Business & Economics Collected Works - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 95
The human dimension of good economic policymaking
(Economic Society of Australia (Queensland) Inc., 2020-12)
Good economic policymaking requires the best possible economic advice. To be an effective adviser, a policy economist needs to remain credible, even under pressure. There is a gap between theory and reality; minding the gap can help policy economists determine which theories are more likely to work as a matter of practical policymaking. Adding the human dimension makes for better decisions by casting light on how people might respond to otherwise rational policy proposals. It is not sufficient for good policy outcomes that economists confer only with their professional peers. Citizens must be persuaded that the proposed policy reform is in the best interests of the community as a whole. Good economic policymaking should not underestimate the power of incentives to override moral and ethical restraint. Regulation is a poor substitute for culturally-embedded moral restraint. While it is possible to divorce the mechanical side of economics from its moral foundations, this is not the route to good economic policymaking.
Do economics academics recognise employability skills and incorporate them into their courses?
(The University of Queensland, School of Economics, 2020-11-01)
Although previous studies have investigated economics curriculum reform to ensure economics graduates ‘think like economists’, it is unclear to what extent and how university economics teachers (academics) respond to the expectation that employability skills development is included in teaching and assessment practice. This paper reports the findings of an exploratory pilot study that investigated economics academics’ views and experience of employability skills integration. Drawing on interview data, content analysis of curriculum documents and observations of teaching and assessment practice, the findings indicate that while a common understanding and opinion of employability skills is held, tensions in practice exist: the teaching and assessment of employability skills is an individual decision, influenced by academic position and experience, and tempered by traditional expectations of a focus on discipline content.
Induction of Th1Immune responses following laser ablation in a murine model of colorectal liver metastases
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2011-05-29)
BACKGROUND: Preliminary experimental studies have suggested that the in situ destruction of tumor tissue by local laser ablation (LA) may also stimulate host immunity against cancer. We investigated local and systemic induction of immune responses after laser ablation in the setting of residual tumor. METHODS: A murine colorectal cancer (CRC) liver metastasis model was used. Selected tumors of liver CRC bearing mice and livers of mice without tumor induction were treated with LA. Liver and tumor tissues from the ablation sites and from distant sites were collected at various time points following LA and changes in CD3+ T cells and Kupffer cells (F4/80 marker) infiltration and the expression of interferon gamma (IFNγ) were investigated by immunohistochemistry and ELISpot. Base line levels of CD3+ T cells and Kupffer cells were established in untreated mice. RESULTS: The presence of tumor induced significant accumulation of CD3+ T cells and Kupffer cells at the tumor-host interface, within the tumor vascular lakes and increased their baseline concentration within the liver parenchyma. LA of the liver induced accumulation of CD3+ T-cells and Kupffer cells at the site of injury and systemic induction of immune responses as discerned by the presence of IFNγ secreting splenocytes. LA of liver tumors induced significant increase of CD3+ T-cells at site of injury, within normal liver parenchyma, and the tumor-host interface of both ablated and distant tumors. In contrast Kupffer cells only accumulated in ablated tumors and the liver parenchyma but not in distant tumors. IFNγ expression increased significantly in ablated tumors and showed an increasing trend in distant tumors. CONCLUSION: Laser ablation in addition to local tumor destruction induces local and systemic Th1 type immune responses which may play a significant role in inhibiting tumor recurrence from residual micrometastases or circulating tumor cells.
APOE and BDNF polymorphisms moderate amyloid beta-related cognitive decline in preclinical Alzheimer's disease
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-11-01)
Accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ) in the brain is associated with memory decline in healthy individuals as a prelude to Alzheimer's disease (AD). Genetic factors may moderate this decline. We examined the role of apolipoprotein E (ɛ4 carrier[ɛ4(+)], ɛ4 non-carrier[ɛ4(-)]) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF(Val/Val), BDNF(Met)) in the extent to which they moderate Aβ-related memory decline. Healthy adults (n=333, Mage=70 years) enrolled in the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle study underwent Aβ neuroimaging. Neuropsychological assessments were conducted at baseline, 18-, 36- and 54-month follow-ups. Aβ positron emission tomography neuroimaging was used to classify participants as Aβ(-) or Aβ(+). Relative to Aβ(-)ɛ4(-), Aβ(+)ɛ4(+) individuals showed significantly faster rates of cognitive decline over 54 months across all domains (d=0.40-1.22), while Aβ(+)ɛ4(-) individuals showed significantly faster decline only on verbal episodic memory (EM). There were no differences in rates of cognitive change between Aβ(-)ɛ4(-) and Aβ(-)ɛ4(+) groups. Among Aβ(+) individuals, ɛ4(+)/BDNF(Met) participants showed a significantly faster rate of decline on verbal and visual EM, and language over 54 months compared with ɛ4(-)/BDNF(Val/Val) participants (d=0.90-1.02). At least two genetic loci affect the rate of Aβ-related cognitive decline. Aβ(+)ɛ4(+)/BDNF(Met) individuals can expect to show clinically significant memory impairment after 3 years, whereas Aβ(+)ɛ4(+)/BDNF(Val/Val) individuals can expect a similar degree of impairment after 10 years. Little decline over 54 months was observed in the Aβ(-) and Aβ(+) ɛ4(-) groups, irrespective of BDNF status. These data raise important prognostic issues in managing preclinical AD, and should be considered in designing secondary preventative clinical trials.
