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Coronavirus disease 2019 imposed dramatic changes on ENT service delivery. Pre-pandemic, such changes would have been considered potentially unsafe. This study outlines the impact of lockdown on the incidence and management of ENT emergencies at a large UK centre.
After modification of pre-pandemic guidelines, ENT emergency referrals data during the UK lockdown were prospectively captured. A comparative analysis was performed with retrospective data from a corresponding period in 2019.
An overall reduction (p < 0.001) in emergency referrals (n = 119) and admissions (n = 18) occurred during the lockdown period compared to the 2019 period (432 referrals and 290 admissions). Specifically, there were reduced admission rates for epistaxis (p < 0.0001) and tonsillar infection (p < 0.005) in the lockdown period. During lockdown, 90 per cent of patients requiring non-dissolvable nasal packing were managed as out-patients.
Coronavirus disease 2019 compelled modifications to pre-pandemic ENT guidelines. The enforced changes to emergency care appear to be safe and successfully adopted. Arguably, the measures have both economic and patient-related implications post-coronavirus disease 2019 and during future similar pandemics and lockdowns.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to global shortages of N95 respirators. Reprocessing of used N95 respirators may provide a higher filtration crisis alternative, but it is unknown if effective sterilization can be achieved for a virus without impairing respirator function. We evaluated the viricidal efficacy of Bioquell vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) on contaminated N95 respirators and tested the particulate particle penetration and inhalation/exhalation resistance of respirators after multiple cycles of VHP.
3M 1870 N95 respirators (3M, St. Paul, MN) were contaminated with 3 aerosolized bacteriophages: T1, T7, and Pseudomonas phage phi-6 followed by one cycle of VHP decontamination using a BQ-50 system (Bioquell, Horsham, PA). Additionally, new and unused respirators were sent to an independent laboratory, Nelson Labs (Salt Lake City, UT), for particulate filter penetration testing and inhalation/exhalation resistance after 3 and 5 cycles of VHP.
A single VHP cycle resulted in complete eradication of bacteriophage from respirators (limit of detection 10 PFU). Respirators showed acceptable limits for inhalation/exhalation resistance after 3 and 5 cycles of VHP. Respirators demonstrated a filtration efficiency >99 % after 3 cycles, but fell below 95% after 5 cycles of HPV.
Bioquell VHP demonstrated high viricidal activity for N95 respirators inoculated with aerosolized bacteriophages. Bioquell technology can be scaled for simultaneous decontamination of a large number of used but otherwise intact respirators. Reprocessing should be limited to 3 cycles due to concerns both about impact of clinical wear and tear on fit, and to decrement in filtration after 3 cycles.
Debate about the nature of climate and the magnitude of ecological change across Australia during the last glacial maximum (LGM; 26.5–19 ka) persists despite considerable research into the late Pleistocene. This is partly due to a lack of detailed paleoenvironmental records and reliable chronological frameworks. Geochemical and geochronological analyses of a 60 ka sedimentary record from Brown Lake, subtropical Queensland, are presented and considered in the context of climate-controlled environmental change. Optically stimulated luminescence dating of dune crests adjacent to prominent wetlands across North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) returned a mean age of 119.9 ± 10.6 ka; indicating relative dune stability soon after formation in Marine Isotope Stage 5. Synthesis of wetland sediment geochemistry across the island was used to identify dust accumulation and applied as an aridification proxy over the last glacial-interglacial cycle. A positive trend of dust deposition from ca. 50 ka was found with highest influx occurring leading into the LGM. Complexities of comparing sedimentary records and the need for robust age models are highlighted with local variation influencing the accumulation of exogenic material. An inter-site comparison suggests enhanced moisture stress regionally during the last glaciation and throughout the LGM, returning to a more positive moisture balance ca. 8 ka.
Recent research has revealed that cognitively unimpaired older adults who are at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia often exhibit subtle cognitive alterations in their neuropsychological profiles. Emerging evidence suggests that autobiographical memory, which is memory for personal events and knowledge, may be sensitive to early AD-related cognitive alterations. In the present study, we investigated whether the rapid generation of autobiographical memory category exemplars, a retrieval process that taxes the neural network that is vulnerable to early AD, is compromised in cognitively unimpaired middle-aged and older carriers of the e4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE4), which increases risk for AD dementia.
