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The extent of social isolation experienced by people living with dementia who reside in the community has been well acknowledged, yet little is known about how people living alone with dementia maintain neighbourhood-based connections. The purpose of this study is to examine the experiences of people with dementia who live alone, focusing upon how they establish social networks and relationships in a neighbourhood context, and how they are supported to maintain this social context within everyday life. Multiple data collection methods were used including, semi-structured interviews, walking interviews, guided home tours and social network mapping, which were conducted with 14 community-dwelling people living alone with dementia (11 women and three men) situated across the three international study sites in England, Scotland and Sweden. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. The analysis revealed four main themes: (a) making the effort to stay connected; (b) befriending by organisations and facilitated friendships; (c) the quiet neighbourhood atmosphere; and (d) changing social connections. The analysis suggests that people with dementia who live alone were active agents who took control to find and maintain relationships and social networks in the neighbourhood. Our findings indicate the need to raise awareness about this specific group in both policy and practice, and to find creative ways to help people connect through everyday activities and by spontaneous encounters in the neighbourhood.
Determining infectious cross-transmission events in healthcare settings involves manual surveillance of case clusters by infection control personnel, followed by strain typing of clinical/environmental isolates suspected in said clusters. Recent advances in genomic sequencing and cloud computing now allow for the rapid molecular typing of infecting isolates.
To facilitate rapid recognition of transmission clusters, we aimed to assess infection control surveillance using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of microbial pathogens to identify cross-transmission events for epidemiologic review.
Clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae were obtained prospectively at an academic medical center, from September 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017. Isolate genomes were sequenced, followed by single-nucleotide variant analysis; a cloud-computing platform was used for whole-genome sequence analysis and cluster identification.
Most strains of the 4 studied pathogens were unrelated, and 34 potential transmission clusters were present. The characteristics of the potential clusters were complex and likely not identifiable by traditional surveillance alone. Notably, only 1 cluster had been suspected by routine manual surveillance.
Our work supports the assertion that integration of genomic and clinical epidemiologic data can augment infection control surveillance for both the identification of cross-transmission events and the inclusion of missed and exclusion of misidentified outbreaks (ie, false alarms). The integration of clinical data is essential to prioritize suspect clusters for investigation, and for existing infections, a timely review of both the clinical and WGS results can hold promise to reduce HAIs. A richer understanding of cross-transmission events within healthcare settings will require the expansion of current surveillance approaches.
We consider a family of nonlinear rational recurrences of odd order which was introduced by Heideman and Hogan, and recently rediscovered in the theory of Laurent phenomenon algebras (a generalization of cluster algebras). All of these recurrences have the Laurent property, implying that for a particular choice of initial data (all initial values set to 1) they generate an integer sequence. For these particular sequences, Heideman and Hogan gave a direct proof of integrality by showing that the terms of the sequence also satisfy a linear recurrence relation with constant coefficients. Here we present an analogous result for the general solution of each of these recurrences.
Good education requires student experiences that deliver lessons about practice as well as theory and that encourage students to work for the public good—especially in the operation of democratic institutions (Dewey 1923; Dewy 1938). We report on an evaluation of the pedagogical value of a research project involving 23 colleges and universities across the country. Faculty trained and supervised students who observed polling places in the 2016 General Election. Our findings indicate that this was a valuable learning experience in both the short and long terms. Students found their experiences to be valuable and reported learning generally and specifically related to course material. Postelection, they also felt more knowledgeable about election science topics, voting behavior, and research methods. Students reported interest in participating in similar research in the future, would recommend other students to do so, and expressed interest in more learning and research about the topics central to their experience. Our results suggest that participants appreciated the importance of elections and their study. Collectively, the participating students are engaged and efficacious—essential qualities of citizens in a democracy.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants that offers unique opportunities to investigate multiple diseases and risk factors.
An online mental health questionnaire completed by UK Biobank participants was expected to expand the potential for research into mental disorders.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting with a patient group regarding acceptability. Case definitions were defined using operational criteria for lifetime depression, mania, anxiety disorder, psychotic-like experiences and self-harm, as well as current post-traumatic stress and alcohol use disorders.
