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Universal masking for healthcare workers and patients in hospitals was adopted to combat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), with compliance rates of 100% and 75.9%, respectively. Zero rates of nosocomial influenza A, influenza B, and respiratory syncytial virus infection were achieved from February to April 2020, which was significantly lower than the corresponding months in 2017–2019.
This study aimed to evaluate associations between toxoplasmosis and psychiatric disorders in Taiwan based on the National Health Insurance Research Database, Taiwan (1997–2013). Patients newly diagnosed with toxoplasmosis formed the case group (n = 259), and the control group included propensity-score matched patients without toxoplasmosis (n = 1036). The primary outcome was incidence of psychiatric disorders. Cox proportional hazards regression and stratified analyses were performed to examine risk of developing specific psychiatric disorders between patients with and without toxoplasmosis. Patients with toxoplasmosis had significantly higher incidence of psychiatric disorders than those without toxoplasmosis (P = 0.016). A significant difference was found in numbers of psychiatric disorders between the two groups during 14 years of follow-up (log-rank P < 0.001). Those with toxoplasmosis had significantly higher risk of bipolar disorder [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR = 3.60, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.07, 7.26), depression (aHR = 4.94, 95% CI = 2.15, 11.80) and anxiety (aHR = 5.36, 95% CI = 2.98, 25.88), but no significant between-group differences were found for schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. In conclusion, the present nationwide population-based analysis revealed that Toxoplasma gondii infection in Taiwan significantly increases the risk for developing bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety, but not for schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.
Little is known about methylphenidate (MPH) use and mortality outcomes.
To investigate the association between MPH use and mortality among children with an attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis.
This population-based cohort study analysed data from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD). A total of 68 096 children and adolescents aged 4–17 years with an ADHD diagnosis and prescribed MPH between 2000 and 2010 were compared with 68 096 without an MPH prescription, matched on age, gender and year of first ADHD diagnosis. All participants were followed to death, migration, withdrawal from the National Health Insurance programme or 31 December 2013. MPH prescriptions were measured on a yearly basis during the study period, and the association between MPH use and mortality was analysed using a repeated-measures time-dependent Cox regression model. The outcome measures included all-cause, unnatural-cause (including suicide, accident and homicide) and natural-cause mortality, obtained from linkage to the National Mortality Register in Taiwan.
The MPH group had lower unadjusted all-cause, natural-, unnatural- and accident-cause mortality than the comparison group. After controlling for potential confounders, MPH use was associated with a significantly lower all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard ratio AHR = 0.81, 95% CI 0.67–0.98, P = 0.027), delayed use of MPH was associated with higher mortality (AHR = 1.05, 95% CI 1.01–1.09) and longer MPH use was associated with lower mortality (AHR = 0.83, 95% CI 0.70–0.98).
MPH use is associated with a reduced overall mortality in children with ADHD in this cohort study, but unmeasured confounding cannot be excluded absolutely.
Studies have suggested the detrimental effects of obesity and systemic inflammation on the cognitive function of patients with bipolar or major depressive disorder. However, the complex associations between affective disorder, obesity, systemic inflammation, and cognitive dysfunction remain unclear.
Overall, 110 patients with affective disorder (59 with bipolar I disorder and 51 with major depressive disorder) who scored ≥61 on the Global Assessment of Functioning and 51 age- and sex-matched controls were enrolled. Body mass index ≥25 kg/m2 was defined as obesity or overweight. Levels of proinflammatory cytokines—including interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and C-reactive protein (CRP)—were measured, and cognitive function was assessed using various methods, including the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and go/no-go task.
Patients with bipolar I disorder or major depressive disorder were more likely to be obese or overweight, had higher CRP and TNF-α levels, and had greater executive dysfunction in the WCST than the controls. TNF-α level (P < .05) but not affective disorder diagnosis or obesity/overweight was significantly associated with cognitive function deficits, although obesity/overweight and diagnosis were significantly associated with increased TNF-α level.
Our findings may indicate that proinflammatory cytokines, but not obesity or overweight, have crucial effects on cognitive function in patients with bipolar I disorder or major depressive disorder, although proinflammatory cytokines and obesity or overweight were found to be strongly associated. The complex relationships between affective disorder diagnosis, proinflammatory cytokine levels, obesity or overweight, and cognitive function require further investigation.
The role of severe respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)–laden aerosols in the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains uncertain. Discordant findings of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in air samples were noted in early reports.
Sampling of air close to 6 asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 patients with and without surgical masks was performed with sampling devices using sterile gelatin filters. Frequently touched environmental surfaces near 21 patients were swabbed before daily environmental disinfection. The correlation between the viral loads of patients’ clinical samples and environmental samples was analyzed.
