LPHR Magazine: HR Made Simple (LPHR Magazine 2013 Editions)

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This matrix described average reproductive and survival rates of kittens and adults inhabiting a Large Urban landscape and not subject to any form of population management Table S3. Using this formulation, a larger elasticity value for a given demographic parameter indicates a greater level of sensitivity within the demographic model to change in that parameter. Each scenario was run for timesteps 50 years and repeated with iterations to generate statistics on mean population behavior.

Additional detailed information on model structure and input data analysis is available in the Supporting Information. This simulated growth rate is consistent with those obtained from field studies of FRC populations inhabiting similar environments [15] , [33] , thereby giving our models a high level of biological realism. Habitat-specific carrying capacities ultimately constrained long-term abundance. The isolated Rural population grew about 5. Standard elasticity analysis indicated that our models were more sensitive to changes in age-specific survival rates than to age-specific reproductive rates fecundity , with adult survival showing the greatest impact on population size Figure S4.

Specifically, elasticity for adult survival was calculated to be 0. The impact on a FRC population's growth rate resulting from a proportional change in adult annual survival will be more than three times greater than the impact of an identical proportional change in adult female reproductive output. This is explained most effectively by high kitten mortality rates and multiple opportunities for breeding across adult lifespan. Simulations include demographic isolation. Uppermost trajectory is the baseline, no-treatment scenario. B Abundance trajectories as above but with demographic connectivity dispersal, litter abandonment.

With demographic connectivity, TR and TNR remained the most effective options for reducing population size over the long term Figure 3B. However, imposition of connectivity with the surrounding neighborhood made population elimination impossible. Instead, average long-term population abundance reaches an equilibrium value that is a function of the type of management employed, with the increased functional mortality imposed by TR leading to the lowest equilibrium abundance.

Several results were generally consistent across the suite of scenarios assessed in this study Figure 4 ; Tables S4 — S15 :. Row headings define the rate of treatment of individuals, as percentage of untreated kittens K , adults A , or both B treated each 6-month timestep. Column headings identify the inclusion of specific population connectivity characteristics in a given scenario: litter abandonment Ab , dispersal to the surrounding neighborhood population D , or population isolation Iso. Each cell is color-coded based on the combined result of a specific model scenario, defined in terms of the mean stochastic growth rate r over the year timeframe of the simulation and the risk of population elimination P E within that same time period see color key at bottom of figure.

Cells shaded gray represent scenarios that were not evaluated in this analysis. Separate models feature exclusive trapping of males or females in addition to the standard scenarios featuring indiscriminant trapping across gender. Baseline models feature no management imposed on the population. A Simulated Large Urban populations under conditions of demographic isolation. B Simulated Large Urban populations under conditions of demographic connectivity. Treatment rate applies to both kittens and adults. As treatment rates increase, the eventual equilibrium population size will become smaller, or in isolated populations the probability of eventual elimination will increase Figure 4 ; Tables S4 — S Substantial time lags exist between initiation of treatment and arrival at a new equilibrium for all treatment options, but time lags would be shorter with increasing treatment rates.

Time lags associated with TR are shorter than those associated with sterilization or contraceptive options Figure 6 , because TR not only eliminates the reproductive potential of treated animals, but immediately subtracts them from the population rather than allowing their removal over time through natural mortality. The biological processes modeled in this study are critical for determining optimal solutions for FRC population management, but economic, social and other considerations also will factor prominently into the final choice s among multiple management options.

For example, TR may be the most effective method to achieve a rapid and sustained reduction in FRC population size if the ultimate goal is to minimize impacts to associated threatened species. However, additional effort will be required to prevent the newly-vacated space from being re-occupied by reproducing animals.


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TR options tend to be undertaken by paid municipal staff or contractors, whereas TNR or contraceptive options may be subsidized to some extent by volunteer labor or by charitable contributions to non-profit organizations. Contraceptive methods that can be administered in the field will, at least in principle, be less expensive and time-consuming than surgical sterilization, since the latter requires transportation, clinic space, and veterinary expertise.

This alternative also may alleviate ethical concerns over the prospects of euthanizing a large percentage of the individuals removed from the population. However, trapping effort and expense for sterilization-based methods may increase on a per-cat basis as the proportion of non-sterilized target animals declines with treatment over time. Accounting for trapping effort also is important if specific subsets of the population i. Therefore, while beyond the scope of this analysis, a final comparison among management scenarios within a practical decision-making framework ultimately will need to determine the demographic impacts that can be achieved on a per-dollar basis, rather than on a per-procedure basis.

