Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: The Downs


The current literature suggests that load carriage can impact on a tactical officer’s mobility, and that survival in the field may rely on the officer’s mobility. The ability for humans to generate power and agility is critical for performance of the high-intensity movements required in the field of duty. The aims of this review were to critically examine the literature investigating the impacts of load carriage on measures of power and agility and to synthesize the findings. The authors completed a search of the literature using key search terms in four databases. After relevant studies were located using strict inclusion and exclusion criteria, the studies were critically appraised using the Downs and Black Checklist and relevant data were extracted and tabled. Fourteen studies were deemed relevant for this review, ranging in percentage quality scores from 42.85% to 71.43%. Outcome measures used in these studies to indicate levels of power and agility included short-distance sprints, vertical jumps, and agility runs, among others. Performance of both power and agility was shown to decrease when tactical load was added to the participants. This suggests that the increase in weight carried by tactical officers may put this population at risk of injury or fatality in the line of duty.

Concepts: Critical thinking, Inclusion, Knitting, Vertical jump, The Downs, Officer


This review investigates current protocols using Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) in shoulder research, and outlines future paths regarding IMU use for shoulder research. Different databases were searched for relevant articles. Criteria for study selection were (1) research in healthy persons or persons with shoulder problems, (2) IMUs applied as assessment tool for the shoulder (in healthy subjects and shoulder patients) or upper limb (in shoulder patients), (3) peer-reviewed, full-text papers in English or Dutch. Studies with less than five participants and without ethical approval were excluded. Data extraction included (1) study design, (2) participant characteristics, (3) type/brand of IMU, (4) tasks included in the assessment protocol, and (5) outcomes. Risk of bias was assessed using the Downs and Black checklist. Scapulothoracic/glenohumeral and humerothoracic kinematics were reported in respectively 10 and 27 of the 37 included papers. Only one paper in healthy persons assessed, next to scapulothoracic/glenohumeral kinematics, other upper limb joints. IMUs' validity and reliability to capture shoulder function was limited. Considering applied protocols, 39% of the protocols was located on the International-Classification-of-Functioning (ICF) function level, while 38% and 23% were on the ‘capacity’ and ‘actual performance’-sublevel, of the ICF-activity level. Most available IMU-research regarding the shoulder is clinically less relevant, given the widely reported humerothoracic kinematics which do not add to clinical-decision-making, and the absence of protocols assessing the complete upper limb chain. Apart from knowledge on methodological pitfalls and opportunities regarding the use of IMUs, this review provides future research paths.

Concepts: Scientific method, Research, Shoulder, Upper limb, The Downs


Parenting stress increases in the presence of serious-acute or chronic pediatric health conditions, potentially triggering negative outcomes for families. Parenting stress reduction interventions have been widely disseminated. The current review describes the types, components, and outcomes of these interventions in diverse pediatric populations. A systematic literature search yielded 26 experimental and quasi-experimental studies describing such interventions. Quality assessment was conducted by two doctorally prepared nursing researchers using the Downs and Black’s checklist for randomized and nonrandomized studies of health care interventions. Interventions were categorized as follows: interventions with supporting and cognitive components (n = 3), interventions with empowerment and skill development components (n = 18), interventions targeted to children’s condition (n = 9), and interventions focusing on the parent-child relationship (n = 5). Most interventions reduced immediate parenting stress levels (n = 23), but failed to demonstrate long-term gains. Future family interventions should target long-term parenting stress, while focusing on specific family needs across pediatric conditions.

Concepts: Family, Health care, Medicine, Health, Redox, Electrochemistry, Management, The Downs


A scoping review of the literature on parenting programmes that target the promotion of adolescent mental health was conducted to examine the quality of the studies and unique content of programmes for parents from ethnoculturally diverse communities. PsycINFO and Web of Science were searched in April, 2011 (for all publications prior to that date) and again in August, 2015 (for publications from April, 2011 to August, 2015) using specific keywords and inclusion criteria. A hand search was also conducted. Overall, 107 studies met inclusion criteria for final data extraction and included evaluations of interventions targeted at substance use, early/risky sexual activity and behavioural problems. Eighteen of the 107 studies described programmes targeting parents of adolescents from diverse ethnocultural communities; the quality of these 18 studies was assessed using a marginally modified version of the Downs and Black Checklist (Downs & Black 1998). Their average quality assessment score was 16 out of 28. In addition, two key themes reflected in successful interventions emerged: strengthening parent-adolescent relationship through communication, and importance of community engagement in designing and implementing the intervention. Findings indicate gaps in service delivery to parents of adolescents from ethnoculturally diverse communities; there are a limited number of studies on programmes targeting ethnoculturally diverse parents of adolescents, and the quality of studies that do exist is overall low. Given increasing diversity, more emphasis should be placed on developing and modifying programmes to meet the needs of ethnoculturally diverse communities. More rigorous, standardised efforts should be made to evaluate programmes that do exist.

