ResearchPad - social-systems https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The two types of society: Computationally revealing recurrent social formations and their evolutionary trajectories]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13873 Comparative social science has a long history of attempts to classify societies and cultures in terms of shared characteristics. However, only recently has it become feasible to conduct quantitative analysis of large historical datasets to mathematically approach the study of social complexity and classify shared societal characteristics. Such methods have the potential to identify recurrent social formations in human societies and contribute to social evolutionary theory. However, in order to achieve this potential, repeated studies are needed to assess the robustness of results to changing methods and data sets. Using an improved derivative of the Seshat: Global History Databank, we perform a clustering analysis of 271 past societies from sampling points across the globe to study plausible categorizations inherent in the data. Analysis indicates that the best fit to Seshat data is five subclusters existing as part of two clearly delineated superclusters (that is, two broad “types” of society in terms of social-ecological configuration). Our results add weight to the idea that human societies form recurrent social formations by replicating previous studies with different methods and data. Our results also contribute nuance to previously established measures of social complexity, illustrate diverse trajectories of change, and shed further light on the finite bounds of human social diversity.

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<![CDATA[Proficiency based progression simulation training significantly reduces utility strikes; A prospective, randomized and blinded study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7871 We evaluated a simulation-based training curriculum with quantitatively defined performance benchmarks for utility workers location and excavation of utility services.BackgroundDamaging buried utilities is associated with considerable safety risks to workers and substantial cost to employers.MethodsIn a prospective, randomized and blinded study we assessed the impact of Proficiency Based Progression (PBP) simulation training on the location and excavation of utility services work.ResultsPBP simulation training reduced performance errors (33%, p = 0.006) in comparison a standard trained group. When implemented across all workers in the same division there was a 35–61% reduction in utility strikes (p = 0.028) and an estimated cost saving of £116,000 –£2,175,000 in the 12 months (47,000 work hours) studied.ConclusionsThe magnitude of the training benefit of PBP simulation training in the utilities sector appears to be the same as it is in surgery, cardiology and procedure-based medicine.ApplicationQuality-assured utility worker simulation training significantly reduces utility damage and associated costs. ]]> <![CDATA[Effects of sea-level rise on physiological ecology of populations of a ground-dwelling ant]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N7f89605c-5421-4b76-a019-ba0e7ddd5b34

Introduction

Sea-level rise is a consequence of climate change that can impact the ecological and physiological changes of coastal, ground-dwelling species. Sea-level rise has a potential to inundate birds, rodents, spiders, and insects that live on the ground in coastal areas. Yet, there is still much to be learned concerning the specifics of these impacts. The red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Buren) excavates soil for its home and is capable of surviving flooding. Because of their ground-dwelling life history and rapid reproduction, fire ants make an ideal model for discovery and prediction of changes that may be due to sea-level rise. There are up to 500,000 individuals in a colony, and these invasive ants naturally have a painful sting. However, observations suggest that colonies of fire ants that dwell in tidally-influenced areas are more aggressive with more frequent stings and more venom injected per sting (behavioral and physiological changes) than those located inland. This may be an adaption to sea-level rise. Therefore, the objective of this study is to elucidate differences in inland and coastal defensiveness via micro-dissection and comparison of head width, head length, stinger length, and venom sac volume. But first because fire ants’ ability to raft on brackish tidal water is unknown, it had to be determined if fire ants could indeed raft in brackish water and examine the behavior differences between those flooded with freshwater vs. saltwater.

Methods

To test the coastal-aggression hypothesis, inland colonies and coastal colonies, which experience relatively greater amounts of flooding, specifically regular tidal and windblown water and oscillations (i.e. El Nińo Southern Oscillation) from the Gulf of Mexico, were collected. To mimic sea-level rise, the colonies were flooded in salinities that correspond to both their collection site and conditions found in a variety of locales and situations (such as storm surge from a tropical storm). Individual ants were immediately taken from each colony for dissection before flooding, 1-hour into flooding, and 24-hours into flooding.

