During the Great Plague of London (1665), William Winstanley veered from his better known roles as arbiter of success and failure in his works of biography or as a comic author under the pseudonym Poor Robin, and instead engaged with his reading audience as a plague writer in the rare book The Christians Refuge: Or Heavenly Antidotes Against the Plague in this Time of Generall Contagion to Which is Added the Charitable Physician (1665). From its extensive paratexts, including a table of mortality statistics and woodcut of king death, to its temporal and providential interpretation of the disease between the covers of a single text, The Christians Refuge is a compendium of contemporary understanding of plague. This article addresses The Christians Refuge as an expression of London’s print marketplace in a moment of transformation precipitated by the epidemic. The author considers the paratextual elements in The Christians Refuge that engage with the presiding norms in plague writing and publishing in 1665 and also explores how Winstanley’s authorship is expressed in the work. Winstanley has long been seen as a biographer or as a humour writer; attributing The Christians Refuge extends and challenges previous perceptions of his work.
Plague; Print Culture; London; 1665; William Winstanley; Paratext; Authorship; Poor Robin; Disease; Medicine; English Literature; Poetry
Petal color change in morning glory Ipomoea tricolor cv. Heavenly Blue, from red to blue, during the flower-opening period is due to an unusual increase in vacuolar pH (pHv) from 6.6 to 7.7 in colored epidermal cells. We clarified that this pHv increase is involved in tonoplast-localized Na+/H+ exchanger (NHX). However, the mechanism of pHv increase and the physiological role of NHX1 in petal cells have remained obscure. In this study, synchrony of petal-color change from red to blue, pHv increase, K+ accumulation, and cell expansion growth during flower-opening period were examined with special reference to ItNHX1. We concluded that ItNHX1 exchanges K+, but not Na+, with H+ to accumulate an ionic osmoticum in the vacuole, which is then followed by cell expansion growth. This function may lead to full opening of petals with a characteristic blue color.
ItNHX1; Ipomoea tricolor cv. Heavenly Blue; vacuolar pH increase; K+/H+ exchange; cell expansion growth; flower opening
In mainland China, the motivation behind voluntary blood donation is a relatively new and understudied behavior. In recent times provincial governments in China have implemented various institutional incentive measures. However, little is known regarding the effectiveness of such measures. This qualitative study investigated the nature and outcomes of some identified institutionalized mechanisms, in particular how these were created and distributed in the form of incentives for voluntary blood donation.
Participatory observations were conducted at two blood donation stations and four blood collecting vehicles in Changsha city, China. In-depth interviews were conducted with 17 staff and 58 blood donors at the aforementioned venues from May to October 2008 in Changsha.
Thematic analysis revealed the operation of four primary type incentives: policy-driven, symbolic, information feedback and role models, which constituted the system of institutional incentives. The current blood reimbursement system was not the primary motivation for blood donation; instead this system was a subtheme of future assurance for emergency blood needs. It was evident that symbolic incentives stressed the meaning and value of blood donation. Furthermore, post-donation information services and the inherent mechanisms of communication, enhanced by some public role models, served to draw the public to donate blood.
At the institutional level, blood donation was not only informed by altruism, but also carried a system of benefit and reward for the donors and their family members. We would recommend that such arrangements, if accommodated effectively into China’s health promotion strategies, would increase the likelihood of blood donation.
Blood collection; Blood donation; Institutional incentives; China
Interaction of pharmaceutical companies (PC) with healthcare services has been a reason for concern. In medicine, awareness of the ethical implications of these interactions have been emphasized upon, while this issue has not been highlighted in dentistry. This study undertook a cross-sectional rapid assessment procedure to gather views of dentists in various institutions towards unethical practices in health care and pharmaceutical industry. The purpose of this study was to assess the need for the formulation and implementation of guidelines for the interaction of dentists with the pharmaceutical and device industry in the best interest of patients.
A group of 209 dentists of Lahore including faculty members, demonstrators, private practitioners and fresh graduates responded to a questionnaire to assess their attitudes and practices towards pharmaceutical companies’ marketing gifts.
