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Search Results: 1 - 10 of 230712 matches for " Alex R. Cook "
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The Communicability of Graphical Alternatives to Tabular Displays of Statistical Simulation Studies
Alex R. Cook, Shanice W. L. Teo
PLOS ONE , 2011, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027974
Abstract: Simulation studies are often used to assess the frequency properties and optimality of statistical methods. They are typically reported in tables, which may contain hundreds of figures to be contrasted over multiple dimensions. To assess the degree to which these tables are fit for purpose, we performed a randomised cross-over experiment in which statisticians were asked to extract information from (i) such a table sourced from the literature and (ii) a graphical adaptation designed by the authors, and were timed and assessed for accuracy. We developed hierarchical models accounting for differences between individuals of different experience levels (under- and post-graduate), within experience levels, and between different table-graph pairs. In our experiment, information could be extracted quicker and, for less experienced participants, more accurately from graphical presentations than tabular displays. We also performed a literature review to assess the prevalence of hard-to-interpret design features in tables of simulation studies in three popular statistics journals, finding that many are presented innumerately. We recommend simulation studies be presented in graphical form.
Who Should Pay for Global Health, and How Much?
Luis R. Carrasco ,Richard Coker,Alex R. Cook
PLOS Medicine , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001392
Assortativity and the Probability of Epidemic Extinction: A Case Study of Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1-2009)
Hiroshi Nishiura,Alex R. Cook,Benjamin J. Cowling
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases , 2011, DOI: 10.1155/2011/194507
Abstract: Unlike local transmission of pandemic influenza A (H1N1-2009), which was frequently driven by school children, most cases identified in long-distance intranational and international travelers have been adults. The present study examines the relationship between the probability of temporary extinction and the age-dependent next-generation matrix, focusing on the impact of assortativity. Preferred mixing captures as a good approximation the assortativity of a heterogeneously mixing population. We show that the contribution of a nonmaintenance host (i.e., a host type which cannot sustain transmission on its own) to the risk of a major epidemic is greatly diminished as mixing patterns become more assortative, and in such a scenario, a higher proportion of non-maintenance hosts among index cases elevates the probability of extinction. Despite the presence of various other epidemiological factors that undoubtedly influenced the delay between first importations and the subsequent epidemic, these results suggest that the dominance of adults among imported cases represents one of the possible factors explaining the delays in geographic spread observed during the recent pandemic.
Extreme inequalities of citation counts in environmental sciences
Deepthi Chimalakonda,Alex R Cook,L Roman Carrasco
PeerJ , 2015, DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.265v1
Abstract: Well-established scientists are expected to be more likely to have their work recognised than early-career individuals and thus receive more citations. Estimating the degree of inequality in citation counts in environmental sciences can help identify the dynamics behind citation inequalities. Using the scientific profiles of researchers in the Google Scholar database, we estimated the inequality in the distribution of citations in the disciplines of evolutionary biology, conservation biology and ecology. The data were modelled using short-tailed (exponential) and long-tailed power-law (Pareto) distributions. The inequality in performance in each distribution was assessed using Gini coefficients. Citations counts per researcher presented Gini coefficients of 0.83–0.84, indicating extreme inequality. The results suggest that the reinforcement in citation counts due to seniority and previous success might be very strong. To produce meaningful comparisons of actual research impact using citation counts, factors such as lab size, collaborations or role in articles should ideally be controlled for.