Results and discussion

Fire ants use their venom to defend themselves and to communicate alarm or aggression. Dissections and measurement of heads, venom sacs, and stingers revealed both coastal and inland colonies experience an increase in venom sac volume after 24 hours; in fact coastal colonies increased their venom volume by 75% after 24 h of flooding Whether this venom sac enlargement is due to diffusion of water or venom sac production is unknown. These ground-dwelling ants exhibit physiological and behavioral adaptations to ongoing sea-level rise possibly indicating that they are responding to increased flooding. Fire ants will raft on high-salinity water; and sea-level rise may cause stings by flooded ants to be more severe because of increased venom volume.

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<![CDATA[Long-term effect of the Brazilian Workers’ Food Program on the nutritional status of manufacturing workers: A population-based prospective cohort study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N23375fc9-a89d-407e-9d06-75f348bd7d78

Background

The Brazilian Workers Food Program (WFP) is a public policy program of nutritional assistance to workers, with the main objective of improving nutritional conditions, which was implemented 40 years ago and serves over 21.4 million workers.

Objectives

To compare the long-term change in anthropometric indicators of the nutritional status and dietary intake between workers of manufacturing industries adherent to and non-adherent to the WFP.

Methods

A prospective cohort study, based on a combined stratified and multistage probability sampling, was carried out, with two waves with a 4-year interval. The change in body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and dietary intake at lunch by the 24-hour recall method were compared between groups with analysis of covariance.

Results

A total of 273 workers in 16 industries from an initial cohort of 1069 workers in 26 industries of the State of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil were evaluated in the two waves. The mean age was 37±10 years and 53.1% were male, with no differences between groups in age and sex distribution. BMI increased in both groups (0.44 kg/m2 in non-WFP, p = 0.003, and 0.56 kg/m2 in WFP, p = 0.0006) and WC increased in the WFP group (1.50 cm, p = 0.0006). BMI change over time did not show statistical differences between groups (p = 0.54) but WC had a greater increase in the WFP group (difference 1.37 cm, p = 0.047). There were no differences between groups in the change over time of the dietary intake.

Conclusion

BMI and WC increased over time in manufacturing workers of industries both adherent and non-adherent to the WFP, but with a greater increase of WC in the WFP group. In order to achieve the objectives of the WFP, there will be a need for periodic evaluation and monitoring of nutritional indicators in these workers and implementation of monitoring and enforcement actions of the WFP.

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<![CDATA[Risk of stomach cancer incidence in a cohort of Mayak PA workers occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nb5246167-3f67-43a4-8a84-93c6a22ed7ff

Stomach cancer is a widespread health condition associated with environmental and genetic factors. Contribution of ionizing radiation to stomach cancer etiology is not sufficiently studied. This study was aimed to assess an association of the stomach cancer incidence risk with doses from occupational radiation exposure in a cohort of workers hired at main Mayak production association facilities in 1948–1982 taking into account non-radiation factors including digestive disorders. The study cohort comprised 22,377 individuals and by 31.12.2013 343 stomach cancer diagnoses had been reported among the cohort members. Occupational stomach absorbed doses were provided by the Mayak Worker Dosimetry System– 2008 (MWDS–2008) for external gamma ray exposure and by the Mayak Worker Dosimetry System– 2013 (MWDS–2013) for internal exposure to plutonium. Excess relative risks (ERR) per Gy for stomach cancer were estimated using the Poisson’s regression. Analyses were run using the AMFIT module of the EPICURE software. The stomach cancer incidence risk in the study cohort was found to be significantly associated with the stomach absorbed dose of gamma rays: ERR/Gy = 0.19 (95% CI: 0.01, 0.44) with a 0 year lag, and ERR/Gy = 0.20 (95% CI: 0.01, 0.45) with a 5 year lag. To estimate the baseline risk, sex, attained age, smoking status and alcohol consumption, chronic diseases (peptic ulcer, gastritis and duodenitis) were taken into account. No modifications of the radiogenic risk by non-radiation factors were found in the study worker cohort. No association of the stomach cancer incidence risk with internal exposure to incorporated plutonium was observed.

