To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
We performed a cross-sectional survey of infection preventionists in 60 US community hospitals between April 22 and May 8, 2020. Several differences in hospital preparedness for SARS-CoV-2 emerged with respect to personal protective equipment conservation strategies, protocols related to testing, universal masking, and restarting elective procedures.
The study of the sixteenth-century merchant fleet of England, Wales, and the Channel Islands is a neglected area of research in comparison to the volume of work undertaken into trade, the development of the Royal Navy, the age of exploration, privateering, great personalities, ship design, and naval warfare. The only major book-length study of English merchant shipping in this period – focusing upon the ships themselves rather than trade routes, commodities, and mercantile communities – is Dorothy Burwash's English Merchant Shipping, 1460-1540, which is now over seventy years old, and research into Welsh and Channel Islands shipping is similarly scant.2 This lack of research into the size and geographical distribution of the merchant fleet is unfortunate, because shipping was central to the economic lifeblood of the nation. Goods were imported and exported to and from Europe (and increasingly as the sixteenth century progressed from further afield), and whilst foreign shipping contributed to this overseas trade, by the sixteenth century at least it was indigenous shipping which bore the brunt of this mercantile activity in most ports. Merchant vessels were also essential to native trade, moving commodities coastwise and navigating the extensive Anglo-Welsh riverine networks to transport goods to and from hundreds of settlements both on the coast and much further inland. Fishing vessels, which were also employed as trading vessels on occasion, were also an essential part of the economy.
What is more, these vessels were of considerable political interest. The English Crown (which had suzerainty over Wales and the Channel Islands) had the prerogative right to tax overseas trade (imports and exports) on certain commodities carried in both native and foreign vessels, and the government thus had a vested financial interest in monitoring the activities of the merchant fleet. In short, an understanding of the merchant fleet of England, Wales, and the Channel Islands opens an important window into the country's economy. The Crown was also interested in the size and tonnage of the fleet because it was able to requisition or hire merchantmen for naval duties: knowing how many ships existed, how large they were, and where they were located (their home ports) was vital information.
Smoking rates in people with depression and anxiety are twice as high as in the general population, even though people with depression and anxiety are motivated to stop smoking. Most healthcare professionals are aware that stopping smoking is one of the greatest changes that people can make to improve their health. However, smoking cessation can be a difficult topic to raise. Evidence suggests that smoking may cause some mental health problems, and that the tobacco withdrawal cycle partly contributes to worse mental health. By stopping smoking, a person's mental health may improve, and the size of this improvement might be equal to taking antidepressants. In this article we outline ways in which healthcare professionals can compassionately and respectfully raise the topic of smoking to encourage smoking cessation. We draw on evidence-based methods such as cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) and outline approaches that healthcare professionals can use to integrate these methods into routine care to help their patients stop smoking.
The medium- to long-term consequences of COVID-19 are not yet known, though an increase in mental health problems are predicted. Multidisciplinary strategies across socio-economic and psychological levels may be needed to mitigate the mental health burden of COVID-19. Preliminary evidence from the rapidly progressing field of psychedelic science shows that psilocybin therapy offers a promising transdiagnostic treatment strategy for a range of disorders with restricted and maladaptive habitual patterns of cognition and behaviour, notably depression, addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder. The COMPASS Pathways (COMPASS) phase 2b double-blind trial of psilocybin therapy in antidepressant-free, treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is underway to determine the safety, efficacy and optimal dose of psilocybin. Results from the Imperial College London Psilodep-RCT comparing the efficacy and mechanisms of action of psilocybin therapy to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) escitalopram will soon be published. However, the efficacy and safety of psilocybin therapy in conjunction with SSRIs in TRD is not yet known. An additional COMPASS study, with a centre in Dublin, will begin to address this question, with potential implications for the future delivery of psilocybin therapy. While at a relatively early stage of clinical development, and notwithstanding the immense challenges of COVID-19, psilocybin therapy has the potential to play an important therapeutic role for various psychiatric disorders in post-COVID-19 clinical psychiatry.
In Canada, there were over 60,000 long-term care facility patient transfers to emergency departments (EDs) in 2014, with up to a quarter of them being potentially preventable. Each preventable transfer exposes the patient to transport- and hospital-related complications, contributes to ED crowding, and adds significant costs to the health care system. There have been many proposed and studied interventions aimed at alleviating the issue, but few attempts to assess and evaluate different interventions across institutions.
