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To describe the genomic analysis and epidemiologic response related to a slow and prolonged methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) outbreak.
Prospective observational study.
Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
We conducted an epidemiologic investigation of a NICU MRSA outbreak involving serial baby and staff screening to identify opportunities for decolonization. Whole-genome sequencing was performed on MRSA isolates.
A NICU with excellent hand hygiene compliance and longstanding minimal healthcare-associated infections experienced an MRSA outbreak involving 15 babies and 6 healthcare personnel (HCP). In total, 12 cases occurred slowly over a 1-year period (mean, 30.7 days apart) followed by 3 additional cases 7 months later. Multiple progressive infection prevention interventions were implemented, including contact precautions and cohorting of MRSA-positive babies, hand hygiene observers, enhanced environmental cleaning, screening of babies and staff, and decolonization of carriers. Only decolonization of HCP found to be persistent carriers of MRSA was successful in stopping transmission and ending the outbreak. Genomic analyses identified bidirectional transmission between babies and HCP during the outbreak.
In comparison to fast outbreaks, outbreaks that are “slow and sustained” may be more common to units with strong existing infection prevention practices such that a series of breaches have to align to result in a case. We identified a slow outbreak that persisted among staff and babies and was only stopped by identifying and decolonizing persistent MRSA carriage among staff. A repeated decolonization regimen was successful in allowing previously persistent carriers to safely continue work duties.
Virtual reality has emerged as a unique educational modality for medical trainees. However, incorporation of virtual reality curricula into formal training programmes has been limited. We describe a multi-centre effort to develop, implement, and evaluate the efficacy of a virtual reality curriculum for residents participating in paediatric cardiology rotations.
A virtual reality software program (“The Stanford Virtual Heart”) was utilised. Users are placed “inside the heart” and explore non-traditional views of cardiac anatomy. Modules for six common congenital heart lesions were developed, including narrative scripts. A prospective case–control study was performed involving three large paediatric residency programmes. From July 2018 to June 2019, trainees participating in an outpatient cardiology rotation completed a 27-question, validated assessment tool. From July 2019 to February 2020, trainees completed the virtual reality curriculum and assessment tool during their cardiology rotation. Qualitative feedback on the virtual reality experience was also gathered. Intervention and control group performances were compared using univariate analyses.
There were 80 trainees in the control group and 52 in the intervention group. Trainees in the intervention group achieved higher scores on the assessment (20.4 ± 2.9 versus 18.8 ± 3.8 out of 27 questions answered correctly, p = 0.01). Further analysis showed significant improvement in the intervention group for questions specifically testing visuospatial concepts. In total, 100% of users recommended integration of the programme into the residency curriculum.
Virtual reality is an effective and well-received adjunct to clinical curricula for residents participating in paediatric cardiology rotations. Our results support continued virtual reality use and expansion to include other trainees.
With type 2 diabetes presenting at younger ages, there is a growing need to identify biomarkers of future glucose intolerance. A high (20%) prevalence of glucose intolerance at 18 years was seen in women from the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study (PMNS) birth cohort. We investigated the potential of circulating microRNAs in risk stratification for future pre-diabetes in these women. Here, we provide preliminary longitudinal analyses of circulating microRNAs in normal glucose tolerant (NGT@18y, N = 10) and glucose intolerant (N = 8) women (ADA criteria) at 6, 12 and 17 years of their age using discovery analysis (OpenArray™ platform). Machine-learning workflows involving Lasso with bootstrapping/leave-one-out cross-validation identified microRNAs associated with glucose intolerance at 18 years of age. Several microRNAs, including miR-212-3p, miR-30e-3p and miR-638, stratified glucose-intolerant women from NGT at childhood. Our results suggest that circulating microRNAs, longitudinally assessed over 17 years of life, are dynamic biomarkers associated with and predictive of pre-diabetes at 18 years of age. Validation of these findings in males and remaining participants from the PMNS birth cohort will provide a unique opportunity to study novel epigenetic mechanisms in the life-course progression of glucose intolerance and enhance current clinical risk prediction of pre-diabetes and progression to type 2 diabetes.
Understanding how cardiovascular structure and physiology guide management is critically important in paediatric cardiology. However, few validated educational tools are available to assess trainee knowledge. To address this deficit, paediatric cardiologists and fellows from four institutions collaborated to develop a multimedia assessment tool for use with medical students and paediatric residents. This tool was developed in support of a novel 3-dimensional virtual reality curriculum created by our group.
