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Introduction: The ways in which Emergency Medicine (EM) physicians interact with the medical literature has been transformed with the rise of Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM). Although nearly all residents use FOAM resources, some criticize the lack of universal quality assurance. This problem is a particular risk for trainees who have many time constraints and incompletely developed critical appraisal skills. One potential safeguard is journal club, which is used by virtually all EM residency programs in North America to review new literature. However, EM resident perspectives have not been studied. Our research objective was to describe how residents perceive journal club to influence how they translate the medical literature into their clinical practice. Our research question was whether FOAM has influenced residents’ goals and perceived value of journal club. Methods: We developed a semi-structured interview script in conjunction with a methods expert and refined it via pilot testing. Following constructivist grounded theory, and using both purposive and theoretical sampling, we conducted a focus group (n = 7) and 18 individual interviews with EM residents at the 4 training sites of the University of British Columbia. In total, we analyzed 920 minutes of recorded audio. Two authors independently coded each transcript, with discrepancies reconciled by discussion and consensus. Constant comparative analysis was performed. We conducted return of findings through public presentations. Results: We found evidence that journal club works as a community of practice with a progression of roles from junior to senior residents. Participants described journal club as a safe venue to compare practice patterns and to gain insight into the practical wisdom of their peers and mentors. The social and academic activities present at journal club interacted positively to foster this environment. In asking residents about ways that journal club accelerates knowledge translation, we actually found that residents cite journal club as a quality check to prevent premature adoption of new research findings. Residents are hesitant to adopt new literature into their practice without positive validation, which can occur during journal club. Conclusion: Journal club functions as a community of practice that is valued by residents. Journal club is a primary way that new evidence can be validated before being put into practice, and may act as quality assurance in the era of FOAM.
Children are surrounded by ubiquitous forms of unhealthy food marketing at home and in schools. The US Department of Agriculture now restricts food and beverage marketing that does not meet Smart Snacks in School standards. School superintendents, as districts’ top administrators, play a critical role in ensuring marketing policies are implemented and adhered to; however, there is limited research involving this stakeholder group. The current study examined superintendents’ perspectives on food marketing in schools and the marketing provision in wellness policies, as well as experiences with the implementation of such policies.
Qualitative focus groups and follow-up interviews (with focus group participants) were conducted by trained researchers.
Focus groups occurred at The School Superintendents’ annual meeting; follow-up interviews were over the telephone.
Superintendents and assistant superintendents (n 39) from twenty-three states participated. Interviews were recorded and professionally transcribed; transcripts were team-coded in Atlas.ti using an iteratively revised coding guide to facilitate theme generation.
Despite common concerns that marketing to children was ‘insidious’, superintendents reported a wide range of food and beverage marketing policies. In addition, the main issue is fundraising – such as ‘restaurant nights’ – that results in marketing that occurs on- and off-campus and afterschool.
Discrepancies between perspectives and practices point to the challenges that superintendents face with budgetary constraints, as well as relationships with parent–teacher organisations. These findings provide important insights about superintendents’ perspectives and challenges, particularly for government and child health advocates supporting school districts, to implement these policies.
Many institutions are attempting to implement patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures. Because PROs often change clinical workflows significantly for patients and providers, implementation choices can have major impact. While various implementation guides exist, a stepwise list of decision points covering the full implementation process and drawing explicitly on a sociotechnical conceptual framework does not exist.
To facilitate real-world implementation of PROs in electronic health records (EHRs) for use in clinical practice, members of the EHR Access to Seamless Integration of Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Consortium developed structured PRO implementation planning tools. Each institution pilot tested the tools. Joint meetings led to the identification of critical sociotechnical success factors.
Three tools were developed and tested: (1) a PRO Planning Guide summarizes the empirical knowledge and guidance about PRO implementation in routine clinical care; (2) a Decision Log allows decision tracking; and (3) an Implementation Plan Template simplifies creation of a sharable implementation plan. Seven lessons learned during implementation underscore the iterative nature of planning and the importance of the clinician champion, as well as the need to understand aims, manage implementation barriers, minimize disruption, provide ample discussion time, and continuously engage key stakeholders.