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<![CDATA[Algorithmic bias amplifies opinion fragmentation and polarization: A bounded confidence model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823d7d5eed0c484639133

The flow of information reaching us via the online media platforms is optimized not by the information content or relevance but by popularity and proximity to the target. This is typically performed in order to maximise platform usage. As a side effect, this introduces an algorithmic bias that is believed to enhance fragmentation and polarization of the societal debate. To study this phenomenon, we modify the well-known continuous opinion dynamics model of bounded confidence in order to account for the algorithmic bias and investigate its consequences. In the simplest version of the original model the pairs of discussion participants are chosen at random and their opinions get closer to each other if they are within a fixed tolerance level. We modify the selection rule of the discussion partners: there is an enhanced probability to choose individuals whose opinions are already close to each other, thus mimicking the behavior of online media which suggest interaction with similar peers. As a result we observe: a) an increased tendency towards opinion fragmentation, which emerges also in conditions where the original model would predict consensus, b) increased polarisation of opinions and c) a dramatic slowing down of the speed at which the convergence at the asymptotic state is reached, which makes the system highly unstable. Fragmentation and polarization are augmented by a fragmented initial population.

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<![CDATA[Long live the queen, the king and the commoner? Transcript expression differences between old and young in the termite Cryptotermes secundus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc99ad5eed0c484529eb1

Social insects provide promising new avenues for aging research. Within a colony, individuals that share the same genetic background can differ in lifespan by up to two orders of magnitude. Reproducing queens (and in termites also kings) can live for more than 20 years, extraordinary lifespans for insects. We studied aging in a termite species, Cryptotermes secundus, which lives in less socially complex societies with a few hundred colony members. Reproductives develop from workers which are totipotent immatures. Comparing transcriptomes of young and old individuals, we found evidence for aging in reproductives that was especially associated with DNA and protein damage and the activity of transposable elements. By contrast, workers seemed to be better protected against aging. Thus our results differed from those obtained for social insects that live in more complex societies. Yet, they are in agreement with lifespan estimates for the study species. Our data are also in line with expectations from evolutionary theory. For individuals that are able to reproduce, it predicts that aging should only start after reaching maturity. As C. secundus workers are immatures with full reproductive options we expect them to invest into anti-aging processes. Our study illustrates that the degree of aging can differ between social insects and that it may be associated with caste-specific opportunities for reproduction.

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<![CDATA[An mHealth pilot designed to increase the reach of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) across the treatment cascade in a resource-constrained setting in Tanzania]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c70673ed5eed0c4847c6c88

Background

Data collection and integrated reporting between the multiple health facilities for supporting more efficient care linkages is an indispensable element for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) by fostering continuity of patient care and improving the treatment cascade for HIV-infected pregnant women. mHealth potentially presents timely solutions to the data challenges related to efficient and effective care delivery in resource-constrained settings, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Methods

This randomized controlled pilot study used stratified random sampling for the selection of seven intervention and seven control sites in Misungwi, Tanzania, a rural district in the northwestern region. Twenty-eight health workers at seven intervention health facilities used the Tanzania Health Information Technology (T-HIT) system during a 3-month period from February 23, 2015, through May 23, 2015, to capture antenatal, delivery, and postnatal patient visits.

Results

T-HIT was designed for use on tablets with the goal to improve reporting, surveillance and monitoring of HIV rates and care delivery in the remote and rural settings. Health workers successfully recorded 2,453 visits. Of these, 1,594 were antenatal visits, 484 deliveries were recorded, and 375 were postnatal visits. Within the antenatal visits, 96% of women had a single visit (1474). Healthcare workers were unable to test 6.7% of women antenatally for HIV.

Conclusion

The T-HIT pilot demonstrated the feasibility for implementing an mHealth integrated solution in a rural, low-resource setting that links tablet-based surveillance, health worker capacity-building and patient reminders into a single robust and responsive system. Although the implementation phase was only three months, the pilot generated evidence that T-HIT has potential for improving patient outcomes by providing more comprehensive, linked, and timely PMTCT care data at the individual and clinic levels.

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<![CDATA[Hierarchical structure in the world’s largest high-speed rail network]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca06d5eed0c48452a6cf

Presently, China has the largest high-speed rail (HSR) system in the world. However, our understanding of the network structure of the world’s largest HSR system remains largely incomplete due to the limited data available. In this study, a publicly available data source, namely, information from a ticketing website, was used to collect an exhaustive dataset on the stations and routes within the Chinese HSR system. The dataset included all 704 HSR stations that had been built as of June, 2016. A classical set of frequently used metrics based on complex network theory were analyzed, including degree centrality, betweenness centrality, and closeness centrality. The frequency distributions of all three metrics demonstrated highly consistent bimodal-like patterns, suggesting that the Chinese HSR network consists of two distinct regimes. The results indicate that the Chinese HSR system has a hierarchical structure, rather than a scale-free structure as has been commonly observed. To the best of our knowledge, such a network structure has not been found in other railway systems, or in transportation systems in general. Follow-up studies are needed to reveal the formation mechanisms of this hierarchical network structure.