Educational domains were identified, and questions were iteratively developed by a group of clinicians from multiple centres to assess understanding of key concepts. To evaluate content validity, content experts completed the assessment and reviewed items, rating item relevance to educational domains using a 4-point Likert scale. An item-level content validity index was calculated for each question, and a scale-level content validity index was calculated for the assessment tool, with scores of ≥0.78 and ≥0.90, respectively, representing excellent content validity.
The mean content expert assessment score was 92% (range 88–97%). Two questions yielded ≤50% correct content expert answers. The item-level content validity index for 29 out of 32 questions was ≥0.78, and the scale-level content validity index was 0.92. Qualitative feedback included suggestions for future improvement. Questions with ≤50% content expert agreement and item-level content validity index scores <0.78 were removed, yielding a 27-question assessment tool.
We describe a multi-centre effort to create and validate a multimedia assessment tool which may be implemented within paediatric trainee cardiology curricula. Future efforts may focus on content refinement and expansion to include additional educational domains.
There is limited understanding of treatment pathways for paediatric sleep-disordered breathing. This study explored current UK pathways and what is important to well-being for parents and children.
The study comprised in-depth qualitative interviews (n = 22) with parents of children (2–9 years) with symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing referred to a regional ENT clinic (n = 11), general practitioners who might refer these children to ENT (n = 5) and hospital doctors involved in treating these children (n = 6). Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, anonymised and analysed thematically.
General practitioners rarely identify seeing children with sleep-disordered breathing; conversely hospital doctors identify unsuspected issues. Parents are worried their child will stop breathing, but routes to referral and diagnosis are not straightforward. Modern technology can aid investigation and diagnosis. Patient weight is an issue for general practitioners and hospital doctors. Adenotonsillectomy is the treatment of choice, and information on paediatric sleep-disordered breathing is needed.
Guidelines for the management of paediatric sleep-disordered breathing are needed.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization stressed the importance of daily clinical assessments of infected patients, yet current approaches frequently consider cross-sectional timepoints, cumulative summary measures, or time-to-event analyses. Statistical methods are available that make use of the rich information content of longitudinal assessments. We demonstrate the use of a multistate transition model to assess the dynamic nature of COVID-19-associated critical illness using daily evaluations of COVID-19 patients from 9 academic hospitals. We describe the accessibility and utility of methods that consider the clinical trajectory of critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition characterized by emotion dysregulation, interpersonal impairment, and high suicidality. Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is the most widely studied psychotherapeutic treatment for BPD. To date, the vast majority of DBT research has focused on cisgender women, with a notable lack of systematic investigation of sex and/or gender differences in treatment response. In order to encourage effective, equitable treatment of BPD, further investigation into treatment targets in this population is critical. Here, we employed a systematic strategy to delineate gaps in the DBT literature pertaining to sex and gender differences and propose directions for future research. Findings demonstrate a significant discrepancy in measurement of sex and gender, particularly among gender-diverse individuals. Exploring DBT treatment response across the full spectrum of genders will facilitate the provision of more tailored, impactful care to all individuals who suffer from BPD.
Key learning aims
(1) To date, DBT treatment literature has focused almost exclusively on cisgender women, with only two of 253 DBT studies in current literature accounting for transgender and gender diverse (TGD) individuals.
(2) Recognize how gender minority stress may impact the prevalence of BPD among TGD individuals.
(3) Learn how future research initiatives can be employed to rectify this gap in the DBT literature.
Therapeutic connections enhance patient experience and outcomes after neurological injury or illness. While we have some understanding of the components necessary to optimise therapeutic connections, these have developed from western-centric ideals. This study sought to explore the perspectives of Māori brain injury survivors, and their whānau (wider family and community), to develop more culturally informed understandings of what matters most for Māori in the development and experience of therapeutic connection.
Design and Methods:
A bicultural approach underpinned by principles of Kaupapa Māori Research was used. Whānau views and experiences were gathered through wānanga (focus groups). These perspectives were analysed drawing on Māori methods of noho puku (self-reflection), whanaungatanga (relational linkage) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship).
