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Schizotypy refers to schizophrenia-like traits below the clinical threshold in the general population. The pathological development of schizophrenia has been postulated to evolve from the initial coexistence of ‘brain disconnection’ and ‘brain connectivity compensation’ to ‘brain connectivity decompensation’.
In this study, we examined the brain connectivity changes associated with schizotypy by combining brain white matter structural connectivity, static and dynamic functional connectivity analysis of diffusion tensor imaging data and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data. A total of 87 participants with a high level of schizotypal traits and 122 control participants completed the experiment. Group differences in whole-brain white matter structural connectivity probability, static mean functional connectivity strength, dynamic functional connectivity variability and stability among 264 brain sub-regions of interests were investigated.
We found that individuals with high schizotypy exhibited increased structural connectivity probability within the task control network and within the default mode network; increased variability and decreased stability of functional connectivity within the default mode network and between the auditory network and the subcortical network; and decreased static mean functional connectivity strength mainly associated with the sensorimotor network, the default mode network and the task control network.
These findings highlight the specific changes in brain connectivity associated with schizotypy and indicate that both decompensatory and compensatory changes in structural connectivity within the default mode network and the task control network in the context of whole-brain functional disconnection may be an important neurobiological correlate in individuals with high schizotypy.
Introduction: In June 2019, The Ottawa Hospital launched the Epic EHR system, which transitioned all departments from a primarily paper-based system to an exclusively electronic system using a one-day “big bang” approach. All Emergency Physicians (EP) received online module training, personalization sessions, and at-the-elbow support during the transition. We sought to evaluate EP satisfaction with the implementation process and the system's impact on clinical practice in a tertiary care academic emergency medicine setting. Methods: Email surveys were distributed during the pre-implementation and go-live phases. Questions were developed by the research team and piloted for face validity and clarity. Surveys were sent to staff EPs, residents and fellows. Likert scales were used to evaluate agreement with statements and the modified Maslach Burnout Inventory was used to assess burnout. Pre-post groups were compared using chi-squared tests to assess for significant differences. Future surveys will be distributed in 2020 for continued implementation evaluation. Results: Response rates were 49% (78/160) in the pre and 48% (76/160) in the post period. The majority of respondents were staff (66% pre; 75% post) working 8-15 shifts/month. Prior to launch, 52% of EPs felt the pre-training modules provided sufficient preparation, however only 32% felt this way after go-live (p = 0.02). Providers did not feel there were enough personalization (21% pre vs. 24% post, p = 0.66) or hands-on sessions offered (51% pre vs. 39% post, p = 0.15) and this opinion did not change after go-live. Before Epic, EPs were most concerned with productivity/efficiency, documentation time, and lack of support/training. Although documentation was reported to be easier after go-live by 69% of EPs, reviewing documents, using standardized workups/protocols, patient monitoring/follow-up, efficiency and billing were reported by >50% of EPs to be more difficult. Overall, there was a 22% increase in feeling confident to use Epic (28% pre vs. 50% post, p < 0.01); however, only 38% of providers were satisfied with the system. Notably, 82% of EPs reported experiencing moderate or high burnout in the post implementation period. Conclusion: Despite receiving standard EHR training and support, the majority of clinicians did not feel adequately trained or confident using Epic and reported moderate to high burnout. These findings will inform optimization efforts and they represent key considerations for other EDs planning future implementations.
