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This article considers the increased focus on interdisciplinary research to solve major social problems through game changing solutions. It discusses research in the arts and humanities within the context of interdisciplinary research and within the broader academy. In particular, it distinguishes between research in the arts, and research in the humanities. More specifically, it goes on to consider an element within the arts known as design. In this context, the processes of design thinking across many disciplines are considered essential to the potential of interdisciplinary research to produce radical innovations.
In September 2015, an outbreak of Escherichia coli Phage Type 32 with an indistinguishable multi locus variable number tandem repeat analysis profile was identified in Scotland. Twelve cases were identified; nine primary cases, two secondary and one asymptomatic case. Extensive food history investigations identified venison products containing wild venison produced by a single food business operator as the most likely source of the outbreak. Of the nine primary cases, eight had consumed venison products, and one case had not eaten venison themselves but had handled and cooked raw venison in the household. This was the first reported outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) linked to venison products in the UK, and was also notable due to the implicated products being commercially produced and widely distributed. In contrast, previous venison outbreaks reported from other countries have tended to be smaller and related to individually prepared carcases. The outbreak has highlighted some important knowledge gaps in relation to STEC in venison that are currently been investigated via a number of research studies.
To assess the time-dependent exposure of California healthcare facilities to patients harboring methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)–producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) upon discharge from 1 hospital.
Retrospective multiple-cohort study of adults discharged from 1 hospital in 2005–2009, counting hospitals, nursing homes, cities, and counties in which carriers were readmitted, and comparing the number and length of stay of readmissions and the number of distinct readmission facilities among carriers versus noncarriers.
We evaluated 45,772 inpatients including those with MRSA (N=1,198), VRE (N=547), ESBL (N=121), and CDI (N=300). Within 1 year of discharge, MRSA, VRE, and ESBL carriers exposed 137, 117, and 45 hospitals and 103, 83, and 37 nursing homes, generating 58,804, 33,486, and 15,508 total exposure-days, respectively. Within 90 days of discharge, CDI patients exposed 36 hospitals and 35 nursing homes, generating 7,318 total exposure-days. Compared with noncarriers, carriers had more readmissions to hospitals (MRSA:1.8 vs 0.9/patient; VRE: 2.6 vs 0.9; ESBL: 2.3 vs 0.9; CDI: 0.8 vs 0.4; all P<.001) and nursing homes (MRSA: 0.4 vs 0.1/patient; VRE: 0.7 vs 0.1; ESBL: 0.7 vs 0.1; CDI: 0.3 vs 0.1; all P<.001) and longer hospital readmissions (MRSA: 8.9 vs 7.3 days; VRE: 8.9 vs 7.4; ESBL: 9.6 vs 7.5; CDI: 12.3 vs 8.2; all P<.01).
Patients harboring antibiotic-resistant pathogens rapidly expose numerous facilities during readmissions; regional containment strategies are needed.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1275–1282
To compare the nutrient profile of packaged supermarket food products available in Australia and New Zealand. Eligibility to carry health claims and relationship between nutrient profile score and nutritional content were also evaluated.
Nutritional composition data were collected in six major Australian and New Zealand supermarkets in 2012. Mean Food Standards Australia New Zealand Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion (NPSC) scores were calculated and the proportion of products eligible to display health claims was estimated. Regression analyses quantified associations between NPSC scores and energy density, saturated fat, sugar and sodium contents.
NPSC scores were derived for 23 596 packaged food products (mean score 7·0, range −17 to 53). Scores were lower (better nutrient profile) for foods in Australia compared with New Zealand (mean 6·6 v. 7·8). Overall, 45 % of foods were eligible to carry health claims based on NPSC thresholds: 47 % in Australia and 41 % in New Zealand. However, less than one-third of dairy (32 %), meat and meat products (28 %) and bread and bakery products (27·5 %) were eligible to carry health claims. Conversely, >75 % of convenience food products were eligible to carry health claims (82·5 %). Each two-unit higher NPSC score was associated with higher energy density (78 kJ/100 g), saturated fat (0·95 g/100 g), total sugar (1·5 g/100 g) and sodium (66 mg/100 g; all P values<0·001).