157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status than the general population across a range of indicators. Thirty-five per cent (55 750) of participants had at least one defined syndrome, of which lifetime depression was the most common at 24% (37 434). There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed owing to selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Declaration of interest
G.B. received grants from the National Institute for Health Research during the study; and support from Illumina Ltd. and the European Commission outside the submitted work. B.C. received grants from the Scottish Executive Chief Scientist Office and from The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation during the study. C.S. received grants from the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust during the study, and is the Chief Scientist for UK Biobank. M.H. received grants from the Innovative Medicines Initiative via the RADAR-CNS programme and personal fees as an expert witness outside the submitted work.
A major challenge in addressing the loss of benefits and services provided by the natural environment is that it can be difficult to find ways for those who benefit from them to pay for their preservation. We examine one such context in Malawi, where erosion from soils disturbed by agriculture affects not only farmers’ incomes, but also damages aquatic habitat and inhibits the storage and hydropower potential of dams downstream. We demonstrate that payments from hydropower producers to farmers to maintain land cover and prevent erosion can have benefits for all parties involved.
On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas. The ensuing unprecedented flooding throughout the Texas coastal region affected millions of individuals.1 The statewide response in Texas included the sheltering of thousands of individuals at considerable distances from their homes. The Dallas area established large-scale general population sheltering as the number of evacuees to the area began to amass. Historically, the Dallas area is one familiar with “mega-sheltering,” beginning with the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.2 Through continued efforts and development, the Dallas area had been readying a plan for the largest general population shelter in Texas. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:33–37)
Patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) with vaso-occlusive crises (VOC) often visit the emergency department (ED) for management of painful episodes. The primary objective of this pilot study was to evaluate the acceptability of a short-stay model for treatment of VOC in SCD outside of the ED in Toronto, Canada. Secondary objectives were to assess patient satisfaction of this model, barriers to its use and comparison of clinical outcomes to a historical control.
Adult SCD patients with symptoms of an uncomplicated VOC between October 2014 to July 2016 were managed according to best practice recommendations in a short-stay unit as an alternative to the local emergency room. Primary outcome of time to first analgesia, and secondary outcome of discharge rate were compared to a historical control at a local ED from 2009-2012. Satisfaction and barriers to use of the ambulatory care delivery model were assessed by patient survey.
Twenty-one visits were recorded at the short-stay unit during the study period. Average time to first opiate dose was 23.5 minutes in the short-stay unit compared to 100.3 minutes in the ED (p<0.001). Discharge rate from the short-stay unit was 84.2%. Average patient satisfaction with this model of care was high (>4/5 on Likert scale) except for geographic accessibility (85% response rate, n=18).
This study demonstrated high patient satisfaction and acceptability of a short-stay model for treatment of uncomplicated VOC in adult SCD patients in Toronto, the first of its kind in Canada.
In this paper, we report progress on “Neighborhoods: our people, our places” an international study about how people living with dementia interact with their neighborhoods. The ideas of social health and citizenship are drawn upon to contextualize the data and make a case for recognizing and understanding the strengths and agency of people with dementia. In particular, we address the lived experience of the environment as a route to better understanding the capabilities, capacities, and competencies of people living with dementia. In doing this, our aim is to demonstrate the contribution of social engagement and environmental support to social health.
The study aims to “map” local spaces and networks across three field sites (Manchester, Central Scotland and Linkoping, Sweden). It employs a mix of qualitative and participatory approaches that include mobile and visual methods intended to create knowledge that will inform the design and piloting of a neighborhood-based intervention.
Our research shows that the neighborhood plays an active role in the lives of people with dementia, setting limits, and constraints but also offering significant opportunities, encompassing forms of help and support as yet rarely discussed in the field of dementia studies. The paper presents new and distinctive insights into the relationship between neighborhoods and everyday life for people with dementia that have important implications for the debate on social health and policy concerning dementia friendly communities.
