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Vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) post-stroke is frequent but may go undetected, which highlights the need to better screen cognitive functioning following a stroke.
We examined the clinical utility of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) in detecting cognitive impairment against a gold-standard neuropsychological battery.
We assessed cognitive status with a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests in 161 individuals who were at least 3-months post-stroke. We used receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves to identify two cut points for the MoCA to maximize sensitivity and specificity at a minimum 90% threshold. We examined the utility of the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, a processing speed measure, to determine whether this additional metric would improve classification relative to the MoCA total score alone.
Using two cut points, 27% of participants scored ≤ 23 and were classified as high probability of cognitive impairment (sensitivity 92%), and 24% of participants scored ≥ 28 and were classified as low probability of cognitive impairment (specificity 91%). The remaining 48% of participants scored from 24 to 27 and were classified as indeterminate probability of cognitive impairment. The addition of a processing speed measure improved classification for the indeterminate group by correctly identifying 65% of these individuals, for an overall classification accuracy of 79%.
The utility of the MoCA in detecting cognitive impairment post-stroke is improved when using a three-category approach. The addition of a processing speed measure provides a practical and efficient method to increase confidence in the determined outcome while minimally extending the screening routine for VCI.
A few studies have evaluated the impact of clinical trial results on practice in paediatric cardiology. The Infant Single Ventricle (ISV) Trial results published in 2010 did not support routine use of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor enalapril in infants with single-ventricle physiology. We sought to assess the influence of these findings on clinical practice.
A web-based survey was distributed via e-mail to over 2000 paediatric cardiologists, intensivists, cardiothoracic surgeons, and cardiac advance practice nurses during three distribution periods. The results were analysed using McNemar’s test for paired data and Fisher’s exact test.
The response rate was 31.5% (69% cardiologists and 65% with >10 years of experience). Among respondents familiar with trial results, 74% reported current practice consistent with trial findings versus 48% before trial publication (p<0.001); 19% used angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor in this population “almost always” versus 36% in the past (p<0.001), and 72% reported a change in management or improved confidence in treatment decisions involving this therapy based on the trial results. Respondents familiar with trial results (78%) were marginally more likely to practise consistent with the trial results than those unfamiliar (74 versus 67%, p=0.16). Among all respondents, 28% reported less frequent use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor over the last 3 years.
Within 5 years of publication, the majority of respondents was familiar with the Infant Single Ventricle Trial results and reported less frequent use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor in single-ventricle infants; however, 28% reported not adjusting their clinical decisions based on the trial’s findings.
Objectives: Blast explosions are the most frequent mechanism of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in recent wars, but little is known about their long-term effects. Methods: Functional connectivity (FC) was measured in 17 veterans an average of 5.46 years after their most serious blast related TBI, and in 15 demographically similar veterans without TBI or blast exposure. Subcortical FC was measured in bilateral caudate, putamen, and globus pallidus. The default mode and fronto-parietal networks were also investigated. Results: In subcortical regions, between-groups t tests revealed altered FC from the right putamen and right globus pallidus. However, following analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with age, depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale), and posttraumatic stress disorder symptom (PTSD Checklist – Civilian version) measures, significant findings remained only for the right globus pallidus with anticorrelation in bilateral temporal occipital fusiform cortex, occipital fusiform gyrus, lingual gyrus, and cerebellum, as well as the right occipital pole. No group differences were found for the default mode network. Although reduced FC was found in the fronto-parietal network in the TBI group, between-group differences were nonsignificant after the ANCOVA. Conclusions: FC of the globus pallidus is altered years after exposure to blast related TBI. Future studies are necessary to explore the trajectory of changes in FC in subcortical regions after blast TBI, the effects of isolated versus repetitive blast-related TBI, and the relation to long-term outcomes in veterans. (JINS, 2016, 22, 631–642)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with long-term changes in daily life functioning, yet the neuroanatomical correlates of these changes are poorly understood. This study related outcome assessed across several domains to brain structure derived from quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Sixty individuals spanning a wide range of TBI severity participated 1-year post-injury as part of the Toronto TBI study. Volumetric data over 38 brain regions were derived from high resolution T1-weighted MRI scans. Functioning was assessed with a battery of self- and significant-other rated measures. Multivariate analysis (partial least squares) was used to identify shared variance between the neuroimaging and outcome measures. TBI was associated with item endorsement on outcome questionnaires without strong evidence for severity or focal lesion effects. Prefrontal midline, cingulate, medial temporal, right inferior parietal and basal ganglia/thalamic volumes were associated with measures of initiative, energization, and physical complaints. In the chronic stage of TBI, self-initiation, energization, and physical complaints related to a specific pattern of volume loss in midline and lateral regions known to be involved in motivation, apathy, and attention. These results suggest that crucial functional changes in chronic TBI may be associated with volume loss in established midline-frontal and attentional circuits. (JINS, 2015, 21, 650–655)
Mutations in the progranulin gene (GRN) are a common cause of familial frontotemporal dementia. We used a comprehensive neuropsychological battery to investigate whether early cognitive changes could be detected in GRN mutation carriers before dementia onset. Twenty-four at-risk members from six families with known GRN mutations underwent detailed neuropsychological testing. Group differences were investigated by domains of attention, language, visuospatial function, verbal memory, non-verbal memory, working memory and executive function. There was a trend for mutation carriers (n=8) to perform more poorly than non-carriers (n=16) across neuropsychological domains, with significant between group differences for visuospatial function (p<.04; d=0.92) and working memory function (p<.02; d=1.10). Measurable cognitive differences exist before the development of frontotemporal dementia in subjects with GRN mutations. The neuropsychological profile of mutation carriers suggests early asymmetric, right hemisphere brain dysfunction that is consistent with recent functional imaging data from our research group and the broader literature. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–10)