Fewer than half of all packaged foods available in Australia and New Zealand in 2012 met nutritional criteria to carry health claims. The few healthy choices available in key staple food categories is a concern. Improvements in nutritional quality of foods through product reformulation have significant potential to improve population diets.
In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean–atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010–2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5.
The 2013 Infection Prevention and Control (IP&C) Guideline for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) was commissioned by the CF Foundation as an update of the 2003 Infection Control Guideline for CF. During the past decade, new knowledge and new challenges provided the following rationale to develop updated IP&C strategies for this unique population:
1. The need to integrate relevant recommendations from evidence-based guidelines published since 2003 into IP&C practices for CF. These included guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and key professional societies, including the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). During the past decade, new evidence has led to a renewed emphasis on source containment of potential pathogens and the role played by the contaminated healthcare environment in the transmission of infectious agents. Furthermore, an increased understanding of the importance of the application of implementation science, monitoring adherence, and feedback principles has been shown to increase the effectiveness of IP&C guideline recommendations.
2. Experience with emerging pathogens in the non-CF population has expanded our understanding of droplet transmission of respiratory pathogens and can inform IP&C strategies for CF. These pathogens include severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and the 2009 influenza A H1N1. Lessons learned about preventing transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and multidrug-resistant gram-negative pathogens in non-CF patient populations also can inform IP&C strategies for CF.
Implementation of contact precautions in nursing homes to prevent methicillm-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) transmission could cost time and effort and may have wide-ranging effects throughout multiple health facilities. Computational modeling could forecast the potential effects and guide policy making.
All hospitals and nursing homes in Orange County, California.
Our simulation model compared the following 3 contact precaution strategies: (1) no contact precautions applied to any nursing home residents, (2) contact precautions applied to those with clinically apparent MRSA infections, and (3) contact precautions applied to all known MRSA carriers as determined by MRSA screening performed by hospitals.
Our model demonstrated that contact precautions for patients with clinically apparent MRSA infections in nursing homes resulted in a median 0.4% (range, 0%–1.6%) relative decrease in MRSA prevalence in nursing homes (with 50% adherence) but had no effect on hospital MRSA prevalence, even 5 years after initiation. Implementation of contact precautions (with 50% adherence) in nursing homes for all known MRSA carriers was associated with a median 14.2% (range, 2.1%–21.8%) relative decrease in MRSA prevalence in nursing homes and a 2.3% decrease (range, 0%–7.1%) in hospitals 1 year after implementation. Benefits accrued over time and increased with increasing compliance.
Our modeling study demonstrated the substantial benefits of extending contact precautions in nursing homes from just those residents with clinically apparent infection to all MRSA carriers, which suggests the benefits of hospitals and nursing homes sharing and coordinating information on MRSA surveillance and carriage status.
To monitor global representation in the psychiatric literature, we compared publication rates in the ten psychiatric journals with the highest impact factors in 1998 and 2008 by world regions. In both 1998 and 2008, North America, Northern Europe, Western Europe and Oceania produced the majority of psychiatric research papers published in these journals, despite representing only a small fraction of the world's population. This suggests that much of the world's population continues to be underrepresented in highly influential psychiatric journals.
Background: Certain risk factors for cognitive decline appear modifiable. A potentially modifiable marker of inflammation, C-reactive protein may be associated with cognitive deficits, although not all studies have found a relationship between C-reactive protein and cognitive ability. Further, few research papers have examined whether gender may affect any association between C-reactive protein and cognitive deficit.
Methods: To better understand the association between C-reactive protein, cognitive deficit, and gender in elderly people, we meta-analyzed cross-sectional studies that reported cognitive ability assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination or an equivalent measure, C-reactive protein concentrations, and gender.
Results: While we identified no studies containing only male subjects, the two identified studies containing both female and male subjects (n = 2,525) showed an effect size for cognition of −0.1809 (95% confidence interval, −0.2652 to −0.0967, p = 0.000025) between high and low C-reactive-protein groups. In contrast, the two identified studies containing only female subjects (n = 1,754) showed an effect size for cognition of 0.0345 (95% confidence interval, −0.0594 to 0.1285, not significant).
