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Mean cerebral blood flow velocity (mean-CBFV) obtained from Transcranial Doppler (TCD) poorly predicts cerebral vasospasm in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Variability descriptors of mean-CBFV obtained during extended TCD recordings may improve this prediction. We assessed the feasibility of generating reliable linear and non-linear descriptors of mean-CBFV variability using extended recordings in aSAH patients and in healthy controls. We also explored which of those metrics might have the ability to discriminate between aSAH patients and healthy controls, and among patients who would go on to develop vasospasm and those who would not.
Bilateral mean-CBFV, blood pressure, and heart rate were continuously recorded for 40 minutes in aSAH patients (n = 8) within the first 5 days after ictus, in age-matched healthy controls (n = 8) and in additional young controls (n = 8). We obtained linear [standard deviation, coefficient of variations, and the very-low (0.003–0.040 Hz), low (0.040–0.150 Hz), and high-frequency (0.15–0.4 Hz) power spectra] and non-linear (Fractality, deterministic Chaos analyses) variability metrics.
We successfully obtained TCD recordings from patients and healthy controls and calculated the desired metrics of mean-CBFV variability. Differences were appreciable between aSAH patients and healthy controls, as well as between aSAH patients who later developed vasospasm and those who did not.
A 40-minute TCD recording provides reliable variability metrics in aSAH patients and healthy controls. Future studies are required to determine if mean-CBFV variability metrics remain stable over time, and whether they may serve to identify patients who are at greatest risk of developing cerebral vasospasm after aSAH.
The long-term effects of pediatric concussion on white matter microstructure are poorly understood. This study investigated long-term changes in white matter diffusion properties of the corpus callosum in youth several years after concussion.
Participants were 8–19 years old with a history of concussion (n = 36) or orthopedic injury (OI) (n = 21). Mean time since injury for the sample was 2.6 years (SD = 1.6). Participants underwent diffusion magnetic resonance imaging, completed cognitive testing, and rated their post-concussion symptoms. Measures of diffusivity (fractional anisotropy, mean, axial, and radial diffusivity) were extracted from white matter tracts in the genu, body, and splenium regions of the corpus callosum. The genu and splenium tracts were further subdivided into 21 equally spaced regions along the tract and diffusion values were extracted from each of these smaller regions.
White matter tracts in the genu, body, and splenium did not differ in diffusivity properties between youth with a history of concussion and those with a history of OI. No significant group differences were found in subdivisions of the genu and splenium after correcting for multiple comparisons. Diffusion metrics did not significantly correlate with symptom reports or cognitive performance.
These findings suggest that at approximately 2.5 years post-injury, youth with prior concussion do not have differences in their corpus callosum microstructure compared to youth with OI. Although these results are promising from the perspective of long-term recovery, further research utilizing longitudinal study designs is needed to confirm the long-term effects of pediatric concussion on white matter microstructure.
Short-term survival after paediatric cardiac surgery has improved significantly over the past 20 years and increasing attention is being given to measuring and reducing incidence of morbidities following surgery. How to best use routinely collected data to share morbidity information constitutes a challenge for clinical teams interested in analysing their outcomes for quality improvement. We aimed to develop a tool facilitating this process in the context of monitoring morbidities following paediatric cardiac surgery, as part of a prospective multi-centre research study in the United Kingdom.
We developed a prototype software tool to analyse and present data about morbidities associated with cardiac surgery in children. We used an iterative process, involving engagement with potential users, tool design and implementation, and feedback collection. Graphical data displays were based on the use of icons and graphs designed in collaboration with clinicians.
Our tool enables automatic creation of graphical summaries, displayed as a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, from a spreadsheet containing patient-level data about specified cardiac surgery morbidities. Data summaries include numbers/percentages of cases with morbidities reported, co-occurrences of different morbidities, and time series of each complication over a time window.
Our work was characterised by a very high level of interaction with potential users of the tool, enabling us to promptly account for feedback and suggestions from clinicians and data managers. The United Kingdom centres involved in the project received the tool positively, and several expressed their interest in using it as part of their routine practice.
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.
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) display cognitive deficits in acutely depressed and remitted states. Childhood maltreatment is associated with cognitive dysfunction in adults, but its impact on cognition and treatment related cognitive outcomes in adult MDD has received little consideration. We investigate whether, compared to patients without maltreatment and healthy participants, adult MDD patients with childhood maltreatment display greater cognitive deficits in acute depression, lower treatment-associated cognitive improvements, and lower cognitive performance in remission.
Healthy and acutely depressed MDD participants were enrolled in a multi-center MDD predictive marker discovery trial. MDD participants received 16 weeks of standardized antidepressant treatment. Maltreatment and cognition were assessed with the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse interview and the CNS Vital Signs battery, respectively. Cognitive scores and change from baseline to week 16 were compared amongst MDD participants with (DM+, n = 93) and without maltreatment (DM−, n = 90), and healthy participants with (HM+, n = 22) and without maltreatment (HM−, n = 80). Separate analyses in MDD participants who remitted were conducted.
