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Summary: In this paper we build on work investigating the feasibility of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing in emergency departments (EDs), estimating the prevalence of hepatitis B, C and HIV infections among persons attending two inner-London EDs, identifying factors associated with testing positive in an ED. We also undertook molecular characterisation to look at the diversity of the viruses circulating in these individuals, and the presence of clinically significant mutations which impact on treatment and control.
Blood-borne virus (BBV) testing in non-traditional settings is feasible, with emergency departments (ED) potentially effective at reaching vulnerable and underserved populations. We investigated the feasibility of BBV testing within two inner-London EDs. Residual samples from biochemistry for adults (⩾18 years) attending The Royal Free London Hospital (RFLH) or the University College London Hospital (UCLH) ED between January and June 2015 were tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)Ag/Ab, anti-hepatitis C (HCV) and HBsAg. PCR and sequence analysis were conducted on reactive samples. Sero-prevalence among persons attending RFH and UCLH with residual samples (1287 and 1546), respectively, were 1.1% and 1.0% for HBsAg, 1.6% and 2.3% for anti-HCV, 0.9% and 1.6% for HCV RNA, and 1.3% and 2.2% for HIV. For RFH, HBsAg positivity was more likely among persons of black vs. white ethnicity (odds ratio 9.08; 95% confidence interval 2.72–30), with anti-HCV positivity less likely among females (0.15, 95% CI 0.04–0.50). For UCLH, HBsAg positivity was more likely among non-white ethnicity (13.34, 95% CI 2.20–80.86 (Asian); 8.03, 95% CI 1.12–57.61 (black); and 8.11, 95% CI 1.13–58.18 (other/mixed)). Anti-HCV positivity was more likely among 36–55 year olds vs. ⩾56 years (7.69, 95% CI 2.24–26.41), and less likely among females (0.24, 95% CI 0.09–0.65). Persons positive for HIV-markers were more likely to be of black vs. white ethnicity (4.51, 95% CI 1.63–12.45), and less likely to have one ED attendance (0.39, 95% CI 0.17–0.88), or female (0.12, 95% CI 0.04–0.42). These results indicate that BBV-testing in EDs is feasible, providing a basis for further studies to explore provider and patient acceptability, referral into care and cost-effectiveness.
Involuntary admission can be traumatic and is associated with negative attitudes that persist after the episode of illness has abated.
We aimed to prospectively assess satisfaction with care at the points of involuntary admission and symptomatic recovery, and identify their sociodemographic, clinical and service experience predictors.
Levels of satisfaction with care, and clinical and sociodemographic variables were obtained from a representative cohort of 263 patients at the point of involuntary admission and from 155 of these patients 3 months after termination of the involuntary admission. Data were analysed with multiple linear regression modelling.
Higher baseline awareness of illness (B = 0.19, P < 0.001) and older age (B = 0.05, P = 0.001) were associated with more satisfaction with care at baseline and follow-up. Transition to greater satisfaction with care was associated with improvements in awareness of illness (B = 0.13, P < 0.001) and in symptoms (B = 0.05, P = 0.02), as well as older age (B = 0.04, P = 0.01). Objective coercive experiences were not associated with variation in satisfaction with care.
There is wide variation in satisfaction with coercive care. Greater satisfaction with care is positively associated with clinical variables such as increased awareness of illness.
A theoretical model of individuals' experiences before, during and after involuntary admission has not yet been established.
To develop an understanding of individuals' experiences over the course of the involuntary admission process.
Fifty individuals were recruited through purposive and theoretical sampling and interviewed 3 months after their involuntary admission. Analyses were conducted using a Straussian grounded theory approach.
The ‘theory of preserving control’ (ToPC) emerged from individuals' accounts of how they adapted to the experience of involuntary admission. The ToPC explains how individuals manage to reclaim control over their emotional, personal and social lives and consists of three categories: ‘losing control’, ‘regaining control’ and ‘maintaining control’, and a number of related subcategories.
Involuntary admission triggers a multifaceted process of control preservation. Clinicians need to develop therapeutic approaches that enable individuals to regain and maintain control over the course of their involuntary admission.
