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Since the beginning of 2020, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has dramatically influenced almost every aspect of human life. Activities requiring human gatherings have either been postponed, canceled, or held completely virtually. To supplement lack of in-person contact, people have increasingly turned to virtual settings online, advantages of which include increased inclusivity and accessibility and a reduced carbon footprint. However, emerging online technologies cannot fully replace in-person scientific events. In-person meetings are not susceptible to poor Internet connectivity problems, and they provide novel opportunities for socialization, creating new collaborations and sharing ideas. To continue such activities, a hybrid model for scientific events could be a solution offering both in-person and virtual components. While participants can freely choose the mode of their participation, virtual meetings would most benefit those who cannot attend in-person due to the limitations. In-person portions of meetings should be organized with full consideration of prevention and safety strategies, including risk assessment and mitigation, venue and environmental sanitation, participant protection and disease prevention, and promoting the hybrid model. This new way of interaction between scholars can be considered as a part of a resilience system, which was neglected previously and should become a part of routine practice in the scientific community.
Evaluate clinical and functional treatment outcomes in patients initiated on risperidone long-acting injection (RLAI) during routine clinical practice and followed up for at least 6-months.
e-STAR is a multi-national, prospective, observational study of patients with schizophrenia who have been initiated with RLAI. Data are collected both retrospectively (1 year) and prospectively (2 years). Clinical outcome measured by Clinical Global Impression-Severity (CGI-S) scale and functioning measured by Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale were assessed at baseline and every 3 months. Results presented are based on data from patients enrolled in e-STAR in Sweden and have at least 6-months of follow-up data available.
To date 102 patients have been enrolled in e-STAR in Sweden, of which 83 had at least 6-months of follow-up data available and were included in this analysis. Majority were male (63.9%) with mean age of 46.3±13.2 years. 71.1% had diagnosis of schizophrenia, 13.3% schizoaffective and 15.7 related psychosis and mean time since diagnosis of 12.5±10.1 years. Most important reasons for switching to RLAI were lack of efficacy (31.3%) and lack of compliance (27.7%) with previous therapy. At 6 months, 92.8% of patients were still on RLAI treatment. Mean CGI-S score significantly decreased from 4.21±1.08 at baseline to 3.60±1.13 at 6 months (p<0.001). Additionally, the mean GAF score significantly improved from 40.7±11.9 at baseline to 51.8±12.8 at 6 months (p=0.006).
These 6-month interim results showed that treatment with risperidone long-acting injection was associated with significant reduction in disease severity and improvement in patient functioning.
To assess whether a self-reported β-lactam allergy is associated with an increased risk of surgical site infection (SSI) across a broad range of procedures and to determine whether this association is mediated by the receipt of an alternate antibiotic to cefazolin.
Retrospective cohort study.
Surgical procedures sampled by an institutional National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database over an 18-month period (January 2017 to June 2018) from 7 surgical specialties.
Tertiary-care academic hospital.
Of the 3,589 surgical procedures included in the study, 369 (10.3%) were performed in patients with a reported β-lactam allergy. Those with a reported β-lactam allergy were significantly less likely to receive cefazolin (38.8% vs 95.5%) or metronidazole (20.3% vs 26.1%) and were more likely to receive clindamycin (52.0% vs 0.2%), gentamicin (3.5% vs 0%), or vancomycin (2.2% vs 0.1%) than those without allergy. An SSI occurred in 154 of 3,220 procedures (4.8%) in patients without reported allergy and 27 of 369 (7.3%) with reported allergy. In the multivariable regression model, a reported β-lactam allergy was associated with a statistically significant increase in SSI risk (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04–2.51; P = .03). This effect was completely mediated by receipt of an alternate antibiotic to cefazolin (indirect effect aOR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.17–2.34; P = .005).
Self-reported β-lactam allergy was associated with an increased SSI risk mediated through receipt of alternate antibiotic prophylaxis. Safely increasing use of cefazolin prophylaxis in patients with reported β-lactam allergy can potentially lower the risk of SSIs.