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<![CDATA[Demand and supply factors of iron-folic acid supplementation and its association with anaemia in North Indian pregnant women]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b529cd5eed0c4842bcc9d

Anaemia prevalence in pregnant women of India declined from 57.9% to 50.3% from National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-3 to NFHS-4. However, over the course of that decade, the uptake of iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation for 100 days of pregnancy improved by only 15%. To understand demand side risk factors of anaemia specifically related to IFA intake, an in-depth survey was conducted on pregnant women (n = 436) in 50 villages and wards of Sirohi district of Rajasthan, India. At the demand side, consistent IFA consumption in the previous trimester was inversely and strongly associated with anaemia (OR: 0.26, 95% CI: 0.12, 0.55). Reasons for inconsistent consumption included not registering to antenatal clinic, not receiving IFA tablets from the health worker and perceived lack of need. At the supply side, an analysis of IFA stock data at various levels of the health care (n = 168) providers from primary to tertiary levels showed that 14 out of 52 villages surveyed did not have access to IFA tablets. The closest availability of an IFA tablet for 16 villages, was more than 5 km away. To improve the uptake of IFA supplementation and thereby reduce iron deficiency anaemia in pregnant women, a constant supply of IFA at the village or sub-centre level, where frontline workers can promote uptake, should be ensured.

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<![CDATA[The association between exposure to different aspects of shift work and metabolic risk factors in health care workers, and the role of chronotype]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df32dd5eed0c484580e2a

Objective

Shift work has been linked to cardio-metabolic diseases, but insight into different shift work-related aspects and chronotype of shift workers and their relation with metabolic risk factors is limited. This study examined the association between current shift work status, frequency and duration of night shift work, chronotype, and metabolic risk factors in a population of health care workers.

Methods

Anthropometrics, questionnaires, and blood samples were collected from 503 shift working and 93 non-shift working health care workers employed in hospitals. Body mass index, waist circumference, cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL), triglycerides, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein were measured. Associations of current shift work, frequency (non-night shift worker, 1–2, 3–4, ≥5 night shifts/month) and duration of night shift work (non-night shift workers, <10, 10–19, ≥20 years), and shift workers’ chronotype, with metabolic risk factors were studied using linear regression analysis.

Results

Compared to non-shift workers, shift workers’ total cholesterol level was 0.38 mmol/L lower (95%-CI = -0.73 –-0.04) and LDL cholesterol was 0.34 mmol/L lower (95%-CI = -0.60 –-0.08). For all other metabolic risk factors, no differences were found. The association between shift work and LDL cholesterol was especially found among shift workers working night shifts for ≥20 years (B = -0.49 (95%-CI = -0.78 –-0.19)). No differences were found for night shift frequency and chronotype.

Conclusion

In this population of health care workers employed in hospitals, no evidence for differences in metabolic risk factors was observed that could underlie a link between shift work and cardio-metabolic diseases. Further research using different aspects of shift work to study the association with metabolic risk factors is recommended.

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<![CDATA[Work stress among older employees in Germany: Effects on health and retirement age]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8c1d5eed0c48496f0cd

Background

Policy makers in aging societies aim for the extension of work lives by increasing the official retirement age. Despite these efforts, many people stop working before reaching this retirement age. The main reason for early retirement is poor health. Health in turn is influenced by exposure to the work environment. Furthermore, health and work stress are influenced by education, which may lead to different effects for the lowly and the highly educated.

Objective

This study examines the relationship between work stress and retirement age. It investigates whether this relationship is mediated by health and moderated by education. Three dimensions of health are taken into account: self-rated health (SRH), depressive symptoms, and high cardiovascular risk diseases (HCVR).