Highly structured planning tools, informed by a sociotechnical perspective, enabled the construction of clear, clinic-specific plans. By developing and testing three reusable tools (freely available for immediate use), our project addressed the need for consolidated guidance and created new materials for PRO implementation planning. We identified seven important lessons that, while common to technology implementation, are especially critical in PRO implementation.
Shared patient–clinician decision-making is central to choosing between medical treatments. Decision support tools can have an important role to play in these decisions. We developed a decision support tool for deciding between nonsurgical treatment and surgical total knee replacement for patients with severe knee osteoarthritis. The tool aims to provide likely outcomes of alternative treatments based on predictive models using patient-specific characteristics. To make those models relevant to patients with knee osteoarthritis and their clinicians, we involved patients, family members, patient advocates, clinicians, and researchers as stakeholders in creating the models.
Stakeholders were recruited through local arthritis research, advocacy, and clinical organizations. After being provided with brief methodological education sessions, stakeholder views were solicited through quarterly patient or clinician stakeholder panel meetings and incorporated into all aspects of the project.
Participating in each aspect of the research from determining the outcomes of interest to providing input on the design of the user interface displaying outcome predications, 86% (12/14) of stakeholders remained engaged throughout the project. Stakeholder engagement ensured that the prediction models that form the basis of the Knee Osteoarthritis Mathematical Equipoise Tool and its user interface were relevant for patient–clinician shared decision-making.
Methodological research has the opportunity to benefit from stakeholder engagement by ensuring that the perspectives of those most impacted by the results are involved in study design and conduct. While additional planning and investments in maintaining stakeholder knowledge and trust may be needed, they are offset by the valuable insights gained.
Works to the south side of the Gothic cloister at Norwich Cathedral in 1900 produced a series of finely sculpted double-capitals, which have long been identified as deriving from the Romanesque predecessor that was progressively demolished and replaced in 1297–1430. Additional discoveries in 1900 included twelfth-century voussoirs and jamb stones, which probably came from one of the larger doorways – perhaps to the chapter house – that opened off the cloister. These fragments have attracted considerable interest since 1900, almost entirely focused on art historical analysis of the subjects, style and date of the historiated double-capitals. Discovery of further fragments from the Romanesque cloister during works to the easternmost bay of the south walk (Bay 15) in 2018, however, allows us to understand more of its architecture. Although lacking the impressiveness of the earlier finds, these newly revealed sculpted stones include voussoirs and a shaft from the cloister arcades, and allow reconstruction of the overall form of the twelfth-century cloister. Moreover, the discovery of the use of calc-sinter – a faux marble sourced from the Eifel aqueduct – for the shafts of the arcades reveals that the Romanesque cloister had a hitherto entirely unsuspected lavishness.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Regional to global high-resolution correlation and timing is critical when attempting to answer important geological questions, such as the greenhouse to icehouse transition that occurred during the Eocene–Oligocene boundary transition. Timing of these events on a global scale can only be answered using correlation among many sections, and multiple correlation proxies, including biostratigraphy, lithostratigraphy, geochemistry and geophysical methods. Here we present litho- and biostratigraphy for five successions located in the southeastern USA. To broaden the scope of correlation, we also employ carbon and oxygen stable isotope and magnetic susceptibility (χ) data to interpret these sections regionally, and correlate to the Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) near Massignano in central Italy. Our results indicate that approaching the Eocene–Oligocene boundary, climate warmed slightly, but then δ18O data exhibit an abrupt c. +5 ‰ positive shift towards cooling that reached a maximum c. 1 m below the boundary at St Stephens Quarry, Alabama. This shift was accompanied by a c. −3 ‰ negative shift in δ13C interpreted to indicate environmental changes associated with the onset of the Eocene–Oligocene boundary planktonic foraminiferal extinction event. The observed cold pulse may be responsible for the final extinction of Hantkeninidae, used to define the beginning of the Rupelian Stage. Immediately preceding the boundary, Hantkeninidae species dropped significantly in abundance and size (pre-extinction dwarfing occurring before the final Eocene–Oligocene extinctions), and these changes may be the reason for inconsistencies in past Eocene–Oligocene boundary placement in the southeastern USA.
