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Although the efficacy of endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) for acute ischemic stroke caused by intracranial anterior circulation large vessel occlusion (LVO) is proven, demonstration of local effectiveness is critical for health system planning and resource allocation because of the complexity and cost of this treatment.
Using our prospective registry, we identified all patients who underwent EVT for out-of-hospital LVO stroke from February 1, 2013 through January 31, 2017 (n = 44), and matched them 1:1 in a hierarchical fashion with control patients not treated with EVT based on age (±5 years), prehospital functional status, stroke syndrome, severity, and thrombolysis administration. Demographics, in-hospital mortality, discharge disposition from acute care, length of hospitalization, and functional status at discharge from acute care and at follow-up were compared between cases and controls.
For EVT-treated patients (median age 66, 50% women), the median onset-to-recanalization interval was 247 min, and successful recanalization was achieved in 30/44 (91%). Alteplase was administered in 75% of cases and 57% of controls (p = 0.07). In-hospital mortality was 11% among the cases and 36% in the control group (p = 0.006); this survival benefit persisted during follow-up (p = 0.014). More EVT patients were discharged home from acute care (50% vs. 18%, p = 0.002). Among survivors, there were nonsignificant trends in favor of EVT for median length of hospitalization (14 vs. 41 days, p = 0.11) and functional independence at follow-up (51% vs. 32%, p = 0.079).
EVT improved survival and decreased disability. This demonstration of single-center effectiveness may help facilitate expansion of EVT services in similar health-care jurisdictions.
Endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) is efficacious for ischemic stroke caused by proximal intracranial large-vessel occlusion involving the anterior cerebral circulation. However, evidence of its cost-effectiveness, especially in a real-world setting, is limited. We assessed whether EVT ± tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) was cost-effective when compared with standard care ± tPA at our center.
We identified patients treated with EVT ± tPA after the Endovascular treatment for Small Core and Anterior circulation Proximal occlusion with Emphasis on minimizing computed tomography to recanalization times trial from our prospective stroke registry from February 1, 2013 to January 31, 2017. Patients admitted before February 2013 and treated with standard care ± tPA constitute the controls. The sample size was 88. Cost-effectiveness was assessed using the net monetary benefit (NMB). Differences in average costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were estimated using the augmented inverse probability weighted estimator. We accounted for sampling and methodological uncertainty in sensitivity analyses.
Patients treated with EVT ± tPA had a net gain of 2.89 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.93–4.99] QALYs at an additional cost of $22,200 (95% CI: −28,902–78,244) per patient compared with the standard care ± tPA group. The NMB was $122,300 (95% CI: −4777–253,133) with a 0.85 probability of being cost-effective. The expected savings to the healthcare system would amount to $321,334 per year.
EVT ± tPA had higher costs and higher QALYs compared with the control, and is likely to be cost-effective at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $50,000 per QALY.
Simultaneous PET/MR/EEG (Positron Emission Tomography – Magnetic Resonance – Electroencephalography), a new tool for the investigation of neuronal networks in the human brain, is presented here within the framework of the European Union Project TRIMAGE. The trimodal, cost-effective PET/MR/EEG imaging tool makes use of cutting edge technology both in PET and in MR fields. A novel type of magnet (1.5T, non-cryogenic) has been built together with a PET scanner that makes use of the most advanced photodetectors (i.e., SiPM matrices), scintillators matrices (LYSO) and digital electronics. The combined PET/MR/EEG system is dedicated to brain imaging and has an inner diameter of 260 mm and an axial Field-of-View of 160 mm.
It enables the acquisition and assessment of molecular metabolic information with high spatial and temporal resolution in a given brain simultaneously. The dopaminergic system and the glutamatergic system in schizophrenic patients are investigated via PET, the same physiological/pathophysiological conditions with regard to functional connectivity, via fMRI, and its electrophysiological signature via EEG. In addition to basic neuroscience questions addressing neurovascular-metabolic coupling, this new methodology lays the foundation for individual physiological and pathological fingerprints for a wide research field addressing healthy aging, gender effects, plasticity and different psychiatric and neurological diseases.
The preliminary performances of two components of the imaging tool (PET and MR) are discussed. Initial results of the search of possible candidates for suitable schizophrenia biomarkers are also presented as obtained with PET/MR systems available to the collaboration.