In addition to standard neuropsychological tests, we administered a fluency task that requires generating exemplars for two types of autobiographical memory, namely episodic memories and personal semantics, to a group of cognitively unimpaired middle-aged and older adults (n = 45) enriched with APOE4 carriers (n = 20).
While no APOE4 deficits were found on standard neuropsychological tests, episodic and personal semantic exemplar generation was reduced in the APOE4 group.
Autobiographical memory aberrations associated with a higher risk for AD are evident in fluency and affect both episodic memory and personal semantics.
Energy deficit is common during prolonged periods of strenuous physical activity and limited sleep, but the extent to which appetite suppression contributes is unclear. The aim of this randomized crossover study was to determine the effects of energy balance on appetite and physiologic mediators of appetite during a 72-hr period of high physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE, ˜2300kcal/d) and limited sleep designed to simulate military operations (SUSOPS). Ten men consumed an energy-balanced diet while sedentary for 1d (REST) followed by energy balanced (BAL) and energy deficient (DEF) controlled diets during SUSOPS. Appetite ratings, gastric emptying time (GET), and appetite-mediating hormone concentrations were measured. Energy balance was positive during BAL (18±20%) and negative during DEF (-43±9%). Relative to REST, hunger, desire to eat and prospective consumption ratings were all higher during DEF (26±40%, 56±71%, 28±34%, respectively), and lower during BAL (-55±25%, -52±27%, -54±21%, respectively; Pcondition<0.05). Fullness ratings did not differ from REST during DEF, but were 65±61% higher during BAL (Pcondition<0.05). Regression analyses predicted hunger and prospective consumption would be reduced and fullness increased if energy balance were maintained during SUSOPS, and energy deficits of ≥25% would be required to elicit increases in appetite. Between-condition differences in GET and appetite-mediating hormones identified slowed gastric emptying, increased anorexigenic hormone concentrations, and decreased fasting acylated ghrelin concentrations as potential mechanisms of appetite suppression. Findings suggest that physiologic responses that suppress appetite may deter energy balance from being achieved during prolonged periods of strenuous activity and limited sleep.
Due to shortages of N95 respirators during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is necessary to estimate the number of N95s required for healthcare workers (HCWs) to inform manufacturing targets and resource allocation.
We developed a model to determine the number of N95 respirators needed for HCWs both in a single acute-care hospital and the United States.
For an acute-care hospital with 400 all-cause monthly admissions, the number of N95 respirators needed to manage COVID-19 patients admitted during a month ranges from 113 (95% interpercentile range [IPR], 50–229) if 0.5% of admissions are COVID-19 patients to 22,101 (95% IPR, 5,904–25,881) if 100% of admissions are COVID-19 patients (assuming single use per respirator, and 10 encounters between HCWs and each COVID-19 patient per day). The number of N95s needed decreases to a range of 22 (95% IPR, 10–43) to 4,445 (95% IPR, 1,975–8,684) if each N95 is used for 5 patient encounters. Varying monthly all-cause admissions to 2,000 requires 6,645–13,404 respirators with a 60% COVID-19 admission prevalence, 10 HCW–patient encounters, and reusing N95s 5–10 times. Nationally, the number of N95 respirators needed over the course of the pandemic ranges from 86 million (95% IPR, 37.1–200.6 million) to 1.6 billion (95% IPR, 0.7–3.6 billion) as 5%–90% of the population is exposed (single-use). This number ranges from 17.4 million (95% IPR, 7.3–41 million) to 312.3 million (95% IPR, 131.5–737.3 million) using each respirator for 5 encounters.
We quantified the number of N95 respirators needed for a given acute-care hospital and nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic under varying conditions.
With the legalization of marijuana (Cannabis sativa) and increasing use during pregnancy, it is important to understand its impact on exposed offspring. Specifically, the effects of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), the major psychoactive component of cannabis, on fetal ovarian development and long-term reproductive health are not fully understood. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of prenatal exposure to Δ9-THC on ovarian health in adult rat offspring. At 6 months of age, Δ9-THC-exposed offspring had accelerated folliculogenesis with apparent follicular development arrest, but no persistent effects on circulating steroid levels. Ovaries from Δ9-THC-exposed offspring had reduced blood vessel density in association with decreased expression of the pro-angiogenic factor VEGF and its receptor VEGFR-2, as well as an increase in the anti-angiogenic factor thrombospondin 1 (TSP-1). Collectively, these data suggest that exposure to Δ9-THC during pregnancy alters follicular dynamics during postnatal life, which may have long-lasting detrimental effects on female reproductive health.
