To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
After a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck Hualien on February 6, 2018, over one hundred and fifty patients crammed into the emergency department of a nearby tertiary hospital within two hours. The mass casualty incident (MCI) call was activated, and over 300 related personnel responded to the call and engaged with the MCI management.
This research aimed to analyze the practice of an MCI call and to form the strategies to improve its efficiency and effectiveness.
The research was conducted in a tertiary hospital in Hualien, Taiwan. Questionnaires regarding the practice of the MCI call were sent out to the healthcare providers in the emergency department who responded to that MCI operation.
Thirty-seven responders in the emergency department were involved in this study. 78% had participated in training courses for hospital incident command system (HICS) or MCI management before this event. On arrival at the emergency department, 69.4% of the responders were aware of the check-in station and received a clear task assignment and briefing. During the operation, 25.7% reported the lack of confidence carrying out the assigned tasks and 54.1% of the participants experienced great stress (stress score over 7 out of 10).
MCI is an uncommon event for hospital management. It is universally challenging owing to its unpredictable and time-sensitive nature. Furthermore, the administration could be further complicated by the associated disasters. Despite regular exercises and drills, there are still a significant number of participants experiencing stress and confusion during the operation. The chaotic situation may further compromise the performance of the participants. This study showed that optimizing task briefing and on-site directions may improve the performance of the MCI participants.
To determine the efficacy of 2 types of antimicrobial privacy curtains in clinical settings and the costs involved in replacing standard curtains with antimicrobial curtains.
A prospective, open-labeled, multicenter study with a follow-up duration of 6 months.
This study included 12 rooms of patients with multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) (668 patient bed days) and 10 cubicles (8,839 patient bed days) in the medical, surgical, neurosurgical, orthopedics, and rehabilitation units of 10 hospitals.
Culture samples were collected from curtain surfaces twice a week for 2 weeks, followed by weekly intervals.
With a median hanging time of 173 days, antimicrobial curtain B (quaternary ammonium chlorides [QAC] plus polyorganosiloxane) was highly effective in reducing the bioburden (colony-forming units/100 cm2, 1 vs 57; P < .001) compared with the standard curtain. The percentages of MDRO contamination were also significantly lower on antimicrobial curtain B than the standard curtain: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, 0.5% vs 24% (P < .001); carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter spp, 0.2% vs 22.1% (P < .001); multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter spp, 0% vs 13.2% (P < .001). Notably, the median time to first contamination by MDROs was 27.6 times longer for antimicrobial curtain B than for the standard curtain (138 days vs 5 days; P = .001).
Antimicrobial curtain B (QAC plus polyorganosiloxane) but not antimicrobial curtain A (built-in silver) effectively reduced the microbial burden and MDRO contamination compared with the standard curtain, even after extended use in an active clinical setting. The antimicrobial curtain provided an opportunity to avert indirect costs related to curtain changing and laundering in addition to improving patient safety.
A liver transplant recipient developed hospital-acquired symptomatic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 6a infection 14 months post transplant.
Standard outbreak investigation.
Patient chart review, interviews of patients and staff, observational study of patient care practices, environmental surveillance, blood collection simulation experiments, and phylogenetic study of HCV strains using partial envelope gene sequences (E1–E2) of HCV genotype 6a strains from the suspected source patient, the environment, and the index patient were performed.
Investigations and data review revealed no further cases of HCV genotype 6a infection in the transplant unit. However, a suspected source with a high HCV load was identified. HCV genotype 6a was found in a contaminated reusable blood-collection tube holder with barely visible blood and was identified as the only shared item posing risk of transmission to the index case patient. Also, 14 episodes of sequential blood collection from the source patient and the index case patient were noted on the computerized time log of the laboratory barcoding system during their 13 days of cohospitalization in the liver transplant ward. Disinfection of the tube holders was not performed after use between patients. Blood collection simulation experiments showed that HCV and technetium isotope contaminating the tip of the sleeve capping the sleeved-needle can reflux back from the vacuum-specimen tube side to the patient side.
A reusable blood-collection tube holder without disinfection between patients can cause a nosocomial HCV infection. Single-use disposable tube holders should be used according to the recommendations by Occupational Safety and Health Administration and World Health Organization.
Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) are increasingly reported in residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs). We assessed whether implementation of directly observed hand hygiene (DOHH) by hand hygiene ambassadors can reduce environmental contamination with MDROs.
From July to August 2017, a cluster-randomized controlled study was conducted at 10 RCHEs (5 intervention versus 5 nonintervention controls), where DOHH was performed at two-hourly intervals during daytime, before meals and medication rounds by a one trained nurse in each intervention RCHE. Environmental contamination by MRDOs, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter species (CRA), and extended-spectrum β-lactamse (ESBL)–producing Enterobacteriaceae, was evaluated using specimens collected from communal areas at baseline, then twice weekly. The volume of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) consumed per resident per week was measured.
