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Antidepressant medication and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) are both recommended interventions in depression treatment guidelines based on literature reviews and meta-analyses. However, ‘conventional’ meta-analyses comparing their efficacy are limited by their reliance on reported study-level information and a narrow focus on depression outcome measures assessed at treatment completion. Individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis, considered the gold standard in evidence synthesis, can improve the quality of the analyses when compared with conventional meta-analysis.
We describe the protocol for a systematic review and IPD meta-analysis comparing the efficacy of antidepressants and IPT for adult acute-phase depression across a range of outcome measures, including depressive symptom severity as well as functioning and well-being, at both post-treatment and follow-up (PROSPERO: CRD42020219891).
We will conduct a systematic literature search in PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase and the Cochrane Library to identify randomised clinical trials comparing antidepressants and IPT in the acute-phase treatment of adults with depression. We will invite the authors of these studies to share the participant-level data of their trials. One-stage IPD meta-analyses will be conducted using mixed-effects models to assess treatment effects at post-treatment and follow-up for all outcome measures that are assessed in at least two studies.
This will be the first IPD meta-analysis examining antidepressants versus IPT efficacy. This study has the potential to enhance our knowledge of depression treatment by comparing the short- and long-term effects of two widely used interventions across a range of outcome measures using state-of-the-art statistical techniques.
Platinum-based chemotherapy drugs are associated with substantial ototoxicity. The hearing of children treated with these drugs should be closely monitored.
A questionnaire was sent out to the 19 audiology departments associated with national paediatric cancer specialist centres in the UK looking at current practice in ototoxicity monitoring.
Responses were received from 17 of 19 centres (89 per cent). All offered some form of audiometric monitoring service. Extended high-frequency testing (9–20 kHz) was only utilised by 7 services (29 per cent). A majority of respondents were reluctant to consider self-test devices in paediatric ototoxicity monitoring (n = 9; 53 per cent). Provision of long-term audiological follow up is sporadic with only 4 (23 per cent) respondents keeping all children with normal hearing under review once treatment is completed.
While some good practice in paediatric ototoxicity was identified, opportunities exist to improve clinical practice and protocols, promote multidisciplinary team working and to utilise technologies such as extended high frequency and self-test audiometry.
Typical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (tEPEC) infection is a major cause of diarrhoea and contributor to mortality in children <5 years old in developing countries. Data were analysed from the Global Enteric Multicenter Study examining children <5 years old seeking care for moderate-to-severe diarrhoea (MSD) in Kenya. Stool specimens were tested for enteric pathogens, including by multiplex polymerase chain reaction for gene targets of tEPEC. Demographic, clinical and anthropometric data were collected at enrolment and ~60-days later; multivariable logistic regressions were constructed. Of 1778 MSD cases enrolled from 2008 to 2012, 135 (7.6%) children tested positive for tEPEC. In a case-to-case comparison among MSD cases, tEPEC was independently associated with presentation at enrolment with a loss of skin turgor (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.08, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.37–3.17), and convulsions (aOR 2.83, 95% CI 1.12–7.14). At follow-up, infants with tEPEC compared to those without were associated with being underweight (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.3–3.6) and wasted (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.3–4.6). Among MSD cases, tEPEC was associated with mortality (aOR 2.85, 95% CI 1.47–5.55). This study suggests that tEPEC contributes to morbidity and mortality in children. Interventions aimed at defining and reducing the burden of tEPEC and its sequelae should be urgently investigated, prioritised and implemented.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Adipocytokines, which are secreted during fetal development by both mothers and fetuses, may influence fetal lung development, but little human data are available. We used data from the HOME Study to investigate the associations of cord blood adipocytokine concentrations with children’s lung forced expiratory volume (FEV1; N = 160) and their risk of wheeze (N = 281). We measured umbilical cord serum adipocytokine concentrations using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and FEV1 using a portable spirometer at ages 4 and 5 to calculate the percent predicted FEV1 (%FEV1). Parents completed standardized questionnaires of their child’s wheeze symptoms every 6 months from birth to age 5, then again at ages 6 and 8. We used multivariable linear mixed models and modified Poisson regression with generalized estimating equations to estimate associations of adipocytokine concentrations (log2-transformed) with children’s %FEV1 and the risk of wheeze, respectively, adjusting for sociodemographic, perinatal, and child factors. Cord serum leptin was not associated with children’s %FEV1. Higher cord serum adiponectin concentrations were associated with higher %FEV1 in girls (β = 3.1, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.6, 5.6), but not in boys (β = −1.3, 95% CI: −5.9, 3.3) (sex × adiponectin p-value = 0.05). Higher leptin was associated with lower risk of wheeze in girls (RR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.66, 0.84), but not boys (RR = 0.87, 95% CI: 0.69, 1.11) (sex × leptin p-value = 0.01). In contrast, higher adiponectin concentrations were associated with lower risk of wheeze (RR = 0.84, 95% CI: 0.73, 0.96) in both boys and girls. These data suggest that fetal adipocytokines may impact lung development and function in early childhood. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings and explore the mechanisms underlying these associations.