All air samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the 6 patients singly isolated inside airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) with 12 air changes per hour. Of 377 environmental samples near 21 patients, 19 (5.0%) were positive by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, with a median viral load of 9.2 × 102 copies/mL (range, 1.1 × 102 to 9.4 × 104 copies/mL). The contamination rate was highest on patients’ mobile phones (6 of 77, 7.8%), followed by bed rails (4 of 74, 5.4%) and toilet door handles (4 of 76, 5.3%). We detected a significant correlation between viral load ranges in clinical samples and positivity rate of environmental samples (P < .001).
SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not detectable by air samplers, which suggests that the airborne route is not the predominant mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Wearing a surgical mask, appropriate hand hygiene, and thorough environmental disinfection are sufficient infection control measures for COVID-19 patients isolated singly in AIIRs. However, this conclusion may not apply during aerosol-generating procedures or in cohort wards with large numbers of COVID-19 patients.
The relationship between the subtypes of psychotic experiences (PEs) and common mental health symptoms remains unclear. The current study aims to establish the 12-month prevalence of PEs in a representative sample of community-dwelling Chinese population in Hong Kong and explore the relationship of types of PEs and common mental health symptoms.
This is a population-based two-phase household survey of Chinese population in Hong Kong aged 16–75 (N = 5719) conducted between 2010 and 2013 and a 2-year follow-up study of PEs positive subjects (N = 152). PEs were measured with Psychosis Screening Questionnaire (PSQ) and subjects who endorsed any item on the PSQ without a clinical diagnosis of psychotic disorder were considered as PE-positive. Types of PEs were characterized using a number of PEs (single v. multiple) and latent class analysis. All PE-positive subjects were assessed with common mental health symptoms and suicidal ideations at baseline and 2-year follow-up. PE status was also assessed at 2-year follow-up.
The 12-month prevalence of PEs in Hong Kong was 2.7% with 21.1% had multiple PEs. Three latent classes of PEs were identified: hallucination, paranoia and mixed. Multiple PEs and hallucination latent class of PEs were associated with higher levels of common mental health symptoms. PE persistent rate at 2-year follow-up was 15.1%. Multiple PEs was associated with poorer mental health at 2-year follow-up.
Results highlighted the transient and heterogeneous nature of PEs, and that multiple PEs and hallucination subtype of PEs may be specific indices of poorer common mental health.
The antidepressant effect of low-dose ketamine infusion on Taiwanese patients with anxious vs nonanxious treatment-resistant depression (ANX-TRD vs NANX-TRD) has remained unknown.
In total, 71 patients with TRD were randomized to three groups. Each group had participants who received saline infusions mixed with 0 (a normal saline infusion), 0.2, and 0.5 mg/kg of ketamine. Participants were followed up for 2 weeks. Anxious depression was defined as major depressive disorder with a total score of 7 or more on the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale Anxiety-Somatization factor. Generalized estimating equation models were used to investigate the effects of treatment (ketamine vs placebo) and depression type (ANX-TRD vs NANX-TRD) in the reduction of depressive symptoms during the follow-up period.
Patients with ANX-TRD were less likely to respond to a single low-dose ketamine infusion than those with NANX-TRD. Among patients with NANX-TRD, low-dose ketamine infusion was significantly superior to placebo for reducing depressive symptoms. However, among patients with ANX-TRD, ketamine was not superior to placebo; nonetheless, approximately 30% of the patients responded to ketamine infusion compared to 13% who responded to the placebo.
Low-dose ketamine infusion was effective for Taiwanese patients with NANX-TRD but not so effective for those with ANX-TRD. A higher level of anxiety severity accompanying depression was related to greater depression severity. This may confound and reduce the antidepressant effect of ketamine infusion.
It is well-known that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with changes in the dopaminergic system. However, the relationship between central dopaminergic tone and the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal during receipt of rewards and penalties in the corticostriatal pathway in adults with ADHD is unclear.
Single-photon emission computed tomography with [99mTC]TRODAT-1 was used to assess striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) availability. Event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging was conducted on subjects performing the Iowa Gambling Test.
DAT availability was found to be associated with the BOLD response, which was a covariate of monetary loss, in the medial prefrontal cortex (r = 0.55, P = .03), right ventral striatum (r = 0.69, P = .003), and right orbital frontal cortex (r = 0.53, P = .03) in adults with ADHD. However, a similar correlation was not found in the controls.
The results confirmed that dopaminergic tone may play a different role in the penalty-elicited response of adults with ADHD. It is plausible that a lower neuro-threshold accompanied by insensitivity to punishment could be exacerbated by the hypodopaminergic tone in ADHD.
This study aimed to describe outcomes in four women aged 28–34 years with central cytoplasmic granulation (CCG) of the oocytes who underwent in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) using gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist to replace human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) as a trigger of final oocyte maturation. The initial ICSI procedure showed that all four women had CCG of the ooplasm and poor quality embryos. Subsequent ICSI used an antagonist protocol with a GnRH agonist trigger replacing the agonist protocol, plus hCG triggered ovulation. Ooplasm and embryo quality were improved in all four patients. All four became pregnant and gave birth to live infants. This study provides GnRH agonist triggering that may improve ooplasm granularity and embryo quality.