Grape marc (GPM) is a viticulture by-product that is rich in secondary compounds, including condensed tannins (CT), and is used as a supplement in livestock feeding practices. The aim of this study was to determine whether feeding GPM to lactating dairy cows would alter the milk proteome through changes in nitrogen (N) partitioning. Ten lactating Holstein cows were fed a total mixed ration (TMR) top-dressed with either 1.5 kg dry matter (DM)/cow/day GPM (GPM group; n = 5) or 2.0 kg DM/cow/day of a 50:50 beet pulp: soy hulls mix (control group; n = 5). Characterization of N partitioning and calculation of N partitioning was completed through analysis of plasma urea-N, urine, feces, and milk urea-N. Milk samples were collected for general composition analysis, HPLC quantification of the high abundance milk proteins (including casein isoforms, α-lactalbumin, and β-lactoglobulin) and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis of the low abundance protein enriched milk fraction. No differences in DMI, N parameters, or calculated N partitioning were observed across treatments. Dietary treatment did not affect milk yield, milk protein or fat content or yield, or the concentrations of high abundance milk proteins quantified by HPLC analysis. Of the 127 milk proteins that were identified by LC-MS/MS analysis, 16 were affected by treatment, including plasma proteins and proteins associated with the blood-milk barrier, suggesting changes in mammary passage. Immunomodulatory proteins, including butyrophilin subfamily 1 member 1A and serum amyloid A protein, were higher in milk from GPM-fed cows. Heightened abundance of bioactive proteins in milk caused by dietary-induced shifts in mammary passage could be a feasible method to enhance the healthfulness of milk for both the milk-fed calf and human consumer. Additionally, the proteome shifts observed in this trial could provide a starting point for the identification of biomarkers suitable for use as indicators of mammary function.
Introduction: Our team developed “The Ottawa Troponin Pathway” (OTP) for Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (NSTEMI) diagnosis using serial conventional troponin (cTnI) 3 hours apart to aid in safe and early disposition of ED patients. The primary objective of this study is to validate the diagnostic accuracy of the OTP in the cohort of patients with cTnI values above the 99th percentile ( > 45ng/L). Methods: This study is a health records review conducted at the Civic and General Campuses of The Ottawa Hospital from August 2017 to December 2017. Adults (≥18 years) who presented to the ED with symptoms of ACS, and who had serial cTnI (at least two values 3 hours ±15 minutes apart) performed for diagnosis of NSTEMI and at least one cTnI value > 45ng/L were included. Patients with cardiac arrest, STEMI, unstable angina or those with TnI values ≤45ng/L were excluded. The outcomes were death due to unknown cause or NSTEMI adjudicated by two blinded investigators within 30 days. Data collected include baseline characteristics, ED management, length of stay, cTnI values and times of measurement, disposition, and outcome. We used descriptive statistics and test diagnostic characteristics to analyze our data. Results: We screened 53,077 patients, of whom 635 patients were included in the study (mean age 71.6 years; 57.6% males; 59.7% hospitalized; median ED length of stay 4.7 hours.). 107 patients (16.9%; 95%CI 14.1%-20.0%) were diagnosed with NSTEMI within 30 days. Among patients with TNI values above the 99th percentile, the OTP did not miss any patients diagnosed with NSTEMI. The sensitivity and the specificity of the OTP were 100% (95%CI 96.6%-100%) and 32.2% (95%CI 28.2%-36.4%) respectively. Conclusion: Our results show that the OTP is diagnostically accurate in ruling out NSTEMI among patients with cTNI values above the 99th percentile with symptoms concerning for ACS. Using the OTP will allow for early referral to consulting services for management, safe and early discharge home, and improve ED crowding.
A significant portion of patients with Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) experience recurrence, and there is little consensus on its treatment. With the availability of newer agents for CDI and the added burdens of recurrent disease, a cost-effectiveness analysis may provide insight on the most efficient use of resources.