Conclusions: In the context of a small number of source studies and lack of an all-male group, these results suggest that any association between C-reactive protein and cognitive deficits may be stronger in elderly men than in elderly women.
In the past two decades, the growing global demand for solar energy has spurred scientific interest in alternative technologies to conventional silicon. In particular, CuIn1-xGaxSe2 (CIGS) has emerged as a competitor. We have developed a scalable deposition technique using RF magnetron sputtering of quaternary CIGS. Notably, the resulting films do not require postselenization, reducing processing time and cost. We have fabricated devices above 10% efficiency using this approach, showing its promise as a production method for highperformance CIGS photovoltaics. However, the morphology of the sputtered CIGS layer is markedly different from conventional evaporated films; grain sizes vary through the thickness of the film, with numerous small grains dominating at the Mo/CIGS interface that then either terminate or grow in an inverted-pyramid fashion to form large, columnar grains at the CIGS/CdS interface.
To better understand the origin of this morphology, we have studied the growth behavior of the CIGS layer using a combination of atomic force microscopy and electron microscopy to observe initial nucleation and grain growth behavior of quaternary-sputtered CIGS. We also discuss the effects of interfacial layers at the Mo/CIGS interface, demonstrating a novel wetting layer that conformally coats the Mo surface.
Since hospitals in a region often share patients, an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in one hospital could affect other hospitals.
Using extensive data collected from Orange County (OC), California, we developed a detailed agent-based model to represent patient movement among all OC hospitals. Experiments simulated MRSA outbreaks in various wards, institutions, and regions. Sensitivity analysis varied lengths of stay, intraward transmission coefficients (β), MRSA loss rate, probability of patient transfer or readmission, and time to readmission.
Each simulated outbreak eventually affected all of the hospitals in the network, with effects depending on the outbreak size and location. Increasing MRSA prevalence at a single hospital (from 5% to 15%) resulted in a 2.9% average increase in relative prevalence at all other hospitals (ranging from no effect to 46.4%). Single-hospital intensive care unit outbreaks (modeled increase from 5% to 15%) caused a 1.4% average relative increase in all other OC hospitals (ranging from no effect to 12.7%).
MRSA outbreaks may rarely be confined to a single hospital but instead may affect all of the hospitals in a region. This suggests that prevention and control strategies and policies should account for the interconnectedness of health care facilities.
Maternal fat intake and adipose reserves are major sources of PUFA during lactation. The present study examined the cross-sectional relationship between prolonged breast-feeding and maternal BMI, assessed adequacy of fat intake among lactating and non-lactating mothers of children 24–48 months of age and determined breast-milk fatty acid composition. Multi-stage sampling was used to select a representative sample of mothers from two rural districts in Bangladesh (n 474). Dietary data were collected during two non-consecutive 24 h periods via 12 h in-home daytime observations and recall. The National Cancer Institute method for episodically consumed foods was used to estimate usual intake distributions. Breast milk samples were collected from ninety-eight women, and breast-milk fatty acid methyl esters were quantified using GC. Approximately 42 % of lactating v. 26 % of non-lactating mothers were underweight (BMI < 18·5 kg/m2; P = 0·0003). The maternal diet was low in total fat (approximately 8 % of mean total energy) and food sources of PUFA, including oil and animal source foods, resulting in a low estimated mean total consumption of PUFA (5·1 g/d). Almost all women were estimated to consume less than the recommended intake levels for total fat, total PUFA, α-linolenic acid (ALA) and DHA. Median breast-milk linoleic acid (8·5 % weight) and ALA (0·2 %) concentrations were among the lowest reported in the literature, in contrast with arachidonic acid (0·5 %) and DHA (0·3 %) concentrations, which were mid-range. Bangladeshi women in general, and especially those who practise prolonged breast-feeding, may benefit from increased consumption of food sources of PUFA.