Agency is the human capacity to freely choose one’s thoughts, motivations and actions without undue internal or external influences; it is distinguished from decisional capacity. Four well-known conditions that can deeply affect agency are depression, demoralization, existential distress, and family dysfunction. The study reviews how they may diminish agency in persons whose circumstances may lead them to consider or request euthanasia or assisted suicide. Since agency has been a relatively neglected dimension of autonomous choice at the end of life, it is argued that to respect the autonomy of individuals, it is essential to establish their agency.
Health reform debate understandably focuses on large system design. We should not omit attention to the “last mile” problem of physician payment theory. Achieving fundamental goals of integrative, patient-centered primary care depends on thoughtful financial support. This commentary describes the nature and importance of innovative primary care payment programs.
The government recognizes that social factors cause racial inequalities in access to resources and opportunities that result in racial health disparities. However, this recognition fails to acknowledge the root cause of these racial inequalities: structural racism. As a result, racial health disparities persist.
The ACA shifted U.S. health policy from centering on principles of actuarial fairness toward social solidarity. Yet four legal fixtures of the health care system have prevented the achievement of social solidarity: federalism, fiscal pluralism, privatization, and individualism. Future reforms must confront these fixtures to realize social solidarity in health care, American-style.
Since its enactment, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has faced numerous legal challenges. Many of these lawsuits have focused on implementation of the law and the limits of executive power. Opponents challenged the ACA under the Obama Administration while supporters have turned to the courts to prevent the Trump Administration from undermining the law. In the meantime, Congress remains gridlocked over the ACA and many other critical health policy issues, leaving the executive branch to adopt its preferred policy approach and ultimately leading to lawsuits. This article briefly discusses the history of litigation over the ACA and some reasons why this litigation has been so enduring. The article then identifies other areas of health policy that are or could be future targets for litigation. Finally, the article comments on the potential impact of the courts on future health reform efforts.
This article explores how health governance has evolved into an enormously complicated—and inequitable and exclusionary—system of privatized, fragmented bureaucracy, and argues for addressing these deficiencies and promoting health justice by radically deepening democratic participation to rebalance decision-making power. It presents a framework for promoting four primary outcomes from health governance: universality, equity, democratic control, and accountability, which together define health justice through deep democracy. It highlights five mechanisms that hold potential to bring this empowered participatory mode of governance into health policy: participatory needs assessments, participatory human rights budgeting, participatory monitoring, public health care advocates, and citizen juries.
Medicaid is uniquely equipped to serve low-income populations. We identify four features that form the “soul” of Medicaid, explain how the administration is testing them, and explore challenges in accountability contributing to this struggle. We highlight the work of watchdogs acting to protect Medicaid and conclude with considerations for future health reform.
Federal law often avoids setting minimum standards for women’s health and reproductive rights issues, leaving legislative and regulatory gaps for the states to fill as they see fit. This has mixed results. It can lead to state innovation that improves state-level health outcomes, informs federal health reform, and provides data on best practices for other states. On the other hand, some states may use the absence of a federal floor to impose draconian policies that pose risks to women’s and maternal health. Health reforms at the federal level must trod carefully to enable state innovation, while imposing foundational safeguards for promoting women’s health nationwide.
Historical foundations rooted in reproductive oppression have implications for how racism has been integrated into the structures of society, including public policies, institutional practices, and cultural representations that reinforce racial inequality in maternal health. This article examines these connections and sheds light on how they perpetuate both racial disparities in maternal health and high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity among Black women.
An estimated 6,500 undocumented immigrants in the United States have been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). These individuals are ineligible for the federal insurance program that covers dialysis and/or transplantation for citizens, and consequently are subject to local or state policies regarding the provision of healthcare. In 76% of states, undocumented immigrants are ineligible to receive scheduled outpatient dialysis treatments, and typically receive dialysis only when presenting to the emergency center with severe life-threatening symptoms. ‘Emergency-only hemodialysis’ (EOHD) is associated with higher healthcare costs, higher mortality, and longer hospitalizations. In this paper, we present an ethical critique of existing federal policy. We argue that EOHD represents a failure of fiduciary and professional obligations, contributes to moral distress, and undermines physician obligations to be good stewards of medical resources. We then explore potential avenues for reform based upon policies introduced at the state level. We argue that, while reform at the federal level would ultimately be a more sustainable longterm solution, state-based policy reforms can help mitigate the ethical shortcomings of EOHD.