Extinction is the complete loss of a species, but the accuracy of that status depends on the overall information about the species. Dracaena umbraculifera was described in 1797 from a cultivated plant attributed to Mauritius, but repeated surveys failed to relocate it and it was categorized as Extinct on the IUCN Red List. However, several individuals labelled as D. umbraculifera grow in botanical gardens, suggesting that the species’ IUCN status may be inaccurate. The goal of this study was to understand (1) where D. umbraculifera originated, (2) which species are its close relatives, (3) whether it is extinct, and (4) the identity of the botanical garden accessions and whether they have conservation value. We sequenced a cpDNA region of Dracaena from Mauritius, botanical garden accessions labelled as D. umbraculifera, and individuals confirmed to be D. umbraculifera based on morphology, one of which is a living plant in a private garden. We included GenBank accessions of Dracaena from Madagascar and other locations and reconstructed the phylogeny using Bayesian and parsimony approaches. Phylogenies indicated that D. umbraculifera is more closely related to Dracaena reflexa from Madagascar than to Mauritian Dracaena. As anecdotal information indicated that the living D. umbraculifera originated from Madagascar, we conducted field expeditions there and located five wild populations; the species’ IUCN status should therefore be Critically Endangered because < 50 wild individuals remain. Although the identity of many botanical garden samples remains unresolved, this study highlights the importance of living collections for facilitating new discoveries and the importance of documenting and conserving the flora of Madagascar.
The objective of this paper is to present a qualitative study of introducing substance misuse screening using the Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model, in primary care in Abu Dhabi.
Substance misuse in the UAE is an increasing problem. However religious beliefs and fear of legal consequences have prevented this topic from being openly discussed, risk levels identified through screening and treatment options offered.
A controlled trial was undertaken which included a qualitative process study which is reported here. Qualitative interviews with primary care physicians from two intervention clinics were undertaken to explore their views, experiences and attitudes towards substance misuse management in their clinic. Physicians were trained on SBIRT and on the research project process and documentation. At completion of the project, 10 months after the training, physicians (n=17) were invited to participate in an interview to explore their experiences of training and implementation of SBIRT. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Inductive thematic coding was applied.
In total, 11 physicians were interviewed and three main themes emerged: (1) The SBIRT screening project, (2) cultural issues and (3) patient follow-up. Findings revealed a general willingness toward the concept of screening and delivering brief interventions in primary care although increased workload and uncertainties about remuneration for the service may be a barrier to future implementation. There was a perceived problem of substance misuse that was not currently being met and a strong perception that patients were not willing to reveal substance use due cultural barriers and fear of police involvement. In conclusion this qualitative process evaluation provided essential insight into implementing SBIRT in the Middle East. In conclusion, despite physician willingness and a clinical need for a substance misuse care pathway, the reluctance among patients to admit to substance use in this culture needs to be addressed to enable successful implementation.
High-dose vitamin A supplementation (VAS) may affect mortality to infectious diseases in a sex-differential manner. Here, we analysed the long-term immunological effects of neonatal vitamin A supplementation (NVAS) in 247 children, who had been randomly allocated to 50 000 or 25 000 IU vitamin A (15mg and 7·5mg retinol equivalents, respectively) or placebo at birth. At 4–6 months of age, we assessed bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG) scarification, and we analysed in vitro responses of TNF-α, IL-5, IL-10, IL-13 and IFN-γ in whole blood stimulations to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), purified protein derivative (PPD), tetanus toxoid and lipopolysaccharide. There were no differences between the two doses of NVAS, and thus they were analysed combined as NVAS (any dose) v. placebo. All analyses were performed unstratified and by sex. NVAS increased the chance of having a scar after BCG vaccination in females (NVAS v. placebo: 96 v. 71 %, proportion ratio: 1·24; 95 % CI 1·09, 1·42), but not in males (Pfor interaction=0·012). NVAS was associated with significant sex-differential effects on the pro- to anti-inflammatory cytokine ratios (TNF-α:IL-10) to PPD, tetanus toxoid and medium alone, which were increased in females but decreased in males. In addition, IL-17 responses tended to be increased in NVAS v. placebo recipients in males but not in females, significantly so for the PHA stimulation. The study corroborates sex-differential effects of VAS on the immune system, emphasising the importance of analysing VAS effects by sex.
This project evaluated the effectiveness of screening brief intervention and referral for treatment (SBIRT) in primary care in Abu Dhabi to manage patients with problematic substance use. This study aimed to determine whether: (i) training primary care physicians on the SBIRT model increased the identification of patients using substances at a harmful, hazardous or dependent level; (ii) training improved physicians’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs in self-efficacy in managing substance use.
