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Introduction: Emergency Department (ED) crowding is an international health system issue that is worsening. Further, ED crowding and “hallway medicine” has been identified as one of the most significant healthcare challenges currently facing Canadians. One contributor is preventable transfers from long-term care facilities (LTCFs) to Emergency Departments (EDs). In Canada, there were 63,752 LTCF patient transfers to the ED in 2014, with 24% (15,202) of them due to potentially preventable conditions. Each preventable transfer exposes patients to transport and hospital-related complications, and costs the healthcare system thousands of dollars. There have been many proposed and studied interventions aimed at alleviating the issue, but few attempts to assess and evaluate different interventions across institutions in a systematic manner. Methods: A scoping review of the literature using three electronic databases was conducted. A scoping review methodology was used due to the range of interventions and the heterogeneity in study design and outcome. Inclusion criteria included: studies on interventions designed to reduce transfers from LTCFs, studies that reported key outcomes such as number of ED transfers, and studies with a control or comparison group. Articles were screened by two independent reviewers (Cohen's k = 0.68), and study quality was assessed using the National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute quality assessment tools. Results: Findings were organized into five intervention types (telemedicine, outreach teams, interdisciplinary teams, integrated approaches, and other), and both a tabular and narrative synthesis was completed. Eleven studies had a good quality assessment rating, 13 studies had a fair rating, and two studies had a poor rating. Twenty out of the 26 studies reported statistically significant reductions in ED transfer rate, ranging from 10-70%. Interdisciplinary healthcare teams staffed within LTCFs were the most effective interventions. Conclusion: There are several promising interventions that have successfully reduced the number of preventable transfers from LTCFs to EDs, in a variety of health system settings. Further analysis of the relative resource requirements of each intervention, and practices that can enable successful implementation are needed to inform healthcare policy and administrative decision making. Widespread implementation of these interventions has the potential to considerably reduce ED crowding.
There is strong research evidence to support the pharmacological treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a second line to trauma-focused psychological interventions. Fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline and venlafaxine are the best-evidenced drugs, with lower-level evidence for other medications. It is important that prescribing for PTSD is evidence-based.
The Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) is host to a broadband, multimode seismic wavefield that is excited in response to atmospheric, oceanic and solid Earth source processes. A 34-station broadband seismographic network installed on the RIS from late 2014 through early 2017 produced continuous vibrational observations of Earth's largest ice shelf at both floating and grounded locations. We characterize temporal and spatial variations in broadband ambient wavefield power, with a focus on period bands associated with primary (10–20 s) and secondary (5–10 s) microseism signals, and an oceanic source process near the ice front (0.4–4.0 s). Horizontal component signals on floating stations overwhelmingly reflect oceanic excitations year-round due to near-complete isolation from solid Earth shear waves. The spectrum at all periods is shown to be strongly modulated by the concentration of sea ice near the ice shelf front. Contiguous and extensive sea ice damps ocean wave coupling sufficiently so that wintertime background levels can approach or surpass those of land-sited stations in Antarctica.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Chemically defended benthic macroalgae that dominate shallow, hard bottom communities along the western Antarctic Peninsula support very high densities of mesograzers, particularly amphipods but also small gastropods. Previous studies have demonstrated that the macroalgae and amphipods form a mutualistic relationship. The chemically defended macroalgae provide the amphipods with a refuge from predation while the macroalgae benefit from the amphipods greatly reducing surface fouling by smaller algae. One of the three most important macroalgae in terms of overstory cover, Himantothallus grandifolius, forms huge blades that can carpet the benthos. Field observations suggest that gastropods may be higher in relative abundance in proportion to amphipods on H. grandifolius than on other overstory macroalgae. The present study documents the finding that natural abundances of gastropods on H. grandifolius maintained in mesocosms reduce fouling by microscopic algae, primarily diatoms. However, amphipods are probably also important in keeping the macroalga clean of diatoms in nature. In a smaller scale experiment, three gastropod species were differentially effective at reducing diatom coverage on H. grandifolius. The hypothesis that gastropods benefit from associating with H. grandifolius in potentially gaining a refuge from sea-star predation was also tested but not supported by the experimental results.
In a rational world, scientific effort would reflect society's needs. We tested this hypothesis using the area of infectious diseases, where the research response to emerging threats has obvious potential to save lives through informing interventions such as vaccination and prevention policies. Pathogens continue to evolve, emerge and re-emerge and infectious diseases that were once common become less so or their global distribution changes. A question remains as to whether scientific endeavours can adapt. Here, we identified papers on infectious diseases published in the four highest ranking, health-related journals over the 118 years from 1900. Focussing on outbreak-related and burden of disease-related metrics over the two time periods, 1990 to 2017 and 1900 to 2017, our analyses suggest that there is little underrepresentation of important infectious diseases among top ranked journals. Encouragingly our results suggest the scientific process is largely self-correcting.
