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  • Identifying Targets for Interventions to Increase Earplug Use in Noisy Recreational Settings: A Qualitative Interview Study

    Loughran, Michael T.; email: michael.loughran@manchester.ac.uk; Couth, Samuel; orcid: 0000-0003-3635-863X; email: samuel.couth@manchester.ac.uk; Plack, Christopher J.; email: chris.plack@manchester.ac.uk; Armitage, Christopher J.; email: chris.armitage@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-12-07)
    Earplugs can reduce the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus. However, earplug use during noisy recreational activities is uncommon, and methods for increasing uptake and regular use have had limited efficacy. The aim of the present study was to examine barriers and enablers of ever-performers (e.g., people who have used earplugs) and never-performers (e.g., people who have not used earplugs) to identify targets to inform the content of interventions to increase uptake and regular use of earplugs in recreational settings. The Capabilities, Opportunities, and Motivations model of Behaviour (COM-B) informed the outline for 20 semi-structured telephone interviews (ever-performers, N = 8, age range = 20−45 years; never-performers, N = 12; age range = 20−50 years). Thematic analysis was used to identify barriers and enablers to earplug use, which were mapped onto the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF). Six key domains of the TDF were identified. Ever-performers described being more exposed to ‘social influences’ (e.g., facilitators such as friends/peers) and were more positive than never-performers concerning ‘beliefs about consequences’ (e.g., earplug protection outweighs any negative effects on listening/communication). Involvement of ‘emotion’ (e.g., fear of losing ability to listen to music) and ‘reinforcement’ tactics (e.g., creating habits/routines) were discussed by ever-performers, but were not mentioned by never-performers. Both groups reported lack of ‘environmental context and resources’ (e.g., prompts and cues), and their own ‘memory, attention, and decision processes’ (e.g., deciding when to use earplugs) as barriers to earplug use. The present research identifies the variables that would need to change in order to increase earplug uptake and use in recreational settings among ever-performers and never-performers. Further work is required to translate these findings into testable interventions by selecting appropriate intervention functions (e.g., modelling), policy categories (e.g., communication/marketing), behaviour change techniques (e.g., demonstration of behaviour), and mode of delivery (e.g., face-to-face).
  • Mining a stroke knowledge graph from literature

    Yang, Xi; Wu, Chengkun; Nenadic, Goran; email: g.nenadic@manchester.ac.uk; Wang, Wei; Lu, Kai (BioMed Central, 2021-07-29)
    Abstract: Background: Stroke has an acute onset and a high mortality rate, making it one of the most fatal diseases worldwide. Its underlying biology and treatments have been widely studied both in the “Western” biomedicine and the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). However, these two approaches are often studied and reported in insolation, both in the literature and associated databases. Results: To aid research in finding effective prevention methods and treatments, we integrated knowledge from the literature and a number of databases (e.g. CID, TCMID, ETCM). We employed a suite of biomedical text mining (i.e. named-entity) approaches to identify mentions of genes, diseases, drugs, chemicals, symptoms, Chinese herbs and patent medicines, etc. in a large set of stroke papers from both biomedical and TCM domains. Then, using a combination of a rule-based approach with a pre-trained BioBERT model, we extracted and classified links and relationships among stroke-related entities as expressed in the literature. We construct StrokeKG, a knowledge graph includes almost 46 k nodes of nine types, and 157 k links of 30 types, connecting diseases, genes, symptoms, drugs, pathways, herbs, chemical, ingredients and patent medicine. Conclusions: Our Stroke-KG can provide practical and reliable stroke-related knowledge to help with stroke-related research like exploring new directions for stroke research and ideas for drug repurposing and discovery. We make StrokeKG freely available at http://114.115.208.144:7474/browser/ (Please click "Connect" directly) and the source structured data for stroke at https://github.com/yangxi1016/Stroke
  • Seasonal calibration of the end-cretaceous Chicxulub impact event