The study was conducted during 2011 and provided interesting data that showed the pharmaceutical industry is approaching private practitioners more frequently than academicians and fresh graduates. Private practioners accepted the gifts but mostly recognized them as unethical (over 65%). Both groups considered sponsoring of on-campus lectures as acceptable (over 70%).
Respondents are not fully aware of the ethical demands which are imperative for all health care industries, and there is a dire need of strict guidelines and code of ethics for the dentist’s interaction with the pharmaceutical and device industry so that patient interest is protected.
Attitude; practice; Pharmaceutical companies; Dentists; Marketing gifts
Gene annotation is a pivotal component in computational genomics, encompassing prediction of gene function, expression analysis, and sequence scrutiny. Hence, quantitative measures of the annotation landscape constitute a pertinent bioinformatics tool. GeneCards® is a gene-centric compendium of rich annotative information for over 50,000 human gene entries, building upon 68 data sources, including Gene Ontology (GO), pathways, interactions, phenotypes, publications and many more.
We present the GeneCards Inferred Functionality Score (GIFtS) which allows a quantitative assessment of a gene's annotation status, by exploiting the unique wealth and diversity of GeneCards information. The GIFtS tool, linked from the GeneCards home page, facilitates browsing the human genome by searching for the annotation level of a specified gene, retrieving a list of genes within a specified range of GIFtS value, obtaining random genes with a specific GIFtS value, and experimenting with the GIFtS weighting algorithm for a variety of annotation categories. The bimodal shape of the GIFtS distribution suggests a division of the human gene repertoire into two main groups: the high-GIFtS peak consists almost entirely of protein-coding genes; the low-GIFtS peak consists of genes from all of the categories. Cluster analysis of GIFtS annotation vectors provides the classification of gene groups by detailed positioning in the annotation arena. GIFtS also provide measures which enable the evaluation of the databases that serve as GeneCards sources. An inverse correlation is found (for GIFtS>25) between the number of genes annotated by each source, and the average GIFtS value of genes associated with that source. Three typical source prototypes are revealed by their GIFtS distribution: genome-wide sources, sources comprising mainly highly annotated genes, and sources comprising mainly poorly annotated genes. The degree of accumulated knowledge for a given gene measured by GIFtS was correlated (for GIFtS>30) with the number of publications for a gene, and with the seniority of this entry in the HGNC database.
GIFtS can be a valuable tool for computational procedures which analyze lists of large set of genes resulting from wet-lab or computational research. GIFtS may also assist the scientific community with identification of groups of uncharacterized genes for diverse applications, such as delineation of novel functions and charting unexplored areas of the human genome.
With the biomedical literature continually expanding, searching PubMed for information about specific genes becomes increasingly difficult. Not only can thousands of results be returned, but gene name ambiguity leads to many irrelevant hits. As a result, it is difficult for life scientists and gene curators to rapidly get an overall picture about a specific gene from documents that mention its names and synonyms.
In this paper, we present eGIFT (http://biotm.cis.udel.edu/eGIFT), a web-based tool that associates informative terms, called iTerms, and sentences containing them, with genes. To associate iTerms with a gene, eGIFT ranks iTerms about the gene, based on a score which compares the frequency of occurrence of a term in the gene's literature to its frequency of occurrence in documents about genes in general. To retrieve a gene's documents (Medline abstracts), eGIFT considers all gene names, aliases, and synonyms. Since many of the gene names can be ambiguous, eGIFT applies a disambiguation step to remove matches that do not correspond to this gene. Another additional filtering process is applied to retain those abstracts that focus on the gene rather than mention it in passing. eGIFT's information for a gene is pre-computed and users of eGIFT can search for genes by using a name or an EntrezGene identifier. iTerms are grouped into different categories to facilitate a quick inspection. eGIFT also links an iTerm to sentences mentioning the term to allow users to see the relation between the iTerm and the gene. We evaluated the precision and recall of eGIFT's iTerms for 40 genes; between 88% and 94% of the iTerms were marked as salient by our evaluators, and 94% of the UniProtKB keywords for these genes were also identified by eGIFT as iTerms.
