Angeliki Laiou (1941-2008), one of the leading Byzantinists of her generation, broke new ground in the study of the social and economic history of the Byzantine Empire. Economic Thought and Economic Life in Byzantium, the last of three volumes to be published posthumously in the Variorum Collected Studies Series, brings together twelve articles that reflect her perennial concern with the relationship of theory and practice in historical contexts. Two of these are translated from Greek and German, respectively, and another is here published for the first time. The six articles in the first part explore several lively and wide-ranging debates over economic concepts and practices in late medieval Byzantium, touching on such concerns as usury, regalian rights, and the proper functioning of the market. The articles in the second part examine the nature and role of cities, villages, and the countryside in Byzantium, together with the rich and varied experiences of their inhabitants.
In recent years, educational neuroscience has begun to move into the limelight, suggesting an increased importance on the ethical considerations of educational neuroscience work, or educational neuroethics. In a departure from previous work on educational neuroethics, this paper focuses on the ethical considerations that are applicable to empirical educational neuroscience research. Neuroethics concepts were compiled through a thorough survey of neuroethics articles. Then, twenty-eight empirical educational neuroscience articles were analyzed through the lens of five categories of neuroethics concepts collected through the literature survey: the scientific enterprise, prediction, neuro-manipulation, social considerations, and philosophical considerations. Three of the five categories (i.e., the nature of scientific investigation, prediction, and social considerations) applied to a subset of the articles. In addition, a fourth ethical issue not stemming from the neuroethics literature, referred to here as brain-based justifications, emerged from the nature of educational neuroscience work. Limitations of the present study and future directions for educational neuroethics research are discussed.
BACKGROUND: Innovative models of care are required to cope with the ever-increasing number of patients on antiretroviral therapy in the most affected countries. This study, in Khayelitsha, South Africa, evaluates the effectiveness of a group-based model of care run predominantly by non-clinical staff in retaining patients in care and maintaining adherence. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Participation in "adherence clubs" was offered to adults who had been on ART for at least 18 months, had a current CD4 count >200 cells/ml and were virologically suppressed. Embedded in an ongoing cohort study, we compared loss to care and virologic rebound in patients receiving the intervention with patients attending routine nurse-led care from November 2007 to February 2011. We used inverse probability weighting to estimate the intention-to-treat effect of adherence club participation, adjusted for measured baseline and time-varying confounders. The principal outcome was the combination of death or loss to follow-up. The secondary outcome was virologic rebound in patients who were virologically suppressed at study entry. Of 2829 patients on ART for >18 months with a CD4 count above 200 cells/microl, 502 accepted club participation. At the end of the study, 97% of club patients remained in care compared with 85% of other patients. In adjusted analyses club participation reduced loss-to-care by 57% (hazard ratio [HR] 0.43, 95% CI = 0.21-0.91) and virologic rebound in patients who were initially suppressed by 67% (HR 0.33, 95% CI = 0.16-0.67). DISCUSSION: Patient adherence groups were found to be an effective model for improving retention and documented virologic suppression for stable patients in long term ART care. Out-of-clinic group-based models facilitated by non-clinical staff are a promising approach to assist in the long-term management of people on ART in high burden low or middle-income settings.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Transcutaneous electrical stimulation has been proven to modulate nervous system activity, leading to changes in pain perception, via the peripheral sensory system, in a bottom up approach. We tested whether different sensory behavioral tasks induce significant effects in pain processing and whether these changes correlate with cortical plasticity.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This randomized parallel designed experiment included forty healthy right-handed males. Three different somatosensory tasks, including learning tasks with and without visual feedback and simple somatosensory input, were tested on pressure pain threshold and motor cortex excitability using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Sensory tasks induced hand-specific pain modulation effects. They increased pain thresholds of the left hand (which was the target to the sensory tasks) and decreased them in the right hand. TMS showed that somatosensory input decreased cortical excitability, as indexed by reduced MEP amplitudes and increased SICI. Although somatosensory tasks similarly altered pain thresholds and cortical excitability, there was no significant correlation between these variables and only the visual feedback task showed significant somatosensory learning.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Lack of correlation between cortical excitability and pain thresholds and lack of differential effects across tasks, but significant changes in pain thresholds suggest that analgesic effects of somatosensory tasks are not primarily associated with motor cortical neural mechanisms, thus, suggesting that subcortical neural circuits and/or spinal cord are involved with the observed effects. Identifying the neural mechanisms of somatosensory stimulation on pain may open novel possibilities for combining different targeted therapies for pain control.
This meta-analysis reviewed research on summer reading interventions conducted in the United States and Canada from 1998 to 2011. The synthesis included 41 classroom- and home- based summer reading interventions, involving children from kindergarten to Grade 8. Compared to control group children, children who participated in classroom interventions, involving teacher-directed literacy lessons, or home interventions, involving child-initiated book reading activities, enjoyed significant improvement on multiple reading outcomes. The magnitude of the treatment effect was positive for summer reading interventions that employed research-based reading instruction and included a majority of low-income children. Sensitivity analyses based on within-study comparisons indicated that summer reading interventions had significantly larger benefits for children from low-income backgrounds than for children from a mix of income backgrounds. The findings highlight the potentially positive impact of classroom- and home-based summer reading interventions on the reading comprehension ability of low- income children.
The conventional wisdom regarding the political consequences of large reductions of budget deficits is that they are very costly for the governments which implement them: they are punished by voters at the following elections. In the present paper, instead, we find no evidence that governments which quickly reduce budget deficits are systematically voted out of office in a sample of 19 OECD countries from 1975 to 2008. We also take into consideration issues of reverse causality, namely the possibility that only "strong and popular" governments can implement fiscal adjustments and thus they are not voted out of office "despite" having reduced the deficits. In the end we conclude that many governments can reduce deficits decisively avoiding an electoral defeat.