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McKean C.,Northumbria University | McKean C.,Murdoch Childrens Research Institute | Mensah F.K.,Murdoch Childrens Research Institute | Mensah F.K.,University of Melbourne | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Background: Evidence is required as to when and where to focus resources to achieve the greatest gains for children's language development. Key to these decisions is the understanding of individual differences in children's language trajectories and the predictors of those differences. To determine optimal timing we must understand if and when children's relative language abilities become fixed. To determine where to focus effort we must identify mutable factors, that is those with the potential to be changed through interventions, which are associated with significant differences in children's language scores and rate of progress. Methods: Uniquely this study examined individual differences in language growth trajectories in a population sample of children between 4 and 7 years using the multilevel model for change. The influence of predictors, grouped with respect to their mutability and their proximity to the child (least-mutable, mutable-distal, mutable-proximal), were estimated. Results: A significant degree of variability in rate of progress between 4 and 7 years was evident, much of which was systematically associated with mutable-proximal factors, that is, those factors with evidence that they are modifiable through interventions with the child or family, such as shared book reading, TV viewing and number of books in the home. Mutable-distal factors, such as family income, family literacy and neighbourhood disadvantage, hypothesised to be modifiable through social policy, were important predictors of language abilities at 4 years. Conclusions: Potential levers for language interventions lie in the child's home learning environment from birth to age 4. However, the role of a family's material and cultural capital must not be ignored, nor should the potential for growth into the school years. Early Years services should acknowledge the effects of multiple, cascading and cumulative risks and seek to promote child language development through the aggregation of marginal gains in the preschool years and beyond. © 2015 McKean et al. Source

Grieve R.,University of Tasmania | Padgett C.R.,University of Tasmania | Moffitt R.L.,Griffith University | Moffitt R.L.,Menzies Health Institute Queensland
Internet and Higher Education | Year: 2016

This study provided the first empirical and direct comparison of preferences for online versus offline assignment marking in higher education. University students (N = 140) reported their attitudes towards assignment marking and feedback both online and offline, perceptions of social presence in each modality, and attitudes towards computers. The students also ranked their preferences for receiving feedback in terms of three binary characteristics: modality (online or offline), valence (positive or negative), and scope of feedback (general or specific). Although attitudes towards online and offline marking did not significantly differ, positive attitudes towards one modality were strongly correlated with negative attitudes towards the other modality. Greater perceptions of social presence within a modality were associated with more positive attitudes towards that modality. Binary characteristics were roughly equally weighted. Findings suggest that the online feedback modality will most effectively maximise student engagement if online assignment marking and feedback tools facilitate perceptions of social presence. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. Source

Ullman A.J.,Griffith University | Ullman A.J.,Menzies Research Institute | Kleidon T.,Menzies Research Institute | Gibson V.,Menzies Research Institute | And 13 more authors.
BMJ Open | Year: 2016

Introduction: Paediatric central venous access devices (CVADs) are associated with a 25% incidence of failure. Securement and dressing are strategies used toreduce failure and complication; however, innovative technologies have not been evaluated for their effectiveness across device types. The primary aim of this research is to evaluate the feasibility of launching a full-scale randomised controlled efficacy trial across three CVAD types regarding CVAD securement and dressing, using predefined feasibility criteria. Methods and analysis: Three feasibility randomised, controlled trials are to be undertaken at the Royal Childrens Hospital and the Lady Cilento Childrens Hospital, Brisbane, Australia. CVAD securement and dressing interventions under examination compare current practice with sutureless securement devices, integrated securement dressings and tissue adhesive. In total, 328 paediatric patients requiring a peripherally inserted central catheter (n=100); non-tunnelled CVAD (n=180) and tunnelled CVAD (n=48) to be inserted will be recruited and randomly allocated to CVAD securement and dressing products. Primary outcomes will be study feasibility measured by eligibility, recruitment, retention, attrition, missing data, parent/staff satisfaction and effect size. CVAD failure and complication (catheter-associated bloodstream infection, local infection, venous thrombosis, occlusion, dislodgement and breakage) will be compared between groups. Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval to conduct the research has been obtained. All dissemination will be undertaken using the CONSORT Statement recommendations. Additionally, the results will be sent to the relevant organisations which lead CVAD focused clinical practice guidelines development. Source

Peigneur S.,Catholic University of Leuven | Yamaguchi Y.,Fukuoka Womens University | Kawano C.,Fukuoka Womens University | Nose T.,Kyushu University | And 5 more authors.
Biochemistry | Year: 2016