Because of our assumptions underlying male breeding trends, our models indicated that TR or TNR strategies targeting only males have negligible impact on long-term population size, while the same treatments targeting females can achieve more substantial population reductions Figure 5. This result may be important for designing aggressive treatment programs when finances and personnel resources are limited, and when population reduction is a more immediate priority than other criteria, such as a reduction in hormonally-driven tomcat behaviors.

This study clarifies the importance of realistically accounting for immigration, emigration, owned cat abandonment, and specific modes of density dependence in assessing alternative methods for managing FRC populations Figure 4. In particular, demographic connectivity with cats in the surrounding environment poses a significant impediment to reducing FRC population size Figure 6. This suggests that attempts to mitigate contributing human behaviors e. While a subset of earlier studies of FRC population management have included just one or two of these processes e.

Similarly, while a selection of previous studies have used simpler modeling tools to evaluate the efficacy of different contraception options on FRC population dynamics [14] , [20] , our detailed examination of contraception in the context of the biological realism just described yields a more robust comparison among population management alternatives Figure 4. This approach to model construction and input parameter estimation generates correspondingly realistic FRC population growth rates that reflect those measured in the field. Therefore, we are not required to follow previous modeling efforts [15] , [19] that rely on ecological theory to derive estimates of expected population growth rates.

These estimates include r m , the maximum population growth rate expected under optimal conditions and in the absence of resource limitations [34] , which are used to estimate control efforts required to generate negative population growth. Growth rates derived from this theoretical analysis are very often gross overestimates of those expected under realistic conditions.

Consequently, the intensity of recommended management i. This may have meaningful implications for designing practical management protocols with constraints on funding, personnel, etc. All of the strategies that we evaluated had measurable impacts on FRC population size under at least some plausible implementation scenarios Figure 4 ; Tables S4 — S Additional research is needed to better integrate the biological, economic, and sociological considerations in FRC management to provide practical guidance to the cat population management community.

Simulated breeding pattern among adult female free-roaming cat populations. The graph shows the seasonal pattern of reproductive success based on the six-month timestep featured in all simulations. Simulated density dependence in kitten mortality in free-roaming cat populations. Data from [12]. Elasticity of selected demographic parameters in the baseline free-roaming cat population model.

Fecundity is defined as the mean number of female offspring produced each 6-month timestep by either kits or adults. Litter size distribution used for free-roaming cat population model. Density, initial abundance and carrying capacity estimates for the three population types featured in free-roaming cat population models. Stage-based demographic matrix constructed for elasticity analysis.

Kittens in this table are defined as those individuals that are just under six months old and will therefore be able to reproduce in the next timestep. Fecundity values in the top row describe the number of female kittens that are produced per female and that survive to six months of age.

Survival values in the bottom row describe the probability of surviving during a given six-month time interval. Full set of scenario results for the Removal management strategy applied to the Large Urban population. Full set of scenario results for the Sterilize management strategy applied to the Large Urban population. Column heading definitions are identical to those in Table S4.

Full set of scenario results for the Contracept-A management strategy applied to the Large Urban population. Full set of scenario results for the Contracept-B management strategy applied to the Large Urban population. Full set of scenario results for the Removal management strategy applied to the Small Urban population. Full set of scenario results for the Sterilize management strategy applied to the Small Urban population.

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Full set of scenario results for the Contracept-A management strategy applied to the Small Urban population. Full set of scenario results for the Contracept-B management strategy applied to the Small Urban population. Full set of scenario results for the Removal management strategy applied to the Rural population.

Full set of scenario results for the Sterilize management strategy applied to the Rural population.


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  • Full set of scenario results for the Contracept-A management strategy applied to the Rural population. Full set of scenario results for the Contracept-B management strategy applied to the Rural population. Main supporting information file. This file includes additional materials and methods model structure and input data , additional results elasticity analysis , and additional references. Many thanks go to V. Benka and three anonymous reviewers for improving the quality of the manuscript. Thanks also to R. Lacy Chicago Zoological Society and K.

    Special thanks to D. Wildt Smithsonian National Zoological Park for initiating the collaboration that culminated in this project. Analyzed the data: PSM. Constructed and implemented the simulation models: PSM. Browse Subject Areas? Click through the PLOS taxonomy to find articles in your field. Abstract Large populations of free-roaming cats FRCs generate ongoing concerns for welfare of both individual animals and populations, for human public health, for viability of native wildlife populations, and for local ecological damage. Introduction Free-roaming cats FRCs are distributed world-wide in populations that occupy diverse habitats, often at high densities [1].

