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    ABSTRACT: There is growing interest in links between poor health and socio-environmental inequalities (e.g. inferior housing, crime and industrial emissions) under the environmental justice agenda. The current project assessed associations between soil metal content, air pollution (NO2/PM10) and deprivation and health (respiratory case incidence) across Glasgow. This is the first time that both chemical land quality and air pollution have been assessed citywide in the context of deprivation and health for a major UK conurbation. Based on the dataset 'averages' for intermediate geography areas, generalised linear modelling of respiratory cases showed significant associations with overall soil metal concentration (p = 0.0367) and with deprivation (p < 0.0448). Of the individual soil metals, only nickel showed a significant relationship with respiratory cases (p = 0.0056). Whilst these associations could simply represent concordant lower soil metal concentrations and fewer respiratory cases in the rural versus the urban environment, they are interesting given (1) possible contributions from soil to air particulate loading and (2) known associations between airborne metals like nickel and health. This study also demonstrated a statistically significant correlation (-0.213; p < 0.05) between soil metal concentration and deprivation across Glasgow. This highlights the fact that despite numerous regeneration programmes, the legacy of environmental pollution remains in post-industrial areas of Glasgow many decades after heavy industry has declined. Further epidemiological investigations would be required to determine whether there are any causal links between soil quality and population health/well-being. However, the results of this study suggest that poor soil quality warrants greater consideration in future health and socio-environmental inequality assessments.
    Environmental Geochemistry and Health 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: In a previous article, we tackled the question "How are we related?" for the simple case of one explanatory variable or covariate. Now we can move onto a natural extension, with still only one response variable, but more than one explanatory variable.
    Journal of Small Animal Practice 10/2013; 54(10):541-546.
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    ABSTRACT: SUMMARY The associations with weather and bathing water quality on infectious intestinal disease (IID) were investigated using data from two Scottish NHS Board areas. Monthly counts of viral and non-viral gastrointestinal infections were modelled as a smooth function of temperature, relative humidity and average monthly counts of faecal indicator organisms, respectively, adjusting for season and long-term trend effects. Strong seasonal patterns were observed for each group of pathogens. Peak viral gastrointestinal infection was in May while that of non-viral gastrointestinal infections was in July. A statistically significant negative association existed between weather (temperature and humidity) and viral infection. Average levels of non-viral gastrointestinal infections increased as temperature and relative humidity increased. Increasing levels of faecal indicator organisms in bathing waters were also associated with an increase in the average number of viral and non-viral gastrointestinal infections at the ecological level. Future climate change and prolonged precipitation events may result in increasing levels of faecal indicator organisms in bathing waters leading to likely increases in IIDs.
    Epidemiology and Infection 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: In a previous article, we asked the simple question "Are we related?" and used scatterplots and correlation coefficients to provide an answer. In this article, we will take this question and reword it to "How are we related?" and will demonstrate the statistical techniques required to reach a conclusion.
    Journal of Small Animal Practice 05/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Twisted Calabi-Yau algebras are a generalisation of Ginzburg's notion of Calabi-Yau algebras. Such algebras A come equipped with a modular automorphism \sigma \in Aut(A), the case \sigma = id being precisely the original class of Calabi-Yau algebras. Here we prove that every twisted Calabi-Yau algebra may be extended to a Calabi-Yau algebra. More precisely, we show that if A is a twisted Calabi-Yau algebra with modular automorphism \sigma, then the smash product algebras A \rtimes_\sigma N and A \rtimes_\sigma Z are Calabi-Yau.
    Journal of Algebra 04/2013; 406.