A systematic search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, and EMBASE for studies describing the impact of interventions aimed at reducing preventable transfers from long-term care facilities to EDs on ED transfer rate. Two independent reviewers screened the studies for inclusion and completed a quality assessment. A tabular and narrative synthesis was then completed. This study adhered to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines.
A total of 26 studies were included (Cohen's k = 0.68). One was of low quality (Cohen's k = 0.58). Studies were summarized into five themes based on intervention type: Telemedicine, Outreach Teams, Interdisciplinary Care, Integrated Approaches, and Other. Effective interventions reported reductions in ED transfer rates post intervention ranging from 10 to 70%. Interdisciplinary health care teams staffed within long-term care facilities were the most effective interventions.
There are several promising interventions that have successfully reduced the number of preventable transfers from long-term care facilities to EDs in a variety of health care settings. Widespread implementation of these interventions has the potential to reduce ED crowding in Canada.
Assessing impact of treatment from the patient perspective provides additional information about treatment efficacy in major depressive disorder (MDD) trials.
Pooled data from three identically designed clinical trials showed aripiprazole adjunctive to antidepressant therapy (ADT) was effective in treating MDD.1
Patients who completed an 8-week prospective ADT phase with inadequate response were randomized double-blind to 6-weeks adjunctive treatment with aripiprazole or placebo. The Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire-Short Form (Q-LES-Q-SF) is a 16-item, self-report measure to evaluate daily functioning, with higher scores indicating better satisfaction. Comparisons of mean change from baseline (Week 8) to Week 14 in Q-LES-Q-SF items and general subscores were performed using ANCOVA (LOCF).
There was significant improvement in the Q-LES-Q-SF Overall-General subscore (total of items 1-14 expressed as a percentage of the maximum possible score) in the aripiprazole-treatment group (9.49% [n=507]) vs placebo (5.71% [n=492] p< 0.001). Placebo was significantly higher than aripiprazole in Physical Ability (placebo 0.13 vs aripiprazole 0.02, p=0.020). Aripiprazole was significantly higher than placebo in all other items except Physical Health and Vision. Aripiprazole also produced significant increases in both the Satisfaction with Medication (Item 15) (aripiprazole 0.36 vs placebo 0.20, p< 0.01) and Overall Satisfaction (Item 16) (aripiprazole 0.61 vs placebo 0.35, p< 0.001) scores.
Results emphasize that assessment of patient functioning and quality of life may have utility both in clinical trials and clinical practice.2
To evaluate the efficacy of aripiprazole adjunctive antidepressant therapy (ADT) with regard to functioning in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who did not achieve an adequate response with standard ADT.
Pooled data were analyzed from three nearly identically designed randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials: CN138-139, CN138-163 and CN138-165. These included patients with MDD, without psychotic features, who had failed at least one ADT treatment in the present episode. Patients completing an 8-week prospective ADT phase with inadequate response were randomized to 6-weeks’ treatment with adjunctive aripiprazole (n=508) or placebo (n=494). Functioning was assessed using the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS). Comparisons of mean change from baseline in total SDS score, and domains of family life, social life and work/school were performed using ANCOVA.
Adjunctive aripiprazole produced significant improvements in total SDS (-1.2 on an adjusted scale of 1-10, with 10=worst level of functioning/1=best) vs adjunctive placebo (-0.7, p< 0.001). Adjunctive aripiprazole produced significant changes in the family life domain (-1.4 for adjunctive aripiprazole vs -0.7 for adjunctive placebo, p< 0.001) and the social life domain (-1.4 for adjunctive aripiprazole vs -0.7 for adjunctive placebo, p< 0.001). No difference between groups was observed on the work/school domain (-0.8 for adjunctive aripiprazole and -0.6 for adjunctive placebo, p=0.34).
Adjunctive aripiprazole showed significant improvements in overall SDS scores, and family and social life domains. Less change was observed in the work/school domain. The results emphasize that assessment of patient functioning may have utility both in clinical trials and clinical practice.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) contribute small increases in risk for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD). LOAD SNPs cluster around genes with similar biological functions (pathways). Polygenic risk scores (PRS) aggregate the effect of SNPs genome-wide. However, this approach has not been widely used for SNPs within specific pathways.
We investigated whether pathway-specific PRS were significant predictors of LOAD case/control status.