    Methods We developed our models using the individual-based stochastic simulation software package Vortex , version 9. Download: PPT. Figure 1. Generalized life-cycle diagram depicting free-roaming cat FRC population demographics used in simulation models. Figure 2. FRC metapopulation structure used in simulation models. Elasticity analysis Standard elasticity analysis indicated that our models were more sensitive to changes in age-specific survival rates than to age-specific reproductive rates fecundity , with adult survival showing the greatest impact on population size Figure S4.

    Figure 3. Impact of population management options on simulated FRC abundance. Treatment impact: Demographic connectivity With demographic connectivity, TR and TNR remained the most effective options for reducing population size over the long term Figure 3B.


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    Consistency of model results Several results were generally consistent across the suite of scenarios assessed in this study Figure 4 ; Tables S4 — S15 :. Figure 4. Comparative performance of simulated FRC management options across population types. Figure 5. Impact of gender-specific management strategies on simulated FRC abundance.

    Figure 6. Stochastic population growth rate r s under different FRC management strategies. The coefficients for the numerical and reading passages were 0. All the sections correlated positively and significantly with the Test, and also with each other.

    The validation of this test provides a new instrument to determine the literacy level in Brazilian adults. Since , Parker et al. However, an impressive number of patients do not participate effectively in their treatment because they do not have such skills 2. When these individuals use health services, they are prone to additional difficulties due to the type of reading required in this environment 4.

    To aggravate the problem, health professionals use specialized language that is often not understood by the laity 2. The term health literacy is used in English to indicate the extent to which individuals are able to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services necessary to make appropriate decisions involving the ability to effectively use and interpret texts, documents and numbers 5. In Brazil, there is no consensus on the best translation for this English expression. In this article, we use the term health literacy HL , since literacy is used in the educational environment 3.

    HL is indicated as an important factor for the promotion and improvement of health 6 , 7. Inadequate HL is associated with an increased risk of hospitalization 8 , reduced use of preventive services 9 , delays in diagnosis 10 , less knowledge about health 11 , higher costs 12 and greater risk of mortality 8 , Researchers have been developing instruments for the assessment of HL in several countries, and reviews which compile these instruments have been published 14 , Instruments directed to the Brazilian reality that evaluate HL in its different domains are scarce.

    Carthery-Goulart et al. Based on an instrument produced and tested in Switzerland, Quemelo et al. These latter instruments do not evaluate numeracy skills 19 , The complete TLS instrument can be accessed at www. HL was defined as the degree of ability of an individual regarding reading and numeracy skills related to health. The first stage of the TLS preparation consisted of the translation of TOFHLA from English into Brazilian Portuguese, performed by a bilingual translator with experience in the health field, followed by back translation by another translator into the original language.

    In the second stage, the technical review and the semantic equivalence were performed, independently, by a medical professional and a linguistics specialist, respectively. At this stage, semantic equivalence between the first and second translations was observed, in addition to the need for cultural adaptation. It was necessary to change items that were not valid for the Portuguese language or items which were not relevant to the Brazilian health system. Among the 17 numerical items, the last two questions 9 and 10 were changed because they were related to the American social security context and did not fit with the Brazilian reality.

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    These items were replaced by questions of similar reasoning. Question 9 was replaced by a numerical interpretation regarding maternity leave and question 10, with a question regarding calculation of the correct dose for oral administration of a paediatric medicinal product. The other issues in this domain involved instructions on medication administration, interpretation of laboratory examinations, and attendance at a previously scheduled medical appointment.

    The texts used in the three reading sections of TOFHLA were selected from instructions of a radiography exam of the gastrointestinal tract text A , rights and responsibilities of Medicaid patients text B and a consent form text C by a literacy specialist. In the adaptation, text A was adapted to Portuguese based on the instructions used in a Brazilian teaching hospital for a radiography procedure of the gastrointestinal tract. Text C was adapted from a hospital consent form for surgical procedures also used in a Brazilian teaching hospital In the texts, the modified Cloze procedure was applied, in which every fifth, sixth and seventh word of the text are omitted.