A decision-tree analysis was created to compare the cost-effectiveness of 3 possible treatments for patients with first CDI recurrence: oral vancomycin, fidaxomicin, or bezlotoxumab plus vancomycin. The model was performed from a payer’s perspective with direct cost inputs and a timeline of 1 year. A systematic review of literature was performed to identify clinical, utility, and cost data. Quality-adjusted life years (QALY) and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were calculated. The willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold was set at $100,000 per QALY gained. The robustness of the model was tested using one-way sensitivity analyses and probabilistic sensitivity analysis.
Vancomycin had the lowest cost ($15,692) and was associated with a QALY gain of 0.8019 years. Bezlotoxumab plus vancomycin was a dominated strategy. Fidaxomicin led to a higher QALY compared to vancomycin, at an incremental cost of $500,975 per QALY gained. Based on our WTP threshold, vancomycin alone was the most cost-effective regimen for treating the first recurrence of CDI. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated the model’s robustness.
Vancomycin alone appears to be the most cost-effective regimen for the treatment of first recurrence of CDI. Fidaxomicin alone led to the highest QALY gained, but at a cost beyond what is considered cost-effective.
BACKGROUND: Meningiomas are the most common primary benign brain tumors in adults. Given the extended life expectancy of most meningiomas, consideration of quality of life (QOL) is important when selecting the optimal management strategy. There is currently a dearth of meningioma-specific QOL tools in the literature. OBJECTIVE: In this systematic review, we analyze the prevailing themes and propose toward building a meningioma-specific QOL assessment tool. METHODS: A systematic search was conducted, and only original studies based on adult patients were considered. QOL tools used in the various studies were analyzed for identification of prevailing themes in the qualitative analysis. The quality of the studies was also assessed. RESULTS: Sixteen articles met all inclusion criteria. Fifteen different QOL assessment tools assessed social and physical functioning, psychological, and emotional well-being. Patient perceptions and support networks had a major impact on QOL scores. Surgery negatively affected social functioning in younger patients, while radiation therapy had a variable impact. Any intervention appeared to have a greater negative impact on physical functioning compared to observation. CONCLUSION: Younger patients with meningiomas appear to be more vulnerable within social and physical functioning domains. All of these findings must be interpreted with great caution due to great clinical heterogeneity, limited generalizability, and risk of bias. For meningioma patients, the ideal QOL questionnaire would present outcomes that can be easily measured, presented, and compared across studies. Existing scales can be the foundation upon which a comprehensive, standard, and simple meningioma-specific survey can be prospectively developed and validated.
Introduction: Creatine kinase (CK) measurement, despite not being recommended for the diagnosis of a Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (NSTEMI) is still routinely performed in the emergency department (ED) for the workup of NSTEMI. The diagnostic utility of CK among ED patients with suspected NSTEMI is still not well understood. The objectives of this study were to assess: the additional value of CK in NSTEMI diagnosis and the correlation between the highest CK/TNI values and ejection fraction (EF) on follow-up echocardiography among patients with suspected NSTEMI. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study conducted at the Civic and General Campuses of The Ottawa Hospital from March 2014 to March 2016. We enrolled adults (18 years) for whom troponin (TNI) and CK were ordered for chest pain or non-chest pain symptoms within the past 24 hours concerning for NSTEMI and excluded those with suspected ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI). Primary outcome was a 30-day NSTEMI adjudicated by two blinded physicians. Demographics, medical history, and ED CK/TNI values were collected. We used descriptive statistics and report test diagnostic characteristics. Results: Of the 1,663 patients enrolled, 84 patients (5.1%) suffered NSTEMI. The sensitivity and specificity of CK was 30.9% (95%CI 21.1, 40.8) and 91.4% (95%CI 90.0, 92.8) respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of troponin was 96.4% (95%CI 92.4, 100) and 88.1% (95%CI 86.5, 89.7) respectively. Among 3 (0.2%) patients with missed NSTEMI diagnosis with TNI, CK measurements did not add value. The mean CK values were not significantly different between those with normal and abnormal EF on follow-up (132.4 U/L and 146.3 U/L respectively; p=0.44), whereas the mean TNI values were significantly different (0.5 µg/L and 1.3 µg/L respectively; p=0.046). Conclusion: CK measurements neither provide any additional value in the work-up of NSTEMI in the ED nor correlate with EF on follow-up. Discontinuing routine CK measurements would reduce overall costs and improve resource utilization in the ED, and streamline the management of patients in the ED with chest pain.