Introduction: In 2018, Canadian postgraduate specialist Emergency Medicine (EM) programs began implementing a competency-based medical education (CBME) assessment system. To support improvement of this assessment program, we sought to evaluate its short-term educational outcomes nationally and within individual programs. Methods: Program-level data from the 2018 resident cohort were amalgamated and analyzed. The number of Entrustable Professional Activity (EPA) assessments (overall and for each EPA) and the timing of resident promotion through program stages was compared between programs and to the guidelines provided by the national EM specialty committee. Total EPA observations from each program were correlated with the number of EM and pediatric EM rotations. Results: Data from 15 of 17 (88.2%) EM programs containing 9,842 EPA observations from 68 of the 77 (88.3%) Canadian EM specialist residents in the 2018 cohort were analyzed. The average number of EPAs observed per resident in each program varied from 92.5 to 229.6 and correlated strongly with the number of blocks spent on EM and pediatric EM (r = 0.83, p < 0.001). Relative to the guidelines outlined by the specialty committee, residents were promoted later than expected and with fewer EPA observations than suggested. Conclusion: We present a new approach to the amalgamation of national and program-level assessment data. There was demonstrable variation in both EPA-based assessment numbers and promotion timelines between programs and with national guidelines. This evaluation data will inform the revision of local programs and national guidelines and serve as a starting point for further reaching outcome evaluation. This process could be replicated by other national assessment programs.
Introduction: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are first-line analgesics for emergency department (ED) patients with renal colic. Lower doses of intravenous (IV) ketorolac may provide similar pain relief to standard dosing in patients with acute pain. Patients with renal colic may be at increased risk of acute kidney injury; exposing them to lower doses of NSAIDs may put them at lower risk while providing equally effective analgesia. We conducted a pilot study to determine the feasibility of a randomized trial comparing the effectiveness and safety of low with standard ketorolac dosing in ED patients with suspected renal colic. The primary objective was to demonstrate the ability to achieve an enrolment target of 2 patients per week. Methods: We enrolled a convenience sample of adults presenting to an academic urban ED with unilateral flank pain suspected to be renal colic. We randomized patients to 10 mg (low dose, intervention) or 30 mg (standard dose, control). Participants, treating physicians and nurses, and researchers were blinded to treatment allocation. Our main feasibility outcome was the recruitment rate. Secondary outcomes were changes in pain scores (0-10) at 30 and 120 minutes post-ketorolac administration, vital signs, adverse events and ED length of stay. Results: We approached 82 patients, of whom 47 (57.3%) were eligible. Of these, 36 consented to participating and 30 were randomized. The proportion of screened patients who were enrolled was 36.6% (30/82). We completed enrolment over a 21-week period, with an average recruitment rate of 1.5 patients/week (range 0-4). The average baseline pain score for all participants was 6.9 (SD = 2.1). At 30 minutes post-ketorolac administration, the low dose group had a mean pain reduction of 2.0 points compared to a pain reduction of 1.7 in standard dose group (difference = 0.3, 90% CI: -0.7 to 1.4). Conclusion: These preliminary results support the possibility that low dose ketorolac may be efficacious in this patient population. We did not meet our target recruitment of 2 patients per week as this was primarily due to restricted recruitment hours. To successfully conduct a larger trial, we would need to expand both recruitment hours and the number of sites.
Two common approaches to identify subgroups of patients with bipolar disorder are clustering methodology (mixture analysis) based on the age of onset, and a birth cohort analysis. This study investigates if a birth cohort effect will influence the results of clustering on the age of onset, using a large, international database.
The database includes 4037 patients with a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder, previously collected at 36 collection sites in 23 countries. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to adjust the data for country median age, and in some models, birth cohort. Model-based clustering (mixture analysis) was then performed on the age of onset data using the residuals. Clinical variables in subgroups were compared.
There was a strong birth cohort effect. Without adjusting for the birth cohort, three subgroups were found by clustering. After adjusting for the birth cohort or when considering only those born after 1959, two subgroups were found. With results of either two or three subgroups, the youngest subgroup was more likely to have a family history of mood disorders and a first episode with depressed polarity. However, without adjusting for birth cohort (three subgroups), family history and polarity of the first episode could not be distinguished between the middle and oldest subgroups.
These results using international data confirm prior findings using single country data, that there are subgroups of bipolar I disorder based on the age of onset, and that there is a birth cohort effect. Including the birth cohort adjustment altered the number and characteristics of subgroups detected when clustering by age of onset. Further investigation is needed to determine if combining both approaches will identify subgroups that are more useful for research.