The aim of this review is to present the current options for cardiac output (CO) monitoring in children undergoing cardiac surgery. Current technologies for monitoring identified were a range of invasive, minimally invasive, and non-invasive technologies. These include pulmonary artery catheter, transoesophageal echocardiography, pulse contour analysis, electrical cardiography, and thoracic bioreactance. A literature search was conducted using evidence databases which identified two current guidelines; the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde guideline and Royal College of Anaesthetics Guideline. These were appraised using the AGREE II tool and the evidence identified was used to create an overview summary of each technological option for CO monitoring. There is limited evidence regarding the accuracy of modalities available for CO monitoring in paediatric patients during cardiac surgery. Each technology has advantages and disadvantages; however, none could be championed as the most beneficial. Furthermore, a gold standard for CO monitoring has not yet been identified for paediatric populations, nor is it apparent whether one modality is preferable based on the available evidence. Additional evidence using a standardised method for comparing CO measurements should be conducted in order to determine the best option for CO monitoring in paediatrics. Furthermore, cost-effectiveness assessment of each modality should be conducted. Only then will it be possible for clear, evidence-based guidance to be written.
Although testing is widely regarded as critical to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, what measure and level of testing best reflects successful infection control remains unresolved. Our aim was to compare the sensitivity of two testing metrics – population testing number and testing coverage – to population mortality outcomes and identify a benchmark for testing adequacy. We aggregated publicly available data through 12 April on testing and outcomes related to COVID-19 across 36 OECD (Organization for Economic Development) countries and Taiwan. Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated between the aforementioned metrics and following outcome measures: deaths per 1 million people, case fatality rate and case proportion of critical illness. Fractional polynomials were used to generate scatter plots to model the relationship between the testing metrics and outcomes. We found that testing coverage, but not population testing number, was highly correlated with population mortality (rs = −0.79, P = 5.975 × 10−9vs. rs = −0.3, P = 0.05) and case fatality rate (rs = −0.67, P = 9.067 × 10−6vs. rs = −0.21, P = 0.20). A testing coverage threshold of 15–45 signified adequate testing: below 15, testing coverage was associated with exponentially increasing population mortality; above 45, increased testing did not yield significant incremental mortality benefit. Taken together, testing coverage was better than population testing number in explaining country performance and can serve as an early and sensitive indicator of testing adequacy and disease burden.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a prevalent chronic condition with a large demand for treatment. This community outpatient study examined the effectiveness of a group intervention version of the established one-to-one cognitive therapy derived from the Clark and Wells model for SAD. Questionnaires were completed pre-treatment and post-treatment for SAD symptoms (Social Phobia Scale, Social Interaction Anxiety Scale), depressive symptoms (BDI-II), self-focused attention, safety behaviours (Social Phobia Weekly Summary Scale and Subtle Avoidance Frequency Examination), and impaired functioning (Work and Social Adjustment Scale). From an initial sample of 159 participants, 101 completed at least seven of the nine weekly group sessions (Mage = 34.1 years, SDage = 10.8 years, 53% female). Significant improvements were demonstrated on all measures. Large effect sizes were found for social anxiety symptoms and safety behaviour use. Self-focused attention, depressive symptoms, and impaired functioning had moderate effect sizes. Effect sizes for anxiety (d = 1.00 and 1.32) and mood measures (d = 0.71) were as high, or in some cases, higher than previous group treatment studies. Results suggest group cognitive therapy for SAD based on the Clark and Wells model is effective in a clinical setting for individuals with moderate/severe and treatment-resistant social anxiety.