The Lung Cam expanded stratigraphic succession in Vietnam is correlated herein to the Meishan D section in China, the GSSP for the Permian–Triassic boundary. The first appearance datum of the conodont Hindeodus parvus at Meishan defines the Permian–Triassic boundary, and using published graphic correlation, the Permian–Triassic boundary level has been projected into the Lung Cam section. Using time-series analysis of magnetic susceptibility (χ) data, it is determined that H. parvus arrived at Lung Cam ∼18 kyr before the Permian–Triassic boundary. Data indicate that the Lung Cam section is expanded by ∼90 % relative to the GSSP section at Meishan. Given the expanded Lung Cam section, it is possible to resolve the timing of significant events during the Permian–Triassic transition with high precision. These events include major stepped extinctions, beginning at ∼135 kyr and ending at ∼110 kyr below the Permian–Triassic boundary, with a duration of ∼25 kyr, followed by deposition of Lung Cam ash Bed + 13, which is equivalent to Siberian Traps volcanism is graphically correlated to a precession Time-series model, placing onset of this major volcanic event at ~242 kyr before the PTB. The Meishan Beds 25 and 26, at ∼100 kyr before the Permian–Triassic boundary. In addition, the elemental geochemical, carbon and oxygen isotope stratigraphy, and magnetostratigraphy susceptibility datasets from Lung Cam allow good correlation to other Permian–Triassic boundary succession. These datasets are helpful when the conodont biostratigraphy is poorly known in sections with problems such as lithofacies variability, or is undefined, owing possibly to lithofacies exclusions, anoxia or for other reasons. The Lung Pu Permian–Triassic boundary section, ∼45 km from Lung Cam, is used to test these problems.
To ascertain opinions regarding etiology and preventability of hospital-onset bacteremia and fungemia (HOB) and perspectives on HOB as a potential outcome measure reflecting quality of infection prevention and hospital care.
Hospital epidemiologists and infection preventionist members of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) Research Network.
A web-based, multiple-choice survey was administered via the SHEA Research Network to 133 hospitals.
A total of 89 surveys were completed (67% response rate). Overall, 60% of respondents defined HOB as a positive blood culture on or after hospital day 3. Central line-associated bloodstream infections and intra-abdominal infections were perceived as the most frequent etiologies. Moreover, 61% thought that most HOB events are preventable, and 54% viewed HOB as a measure reflecting a hospital’s quality of care. Also, 29% of respondents’ hospitals already collect HOB data for internal purposes. Given a choice to publicly report central-line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and/or HOB, 57% favored reporting either HOB alone (22%) or in addition to CLABSI (35%) and 34% favored CLABSI alone.
Among the majority of SHEA Research Network respondents, HOB is perceived as preventable, reflective of quality of care, and potentially acceptable as a publicly reported quality metric. Further studies on HOB are needed, including validation as a quality measure, assessment of risk adjustment, and formation of evidence-based bundles and toolkits to facilitate measurement and improvement of HOB rates.
Englerophytum and Synsepalum are two closely related genera of trees and shrubs from the African tropics. Previous molecular studies have shown that these genera collectively form a clade within the subfamily Chrysophylloideae (Sapotaceae). However, little is known about the inter-relationships of the taxa within the Englerophytum–Synsepalum clade. In this study, nuclear ribosomal DNA and plastid trnH–psbA sequences were used to estimate the phylogeny within the clade. Results indicate that the clade consists of six major lineages, two composed solely of taxa from the genus Englerophytum and four composed of taxa from the genus Synsepalum. Each lineage can be distinguished by suites of vegetative and floral characters. Leaf venation patterns, calyx fusion, style length and staminodal structure were among the most useful characters for distinguishing clades. Some of the subclades within the Englerophytum–Synsepalum clade were also found to closely fit descriptions of former genera, most of which were described by Aubréville, that have since been placed in synonymy with Englerophytum and Synsepalum. The clade with the type species of Englerophytum also contains the type species of the genera Wildemaniodoxa and Zeyherella, which are confirmed as synonyms.