ADHD in childhood is associated with development of negative psychosocial and behavioural outcomes in adults. Yet, relatively little is known about which childhood and adulthood factors are predictive of these outcomes and could be targets for effective interventions. To date follow-up studies have largely used clinical samples from the United States with children ascertained at baseline using broad criteria for ADHD including all clinical subtypes or the use of DSM III criteria.
To identify child and adult predictors of comorbid and psychosocial comorbid outcomes in ADHD in a UK sample of children with DSM-IV combined type ADHD.
One hundred and eighteen adolescents and young adults diagnosed with DSM-IV combined type ADHD in childhood were followed for an average of 6 years. Comorbid mental health problems, drug and alcohol use and police contact were compared for those with persistent ADHD, sub-threshold ADHD and population norms taken from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Study 2007. Predictors included ADHD symptomology and gender.
Persistent ADHD was associated with greater levels of anger, fatigue, sleep problems and anxiety compared to sub-threshold ADHD. Comorbid mental health problems were predicted by current symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity, but not by childhood ADHD severity. Both persistent and sub-threshold ADHD was associated with higher levels of drug use and police contact compared to population norms.
Young adults with a childhood diagnosis of ADHD showed increased rates of comorbid mental health problems, which were predicted by current levels of ADHD symptoms. This suggests the importance of the continuing treatment of ADHD throughout the transitional years and into adulthood. Drug use and police contact were more common in ADHD but were not predicted by ADHD severity in this sample.
Insurance industry practitioners have deep knowledge of their industry, but there is a lack of a simple-to-understand, practical blueprint on applying distributed ledger technology solutions, including blockchain. This paper provides a practical guide for actuaries, risk professionals, insurance companies and their Boards on blockchain, including an education piece to provide an understanding of the technology. Examples of real-world applications and use cases in insurance are provided to illustrate the capability of the technology. The current risks and challenges in adopting the technology are also considered. Finally, a checklist of issues to consider in adopting a blockchain solution for insurance business problems is provided.
Solar coronal dimmings have been observed extensively in the past two decades and are believed to have close association with coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Recent study found that coronal dimming is the only signature that could differentiate powerful flares that have CMEs from those that do not. Therefore, dimming might be one of the best candidates to observe the stellar CMEs on distant Sun-like stars. In this study, we investigate the possibility of using coronal dimming as a proxy to diagnose stellar CMEs. By simulating a realistic solar CME event and corresponding coronal dimming using a global magnetohydrodynamics model (AWSoM: Alfvén-wave Solar Model), we first demonstrate the capability of the model to reproduce solar observations. We then extend the model for simulating stellar CMEs by modifying the input magnetic flux density as well as the initial magnetic energy of the CME flux rope. Our result suggests that with improved instrument sensitivity, it is possible to detect the coronal dimming signals induced by the stellar CMEs.
Section 4 of the FM14 focus on the outreach action and advocacy in the context of IAUs 2020-2030 Strategic Plan. This paper also contains supplementary materials that point to contributed talks and poster presentations that can be found online.
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.
We present the analysis of the 93 ksec Chandra ACIS–S data for the galaxy CGCG 292–057 (z = 0.054), with complex radio structure indicative of the intermittent jet activity. In order to characterize precisely the spectrum of the unresolved low-luminosity active nucleus in the source, we performed detailed MARX/PSF simulations and studied the radial profile of the source region surface brightness. In this way, we have detected an additional X-ray component extending from a few up to ∼10 kpc from the unresolved core, which could be associated with the hot gaseous medium compressed and heated (up to 0.9 keV) by the expanding inner lobes of the radio galaxy. We modeled the X-ray spectrum of the unresolved nucleus assuming various emission models, including an absorbed power-law, a power-law plus thermal emission component, and a two-temperature thermal plasma. The best fit was however obtained assuming a power-law emission scattered by a hot ionized gas, giving rise to the 6.7 keV iron line.