The primary aim of this review is to evaluate the efficacy of essential amino acid (EAA) supplementation as a strategy to increase dietary protein intake and improve muscle mass, strength and function in older adults. A sufficient daily protein intake is widely recognised to be fundamental for the successful management of sarcopenia in older undernourished adults. In practice, optimising protein intakes in older adults is complex, requiring consideration of the dose and amino acid composition (i.e. a complete EAA profile and abundant leucine content) of ingested protein on a per meal basis, alongside the age-related decline in appetite and the satiating properties of protein. Recent studies in older adults demonstrate that EAA-based supplements are non-satiating and can be administered alongside food to enhance the anabolic properties of a meal containing a suboptimal dose of protein; an effect magnified when combined with resistance exercise training. These findings support the notion that EAA supplementation could serve as an effective strategy to improve musculoskeletal health in older adults suffering from non-communicable diseases such as sarcopenia. Compliance is critical for the long-term success of complex interventions. Hence, aspects of palatability and desire to eat are important considerations regarding EAA supplementation. In conclusion, EAA-based supplements enriched with l-leucine offer an alternative strategy to whole protein sources to assist older adults in meeting protein recommendations. In practice, EAA supplements could be administered alongside meals of suboptimal protein content, or alternatively between meals on occasions when older adults achieve their per meal protein intake recommendations.
The Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (RACS) is the first large-area survey to be conducted with the full 36-antenna Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope. RACS will provide a shallow model of the ASKAP sky that will aid the calibration of future deep ASKAP surveys. RACS will cover the whole sky visible from the ASKAP site in Western Australia and will cover the full ASKAP band of 700–1800 MHz. The RACS images are generally deeper than the existing NRAO VLA Sky Survey and Sydney University Molonglo Sky Survey radio surveys and have better spatial resolution. All RACS survey products will be public, including radio images (with
15 arcsec resolution) and catalogues of about three million source components with spectral index and polarisation information. In this paper, we present a description of the RACS survey and the first data release of 903 images covering the sky south of declination
made over a 288-MHz band centred at 887.5 MHz.
To conduct a pilot study implementing combined genomic and epidemiologic surveillance for hospital-acquired multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) to predict transmission between patients and to estimate the local burden of MDRO transmission.
Pilot prospective multicenter surveillance study.
The study was conducted in 8 university hospitals (2,800 beds total) in Melbourne, Australia (population 4.8 million), including 4 acute-care, 1 specialist cancer care, and 3 subacute-care hospitals.
All clinical and screening isolates from hospital inpatients (April 24 to June 18, 2017) were collected for 6 MDROs: vanA VRE, MRSA, ESBL Escherichia coli (ESBL-Ec) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (ESBL-Kp), and carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPa) and Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAb). Isolates were analyzed and reported as routine by hospital laboratories, underwent whole-genome sequencing at the central laboratory, and were analyzed using open-source bioinformatic tools. MDRO burden and transmission were assessed using combined genomic and epidemiologic data.
In total, 408 isolates were collected from 358 patients; 47.5% were screening isolates. ESBL-Ec was most common (52.5%), then MRSA (21.6%), vanA VRE (15.7%), and ESBL-Kp (7.6%). Most MDROs (88.3%) were isolated from patients with recent healthcare exposure.
Combining genomics and epidemiology identified that at least 27.1% of MDROs were likely acquired in a hospital; most of these transmission events would not have been detected without genomics. The highest proportion of transmission occurred with vanA VRE (88.4% of patients).
Genomic and epidemiologic data from multiple institutions can feasibly be combined prospectively, providing substantial insights into the burden and distribution of MDROs, including in-hospital transmission. This analysis enables infection control teams to target interventions more effectively.
Studies of the American public demonstrate that partisans often diverge not only on questions of opinion but also on matters of fact. However, little is known about partisan divergence in factual beliefs among the government officials who make real policy decisions, or how it compares to belief polarization among the public. This letter describes the first systematic comparison of factual belief polarization between the public and government officials, which we conducted using a paired survey approach. The results indicate that political elites are consistently more accurately informed than the public across a wide range of politically contentious facts. However, this increase in accuracy does not translate into reduced factual belief polarization. These findings demonstrate that a more informed political elite does not necessarily mitigate partisan factual disagreement in policy making.
Individuals with schizophrenia are at higher risk of physical illnesses, which are a major contributor to their 20-year reduced life expectancy. It is currently unknown what causes the increased risk of physical illness in schizophrenia.