Has the eurozone (EZ) really gained from integration? This study applied two econometric frameworks, mGARCH and gMMPI, to test this hypothesis, using panel data that span 1996–2014, a total of 19 years, involving the EZ, EU, G8, G20 and some emerging economies. The empirical outcomes initially showed that the EZ economies experienced neither superior output growth nor a better capital market return than non-EZ economies or the pre-EZ period. They further suggested that each EZ country had a higher degree of risk bearing and, as a group, a greater risk linkage. Moreover, the results indicated that the EZ had a higher productivity gain if the risk premium was counted as part of productivity. Nonetheless, the EZ did not show a substantial productivity gain when the effect of the risk factor was controlled. The ratio of risk bearing to risk premium gain was shown to be 1 to 0.97. The general conclusion is that, other than the risk premium, there was no extra productivity gain for the EZ from taking the risk.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with a higher risk of burn injury than in the normal population. Nevertheless, the influence of methylphenidate (MPH) on the risk of burn injury remains unclear. This retrospective cohort study analysed the effect of MPH on the risk of burn injury in children with ADHD.
Data were from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD). The sample comprised individuals younger than 18 years with a diagnosis of ADHD (n = 90 634) in Taiwan's NHIRD between January 1996 and December 2013. We examined the cumulative effect of MPH on burn injury risk using Cox proportional hazards models. We conducted a sensitivity analysis for immortal time bias using a time-dependent Cox model and within-patient comparisons using the self-controlled case series model.
Children with ADHD taking MPH had a reduced risk of burn injury, with a cumulative duration of treatment dose-related effect, compared with those not taking MPH. Compared with children with ADHD not taking MPH, the adjusted hazard ratio for burn injury was 0.70 in children taking MPH for <90 days (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.64–0.77) and 0.43 in children taking MPH for ≥90 days (95% CI 0.40–0.47), with a 50.8% preventable fraction. The negative association of MPH was replicated in age-stratified analysis using time-dependent Cox regression and self-controlled case series models.
This study showed that MPH treatment was associated with a lower risk of burn injury in a cumulative duration of treatment dose-related effect manner.
Maternal supraphysiological estradiol (E2) environment during pregnancy leads to adverse perinatal outcomes. However, the influence of oocyte exposure to high E2 levels on perinatal outcomes remains unknown. Thus, a retrospective cohort study was conducted to explore the effect of high E2 level induced by controlled ovarian stimulation (COH) on further outcomes after frozen embryo transfer (FET). The study included all FET cycles (n = 10,581) between 2014 and 2017. All cycles were categorized into three groups according to the E2 level on the day of the human Chorionic Gonadotropin trigger. Odds ratios (ORs) and their confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to evaluate the association between E2 level during COH and pregnancy outcomes and subsequent neonatal outcomes. From our findings, higher E2 level was associated with lower percentage of chemical pregnancy, clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, and live birth as well as increased frequency of early miscarriage. Preterm births were more common among singletons in women with higher E2 level during COH (aOR1 = 1.93, 95% CI: 1.22–3.06; aOR2 = 2.05, 95% CI: 1.33–3.06). Incidence of small for gestational age (SGA) was more common in both singletons (aOR1 = 2.01, 95% CI: 1.30–3.11; aOR2 = 2.51, 95% CI: 1.69–3.74) and multiples (aOR1 = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.03–2.45; aOR2 = 1.99, 95% CI: 1.05–3.84) among women with relatively higher E2 level. No association was found between high E2 level during COH and the percentage of macrosomia or large for gestational age. In summary, oocyte exposure to high E2 level during COH should be brought to our attention, since the pregnancy rate decreasing and the risk of preterm birth and SGA increasing following FET.
Much effort has been devoted to improving the efficiency of animal cloning. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of BRG1 contained in Xenopus egg extracts on the development of cloned mouse embryos. The results showed that mouse NIH/3T3 cells were able to express pluripotent genes after treatment with egg extracts, indicating that the egg extracts contained reprogramming factors. After co-injection of Xenopus egg extracts and single mouse cumulus cells into enucleated mouse oocytes, statistically higher pronucleus formation and development rates were observed in the egg Extract− co-injected group compared with those in the no egg extract-injected (NT) group (38–66% vs 18–34%, P<0.001). Removal of BRG1 protein from Xenopus egg extracts was conducted, and the BRG1-depleted extracts were co-injected with single donor cells into recipient oocytes. The results showed that the percentages of pronucleus formation were significantly higher in both BRG1-depleted and BRG1-intact groups than that in the nuclear transfer (NT) group (94, 64% vs 50%, P<0.05). Furthermore, percentages in the BRG1-depleted group were even higher than in the BRG1-intact group (94% vs 64%). More confined expression of Oct4 in the inner cell mass (ICM) was observed in the blastocyst derived from the egg extract-injected groups. However, Nanog expression was more contracted in the ICM of cloned blastocysts in the BRG1-depleted group than in the BGR1-intact group. Based on the present study, BRG1 might not play an essential role in reprogramming, but the factors enhancing pronucleus formation and development of cloned mouse embryos are contained in Xenopus egg extracts.