Our evaluations suggest that iTerms capture highly-relevant aspects of genes. Furthermore, by showing sentences containing these terms, eGIFT can provide a quick description of a specific gene. eGIFT helps not only life scientists survey results of high-throughput experiments, but also annotators to find articles describing gene aspects and functions.
We present our early experience with gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and direct intraperitoneal insemination (DIPI) combined with intrauterine insemination (IUI), two recently described methods of assisting conception in patients with patent fallopian tubes. Sixty-nine patients (93 cycles) were entered into the study. Thirty-three patients (51 cycles) entered the DIPI/IUI programme and 36 patients (42 cycles) entered the GIFT programme. The mean age, duration and aetiology of infertility were similar in both groups. In the GIFT programme 12 pregnancies occurred, which is a 29% pregnancy rate per cycle and a 33% pregnancy rate per patient. In the DIPI/IUI programme only 3 pregnancies occurred, being a 6% pregnancy rate per cycle and a 9% pregnancy rate per patient. With the live birth rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF) being 12% per embryo transfer, we conclude that GIFT is more successful than either DIPI/IUI or IVF in patients with patent fallopian tubes. Further controlled studies are required to assess the future role of DIPI/IUI in clinical practice.
This study covers the interesting field of the development in gifted children which is often neglected in pediatrics because psychomotor development data are still rare, since “gifted” children are generally noticed towards the end of their primary schooling by IQ measurement. Developmental studies have shown the evidence from several fields that children identified as “high-level potentialities” or “intellectually gifted” develop sensory, locomotor, neuropsychological, and language skills earlier than typically expected. The hypothesis is offered that the earlier development originates from biological processes affecting the physical development of the brain and in turn even intellectual abilities are developed earlier, potentially allowing for advanced development. Further it is discussed how these developmental advances interact with the social environment and in certain circumstances may entail increased risk for developing socioemotional difficulties and learning disabilities that often go unaddressed due to the masking by the advance intellectual abilities.
The national investment that was made in oncology research with the passage of the National Cancer Act in 1971 is coming to fruition now. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the exciting prospects for genetically informed precision medicine as applied to the treatment of children with cancer. The wealth of information gleaned from intensive genetic analyses and NexGen sequencing studies has identified a number of viable targets in leukemias and solid tumors. The rapid and evolving understanding of the enzymatic controls which regulate chromatin dynamics during normal differentiation of stem cells and their mutation or dysregulation in tumor cells has led to a new library of therapeutically tractable tumor targets. Recent identification of germline variants associated with toxicity and/or response to therapy has further enhanced our ability to deliver individualized treatments for pediatric cancer patients. How best to utilize genomic data and integrate it into evolving clinical protocols to provide more efficacious therapies and a better quality of life for children with cancer is our challenge today.
There are some auspicious records on applying aerobic exercise for asthmatic patients. Recently, it is suggested that rebound exercise might even increase the gains. This study was designed to compare the effects of rebound therapy to aerobic training in male asthmatic patients.
Sample included 37 male asthmatic patients (20-40 years) from the same respiratory clinic. After signing the informed consent, subjects volunteered to take part in control, rebound, or aerobic groups. There was no change in the routine medical treatment of patients. Supervised exercise programs continued for 8 weeks, consisting of two sessions of 45 to 60 minutes per week. Criteria measures were assessed pre- and post exercise program. Peak exercise capacity (VO2peak) was estimated by modified Bruce protocol, Forced vital capacity (FVC), Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and FEV1% were measured by spirometer. Data were analyzed by repeated measure analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Significant interactions were observed for all 4 criteria measures (P < 0.01), meaning that both the exercise programs were effective in improving FVC, FEV1, FEV1%, and VO2peak. Rebound exercise produced more improvement in FEV1, FEV1%, and VO2peak.
Regular exercise strengthens the respiratory muscles and improves the cellular respiration. At the same time, it improves the muscular, respiratory, and cardio-vascular systems. Effects of rebound exercise seem to be promising. Findings suggest that rebound exercise is a useful complementary means for asthmatic male patients.
