >1 coronary risk factor and for high risk patients with established atherosclerotic disease. CONCLUSION: This nationwide study of patients with severe psoriasis demonstrated substantial undertreatment of coronary risk factors. Increased focus on identifying cardiovascular risk factors and initiation of preventive cardiovascular pharmacotherapy in patients with psoriasis is warranted
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