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Review of Shortt, R. (2019) Outgrowing Dawkins: God for Grown-Ups. London: SPCK.This book is a direct response to Richard Dawkins’ book Outgrowing God: a beginner’s guide (Bantam Press, 2019) and continues Shortt’s long-standing engagement with New Atheism in such works as God Is No Thing (2015) and Does Religion Do More Harm than Good (2019). The substance of Shortt’s defence of religion is not that it does not have its destructive and dark sides, or even that atheism and religious doubt may not be legitimate intellectual positions. Rather, Shortt takes issue with charges that religious belief is illogical and intellectually specious, that religious commitment is deluded and infantile and religious institutions inherently barbaric and authoritarian.
Review of McClure, B. (2019). Emotions: Problems and Promise for Human Flourishing. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.McClure undertakes an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural investigation into the role of human emotion in history, arguing that emotions are central to what makes us human. What unites all these perspectives is the way in which they set the measure of emotion against a set of value-judgements on the basis of emotions’ contribution to human virtue and well-being.
Ketogenic diets for drug-resistant epilepsyBackground Ketogenic diets (KDs) are high in fat and low in carbohydrates and have been suggested to reduce seizure frequency in people with epilepsy. Such diets may be beneficial for children with drug-resistant epilepsy. This is an update of a review first published in 2003, and last updated in 2018. Objectives To assess the effects of ketogenic diets for people with drug-resistant epilepsy. Search methods For this update, we searched the Cochrane Register of Studies (CRS Web) and MEDLINE (Ovid, 1946 to 26 April 2019) on 29 April 2019. The Cochrane Register of Studies includes the Cochrane Epilepsy Group Specialized Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and randomised controlled trials (RCTs) from Embase, ClinicalTrials.gov and the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). We imposed no language restrictions. We checked the reference lists of retrieved studies for additional relevant studies. Selection criteria RCTs or quasi-RCTs of KDs for people of any age with drug-resistant epilepsy. Data collection and analysis Two review authors independently applied predefined criteria to extract data and evaluated study quality. We assessed the outcomes: seizure freedom, seizure reduction (50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency), adverse effects, cognition and behaviour, quality of life, and attrition rate. We incorporated a meta-analysis. We utilised an intention-to-treat (ITT) population for all primary analyses. We presented the results as risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Main results We identified 13 studies with 932 participants; 711 children (4 months to 18 years) and 221 adults (16 years and over). We assessed all 13 studies to be at high risk of performance and detection bias, due to lack of blinding. Assessments varied from low to high risk of bias for all other domains. We rated the evidence for all outcomes as low to very low certainty. Ketogenic diets versus usual care for children Seizure freedom (RR 3.16, 95% CI 1.20 to 8.35; P = 0.02; 4 studies, 385 participants; very low-certainty evidence) and seizure reduction(RR 5.80, 95% CI 3.48 to 9.65; P < 0.001; 4 studies, 385 participants; low-certainty evidence) favoured KDs (including: classic KD, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) KD combined, MCT KD only, simplified modified Atkins diet (MAD) compared to usual care for children. We are not confident that these estimated effects are accurate. The most commonly reported adverse effects were vomiting, constipation and diarrhoea for both the intervention and usual care group, but the true effect could be substantially different (low-certainty evidence). Ketogenic diet versus usual care for adults In adults, no participants experienced seizure freedom. Seizure reduction favoured KDs (MAD only) over usual care but, again, we are not confident that the effect estimated is accurate (RR 5.03, 95% CI 0.26 to 97.68; P = 0.29; 2 studies, 141 participants; very low-certainty evidence). Adults receiving MAD most commonly reported vomiting, constipation and diarrhoea (very low-certainty evidence). One study reported a reduction in body mass index (BMI) plus increased cholesterol in the MAD group. The other reported weight loss. The true effect could be substantially different to that reported. Ketogenic diet versus ketogenic diet for children Up to 55% of children achieved seizure freedom with a classical 4:1 KD aDer three months whilst up to 85% of children achieved seizure reduction (very low-certainty evidence). One trial reported a greater incidence of seizure reduction with gradual-onset KD, as opposed to fasting-onset KD. Up to 25% of children were seizure free with MAD and up to 60% achieved seizure reduction.Up to 25% of children became seizure free with MAD and up to 60% experienced seizure reduction. One study used a simplified MAD (sMAD)and reported that 15% of children gained seizure freedom rates and 56% achieved seizure reduction. We judged all the evidence described as very low certainty, thus we are very unsure whether the results are accurate.The most commonly reported adverse effects were vomiting, constipation and diarrhoea (5 studies, very low-certainty evidence). Two studies reported weight loss. One stated that weight loss and gastrointestinal disturbances were more frequent, with 4:1 versus 3:1 KD,whilst one reported no difference in weight loss with 20 mg/d versus 10 mg/d carbohydrates. In one study, there was a higher incidence of hypercalcuria amongst children receiving classic KD compared to MAD. All effects described are unlikely to be