DM+ had lower baseline global cognition, processing speed, and memory v. HM−, with no significant baseline differences amongst DM−, HM+, and HM− groups. There were no significant between-group differences in cognitive change over 16 weeks. Post-treatment remitted DM+, but not remitted DM−, scored significantly lower than HM− in working memory and processing speed.
Childhood maltreatment was associated with cognitive deficits in depressed and remitted adults with MDD. Maltreatment may be a risk factor for more severe and persistent cognitive deficits in adult MDD.
In patients with β-lactam allergies, administration of non–β-lactam surgical prophylaxis is associated with increased risk of infection. Although many patients self-report β-lactam allergies, most are unconfirmed or mislabeled. A quality improvement process, utilizing a structured β-lactam allergy tool, was implemented to improve the utilization of preferred β-lactam surgical prophylaxis.
Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a pathogenic nematode and the cause of neuroangiostrongyliasis, an eosinophilic meningitis more commonly known as rat lungworm disease. Transmission is thought to be primarily due to ingestion of infective third stage larvae (L3) in gastropods, on produce, or in contaminated water. The gold standard to determine the effects of physical and chemical treatments on the infectivity of A. cantonensis L3 larvae is to infect rodents with treated L3 larvae and monitor for infection, but animal studies are laborious and expensive and also raise ethical concerns. This study demonstrates propidium iodide (PI) to be a reliable marker of parasite death and loss of infective potential without adversely affecting the development and future reproduction of live A. cantonensis larvae. PI staining allows evaluation of the efficacy of test substances in vitro, an improvement upon the use of lack of motility as an indicator of death. Some potential applications of this assay include determining the effectiveness of various anthelmintics, vegetable washes, electromagnetic radiation and other treatments intended to kill larvae in the prevention and treatment of neuroangiostrongyliasis.
The flora of Mediterranean ecosystems contains families with species having fully and under-developed embryos in their seeds. After-ripening for physiological dormancy release and smoke influence germination in many species. We investigated how after-ripening and embryo growth interact with smoke to influence the temporal dynamics of seedling emergence among fire ephemerals. Seeds were placed in the field and under standardized (50% relative humidity, 30°C) laboratory conditions to test the effects of summer conditions on physiological dormancy loss. Germination was tested with water or smoke compounds (smoke water, KAR1) at a simulated autumn/winter temperature (18/7°C). The timing and amount of seedling emergence with smoke was observed for seeds exposed to near-natural conditions. During summer, physiological dormancy was broken in all species, enabling germination at autumn/winter but not summer temperatures; no embryo growth occurred in seeds with under-developed embryos. At the start of the wet season, seedling emergence from seeds with fully developed embryos occurred earlier than from seeds with under-developed embryos. In a non-consistent manner among our study species, smoke and smoke compounds influenced the rate of embryo growth and amount of germination. Effects of smoke were noticeable in terms of number of emergents in the first emergence season. Among ecologically similar species, we have shown (1) that both thermal and embryo traits exclude germination in the summer, (2) how embryo size influences the timing of seedling emergence in autumn–winter, and (3) a reduced requirement for smoke in the second emergence season after a fire with a shift to reliance on seasonal cues for emergence.
To delineate the timing of, indications for, and assessment of visitor restriction policies and practices (VRPP) in pediatric facilities.
An electronic survey to characterize VRPP in pediatric healthcare facilities.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America Emerging Infections Network surveyed 334 pediatric infectious disease consultants via an electronic link. Descriptive analyses were performed.
A total of 170 eligible respondents completed a survey between 12 July and August 15, 2016, for a 51% response rate. Of the 104 respondents (61%) familiar with their VRPP, 92 (88%) had VRPP in all inpatient units. The respondents reported age-based VRPP (74%) symptom-based VRPP (97%), and outbreak-specific VRPP (75%). Symptom-based VRPP were reported to be seasonal by 24% of respondents and to be implemented year-round according to 70% of respondents. According to the respondents, communication of VRPP to families occurred at admission (87%) and through signage in care areas (64%), while communication of VRPP to staff occurred by email (77%), by meetings (55%), and by signage in staff-only areas (49%). Respondents reported that enforcement of VRPP was the responsibility of nursing (80%), registration clerks (58%), unit clerks (53%), the infection prevention team (31%), or clinicians 16 (16%). They also reported that the effectiveness of VRPP was assessed through active surveillance of hospital acquired respiratory infections (62%), through active surveillance of healthcare worker exposures (28%) and through patient/family satisfaction assessments (29%).
Visitor restriction policies and practices vary in scope, implementation, enforcement, and physician awareness in pediatric facilities. A prospective multisite evaluation of outcomes would facilitate the adoption of uniform guidance.
The objective of this study was to prospectively validate the “Brief Developmental Assessment”, which is a new early recognition tool for neurodevelopmental abnormalities in children with heart disease that was developed for use by cardiac teams.
This was a prospective validation study among a representative sample of 960 pre-school children with heart disease from three United Kingdom tertiary cardiac centres who were analysed grouped into five separate age bands.