To link genetic data from a clinically ascertained sample of individuals with schizophrenia to anonymised National Health Service (NHS) records. To assess (a) rates of physical illness in those with schizophrenia, and (b) whether physical illness in schizophrenia is associated with genetic liability.
We linked genetic data from a clinically ascertained sample of individuals with schizophrenia (Cardiff Cognition in Schizophrenia participants, n = 896) to anonymised NHS records held in the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank. Physical illnesses were defined from the General Practice Database and Patient Episode Database for Wales. Genetic liability for schizophrenia was indexed by (a) rare copy number variants (CNVs), and (b) polygenic risk scores.
Individuals with schizophrenia in SAIL had increased rates of epilepsy (standardised rate ratio (SRR) = 5.34), intellectual disability (SRR = 3.11), type 2 diabetes (SRR = 2.45), congenital disorders (SRR = 1.77), ischaemic heart disease (SRR = 1.57) and smoking (SRR = 1.44) in comparison with the general SAIL population. In those with schizophrenia, carrier status for schizophrenia-associated CNVs and neurodevelopmental disorder-associated CNVs was associated with height (P = 0.015–0.017), with carriers being 7.5–7.7 cm shorter than non-carriers. We did not find evidence that the increased rates of poor physical health outcomes in schizophrenia were associated with genetic liability for the disorder.
This study demonstrates the value of and potential for linking genetic data from clinically ascertained research studies to anonymised health records. The increased risk for physical illness in schizophrenia is not caused by genetic liability for the disorder.
This is the first report on the association between trauma exposure and depression from the Advancing Understanding of RecOvery afteR traumA(AURORA) multisite longitudinal study of adverse post-traumatic neuropsychiatric sequelae (APNS) among participants seeking emergency department (ED) treatment in the aftermath of a traumatic life experience.
We focus on participants presenting at EDs after a motor vehicle collision (MVC), which characterizes most AURORA participants, and examine associations of participant socio-demographics and MVC characteristics with 8-week depression as mediated through peritraumatic symptoms and 2-week depression.
Eight-week depression prevalence was relatively high (27.8%) and associated with several MVC characteristics (being passenger v. driver; injuries to other people). Peritraumatic distress was associated with 2-week but not 8-week depression. Most of these associations held when controlling for peritraumatic symptoms and, to a lesser degree, depressive symptoms at 2-weeks post-trauma.
These observations, coupled with substantial variation in the relative strength of the mediating pathways across predictors, raises the possibility of diverse and potentially complex underlying biological and psychological processes that remain to be elucidated in more in-depth analyses of the rich and evolving AURORA database to find new targets for intervention and new tools for risk-based stratification following trauma exposure.
We study the
-spectrum of measures in the plane generated by certain nonlinear maps. In particular, we consider attractors of iterated function systems consisting of maps whose components are
and for which the Jacobian is a lower triangular matrix at every point subject to a natural domination condition on the entries. We calculate the
-spectrum of Bernoulli measures supported on such sets by using an appropriately defined analogue of the singular value function and an appropriate pressure function.
The Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) is a widely used measure in developmental science that assesses adults’ current states of mind regarding early attachment-related experiences with their primary caregivers. The standard system for coding the AAI recommends classifying individuals categorically as having an autonomous, dismissing, preoccupied, or unresolved attachment state of mind. However, previous factor and taxometric analyses suggest that: (a) adults’ attachment states of mind are captured by two weakly correlated factors reflecting adults’ dismissing and preoccupied states of mind and (b) individual differences on these factors are continuously rather than categorically distributed. The current study revisited these suggestions about the latent structure of AAI scales by leveraging individual participant data from 40 studies (N = 3,218), with a particular focus on the controversial observation from prior factor analytic work that indicators of preoccupied states of mind and indicators of unresolved states of mind about loss and trauma loaded on a common factor. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that: (a) a 2-factor model with weakly correlated dismissing and preoccupied factors and (b) a 3-factor model that further distinguished unresolved from preoccupied states of mind were both compatible with the data. The preoccupied and unresolved factors in the 3-factor model were highly correlated. Taxometric analyses suggested that individual differences in dismissing, preoccupied, and unresolved states of mind were more consistent with a continuous than a categorical model. The importance of additional tests of predictive validity of the various models is emphasized.