Bayesian Analysis for Inference of an Emerging Epidemic: Citrus Canker in Urban Landscapes
Franco M. Neri ,Alex R. Cook,Gavin J. Gibson,Tim R. Gottwald,Christopher A. Gilligan
PLOS Computational Biology , 2014, DOI: doi/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003587
Abstract: Outbreaks of infectious diseases require a rapid response from policy makers. The choice of an adequate level of response relies upon available knowledge of the spatial and temporal parameters governing pathogen spread, affecting, amongst others, the predicted severity of the epidemic. Yet, when a new pathogen is introduced into an alien environment, such information is often lacking or of no use, and epidemiological parameters must be estimated from the first observations of the epidemic. This poses a challenge to epidemiologists: how quickly can the parameters of an emerging disease be estimated? How soon can the future progress of the epidemic be reliably predicted? We investigate these issues using a unique, spatially and temporally resolved dataset for the invasion of a plant disease, Asiatic citrus canker in urban Miami. We use epidemiological models, Bayesian Markov-chain Monte Carlo, and advanced spatial statistical methods to analyse rates and extent of spread of the disease. A rich and complex epidemic behaviour is revealed. The spatial scale of spread is approximately constant over time and can be estimated rapidly with great precision (although the evidence for long-range transmission is inconclusive). In contrast, the rate of infection is characterised by strong monthly fluctuations that we associate with extreme weather events. Uninformed predictions from the early stages of the epidemic, assuming complete ignorance of the future environmental drivers, fail because of the unpredictable variability of the infection rate. Conversely, predictions improve dramatically if we assume prior knowledge of either the main environmental trend, or the main environmental events. A contrast emerges between the high detail attained by modelling in the spatiotemporal description of the epidemic and the bottleneck imposed on epidemic prediction by the limits of meteorological predictability. We argue that identifying such bottlenecks will be a fundamental step in future modelling of weather-driven epidemics.
Teacher led school-based surveillance can allow accurate tracking of emerging infectious diseases - evidence from serial cross-sectional surveys of febrile respiratory illness during the H1N1 2009 influenza pandemic in Singapore
Soh Shu E,Cook Alex R,Chen Mark IC,Lee Vernon J
BMC Infectious Diseases , 2012, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2334-12-336
Abstract: Background Schools are important foci of influenza transmission and potential targets for surveillance and interventions. We compared several school-based influenza monitoring systems with clinic-based influenza-like illness (ILI) surveillance, and assessed the variation in illness rates between and within schools. Methods During the initial wave of pandemic H1N1 (pdmH1N1) infections from June to Sept 2009 in Singapore, we collected data on nation-wide laboratory confirmed cases (Sch-LCC) and daily temperature monitoring (Sch-DTM), and teacher-led febrile respiratory illness reporting in 6 sentinel schools (Sch-FRI). Comparisons were made against age-stratified clinic-based influenza-like illness (ILI) data from 23 primary care clinics (GP-ILI) and proportions of ILI testing positive for pdmH1N1 (Lab-ILI) by computing the fraction of cumulative incidence occurring by epidemiological week 30 (when GP-ILI incidence peaked); and cumulative incidence rates between school-based indicators and sero-epidemiological pdmH1N1 incidence (estimated from changes in prevalence of A/California/7/2009 H1N1 hemagglutination inhibition titers ≥ 40 between pre-epidemic and post-epidemic sera). Variation in Sch-FRI rates in the 6 schools was also investigated through a Bayesian hierarchical model. Results By week 30, for primary and secondary school children respectively, 63% and 79% of incidence for Sch-LCC had occurred, compared with 50% and 52% for GP-ILI data, and 48% and 53% for Sch-FRI. There were 1,187 notified cases and 7,588 episodes in the Sch-LCC and Sch-DTM systems; given school enrollment of 485,723 children, this represented 0.24 cases and 1.6 episodes per 100 children respectively. Mean Sch-FRI rate was 28.8 per 100 children (95% CI: 27.7 to 29.9) in the 6 schools. We estimate from serology that 41.8% (95% CI: 30.2% to 55.9%) of primary and 43.2% (95% CI: 28.2% to 60.8%) of secondary school-aged children were infected. Sch-FRI rates were similar across the 6 schools (23 to 34 episodes per 100 children), but there was widespread variation by classrooms; in the hierarchical model, omitting age and school effects was inconsequential but neglecting classroom level effects led to highly significant reductions in goodness of fit. Conclusions Epidemic curves from Sch-FRI were comparable to GP-ILI data, and Sch-FRI detected substantially more infections than Sch-LCC and Sch-DTM. Variability in classroom attack rates suggests localized class-room transmission.
