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Search Results: 1 - 10 of 306039 matches for " Simon J Mason "
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Improving epidemic malaria planning, preparedness and response in Southern Africa
Joaquim DaSilva, Brad Garanganga, Vonai Teveredzi, Sabine M Marx, Simon J Mason, Stephen J Connor
Malaria Journal , 2004, DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-3-37
Abstract: The SADC countries have adopted the Abuja targets for Roll Back Malaria in Africa, which include improved epidemic detection and response, i.e., that 60% of epidemics will be detected within two weeks of onset, and 60% of epidemics will be responded to within two weeks of detection. The SADC countries recognize that to achieve these targets they need improved information on where and when to look for epidemics. The WHO integrated framework for improved early warning and early detection of malaria epidemics has been recognized as a potentially useful tool for epidemic preparedness and response planning. Following evidence of successful adoption and implementation of this approach in Botswana, the SADC countries, the WHO Southern Africa Inter-Country Programme on Malaria Control, and the SADC Drought Monitoring Centre decided to organize a regional meeting where countries could gather to assess their current control status and community vulnerability, consider changes in epidemic risk, and develop a detailed plan of action for the forthcoming 2004–2005 season. The following is a report on the 1st Southern African Regional Epidemic Outlook Forum, which was held in Harare, Zimbabwe, 26th–29th September, 2004.The Southern African region has a long and varied history of malaria control with periodic epidemics occurring [1,2]. These epidemics can be regional in scale, as in 1996 and 1997, or much more focal, affecting specific districts or sub-districts. The countries of the Southern African Development Community are committed to the Abuja Targets for Roll Back Malaria in Africa, and this includes improved detection and response to epidemics [1]. To meet these targets countries are expected to detect 60% of malaria epidemics within two weeks of onset, and respond to 60% of epidemics within two weeks of their detection. The countries recognize that to achieve these targets they need improved information on where epidemics are most likely to occur, and ideally some indicatio
Automated saccharification assay for determination of digestibility in plant materials
Leonardo D Gomez, Caragh Whitehead, Abdellah Barakate, Claire Halpin, Simon J McQueen-Mason
Biotechnology for Biofuels , 2010, DOI: 10.1186/1754-6834-3-23
Abstract: We developed a HT saccharification assay based on a robotic platform that can carry out in a 96-well plate format the enzymatic digestion and quantification of the released sugars. The handling of the biomass powder for weighing and formatting into 96 wells is performed by a robotic station, where the plant material is ground, delivered to the desired well in the plates and weighed with a precision of 0.1 mg. Once the plates are loaded, an automated liquid handling platform delivers an optional mild pretreatment (< 100°C) followed by enzymatic hydrolysis of the biomass. Aliquots from the hydrolysis are then analyzed for the release of reducing sugar equivalents. The same platform can be used for the comparative evaluation of different enzymes and enzyme cocktails. The sensitivity and reliability of the platform was evaluated by measuring the saccharification of stems from lignin modified tobacco plants, and the results of automated and manual analyses compared.The automated assay systems are sensitive, robust and reliable. The system can reliably detect differences in the saccharification of plant tissues, and is able to process large number of samples with a minimum amount of human intervention. The automated system uncovered significant increases in the digestibility of certain lignin modified lines in a manner compatible with known effects of lignin modification on cell wall properties. We conclude that this automated assay platform is of sufficient sensitivity and reliability to undertake the screening of the large populations of plants necessary for mutant identification and genetic association studies.Plant lignocellulosic biomass is widely considered to have the potential to reduce the world's reliance on petroleum for liquid transportation fuels and other chemicals, because it is cheap, abundant and contains energy rich polysaccharides that make up approximately 75% of its mass. In theory, these polysaccharides can be broken down to produce sugar substrates
Analysis of saccharification in Brachypodium distachyon stems under mild conditions of hydrolysis
Leonardo D Gomez, Jennifer K Bristow, Emily R Statham, Simon J McQueen-Mason
Biotechnology for Biofuels , 2008, DOI: 10.1186/1754-6834-1-15