Aerobic training; asthma; forced expiratory volume in 1 second; forced vital capacity; rebound therapy; VO2peak
Pseudoalteromonas haloplanktis is a cold-adapted γ-proteobacterium isolated from Antarctic sea ice. It is characterized by remarkably high growth rates at low temperatures. P. haloplanktis is one of the model organisms of cold-adapted bacteria and has been suggested as an alternative host for the soluble overproduction of heterologous proteins which tend to form inclusion bodies in established expression hosts. Despite the progress in establishing P. haloplanktis as an alternative expression host the cell densities obtained with this organism, which is unable to use glucose as a carbon source, are still low. Here we present the first fed-batch cultivation strategy for this auspicious alternative expression host.
The key for the fed-batch cultivation of P. haloplanktis was the replacement of peptone by casamino acids, which have a much higher solubility and allow a better growth control. In contrast to the peptone medium, on which P. haloplanktis showed different growth phases, on a casamino acids-containing, phosphate-buffered medium P. haloplanktis grew exponentially with a constant growth rate until the stationary phase. A fed-batch process was established by feeding of casamino acids with a constant rate resulting in a cell dry weight of about 11 g l-1 (OD540 = 28) which is a twofold increase of the highest densities which have been obtained with P. haloplanktis so far and an eightfold increase of the density obtained in standard shake flask cultures.
The cell density was limited in the fed-batch cultivation by the relatively low solubility of casamino acids (about 100 g l-1), which was proven by pulse addition of casamino acid powder which increased the cell density to about 20 g l-1 (OD540 = 55).
The growth of P. haloplanktis to higher cell densities on complex medium is possible. A first fed-batch fermentation strategy could be established which is feasible to be used in lab-scale or for industrial purposes. The substrate concentration of the feeding solution was found to influence the maximal biomass yield considerably. The bottleneck for growing P. haloplanktis to high cell densities still remains the availability of a highly concentrated substrate and the reduction of the substrate complexity. However, our results indicate glutamic acid as a major carbon source, which provides a good basis for further improvement of the fed-batch process.
Endophytes are microorganisms that reside asymptomatically in the tissues of higher plants and are a promising source of novel organic natural metabolites exhibiting a variety of biological activities. The laboratory of Bioaromas (Unicamp, Brazil) develops research in biotransformation processes and functional evaluation of natural products. With the intent to provide subsidies for studies on endophytic microbes related to areas cited before, this paper focuses particularly on the role of endophytes on the production of anticancer, antimicrobial, and antioxidant compounds and includes examples that illustrate their potential for human use. It also describes biotransformation as an auspicious method to obtain novel bioactive compounds from microbes. Biotransformation allows the production of regio- and stereoselective compounds under mild conditions that can be labeled as “natural,” as discussed in this paper.
Target specific short single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) molecules, called aptamers, are auspicious ligands for numerous in vivo applications. However, aptamers are synthetic molecules, which might be recognized by the immune cells in vivo and induce an activation of the innate immune system. Thus, immune activation potential of synthetic ssDNA oligonucleotides (ODNs) was determined using a well established closed-loop circulation model. Fresh human blood was incubated at 37°C for 2 or 4 hours with ssDNA ODNs (SB_ODN) or CpG ODN as positive control. Transcriptional changes were determined by microarray analyses. Blood samples containing SB_ODN demonstrated after 4 hours a significant regulation of 295 transcripts. Amongst others, CCL8, CXCL10, CCL7 and CXCL11 were highest regulated genes. Gene Ontology terms and KEGG pathway analyses exhibited that the differentially expressed genes belong to the transcripts that are regulated during an immune and inflammatory response, and were overrepresented in TLR signaling pathway. This study shows for the first time the potential of aptamers to activate immune system after systemic application into the human blood. Thus, we highly recommend performing of these preclinical tests with potential aptamer-based therapeutics.
This article contains the reasons for the establishment of sacred trees in Israel based on a field study. It includes 97 interviews with Muslim and Druze informants. While Muslims (Arabs and Bedouins) consider sacred trees especially as an abode of righteous figures' (Wellis') souls or as having a connection to their graves, the Druze relate sacred trees especially to the events or deeds in the lives of prophets and religious leaders. A literary review shows the existence of 24 known reasons for the establishment of sacred trees worldwide, 11 of which are known in Israel one of these is reported here for the first time. We found different trends in monotheistic and polytheistic religions concerning their current worship of sacred trees.