Treatment with the vascular disruptive agent OXi4503 induces an immediate and widespread epithelial to mesenchymal transition in the surviving tumor
Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is considered an important mechanism in tumor resistance to drug treatments; however, in vivo observation of this process has been limited. In this study we demonstrated an immediate and widespread EMT involving all surviving tumor cells following treatment of a mouse model of colorectal liver metastases with the vascular disruptive agent OXi4503. EMT was characterized by significant downregulation of E-cadherin, relocation and nuclear accumulation of β-catenin as well as significant upregulation of ZEB1 and vimentin. Concomitantly, significant temporal upregulation in hypoxia and the pro-angiogenic growth factors hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha, hepatocyte growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor and transforming growth factor-beta were seen within the surviving tumor. The process of EMT was transient and by 5 days after treatment tumor cell reversion to epithelial morphology was evident. This reversal, termed mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) is a process implicated in the development of new metastases but has not been observed in vivo histologically. Similar EMT changes were observed in response to other antitumor treatments including chemotherapy, thermal ablation, and antiangiogenic treatments in our mouse colorectal metastasis model and in a murine orthotopic breast cancer model after OXi4503 treatment. These results suggest that EMT may be an early mechanism adopted by tumors in response to injury and hypoxic stress, such that inhibition of EMT in combination with other therapies could play a significant role in future cancer therapy.
Advances in targeted and immunobased therapies for colorectal cancer in the genomic era
(DOVE MEDICAL PRESS LTD, 2016-01-01)
Targeted therapies require information on specific defective signaling pathways or mutations. Advances in genomic technologies and cell biology have led to identification of new therapeutic targets associated with signal-transduction pathways. Survival times of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) can be extended with combinations of conventional cytotoxic agents and targeted therapies. Targeting EGFR- and VEGFR-signaling systems has been the major focus for treatment of metastatic CRC. However, there are still limitations in their clinical application, and new and better drug combinations are needed. This review provides information on EGFR and VEGF inhibitors, new therapeutic agents in the pipeline targeting EGFR and VEGFR pathways, and those targeting other signal-transduction pathways, such as MET, IGF1R, MEK, PI3K, Wnt, Notch, Hedgehog, and death-receptor signaling pathways for treatment of metastatic CRC. Additionally, multitargeted approaches in combination therapies targeting negative-feedback loops, compensatory networks, and cross talk between pathways are highlighted. Then, immunobased strategies to enhance antitumor immunity using specific monoclonal antibodies, such as the immune-checkpoint inhibitors anti-CTLA4 and anti-PD1, as well as the challenges that need to be overcome for increased efficacy of targeted therapies, including drug resistance, predictive markers of response, tumor subtypes, and cancer stem cells, are covered. The review concludes with a brief insight into the applications of next-generation sequencing, expression profiling for tumor subtyping, and the exciting progress made in in silico predictive analysis in the development of a prescription strategy for cancer therapy.
Transcribing accounting lectures: Enhancing the pedagogical practice by acknowledging student behaviour
(Elsevier BV, 2021-03)
This study investigated how students demonstrated their use and need for lecture capture transcripts. Lecturers and students from two accounting subjects (i.e., a large first-year introductory class and a smaller graduate seminar series) participated. Students’ stated how they used and needed the transcripts and these statements about behaviors were mapped to Blooms Taxonomy and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Findings focussed on how lecture transcripts influenced the learning process for students and suggested that the design of courses and student characteristics do not negatively influence how students use these transcripts. Implications for the value of transcripts to a students’ learning process is outlined with practical guides on how they can enhance pedagogical delivery while acknowledging the academic workload.
Amyloid β-associated cognitive decline in the absence of clinical disease progression and systemic illness.
INTRODUCTION: High levels of amyloid β (Aβ) are associated with cognitive decline in cognitively normal (CN) older adults. This study investigated the nature of cognitive decline in healthy individuals who did not progress to mild cognitive impairment or dementia. METHOD: Cognition was measured over 72 months and compared between low (Aβ-) and high (Aβ+) CN older adults (n = 335) who did not progress to mild cognitive impairment or dementia and who remained free of severe or uncontrolled systemic illness. RESULTS: Compared to the Aβ- group, the Aβ+ group showed no cognitive impairment at baseline but showed substantial decline in verbal learning, episodic memory, and attention over 72 months. DISCUSSION: Moderate cognitive decline, particularly for learning and memory, was associated with Aβ+ in CN older adults in the absence of clinical disease progression and uncontrolled or serious comorbid illness.