Multiple human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 genotypes in China were first discovered in Yunnan Province before disseminating throughout the country. As the HIV-1 epidemic continues to expand in Yunnan, genetic characteristics and transmitted drug resistance (TDR) should be further investigated among the recently infected population. Among 2828 HIV-positive samples newly reported in the first quarter of 2014, 347 were identified as recent infections with BED-captured enzyme immunoassay (CEIA). Of them, 291 were successfully genotyped and identified as circulating recombinant form (CRF)08_BC (47.4%), unique recombinant forms (URFs) (18.2%), CRF01_AE (15.8%), CRF07_BC (14.4%), subtype C (2.7%), CRF55_01B (0.7%), subtype B (0.3%) and CRF64_BC (0.3%). CRF08_BC and CRF01_AE were the predominant genotypes among heterosexual and homosexual infections, respectively. CRF08_BC, URFs, CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC expanded with higher prevalence in central and eastern Yunnan. The recent common ancestor of CRF01_AE, CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC dated back to 1983.1, 1992.1 and 1989.5, respectively. The effective population sizes (EPS) for CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC increased exponentially during 1991–1999 and 1994–1999, respectively. The EPS for CRF08_BC underwent two exponential growth phases in 1994–1998 and 2001–2002. Lastly, TDR-associated mutations were identified in 1.8% of individuals. These findings not only enhance our understanding of HIV-1 evolution in Yunnan but also have implications for vaccine design and patient management strategies.
We analyse ruin probabilities for an insurance risk process with a more generalised dependence structure compared to the one introduced in Constantinescu et al. (2016). In this paper, we assume that a random threshold window is generated every time after a claim occurs. By comparing the previous inter-claim time with the threshold window, the distributions of the current threshold window and the inter-arrival time are determined. Furthermore, the statuses for the previous and current inter-arrival times give rise to the current claim size distribution as well. Like Constantinescu et al. (2016), we first identify the embedded Markov additive process where all the randomness takes a general form. Inspired by the Erlangisation technique, the key message of this paper is to analyse such risk process using a Markov fluid flow model where the underlying random variables follow phase-type distributions. This would further allow us to approximate the fixed observation windows by Erlang random variables. Then ruin probabilities under the process with Erlang(n) observation windows are proved to be Erlangian approximations for those related to the process with fixed threshold windows at the limit. An exact form of the limit can be obtained whose application will be illustrated further by a numerical example.
Whilst preterm-born individuals have an increased risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and are reported to have ADHD-like attention and arousal impairments, direct group comparisons are scarce.
We directly compared preterm-born adolescents (n = 186) to term-born adolescents with ADHD (n = 69), and term-born controls (n = 135), aged 11–23, on cognitive-performance, event-related potential and skin conductance level (SCL) measures associated with attention and arousal. The measures are from baseline and fast-incentive conditions of a four-choice reaction time task, previously shown to discriminate between the individuals with ADHD and controls. We aimed to establish whether preterm-born adolescents show: (a) identical cognitive-neurophysiological impairments to term-born adolescents with ADHD (b) possible additional impairments, and whether (c) the observed impairments correlate with ADHD symptom scores.
The preterm group, like the term-born ADHD group, showed increased mean reaction time (MRT) and reaction time variability (RTV) in the baseline condition, and attenuated contingent negative variation (CNV) amplitude (response preparation) in the fast-incentive condition. The preterm group, only, did not show significant within-group adjustments in P3 amplitude (attention allocation) and SCL (peripheral arousal). Dimensional analyses showed that ADHD symptoms scores correlated significantly with MRT, RTV and CNV amplitude only.
We find impairments in cognition and brain function in preterm-born adolescents that are linked to increased ADHD symptoms, as well as further impairments, in lack of malleability in neurophysiological processes. Our findings indicate that such impairments extend at least to adolescence. Future studies should extend these investigations into adulthood.