Diet has been investigated in relation to its ability to promote cognitive function. However, evidence is currently limited and has rarely been systematically reviewed, particularly in a mild cognitive impairment (MCI) population. This review examined the effect of diet on cognitive outcomes in MCI patients. A total of five databases were searched to find randomised controlled trial (RCT) studies, with diet as the main focus, in MCI participants. The primary outcome was incident dementia and/or Alzheimer's disease (AD) and secondary outcomes included cognitive function across different domains using validated neuropsychological tests. Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria. There was a high degree of heterogeneity relating to the nature of the dietary intervention and cognitive outcomes measured, thus making study comparisons difficult. Supplementation with vitamin E (one study, n 516), ginkgo biloba (one study, n 482) or Fortasyn Connect (one study, n 311) had no significant effect on progression from MCI to dementia and/or AD. For cognitive function, the findings showed some improvements in performance, particularly in memory, with the most consistent results shown by B vitamins, including folic acid (one study, n 266), folic acid alone (one study, n 180), DHA and EPA (two studies, n 36 and n 86), DHA (one study, n 240) and flavonol supplementation (one study, n 90). The findings indicate that dietary factors may have a potential benefit for cognitive function in MCI patients. Further well-designed trials are needed, with standardised and robust measures of cognition to investigate the influence of diet on cognitive status.
Temperature measurements taken in young, landfast Antarctic sea ice show daily oscillations consistent with heating by solar radiation. We present and solve a heat conduction model for the temperature with a non-linear thermal capacity and a distributed source term for solar power absorption based on Monte Carlo scattering simulations of penetrating photons. We observe two characteristic modes for solar heating in sea ice, one dominated by travelling thermal waves or conduction in the upper half, and the other dominated by in-place solar heating in the lower half. We note that deep thermal responses to solar radiation are larger by a factor of ∼ 10 than predicted by scattering measurements, due possibly to the presence of algae and/or dissolved organic material.
In Ireland, National Clinical Programmes are being established to improve and standardise patient care throughout the Health Service Executive. In line with internationally recognised guidelines on the treatment of first episode psychosis the Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) programme is being drafted with a view to implementation by mental health services across the country. We undertook a review of patients presenting with a first episode of psychosis to the Dublin Southwest Mental Health Service before the implementation of the EIP. This baseline information will be used to measure the efficacy of our EIP programme.
Patients who presented with a first episode psychosis were retrospectively identified through case note reviews and consultation with treating teams. We gathered demographic and clinical information from patients as well as data on treatment provision over a 2-year period from the time of first presentation. Data included age at first presentation, duration of untreated psychosis, diagnosis, referral source, antipsychotic prescribing rates and dosing, rates of provision of psychological interventions and standards of physical healthcare monitoring. Outcome measures with regards to rates of admission over a 2-year period following initial presentation were also recorded.
In total, 66 cases were identified. The majority were male, single, unemployed and living with their family or spouse. The mean age at first presentation was 31 years with a mean duration of untreated psychosis of 17 months. Just under one-third were diagnosed with schizophrenia. Approximately half of the patients had no contact with a health service before presentation. The majority of patients presented through the emergency department. Two-thirds of all patients had a hospital admission within 2 years of presentation and almost one quarter of patients had an involuntary admission. The majority of patients were prescribed antipsychotic doses within recommended British National Formulary guidelines. Most patients received individual support through their keyworker and family intervention was provided in the majority of cases. Only a small number received formal Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy. Physical healthcare monitoring was insufficiently recorded in the majority of patients.
There is a shortage of information on the profile and treatment of patients presenting with a first episode of psychosis in Ireland. This baseline information is important in evaluating the efficacy of any new programme for this patient group. Many aspects of good practice were identified within the service in particular with regards to the appropriate prescribing of antipsychotic medication and the rates of family intervention. Deficiencies remain however in the monitoring of physical health and the provision of formal psychological interventions to patients. With the implementation of an EIP programme it is hoped that service provision would improve nationwide and to internationally recognised standards.
To explore the mental health tribunal experiences of people admitted involuntarily under the Mental Health Act 2001.
Employing a qualitative descriptive study design, data were collected from 23 service users who had experienced mental health tribunals during a recent involuntary admission. Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted ~3 months post-revocation of their involuntary admission order. Data were analysed using an inductive thematic process.
