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1.  The Genetic Population Structure of Wild Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) Living in Continuous Rain Forest 
American journal of primatology  2014;76(9):868-878.
To understand the evolutionary histories and conservation potential of wild animal species it is useful to assess whether taxa are genetically structured into different populations and identify the underlying factors responsible for any clustering. Landscape features such as rivers may influence genetic population structure, and analysis of structure by sex can further reveal effects of sex-specific dispersal. Using microsatellite genotypes obtained from noninvasively collected fecal samples we investigated the population structure of 261 western lowland gorillas (WLGs) (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) from seven locations spanning an approximately 37,000km2 region of mainly continuous rain forest within Central African Republic (CAR), Republic of Congo and Cameroon. We found our sample to consist of two or three significantly differentiated clusters. The boundaries of the clusters coincided with courses of major rivers. Moreover, geographic distance detoured around rivers better-explained variation in genetic distance than straight line distance. Together these results suggest that major rivers in our study area play an important role in directing WLG gene flow. The number of clusters did not change when males and females were analyzed separately, indicating a lack of greater philopatry in WLG females than males at this scale.
PMCID: PMC4265791  PMID: 24700547
Gorilla gorilla gorilla; population structure; sex-specific dispersal; philopatry
2.  Devastating Decline of Forest Elephants in Central Africa 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59469.
African forest elephants– taxonomically and functionally unique–are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002–2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced.
PMCID: PMC3587600  PMID: 23469289
3.  Identifying Conservation Successes, Failures and Future Opportunities; Assessing Recovery Potential of Wild Ungulates and Tigers in Eastern Cambodia 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e40482.
Conservation investment, particularly for charismatic and wide-ranging large mammal species, needs to be evidence-based. Despite the prevalence of this theme within the literature, examples of robust data being generated to guide conservation policy and funding decisions are rare. We present the first published case-study of tiger conservation in Indochina, from a site where an evidence-based approach has been implemented for this iconic predator and its prey. Despite the persistence of extensive areas of habitat, Indochina's tiger and ungulate prey populations are widely supposed to have precipitously declined in recent decades. The Seima Protection Forest (SPF), and broader Eastern Plains Landscape, was identified in 2000 as representing Cambodia's best hope for tiger recovery; reflected in its designation as a Global Priority Tiger Conservation Landscape. Since 2005 distance sampling, camera-trapping and detection-dog surveys have been employed to assess the recovery potential of ungulate and tiger populations in SPF. Our results show that while conservation efforts have ensured that small but regionally significant populations of larger ungulates persist, and density trends in smaller ungulates are stable, overall ungulate populations remain well below theoretical carrying capacity. Extensive field surveys failed to yield any evidence of tiger, and we contend that there is no longer a resident population within the SPF. This local extirpation is believed to be primarily attributable to two decades of intensive hunting; but importantly, prey densities are also currently below the level necessary to support a viable tiger population. Based on these results and similar findings from neighbouring sites, Eastern Cambodia does not currently constitute a Tiger Source Site nor meet the criteria of a Global Priority Tiger Landscape. However, SPF retains global importance for many other elements of biodiversity. It retains high regional importance for ungulate populations and potentially in the future for Indochinese tigers, given adequate prey and protection.
PMCID: PMC3471919  PMID: 23077476
5.  Monitoring Great Ape and Elephant Abundance at Large Spatial Scales: Measuring Effectiveness of a Conservation Landscape 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(4):e10294.
Protected areas are fundamental to biodiversity conservation, but there is growing recognition of the need to extend beyond protected areas to meet the ecological requirements of species at larger scales. Landscape-scale conservation requires an evaluation of management impact on biodiversity under different land-use strategies; this is challenging and there exist few empirical studies. In a conservation landscape in northern Republic of Congo we demonstrate the application of a large-scale monitoring program designed to evaluate the impact of conservation interventions on three globally threatened species: western gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants, under three land-use types: integral protection, commercial logging, and community-based natural resource management. We applied distance-sampling methods to examine species abundance across different land-use types under varying degrees of management and human disturbance. We found no clear trends in abundance between land-use types. However, units with interventions designed to reduce poaching and protect habitats - irrespective of land-use type - harboured all three species at consistently higher abundance than a neighbouring logging concession undergoing no wildlife management. We applied Generalized-Additive Models to evaluate a priori predictions of species response to different landscape processes. Our results indicate that, given adequate protection from poaching, elephants and gorillas can profit from herbaceous vegetation in recently logged forests and maintain access to ecologically important resources located outside of protected areas. However, proximity to the single integrally protected area in the landscape maintained an overriding positive influence on elephant abundance, and logging roads – even subject to anti-poaching controls - were exploited by elephant poachers and had a major negative influence on elephant distribution. Chimpanzees show a clear preference for unlogged or more mature forests and human disturbance had a negative influence on chimpanzee abundance, in spite of anti-poaching interventions. We caution against the pitfalls of missing and confounded co-variables in model-based estimation approaches and highlight the importance of spatial scale in the response of different species to landscape processes. We stress the importance of a stratified design-based approach to monitoring species status in response to conservation interventions and advocate a holistic framework for landscape-scale monitoring that includes smaller-scale targeted research and punctual assessment of threats.
PMCID: PMC2859051  PMID: 20428233
6.  Use of Outcome Measures in Physiotherapy Practice in Ireland from 1998 to 2003 and Comparison to Canadian Trends 
Physiotherapy Canada  2008;60(2):109-116.
The purposes of this study were to examine changes in the use of standardized outcome measures by practising physiotherapists in Ireland and to compare those trends to the results of a similar survey conducted previously in Canada.
A survey methodology was employed. The review of practice occurred at two points in time. Senior clinical physiotherapists working with older people participated. Questions were asked about the use of standardized outcome measures, the nature and pattern of their use, and the level of confidence the respondents had in using such measures.