Substance use is increasing in the United Arab Emirates yet there has been no formal primary care intervention. SBIRT was considered an appropriate model given its endorsement by the WHO.
A controlled trial (two intervention and two matched control clinics) was undertaken. Intervention physicians (n=17) were trained in SBIRT. Physicians’ attitudes were measured before and after training and eight months after implementation. Target recruitment was 900 patients. Inclusion criteria were: consenting UAE national, ⩾18 years, using the ‘walk-in’ primary care clinic. Patient data was collected by physician-administered questionnaire. Prevalence of drug use was measured through electronic patient records.
A total of 906 patients were screened, aged 18–82 years and 496 (55%) were female. Of these, 5.7% reported use of amphetamine, 3.9% alcohol, 3.3%, sedatives, 1.7% opioids and 1.1% cannabis. In all, 21 people had a moderate/high ASSIST score and received a brief intervention, but did not attend follow-up; three high-risk people were referred for specialist treatment. Physicians’ attitudes towards patients with problematic substance use and providing treatment improved after training, but returned to pre-training levels after eight months. Including the 21 individuals identified from intervention screening, the prevalence of substance use increased to 0.208% (95% CI 0.154–0.274), significantly higher than in control clinics (P<0.001).
In conclusion, physicians were generally positive towards SBIRT and SBIRT increased recorded drug related conditions at a practice level. However, poor patient attendance at follow-up requires investigation.
Many sustainability assessment frameworks have been developed in recent years, but translating them into practical tools to guide decision making remains challenging. By engaging coffee stakeholders in Uganda, we demonstrate a process of translating the widely-accepted framework for Sustainability Assessments of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA), developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), to smallholder production systems. Stakeholders prioritized the sustainability themes in terms of relevance and feasibility, and subsequently identified relevant sub-themes. We find that the structure and scope of some generally accepted themes need appropriate modifications in order to address the social and structural heterogeneity of smallholder production systems. Although importance and feasibility rankings significantly vary within and between stakeholder groups, governance and economic themes are commonly perceived as very important though equally the least feasible for smallholders. Thus, the inclusion of the ‘farmer-group’ structure as part of the sustainability assessment criteria is perceived as necessary especially toward achieving governance-related goals. These findings emphasize the need of engaging stakeholders in defining locally adapted sustainability assessment criteria.
As WHO recommends vitamin A supplementation (VAS) at vaccination contacts after age 6 months, many children receive VAS together with measles vaccine (MV). We aimed to investigate the immunological effect of VAS given with MV. Within a randomised placebo-controlled trial investigating the effect on overall mortality of providing VAS with vaccines in Guinea-Bissau, we conducted an immunological sub-study of VAS v. placebo with MV, analysing leucocyte counts, whole blood in vitro cytokine production, vitamin A status and concentration of C-reactive protein (CRP). VAS compared with placebo was associated with an increased frequency of CRP≥5 mg/l (28 v. 12 %; P=0·005). Six weeks after supplementation, VAS had significant sex-differential effects on leucocyte, lymphocyte, monocyte and basophil cell counts, decreasing them in males but increasing them in females. Mainly in females, the effect of VAS on cytokine responses differed by previous VAS: in previous VAS recipients, VAS increased the pro-inflammatory and T helper cell type 1 (Th1) cytokine responses, whereas VAS decreased these responses in previously unsupplemented children. In previous VAS recipients, VAS was associated with increased IFN-γ responses to phytohaemagglutinin in females (geometric mean ratio (GMR): 3·97; 95 % CI 1·44, 10·90) but not in males (GMR 0·44; 95 % CI 0·14, 1·42); the opposite was observed in previously unsupplemented children. Our results corroborate that VAS provided with MV has immunological effects, which may depend on sex and previous VAS. VAS may increase the number of leucocytes, but also repress both the innate and lymphocyte-derived cytokine responses in females, whereas this repression may be opposite if the females have previously received VAS.
Person-centered care (PCC) is a widely recognized concept in dementia research and care. Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) is a method for implementing PCC. Prior studies have yielded heterogeneous results regarding the effectiveness of DCM for people with dementia (PwD). We aimed to investigate the effectiveness of DCM with regard to quality of life (QoL) and challenging behavior in PwD in nursing homes (NHs).
Leben-QD II is an 18-month, three-armed, pragmatic quasi-experimental trial. The sample of PwD was divided into three groups with three living units per group: (A) DCM applied since 2009, (B) DCM newly introduced during the study, and (C) a control intervention based on a regular and standardized QoL rating. The primary outcome was QoL measured with the Quality of Life-Alzheimer's Disease (QoL-AD) proxy, and the secondary outcomes were QoL (measured with QUALIDEM) and challenging behavior (measured with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Nursing Home version, NPI-NH).