Three wānanga were held with 16 people – 5 brain injury survivors and 11 whānau members. The phrase ‘therapeutic connection’ did not resonate; instead, people spoke of meaningful connections. For rehabilitation encounters to be meaningful, three layers of connection were acknowledged. The elemental layer features wairua (spirit) and hononga (connection) which both underpinned and surrounded interactions. The relational layer reflects the importance of whānau identity and collectivism, of being valued, known, and interactively spoken with. Finally, the experiential layer consists of relational aspects important within the experience: relationships of reciprocity that are mana-enhancing and grounded in trust. These layers are interwoven, and together serve as a framework for meaningful connections.
Meaningful connections in neurorehabilitation are underpinned by wairua and hononga; are multi-layered; are enabled through interactions with people, practice, process and place; are inclusive of whānau and resonate with Māori worldviews. The primacy of wairua and whānau within an interconnected view of health, challenges individualistic notions inherent in western health models and deepens existing understandings of meaningful connections in neurorehabilitation which can guide future rehabilitation research, teaching and practice.
Two introduced carnivores, the European red fox Vulpes vulpes and domestic cat Felis catus, have had extensive impacts on Australian biodiversity. In this study, we collate information on consumption of Australian birds by the fox, paralleling a recent study reporting on birds consumed by cats. We found records of consumption by foxes on 128 native bird species (18% of the non-vagrant bird fauna and 25% of those species within the fox’s range), a smaller tally than for cats (343 species, including 297 within the fox’s Australian range, a subset of that of the cat). Most (81%) bird species eaten by foxes are also eaten by cats, suggesting that predation impacts are compounded. As with consumption by cats, birds that nest or forage on the ground are most likely to be consumed by foxes. However, there is also some partitioning, with records of consumption by foxes but not cats for 25 bird species, indicating that impacts of the two predators may also be complementary. Bird species ≥3.4 kg were more likely to be eaten by foxes, and those <3.4 kg by cats. Our compilation provides an inventory and describes characteristics of Australian bird species known to be consumed by foxes, but we acknowledge that records of predation do not imply population-level impacts. Nonetheless, there is sufficient information from other studies to demonstrate that fox predation has significant impacts on the population viability of some Australian birds, especially larger birds, and those that nest or forage on the ground.
We examined whether preadmission history of depression is associated with less delirium/coma-free (DCF) days, worse 1-year depression severity and cognitive impairment.
Design and measurements:
A health proxy reported history of depression. Separate models examined the effect of preadmission history of depression on: (a) intensive care unit (ICU) course, measured as DCF days; (b) depression symptom severity at 3 and 12 months, measured by the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II); and (c) cognitive performance at 3 and 12 months, measured by the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) global score.
Setting and participants:
Patients admitted to the medical/surgical ICU services were eligible.
Of 821 subjects eligible at enrollment, 261 (33%) had preadmission history of depression. After adjusting for covariates, preadmission history of depression was not associated with less DCF days (OR 0.78, 95% CI, 0.59–1.03 p = 0.077). A prior history of depression was associated with higher BDI-II scores at 3 and 12 months (3 months OR 2.15, 95% CI, 1.42–3.24 p = <0.001; 12 months OR 1.89, 95% CI, 1.24–2.87 p = 0.003). We did not observe an association between preadmission history of depression and cognitive performance at either 3 or 12 months (3 months beta coefficient −0.04, 95% CI, −2.70–2.62 p = 0.97; 12 months 1.5, 95% CI, −1.26–4.26 p = 0.28).
Patients with a depression history prior to ICU stay exhibit a greater severity of depressive symptoms in the year after hospitalization.
Background: Newborns with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) are at high risk for seizures, the majority of which have no clinical signs and therefore require continuous electroencephalographic (cEEG) monitoring for their detection. We sought to determine which neonates are at highest risk for seizures in order to optimize allocation of scarce cEEG resources. Methods: We identified term neonates diagnosed with HIE who underwent at least 24 hours of protocol-based cEEG monitoring between 2016 and 2019. We quantified seizure incidence, timing and burden, and correlated these with potential risk factors such as HIE severity, use of therapeutic hypothermia, preceding suspected clinical seizures, amplitude-integrated EEG (aEEG) background and patterns suspicious for seizures, and use of anti-seizure drugs. Results: cEEG monitoring was completed in 218 neonates with HIE, of whom 164 (75%) underwent therapeutic hypothermia. Preceding clinical/aEEG seizures occurred in 147 (67%), 99 (67%) of whom had been cooled but only 22 (10%) had cEEG-confirmed seizures. Characterization of seizure burden and correlation with potential risk factors is ongoing. Conclusions: Although seizures are commonly suspected in neonates with HIE, they are infrequently confirmed during cEEG monitoring, creating opportunities for more efficient risk-based allocation of cEEG resources.