Methods

A German subsample of the longitudinal Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) was linked with register data of the German Public Pension Scheme (SHARE-RV). The sample followed 302 individuals aged 50 to 65 years at baseline from 2004 to 2014. The data contains information on work stress, measured by job control and effort–reward–imbalance (ERI), health, and age of retirement. Multi-group structural equation modeling was applied to analyze the direct and indirect effects of work stress on retirement age via health. Work stress was lagged so that it temporally preceded health and retirement age.

Results

Lower job control and poorer SRH lead to a lower retirement age. Health does not operate as a mediator in the relationship between work stress and retirement age. Education moderates the relationship between work stress and health: high ERI leads to better SRH and better physical health of higher educated persons. Low job control increases the risk of depressive symptoms for persons with less education.

Conclusions

Improving stressful working conditions, particularly improving job control, can prolong the working lives of employees and postpone retirement.

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<![CDATA[Self-organization and time-stability of social hierarchies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fed3d5eed0c48413563c

The formation and stability of social hierarchies is a question of general relevance. Here, we propose a simple generalized theoretical model for establishing social hierarchy via pair-wise interactions between individuals and investigate its stability. In each interaction or fight, the probability of “winning” depends solely on the relative societal status of the participants, and the winner has a gain of status whereas there is an equal loss to the loser. The interactions are characterized by two parameters. The first parameter represents how much can be lost, and the second parameter represents the degree to which even a small difference of status can guarantee a win for the higher-status individual. Depending on the parameters, the resulting status distributions reach either a continuous unimodal form or lead to a totalitarian end state with one high-status individual and all other individuals having status approaching zero. However, we find that in the latter case long-lived intermediary distributions often exist, which can give the illusion of a stable society. As we show, our model allows us to make predictions consistent with animal interaction data and their evolution over a number of years. Moreover, by implementing a simple, but realistic rule that restricts interactions to sufficiently similar-status individuals, the stable or long-lived distributions acquire high-status structure corresponding to a distinct high-status class. Using household income as a proxy for societal status in human societies, we find agreement over their entire range from the low-to-middle-status parts to the characteristic high-status “tail”. We discuss how the model provides a conceptual framework for understanding the origin of social hierarchy and the factors which lead to the preservation or deterioration of the societal structure.

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<![CDATA[Discourses mapped by Q-method show governance constraints motivate landscape approaches in Indonesia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2f1d5eed0c48441ee11

Interpreting discourses among implementers of what is termed a “landscape approach” enables us to learn from their experience to improve conservation and development outcomes. We use Q-methodology to explore the perspectives of a group of experts in the landscape approach, both from academic and implementation fields, on what hinderances are in place to the realisation of achieving sustainable landscape management in Indonesia. The results show that, at a generic level, “corruption” and “lack of transparency and accountability” rank as the greatest constraints on landscape functionality. Biophysical factors, such as topography and climate change, rank as the least constraining factors. When participants considered a landscape with which they were most familiar, the results changed: the rapid change of regulations, limited local human capacity and inaccessible data on economic risks increased, while the inadequacy of democratic institutions, “overlapping laws” and “corruption” decreased. The difference indicates some fine-tuning of generic perceptions to the local context and may also reflect different views on what is achievable for landscape approach practitioners. Overall, approximately 55% of variance is accounted for by five discourse factors for each trial. Four overlapped and two discourses were discrete enough to merit different discourse labels. We labelled the discourses (1) social exclusionists, (2) state view, (3) community view, (4) integrationists, (5) democrats, and (6) neoliberals. Each discourse contains elements actionable at the landscape scale, as well as exogenous issues that originate at national and global scales. Actionable elements that could contribute to improving governance included trust building, clarified resource rights and responsibilities, and inclusive representation in management. The landscape sustainability discourses studied here suggests that landscape approach “learners” must focus on ways to remedy poor governance if they are to achieve sustainability and multi-functionality.

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<![CDATA[Network structure reveals patterns of legal complexity in human society: The case of the Constitutional legal network]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5217d6d5eed0c48479467c

Complexity in nature has been broadly found not only in physical and biological systems but also in social and economic systems. Although many studies have examined complex systems and helped us understand real-world complexity, the investigation to the legal complexity has not been thoroughly investigated. Here we introduce a novel approach to studying complex legal systems using complex network approaches. On the basis of the bipartite relations among Constitution articles and Court decisions, we built a complex legal network and found the system shows the heterogeneous structure as generally observed in many complex social systems. By treating legal networks as unique political regimes, we examine whether structural properties of the systems have been influenced as the society changes, or not. On one hand, there is a core structure in all legal networks regardless of any social circumstances. On the other hand, with relative comparison among different regimes’ networks, we could identify characteristic structural properties that reveal their identity. Our analysis would contribute to provide a better understanding of legal complexity and practical guidelines for use in various legal and social applications.