Concepts: Psychology, Evaluation, Human behavior, The Promotion, The Downs


Physical exercise seems to be a safe and effective intervention in patients with inflammatory myopathy (IM). However, the optimal training intervention is not clear. To achieve an optimum training effect, physical exercise training principles must be considered and to replicate research findings, FITT components (frequency, intensity, time, and type) of exercise training should be reported. This review aims to evaluate exercise interventions in studies with IM patients in relation to (1) the application of principles of exercise training, (2) the reporting of FITT components, (3) the adherence of participants to the intervention, and (4) to assess the methodological quality of the included studies. The literature was searched for exercise studies in IM patients. Data were extracted to evaluate the application of the training principles, the reporting of and the adherence to the exercise prescription. The Downs and Black checklist was used to assess methodological quality of the included studies. From the 14 included studies, four focused on resistance, two on endurance, and eight on combined training. In terms of principles of exercise training, 93 % reported specificity, 50 % progression and overload, and 79 % initial values. Reversibility and diminishing returns were never reported. Six articles reported all FITT components in the prescription of the training though no study described adherence to all of these components. Incomplete application of the exercise training principles and insufficient reporting of the exercise intervention prescribed and completed hamper the reproducibility of the intervention and the ability to determine the optimal dose of exercise.

Concepts: Medicine, Physical exercise, Exercise, Optimization, Exercise physiology, Myopathy, Inflammatory myopathy, The Downs


The aim of this review was to describe the effects of acute bouts of physical activity on attention levels of children. A systematic review was performed of English studies from searches in PubMed, Sportdiscus and PsycINFO from 1990 to (May) 2014 according to the PRISMA statement. Only prospective studies of children aged 4-18 years old were included, detailing acute effects of physical activity bouts with the primary outcome attention. One reviewer extracted data on the study characteristics. Two reviewers conducted the methodological quality assessment independently using a criteria checklist, which was based on the Downs and Black checklist for non-randomised studies. Overall the evidence is thin and inconclusive. The methodological differences in study sample (size and age), study design and measurement of attention make it difficult to compare results. There is weak evidence for the effect of acute bouts of physical activity on attention. More experimental studies with a comparable methodology, especially in the school setting, are needed to strengthen this evidence.

Concepts: Scientific method, Evaluation, Effect, Effects unit, Ageing, Meta-analysis, Methodology, The Downs


Abstract Purpose: The aim of this systematic review was to identify, appraise and synthesize the evidence describing gait decline in adults with cerebral palsy (CP). Method: Comprehensive searches were conducted in MEDLINE (1970-), EMBASE (1980-), CINAHL (1982-) and AMED (1985-) databases to June 2012. Two reviewers independently completed data extraction and analysis using a modified version of the Downs and Black quality tool. Results: From the 485 papers identified, 16 met the inclusion criteria. Most studies used samples of convenience. The reported mean ages of the study groups varied from 22 to 42.6 years. Decline in gait function was measured variably with the period of decline undefined or from an unknown reference time during childhood. Results suggest that mobility decline occurs in 25% or more of adults with CP. Those at higher risk of gait decline are those with worse initial gait ability, bilateral rather than unilateral motor impairment, older age and higher levels of pain or fatigue. Conclusion: Many ambulant adults with CP experience mobility decline earlier than their nondisabled peers. More information regarding the natural history of mobility change over the lifespan in adults with CP augmented with self-efficacy qualitative data is needed to direct health advice and appropriate interventions for this group. Implications for Rehabilitation The literature suggests 25% or more of ambulant adults with cerebral palsy experience gait decline. Higher risk of gait decline occurs in those who are older, less independent in gait, have bilateral motor impairment and higher levels of pain or fatigue. Use of standardized gait measurement tools augmented with self-efficacy measures will aid provision of health advice and interventions.

Concepts: Cerebral palsy, Qualitative data, The Downs


Cortical neurons are bistable; as a consequence their local field potentials can fluctuate between quiescent and active states, generating slow 0.5 2 Hz oscillations which are widely known as transitions between Up and Down States. Despite a large number of studies on Up-Down transitions, deciphering its nature, mechanisms and function are still today challenging tasks. In this paper we focus on recent experimental evidence, showing that a class of spontaneous oscillations can emerge within the Up states. In particular, a non-trivial peak around 20 Hz appears in their associated power-spectra, what produces an enhancement of the activity power for higher frequencies (in the 30-90 Hz band). Moreover, this rhythm within Ups seems to be an emergent or collective phenomenon given that individual neurons do not lock to it as they remain mostly unsynchronized. Remarkably, similar oscillations (and the concomitant peak in the spectrum) do not appear in the Down states. Here we shed light on these findings by using different computational models for the dynamics of cortical networks in presence of different levels of physiological complexity. Our conclusion, supported by both theory and simulations, is that the collective phenomenon of “stochastic amplification of fluctuations”–previously described in other contexts such as Ecology and Epidemiology–explains in an elegant and parsimonious manner, beyond model-dependent details, this extra-rhythm emerging only in the Up states but not in the Downs.

Concepts: Cerebral cortex, Emergence, Simulation, Activity, Computational complexity theory, Computational model, Collective, The Downs