The results chart the changes in practice over a 5-year period. Although there was an increase in the use of standardized outcome measures, the respondents acknowledged barriers to their systematic use in routine practice (e.g., lack of time, resources/administrative support). There was a lack of professional consensus on what instruments to use in general, as well as which to use for particular client groups. Concern was expressed that none of the available instruments met their clients’ needs. Where possible and appropriate, comparison was made between the data from the 2003 Irish study and a survey of Canadian physiotherapists conducted in 1998.
This review of practice illustrates that changes that have occurred in Ireland in the use of standardized outcome measures are similar to those that have occurred in Canada, but barriers remain to their complete integration into clinical practice and clinical decision making.
PMCID: PMC2792806  PMID: 20145774
Physiotherapy; Physical Therapy; international comparison; older people; outcome measures; physiotherapy practice; rehabilitation; comparaison internationale; personnes âgées; mesures de résultat; exercice de la physiothérapie; réadaptation
7.  The promotion of oral health within the Healthy School context in England: a qualitative research study 
BMC Oral Health  2009;9:3.
Healthy Schools programmes may assist schools in improving the oral health of children through advocating a common risk factor approach to health promotion and by more explicit consideration of oral health. The objectives of this study were to gain a broad contextual understanding of issues around the delivery of oral health promotion as part of Healthy Schools programmes and to investigate the barriers and drivers to the incorporation of oral health promoting activities in schools taking this holistic approach to health promotion.
Semi-structured telephone interviews were carried out with coordinators of Healthy Schools programmes in the Northwest of England. Interview transcripts were coded using a framework derived from themes in the interview schedule.
All 22 Healthy Schools coordinators participated and all reported some engagement of their Healthy Schools scheme with oral health promotion. The degree of this engagement depended on factors such as historical patterns of working, partnerships, resources and priorities. Primary schools were reported to have engaged more fully with both Healthy Schools programmes and aspects of oral health promotion than secondary schools. Participants identified healthy eating interventions as the most appropriate means to promote oral health in schools. Partners with expertise in oral health were key in supporting Healthy Schools programmes to promote oral health.
Healthy Schools programmes are supporting the promotion of oral health although the extent to which this is happening is variable. Structures should be put in place to ensure that the engagement of Healthy Schools with oral health is fully supported.
PMCID: PMC2651868  PMID: 19146677
8.  A randomised controlled trial evaluating the effect of an individual auditory cueing device on freezing and gait speed in people with Parkinson's disease 
BMC Neurology  2008;8:46.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder resulting from a degeneration of dopamine producing cells in the substantia nigra. Clinical symptoms typically affect gait pattern and motor performance. Evidence suggests that the use of individual auditory cueing devices may be used effectively for the management of gait and freezing in people with Parkinson's disease. The primary aim of the randomised controlled trial is to evaluate the effect of an individual auditory cueing device on freezing and gait speed in people with Parkinson's disease.
A prospective multi-centre randomised cross over design trial will be conducted. Forty-seven subjects will be randomised into either Group A or Group B, each with a control and intervention phase. Baseline measurements will be recorded using the Freezing of Gait Questionnaire as the primary outcome measure and 3 secondary outcome measures, the 10 m Walk Test, Timed "Up & Go" Test and the Modified Falls Efficacy Scale. Assessments are taken 3-times over a 3-week period. A follow-up assessment will be completed after three months. A secondary aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of such a device on the quality of life of people with Parkinson's disease using a qualitative methodology.
The Apple iPod-Shuffle™ and similar devices provide a cost effective and an innovative platform for integration of individual auditory cueing devices into clinical, social and home environments and are shown to have immediate effect on gait, with improvements in walking speed, stride length and freezing. It is evident that individual auditory cueing devices are of benefit to people with Parkinson's disease and the aim of this randomised controlled trial is to maximise the benefits by allowing the individual to use devices in both a clinical and social setting, with minimal disruption to their daily routine.
Trial registration
The protocol for this study is registered with the US NIH Clinical Trials Registry (NCT00727467).
PMCID: PMC2630976  PMID: 19077238
9.  A randomised controlled trial evaluating family mediated exercise (FAME) therapy following stroke 
BMC Neurology  2008;8:22.
Stroke is a leading cause of disability among adults worldwide. Evidence suggests that increased duration of exercise therapy following stroke has a positive impact on functional outcome following stroke. The main objective of this randomised controlled trial is to evaluate the impact of additional family assisted exercise therapy in people with acute stroke.
A prospective multi-centre single blind randomised controlled trial will be conducted. Forty patients with acute stroke will be randomised into either an experimental or control group. The experimental group will receive routine therapy and additional lower limb exercise therapy in the form of family assisted exercises. The control group will receive routine therapy with no additional formal input from their family members. Participants will be assessed at baseline, post intervention and followed up at three months using a series of standardised outcome measures. A secondary aim of the project is to evaluate the impact of the family mediated exercise programme on the person with stroke and the individual(s) assisting in the delivery of exercises using a qualitative methodology. The study has gained ethical approval from the Research Ethics Committees of each of the clinical sites involved in the study.
This study will evaluate a structured programme of exercises that can be delivered to people with stroke by their 'family members/friends'. Given that the progressive increase in the population of older people is likely to lead to an increased prevalence of stroke in the future, it is important to reduce the burden of this illness on the individual, the family and society. Family mediated exercises can maximise the carry over outside formal physiotherapy sessions, giving patients the opportunity for informal practice.
Trial Registration
The protocol for this study is registered with the US NIH Clinical trials registry (NCT00666744)
PMCID: PMC2447850  PMID: 18570643

Results 1-9 (9)