Executive dysfunction causes significant real-life disability for patients with spina bifida (SB). However, no previous research has been directed toward the amelioration of executive functioning deficits amongst persons with SB. Goal Management Training (GMT) is a compensatory cognitive rehabilitation approach, addressing underlying deficits in sustained attention to improve executive function. GMT has received empirical support in studies of other patient groups. The purpose of the present study was to determine the efficacy of GMT in treating subjects with SB, using inpatient intervention periods. We hypothesized post-intervention changes in scores on neuropsychological measures to reflect improved attentional control, including sustained attention and inhibitory control. Thirty-eight adult subjects with SB were included in this randomized controlled trial. Inclusion was based upon the presence of executive functioning complaints. Experimental subjects (n = 24) received 21 hr of GMT, with efficacy of GMT being compared to results of subjects in a wait-list condition (n = 14). All subjects were assessed at baseline, post-intervention, and at 6-month follow-up. Findings indicated superior effects of GMT on domain-specific neuropsychological measures and on a functional “real-life” measure, all lasting at least 6 months post-treatment. These results show that deficits in executive functioning can be ameliorated in patients with congenital brain dysfunction. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–14)
The collaborative London based non-governmental organization network ELRHA (Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance) supports partnerships between higher education institutions and humanitarian organizations worldwide with the objective to enhance the professionalization of the humanitarian sector. While coordination and control of the humanitarian sector has plagued the response to every major crisis, concerns highlighted by the 2010 Haitian earthquake response further catalyzed and accelerated the need to ensure competency-based professionalization of the humanitarian health care work force. The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative sponsored an independent survey of established academically affiliated training centers in North America that train humanitarian health care workers to determine their individual training center characteristics and preferences in the potential professionalization process. The survey revealed that a common thread of profession-specific skills and core humanitarian competencies were being offered in both residential and online programs with additional programs offering opportunities for field simulation experiences and more advanced degree programs. This study supports the potential for the development of like-minded academic affiliated and competency-based humanitarian health programs to organize themselves under ELRHA's regional “consultation hubs” worldwide that can assist and advocate for improved education and training opportunities in less served developing countries.
Burkle Jr FM, WallsAE, HeckJP, SorensenBS, CranmerHH, JohnsonK, LevineAC, KaydenS, CahillB, VanRooyenMJ. Academic Affiliated Training Centers in Humanitarian Health, Part I: Program Characteristics and Professionalization Preferences of Centers in North America. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013:28(2):1-8.
Systems linking people and nature, known as social-ecological systems, are increasingly understood as complex adaptive systems. Essential features of these complex adaptive systems – such as nonlinear feedbacks, strategic interactions, individual and spatial heterogeneity, and varying time scales – pose substantial challenges for modeling. However, ignoring these characteristics can distort our picture of how these systems work, causing policies to be less effective or even counterproductive. In this paper we present recent developments in modeling social-ecological systems, illustrate some of these challenges with examples related to coral reefs and grasslands, and identify the implications for economic and policy analysis.
We performed magnetoresistance (MR) measurements on bulk carbon nanotube sheets that had been partially aligned by post-fabrication stretching. The magnetic field was applied under different orientations with respect to the direction of the stretch, while the electric current was either parallel or perpendicular to the direction of the stretch. We found that the fielddependence of the MR is composed of two terms, one positive and one negative. The magnitudes of both terms are largest when the field is parallel with the direction of the stretch. If the sheets are treated with nitric acid, the positive term is removed and the MR is smallest when the field is aligned with the magnetic field. We attribute these anisotropic features to magnetoelastic effects induced by the coupling between the magnetic catalyst nanoparticles, the magnetic field, and the network of nanotubes.
DNA methylation differences between identical twins could account for phenotypic twin discordance of behavioral traits and diseases. High throughput epigenomic microarray profiling can be a strategy of choice for identification of epigenetic differences in phenotypically different monozygotic (MZ) twins. Epigenomic profiling of a pair of MZ twins with quantified measures of psychometric discordance identified several DNA methylation differences, some of which may have developmental and behavioral implications and are consistent with the contrasting psychometric profiles of the twins. In particular, differential methylation of CpG islands proximal to the homeobox DLX1 gene could modulate stress responses and risk taking behavior, and deserve further attention as a potential marker of aversion to danger. The epigenetic difference detected at DLX1 of ∼1.2 fold change was used to evaluate experimental design issues such as the required numbers of technical replicates. It also enabled us to estimate the power this technique would have to detect a functionally relevant epigenetic difference given a range of 1 to 50 twin pairs. We found that use of epigenomic microarray profiling in a relatively small number (15–25) of phenotypically discordant twin pairs has sufficient power to detect 1.2 fold epigenetic changes.
Executive functions are highly sensitive to the effects of aging and
other conditions affecting frontal lobe function. Yet there are few
validated interventions specifically designed to address executive
functions, and, to our knowledge, none validated in a healthy aging
sample. As part of a large-scale cognitive rehabilitation randomized trial
in 49 healthy older adults, a modified Goal Management Training program
was included to address the real-life deficits caused by executive
dysfunction. This program emphasized periodic suspension of ongoing
activity to establish goal hierarchies and monitor behavioral output.
Tabletop simulated real-life tasks (SRLTs) were developed to measure the
processes targeted by this intervention. Participants were randomized to
two groups, one of which received the intervention immediately and the
other of which was wait-listed prior to rehabilitation. Results indicated
improvements in SRLT performance and self-rated executive deficits
coinciding with the training in both groups. These gains were maintained
at long-term follow-up. Future research will assess the specificity of
these effects in patient groups (JINS, 2007, 13,