Challenges in the Australasian neurosurgery training program: who should be trained and where should they train?
(AMER ASSOC NEUROLOGICAL SURGEONS, 2020-03-01)
OBJECTIVE: Neurosurgical training poses particular challenges in Australia and New Zealand, given the large landmass, small population, and widely separated, often small, neurosurgical units. Such factors have necessitated a move away from autonomous, single-institution-based training to the selection of trainees by a centralized binational process. The success of this system is based on rigorous standardized evaluation of candidates' academic achievements, anatomical knowledge, references, and interview performance. Similarly, the accreditation of hospitals to train successful candidates has been standardized. The authors review the evolution of trainee selection and the accreditation of training posts in Australia and New Zealand. METHODS: The records of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia Surgical Education and Training Board were reviewed for documents pertaining to the selection of neurosurgical trainees and the accreditation of training posts. Application records and referee scores from 2014 to the present were reviewed to encompass process changes, in particular the change from written referee reports to standardized interviews of referees. Surgical logbook case numbers for 23 trainees completing training in 2016, 2017, and 2018 were collated and presented in an aggregated, de-identified form as a measure of adherence to accreditation standards. Written evaluations of the training experience were also sought from two trainees reflecting on the selection process, the quality of training posts, and training limitations. RESULTS: While a time-consuming process, the method of obtaining referee reports by interview has resulted in a wider spread of scores, more able to separate high- and low-scoring applicants than other components of the selection process. Review of the training post accreditation records for the last 2 years showed that adherence to standards has resulted in loss of accreditation for one unit and shortened periods of review for units with more minor deficiencies. Two applications for accreditation have been denied. Examination of caseload data showed that trainees more than fulfill minimum requirements in accredited training posts, confirming the robust nature of this aspect of unit accreditation. CONCLUSIONS: A key factor determining the success of neurosurgical training in Australia and New Zealand has been a willingness to evolve selection and other processes to overcome challenges as they become apparent. According to available analyses, the revised referee process and strict accreditation standards appear effective. The benefits and challenges of the current training system are discussed in the context of a paucity of international literature.
Toll-like receptor 4: innate immune regulator of neuroimmune and neuroendocrine interactions in stress and major depressive disorder
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2014-09-30)
Major depressive disorder (MDD) poses one of the highest disease burdens worldwide. Yet, current treatments targeting serotonergic and noradrenaline reuptake systems are insufficient to provide long-term relief from depressive symptoms in most patients, indicating the need for new treatment targets. Having the ability to influence behavior similar to depressive symptoms, as well as communicate with neuronal and neuroendocrine systems, the innate immune system is a strong candidate for MDD treatments. Given the complex nature of immune signaling, the main question becomes: What is the role of the innate immune system in MDD? The current review presents evidence that toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), via driving both peripheral and central immune responses, can interact with serotonergic neurotransmission and cause neuroendocrine disturbances, thus integrating with widely observed hallmarks of MDD. Additionally, through describing the multi-directional communication between immune, neural and endocrine systems in stress, TLR4-related mechanisms can mediate stress-induced adaptations, which are necessary for the development of MDD. Therefore, apart from exogenous pathogenic mechanisms, TLR4 is involved in immune changes as a result of endogenous stress signals, playing an integral part in the pathophysiology, and could be a potential target for pharmacological treatments to improve current interventions for MDD.
Oxytocin as an Indicator of Psychological and Social Well-Being in Domesticated Animals: A Critical Review
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2017-09-13)
Oxytocin is often portrayed as a hormone specific to social behavior, reflective of positive welfare states, and linked to mental states. Research on oxytocin in domesticated animal species has been few to date but is rapidly increasing (in dog, pig, cattle, sheep), with direct implications for animal welfare. This review evaluates the evidence for the specificity of oxytocin as an indicator of: 1. Social, 2. Positive, and 3. Psychological well-being. Oxytocin has most often been studied in socially relevant paradigms, with a lack of non-social control paradigms. Oxytocin research appears biased toward investigating positive valence, with a lack of control in valence or arousal. Oxytocin actions are modulated by the environmental and social contexts, which are important factors to consider. Limited evidence supports that oxytocin's actions are linked to psychological states; nevertheless whether this is a direct effect of oxytocin per se remains to be demonstrated. Overall, it is premature to judge oxytocin's potential as an animal welfare indicator given the few and discrepant findings and a lack of standardization in methodology. We cover potential causes for discrepancies and suggest solutions through appropriate methodological design, oxytocin sampling or delivery, analysis and reporting. Of particular interest, the oxytocinergic system as a whole remains poorly understood. Appreciation for the differences that social contact and group living pose in domesticated species and the way they interact with humans should be key considerations in using oxytocin as a psychosocial indicator of well-being.