Causes of Mortality for Indonesian Hajj Pilgrims: Comparison between Routine Death Certificate and Verbal Autopsy Findings
Masdalina Pane, Sholah Imari, Qomariah Alwi, I Nyoman Kandun, Alex R. Cook, Gina Samaan
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073243
Abstract: Background Indonesia provides the largest single source of pilgrims for the Hajj (10%). In the last two decades, mortality rates for Indonesian pilgrims ranged between 200–380 deaths per 100,000 pilgrims over the 10-week Hajj period. Reasons for high mortality are not well understood. In 2008, verbal autopsy was introduced to complement routine death certificates to explore cause of death diagnoses. This study presents the patterns and causes of death for Indonesian pilgrims, and compares routine death certificates to verbal autopsy findings. Methods Public health surveillance was conducted by Indonesian public health authorities accompanying pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, with daily reporting of hospitalizations and deaths. Surveillance data from 2008 were analyzed for timing, geographic location and site of death. Percentages for each cause of death category from death certificates were compared to that from verbal autopsy. Results In 2008, 206,831 Indonesian undertook the Hajj. There were 446 deaths, equivalent to 1,968 deaths per 100,000 pilgrim years. Most pilgrims died in Mecca (68%) and Medinah (24%). There was no statistically discernible difference in the total mortality risk for the two pilgrimage routes (Mecca or Medinah first), but the number of deaths peaked earlier for those traveling to Mecca first (p=0.002). Most deaths were due to cardiovascular (66%) and respiratory (28%) diseases. A greater proportion of deaths were attributed to cardiovascular disease by death certificate compared to the verbal autopsy method (p<0.001). Significantly more deaths had ill-defined cause based on verbal autopsy method (p<0.001). Conclusions Despite pre-departure health screening and other medical services, Indonesian pilgrim mortality rates were very high. Correct classification of cause of death is critical for the development of risk mitigation strategies. Since verbal autopsy classified causes of death differently to death certificates, further studies are needed to assess the method’s utility in this setting.
New Mid-Cretaceous (Latest Albian) Dinosaurs from Winton, Queensland, Australia
Scott A. Hocknull, Matt A. White, Travis R. Tischler, Alex G. Cook, Naomi D. Calleja, Trish Sloan, David A. Elliott
PLOS ONE , 2009, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006190
Abstract: Background Australia's dinosaurian fossil record is exceptionally poor compared to that of other similar-sized continents. Most taxa are known from fragmentary isolated remains with uncertain taxonomic and phylogenetic placement. A better understanding of the Australian dinosaurian record is crucial to understanding the global palaeobiogeography of dinosaurian groups, including groups previously considered to have had Gondwanan origins, such as the titanosaurs and carcharodontosaurids. Methodology/Principal Findings We describe three new dinosaurs from the late Early Cretaceous (latest Albian) Winton Formation of eastern Australia, including; Wintonotitan wattsi gen. et sp. nov., a basal titanosauriform; Diamantinasaurus matildae gen. et sp. nov., a derived lithostrotian titanosaur; and Australovenator wintonensis gen. et sp. nov., an allosauroid. We compare an isolated astragalus from the Early Cretaceous of southern Australia; formerly identified as Allosaurus sp., and conclude that it most-likely represents Australovenator sp. Conclusion/Significance The occurrence of Australovenator from the Aptian to latest Albian confirms the presence in Australia of allosauroids basal to the Carcharodontosauridae. These new taxa, along with the fragmentary remains of other taxa, indicate a diverse Early Cretaceous sauropod and theropod fauna in Australia, including plesiomorphic forms (e.g. Wintonotitan and Australovenator) and more derived forms (e.g. Diamantinasaurus).
