Contributors: Bland, Matthew, Tankebe, Justice, Surtees, Keith
... Research Question What was the nature of kidnappings in London during a fairly recent five-year period in the kinds of victims, offenders, motives, types of violence used and levels of injury? Data We analyse 924 reports of kidnap crimes recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service between 1st April 2006 and 31st March 2011. These data included free-text information drawn from case notes. Methods We establish mutually exclusive categories of kidnappings by codifying all crime records, after examining case notes and populated fields from the Metropolitan Police’s crime recording system. Descriptive statistics are used to portray the patterns and nature of these crimes. Findings. The application of a typology of mutually exclusive categories for these kidnappings shows that gangland/criminal/drugs-related cases comprised 40.5% of all kidnappings. Another 21% of all kidnaps were domestic or familial, including honour killings. Just over 10% were incidental to “acquisitive” crimes such as car-jacking, while 8% were sexually motivated. Only six percent were categorised as traditional ransom kidnappings. About 4% were categorised into a purely violent category, while 3% were categorised as international/political. Conclusions The investigative and preventive implications of these many social worlds mapped out by this typology are substantial. Each social context may require investigators to possess expertise in the specific social world of kidnapping, as distinct from what might be called expertise in “kidnaps” per se. Investigations and prevention might be re-engineered around targeted intelligence from these diverse social contexts.
Impairments in reinforcement learning do not explain enhanced habit formation in cocaine use disorder
Contributors: Ersche, Karen, Lim, Tsen Vei, Cardinal, Rudolf, George, Sauvilch, Jones, Peter, Moustafa, Ahmed, Robbins, Trevor
... Rationale: Drug addiction has been suggested to develop through drug-induced changes in learning and memory processes. Whilst the initiation of drug use is typically goal-directed and hedonically motivated, over time drug-taking may develop into a stimulus-driven habit, characterised by persistent use of the drug irrespective of the consequences. Converging lines of evidence suggest that stimulant drugs facilitate the transition of goal-directed into habitual drug-taking, but their contribution to goal-directed learning is less clear. Computational modeling may provide an elegant means to elucidate changes during instrumental learning that may explain enhanced habit formation. Objectives: We used formal reinforcement learning algorithms to deconstruct the process of appetitive instrumental learning and to explore potential associations between goal-directed and habitual actions in patients with cocaine use disorder (CUD). Methods: We re-analysed appetitive instrumental learning data in 55 healthy control volunteers and 70 CUD patients by applying a reinforcement learning model within a hierarchical Bayesian framework. We used a regression model to determine the influence of learning parameters and variations in brain structure on subsequent habit formation. Results: Poor instrumental learning performance in CUD patients was largely determined by difficulties with learning from feedback, as reflected by a significantly reduced learning rate. Subsequent formation of habitual response patterns was partly explained by group status and individual variation in reinforcement sensitivity. White matter integrity within goal-directed networks was only associated with performance parameters in controls but not in CUD patients. Conclusions: Our data indicate that impairments in reinforcement learning are insufficient to account for enhanced habitual responding in CUD.
Identifying the most promising population preventive interventions to add 5 years to healthy life expectancy by 2035, and reduce the gap between the rich and the poor in England
Contributors: Marteau, Theresa, Mytton, Oliver, Aldridge, Rob, McGowan, James, Petticrew, Mark, Rutter, Harry, White, Martin
... Short report prepared for the Department of Health and Social Care informed by an independent workshop convened by Theresa Marteau, Martin White, Harry Rutter and Mark Petticrew summarising evidence for the most promising population preventive interventions to add 5 years to healthy life expectancy by 2035, and reduce the gap between the rich and the poor in England.
Revisiting settlement contemporaneity and exploring stability and instability: case-studies from the Indus Civilisation
Contributors: Petrie, Cameron, Lynam, Frank
... ‘Map overestimation’ or ‘the contemporaneity problem’ derives from the assumption that settlements identified during surface surveys were occupied throughout individual periods. Inductive and simulation analysis have been used to ascertain the degree of contemporaneity in surface survey data sets, as variation in settlement location is critical for understanding population density and demography, which inform social, economic and political interpretations. This paper revisits the inductive approach to interrogating survey data developed by W.M. Sumner, and the simulation model approach developed by R.E. Dewar to explore the survey data from two regions within South Asia’s Indus Civilization. This analysis demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches. It also highlights the variability in settlement systems in different areas within the Indus Civilization, and shows that consideration of stability and instability within settlement systems is an important factor when considering dynamics of resilience and sustainability.