The neuropsychological origins of negative syndrome of schizophrenia remain elusive. Evidence from behavioural studies, which utilised emotion-inducing pictures to elicit motivated behaviour generally reported that that schizophrenia patients experienced similar affective experience as healthy individuals but failed to translate emotional salience to motivated behaviour, a phenomenon called emotion–behaviour decoupling. However, a few studies have examined emotion–behaviour decoupling in non-psychotic high-risk populations, who are relatively unaffected by medication effects.
In this study, we examined the nature and extent of emotion–behaviour decoupling in in three independent samples (65 schizophrenia patients v. 63 controls; 40 unaffected relatives v. 45 controls; and 32 individuals with social anhedonia v. 32 controls). We administered an experimental task to examine their affective experience and its coupling with behaviour, using emotion-inducing slides, and allowed participants to alter stimulus exposure using button-pressing to seek pleasure or avoid aversion.
Schizophrenia patients reported similar affective experiences as their controls, while their unaffected relatives and individuals with high levels of social anhedonia exhibited attenuated affective experiences, in particular in the arousal aspect. Compared with their respective control groups, all of the three groups showed emotion–behaviour decoupling.
Our findings support that both genetically and behaviourally high-risk groups exhibit emotion–behaviour decoupling. The familial association apparently supports its role as a putative trait marker for schizophrenia.
Evidence suggests that autism and schizophrenia share similarities in genetic, neuropsychological and behavioural aspects. Although both disorders are associated with theory of mind (ToM) impairments, a few studies have directly compared ToM between autism patients and schizophrenia patients. This study aimed to investigate to what extent high-functioning autism patients and schizophrenia patients share and differ in ToM performance.
Thirty high-functioning autism patients, 30 schizophrenia patients and 30 healthy individuals were recruited. Participants were matched in age, gender and estimated intelligence quotient. The verbal-based Faux Pas Task and the visual-based Yoni Task were utilised to examine first- and higher-order, affective and cognitive ToM. The task/item difficulty of two paradigms was examined using mixed model analyses of variance (ANOVAs). Multiple ANOVAs and mixed model ANOVAs were used to examine group differences in ToM.
The Faux Pas Task was more difficult than the Yoni Task. High-functioning autism patients showed more severely impaired verbal-based ToM in the Faux Pas Task, but shared similar visual-based ToM impairments in the Yoni Task with schizophrenia patients.
The findings that individuals with high-functioning autism shared similar but more severe impairments in verbal ToM than individuals with schizophrenia support the autism–schizophrenia continuum. The finding that verbal-based but not visual-based ToM was more impaired in high-functioning autism patients than schizophrenia patients could be attributable to the varied task/item difficulty between the two paradigms.
Worldwide, tobacco smoke is still the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality. Many smokers develop chronic smoking-related conditions that require emergency department (ED) visits. However, best practices for ED smoking cessation counselling are still unclear.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted to determine whether an “ask, advise, and refer” approach increases 12-month, 30-day quit rates in the stable adult ED smoking population compared to usual care. Patients in the intervention group were referred to a community counselling service that offers a quitline, a text-based program, and a Web-based program. Longitudinal intention-to-treat analyses were performed.
From November 2011 to March 2013, 1,295 patients were enrolled from one academic tertiary care ED. Six hundred thirty-five were allocated to usual care, and 660 were allocated to intervention. Follow-up data were available for 70% of all patients at 12 months. There was no statistically significant difference in 12-month, 30-day quit rates between the two groups. However, there was a trend towards higher 7-day quit attempts, 7-day quit rates, and 30-day quit rates at 3, 6, and 12 months in the intervention group.
In this study, there was a trend towards increased smoking cessation following referral to a community counselling service. There was no statistically significant difference. However, if ED smoking cessation efforts were to provide even a small positive effect, such an intervention may have a significant public health impact given the extensive reach of emergency physicians.