    DePalma, Robert A.; email: Robert.depalma@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk; Oleinik, Anton A.; Gurche, Loren P.; Burnham, David A.; Klingler, Jeremy J.; McKinney, Curtis J.; Cichocki, Frederick P.; Larson, Peter L.; Egerton, Victoria M.; Wogelius, Roy A.; et al. (Nature Publishing Group UK, 2021-12-08)
    Abstract: The end-Cretaceous Chicxulub impact triggered Earth’s last mass-extinction, extinguishing ~ 75% of species diversity and facilitating a global ecological shift to mammal-dominated biomes. Temporal details of the impact event on a fine scale (hour-to-day), important to understanding the early trajectory of mass-extinction, have largely eluded previous studies. This study employs histological and histo-isotopic analyses of fossil fish that were coeval with a unique impact-triggered mass-death assemblage from the Cretaceous-Paleogene (KPg) boundary in North Dakota (USA). Patterns of growth history, including periodicity of ẟ18O and ẟ13C and growth band morphology, plus corroborating data from fish ontogeny and seasonal insect behavior, reveal that the impact occurred during boreal Spring/Summer, shortly after the spawning season for fish and most continental taxa. The severity and taxonomic symmetry of response to global natural hazards are influenced by the season during which they occur, suggesting that post-impact perturbations could have exerted a selective force that was exacerbated by seasonal timing. Data from this study can also provide vital hindsight into patterns of extant biotic response to global-scale hazards that are relevant to both current and future biomes.
  • Correction to: Mining a stroke knowledge graph from literature

    Yang, Xi; Wu, Chengkun; Nenadic, Goran; email: g.nenadic@manchester.ac.uk; Wang, Wei; Lu, Kai (BioMed Central, 2021-12-08)
  • Biocrusts and catchment asymmetry in Tabernas Desert (Almeria, Spain)

    Lázaro, Roberto; Calvo-Cases, Adolfo; Rodriguez-Caballero, Emilio; Arnau-Rosalén, Eva; Alexander, Roy; Rubio, Consuelo; Cantón, Yolanda; Solé-Benet, Albert; Puigdefábregas, Juan; Estacion Experimental de Zonas Aridas (CSIC); Universitat de Valencia; Universidad de Almeria; Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2021-10-15)
    Catchment asymmetry is a fairly frequent phenomenon on a global scale but the main causes leading to its formation are still not well understood. Where the intervention of structural or tectonic causes is not relevant, asymmetry seems to result from differential erosion between opposite slopes that flow into the same channel, which is frequently associated with contrasted biocrust and/or vegetation covers. Biocrusts are known to be important surface stabilizing agents. However, their geomorphological consequences at the landscape scale are little known. In this study we combined field measurements with digital elevation models and image analysis to determine whether catchment asymmetry in the Tabernas Desert (semi-arid SE of Spain) is a local or general phenomenon, and to explore the main factors determining asymmetry occurrence, magnitude and direction. We pay special attention to the role of biocrusts. We found that catchment asymmetry is a very common phenomenon in the area; only 25% of the catchments are symmetrical, while approximately 40% present asymmetry with the relatively shady hillslope having a lower gradient, and 35% with that hillslope being the steeper. Solar radiation reaching the soil, surface area and channel gradient in the considered catchment stretch, as well as the total catchment area upstream from the lower point of the considered stretch were the main abiotic factors controlling the formation of the asymmetry. Microclimatic differentiation due to differences in radiation input caused by the uneven topography favoured the relative stabilization of the shadier hillslope and its colonization by biocrusts and later by plants. The effect of the biocrusts and vegetation protection against water erosion on shadier hillslopes is often stronger than that of the set of abiotic factors and gives rise to asymmetries with lower gradients in the shady hillslope by promoting lateral displacement of the channel. We hypothesised that the opposite pattern, with the sunnier hillslope having a lower gradient, occurs when abiotic factors control the development of asymmetry formation. In these conditions, the effect of biocrusts and plants would act in the opposite direction. We propose a conceptual model of feedbacks generating catchment asymmetry, with biocrust playing a crucial role.

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