To test the hypothesis that higher level of purpose in life is associated with lower likelihood of dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in older Brazilians.
As part of the Pathology, Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Study (PARDoS), informants of 1,514 older deceased Brazilians underwent a uniform structured interview. The informant interview included demographic data, the Clinical Dementia Rating scale to diagnose dementia and MCI, the National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule for depression, and a 6-item measure of purpose in life, a component of well-being.
Purpose scores ranged from 1.5 to 5.0 with higher values indicating higher levels of purpose. On the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, 940 persons (62.1%) had no cognitive impairment, 121 (8.0%) had MCI, and 453 (29.9%) had dementia. In logistic regression models adjusted for age at death, sex, education, and race, higher purpose was associated with lower likelihood of MCI (odds ratio = .58; 95% confidence interval [CI]: .43, .79) and dementia (odds ratio = .49, 95% CI: .41, .59). Results were comparable after adjusting for depression (identified in 161 [10.6%]). Neither race nor education modified the association of purpose with cognitive diagnoses.
Higher purpose in life is associated with lower likelihood of MCI and dementia in older black and white Brazilians.
We consider patterns formed in a two-dimensional thin film on a planar substrate with a Derjaguin disjoining pressure and periodic wettability stripes. We rigorously clarify some of the results obtained numerically by Honisch et al. [Langmuir 31: 10618–10631, 2015] and embed them in the general theory of thin-film equations. For the case of constant wettability, we elucidate the change in the global structure of branches of steady-state solutions as the average film thickness and the surface tension are varied. Specifically we find, by using methods of local bifurcation theory and the continuation software package AUTO, both nucleation and metastable regimes. We discuss admissible forms of spatially non-homogeneous disjoining pressure, arguing for a form that differs from the one used by Honisch et al., and study the dependence of the steady-state solutions on the wettability contrast in that case.
The delivery of medical education has changed alongside the effects of COVID-19. As a result, the undergraduate psychiatry training for medical students at Guy’s King’s and St Thomas’ School of Medicine had to adapt rapidly. This poster portrays the journey in which the teaching sessions were developed and delivered throughout the first academic term of 2020-2021.
To deliver an interactive online teaching day that can provide students with the knowledge and understanding of common psychiatric disorders in the interface of other medical conditions.
A clinical skills teaching day was developed to deliver the sessions via the online video calling platform Zoom. Published articles regarding online medical education as well as guidelines from the Royal College of Psychiatry were used as a resource to develop the structure. Feedback of the teaching day was collected via an anonymous survey.
78 responses were collected in total from 4 teaching days. Overall satisfaction was high with a score of 86.5/100 in overall satisfaction. Themes for positive feedback included utilising actors in simulation (38% 30/78) and high interactivity within the teaching (31% 24/78). There were a number of students who found the whole day session online tiring (13% 10/78) and others felt the variation of scenarios were too limited (12% 9/78).
As lockdown has forced students to have less patient contact, they have suffered from the lack of learning opportunities. This teaching day showed the importance of organising high fidelity scenarios in order to try and fill the void that has been created due to COVID-19.
Assessing risk is an important core skill yet there is not a consensus as to how to teach it. Clinically, there has been a move away from using risk prediction tools in favour of clinical judgement.We describe an iterative process to develop high quality, online teaching around risk assessment for medical undergraduates.
To teach the clinical skill of risk assessment to enable medical students to evaluate and manage risk when encountering patients with mental health issues.
A half day tutorial was designed and refined in an iterative process using feedback from participants on this session and other concurrent teaching occurring in the department. Sessions were also reviewed by external medical educators to ensure quality and learning objectives were met.
The average rating from 62 students was 4.4/5. Students commented that the session was well organised and delivered. Following feedback, the use of actors was prioritised to simulate evolving clinical situations. Students placed a high value on this: “simulated patients were amazing! They were really interesting and I was able to practice the skills I learnt over placement”. Logistical changes e.g. more breaks, followed appreciation of the exhausting nature of the session and maintained student engagement. There was increased emphasis on promoting group interaction through functions like a ‘break-out room’.
This session may give educators confidence that they can take risks when teaching the skill of risk assessment. Students were receptive and meaningfully engaged with concepts such as clinical judgement and bio-psycho-social formulations as opposed to ‘tick box’ assessments.
