University of Oxford
  • Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Recent publications
Due to environmental interference and defects in measured objects, measurement signals are frequently affected by unpredictable noise and periodic defects. Moreover, there is a lack of effective methods for accurately distinguishing defect components from measurement signals. In this study, a distribution-based selective optimisation method (SOM) is proposed to mitigate the effects of noise and defect components. The SOM can be seen as a binary- or multiple-class signal classifier based on an error distribution, which can simultaneously eliminate periodic defect components of measurement signals and proceed with signal-fitting regression. The effectiveness, accuracy, and feasibility of the SOM are verified in theoretical and realworld measurement settings. Based on theoretical simulations under various parameter conditions, some criteria for selecting operation variables among a selection of parameter conditions are explained in detail. The proposed method is capable of separating defect components from measurement signals while also achieving a satisfactory fitting curve for the measurement signals. The proposed SOM has broad application prospects in signal processing and defect detection for mechanical measurements, electronic filtering, instrumentation, part maintenance, and other fields.
Flexible behavior requires guidance not only by sensations that are available immediately but also by relevant mental contents carried forward through working memory. Therefore, selective-attention functions that modulate the contents of working memory to guide behavior (inside-out) are just as important as those operating on sensory signals to generate internal contents (outside-in). We review the burgeoning literature on selective attention in the inside-out direction and underscore its functional, flexible, and future-focused nature. We discuss in turn the purpose (why), targets (what), sources (when), and mechanisms (how) of selective attention inside working memory, using visual working memory as a model. We show how the study of internal selective attention brings new insights concerning the core cognitive processes of attention and working memory and how considering selective attention and working memory together paves the way for a rich and integrated understanding of how mind serves behavior. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Psychology, Volume 74 is January 2023. Please see for revised estimates.
Shared picture-book reading is well-recognized as beneficial for children's early language development, especially where “dialogic book-sharing” techniques are used. Possible benefits of dialogic book-sharing to other aspects of child development have been little investigated, and it has not been widely studied in European populations. We conducted a randomized trial of dialogic book-sharing in Children's Centers in the UK, with parents of 2- to- 4-year-old children, hypothesizing that it would benefit parenting and a range of child developmental outcomes. Intervention group parents (n = 110) received 7, weekly, group training sessions, and control parents (n = 108) the usual center input. Parenting and a range of child outcomes (language, attention, executive function, social development, and emotional-behavior difficulties) were assessed on 3 occasions: before, after, and 4–6 month following intervention. For all study outcomes we compared controls with each of the Intention-to-Treat population and the per-protocol population (participants attending the requisite number of sessions); and, for primary child outcomes only, the population of parents who engaged well with the intervention. There were substantial benefits of dialogic book-sharing training to parental behavior during book-sharing, especially for sensitivity and cognitive scaffolding. For all 3 sets of comparisons there were small-medium effects of on child expressive language, and, for the per protocol and engaged populations, similar sized effects on child receptive language and attention. There was no evidence of benefit of dialogic book-sharing for the other areas of child development; we suggest that specific intervention components need to be added to standard dialogic book-sharing to effect change in these areas.
Subjective confidence plays an important role in guiding behavior, for example, people typically commit to decisions immediately if high in confidence and seek additional information if not. The present study examines whether people are flexible in their use of confidence, such that the mapping between confidence and behavior is not fixed but can instead vary depending on the specific context. To investigate this proposal, we tested the hypothesis that the seemingly natural relationship between low confidence and requesting advice varies according to whether people know, or do not know, the quality of the advice. Participants made an initial perceptual judgement and then chose between re-sampling evidence or receiving advice from a virtual advisor, before committing to a final decision. The results indicated that, when objective information about advisor reliability was not available, participants selected advice more often when their confidence was high rather than when it was low. This pattern reflects the use of confidence as a feedback proxy to learn about advisor quality: Participants were able to learn about the reliability of advice even in the absence of feedback and subsequently requested more advice from better advisors. In contrast, when participants had prior knowledge about the reliability of advisors, they requested advice more often when their confidence was low, reflecting the use of confidence as a self-monitoring tool signaling that help should be solicited. These findings indicate that people use confidence in a way that is context-dependent and directed towards achieving their current goals.