Article 3.4 of EC directive 89/381 requires member states to take "all necessary measures to promote Community self-sufficiency in human blood or human plasma" and, for this purpose, to "encourage the voluntary unpaid donation of blood and plasma". This paper presents an ethical case in support of the policy of voluntary, unpaid donation.
This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted with the Indian community in Houston, as part of a NIH–NHGRI-sponsored ethics study and sample collection initiative entitled “Indian and Hindu Perspectives on Genetic Variation Research.” At the heart of this research is one central exchange—blood samples donated for genetic research—that draws both the Indian community and a community of researchers into an encounter with bioethics. I consider the meanings that come to be associated with blood donation as it passes through various hands, agendas, and associated ethical filters on its way to the lab bench: how and why blood is solicited, how the giving and taking of blood is rationalized, how blood as material substance is alienated, processed, documented, and made available for the promised ends of basic science research. Examining corporeal substances and asking what sorts of gifts and problems these represent, I argue, sheds some light on two imbricated tensions expressed by a community of Indians, on the one hand, and of geneticists and basic science researchers, on the other hand: that gifts ought to be free (but are not), and that science ought to be pure (but is not). In this article, I explore how experiences of bioethics are variously shaped by the histories and habits of Indic giving, prior sample collection controversies, commitments to “good science” and the common “good of humanity,” and negotiations of the sites where research findings circulate.
blood donation; gift exchange; genetics research; bioethics; community consultation; India; Indian community in Houston; International HapMap Project
The authors report here the results of study on Parkia biglobosa seeds used in Burkina Faso for arterial hypertension treatment. Investigations were done on acute toxicity and vascular properties of fermented and roasted seeds. Acute toxicity test using mice, revealed by the intraperitoneal route a lethal dose 50 (LD50) of 1800 mg/kg and 1600 mg/kg of body weight for aqueous extract from roasted and fermented seeds respectively. According to the scale of Hodge and Sterner and that of the World Health Organization, such drugs would be classified lightly toxic. Oral administration (up to 3000 mg/kg) did not induce any death of animal. For the vascular properties, the effects of these products were tested on the aorta isolated from rats. The cumulative administration of extract from roasted and fermented seeds (0.1–10 mg/mL) in an organ bath induced a concentration-dependent relaxation of the aorta pre contracted by phenylephrine, with or without functional endothelium. The extracts (10 mg/mL) inhibited for 100% the contraction induced by phenylephrine. The EC50 values in presence and absence of endothelium were respectively of 5.37 ± 0.12 and 4.19 ± 1.02 mg/mL for fermented seeds; for roasted seeds these values were respectively, 5.39 ± 1.12 and 5.93 ± 0.95 mg/mL. Nevertheless, low concentration of roasted seeds (1–4 mg/mL) induced endothelium-dependent relaxation and this effect was inhibited by indomethacin (10−5M), and not by L-NAME (310−4M). These experimental results revealed a vasorelaxant effect of P. biglobosa seeds. P. biglobosa seems to act directly on the smooth muscle and via endothelium involving the generation of vasodilatating prostaglandins. This vasodilator effect would be in favor of an anti hypertensive property of P. biglobosa seeds.
Acute toxicity; vasodilator; endothelium; Parkia biglobosa
Should blood be bought and sold is in crude terms the question asked and answered by Richard Titmuss in his recent book The Gift Relationship. Dr Raymond Plant, a lecturer in philosophy at Manchester University, analyses Titmuss' arguments in a paper which we are printing in two parts. Titmuss has taken the provision of blood as his example of the gift relationship--and by extension that of health care generally. Dr Plant considers in turn each of Titmuss' arguments that blood should not be a marketable commodity, the moral objections to which seem to be the erosion of freedom and of truth telling, the separation of society through the cash nexus, and its converse that the provision of health care is a means for the integration of society. Dr Plant also examines the views of other commentators on the Titmuss' theory of the value of a 'free' blood transfusion service and other medical care as a means of integration in society, and ends with his promise that in the second part of his paper he will examine Titmuss' principles not in terms of the market but rather as related to the principle of social justice.