The overall environmental contamination of communal areas was culture-positive for MRSA in 33 of 100 specimens (33%), CRA in 26 of 100 specimens (26%), and ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in 3 of 100 specimens (3%) in intervention and nonintervention RCHEs at baseline. Serial monitoring of environmental specimens revealed a significant reduction in MRSA (79 of 600 [13.2%] vs 197 of 600 [32.8%]; P<.001) and CRA (56 of 600 [9.3%] vs 94 of 600 [15.7%]; P=.001) contamination in the intervention arm compared with the nonintervention arm during the study period. The volume of ABHR consumed per resident per week was 3 times higher in the intervention arm compared with the baseline (59.3±12.9 mL vs 19.7±12.6 mL; P<.001) and was significantly higher than the nonintervention arm (59.3±12.9 mL vs 23.3±17.2 mL; P=.006).
The direct observation of hand hygiene of residents could reduce environmental contamination by MDROs in RCHEs.
Default mode network (DMN) is vulnerable to the effects of APOE genotype. Given the reduced brain volumes and APOE ε 4-related brain changes in elderly carriers, it is less known that whether these changes would influence the functional connectivity and to what extent. This study aimed to examine the functional connectivity within DMN, and its diagnostic value with age-related morphometric alterations considered.
Whole brain and seed-based resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) analysis were conducted in cognitively normal APOE ε 4 carriers and matched non-carriers (N=38). The absolute values of mean correlation coefficients (z-values) were used as a measure of functional connectivity strength (FCS) between DMN subregions, which were also used to estimate their diagnostic value by receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves.
APOE ε 4 carriers demonstrated decreased interhemispheric FCS, particularly between right hippocampal formation (R.HF) and left inferior parietal lobular (L.IPL) (t=3.487, p<0.001). ROC analysis showed that the FCS of R.HF and L.IPL could differentiate APOE ε 4 carriers from healthy counterparts (AUC value=0.734, p=0.025). Moreover, after adjusting the impact of morphometry, the differentiated value of FCS of R.HF and L.IPL was markedly improved (AUC value=0.828, p=0.002).
Our findings suggest that APOE ε 4 allele affects the functional connectivity within posterior DMN, particularly the atrophy-corrected interhemispheric FCS before the clinical expression of neurodegenerative disease.
To study the association between gastrointestinal colonization of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
We analyzed 31,526 patients with prospective collection of fecal specimens for CPE screening: upon admission (targeted screening) and during hospitalization (opportunistic screening, safety net screening, and extensive contact tracing), in our healthcare network with 3,200 beds from July 1, 2011, through December 31, 2015. Specimens were collected at least once weekly during hospitalization for CPE carriers and subjected to broth enrichment culture and multiplex polymerase chain reaction.
Of 66,672 fecal specimens collected, 345 specimens (0.5%) from 100 patients (0.3%) had CPE. The number and prevalence (per 100,000 patient-days) of CPE increased from 2 (0.3) in 2012 to 63 (8.0) in 2015 (P<.001). Male sex (odds ratio, 1.91 [95% CI, 1.15–3.18], P=.013), presence of wound or drain (3.12 [1.70–5.71], P<.001), and use of cephalosporins (3.06 [1.42–6.59], P=.004), carbapenems (2.21 [1.10–4.48], P=.027), and PPIs (2.84 [1.72–4.71], P<.001) in the preceding 6 months were significant risk factors by multivariable analysis. Of 79 patients with serial fecal specimens, spontaneous clearance of CPE was noted in 57 (72.2%), with a median (range) of 30 (3–411) days. Comparing patients without use of antibiotics and PPIs, consumption of both antibiotics and PPIs after CPE identification was associated with later clearance of CPE (hazard ratio, 0.35 [95% CI, 0.17–0.73], P=.005).
Concomitant use of antibiotics and PPIs prolonged duration of gastrointestinal colonization by CPE.
Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB) with diverse multilocus sequence typing emerged among our nursing home residents (6.5%) with a high background rate of MRSA (32.2%). Rectal swabs yielded a higher rate of CRAB detection than axillary or nasal swabs. Bed-bound status, use of adult diapers, and nasogastric tube were risk factors for CRAB colonization.