    The reader must fill in the gaps by selecting the most appropriate word for the text from four possibilities. At the end, text A totalled 16 items, text B, 20 items and text C, 14 items. In the first version evaluated by Maragno 24 , the instrument worked accordingly, however the sample had higher education levels when compared to the Brazilian reality.

    The authors decided to perform a new analysis of the instrument, this time using a sample that contemplated all schooling levels, according to the distribution verified in the Brazilian population. The comprehension part was completed by the participant himself, while the numerical part was applied by an interviewer, who presented cards with information related to the items described in the previous paragraphs, followed by verbally applied questions evaluating the comprehension of the numerical information. The score was calculated by the sum of correct answers by each individual.

    The participant could score from 0 to 17 in the gross score of the numerical section. The weighted score table used in the original TOFHLA 23 was used to calculate the weighted score, which transforms the score to a scale from 0 to When the participant left the question blank or marked more than one alternative, it was assigned a value of 0.

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    Thus, the participant could score from 0 to 16 in the reading segment A, 0 to 20 in reading segment B and 0 to 14 in reading segment C. There was no weight for reading scores, thus, in the end the participant scored between 0 to 50 points in that area of the instrument. The scores obtained in the two parts of the instrument were added up, whereby the individual could score from 0 to The total TLS score was divided into three categories, according to TOFHLA: inadequate literacy , when individuals are unable to read and interpret health texts; marginal literacy , when individuals have difficulty reading and interpreting health texts; and adequate literacy , when individuals can read and interpret most health texts.

    Data on sex, age, skin colour or self-reported race and schooling were collected. Reading frequency was measured by means of a scale that indicates the frequency which individuals read diverse materials such as newspapers, magazines and work materials. The time taken to respond to each part of the instrument was recorded in minutes. We excluded individuals with visual or auditory limitations that prevented them from reading the instruments or listening to the interviewer, patients with serious diseases and those who did not speak Portuguese. The sample of the participants was for convenience, with schooling level quotas, in order to represent the different strata of schooling levels found in the Brazilian population.

    Participants were invited to participate in the survey while they waited for the clinic service. All participants were interviewed only after giving their permission, by means of signing the Informed Consent Form TCLE , signed twice by the researcher and the participant. The association between the TLS score and the sociodemographic variables was analyzed by the analysis of variance. Spearman correlation was performed to verify the correlations between the parts of the TLS. TLS was compared with schooling level and reading frequency, throughout the sample for the construct analysis.

    The Spearman correlation was used to analysed the schooling levels, measured in years of study. The analyses were performed on the SPSS software, version A total of individuals were interviewed between September and October , with a mean age of Regarding schooling levels, participants had incomplete primary school education Table 1.

    The mean TLS score was The mean scores for each part of the instrument, the median, the minimum, and the maximum are shown in Table 2. Table 2. Among the participants, Table 3. The numerical part was completed in 9. When calculated separately for the numerical part and the reading passages, the coefficients presented were 0. The sum of the three reading segments presented a higher correlation with the TLS 0.

    Table 4. The TLS presented a positive correlation with the schooling level 0. Individuals who reported reading little had a significantly lower score In the present study, we present the TLS, a Portuguese instrument adapted from TOFLHA and adapted to the Brazilian conditions, in order to measure the reading comprehension and numeracy skills related to health information. Of the 19 literacy assessment instruments reviewed by Jordan et al. The choice for the complete TOFHLA rather than S-TOFLHA - the fastest application instrument - is justified by the fact that the adaptation of one instrument to another reality from a reduced version in another language and culture can introduce errors.

    For the elaboration of a reduced version, it is desirable to perform the analysis of the main components in order to identify which items of the complete instrument should remain in the reduced instrument.

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    The adaptation and validation of instruments presents difficulties when the country of origin and the target country have significant cultural and language differences, making modifications inevitable. In the numerical part, two questions were modified because they did not fit the Brazilian reality. At the reading comprehension stage, texts were replaced by similar texts used in Brazilian health services. The most significant change was related to section B, as it addresses the rights and responsibilites of Medicaid patients.

    However, despite the changes required for the adaptation of the test, we maintained the original instrument format, in which only part of the numerical evaluation used oral interaction. The texts that make up the reading comprehension part were read by the actual participant. We identified two instruments that were developed to evaluate the HL of Brazilians based on the adaptation of international instruments. The schooling level of the sample was high The internal consistency of the numerical part was slightly lower than that of the reading part, which is in line with the original TOFHLA 20 and with other validation studies of this instrument 27 , 28 ,

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