Sexual selection is a major force driving evolution and is intertwined with ecological factors. Differential allocation of limited resources has a central role in the cost of reproduction. In this paper, I review the costs and benefits of mating in tettigoniids, focussing on nuptial gifts, their trade-off with male calling songs, protandry and how mate density influences mate choice. Tettigoniids have been widely used as model systems for studies of mating costs and benefits; they can provide useful general insights. The production and exchange of large nuptial gifts by males for mating is an important reproductive strategy in tettigoniids. As predicted by sexual selection theory spermatophylax size is condition dependent and is constrained by the need to invest in calling to attract mates also. Under some circumstances, females benefit directly from the nuptial gifts by an increase in reproductive output. However, compounds in the nuptial gift can also benefit the male by prolonging the period before the female remates. There is also a trade-off between adult male maturation and mating success. Where males mature before females (protandry) the level of protandry varies in the direction predicted by sperm competition theory; namely, early male maturation is correlated with a high level of first inseminations being reproductively successful. Lastly, mate density in bushcrickets is an important environmental factor influencing the behavioural decisions of individuals. Where mates are abundant, individuals are more choosey of mates; when they are scarce, individuals are less choosey. This review reinforces the view that tettigoniids provide excellent models to test and understand the economics of matings in both sexes.
Tettigoniidae; Bushcrickets; Katydids; Sexual selection; Female choice; Economics of mating; Different allocation hypothesis; Mating decisions; Spermatophores; Acoustic communication
The spermatophore transferred by male decorated crickets (Gryllodes sigillatus) includes a large gelatinous mass, the spermatophylax, that is consumed by the female after mating. This nuptial gift preoccupies the female while sperm are discharged from the remaining portion of the spermatophore, the sperm ampulla, into her reproductive tract. There is considerable variation in the mass of the spermatophylax, and about half of all males produce spermatophylaxes that are too small to ensure complete sperm transfer. We tested two hypotheses concerning the maintenance of this variation: (i) males trade-off investment in spermatophylaxes against copulation frequency; and (ii) males synthesize the largest spermatophylaxes of which they are physiologically capable. Males synthesizing large and small food gifts were permitted multiple mating opportunities with the same females, and allozyme markers were used to establish the paternity of offspring. There was a significant advantage to those males that mated first irrespective of gift size. This advantage probably arose, in part, because the sperm of first males would have had exclusive access to females' eggs during the first 24 hours of oviposition, and underscores the benefits of matings with virgin females. The paternity of 'small-gift' males increased with gift mass, but there was no such increase in 'large-gift' males. This difference probably stems from the relationship between gift mass and sperm transfer: most of the gifts of the large-gift males would have been above the threshold needed to achieve complete inseminations, whereas those of small-gift males would have been below the threshold. Within mating-order positions, there was no significant difference in the paternity of large-gift and small-gift males, a result seemingly consistent with the 'trade-off' hypothesis. However, there was no correlation between spermatophylax mass and male mating frequency, so that the mechanism by which small-gift males offset their fertilization disadvantage remains unknown.
Background and Objectives: The hands harbour a kaleidoscope of bacteria, thus making hand washing an essential attribute in preventing the transmission of nosocomial pathogens. Medical students, as a part of their curriculum, are taught about handwashing. However, their adherence to it is doubtful. This study was carried out to ascertain the impact of educating medical students about the correct technique of handwashing and its role in reducing the bacterial contamination of their hands.
Methods: The hands of 50 medical students who attended the clinical postings were screened for bacterial colonisation. Following their screening, 30 students who had the highest colonization of bacteria were followed up for a second round of sampling. They were further allotted into two arbitrary groups: the control group and the test group. The procedure for an adequate handwash was taught to the test group, whereas the control group had been taught it as a part of their clinical curriculum during their postings. Each student’s hands were sampled, both preceding and following a handwash.
Results: Following the handwashing, the students of the test group had a significantly (p=0.011) lower mean bacterial colonization on their hands, in contrast to the control group. Moreover, 86.7% of the students from the control group harboured Staphylococcus aureus even after handwashing, whereas only 40% of the test group students had it. The preliminary screening concluded that: (i) Females harboured a significantly greater (p=0.038) bacterial colonization on their hands than males.(ii) The students who wore rings showed a higher contamination (p=0.05).