It is widely known that hydrofluoric and sulfuric acids are the conventional catalysts used in the alkylation reaction, an important petrochemical process in the production of automotive fuels. However, these inorganic acids are highly toxic and therefore, solid zeolitic catalysts have emerged as an environmentally friendly alternative. In this work, a series of BEA-type zeolitic materials were prepared in hydrothermal systems varying the crystallization time to test their catalytic performance in the alkylation of isobutane with trans-2-butene. The materials were characterized by Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR), X-ray Powder Diffraction (XRPD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), N2 physisorption, and total acidity measurements by ammonia method. The synthesis of BEA zeolite was successfully carried out at crystallization times between 8 and 20 h (ZB-8, ZB-12, and ZB-20 samples), whilst longer periods produce a combination of BEA and MFI zeolites (ZB-28 and ZB-96 samples). Based on the XRPD analysis, the possible presence of two polymorphs of the BEA zeolite is proposed. The synthesized materials in the acidic form were catalytically examined for 120 min at different contact times (0.078, 0.156, and 0.234 gcat × min × mol⁻¹) and temperatures (40 and 60 °C). The reaction was fitted to second-order deactivation kinetics. High selectivity was observed for the group of C7-C9+ compounds in the steady-state condition, particularly towards the fraction of C8 compounds. The generation of the compounds that make up the alkylate group was favored in most catalytic tests. The highest yields for alkylate were achieved under conditions of 0.156 gcat × min × mol⁻¹ and 40 °C with values of 9.5 and 12 % for the ZB-12 and ZB-96 catalysts, respectively. This study supported the importance of balancing the density of acidic sites and the porous topology of zeolitic materials in conjunction with the selection of reaction parameters such as temperature and contact time to favor the yield towards alkylate.
The gut microbiome may be a mediator between obesity and health outcomes. However, it is unclear how intentional weight loss changes the gut microbiota and intestinal permeability. We aimed to systematically review and quantify this association. We searched Medline, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane databases, and trial registries until June 2020 (PROSPERO: CRD42020205292). We included trials of weight loss interventions (energy-restricted diets, pharmacotherapy, bariatric surgery) reporting on the microbiome. Two reviewers independently completed screening, extraction, and risk assessment with the ROBINS-I tool. Pooled standardized mean differences (SMDs) were obtained from random-effects meta-analyses. Forty-seven trials with 1,916 participants (81% female) and a median follow-up of 6 months (range: 2–24) were included. Based on imprecise evidence but with fairly consistent direction of effect, weight loss was associated with a statistically significant increase in α-diversity [SMD: 0.4 (95% CI: 0.2, 0.6], p < .0001, I² = 70%, n = 30 studies) and a statistically significant reduction in intestinal permeability [SMD: −0.7 (95% CI: −0.9, −0.4), p < .0001, I² = 83%, n = 17 studies]. Each kg of weight loss was associated with a 0.012 (95% CI: 0.0003, 0.024, p = .045) increase in α-diversity and a −0.017 (95% CI: −0.034, −0.001, p = .038) reduction in intestinal permeability. There was clear evidence of increases in the relative abundance of Akkermansia, but no clear evidence of changes in individual phyla, species, or fecal short-chain fatty acids. Restricting the analyses to the studies with lower risk of bias did not materially alter the estimates. Increasing weight loss is positively associated with increases in gut microbiota α-diversity and reductions in intestinal permeability.
Based on research from previous pandemics, studies of critical care survivors, and emerging COVID-19 data, we estimate that up to 30% of survivors of severe COVID will develop PTSD. PTSD is frequently undetected across primary and secondary care settings and the psychological needs of survivors may be overshadowed by a focus on physical recovery. Delayed PTSD diagnosis is associated with poor outcomes. There is a clear case for survivors of severe COVID to be systematically screened for PTSD, and those that develop PTSD should receive timely access to evidence-based treatment for PTSD and other mental health problems by multidisciplinary teams.
Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and their derivatives are key components of clinical pipelines in the global biopharmaceutical industry. The availability of large datasets of antibody sequences, structures, and biophysical properties is increasingly enabling the development of predictive models and computational tools for the "developability assessment" of antibody drug candidates. Here, we provide an overview of the antibody informatics tools applicable to the prediction of developability issues such as stability, aggregation, immunogenicity, and chemical degradation. We further evaluate the opportunities and challenges of using biopharmaceutical informatics for drug discovery and optimization. Finally, we discuss the potential of developability guidelines based on in silico metrics that can be used for the assessment of antibody stability and manufacturability.
This paper argues that as we move to redefine global bioethics, there is a need to be attentive to the ethical issues associated with the environmental sustainability of data and digital infrastructures in global health systems. We show that these infrastructures have thus far featured little in environmental impact discussions in the context of health, and we use a case study approach of biobanking to illustrate this. We argue that this missing discussion is problematic because biobanks have environmental impacts associated with data and digital infrastructures. We consider several ethical questions to consider these impacts: what ethical work does the concept of environmental sustainability add to the debate; how should this concept be prioritised in decision-making; and who should be responsible for doing so? We call on global bioethics to play a role in advancing this dialogue and addressing these questions.
Background: The core clinical feature of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is recurrent re-experiencing in form of intrusive memories. While a great number of biological processes are regulated by sleep and internal biological clocks, the effect of 24-hour biological cycles, named circadian rhythm, has not been investigated in the context of intrusive memories. Objective: Here we examined effects of time of day on frequency and characteristics of intrusive re-experiencing. Methods: Fifty trauma survivors reported intrusive memories for 7 consecutive days using ecological momentary assessment in their daily life. We investigated (i) time-of-day dependent effects on frequency and distribution of intrusive re-experiencing in the overall sample as well as in PTSD versus non-PTSD and (ii) time-of-day dependent effects on the memory characteristics intrusiveness, vividness, nowness and fear. Results: Intrusive memories showed a curvilinear pattern that peaked at 2pm. Intrusive memories in the PTSD group showed a constant level of intrusive re-experiencing in the afternoon and evening, whereas a descending slope was present in the non-PTSD group. In PTSD, intrusive memories might thus be experienced in a more time-scattered fashion throughout the day, indicating chronodisruption. Intrusion characteristics did not follow this pattern. Conclusion: Although preliminary and based on a small sample size, these findings contribute to a better understanding of the everyday occurrence and characteristics of intrusive memories, and point to the added value of examining time-dependent effects, which can directly inform prevention and intervention science.
Background: Veterinary professionals (VPs) are often exposed to distressing and ethically challenging events in their line of work, yet little is known about whether they may experience moral injury and the impact potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs) may have on their wellbeing. This cross-sectional study aimed to examine the association between PMIEs and the mental health outcomes of U.K. VPs. Method: Assessments of PMIE exposure and self-report measures of common mental disorders were administered using an anonymous online questionnaire to 90 U.K. VPs between December 2020 and May 2021. Results: Exposure to PMIEs was reported by almost all VPs (89.0%), with acts of omission most frequently reported. Experiences of PMIEs were significantly associated with symptoms of PTSD (p < 0.01) and experiencing a betrayal event was significantly associated with PTSD symptoms (p<0.05). However, there was no significant association found between PMIE exposure and alcohol misuse or CMD (p > 0.05). Conclusions: This study provides some of the first evidence that experiences of moral injury are significantly associated with adverse mental health outcomes in U.K. VPs. Future work is needed to design effective pathways for prevention and intervention for VPs exposed to highly challenging events. Highlights: U.K. veterinary professionals were found to experience moral injury.Experiences of moral injury were significantly associated with symptoms of PTSD.