We mapped SNPs to genes within 8 pathways implicated in LOAD. For our polygenic analysis, the discovery sample comprised 13,831 LOAD cases and 29,877 controls. LOAD risk alleles for SNPs in our 8 pathways were identified at a P-value threshold of 0.5. Pathway-specific PRS were calculated in a target sample of 3332 cases and 9832 controls. The genetic data were pruned with R2 > 0.2 while retaining the SNPs most significantly associated with AD. We tested whether pathway-specific PRS were associated with LOAD using logistic regression, adjusting for age, sex, country, and principal components. We report the proportion of variance in liability explained by each pathway.
The most strongly associated pathways were the immune response (NSNPs = 9304, = 5.63 × 10−19, R2 = 0.04) and hemostasis (NSNPs = 7832, P = 5.47 × 10−7, R2 = 0.015). Regulation of endocytosis, hematopoietic cell lineage, cholesterol transport, clathrin and protein folding were also significantly associated but accounted for less than 1% of the variance. With APOE excluded, all pathways remained significant except proteasome-ubiquitin activity and protein folding.
Genetic risk for LOAD can be split into contributions from different biological pathways. These offer a means to explore disease mechanisms and to stratify patients.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Infants undergoing stage 1 palliation for hypoplastic left heart syndrome may have post-operative feeding difficulties. Although the cause of feeding difficulties in these patients is multi-factorial, residual arch obstruction may affect gut perfusion, contributing to feeding intolerance. We hypothesised that undergoing arch reintervention following stage 1 palliation would be associated with post-operative feeding difficulties.
This was a retrospective cohort study. We analysed data from the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative, which maintains a multicentre registry for infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome discharged home following stage 1 palliation. Patients who underwent arch reintervention (percutaneous or surgical) prior to discharge following stage 1 palliation were compared with those who underwent non-aortic arch interventions after stage 1 palliation and those who underwent no intervention. Median post-operative days to full enteral feeds and weight for age z-scores were compared. Predictors of post-operative days to full feeds were identified.
Among patients who underwent arch reintervention, post-operative days to full enteral feeds were greater than for those who underwent non-aortic arch interventions (25 versus 16, p = 0.003) or no intervention (median days 25 versus 12, p < 0.001). Arch intervention, multiple interventions, gestational age, and the presence of a gastrointestinal anomaly were predictors of days to full feeds.
Repeat arch intervention is associated with a longer time to achieve full enteral feeding in patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome after stage 1 palliation. Further investigation of this association is needed to understand the role of arch obstruction in feeding problems in these patients.
Modern humans evolved in Africa approximately 200,000 years ago (Campbell and Tishkoff 2010). As groups migrated out of Africa they underwent bottlenecks leading to sharp reductions in population size and genetic diversity (Amos and Hoffman 2010; Harpending and Rogers 2000; Ramachandran et al. 2005). To this day, African populations retain the most genetic diversity globally (Auton et al. 2015). In order to survive both within and out of Africa, early human populations had to adapt to their novel environments, including new food resources, colder climates, higher altitudes, and, especially, infectious diseases (Balaresque et al. 2007; Fumagalli et al. 2011). These adaptive requirements, facilitated by natural selection, led to an increased frequency of alleles that were beneficial in that environment. Due to the fact that these adaptive requirements were driven by local environmental pressures, some of these evolutionarily advantageous alleles display geographic and ancestral specificity, as observed in the genomes of present-day humans (Fumagalli et al. 2011).
Microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (MPCVD) was used to diffuse boron into tantalum using plasma initiated from a feedgas mixture containing hydrogen and diborane. The role of substrate temperature and substrate bias in influencing surface chemical structure and hardness was investigated. X-ray diffraction shows that increased temperature results in increased TaB2 formation (relative to TaB) along with increased strain in the tantalum body-centered cubic lattice. Once the strained tantalum becomes locally supersaturated with boron, TaB and TaB2 precipitate. Additional boron remains in a solid solution within the tantalum. The combination of precipitation and solid solution hardening along with boron-induced lattice strain may help explain the 40 GPa average hardness measured by nanoindentation. Application of negative substrate bias did not further increase the hardness, possibly due to etching from increased ion bombardment. These results show that MPCVD is a viable method for synthesis of superhard borides based on plasma-assisted diffusion.