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD), usually a self-limiting illness for young children, could cause a significant burden for parents because it can take up to 1–2 weeks for a sick child to recover. We conducted a two-wave longitudinal study over one summer peak season (May–July 2014) of HFMD to examine parents’ HFMD-related risk perceptions and protective responses. In total, 618 parents with at least one child aged ⩽12 years, recruited using randomly-dialled household telephone calls completed the baseline survey interview, 452 of whom subsequently completed the follow-up survey. Around two-thirds of participants perceived the chance of their child being infected by HFMD was ‘zero/very small/small’ but the likelihood of being hospitalized once infected was ‘somewhat likely/likely/very likely’. At follow-up, 82% reported washing child's hands frequently (Hygiene), 16% would keep their child away from school if HFMD cases were identified in school (Distancing) and 23% were ‘very likely/certainly’ to take the child for HFMD vaccination if available (Vaccination). Anticipated regret was consistently the strongest predictor for Hygiene (OR 3.34), and intention of Distancing (OR 2.58) and Vaccination (OR 3.16). Interventions focusing on anticipated regret may be effective to promote protective behaviour against HFMD among parents for their children.
During 1990 we surveyed the southern sky using a multi-beam receiver at frequencies of 4850 and 843 MHz. The half-power beamwidths were 4 and 25 arcmin respectively. The finished surveys cover the declination range between +10 and −90 degrees declination, essentially complete in right ascension, an area of 7.30 steradians. Preliminary analysis of the 4850 MHz data indicates that we will achieve a five sigma flux density limit of about 30 mJy. We estimate that we will find between 80 000 and 90 000 new sources above this limit. This is a revised version of the paper presented at the Regional Meeting by the first four authors; the surveys now have been completed.
In traditional transit timing variations (TTVs) analysis of multi-planetary systems, the individual TTVs are first derived from transit fitting and later modelled using n-body dynamic simulations to constrain planetary masses. We show that fitting simultaneously the transit light curves with the system dynamics (photo-dynamical model) increases the precision of the TTV measurements and helps constrain the system architecture. We exemplify the advantages of applying this photo-dynamical model to a multi-planetary system found in K2 data very close to 3:2 mean motion resonance, K2-19. In this case the period of the larger TTV variations (libration period) is much longer (>1.5 years) than the duration of the K2 observations (80 days). However, our method allows to detect the short period TTVs produced by the orbital conjunctions between the planets that in turn permits to uniquely characterise the system. Therefore, our method can be used to constrain the masses of near-resonant systems even when the full libration curve is not observed.
To evaluate longitudinally the effectiveness of a cooking programme on self-reported confidence about cooking skills and food consumption patterns in parents of young children.
An evaluation of cooking programmes delivered by National Health Service (NHS) community food workers using a single group pre-test/post-test repeated measures design. A shortened version of a validated questionnaire at baseline, post intervention and 1-year follow-up determined confidence in cooking using basic ingredients, following a simple recipe, tasting new foods, preparing and cooking new foods on consumption of ready meals, vegetables and fruit.
Deprived communities in Ayrshire and Arran, Scotland.
Parents of nursery age children, 97 % were female and <45 years old.
One hundred and two participants had completed baseline and post-intervention questionnaires. Forty-four participants contacted by telephone completed a follow-up questionnaire. In participants who completed all questionnaires (n 44), median confidence in four aspects of cooking increased significantly from baseline to post intervention (P < 0·001) but was retained at 1-year follow-up only for following a simple recipe and preparing and cooking new foods. Improved food consumption patterns were reported from baseline to post intervention (ready-meal consumption reduced from 2-4 times/week to 1 time/week, P < 0·001; vegetable consumption increased from 5–6 times/week to 1 time/d, P < 0·001; fruit consumption increased from 5–6 times/week to 1 time/d, P < 0·001) and remained at 1-year follow-up.