Pedestrian infrastructures in Hong Kong enable multilevel city life in a vertical metropolis plagued by land scarcity. Public spaces integrated into pedestrian networks play an indispensable role in neighbourhood accessibility. We visualize the impact of the Covid-19 vaccine passport (VP) restrictions on the use of public space on pedestrian accessibility to all 97 metro stations in Hong Kong. Pedestrians without a vaccine passport (PwoVP) need to walk significantly longer alternative routes. Specifically, VP-related access restrictions to indoor walkways have doubled the shortest travel time for PwoVP and a 50% reduction in accessibility of two-thirds of stations. © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
The governance of pharmaceutical medicines entails complex ethical decisions that should, in theory, be the responsibility of democratically accountable government agencies. However, in many Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), regulatory and health systems constraints mean that many people still lack access to safe, appropriate and affordable medication, posing significant ethical challenges for those working on the "front line". Drawing on 18 months of fieldwork in Ghana, we present three detailed case studies of individuals in this position: an urban retail pharmacist, a rural over-the-counter medicine retailer, and a local inspector. Through these case studies, we consider the significant burden of "ethical labour" borne by those operating "on the ground", who navigate complex moral, legal and business imperatives in real time and with very real consequences for those they serve. The paper ends with a reflection on the tensions between abstract, generalised ethical frameworks based on high-level principles, and a pragmatic, contingent ethics-in-practice that foregrounds immediate individual needs - a tension rooted in the gap between the theory and the reality of pharmaceutical governance that shifts the burden of ethical labour downwards and perpetuates long-term public health risks.
Background: Parenting was severely affected by lockdown, school closure, illness, movement restrictions and the many sudden changes wrought by the global emergence of COVID-19. Responding to the need for a rapid emergency response to support parents and caregivers, a consortium of providers developed a suite of COVID-19 parenting resources based on evidence-based parenting interventions. Launched in March 2020, these were adapted for online use, with versions in over 100 languages, and the possibility for downloading, radio, and oral provision. A rapid qualitative evaluation initiative was conducted from September 2020 to February 2021 to inform the procedure, understand the impact and to drive future provision. Methods: The evaluation collected openended responses surveys (n = 495 participants) and in-depth interviews with parents, providers, and adolescent children (n = 22) from 14 countries and one global source. Data were gathered on parenting challenges during COVID-19 and the utility of the COVID-19 parenting resources. In-depth, semi-structured interviews explored the same concepts and elaborated on challenges, utility of the resources, and recommendations for the future. Data were coded in a hierarchy from basic, organising and global theme generation.Results: The parenting resources equipped parents with information and practices transforming everyday lives, and interactions. The tips provided prompts and permissions related to children's behaviour, enabled communications, and offered ways to reduce stress, monitor behaviour and navigate discipline challenges. The timeliness of the resources as well as the clarity and ease of use were seen as advantages. Future direction and possible hurdles related to adaptations needed according to recipient, child age, local context, culture, and new challenges. Conclusions: Overall findings point to the value and utility of this unprecedented global response to theCOVID-19 pandemic. Results suggest that rapid provision of parenting resources at scale is feasible and of use and opens a pathway for providing evidence-based interventions under COVID-19 constraints.
Fragility fractures represent a health problem in Mexico and in the world. This paper reviews and puts forward the implementation of Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) as a feasible and cost-effective alternative in health institutions in our country through the identification, treatment, and follow-up of this type of fractures.
The Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) experiment at CERN is undergoing an upgrade in preparation for the Run 3 data collection period at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). As part of this upgrade, the trigger is moving to a full software implementation operating at the LHC bunch crossing rate. We present an evaluation of a CPU-based and a GPU-based implementation of the first stage of the high-level trigger. After a detailed comparison, both options are found to be viable. This document summarizes the performance and implementation details of these options, the outcome of which has led to the choice of the GPU-based implementation as the baseline.
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Maru Mormina
  • Ethox Centre
Simon Proud
  • Department of Physics
Sebastian Engelstaedter
  • School of Geography and the Environment
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