As electronic devices are indispensable in many aspects of our lives today, their integration with unconventional surfaces is increasingly essential. Electronic devices which maintain their electrical properties upon stretching are desirable for various wearable applications. Stretchable devices demonstrated are conventionally fabricated using semiconductor processing techniques. In this study, we demonstrate stretchable electrodes, which are basic components of electrical circuits, using screen printing, a large area printing method. It provides a low cost and scalable method to fabricate large area stretchable devices. Despite the larger width and thickness of the electrodes which increases the stiffness of the material, stretchability beyond 40% is demonstrated, which is suitable for certain wearable applications. The stretchable electrodes are integrated with light emitting diodes (LEDs) to demonstrate a stretchable LED matrix. The large area LED matrices exhibit variable stretchability, depending on the LED areal coverage. This technique is expected to be applicable in the fabrication of other stretchable, large area, and more complex electronic systems.
To assess the effectiveness of infection control preparedness for human infection with influenza A H7N9 in Hong Kong.
A descriptive study of responses to the emergence of influenza A H7N9.
A university-affiliated teaching hospital.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) with unprotected exposure (not wearing N95 respirator during aerosol-generating procedure) to a patient with influenza A H7N9.
A bundle approach including active and enhanced surveillance, early airborne infection isolation, rapid molecular diagnostic testing, and extensive contact tracing for HCWs with unprotected exposure was implemented. Seventy HCWs with unprotected exposure to an index case were interviewed especially regarding their patient care activities.
From April 1, 2013, through May 31, 2014, a total of 126 (0.08%) of 163,456 admitted patients were tested for the H7 gene by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction per protocol. Two confirmed cases were identified. Seventy (53.8%) of 130 HCWs had unprotected exposure to an index case, whereas 41 (58.6%) and 58 (82.9%) of 70 HCWs wore surgical masks and practiced hand hygiene after patient care, respectively. Sixteen (22.9%) of 70 HCWs were involved in high-risk patient contacts. More HCWs with high-risk patient contacts received oseltamivir prophylaxis (P=0.088) and significantly more had paired sera collected for H7 antibody testing (P<0.001). Ten (14.3%) of 70 HCWs developed influenza-like illness during medical surveillance, but none had positive results by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Paired sera was available from 33 of 70 HCWs with unprotected exposure, and none showed seroconversion against H7N9.
Despite the delay in airborne precautions implementation, no patient-to-HCW transmission of influenza A H7N9 was demonstrated.
The present study investigates the relationship between BMI and all-cause mortality among middle-aged and older adults with or without pre-existing diseases.
A population-based cohort study.
The Taiwan Longitudinal Study on Aging is a nationwide prospective cohort study comprising a representative random sample of middle-aged and older adults. The study period was 1996–2007.
We followed 4145 middle-aged and older adults, totalling 42 353 person-years.
Overweight and mildly obese participants showed a 16 % and 30 % decrease in the risk of death, respectively, compared with those of normal weight after adjusting for potential covariates (e.g. demographic characteristics, health behaviour, co-morbidities and physical function). Underweight adults showed a 1·36-fold increased adjusted hazard ratio of death compared with normal-weight adults. Adults with a BMI of 27·0–28·0 kg/m2 showed a significantly lower adjusted hazard ratio of all-cause mortality rate compared with adults who had normal BMI values when they had coexisting hypertension or diabetes (adjusted hazard ratio=0·50; 95 % CI 0·30, 0·81 for hypertension and adjusted hazard ratio=0·41; 95 % CI 0·18, 0·89 for diabetes).
The study demonstrates that underweight people have a higher risk of death, and overweight and mildly obese people have a lower risk of death, compared with people of normal weight among middle-aged and older adults. An optimal BMI may be based on the individual, who exhibits pre-existing diseases or not.
Stretchable transparent conductors are required for flexible and wearable electronics. This study demonstrates biaxially stretchable transparent conductors that use silver nanowire networks. The use of buckled nanowire networks has previously been reported to lend stretchability to the transparent conductor in a single axis. However, a nanowire network that is prestrained and then buckled out-of-plane biaxially shows a deterioration of the electrical conductivity after a single cycle of stretching and releasing the strain uniaxially. This has been attributed to the loss of good electrical contact between the nanowires. By hot pressing the out-of-plane buckled nanowires to obtain an in-plane wavy nanowire network with good wire-to-wire junctions, a biaxially stretchable transparent conductor that maintains good electrical conductivity with stretching up to 10% is demonstrated. The methods of prestraining the nanowire network to achieve out-of-plane buckled nanowires and hot pressing the out-of-plane buckled nanowires to obtain an in-plane wavy nanowire network with fused junctions are expected to be practical for other classes of percolative networks based on one-dimensional (1D) materials used in flexible and stretchable applications.
Voriconazole is a broad-spectrum azole exhibiting strong anti-Aspergillus activity and good long-term tolerance. However, the evidence for voriconazole efficacy against refractory Aspergillus otomycosis is weak.
We reviewed the medical records of patients with Aspergillus otomycosis treated with voriconazole from January 2008 to June 2012 in a Taiwanese regional hospital. Demographic data and information regarding underlying diseases, clinical features, treatment and outcome were assessed.