The majority of participants reported mixed experiences comprising positive and negative aspects in relation to information provision, emotional support and an inclusive atmosphere. Some participants reported receiving accessible information about the tribunal process, felt emotionally supported throughout, and encountered respectful and dignifying practices during the tribunal proceedings. However, many participants described experiencing non-inclusive practices, reported feeling ill-informed regarding the tribunal process, emotionally unsupported during and after the tribunal, and distressed by what they perceived as adversarial tribunal proceedings.
Systemic changes could ensure that the positive experiences encountered by the minority of participants in this study are more consistently experienced. Ongoing education and training of stakeholders in the provision of inclusive tribunal practices, and the provision of accessible information and emotional support to service users through the stages of the involuntary admission process appear likely to be beneficial. Service users should automatically be offered the option of having a support person of their choosing present during tribunals.
We report the first results from a programme recently set up to directly measure the thermal conductivity of young sea ice.
An array of thermistors frozen into first-year Antarctic sea ice provides temperature vs depth data, which is fitted directly with a partial differential equation for heat conduction. Temperatures are recorded every hour at 20 vertical intervals of 100 mm over a period of 5 months, allowing accurate and direct estimation of the thermal conductivity. Preliminary results indicate that the thermal conductivity is in the expected range, with some evidence of non-linear effects deeper in the ice. A larger variance in data is evident at higher temperature gradients and at greater depths in the ice.
Preliminary modelling of the impact of brine migration on heat transport through first-year sea ice is presented. Diffusion-driven brine pocket migration is too slow to contribute significantly to heat flow, but the convective instability of inclined brine slots or tubes is a promising mechanism.
Caring for someone with a mental illness is increasingly occurring within the community. As a result, family members who fulfil a caregiving role may experience substantial levels of burden and psychological distress. This study investigates the level of burden and psychological distress reported by caregivers after the patient's admission.
This study found that the overall level of burden and psychological distress experienced by caregivers did not differ according to the patient's legal status. However, the caregivers of those who were voluntarily admitted supervised the person to a significantly greater extent than the caregivers of those who were involuntarily admitted. Approximately 15% of caregivers revealed high levels of psychological distress.
This study may emphasise a need for mental health professionals to examine the circumstances of caregivers, particularly of those caring for patients who are voluntarily admitted, a year after the patient's admission.
Sexual side effects have rarely been reported secondary to treatment with Pregabalin, a structural analogue of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma amino butyric acid (GABA).
We present the case of AB, a 27-year-old single man with a diagnosis of recurrent depressive disorder who was prescribed pregabalin to alleviate the significant anxiety symptoms he was experiencing.
A significant amelioration in anxiety symptoms was attained; however, he developed the adverse effects of acute sexual disinhibition and increased libido. These adverse effects were temporally related to treatment with pregabalin and reduced with dose reduction of this agent.
To date, limited published data are available relating such a reaction to pregabalin. A greater clinical recognition of this association between pregabalin and sexual disinhibition, would allow clinicians to intervene at an earlier stage of this adverse effect and potentially as in this case, management may only require dose reduction rather than treatment discontinuation.
To evaluate and compare the opinions of key stakeholders involved in the involuntary admission and treatment of patients under the Mental Health Act (MHA) 2001 regarding their views towards the operation of the legislation.
We employed a descriptive survey design. A questionnaire was distributed to stakeholders involved in the operation of the MHA 2001 (except service users, whose views were explored in a separate qualitative study) via paper or online versions evaluating their opinions regarding the operation of the MHA 2001 in relation to assessment, care, rights, transfer and information available.
Stakeholders agreed that in their opinion that patients generally benefit from the care they receive (79%) and that the MHA 2001 ensures an independent and fair review of the person’s detention (65%). However, only 23% of stakeholders were satisfied with the process of transferring patients to hospital and with the clinical assessment procedures therein (37%), with the greatest levels of dissatisfaction amongst Gardai (Police), general practitioners (GPs) and family members.
While the introduction of the MHA 2001 has assisted delivery of care to patients with improved adherence to international human rights frameworks applicable at the time of its enactment, substantial dissatisfaction with the implementation of the MHA 2001 in practice is experienced by stakeholders particularly at the distressing phase of clinical assessment and transfer to hospital.