ResearchPad - feature https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[World Economic Prospects Monthly]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_16756 Overview: World GDP now seen falling 2.8% in 2020

With much of the global economy now in some form of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, we expect world GDP to contract by about 7% in H1 2020. Activity is expected to rebound sharply in H2, but even so the severity of the shock is likely to lead to a permanent GDP loss for the global economy. ▀ While Chinese activity picked up in late‐Q1 as lockdown restrictions were unwound, we expect Q1 GDP to have fallen 12% q/q before rebounding sharply in Q2. But this Q2 boost looks set to be swamped by the collapse in activity caused by the rest of the world going into lockdown.▀ Although shutdown restrictions elsewhere are less severe than those imposed in China, business survey and labour market data still point to sharp falls in activity in most countries in Q2. Quarterly GDP declines of 8% or more in the US and eurozone seem likely. Overall, world GDP could fall by about 7% in H1, roughly double the size of the contraction during start of the global financial crisis in 2009.▀ In those economies subject to some form of lockdown, we expect restrictions to begin to be lifted during Q2. As a result, growth should resume in Q3 as sectors that have been forced to shut down see some pick‐up. But despite this rebound, world GDP is now seen shrinking 2.8% in 2020 overall — in 2009, the global GDP fall was 1.1%.▀ The H2 pick‐up, followed by a return to more normal conditions next year, will result in world GDP growth rising to almost 6% in 2021, helped also by the recent collapse in oil prices to about $30pb. But the scale of the disruption means that we expect a permanent loss of output from the shock. We expect global GDP in the medium term to be some 1.5% below the level we had anticipated before the coronavirus outbreak.▀ The risks around this forecast are large and broadly balanced. But were stringent lockdowns or widespread disruption, perhaps due to renewed outbreaks of the virus, to extend into Q3, global GDP could fall by as much as 8% this year.

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<![CDATA[Bioengineering horizon scan 2020]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_16343 Horizon scanning is intended to identify the opportunities and threats associated with technological, regulatory and social change. In 2017 some of the present authors conducted a horizon scan for bioengineering (Wintle et al., 2017). Here we report the results of a new horizon scan that is based on inputs from a larger and more international group of 38 participants. The final list of 20 issues includes topics spanning from the political (the regulation of genomic data, increased philanthropic funding and malicious uses of neurochemicals) to the environmental (crops for changing climates and agricultural gene drives). The early identification of such issues is relevant to researchers, policy-makers and the wider public.

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<![CDATA[A survey of travel behaviour among scientists in Germany and the potential for change]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_16317 Awareness of the environmental impact of conferences is growing within the scientific community. Here we report the results of a survey in which scientists in Germany were asked about their attendance at conferences, their reasons for attending, and their willingness to explore new approaches that would reduce the impact of conferences on the environment. A majority of respondents were keen to reduce their own carbon footprint and were willing to explore alternatives to the traditional conference.

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<![CDATA[Kelp is on the way]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13717 Seaweed farming could help clean up the oceans and the atmosphere, reports Michael Marshall

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<![CDATA[Struggling to get started]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13322 As the world attempts to cope with the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers about to start PhDs and postdocs face particular challenges.

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<![CDATA[Best behaviour]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13095 Scientists are trying to control our actions in this pandemic, but what happens when they get things wrong? Graham Lawton reports

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<![CDATA[An uncommon cold]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12851 The covid-19 virus isn't the first coronavirus to jump from animals to humans. What can we learn from previous encounters, asks Anthony King

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<![CDATA[Covid-19, Adverse Scrutiny and The Journey to Code: where next for biometric tech?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_10613 Between leaving a Big Four accountancy firm on New Year's Eve and joining DWF Law as head of data protection and cyber-security, I spent a month developing a new business plan – fine-tuning a number of ideas I'd been working on concerning the future of data protection and privacy. This time allowed me to confirm the business plan should focus on two core ideas: namely ‘Adverse Scrutiny’ and ‘The Journey to Code'.

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<![CDATA[Serum IgA Fc effector functions in infectious disease and cancer]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8248 The role of mucosal immunoglobulin A (IgA) in infection (e.g. neutralization) has been extensively investigated; by contrast, serum IgA is poorly understood. Crosslinking of serum IgA with fragment crystallizable alpha receptor I (FcαRI) can activate immune cells (e.g. phagocytosis, antibody‐dependent cellular cytotoxicity, reactive oxygen species) to clear select bacteria, viruses and tumors, whereas monomeric serum IgA can inhibit these functions hindering an effective immune response. Here we discuss serum IgA Fc effector functions in infectious disease and tumor clearance, potential applications in immunotherapy and limitations of current research.