Microscopic examination of blood smears remains the gold standard for laboratory inspection and diagnosis of malaria. Smear inspection is, however, time-consuming and dependent on trained microscopists with results varying in accuracy. We sought to develop an automated image analysis method to improve accuracy and standardization of smear inspection that retains capacity for expert confirmation and image archiving. Here, we present a machine learning method that achieves red blood cell (RBC) detection, differentiation between infected/uninfected cells, and parasite life stage categorization from unprocessed, heterogeneous smear images. Based on a pretrained Faster Region-Based Convolutional Neural Networks (R-CNN) model for RBC detection, our model performs accurately, with an average precision of 0.99 at an intersection-over-union threshold of 0.5. Application of a residual neural network-50 model to infected cells also performs accurately, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.98. Finally, combining our method with a regression model successfully recapitulates intraerythrocytic developmental cycle with accurate lifecycle stage categorization. Combined with a mobile-friendly web-based interface, called PlasmoCount, our method permits rapid navigation through and review of results for quality assurance. By standardizing assessment of Giemsa smears, our method markedly improves inspection reproducibility and presents a realistic route to both routine lab and future field-based automated malaria diagnosis.
Introduced mammalian predators are responsible for the decline and extinction of many native species, with rats (genus Rattus) being among the most widespread and damaging invaders worldwide. In a naturally fragmented landscape, we demonstrate the multi-year effectiveness of snap traps in the removal of Rattus rattus and Rattus exulans from lava-surrounded forest fragments ranging in size from <0.1 to >10 ha. Relative to other studies, we observed low levels of fragment recolonization. Larger rats were the first to be trapped, with the average size of trapped rats decreasing over time. Rat removal led to distinct shifts in the foraging height and location of mongooses and mice, emphasizing the need to focus control efforts on multiple invasive species at once. Furthermore, because of a specially designed trap casing, we observed low non-target capture rates, suggesting that on Hawai‘i and similar islands lacking native rodents the risk of killing non-target species in snap traps may be lower than the application of rodenticides, which have the potential to contaminate food webs. These efforts demonstrate that targeted snap-trapping is an effective removal method for invasive rats in fragmented habitats and that, where used, monitoring of recolonization should be included as part of a comprehensive biodiversity management strategy.
As part of the Pathology, Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Study, we conducted uniform structured interviews with knowledgeable informants (72% children) of 1,493 older (age > 65) Brazilian decedents.
The interview included measures of social isolation (number of family and friends in at least monthly contact with decedent), emotional isolation (short form of UCLA Loneliness Scale), and major depression plus the informant portion of the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale to diagnose dementia and its precursor, mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Decedents had a median social network size of 8.0 (interquartile range = 9.0) and a median loneliness score of 0.0 (interquartile range = 1.0). On the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, 947 persons had no cognitive impairment, 122 had MCI, and 424 had dementia. In a logistic regression model adjusted for age, education, sex, and race, both smaller network size (odds ratio [OR] = 0.975; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.962, 0.989) and higher loneliness (OR = 1.145; 95% CI: 1.060, 1.237) were associated with higher likelihood of dementia. These associations persisted after controlling for depression (present in 10.4%) and did not vary by race. After controlling for depression, neither network size nor loneliness was related to MCI.
Social and emotional isolation are associated with higher likelihood of dementia in older black and white Brazilians.
This paper presents a feasibility study of in situ field measurements of unsaturated meltwater percolation flux within the vertical profile of a snowpack, using the self-potential (SP) method. On-site snowmelt column tests calibrated the SP measurements. The SP data measured electrical field strength with an electrode spacing of 20 cm, and coincident water saturation (Sw) measurements using time domain reflectometry allowed calculation of SP-modeled vertical percolation flux (qsp), expressed as Darcy velocity. The results reflected transient diurnal snowmelt dynamics, with peak flux lagging arrival of a saturation wetting front. Peak daily qsp was 60 to >300 mm d−1, whereas daily snowmelt was 20–50 mm w.e. Surface refreezing events appeared to cause upward flow, possibly representing water redistribution toward the freezing boundary. Calculated fluxes were comparable to actual fluxes, although average errors ranged from −15 to +46% compared to average of melt expected from surface energy-balance and ablation stake measurements. By advancing method development to measure unsaturated meltwater percolation flux in snowpacks this study creates opportunities to study fundamental snowmelt processes, may improve mathematical modeling and may supplement glacier mass-balance studies and studies of snowmelt interactions with avalanches, groundwater and surface water.