Interpretation and Conclusion: This study revealed that the students of the test group were at an advantage, as they had been given immediate prior instructions, whereas the control group had been taught the same technique at their clinical postings and were not instructed preceding the handwash and the sample collection. It can be concluded that a prior instruction in the form of teaching or visual aids such as posters etc., regarding the method of handwashing, is essential for an effective handwash, regardless of the past teaching. The instruction that is imparted to the students as a part of their curriculum needs reinforcement.
Handwashing; Medical students; Hygiene
This study investigated the costs of illness to households in different socio-economic status (SES) groups and geographic places of abode in addition to the mechanisms that the different population groups used to pay for health services and cope with payments. A cross-sectional descriptive study of 3,200 households selected from six communities in two states was conducted using interviewer-administered pre-tested questionnaires. An SES index was used to divide the households into quartiles, and χ2 analysis was used to determine the relationship of SES and geographic abode of households with cost of illness, payment mechanism, and coping strategies. The results show that malaria was the illness that most people had. The average cost of transportation for malaria was 86 Naira ($0.6 US), and the total cost of treatment was 2,819.9 Naira ($20 US); of this cost, drug costs alone contributed more than 90%. Out of pocket was the main method of payment. Treatment costs differed by geographic location and socio-economic status. Policy measures should establish targeted mechanisms to protect the general population, especially rural dwellers and poorer households, against the financial burden of direct healthcare payments.
Neuroscience has advanced our understanding of the neurological basis of reading disability (RD). Yet, no functional imaging work has been reported on the twice-exceptional dyslexic: individuals exhibiting both non-verbal-giftedness and RD. We compared groups of reading-disabled (RD), non-verbally-gifted (G), non-verbally-gifted-RD (GRD), and control (C) adults on validated word-rhyming and spatial visualization fMRI tasks, and standardized psychometric tests, to ascertain if the neurological functioning of GRD subjects was similar to that of typical RD or G subjects, or perhaps some unique RD subtype. Results demonstrate that GRD adults resemble non-gifted RD adults in performance on paper-and-pencil reading, math and spatial tests, and in patterns of functional activation during rhyming and spatial processing. Data are consistent with what may be a shared etiology of RD and giftedness in GRD individuals that yields a lifespan interaction with reading compensation effects, modifying how their adult brain processes text and spatial stimuli.
giftedness; reading disability; twice-exceptional; neuroimaging; spatial visualization
Giving cigarettes as gifts is a common practice in China, but there have been few systematic studies of this practice. The present study was designed to estimate the incidence of receiving cigarettes as gifts, correlates of this practice, and its impact on brand selection in a representative sample of urban adult smokers in China.
Data were analyzed from Wave 2 of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) China Survey, where 4843 adult urban smokers were interviewed in six major Chinese cities between October 2007 and January 2008. The incidence of most recent cigarette acquisition due to gifting and the prevalence of preferred brand selection due to having received it as a gift were estimated. Bivariate and adjusted logistic regression models were estimated to identify factors associated with these two outcomes.
The incidence of receiving cigarettes as a gift at most recent cigarette acquisition was 3.5%. Smokers who received these gifted cigarettes were more likely to be female, older, have higher educational attainment, live in Beijing, and smoke fewer cigarettes per day. The prevalence of choosing one’s preferred brand due to having received it as a gift was 7.0%, and this was more likely among smokers who lived in Beijing and Guangzhou, had lower educational attainment, smoked less frequently, and had smoked their preferred brand for less than one year.
The 3.5% incidence of one’s most recent cigarette acquisition due to gifting is consistent with prevalence estimates based on longer reference periods and translates into the average smoker receiving a gift of cigarettes approximately five times a year. Gifting also appears to have a significant influence on brand preference. Tobacco control interventions in China may need to denormalize the practice of giving cigarettes as gifts in order to decrease the social acceptability of smoking.
Tobacco; Cigarette gifting; Preferred cigarette brand