Abstract: The non-cellulosic monosaccharide composition of Brachypodium is closely related to grasses of agricultural importance and significantly different from the dicot model Arabidopsis thaliana. Diluted acid pretreatment of stem segments produced significant release of sugars and negatively affected the amount of sugars obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis. Monosaccharide and oligosaccharide analysis showed that the hemicellulose fraction is the main target of the enzymatic activity under the modest hydrolytic conditions used in our assays. Scanning electron microscopy analysis of the treated materials showed progressive exposure of fibrils in the stem segments.Results presented here indicate that under mild conditions cellulose and hemicellulose are hydrolysed to differing extents, with hemicellulose hydrolysis predominating. We anticipate that the sub-optimal conditions for hydrolysis identified here will provide a sensitive assay to detect variations in saccharification among Brachypodium plants, providing a useful analytical tool for identifying plants with alterations in this trait.Although the contribution of agricultural waste to the generation of transportation fuels has been negligible, in recent years there has been an upsurge of interest in the use of grass straw from agricultural waste as well as dedicated energy crops for the production of biofuels [1]. Since grasses of agricultural importance have complex genomes and growth requirements that make them difficult for use in research at the molecular level, there is a need for model grass species in basic research. This need for grass model species is particularly evident in the area of cell wall research, where dicots and grasses differ substantially in the composition and organisation of the component polymers [2,3]. A growing range of genetic tools and the growth characteristics of Brachypodium distachyon make it potentially a good model for grass research [4,5]. A 4× draft of the genome sequence has been relea
Number-conserving approaches to $n$-component Bose-Einstein condensates
Peter Mason,Simon Gardiner
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.89.043617
Abstract: We develop the number-conserving approach that has previously been used in a single component Bose-Einstein condensed dilute atomic gas, to describe consistent coupled condensate and noncondensate number dynamics, to an $n$-component condensate. The resulting system of equations comprises, for each component, of a generalised Gross-Pitaevskii equation coupled to modified Bogoliubov-de Gennes equations. Lower-order approximations yield general formulations for multi-component Gross-Pitaevskii equations, and systems of multi-component Gross-Pitaevskii equations coupled to multi-component modified number-conserving Bogoliubov-de Gennes equations. The analysis is left general, such that, in the $n$-component condensate, there may or may not be mutually coherent components. An expansion in powers of the ratio of noncondensate to condensate particle numbers for each coherent set is used to derive the self-consistent, second-order, dynamical equations of motion. The advantage of the analysis developed in this article is in its applications to dynamical instabilities that appear when two (or more) components are in conflict and where a significant noncondensed fraction of atoms is expected to appear.
Using Seasonal Climate Forecasts to Guide Disaster Management: The Red Cross Experience during the 2008 West Africa Floods
Arame Tall,Simon J. Mason,Maarten van Aalst,Pablo Suarez,Youcef Ait-Chellouche,Adama A. Diallo,Lisette Braman
International Journal of Geophysics , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/986016
Abstract: In 2008, the seasonal forecast issued at the Seasonal Climate Outlook Forum for West Africa (PRESAO) announced a highrisk of above-normal rainfall for the July–September rainy season. With probabilities for above-normal rainfall of 0.45, thisforecast indicated noteworthy increases in the risk of heavy rainfall. When this information reached the InternationalFederation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) West and Central Africa Office, it led to significant changes in theorganization’s flood response operations. The IFRC regional office requested funds in advance of anticipated floods,prepositioned disaster relief items in strategic locations across West Africa to benefit up to 9,500 families, updated its floodcontingency plans, and alerted vulnerable communities and decision-makers across the region. This forecast-basedpreparedness resulted in a decrease in the number of lives, property, and livelihoods lost to floods, compared to just one yearprior in 2007 when similar floods claimed above 300 lives in the region. This article demonstrates how a science-based early warning informed decisions and saved lives by triggering action in anticipation of forecast events. It analyses what it took to move decision-makers to action, based on seasonal climate information, and to overcome traditional barriers to the uptake of seasonal climate information in the region, providing evidence that these barriers can be overcome. While some institutional, communication and technical barriers were addressed in 2008, many challenges remain. Scientists and humanitarians need to build more common ground.