The “Brief Developmental Assessment” was successfully validated in the older four age bands, but not in the youngest representing infants under the age of 4 months, as pre-set validation thresholds were met – lower 95% confidence limit for the correlation coefficient above 0.75 – in terms of agreement of scores between two raters and with an external measure the “Mullen Scales of Early Learning”. On the basis of American Association of Pediatrics Guidelines, which state that the sensitivity and specificity of a developmental screening tool should fall between 70 and 80%, “Brief Developmental Assessment” outcome of Red meets this threshold for detection of Mullen scores >2 standard deviations below the mean.
The “Brief Developmental Assessment” may be used to improve the quality of assessment of children with heart disease. This will require a training package for users and a guide to action for abnormal results. Further research is needed to determine how best to deploy the “Brief Developmental Assessment” at different time points in children with heart disease and to determine the management strategy in infants younger than 4 months old.
We compared rotavirus detection patterns before (2001–2006) and after (2008–2015) rotavirus vaccine introduction. We also compared rotavirus detection patterns in odd (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015) and even (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014) years post-vaccine separately. Results of stool rotavirus antigen testing from inpatient, outpatient and emergency department encounters from July 2000 to July 2015 at two paediatric hospital laboratories in Atlanta, Georgia were reviewed. Post-vaccine, rotavirus detection declined (30.2% vs. 13.7% (overall 54.6% decline, P <0.001)), occurred more frequently outside the rotavirus season (19.8% vs. 3.5%; P < 0.001), and was more common among older children (26 vs. 13 median months of age; P < 0.001). During odd years post-vaccine, rotavirus detection was significantly higher than even years (20.2% vs. 6.4%; P < 0.001). Rotavirus detection declined substantially and developed a biennial pattern in the post-vaccine era. The intensity and temporality of rotavirus detection in odd years post-vaccine resembled that observed pre-vaccine, although considerably reduced in magnitude.
Large regions of the United States (and the world) face “situational scarcities” of water that arises from energy extraction and use, agricultural practices, expanding urban populations, and poorly integrated water policies.
Creating “fit-for-purpose” water from suboptimal sources will require new materials and a new understanding of the separation of contaminants from complex aqueous media.
We review here scientific, technological, and societal challenges at the nexus of energy, water, and food. We focus on specific examples of energy and water stress in the southwestern United States and technological routes to new sources of water. Situational scarcities of water are increasing worldwide because of the reliance on uncertain water sources, coupled with expanding populations, expanded agricultural uses of water, and water and energy use policies that have not always been effectively integrated. This review is framed using the outcomes of recent National Science Foundation workshops focusing on the Energy/Water/Food Nexus and from other recent U.S. Department of Energy workshops focused on the Energy/Water nexus. Water-stressed regions, even after extensive conservation measures, may need new supplies of water that come from less than optimal sources. A basic understanding of the separation of water from complex aqueous solutions along with new materials, distributed and publically accepted technologies and unit operations, underpin the future production of “fit-for-purpose” water. Regional test beds are required that are small and provide for simultaneous control of a number of variables, yet large enough to approximate real communities. Solutions to these problems represent opportunities for innovation and creation of economically viable, resilient communities.
The Mediterranean fan worm, Sabella spallanzanii (Gmelin, 1791), is a highly invasive pest species introduced to Australia and New Zealand, with the ability to alter marine ecosystems by outcompeting native species for food and space. Sabella spallanzanii has been established in southern Australia for decades, but was discovered in Botany Bay (NSW, eastern Australia) in 2013. In New Zealand, S. spallanzanii was first detected in March 2008. Using cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) sequences, we investigate the phylogeography of the Australian and New Zealand populations of S. spallanzanii, including the possible origins of the recent incursions in both countries. Australian and New Zealand S. spallanzanii show minimal genetic diversity (0.2% divergence) and were dominated by two main haplotypes suggesting a commonality. Our molecular data are insufficient by themselves to identify fine-scale invasion pathways in antipodean S. spallanzanii, but the similar, minimal haplotype diversity in combination with well-constrained field survey data suggests that the New Zealand incursion originated from southern Australia, rather than as a new incursion from the Mediterranean Sea. This highlights the importance of ongoing marine biosecurity surveillance and monitoring as well as improvements to biosecurity protocols for international and domestic vessels. The origin of the eastern Australian (Botany Bay) incursion is plausibly derived from either southern Australia or as a ‘return’ from New Zealand, and requires further, more detailed investigation.
A subset of Post-AGB (PAGB) objects are the highly luminous RV Tauri variables that show similarities to Type-II Cepheids. By using a sample of known RV Tauri stars from the Magellanic Clouds we are able to determine period luminosity relationships (PLRs) in various bands that have been used to determine the luminosities of their Galactic counterparts. We have gathered all available photometry in order to generate an SED for each object and determine the total integrated flux. This total flux combined with a calculated or inferred intrinsic luminosity leads to a distance (Vickers et al. 2015). This distance catalogue has allowed us to begin to constrain the physical parameters of this poorly understood evolutionary phase and to determine links between these physical characteristics as a function of their stellar population.