The purpose of this review is to consider the effects of the long-chain n-3 fatty acids found in marine foods, EPA and DHA, on risk for CVD, particularly fatal outcomes. It will examine both epidemiological and randomised controlled trial findings. The former studies usually examine associations between the dietary intake or the blood levels of EPA + DHA and CVD outcomes or, on occasion, total mortality. For example, our studies in the Framingham Heart Study and in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study have demonstrated significant inverse relations between erythrocyte EPA + DHA levels (i.e. the Omega-3 Index) and total mortality. Recent data from the Cardiovascular Health Study reported the same relations between plasma phospholipid n-3 levels and overall healthy ageing. As regards randomised trials, studies in the 1990s and early 2000s were generally supportive of a cardiovascular benefit for fish oils (which contain EPA + DHA), but later trials were generally not able to duplicate these findings, at least for total CVD events. However, when restricted to effects on risk for fatal events, meta-analyses have shown consistent benefits for n-3 treatment. Taken together, the evidence is strong for a cardioprotective effect of EPA + DHA, especially when consumed in sufficient amounts to raise blood levels into healthy ranges. Establishing target EPA + DHA intakes to reduce risk for cardiovascular death is a high priority.
Hospital-onset bacteremia and fungemia (HOB), a potential measure of healthcare-associated infections, was evaluated in a pilot study among 60 patients across 3 hospitals. Two-thirds of all HOB events and half of nonskin commensal HOB events were judged as potentially preventable. Follow-up studies are needed to further develop this measure.
To enhance enrollment into randomized clinical trials (RCTs), we proposed electronic health record-based clinical decision support for patient–clinician shared decision-making about care and RCT enrollment, based on “mathematical equipoise.”
As an example, we created the Knee Osteoarthritis Mathematical Equipoise Tool (KOMET) to determine the presence of patient-specific equipoise between treatments for the choice between total knee replacement (TKR) and nonsurgical treatment of advanced knee osteoarthritis.
With input from patients and clinicians about important pain and physical function treatment outcomes, we created a database from non-RCT sources of knee osteoarthritis outcomes. We then developed multivariable linear regression models that predict 1-year individual-patient knee pain and physical function outcomes for TKR and for nonsurgical treatment. These predictions allowed detecting mathematical equipoise between these two options for patients eligible for TKR. Decision support software was developed to graphically illustrate, for a given patient, the degree of overlap of pain and functional outcomes between the treatments and was pilot tested for usability, responsiveness, and as support for shared decision-making.
The KOMET predictive regression model for knee pain had four patient-specific variables, and an r2 value of 0.32, and the model for physical functioning included six patient-specific variables, and an r2 of 0.34. These models were incorporated into prototype KOMET decision support software and pilot tested in clinics, and were generally well received.
Use of predictive models and mathematical equipoise may help discern patient-specific equipoise to support shared decision-making for selecting between alternative treatments and considering enrollment into an RCT.
To identify potential participants for clinical trials, electronic health records (EHRs) are searched at potential sites. As an alternative, we investigated using medical devices used for real-time diagnostic decisions for trial enrollment.
To project cohorts for a trial in acute coronary syndromes (ACS), we used electrocardiograph-based algorithms that identify ACS or ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) that prompt clinicians to offer patients trial enrollment. We searched six hospitals’ electrocardiograph systems for electrocardiograms (ECGs) meeting the planned trial’s enrollment criterion: ECGs with STEMI or > 75% probability of ACS by the acute cardiac ischemia time-insensitive predictive instrument (ACI-TIPI). We revised the ACI-TIPI regression to require only data directly from the electrocardiograph, the e-ACI-TIPI using the same data used for the original ACI-TIPI (development set n = 3,453; test set n = 2,315). We also tested both on data from emergency department electrocardiographs from across the US (n = 8,556). We then used ACI-TIPI and e-ACI-TIPI to identify potential cohorts for the ACS trial and compared performance to cohorts from EHR data at the hospitals.
Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve areas on the test set were excellent, 0.89 for ACI-TIPI and 0.84 for the e-ACI-TIPI, as was calibration. On the national electrocardiographic database, ROC areas were 0.78 and 0.69, respectively, and with very good calibration. When tested for detection of patients with > 75% ACS probability, both electrocardiograph-based methods identified eligible patients well, and better than did EHRs.
Using data from medical devices such as electrocardiographs may provide accurate projections of available cohorts for clinical trials.
In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in general and sub-Sahara African (SSA) countries in particular, there is both a large treatment gap for mental disorders and a relative paucity of empirical evidence about how to fill this gap. This is more so for severe mental disorders, such as psychosis, which impose an additional vulnerability for human rights abuse on its sufferers. A major factor for the lack of evidence is the few numbers of active mental health (MH) researchers on the continent and the distance between the little evidence generated and the policy-making process.
The Partnership for Mental Health Development in Africa (PaM-D) aimed to bring together diverse MH stakeholders in SSA, working collaboratively with colleagues from the global north, to create an infrastructure to develop MH research capacity in SSA, advance global MH science by conducting innovative public health-relevant MH research in the region and work to link research to policy development. Participating SSA countries were Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and South Africa. The research component of PaM-D focused on the development and assessment of a collaborative shared care (CSC) program between traditional and faith healers (T&FHs) and biomedical providers for the treatment of psychotic disorders, as a way of improving the outcome of persons suffering from these conditions. The capacity building component aimed to develop research capacity and appreciation of the value of research in a broad range of stakeholders through bespoke workshops and fellowships targeting specific skill-sets as well as mentoring for early career researchers.
In the research component of PaM-D, a series of formative studies were implemented to inform the development of an intervention package consisting of the essential features of a CSC for psychosis implemented by primary care providers and T&FHs. A cluster randomised controlled trial was next designed to test the effectiveness of this package on the outcome of psychosis. In the capacity-building component, 35 early and mid-career researchers participated in the training workshops and several established mentor-mentee relationships with senior PaM-D members. At the end of the funding period, 60 papers have been published and 21 successful grant applications made.
The success of PaM-D in energising young researchers and implementing a cutting-edge research program attests to the importance of partnership among researchers in the global south working with those from the north in developing MH research and service in LMIC.
Douglas Nakashima, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), France,Igor Krupnik, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC,Jennifer T. Rubis, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), France
The Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations suggests that patients suspected of transient ischemic attack (TIA)/minor stroke receive urgent brain imaging, preferably computed tomography angiography (CTA). Yet, high requisition rates for non-cerebrovascular patients overburden limited radiological resources, putting patients at risk. We hypothesize that our clinical decision support tool (CDST) developed for risk stratification of TIA in the emergency department (ED), and which incorporates Canadian guidelines, could improve CTA utilization.
Retrospective study design with clinical information gathered from ED patient referrals to an outpatient TIA unit in Victoria, BC, from 2015-2016. Actual CTA orders by ED and TIA unit staff were compared to hypothetical CTA ordering if our CDST had been used in the ED upon patient arrival.
For 1,679 referrals, clinicians ordered 954 CTAs. Our CDST would have ordered a total of 977 CTAs for these patients. Overall, this would have increased the number of imaged-TIA patients by 89 (10.1%) while imaging 98 (16.1%) fewer non-cerebrovascular patients over the 2-year period. Our CDST would have ordered CTA for 18 (78.3%) of the recurrent stroke patients in the sample.
Our CDST could enhance CTA utilization in the ED for suspected TIA patients, and facilitate guideline-based stroke care. Use of our CDST would increase the number of TIA patients receiving CTA before ED discharge (rather than later at TIA units) and reduce the burden of imaging stroke mimics in radiological departments.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.