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<![CDATA[Dielectric-induced surface wave radiation loss]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf744108f-3177-456a-9f7b-980cfcadf3d0 We investigate a model which shows how the introduction of a perturbing dielectric close to an electromagnetic surface wave leads to radiation away from the surface through the dielectric. This resembles a surface waveguide passing through a wall or being deployed underground. Our theory, which is based on the mode-matching technique, allows quantitative determination of losses from a bound surface wave mode up to the point of its complete extinction. For a surface wave supported by a coated, conducting sheet the attenuation due to the perturbing dielectric is calculated for a number of frequencies, permittivities of the perturbation and separations between the sheet and the perturbing dielectric. The accuracy of our results is verified by simulation of the system with a full-wave numerical solution. Finally, we report experimental data of perturbed surface waves on a cable, which are in qualitative agreement with our model.

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<![CDATA[Large-Scale Air Medical Operations in the Age of Coronavirus Disease 2019: Early Leadership Lessons From the Front Lines of British Columbia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N73ff487d-f4f4-4970-a996-fd3381fbe307 In late 2019, a novel coronavirus was identified as the cause of a cluster of atypical pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. It subsequently spread throughout China and around the world, quickly becoming a public health emergency. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus disease 2019 a pandemic. This article explores the preparation and early experiences of a large Canadian critical care transport program during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic focused on 6 broad strategic objectives centered around staff welfare, regular and transparent communication, networking, evidenced-based approach to personal protective equipment, agile mission planning, and an expedited approach to clinical practice and policy updates and future state modeling.

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<![CDATA[COVID-19: Unanswered questions on immune response and pathogenesis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N4651b055-50e9-457a-804a-2d5f1bac8193 The novel coronavirus disease 2019 has rapidly increased in pandemic scale since it first appeared in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. In these troubled days the scientific community is asking for rapid replies to prevent and combat the emergency. It is generally accepted that only achieving a better understanding of the interactions between the virus and the host immune response and of the pathogenesis of infection is crucial to identify valid therapeutic tools to control virus entry, replication, and spread as well as to impair its lethal effects. On the basis of recent research progress of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and the results on previous coronaviruses, in this contribution we underscore some of the main unsolved problems, mostly focusing on pathogenetic aspects and host immunity to the virus. On this basis, we also touch important aspects regarding the immune response in asymptomatic subjects, the immune evasion of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in severe patients, and differences in disease severity by age and sex.

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<![CDATA[First-line endocrine therapy for postmenopausal patients with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nafa61ea7-915c-447e-a790-256d21c722b9 In establishing the 2018 Breast Cancer Practice Guidelines of the Japan Breast Cancer Society, we explored the optimal first-line endocrine therapy for advanced postmenopausal hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.MethodsWe performed a systematic review of relevant reports from randomized-controlled studies published prior to November 2016 found using medical journal search engines. The main outcomes which we evaluated were progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate (ORR), disease control rate (CBR), and toxicity.ResultsFour controlled trials comparing aromatase inhibitors (AI) and cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)4/6 inhibitor combination therapy to AI monotherapy, and two controlled trials comparing anastrozole to fulvestrant 500 mg were analyzed. AI/CDK4/6 inhibitor combination therapy significantly improved PFS (Risk Ratio: 0.67, 95%CI 0.60–0.73), increased ORR (Risk Difference: 0.11, 95% CI 0.07–0.16), and increased CBR (Risk Difference: 0.11, 95% CI 0.07–0.15), compared with AI monotherapy. Patients who received this combination therapy had a higher grade ≥ 3 adverse event rate more than those who received AI monotherapy (Risk Difference: 43%, 95%CI: 0.39–0.47). Fulvestrant 500 mg alone significantly improved PFS (risk ratio: 0.85, 95%CI 0.72–0.98), but ORR and CBR were similar to those of anastrozole alone.ConclusionIn the first-line treatment for advanced postmenopausal hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, a combination therapy of CDK4/6 inhibitors and AI showed significant improvement of PFS, ORR, and CBR but with significant increased toxicities compared with AI alone. Fulvestrant 500 mg monotherapy significantly prolonged PFS compared with AI monotherapy. We must wait for the results of the studies with longer follow-up period. ]]> <![CDATA[The African Region early experience with structures for the verification of measles elimination – a review]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N20b710fb-b6af-42dc-b50d-f8126f612b7a Substantial progress has been achieved in the last two decades with the implementation of measles control strategies in the African Region. Elimination of measles is defined as the absence of endemic transmission in a defined geographical region or country for at least 12 months, as documented by a well-performing surveillance system. The framework for documenting elimination outlines five lines of evidence that should be utilized in documenting and assessing progress towards measles elimination. In March 2017, the WHO regional office for Africa developed and disseminated regional guidelines for the verification of measles elimination. As of May 2019, fourteen countries in the African Region have established national verification committees and 8 of these have begun to document progress toward measles elimination. Inadequate awareness, concerns about multiple technical committees for immunization work, inadequate funding and human resources, as well as gaps in data quality and in the implementation of measles elimination strategies have been challenges that hindered the establishment and documentation of progress by national verification committees. We recommend continuous capacity building and advocacy, technical assistance and networking to improve the work around the documentation of country progress towards measles elimination in the African Region.