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    ABSTRACT: Inverse estimation of biomechanical parameters of soft tissues from non-invasive measurements has clinical significance in patient-specific modelling and disease diagnosis. In this paper, we propose a fully nonlinear approach to estimate the mechanical properties of the human gallbladder wall muscles from in vivo ultrasound images. The iteration method consists of a forward approach, in which the constitutive equation is based on a modified Hozapfel-Gasser-Ogden law initially developed for arteries. Five constitutive parameters describing the two orthogonal families of fibres and the matrix material are determined by comparing the computed displacements with medical images. The optimisation process is carried out using the MATLAB toolbox, a Python code, and the ABAQUS solver. The proposed method is validated with published artery data and subsequently applied to ten human gallbladder samples. Results show that the human gallbladder wall is anisotropic during the passive refilling phase, and that the peak stress is 1.6 times greater than that calculated using linear mechanics. This discrepancy arises because the wall thickness reduces by 1.6 times during the deformation, which is not predicted by conventional linear elasticity. If the change of wall thickness is accounted for, then the linear model can used to predict the gallbladder stress and its correlation with pain. This work provides further understanding of the nonlinear characteristics of human gallbladder.
    Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials. 03/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: This short addition to our series on clinical statistics concerns relationships, and answering questions such as "are blood pressure and weight related?" In a later article, we will answer the more interesting question about how they might be related. This article follows on logically from the previous one dealing with categorical data, the major difference being here that we will consider two continuous variables, which naturally leads to the use of a Pearson correlation or occasionally to a Spearman rank correlation coefficient.
    Journal of Small Animal Practice 03/2013; 54(3):124-8.
  • Hypertension 02/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Reaction-diffusion models for the dynamics of a biological population in a fragmented landscape can incorporate detailed descriptions of movement and behavior, but are difficult to analyze and hard to parameterize. Patch models, on the other hand, are fairly easy to analyze and can be parameterized reasonably well, but miss many details of the movement process within and between patches. We develop a framework to scale up from a reaction-diffusion process to a patch model and, in particular, to determine movement rates between patches based on behavioral rules for individuals. Our approach is based on the mean occupancy time, the mean time that an individuals spends in a certain area of the landscape before it exits that area or dies. We illustrate our approach using several different landscape configurations. We demonstrate that the resulting patch model most closely captures persistence conditions and steady state densities as compared with the reaction-diffusion model.
    Journal of Mathematical Biology 01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: More than 20 human genetic diseases are associated with inheriting an unstable expanded DNA simple sequence tandem repeat, for example, CTG (cytosine-thymine-guanine) repeats in myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) and CAG (cytosine-adenine-guanine) repeats in Huntington disease (HD). These sequences mutate by changing the number of repeats not just between generations, but also during the lifetime of affected individuals. Levels of somatic instability contribute to disease onset and progression but as changes are tissue-specific, age- and repeat length-dependent, interpretation of the level of somatic instability in an individual is confounded by these considerations. Mathematical models, fitted to CTG repeat length distributions derived from blood DNA, from a large cohort of DM1-affected or at risk individuals, have recently been used to quantify inherited repeat lengths and mutation rates. Taking into account age, the estimated mutation rates are lower than predicted among individuals with small alleles (inherited repeat lengths less than 100 CTGs), suggesting that these rates may be suppressed at the lower end of the disease-causing range. In this study, we propose that a length-specific effect operates within this range and tested this hypothesis using a model comparison approach. To calibrate the extended model, we used data derived from blood DNA from DM1 individuals and, for the first time, buccal DNA from HD individuals. In a novel application of this extended model, we identified individuals whose effective repeat length, with regards to somatic instability, is less than their actual repeat length. A plausible explanation for this distinction is that the expanded repeat tract is compromised by interruptions or other unusual features. We quantified effective length for a large cohort of DM1 individuals and showed that effective length better predicts age of onset than inherited repeat length, thus improving the genotype-phenotype correlation. Under the extended model, we removed some of the bias in mutation rates making them less length-dependent. Consequently, rates adjusted in this way will be better suited as quantitative traits to investigate cis- or trans-acting modifiers of somatic mosaicism, disease onset and progression.
    Journal of The Royal Society Interface 01/2013; 10(88):20130605.
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