accurate. Ketogenic diet versus ketogenic diet for adults One study randomised 80 adults (aged 18 years and over) to either MAD plus KetoCal during the first month with MAD alone for the second month, or MAD alone for the first month followed by MAD plus KetoCal for the second month. No adults achieved seizure freedom. More adults achieved seizure reduction at one month with MAD alone (42.5%) compared to MAD plus KetoCal (32.5%), however, by three months only 10% of adults in both groups maintained seizure reduction. The evidence for both outcomes was of very low certainty; we are very uncertain whether the effects are accurate.Constipation was more frequently reported in the MAD plus KetoCal group (17.5%) compared to the MAD only group (5%) (1 study, very low-certainty evidence). Diarrhoea and increase/change in seizure pattern/semiology were also commonly reported (17.5% to 20% of participants). The true effects of the diets could be substantially different to that reported. Authors' conclusions The evidence suggests that KDs could demonstrate effectiveness in children with drug-resistant epilepsy, however, the evidence for the use of KDs in adults remains uncertain. We identified a limited number of studies which all had small sample sizes. Due to the associatedr isk of bias and imprecision caused by small study populations, the evidence for the use of KDs was of low to very low certainty.More palatable but related diets, such as the MAD, may have a similar effect on seizure control as the classical KD, but could be associated with fewer adverse effects. This assumption requires more investigation. For people who have drug-resistant epilepsy or who are unsuitable for surgical intervention, KDs remain a valid option. Further research is required, particularly for adults with drug-resistant epilepsy.
Gestational diabetes and progression to type two diabetes mellitus: missed opportunities of follow up and prevention?Abstract Background: The incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is increasing. Having a pregnancy complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a potent risk factor for the later development of T2DM. Aims: To explore the characteristics of women diagnosed with GDM in a single centre and their follow up for progression to T2DM. Methods: A retrospective cohort study using anonymised data of one hundred and fifty four (154) women with GDM receiving maternity care at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUHFT) in 2010 and their follow up until 2018. Results: The prevalence of GDM in women delivering in Oxfordshire in 2010 was 3.4%. 70% of pregnant women were overweight or obese (with 51% being obese) at booking. Gestational weight gain (GWG) was excessive in 29% of women, when compared to Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines. Almost a quarter of women (23.4%) had no follow up after delivery. Over a median follow up of 3.5 years (range 0-8 years) nearly one in six (16.9%) of the total cohort (22% of those tested) went on to develop T2DM. 74% of women with GDM were multiparous, and 65% of nulliparous women were tested compared to 81% of multiparous women. There was a significant difference between multiparous women (53.8%) compared to nulliparous women (46.2%) developing T2DM (p=0.01). There was no significant difference in BMI (p=0.866) or GWG (p=0.83) in women who progressed to T2DM versus those who did not. Conclusion: The risk of T2DM after GDM is substantial however, follow up rates of this population is poor. Subsequent screening of women with GDM and their management crosses secondary and primary care with scope for improvement in counselling of women of the importance of annual reviews, in data collection and follow up in both obstetrics and general practice. The implementation of a recall system, an education programme for general practitioners and/or a registry of women diagnosed with GDM could be useful to identify those at high risk of developing T2DM as well as providing a platform for the potential development of interventions to prevent progression to T2DM after GDM.
Influence of contextual factors, technical performance and movement demands on the subjective task load associated with professional rugby league match-playPurpose: The aim of the study was to identify the association between several contextual match factors, technical performance and external movement demands on the subjective task load of elite rugby league players. Methods: Individual subjective task load, quantified using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index (NASA-TLX), was collected from 29 professional rugby league players from one club competing in the European Super League throughout the 2017 season. The sample consisted of 26 matches, culminating in 441 individual data points. Linear mixed-modelling was adopted to analyze the data for relationships and revealed that various combinations of contextual factors, technical performance and movement demands were associated with subjective task load. Results: Greater number of tackles (effect size correlation ± 90% CI; η2= 0.18 ±0.11), errors (η2= 0.15 ±0.08) decelerations (η2= 0.12 ±0.08), increased sprint distance (η2= 0.13 ±0.08), losing matches (η2= 0.36 ±0.08) and increased perception of effort (η2= 0.27 ±0.08) led to most likely – very likely increases in subjective total task load. The independent variables included in the final model for subjective mental demand (match outcome, time played and number of accelerations) were unclear, excluding a likely small correlation with the number of technical errors (η2= 0.10 ±0.08). Conclusions: These data provide a greater understanding of the subjective task load and their association with several contextual factors, technical performance and external movement demands during rugby league competition. Practitioners could use this detailed quantification of internal loads to inform the prescription of recovery sessions and current training practices.