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<![CDATA[Influence of immune aging on vaccine responses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N8b432954-2754-4442-8957-2f44e150cabf Impaired vaccine responses in older individuals are associated with alterations in both the quantity and quality of the T-cell compartment with age. As reviewed herein, the T-cell response to vaccination requires a fine balance between the generation of inflammatory effector T cells versus follicular helper T (TFH) cells that mediate high-affinity antibody production in tandem with the induction of long-lived memory cells for effective recall immunity. During aging, we find that this balance is tipped where T cells favor short-lived effector but not memory or TFH responses. Consistently, vaccine-induced antibodies commonly display a lower protective capacity. Mechanistically, multiple, potentially targetable, changes in T cells have been identified that contribute to these age-related defects, including posttranscription regulation, T-cell receptor signaling, and metabolic function. Although research into the induction of tissue-specific immunity by vaccines and with age is still limited, current mechanistic insights provide a framework for improved design of age-specific vaccination strategies that require further evaluation in a clinical setting.

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<![CDATA[Opportunities and challenges of phenomics applied to livestock and aquaculture breeding in South America]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0b2eb268-a953-4ef9-a053-9582dde4a80b <![CDATA[New Approaches to Identifying and Reducing the Global Burden of Disease From Pollution]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nbf7723dd-5647-4f8e-be7f-e9600ebe8e30

Abstract

Pollution from multiple sources causes significant disease and death worldwide. Some sources are legacy, such as heavy metals accumulated in soils, and some are current, such as particulate matter. Because the global burden of disease from pollution is so high, it is important to identify legacy and current sources and to develop and implement effective techniques to reduce human exposure. But many limitations exist in our understanding of the distribution and transport processes of pollutants themselves, as well as the complicated overprint of human behavior and susceptibility.

New approaches are being developed to identify and eliminate pollution in multiple environments. Community‐scale detection of geogenic arsenic and fluoride in Bangladesh is helping to map the distribution of these harmful elements in drinking water. Biosensors such as bees and their honey are being used to measure heavy metal contamination in cities such as Vancouver and Sydney. Drone‐based remote sensors are being used to map metal hot spots in soils from former mining regions in Zambia and Mozambique. The explosion of low‐cost air monitors has allowed researchers to build dense air quality sensing networks to capture ephemeral and local releases of harmful materials, building on other developments in personal exposure sensing. And citizen science is helping communities without adequate resources measure their own environments and in this way gain agency in controlling local pollution exposure sources and/or alerting authorities to environmental hazards. The future of GeoHealth will depend on building on these developments and others to protect a growing population from multiple pollution exposure risks.

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<![CDATA[Risk-adjusted/neuroprotective care services in the NICU: the elemental role of the neonatal therapist (OT, PT, SLP)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N1f38cd2f-5cb8-4b1b-b135-b787a246c2e0

Infants admitted to neonatal intensive care units (NICU) require carefully designed risk-adjusted management encompassing a broad spectrum of neonatal subgroups. Key components of an optimal neuroprotective healing NICU environment are presented to support consistent quality of care delivery across NICU settings and levels of care. This article presents a perspective on the role of neonatal therapists—occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech–language pathologists—in the provision of elemental risk-adjusted neuroprotective care services. In alignment with professional organization competency recommendations from these disciplines, a broad overview of neonatal therapy services is described. Recognizing the staffing budget as one of the more difficult challenges hospital department leaders face, the authors present a formula-based approach to address staff allocations for neonatal therapists working in NICU settings. The article has been reviewed and endorsed by the National Association of Neonatal Therapists, National Association of Neonatal Nurses, and the National Perinatal Association.

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<![CDATA[Looking forward 25 years: the future of medicine]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd3858a45-e739-4ce5-ae47-e2420ca7f57b

To celebrate the end of our 25th anniversary year, we asked thought leaders and experts in the field to answer one question: What will shape the next 25 years of medical research?

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<![CDATA[Gene drive for population genetic control: non-functional resistance and parental effects]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N7498ff75-c52a-4894-ae77-5365b6eb19b4

Gene drive is a natural process of biased inheritance that, in principle, could be used to control pest and vector populations. As with any form of pest control, attention should be paid to the possibility of resistance evolving. For nuclease-based gene drive aimed at suppressing a population, resistance could arise by changes in the target sequence that maintain function, and various strategies have been proposed to reduce the likelihood that such alleles arise. Even if these strategies are successful, it is almost inevitable that alleles will arise at the target site that are resistant to the drive but do not restore function, and the impact of such sequences on the dynamics of control has been little studied. We use population genetic modelling of a strategy targeting a female fertility gene to demonstrate that such alleles may be expected to accumulate, and thereby reduce the reproductive load on the population, if nuclease expression per se causes substantial heterozygote fitness effects or if parental (especially paternal) deposition of nuclease either reduces offspring fitness or affects the genotype of their germline. All these phenomena have been observed in synthetic drive constructs. It will, therefore, be important to allow for non-functional resistance alleles in predicting the dynamics of constructs in cage populations and the impacts of any field release.

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