The work described in this thesis pertains to the area of Collaborative Filtering and focuses on collaborative filtering datasets and specially-defined portions of the datasets called views. The high level goal of the work is to better understand how different characteristics of datasets affects the performance of collaborative filtering techniques. Datasets, and views, are compared across a number of different experiments: some relating to techniques and accuracy and others relating to ideas of performance prediction.
Health outcomes among men are markedly poorer than women. Testicular disorders can be life-threatening if left untreated. Few studies promoting awareness of testicular disorders have been underpinned by theory. Theory-based interventions are more likely to achieve positive health outcomes than interventions that lack a theoretical foundation. The purpose of the study is to present a theory-focused analysis of the preconscious awareness to action framework (PAAF), developed to enhance testicular awareness and help-seeking intentions and behaviors among men. The following approach was used to develop the PAAF: The empirical literature on men's awareness of testicular disorders was reviewed. A qualitative study was conducted to explore men's awareness of testicular disorders, help-seeking intentions for testicular symptoms, and preferred learning strategies in relation to testicular disorders and symptoms. An iterative narrative review process of the theoretical literature on health promotion and symptom appraisal was undertaken. The PAAF comprises seven steps: preconscious awareness, unconscious awareness, conscious awareness, unconscious appraisal, conscious appraisal, intention, and behavior. The concept of testicular awareness was developed to familiarize men with their own testes and promote timely help-seeking. Researchers are encouraged to use the PAAF to design health-promoting interventions aimed at enhancing testicular awareness, symptom appraisal, and help-seeking.
The rate of caesarean sections at full cervical dilatation with their high risk of morbidity continues to rise mirroring the overall increase in caesarean section rates internationally. The objectives of this study were to determine the rate of full dilatation caesarean section in a tertiary referral unit and evaluate key labour, maternal and fetal factors potentially linked to those deliveries. We also assessed maternal and fetal morbidity at full dilatation sections. Where possible, these were compared with successful operative vaginal deliveries carried out in theatre to determine key differences. Retrospective cohort study. We reviewed the rate of full dilatation caesarean section over a 10-year period. We analysed deliveries (caesarean sections or operative vaginal deliveries) in single cephalic pregnancies ≥34 weeks with contemporaneously collected data from our unit's electronic database for 2015. The rate of full dilatation caesarean section increased by over a third in the ten-year period (56/6947 (0.80%) vs 92/7378 (1.24%), p = 0.01). Of 84 full dilatation caesarean sections who met the inclusion criteria, 63 (75%) were nulliparous and the mean maternal age was 33 (±5) years. Oxytocin was used in the second stage in less than half of second stage caesarean sections (22 out of a recorded 57, 38.6%). There were more fetal head malposition (occipito-posterior, or occipito-transverse) at full dilatation caesarean section compared to successful operative vaginal deliveries (41/46 (89.1%) vs 2/21 (9.5), p < 0.001). The rate of significant postpartum haemorrhage (defined as estimated blood loss ≥1000 ml) was similar in both full dilatation caesarean section and operative vaginal deliveries. There was no difference in the mean birthweight at full dilatation caesarean sections compared to operative vaginal delivery (3.88 kg (2.80-5.33 kg) vs 3.48 kg (1.53-4.40 kg)). There was no difference in neonatal morbidity. Fetal head malposition is associated with a higher risk of full dilatation caesarean section. Interestingly, maternal and fetal morbidity were similar between full dilatation caesarean sections and anticipated difficult operative vaginal deliveries carried out in theatre. The management of labour in terms of the decision to use oxytocin judiciously in hope of correcting inefficient uterine contractions and continuous labour ward training, particularly the diagnosis of malposition and its correction may be beneficial in reducing the rate of full dilation caesarean sections.
Up to a third of prostate cancer patients fail curative treatment strategies such as surgery and radiation therapy in the form of biochemical recurrence (BCR) which can be predictive of poor outcome. Recent clinical trials have shown that men experiencing BCR might benefit from earlier intervention post-radical prostatectomy (RP). Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify earlier prognostic biomarkers which will guide clinicians in making accurate diagnosis and timely decisions on the next appropriate treatment. The objective of this study was to evaluate Serum Response Factor (SRF) protein expression following RP and to investigate its association with BCR. SRF nuclear expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in TMAs across three international radical prostatectomy cohorts for a total of 615 patients. Log-rank test and Kaplan-Meier analyses were used for BCR comparisons. Stepwise backwards elimination proportional hazard regression analysis was used to explore the significance of SRF in predicting BCR in the context of other clinical pathological variables. Area under the curve (AUC) values were generated by simulating repeated random sub-samples. Analysis of the immunohistochemical staining of benign versus cancer cores showed higher expression of nuclear SRF protein expression in cancer cores compared with benign for all the three TMAs analysed (P < 0.001, n = 615). Kaplan-Meier curves of the three TMAs combined showed that patients with higher SRF nuclear expression had a shorter time to BCR compared with patients with lower SRF expression (P < 0.001, n = 215). Together with pathological T stage T3, SRF was identified as a predictor of BCR using stepwise backwards elimination proportional hazard regression analysis (P = 0.0521). Moreover ROC curves and AUC values showed that SRF was better than T stage in predicting BCR at year 3 and 5 following radical prostatectomy, the combination of SRF and T stage had a higher AUC value than the two taken separately. SRF assessment by IHC following RP could be useful in guiding clinicians to better identify patients for appropriate follow-up and timely treatment.
Acid deposition arising from sulphur (S) and nitrogen (N) emissions from fossil fuel combustion and agriculture has contributed to the acidification of terrestrial ecosystems in many regions globally. However, in Europe and North America, S deposition has greatly decreased in recent decades due to emissions controls. In this study we assessed the response of soil solution chemistry in mineral horizons of European forests to these changes. Trends in pH, acid neutralising capacity (ANC), major ions, total aluminium (Al
In the past ten years, as a novel and prospective nanomaterials, carbon dots have acquired tremendous attention for their unique optical and physicochemical properties, high compatibility and low cost, as well as great potential in sensing area. This review aims to present the current detecting principles based on carbon dots and other nano biological technologies, involving fluorescence quenching and recovery mechanisms. The synthetic and modificatory approaches in making carbon dots including top-down and bottom-up methods, as well as surface passivation and heteroatom doping ways are introduced. Their applications in food area, concerning detection of nutrients, restricted or banned substances as well as foodborne pathogenic bacteria and the toxins secreted are discussed. Finally, the difficulties to be overcome or problems to be solved are presented, and other novel techniques to combine with carbon dots to obtain more stable and specific nanosensors in various fields are proposed. Although carbon dots based sensors have shown the potential in sensing aspect of food area, as food samples are complex in compositions that may cause interferences, more novel techniques are needed to combine with carbon dots to develop sensitive and specific sensing probes.