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<![CDATA[Fine-tuned intruder discrimination favors ant parasitoidism]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c605a26d5eed0c4847cca81

A diversity of arthropods (myrmecophiles) thrives within ant nests, many of them unmolested though some, such as the specialized Eucharitidae parasitoids, may cause direct damage to their hosts. Ants are known to discriminate between nestmates and non-nestmates, but whether they recognize the strength of a threat and their capacity to adjust their behavior accordingly have not been fully explored. We aimed to determine whether Ectatomma tuberculatum ants exhibited specific behavioral responses to potential or actual intruders posing different threats to the host colony and to contribute to an understanding of complex ant-eucharitid interactions. Behavioral responses differed significantly according to intruder type. Ants evicted intruders that represented a threat to the colony’s health (dead ants) or were not suitable as prey items (filter paper, eucharitid parasitoid wasps, non myrmecophilous adult weevils), but killed potential prey (weevil larvae, termites). The timing of detection was in accordance with the nature and size of the intruder: corpses (a potential source of contamination) were detected faster than any other intruder and transported to the refuse piles within 15 min. The structure and complexity of behavioral sequences differed among those intruders that were discarded. Workers not only recognized and discriminated between several distinct intruders but also adjusted their behavior to the type of intruder encountered. Our results confirm the previously documented recognition capabilities of E. tuberculatum workers and reveal a very fine-tuned intruder discrimination response. Colony-level prophylactic and hygienic behavioral responses through effective removal of inedible intruders appears to be the most general and flexible form of defense in ants against a diverse array of intruders. However, this generalized response to both potentially lethal and harmless intruders might have driven the evolution of ant-eucharitid interactions, opening a window for parasitoid attack and allowing adult parasitoid wasps to quickly leave the natal nest unharmed.

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<![CDATA[Predictors of malaria Rapid Diagnostic Tests’ utilisation among healthcare workers in Zamfara State]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1d5b48d5eed0c4846eb439

Introduction

Early diagnosis and prompt and effective treatment is one of the pillars of malaria control. Malaria case management guidelines recommend diagnostic testing before treatment using malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (mRDT) or microscopy and this was adopted in Nigeria in 2010. However, despite the deployment of mRDT, the use of mRDTs by health workers varies by settings. This study set out to assess factors influencing utilisation of mRDT among healthcare workers in Zamfara State, Nigeria.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was carried out among 306 healthcare workers selected using multistage sampling from six Local Government Areas between January and February 2017. Mixed method was used for data collection. A pre-tested self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on knowledge, use of mRDT and factors influencing utilization. An observational checklist was used to assess the availability of mRDT in the six months prior to this study. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as means and proportions. Association between mRDT use and independent variables was tested using Chi square while multiple regression was used to determine predictors of use at 5% level of significance.

Results

Mean age of respondents was 36.0 ± 9.4years. Overall, 198 (64.7%) of health workers had good knowledge of mRDT; mRDT was available in 33 (61.1%) facilities. Routine use of mRDT was reported by 253 (82.7%) healthcare workers. This comprised 89 (35.2%) laboratory scientists/technicians, 89 (35.2%) community health extension workers/community health officers; 59 (23.3%) nurses and 16 (6.3%) doctors. Health workers’ good knowledge of mRDT, trust in mRDT results, having received prior training on mRDT, and non-payment for mRDT were predictors of mRDT utilisation.

Conclusion

This study demonstrated that healthcare worker utilisation of mRDT was associated with health worker and health system-related factors that are potentially modifiable. There is need to sustain training of healthcare workers on benefits of using mRDT and provision of free mRDT in health facilities.