The cooking programmes appeared to improve cooking confidence and food consumption patterns in the target group and some of these changes were retained after 1 year.
Metal-assisted chemical etching (MACE) of silicon (Si) is a simple and low-cost process to fabricate Si nanostructures with varying aspect ratio and properties. In this work, we report on the structural and vibrational properties of Si nanostructures synthesized with varying metal catalyst. The morphology of the synthesized nanowires was characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The optical and vibrational properties of the Si nanostructures were studied by photoluminescence and Raman spectroscopy using three different excitation sources (UV, visible and near-infrared) and are correlated to their microstructures. We propose that the excessive injection of holes into Si at the metal-Si interface and its diffusion to the nanowire surfaces facilitate the etching of Si on these surfaces, leading to a mesoporous network of Si nanocrystallites. When etched with catalytic Au nanoparticles, “hay-stacked” mesoporous Si nanowires were obtained. The straighter nanowires etched with Ag nanoparticles, consisted of a single crystalline core with a thin porous layer that decreased in thickness towards the base of the nanowire. This difference is due to the higher catalytic activity of Au compared to Ag for H2O2 decomposition. The SERRS observed during UV and visible Raman with Ag-etched Si nanowires and near-infrared Raman with Au-etched Si nanowires is due to the presence of the sunken metal nanoparticles. In addition, we explored the influence of varying H2O2 and HF concentration as well as the influence of increased etching temperature on the resultant nanostructured Si morphology. Such Si nanostructures may be useful for a wide range of applications such as photovoltaic and biological and chemical sensing.
Sex differences in the risk factors, presentation and outcome of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) are poorly defined, despite a discrepant prevalence between males and females. The proportion of patients on hormonal therapy who develop CVST varies widely. We describe the clinical features, risk factors and outcome by sex and by hormone-related risk factors among a large cohort of patients.
We reviewed records of 108 consecutive patients with CVST at a tertiary hospital in Calgary between 1999 and 2009. Descriptive statistics were used for between group comparisons (men, women with hormone-related risk factors and women without hormone-related risk factors).
Females made up 62% of patients, half of whom were on systemic hormonal therapy. Men and women without hormonal risk factors were older at onset. Oral contraceptive use was the major risk factor in women (45%) while concurrent mastoiditis was the most common predisposing factor in men (27%). Complications were frequent and overall mortality was 6%. Persisting deficits at discharge were more common in men (54% vs. 35% and 32%, p = 0.036). There was a trend for women with hormone-related risk factors to have less residual focal neurologic deficit than the other groups (5% vs. 15% and 17%, p=0.051).
There are differences between sexes in the presentation, risk factors and outcome of patients with CVST.
Background: This study investigated whether brief exposure to information has any effect on stigmatizing attitudes towards older people with dementia, and how people responded to this medical diagnosis.
Methods: 494 adults were randomly assigned to three groups differentiated by experimental conditions. Group A (control) responded to questions on stigma directly. Group B (symptom) read two vignettes that described the symptoms of two fictitious individuals with dementia, before answering questions on stigma. Group C (label) read the same vignettes which ended with a statement that the person was recently diagnosed with dementia by a physician. Data were analyzed with ANOVA, together with other pre-existing between-subjects factors.
Results: Brief exposure to information about dementia led to a statistically significant reduction in stigma (Groups B, C < A), regardless of whether the diagnostic label of “dementia” was included or not. Moreover, lower stigma was reported by persons who knew a relative or friend with dementia, who were younger and more educated, and who thought dementia was treatable.
Conclusions: As stigmatizing attitudes toward dementia are still a hindrance to early help-seeking in Asian communities, the findings suggest that community education may play a useful role in alleviating this barrier to early detection and intervention.
Selective Chemical Vapor Deposition of Crystalline Ge-Sb-Te alloys initiating at the bottom metal contact of vias of various sizes has been accomplished. The method is based on selecting Sb and Te precursors which do not decompose on dielectric surfaces in the utilized temperature range.