Contributors: Barker, Roger
... In November 2018, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release that stated: “The potential health benefits of regenerative medicine have spurred major progress in stem-cell biology over the past several decades. But we continue to see bad actors exploit the scientific promise of this field to mislead vulnerable patients into believing they’re being given safe, effective treatments; when instead these stem cell producers are leveraging the field’s hype to push unapproved, unproven, illegal, and potentially unsafe products."
Contributors: Wischik, Damon, Ibrahimi, Morteza, Pluntke, Christopher, Prabhakar, Balaji, Merugu, Deepak
... 2035-03-17 [Patent Duration]
Stochastic search and joint fine-mapping increases accuracy and identifies previously unreported associations in immune-mediated diseases
Contributors: Asimit, Jennifer, Rainbow, D, Fortune, M, Grinberg, Nastasya, Wicker, L, Wallace, Catriona
... Thousands of genetic variants are associated with human disease risk, but linkage disequilibrium (LD) hinders fine-mapping the causal variants. Both lack of power, and joint tagging of two or more distinct causal variants by a single non-causal SNP, lead to inaccuracies in fine-mapping, with stochastic search more robust than stepwise. We develop a computationally efficient multinomial fine-mapping (MFM) approach that borrows information between diseases in a Bayesian framework. We show that MFM has greater accuracy than single disease analysis when shared causal variants exist, and negligible loss of precision otherwise. MFM analysis of six immune mediated diseases reveals causal variants undetected in individual disease analysis, including in IL2RA where we confirm functional effects of multiple causal variants using allele-specific expression in sorted CD4+ T cells from genotype-selected individuals. MFM has the potential to increase fine-mapping resolution in related diseases enabling the identification of associated cellular and molecular phenotypes.
Contributors: Smith, Harry, Bennett, Robert, van Lieshout, Carry
Contributors: Binder, Andrea
... Seen from offshore, the shape of the contemporary international economy appears quite different from the conventional view. Some of its most fundamental elements appear bigger – for instance the amount of US dollar created offshore – or smaller – for instance the volume of foreign direct investment – than standard statistics suggest. That is, despite a growing body of research, important elements of the offshore economy remain invisible for researchers and the general public alike. What has become clear, however, is that offshore financial services are a central part of the international economy. They are used by wealthy individuals and corporations regularly and on a large scale. The purpose is to access credit not available onshore, to minimise tax bills, to avoid government regulations and to obscure legally and illegally made fortunes. Against the background of an offshore economy that is large in volume, but small in visibility the dissertation asks: How does offshore finance affect the power of the state to unite resources in order to finance its politics? The inquiry into the power relationship between offshore finance and the state immediately raises questions about the nature of the modern state and the delineation between the offshore and the onshore economy. To avoid getting lost in the theory of the state or impoverishing the analysis by ignoring the concept altogether, I develop an analytical perspective that I call ‘the money view’ on the state by employing Max Weber’s concept of the modern state in combination with Geoffrey Ingham’s notion of sovereign money. The money view considers state power to be a function of the debtor-creditor relationships between the government, taxpayers and financiers. Regarding offshore finance, the thesis starts from the premise that offshore centres are tax havens and international banking hubs reflecting the intrinsic connection between taxation and banking through sovereign money in the onshore economy. Within this analytical frame, the thesis conducts a historical comparison across four cases: Britain, Germany, Mexico and Brazil. For each case, I determine the scope and pattern of the demand for offshore financial services based on international banking statistics and qualitative interviews. The findings are contextualised in a historical institutionalist analysis of taxation and banking in the respective country. These two analytical steps are then combined to determine the effect of offshore finance on state power. The thesis finds that the relationship between offshore finance and state power varies from country to country. Yet, across all cases offshore money creation in the Eurodollar markets is more consequential for the power of the state than is offshore tax planning.
A near-optimal response-adaptive procedure randomisation for multi-armed clinical trials with normally distributed outcomes
Contributors: williamson, F, Villar Moreschi, Sofia
... We propose a novel response-adaptive randomisation procedure for multi-armed trials with normally distributed outcomes which is non-myopic, thus is near-optimal in terms of patient bene t, yet maintains computa- tional feasibility. We derive our response-adaptive algorithm based on the Gittins index for the multi-armed bandit problem, as an extension of the method rst introduced in Villar et al (2015). We illustrate the proposed procedure by simulations in the context of Phase II cancer trials. Our results show that there are e ciency and patient bene t gains of using a response-adaptive allocation procedure with a continuous endpoint instead of a binary one. These gains persist even if an anticipated low rate of missing data due to deaths, drop-outs or complete responses is imputed online through a procedure introduced in this paper. Additionally, we discuss how there are response-adaptive designs that outperform the traditional equal randomised design both in terms of e ciency and patient bene t measures in the multi-armed trial context.