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<![CDATA[Too soon to worry? Longitudinal examination of financial planning for retirement among Spanish aged workers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1d5b45d5eed0c4846eb3e4

The present study analyzes the relationship between three distal antecedents—financial literacy, confidence in retirement, and economic well-being—and financial planning for retirement evaluated at two different times. We used longitudinal data with repeated measures of financial planning for retirement obtained from a sample (N = 269) of active Spanish workers aged 45–62 years. The results confirm that self-perceived financial knowledge, confidence in retirement, and economic well-being are associated with financial planning for retirement at three and six months. The stability of financial planning for retirement over time was a relevant finding in the present research, even though different measures have been employed in the two waves and financial planning decreases slightly at three months. While the first step of planning, at three months, has predictive power over the second, at six months, there are possible moderators in the relationship between financial planning for retirement at time 1 and time 2, which were not explored. The implications of the results both for financial education and Policy-makers are discussed. Future lines of research can explore these relationships including objective measures of income, as wealth accumulation.

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<![CDATA[Risk assessment and predation potential of Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Acari: Laelapidae) to control Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae) in honey bees]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c141eb8d5eed0c484d27f19

The biocontrol of the honey bee ectoparasite Varroa destructor is an underexploited but promising avenue that would benefit from being integrated in a Varroa management program. Our study aimed to investigate the potential of the predatory mite Stratiolaelaps scimitus to control Varroa infestations in honey bees. Tests on safety and predation were carried out to: (1) assess the risk of predation of the honey bee brood by S. scimitus under laboratory conditions and within the colony, and (2) evaluate the predation potential of S. scimitus on phoretic Varroa mites. Under laboratory conditions, S. scimitus was able to feed upon free Varroa mites, but also attacked every unprotected honey bee brood stages with a strong preference for bee eggs. When introduced inside colonies, however, S. scimitus does not have negative effects on the survival of the bee brood. Moreover, observations made in the laboratory revealed that S. scimitus does not attack Varroa mites when they are attached to the body of bees. However, all Varroa mites that had naturally fallen from the bees were predated upon by S. scimitus and died in less than 24h. This study provides evidence that S. scimitus does not represent a significant threat to the bee brood, but also suggests that its effect in Varroa control will probably be limited as it does not attack phoretic Varroa mites. Our results represent a first step in assessing the potential of S. scimitus to control V. destructor and provide novel information about the predator’s behavior inside the honey bee colony.

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<![CDATA[Parasitism, sexual dimorphism and effect of host size on Apocephalus attophilus offspring, a parasitoid of the leaf-cutting ant Atta bisphaerica]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ed787d5eed0c484f1432c

Atta bisphaerica (Forel) is a leaf-cutting ant that specializes on grass and causes productivity losses in sugar cane fields and pastures. Three phorid species, Apocephalus attophilus (Borgmeier), Myrmosicarius grandicornis (Borgmeier) and Eibesfeldtphora bragancai (Brown), have been found parasitizing A. bisphaerica workers. These parasitoids can reduce plant material transported into the nests and ant traffic on the trails. Therefore, phorid flies have been considered potential biological control agents for leaf-cutting ants. Here, we evaluated which parasitoid species attack the leaf-cutting ant A. bisphaerica in pasture areas of a Brazilian Savannah-Atlantic Forest ecotone, parasitism rate, effect of host size, sexual dimorphism and sex ratio of the emerged parasitoids. Four nests of A. bisphaerica were selected in pasture areas from August 2016 to August 2017, with 400 workers collected from each colony monthly. A total of 23,714 A. bisphaerica workers were collected during the study, of which 236 (0.99%) were parasitized by phorid parasitoids. Apocephalus attophilus, E. bragancai and M. grandicornis parasitized 217, 17 and 2 ants, respectively. The higher parasitism rate was found in the hottest/rainy season of the year. Non-parasitized ants survived longer than those parasitized by A. attophilus. The larval and pupal periods of this parasitoid were 2.2 ± 0.8 and 16 ± 1.4 days, respectively, and the number of pupae per parasitized ant ranged from 1 to 7. The number of A. attophilus pupae per host increased with the host head size. Likewise, the size of the adult parasitoids also increased according to the host ant. Apocephalus attophilus females were larger than males and the sex ratio (male: female) did not differ from 1: 1. Our results showed that A. attophilus would be a potential biocontrol agent of leaf-cutting ants because it produces multiple larvae per host, allowing a great production of parasitoids with short developmental time and kills the host ant faster than other phorids.

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