In total, 14 cases of Aspergillus otomycosis were treated with voriconazole, including 5 patients with Aspergillus invasive otitis externa. All patients had failed to respond to local treatment, antibiotics or topical agents. One case was lost to follow up. The symptoms of two patients recurred after voriconazole treatment: one patient received a second 12-week course of voriconazole and was cured; and symptoms of the other patient recurred after a second 12-week course of voriconazole, leading to surgical debridement. The remaining 11 patients were cured by voriconazole treatment without extensive surgical debridement.
This study demonstrates that voriconazole can be a very effective and convenient therapeutic option for the management of refractory Aspergillus otomycosis.
A photoactivated ZnO nanomesh with precisely controlled dimensions and geometries is fabricated by using nanosphere lithography process. The nanomesh structures effectively increase the surface-to-volume ratio to improve the sensing response under the same testing gas. And the periodical nanostructures also increase the effective light path and lead to more efficient light activation for gas sensing. With the increase of the photoinduced oxygen ions by UV illumination, a distinguished sensing response is observed at room temperature. In the optimized case, the sensing response (△R/R0) of the ZnO nanomesh at the butanol concentration of 500 ppm is 97.5%, which is 4.54 times higher than the unpatterned one.
To determine the prevalence, risk factors, and molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization at the time of admission to acute medical units and to develop a cost-effective screening strategy.
Nasal and groin screening cultures were performed for patients at admission to 15 acute medical units in all 7 catchment regions in Hong Kong. All MRSA isolates were subjected to spa typing.
The overall carriage rate of MRSA was 14.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 13.5–15.1). MRSA history within the past 12 months (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 4.60 [95% CI, 3.28–6.44]), old age home residence (adjusted OR, 3.32 [95% CI, 2.78–3.98]), and bedbound state (adjusted OR, 2.19 [95% CI, 1.75–2.74]) were risk factors selected as MRSA screening criteria that provided reasonable sensitivity (67.4%) and specificity (81.8%), with an affordable burden (25.2%). spa typing showed that 89.5% (848/948) of the isolates were clustered into the 4 spa clonal complexes (CCs): spa CC1081, spa CC032, spa CC002, and spa CC4677. Patients colonized with MRSA spa types t1081 (OR, 1.77 [95% CI, 1.49–2.09]) and t4677 (OR, 3.09 [95% CI, 1.54–6.02]) were more likely to be old age home residents.
MRSA carriage at admission to acute medical units was prevalent in Hong Kong. Our results suggest that targeted screening is a pragmatic approach to increase the detection of the MRSA reservoir. Molecular typing suggests that old age homes are epicenters in amplifying the MRSA burden in acute hospitals. Enhancement of infection control measures in old age homes is important for the control of MRSA in hospitals.
There have been efforts to develop alternative transparent conductors to replace indium tin oxide (ITO). A hybrid transparent conductor that integrates a metallic Cu grid and graphene film promises to be a suitable candidate. Flexibility, sheet resistance, and transmittance comparable to ITO have been demonstrated. Here, we show that the optical and electrical properties of the hybrid transparent conductor can be easily tuned by clever design of the metal grid. The outcome of our study provides unprecedented guidelines for future design of metal grids integrated in transparent conductors. We also find that the graphene film forms an effective barrier to retard the degradation of the copper grid when the hybrid transparent conductor is heated in air up to high temperatures for an extended period of time. Hence, a superior hybrid transparent conductor, which can be carefully engineered to display desirable properties, has been demonstrated.
Transparent electronic devices that retain their electrical properties upon stretching and twisting are envisioned to be used in transparent wearable electronics and stretchable displays. An integral part of stretchable transparent electronic devices is the stretchable transparent conductor. In this work, we demonstrate biaxially stretchable transparent conductors that use metallic single-walled carbon nanotube films. Two dimensionally buckled metallic single-walled carbon nanotube films are realized. The “wavy” film “flattens out” when stretched and its electrical resistance hardly changes up to 3% applied strain. A similar film without any buckled structures suffers a severe degradation in electrical conductivity. Besides exhibiting stretchability, these transparent conductors display good sheet resistance (down to 3 kΩ/□) and transmittance (∼ 80% at a wavelength of 550 nm).
Charcoal-burning has become a common method of attempted suicide in Asia and survivors are often intoxicated with carbon monoxide (CO). Reports of the neuropsychiatric aspects of CO poisoning date back to 1914. This article outlines the neuropsychiatric sequelae that have been described secondary to CO poisoning. The underlying pathophysiology and management strategies, including acute management and cognitive rehabilitation, are discussed as these topics are of relevance to psychiatrists.