There were no significant differences either between the DCM intervention groups and the control group or between the two DCM intervention groups regarding changes in the primary or secondary outcomes. At baseline, the estimated least square means of the QoL-AD proxy for groups A, B, and C were 32.54 (confidence interval, hereafter CI: 29.36–35.72), 33.62 (CI: 30.55–36.68), and 30.50 (CI: 27.47–33.52), respectively. The DCM groups A (31.32; CI: 28.15–34.48) and B (27.60; CI: 24.51–30.69) exhibited a reduction in QoL values, whereas group C exhibited an increase (32.54; CI: 29.44–35.64) after T2.
DCM exhibited no statistically significant effect in terms of QoL and challenging behavior of PwD in NHs. To increase the likelihood of a positive effect for PwD, it is necessary to ensure successful implementation of the intervention.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the unification of Germany in 1990 allowed East Germans to finally travel freely to western countries. This new freedom to travel to the West not only impacted the worldview of many former GDR citizens, but also found its way into the writings of East German authors throughout the 1990s and into the present. In her study on contemporary German literature around the turn of the twenty-first century, the literary critic Christine Cosentino examines several tendencies by which contemporary German authors deal with America in their texts. One tendency she describes is “die Reise in die USA als Topos für die Suche nach Identität, die den politischen Hintergrund weitgehend ausspart” (the journey to the USA as a symbol for the search for identity, which largely leaves out the political background). This tendency—finding one's identity by traveling to America—is noticeable in literature by East German authors from the 1990s, one of whom is Angela Krauß. In many of her works, particularly in her novels Die Überfliegerin (1995) and Milliarden neuer Sterne (1999), travel to America is a catalyst for the narrator experiencing her own identity in relation to past experiences, specifically her life in East German society. The exploration of the new world manifests itself in these texts as a discovery of the narrator's inner self.
Sophie von La Roche's America novel, Erscheinungen am See Oneida (Phenomena at Lake Oneida, 1798), centers on a French aristocratic couple from Flanders who go to live on a remote island in upstate New York. Carl and Emilie von Wattines have fled to the United States from the French revolutionary Terror, in which several of their relatives lost their lives. On advice from a Quaker friend in Philadelphia, they find their way to an island in Oneida Lake. There they live without contact with other Europeans for four years, producing two children and making a modest life for themselves, before moving to a new town founded by Dutch and German settlers on the lakeshore. A narrator traveling in the region pieces their story together from what he learns from them and their friends. At the crux of the tale is how the Wattineses, Crusoe-like, manage to survive in their isolation.
Three factors play a role. First, in spite of being aristocrats, they possess a bourgeois ethic, demonstrating qualities like modesty, hard work, and resourcefulness that help them to thrive. Second, they have brought a whole library of reference books with them, including the entire Encyclopédie and Buffon's Histoire naturelle, to which they frequently refer for how-to information. Finally and most interestingly, Emilie Wattines decides to reach out and make contact with the local indigenous people, the Oneidas, when she is about to give birth.
In recent years, the works by the German-Jewish poet Gertrud Kolmar (1894–1943) have found renewed interest among scholars. Raised in the upper middle class of Berlin and fully acculturated in the German cultural heritage, Gertrud Kolmar was persecuted, under the pressure of the National Socialist regime, because of her Jewish roots. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she chose to remain in Nazi Berlin and continued to write until her death in Auschwitz in 1943. Even though her published work spanned the innovative period between 1917 and 1937, Kolmar's poetic oeuvre from the years 1927 to 1937 has received the most attention. Though neglected by scholars, Kolmar's earlier work is fascinating precisely because it gives prescient insight into her poetic adaptations of questions concerning place, power, and gender at the end of the First World War.
My essay investigates an early poem in Kolmar's work: “Die Aztekin” (The Aztec Woman), written around 1920 and published in Früher Zyklus I. In memoriam 1918. Kolmar's “Aztekin” illustrates a testing ground for colonial fantasies and gendered mappings in its imaginary space of a poetic “Aztec empire.” The poem responds not only to preestablished writings on gendered conquests in the New World but also, more specifically, rewrites them in the perceived context of an imperial apocalypse in and after 1918, between megalomaniacal power struggles and the collapse of the Wilhelmine empire.