411 research outputs found

    Understanding the links between hearing impairment and dementia : development and validation of the social and emotional impact of hearing impairment (SEI-HI) questionnaire

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    Background The links between hearing impairment (HI) and dementia have been well documented, but factors mediating this relationship remain unknown. Major consequences of HI are social and emotional dysfunction, and as the risk of dementia increases linearly with the severity of HI, it is plausible that socio-emotional difficulties may play a role in this association. Objective The aim of this study was to develop and validate a tool to analyse levels of hearing-related disability, to investigate ultimately whether subjective disability contributes to risk of cognitive impairment compared with hearing thresholds alone. Methods Development and validation of the questionnaire, the Social and Emotional Impact of Hearing Impairment (SEI-HI), was conducted in four phases: (1) content; (2) scoring and outcomes; (3) validation; (4) feasibility in a sample of people with cognitive impairment. Results Considerable evidence was found for the internal and external reliability of the tool with high construct validity, concurrent validity and test-retest values of the SEI-HI questionnaire. A feasibility check on 31 patients with mild cognitive impairment or dementia showed the SEI-HI questionnaire was easy to administer and well-received. Conclusion The SEI-HI questionnaire is a relevant instrument to assess hearing-related disability which can be used in people with cognitive decline to assess further impact on risk of developing dementia

    Band alignment and enhanced breakdown field of simultaneously oxidized and nitrided Zr film on Si

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    The band alignment of ZrO2/interfacial layer/Si structure fabricated by simultaneous oxidation and nitridation of sputtered Zr on Si in N2O at 700°C for different durations has been established by using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Valence band offset of ZrO2/Si was found to be 4.75 eV, while the highest corresponding conduction offset of ZrO2/interfacial layer was found to be 3.40 eV; owing to the combination of relatively larger bandgaps, it enhanced electrical breakdown field to 13.6 MV/cm at 10-6 A/cm2

    Ecological Meltdown in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland: Two Centuries of Change in a Coastal Marine Ecosystem

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    BACKGROUND: The Firth of Clyde is a large inlet of the sea that extends over 100 km into Scotland\u27s west coast. METHODS: We compiled detailed fisheries landings data for this area and combined them with historical accounts to build a picture of change due to fishing activity over the last 200 years. FINDINGS: In the early 19th century, prior to the onset of industrial fishing, the Firth of Clyde supported diverse and productive fisheries for species such as herring (Clupea harengus, Clupeidae), cod (Gadus morhua, Gadidae), haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus, Gadidae), turbot (Psetta maxima, Scophthalmidae) and flounder (Platichthys flesus, Pleuronectidae). The 19th century saw increased demand for fish, which encouraged more indiscriminate methods of fishing such as bottom trawling. During the 1880s, fish landings began to decline, and upon the recommendation of local fishers and scientists, the Firth of Clyde was closed to large trawling vessels in 1889. This closure remained in place until 1962 when bottom trawling for Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus, Nephropidae) was approved in areas more than three nautical miles from the coast. During the 1960s and 1970s, landings of bottomfish increased as trawling intensified. The trawl closure within three nautical miles of the coast was repealed in 1984 under pressure from the industry. Thereafter, bottomfish landings went into terminal decline, with all species collapsing to zero or near zero landings by the early 21st century. Herring fisheries collapsed in the 1970s as more efficient mid-water trawls and fish finders were introduced, while a fishery for mid-water saithe (Pollachius virens, Gadidae) underwent a boom and bust shortly after discovery in the late 1960s. The only commercial fisheries that remain today are for Nephrops and scallops (Pecten maximus, Pectinidae). SIGNIFICANCE: The Firth of Clyde is a marine ecosystem nearing the endpoint of overfishing, a time when no species remain that are capable of sustaining commercial catches. The evidence suggests that trawl closures helped maintain productive fisheries through the mid-20th century, and their reopening precipitated collapse of bottomfish stocks. We argue that continued intensive bottom trawling for Nephrops with fine mesh nets will prevent the recovery of other species. This once diverse and highly productive environment will only be restored if trawl closures or other protected areas are re-introduced. The Firth of Clyde represents at a small scale a process that is occurring ocean-wide today, and its experience serves as a warning to others

    Planetary population synthesis

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    In stellar astrophysics, the technique of population synthesis has been successfully used for several decades. For planets, it is in contrast still a young method which only became important in recent years because of the rapid increase of the number of known extrasolar planets, and the associated growth of statistical observational constraints. With planetary population synthesis, the theory of planet formation and evolution can be put to the test against these constraints. In this review of planetary population synthesis, we first briefly list key observational constraints. Then, the work flow in the method and its two main components are presented, namely global end-to-end models that predict planetary system properties directly from protoplanetary disk properties and probability distributions for these initial conditions. An overview of various population synthesis models in the literature is given. The sub-models for the physical processes considered in global models are described: the evolution of the protoplanetary disk, the planets' accretion of solids and gas, orbital migration, and N-body interactions among concurrently growing protoplanets. Next, typical population synthesis results are illustrated in the form of new syntheses obtained with the latest generation of the Bern model. Planetary formation tracks, the distribution of planets in the mass-distance and radius-distance plane, the planetary mass function, and the distributions of planetary radii, semimajor axes, and luminosities are shown, linked to underlying physical processes, and compared with their observational counterparts. We finish by highlighting the most important predictions made by population synthesis models and discuss the lessons learned from these predictions - both those later observationally confirmed and those rejected.Comment: 47 pages, 12 figures. Invited review accepted for publication in the 'Handbook of Exoplanets', planet formation section, section editor: Ralph Pudritz, Springer reference works, Juan Antonio Belmonte and Hans Deeg, Ed