We end by reflecting on the messages for policy and practice that are beginning to emerge from this on-going study.
Rapid technological innovation is leading to new health technologies and interventions becoming available to healthcare markets at increasing speed; these often cost more than current alternatives and significantly affect the cost of healthcare services and delivery (1). Identifying future technologies supports service preparedness, long-term planning, and strategic decision making. The aim of this study was to describe and classify health technologies predicted in fifteen forecasting studies according to their type, purpose and clinical use, and relate these to the original purpose and timing of the forecasting studies.
This was a descriptive study of predicted healthcare technologies identified in fifteen forecasting studies included in a previously published systematic review (2). Outcomes related to (i) each forecast study including country, year, intent and forecasting methods used, and (ii) the predicted technology type, purpose, targeted clinical area and forecast timeframe.
We identified 896 predicted health-related topics, of which 685 were health technologies. Of these, 19.1 percent were diagnostic or imaging tests and 14.3 percent devices or biomaterials; 38.1 percent were intended to treat or manage disease and 21.6 percent to diagnose or monitor disease. The most frequent targeted clinical areas were infectious diseases followed by cancer, circulatory and nervous system disorders. The mean timeframe for technology forecast was 11.6 years (Standard Deviation, SD = 6.6). The forecasting timeframe significantly differed by technology type (p = .002), the intent of the forecasting group (p < .0001), and the methods used (p < .0001).
Our description and classification of predicted health-related technologies from prior forecasting studies provides an overview of the technological and clinical frontiers of innovation in health and healthcare provision.
Gene flow between Dalmatian toadflax (DT) and yellow toadflax (YT), both aggressive invaders throughout the Intermountain West, is creating hybrid populations potentially more invasive than either parent species. To determine the direction of gene flow in these hybrid populations, species-diagnostic cytoplasmic markers were developed. Markers were based on polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) polymorphisms in the trnT-D chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) region digested with Alu1, and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the matK and trnL-F chloroplast-barcoding regions. Four hybrid toadflax populations sampled from Colorado, Montana, and Washington contained both DT and YT cytoplasm, with YT predominating; 25 individuals from a fifth hybrid population from Idaho all had identical YT cpDNA haplotypes. Thirteen plants from two Colorado populations, assumed to be DT based on morphology and geographic isolation from any known YT population, were found to have YT cpDNA haplotypes. These results indicate that gene flow between invasive YT and DT populations is more widespread that previously realized and confirms that cryptic introgression of YT alleles has occurred in multiple western U.S. DT populations. The presence of YT genetic material in presumed DT populations may negatively affect host recognition and establishment by biocontrol agents used for toadflax management.
Severe mental illness is characterised by a 20-year mortality gap due to cardiometabolic disease. Poor diet in those with severe mental illness is an important and modifiable risk factor. The present study aimed to (i) examine baseline nutritional intake in youth with first-episode psychosis (FEP), (ii) evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of nutritional intervention early in FEP and (iii) to evaluate the effectiveness of early dietary intervention on key nutritional end points. Participants were recruited over a 12-month period from a community-based programme specifically targeting young people aged 15–25 years with newly diagnosed FEP. Individual dietetic consultations and practical group sessions were offered as part of a broader lifestyle programme. Dietary assessments were conducted before and at the end of the 12-week intervention. Participants exceeded recommended energy and Na intakes at baseline. Retention within the nutrition intervention was 67 %, consistent with other interventions offered to FEP clients. There was a 47 % reduction in discretionary food intake (−94 g/d, P<0·001) and reductions in daily energy (−24 %, P<0·001) and Na (−26 %, P<0·001) intakes. Diet quality significantly improved, and the mean change was 3·6 (95 % CI 0·2, 6·9, P<0·05), although this finding was not significant after Bonferroni’s correction. Increased vegetable intake was the main factor contributing to improved diet quality. Nutrition intervention delivered shortly after initiation of antipsychotic medication is feasible, acceptable and effective in youth with FEP. Strategies to prevent weight gain and metabolic decline will contribute to prevent premature cardiometabolic disease in this vulnerable population.