Residual strain often occurs in metal when it was subjected to the tension load, random vibration, or high impact. The mild steel was selected as the research object, and the feasibility of using nonlinear ultrasonic technique to characterize the residual strain was investigated in this paper. First, the mild steel specimens were stretched to several different kinds of stress, then the nonlinear effect as well as the microstrain of each sample was measured. The results indicate that the microstrain increases with increasing applied stress and reaches a maximum value of about 0.036% as the tensile stress increases to the elastic limit. Compared with the original specimen, the nonlinear parameter of tensile specimen gradually increased within the elastic limit. This result reveals that the variation of nonlinear parameter was related to microstrain in mild steel, because the microstructure observation demonstrated that the dislocation structure was basically unchanged within the elastic limit. This research indicates that the nonlinear ultrasonic method has the promising potential to characterize the microstrain in metals.
This study proposes two multimodal frameworks to classify pathological voice samples by combining acoustic signals and medical records. In the first framework, acoustic signals are transformed into static supervectors via Gaussian mixture models; then, a deep neural network (DNN) combines the supervectors with the medical record and classifies the voice signals. In the second framework, both acoustic features and medical data are processed through first-stage DNNs individually; then, a second-stage DNN combines the outputs of the first-stage DNNs and performs classification. Voice samples were recorded in a specific voice clinic of a tertiary teaching hospital, including three common categories of vocal diseases, i.e. glottic neoplasm, phonotraumatic lesions, and vocal paralysis. Experimental results demonstrated that the proposed framework yields significant accuracy and unweighted average recall (UAR) improvements of 2.02–10.32% and 2.48–17.31%, respectively, compared with systems that use only acoustic signals or medical records. The proposed algorithm also provides higher accuracy and UAR than traditional feature-based and model-based combination methods.
To analyze the current development of HTA in China and to identify areas for improvement, we mapped the level of HTA development in China and compared it with the level of HTA development in ten other countries using a survey instrument.
We launched a nationwide survey targeting different stakeholders. For this purpose, we used a validated instrument that enables mapping HTA development in a country using eight domains. The views of the respondents regarding the overall level of HTA development and for each domain were compared with the results of a mapping study that included ten countries.
In total, we received 222 responses, 33 from policy-makers, 158 from researchers, and 31 from industry, as well as health provider representatives including 8 from hospitals, centers for disease control and prevention. We calculated the mean score for the level of HTA development. The overall HTA development for China was scored at 76.4 (out of a maximum of 146). Although the total score for China was comparable to the mean score of 75.6 among the ten countries, China scored significantly lower than the mean score of 117.0 among the three developed countries. In addition, China scored significantly lower in the domain of institutionalization compared to the other ten countries.
China needs to tackle the issue of low HTA institutionalization to strengthen the foundation of HTA development. Future government initiatives that institutionalize HTA, for example, establishing a national HTA system or consortium, will improve the development of HTA in China.
Research on the risk of stroke following the use of mood stabilisers specific to patients with bipolar disorder is limited.
In this study, we investigated the risk of stroke following the exposure to mood stabilisers in patients with bipolar disorder.
Data for this nationwide population-based study were derived from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. Among a retrospective cohort of patients with bipolar disorder (n = 19 433), 609 new-onset cases of stroke were identified from 1999 to 2012. A case–crossover study design utilising 14-day windows was applied to assess the acute exposure effect of individual mood stabilisers on the risk of ischaemic, haemorrhagic and other types of stroke in patients with bipolar disorder.
Mood stabilisers as a group were significantly associated with the increased risk of stroke in patients with bipolar disorder (adjusted risk ratio, 1.26; P = 0.041). Among individual mood stabilisers, acute exposure to carbamazepine had the highest risk of stroke (adjusted risk ratio, 1.68; P = 0.018), particularly the ischaemic type (adjusted risk ratio, 1.81; P = 0.037). In addition, acute exposure to valproic acid elevated the risk of haemorrhagic stroke (adjusted risk ratio, 1.76; P = 0.022). In contrast, acute exposure to lithium and lamotrigine did not significantly increase the risk of any type of stroke.
Use of carbamazepine and valproic acid, but not lithium and lamotrigine, is associated with increased risk of stroke in patients with bipolar disorder.