The Bactericidal Effect of Dendritic Copper Microparticles, Contained in an Alginate Matrix, on Escherichia coli
Simon F. Thomas, Paul Rooks, Fabian Rudin, Sov Atkinson, Paul Goddard, Rachel Bransgrove, Paul T. Mason, Michael J. Allen
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096225
Abstract: Although the bactericidal effect of copper has been known for centuries, there is a current resurgence of interest in the use of this element as an antimicrobial agent. During this study the use of dendritic copper microparticles embedded in an alginate matrix as a rapid method for the deactivation of Escherichia coli ATCC 11775 was investigated. The copper/alginate produced a decrease in the minimum inhibitory concentration from free copper powder dispersed in the media from 0.25 to 0.065 mg/ml. Beads loaded with 4% Cu deactivated 99.97% of bacteria after 90 minutes, compared to a 44.2% reduction in viability in the equivalent free copper powder treatment. There was no observed loss in the efficacy of this method with increasing bacterial loading up to 106 cells/ml, however only 88.2% of E. coli were deactivated after 90 minutes at a loading of 108 cells/ml. The efficacy of this method was highly dependent on the oxygen content of the media, with a 4.01% increase in viable bacteria observed under anoxic conditions compared to a >99% reduction in bacterial viability in oxygen tensions above 50% of saturation. Scanning electron micrographs (SEM) of the beads indicated that the dendritic copper particles sit as discrete clusters within a layered alginate matrix, and that the external surface of the beads has a scale-like appearance with dendritic copper particles extruding. E. coli cells visualised using SEM indicated a loss of cellular integrity upon Cu bead treatment with obvious visible blebbing. This study indicates the use of microscale dendritic particles of Cu embedded in an alginate matrix to effectively deactivate E. coli cells and opens the possibility of their application within effective water treatment processes, especially in high particulate waste streams where conventional methods, such as UV treatment or chlorination, are ineffective or inappropriate.
Using Seasonal Climate Forecasts to Guide Disaster Management: The Red Cross Experience during the 2008 West Africa Floods
Arame Tall,Simon J. Mason,Maarten van Aalst,Pablo Suarez,Youcef Ait-Chellouche,Adama A. Diallo,Lisette Braman
International Journal of Geophysics , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/986016
Abstract: In 2008, the seasonal forecast issued at the Seasonal Climate Outlook Forum for West Africa (PRESAO) announced a high risk of above-normal rainfall for the July–September rainy season. With probabilities for above-normal rainfall of 0.45, this forecast indicated noteworthy increases in the risk of heavy rainfall. When this information reached the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) West and Central Africa Office, it led to significant changes in the organization’s flood response operations. The IFRC regional office requested funds in advance of anticipated floods, prepositioned disaster relief items in strategic locations across West Africa to benefit up to 9,500 families, updated its flood contingency plans, and alerted vulnerable communities and decision-makers across the region. This forecast-based preparedness resulted in a decrease in the number of lives, property, and livelihoods lost to floods, compared to just one year prior in 2007 when similar floods claimed above 300 lives in the region. This article demonstrates how a science-based early warning informed decisions and saved lives by triggering action in anticipation of forecast events. It analyses what it took to move decision-makers to action, based on seasonal climate information, and to overcome traditional barriers to the uptake of seasonal climate information in the region, providing evidence that these barriers can be overcome. While some institutional, communication and technical barriers were addressed in 2008, many challenges remain. Scientists and humanitarians need to build more common ground. 1. Introduction 1.1. West Africa’s Vulnerability to Climate Shocks Seasonal-to-interannual variability of the climate system has major impacts on the populations of West Africa, one of the world’s lowest-income regions. Here, 75% of the active population is employed in a rain fed agricultural sector [1], which is highly climate sensitive. Only 2 percent of the total cultivated land in West Africa is irrigated or under some other form of water management, the remaining 98% being rain fed [1]. In countries such as Niger or Burkina Faso, up to 92% of the active population is employed in the rain-fed agricultural sector [1]. A growing majority of the population also lives in ill-planned urban shantytowns built on flood plains where they settled during the prolonged Sahelian drought period from the early 1970s to the late 1980s [2, 3]. The droughts drove peasants out of the countryside and into unplanned periurban settlements where functioning drainage systems
Applying Positive Psychology Principles to Soccer Interventions for People with Mental Health Difficulties  [PDF]
Bettina Friedrich, Oliver J. Mason
Psychology (PSYCH) , 2018, DOI: 10.4236/psych.2018.93023
Abstract: Adjunct exercise interventions for people with mental health difficulties have been shown to improve well-being while also increasing physical and social health. Soccer as a team sport is a particularly apt form of group-based exercise as it fosters social inclusion and communication skills potentially also across cultural and socio-economic barriers. We discuss how some exercise interventions such as those using soccer are potentially well-aligned with concepts from Positive Psychology such as Seligman’s five elements (PERMA) that determine “Eudaimonia” (a good life): Positive emotions (P), Engagement and Flow (E), Positive Relationships (R), Meaning (M), and Accomplishment (A). In the present study the perceived life improvements reported by participants of a London-based soccer intervention “Coping Through Football” (CTF) are analysed for content using these five elements. All but Meaning (M) could be identified clearly; Positive Relationship (R) and Accomplishment (A) were the most commonly reported components. The PERMA model offers a potentially highly relevant framework to measure changes in well-being in participants of adjunct physical exercise treatments in mental health. Further quantitative and qualitative evaluation using the PERMA categories has the clear potential to inform policy and funding decisions in the growing area of psychosocial interventions in public mental health.