Peptide toxins from scorpion venoms constitute the largest group of toxins that target the voltage-gated potassium channel (Kv). Spinoxin (SPX) isolated from the venom of scorpion Heterometrus spinifer is a 34-residue peptide neurotoxin cross-linked by four disulfide bridges. SPX is a potent inhibitor of Kv1.3 potassium channels (IC50 = 63 nM), which are considered to be valid molecular targets in the diagnostics and therapy of various autoimmune disorders and cancers. Here we synthesized 25 analogues of SPX and analyzed the role of each amino acid in SPX using alanine scanning to study its structure-function relationships. All synthetic analogues showed similar disulfide bond pairings and secondary structures as native SPX. Alanine replacements at Lys23, Asn26, and Lys30 resulted in loss of activity against Kv1.3 potassium channels, whereas replacements at Arg7, Met14, Lys27, and Tyr32 also largely reduced inhibitory activity. These results suggest that the side chains of these amino acids in SPX play an important role in its interaction with Kv1.3 channels. In particular, Lys23 appears to be a key residue that underpins Kv1.3 channel inhibition. Of these seven amino acid residues, four are basic amino acids, suggesting that the positive electrostatic potential on the surface of SPX is likely required for high affinity interaction with Kv1.3 channels. This study provides insight into the structure-function relationships of SPX with implications for the rational design of new lead compounds targeting potassium channels with high potency. © 2016 American Chemical Society. Source

Kidd T.J.,University of Queensland | Kidd T.J.,Queens University of Belfast | Magalhaes R.J.S.,University of Queensland | Paynter S.,University of Queensland | And 36 more authors.
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine | Year: 2015

Background: Person-to-person transmission is a potential pathway of Pseudomonas aeruginosa acquisition in cystic fibrosis. Reports of cross-infection of shared cystic-fibrosis-specific P aeruginosa strains across large geographical distances are concerning. Therefore, we aimed to assess the extent to which patient movement between cystic fibrosis centres contributes to dissemination. Methods: We did a cross-sectional study to assess movement of patients with cystic fibrosis who were infected with P aeruginosa between Sept 3, 2007, and June 16, 2010, at 18 Australian cystic fibrosis centres. We applied social network analysis to patient movement data from P aeruginosa-infected patients to assess the role of patient mobility in P aeruginosa genotype prevalence. We generated networks linking treatment centres based on the movement of patients attending adult and paediatric cystic fibrosis centres, and compared these with the movement of patients infected with all P aeruginosa strains, unique strains, and predominant Australian shared strains (AUST-01 and AUST-02). We summarised connectivity using degree centrality, in-degree centrality, out-degree centrality, and k-core estimates. Infection control and surveillance practices were also assessed by use of a questionnaire. Findings: 983 patients (mean age 25 years [SD 10]; 551 [56%] male) provided 2887 P aeruginosa isolates for ERIC-PCR genotyping, which yielded 531 distinct genotypes: 493 unique strains in 373 patients and 38 shared strains in 610 patients. AUST-01 infections were associated with higher in-degree centrality (p=0·004) and k-core (p=0·005) estimates and AUST-02 infections with higher degree centrality (p=0·002), out-degree centrality (p=0·002), and k-core (p=0·007) estimates for the previous health-care facilities; associations for the present cystic fibrosis centre were not significant. These findings were significant for adult patients (AUST-01 in-degree centrality p=0·004 and k-core p=0·005; AUST-02 degree centrality p=0·004, out-degree centrality p=0·003, and k-core p=0·007), but not for paediatric patients. By contrast, infections with unique strains were associated with a lower k-core estimate for the present cystic fibrosis centre overall (p<0·0001); this finding was significant in adults (p<0·0001), but not in paediatric patients. Interpretation: Our results show that the connectivity of cystic fibrosis centres, as measured by the movement of patients, seems to be an important risk factor for the acquisition of shared P aeruginosa strain infections. These results show the importance of prioritising infection control interventions (eg, prospective molecular surveillance for shared P aeruginosa strains, strict universal infection control precautions, and hospital design and ventilation) to limit P aeruginosa cross-infection between patients with cystic fibrosis. Funding: Australian National Health and Medical Research Council; Children's Health Foundation Queensland; Office of Health and Medical Research, Queensland Health; European Respiratory Society-European Union; Australian Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust; Prince Charles Hospital Foundation; and Rotary Australia. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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