Glucose intolerance during pregnancy – a major driver of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) – has significant short- and long-term health consequences for both the mother and child. As GDM prevalence continues to escalate, there is growing need for preventative strategies. There is limited but suggestive evidence that myo-inositol (MI) and probiotics (PB) could improve glucose tolerance during pregnancy. The present study tested the hypothesis that MI and/or PB supplementation would reduce the risk of glucose intolerance during pregnancy. Female C57BL/6 mice were randomised to receive either no treatment, MI, PB (Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis) or both (MIPB) for 5 weeks. They were then provided with a high-fat diet for 1 week before mating commenced and throughout mating/gestation, while remaining on their respective treatments. An oral glucose tolerance test occurred at gestational day (GD) 16·5 and tissue collection at GD 18·5. Neither MI nor PB, separately or combined, improved glucose tolerance. However, MI and PB both independently increased adipose tissue expression of Ir, Irs1, Akt2 and Pck1, and PB also increased Pparγ. MI was associated with reduced gestational weight gain, whilst PB was associated with increased maternal fasting glucose, total cholesterol and pancreas weight. These results suggest that MI and PB may improve insulin intracellular signalling in adipose tissue but this did not translate to meaningful differences in glucose tolerance. The absence of fasting hyperglycaemia or insulin resistance suggests this is a very mild model of GDM, which may have affected our ability to assess the impact of these nutrients.
Papillon treatment is a form of contact X-ray brachytherapy (CXB) which is used as an alternative to surgery for rectal cancer. This study aimed to audit patients who were referred for and treated with CXB over a 6-year period against guidelines derived from a critical review of the evidence base.
Materials and methods:
Patient demographics, tumour characteristics and outcome data were gathered for 31 patients referred for CXB. A critical review of the evidence identified consensus referral criteria and outcome data against which to audit patients.
Referral criteria were derived from six published studies. These applied to patients unfit for surgery or stoma-averse. All referred patients had a visible tumour or scar with a tumour size under 3 cm and sited less than 12 cm from the anal verge. Nodal status varied from N0 to N2, but there was no metastatic disease present. The audited cohort demonstrated demographic equivalence, while the initial clinical complete response and recurrence rates were also comparable.
This audit confirmed the validity of referral and treatment protocols and should guide future referrals until evidence from ongoing studies becomes available. These findings should contribute to the development of robust national guidelines.
The psychedelic research renaissance is gaining traction. Preliminary clinical studies of the hallucinogenic fungi, psilocybin, with psychological support, have indicated improvements in mood, anxiety and quality of life. A seminal, open-label study demonstrated marked reductions in depression symptoms in participants with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). The associated neurobiological processes involve alterations in brain connectivity, together with altered amygdala and default mode network activity. At the cellular level, psychedelics promote synaptogenesis and neural plasticity. Prompted by the promising preliminary studies, a randomized, double-blind trial has recently been launched across Europe and North America to investigate the efficacy of psilocybin in TRD. One of these centres is based in Ireland – CHO Area 7 and Tallaght University Hospital. The outcome of this trial will determine whether psilocybin with psychological support will successfully translate into the psychiatric clinic for the benefit of patients.
Medical residents are an important group for antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) to target with interventions aimed at improving antibiotic prescribing. In this study, we compared antimicrobial prescribing practices of 2 academic medical teams receiving different ASP training approaches along with a hospitalist control group.
Retrospective cohort study comparing guideline-concordant antibiotic prescribing for 3 common infections among a family medicine (FM) resident service, an internal medicine (IM) resident service, and hospitalists.
Community teaching hospital.
Adult patients admitted between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, with a discharge diagnosis of pneumonia, cellulitis, and urinary tract infections were reviewed.
All 3 medical teams received identical baseline ASP education and daily antibiotic prescribing audit with feedback via clinical pharmacists. The FM resident service received an additional layer of targeted ASP intervention that included biweekly stewardship-focused rounds with an ASP physician and clinical pharmacist leadership. Guideline-concordant prescribing was assessed based on the institution’s ASP guidelines.
Of 1,572 patients, 295 (18.8%) were eligible for inclusion (FM, 96; IM, 69; hospitalist, 130). The percentage of patients receiving guideline-concordant antibiotic selection empirically was similar between groups for all diagnoses (FM, 87.5%; IM, 87%; hospitalist, 83.8%; P = .702). No differences were observed in appropriate definitive antibiotic selection among groups (FM, 92.4%; IM, 89.1%; hospitalist, 89.9%; P = .746). The FM resident service was more likely to prescribe a guideline-concordant duration of therapy across all diagnoses (FM, 74%; IM, 56.5%; hospitalist, 44.6%; P < .001).
Adding dedicated stewardship-focused rounds into the graduate medical curriculum demonstrated increased guideline adherence specifically to duration of therapy recommendations.