Creating and Validating an Algorithm to Measure AIDS Mortality in the Adult Population using Verbal Autopsy
Ben A Lopman ,Ruanne V Barnabas,J. Ties Boerma,Godwin Chawira,Kezia Gaitskell,Tara Harrop,Peter Mason,Christl A Donnelly,Geoff P Garnett,Constance Nyamukapa,Simon Gregson
PLOS Medicine , 2006, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030312
Abstract: Background Vital registration and cause of death reporting is incomplete in the countries in which the HIV epidemic is most severe. A reliable tool that is independent of HIV status is needed for measuring the frequency of AIDS deaths and ultimately the impact of antiretroviral therapy on mortality. Methods and Findings A verbal autopsy questionnaire was administered to caregivers of 381 adults of known HIV status who died between 1998 and 2003 in Manicaland, eastern Zimbabwe. Individuals who were HIV positive and did not die in an accident or during childbirth (74%; n = 282) were considered to have died of AIDS in the gold standard. Verbal autopsies were randomly allocated to a training dataset (n = 279) to generate classification criteria or a test dataset (n = 102) to verify criteria. A rule-based algorithm created to minimise false positives had a specificity of 66% and a sensitivity of 76%. Eight predictors (weight loss, wasting, jaundice, herpes zoster, presence of abscesses or sores, oral candidiasis, acute respiratory tract infections, and vaginal tumours) were included in the algorithm. In the test dataset of verbal autopsies, 69% of deaths were correctly classified as AIDS/non-AIDS, and it was not necessary to invoke a differential diagnosis of tuberculosis. Presence of any one of these criteria gave a post-test probability of AIDS death of 0.84. Conclusions Analysis of verbal autopsy data in this rural Zimbabwean population revealed a distinct pattern of signs and symptoms associated with AIDS mortality. Using these signs and symptoms, demographic surveillance data on AIDS deaths may allow for the estimation of AIDS mortality and even HIV prevalence.
A randomised clinical trial of subgrouping and targeted treatment for low back pain compared with best current care. The STarT Back Trial Study Protocol
Elaine M Hay, Kate M Dunn, Jonathan C Hill, Martyn Lewis, Elizabeth E Mason, Kika Konstantinou, Gail Sowden, Simon Somerville, Kanchan Vohora, David Whitehurst, Chris J Main
BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders , 2008, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2474-9-58
Abstract: We will recruit 800 participants aged 18 years and over with non-specific low back pain from 8–10 GP practices within two Primary Care Trusts in Staffordshire, England. Our primary outcome measures are low back pain disability and catastrophising. Secondary outcomes include back pain intensity, global change, leg pain, fear avoidance, anxiety, depression, illness perceptions, patient satisfaction, overall health status and cost-effectiveness. Data will be collected before randomisation, and 4 and 12 months later. Participants are randomised to receive either newly developed interventions, delivered by trained physiotherapists and targeted according to subgroups defined by tool scores, or best current care.This paper presents detail on the rationale, design, methods and operational aspects of the trial.Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN37113406.Back pain is a major health problem in the UK. Each year, approximately 3.5 million people develop back pain [1], and 7–9% of adults consult their GP.[2] Although most sufferers stop consulting their GP within 3 months, 60–80% still have pain or disability a year later.[3,4] Persistent back pain affects peoples' quality of life, their family and social relationships, and impairs their ability to work.[5] Consequently, back pain has a huge economic impact. [6-8]Primary care guidelines for managing low back pain (LBP) [9-11] have been developed within a biopsychosocial framework which recognises that pain is influenced by both tissue pathology and psychological factors, as well as the social context in which the pain occurs. An estimated 85% of LBP consulters will have non-specific LBP, for which diagnostic labelling is discouraged, and treatment depends on the health care providers' preferences and clinical experience.[12] The fundamental question of "who will do best with which treatment" remains unanswered despite a number of high quality primary care-based randomised trials of treatment options for LBP in the last 2 years. [13
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