Differing clinical characteristics between influenza strains among young healthy adults in the tropics
Jonathan Yap, Chi Tan, Alex R Cook, Jin Loh, Paul A Tambyah, Boon Tan, Vernon J Lee
BMC Infectious Diseases , 2012, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2334-12-12
Abstract: A febrile respiratory illness (FRI) (fever ≥ 37.5°C with cough and/or sore throat) surveillance program was started in 4 large military camps in Singapore on May 2009. Personnel with FRI who visited the camp clinics from 11 May 2009 to 25 June 2010 were recruited. Nasal washes and interviewer-administered questionnaires on demographic information and clinical features were obtained from consenting participants. All personnel who tested positive for influenza were included in the study. Overall symptom load was quantified by counting the symptoms or signs, and differences between strains evaluated using linear models.There were 434 (52.9%) pandemic H1N1-2009, 58 (7.1%) seasonal H3N2, 269 (32.8%) influenza B, and 10 (1.2%) seasonal H1N1 cases. Few seasonal influenza A (H1N1) infections were detected and were therefore excluded from analyses, together with undetermined influenza subtypes (44 (1.5%)), or more than 1 co-infecting subtype (6 (0.2%)). Pandemic H1N1-2009 cases had significantly fewer symptoms or signs (mean 7.2, 95%CI 6.9-7.4, difference 1.6, 95%CI 1.2-2.0, p < 0.001) than the other two subtypes (mean 8.7, 95%CI 8.5-9.0). There were no statistical differences between H3N2 and influenza B (p = 0.58). Those with nasal congestion, rash, eye symptoms, injected pharynx or fever were more likely to have H3N2; and those with sore throat, fever, injected pharynx or rhinorrhoea were more likely to have influenza B than H1N1-2009.Influenza cases have different clinical presentations in the young adult population. Pandemic H1N1 influenza cases had fewer and milder clinical symptoms than seasonal influenza. As we only included febrile cases and had no information on the proportion of afebrile infections, further research is needed to confirm whether the relatively milder presentation of pandemic versus seasonal influenza infections applies to all infections or only febrile illnesses.Influenza infections arising from different influenza strains may result in different c
The feasibility of age-specific travel restrictions during influenza pandemics
Elson HY Lam, Benjamin J Cowling, Alex R Cook, Jessica YT Wong, Max SY Lau, Hiroshi Nishiura
Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling , 2011, DOI: 10.1186/1742-4682-8-44
Abstract: A simple stochastic model was developed to describe the importation of infectious cases into a population and to model local chains of transmission seeded by imported cases. The probability of a local epidemic, and the time period until a major epidemic takes off, were used as outcome measures, and travel restriction policies in which children or adults were preferentially restricted were compared to age-blind restriction policies using an age-dependent next generation matrix parameterized for influenza H1N1-2009.Restricting children from travelling would yield greater reductions to the short-term risk of the epidemic being established locally than other policy options considered, and potentially could delay an epidemic for a few weeks. However, given a scenario with a total of 500 imported cases over a period of a few months, a substantial reduction in the probability of an epidemic in this time period is possible only if the transmission potential were low and assortativity (i.e. the proportion of contacts within-group) were unrealistically high. In all other scenarios considered, age-structured travel restrictions would not prevent an epidemic and would not delay the epidemic for longer than a few weeks.Selectively restricting children from traveling overseas during a pandemic may potentially delay its arrival for a few weeks, depending on the characteristics of the pandemic strain, but could have less of an impact on the economy compared to restricting adult travelers. However, as long as adults have at least a moderate potential to trigger an epidemic, selectively restricting the higher risk group (children) may not be a practical option to delay the arrival of an epidemic substantially.Long-distance international flights facilitate human movement, enhancing not only cross-border travel but also the global spread of infectious diseases. The well-connected global airline network allows multiple importations of infected individuals and rapid dissemination of an e
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