Here we present the synthesis of porous platinum–palladium macrobeams templated from high aspect ratio Magnus’ salt needle derivatives. The combination of [PtCl4]2− and/or [PdCl4]2− with [Pt(NH3)4]2+ ions results in salt needles ranging from 15 to 300 µm in length. Electrochemical reduction of the salt templates results in porous macrobeams with a square cross-section. Porous side wall texture and elemental composition was controlled with initial platinum to palladium salt ratio. Macrobeam free-standing films exhibited a specific capacitance up to 11.73 F/g and a solvent accessible surface area of 26.6 m2/g. These salt-templated porous platinum–palladium macrobeams offer a promising material for fuel cell catalysis.
The American College of Cardiology Quality Network enables national benchmarking and collaborative quality improvement through vetted metrics. We describe here our initial experience with the Quality Network.
Quarterly data for metrics pertaining to chest pain, Kawasaki disease, tetralogy of Fallot, elevated body mass index, and others were shared with the collaboratives for benchmarking. National improvement efforts focussed on counselling for elevated body mass index and 22q11.2 testing in tetralogy of Fallot. Improvement strategies included developing multi-disciplinary workgroups, educational materials, and electronic health record advances.
Chest pain metric performance was high compared with national means: obtaining family history (90–100% versus 51–77%), electrocardiogram (100% versus 89–99%), and echocardiogram for exertional complaints (95–100% versus 74–96%). Kawasaki metric performance was high, including obtaining coronary measurements (100% versus 85–97%), prescribing aspirin (100% versus 86–99%), follow-up with imaging (100% versus 85–98%), and documenting no activity restriction without coronary aneurysms (83–100% versus 64–93%). Counselling for elevated body mass index was variable (25–75% versus 31–50%) throughout quality improvement efforts. Testing for 22q11.2 deletion in tetralogy of Fallot patients was consistently above the national mean (60–85% versus 54–68%) with improved genetics data capture.
The Quality Network promotes meaningful benchmarking and collaborative quality improvement. Our high performance for chest pain and Kawasaki metrics is likely related to previous improvement efforts in chest pain management and a dedicated Kawasaki team. Uptake of counselling for elevated body mass index is variable; stronger engagement among numerous providers is needed. Recommendations for 22q11.2 testing in tetralogy of Fallot were widely recognised and implemented.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) represent a disease continuum with common genetic causes and molecular pathology. We recently identified mutations in the T-cell restricted intracellular antigen-1 (TIA1) protein as a cause of ALS +/− FTD. TIA1 is an RNA-binding protein containing a low complexity domain (LCD) that promotes the assembly of membrane-less organelles, such as stress granules (SG). Whole exome sequencing of two family members with fALS/FTD revealed a novel missense mutation in the TIA1 LCD (P362L). Subsequent screening identified five more TIA1 mutations in six additional ALS patients, but none in controls. All mutation carriers presented with weakness, behavioral abnormalities or language impairments and had a final diagnosis of ALS +/− FTD. Autopsy on five TIA1 mutation carriers showed widespread neurodegeneration with TDP-43 pathology. Round eosinophilic inclusions in lower motor neurons were a consistent feature. Cellular assays revealed abnormal SG dynamics in the presence of TIA1 mutations. In summary, missense mutations in the LCD of TIA1 are a newly recognized cause of ALS/FTD with TDP-43 pathology and strengthen the role of RNA metabolism in the pathogenesis in this disease.
Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) continues to produce a significant burden of disease in New Zealand (NZ) Māori and Pacific peoples. Serious limitations in national surveillance data mean that accurate case totals cannot be generated. Given the changing epidemiology of ARF in NZ and the major national rheumatic fever prevention programme (2012–2017), we updated our previous likely true case number estimates using capture–recapture analyses. Aims were to estimate the likely true incidence of ARF in NZ and comment on the changing ability to detect cases. Data were obtained from national hospitalisation and notification databases. The Chapman Estimate partially adjusted for bias. An estimated 2342 likely true new cases arose from 1997 to 2015, giving a mean annual incidence of 2·9 per 100 000 (95% CI 2·5–3·5). Compared with the pre-intervention (2009–2011) baseline incidence (3·4 per 100 000, 95% CI 2·9–4·0), the likely true 2015 incidence declined 44%. Large gaps in data completeness are slowly closing. During the period 2012–2015, 723 cases were identified; 83·8% of notifications were matched to hospitalisation data, and 87·2% of hospitalisations matched to notifications. Despite this improvement, clinicians need to remain aware of the need to notify atypical patients. A possible unintended consequence of the national ARF prevention programme is increased misdiagnosis.
Central nervous system infections (CNSI) are a leading cause of death and long-term disability in children. Using ICD-10 data from 2005 to 2015 from three central hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam, we exploited generalized additive mixed models (GAMM) to examine the spatial-temporal distribution and spatial and climatic risk factors of paediatric CNSI, excluding tuberculous meningitis, in this setting. From 2005 to 2015, there were 9469 cases of paediatric CNSI; 33% were ⩽1 year old at admission and were mainly diagnosed with presumed bacterial CNSI (BI) (79%), the remainder were >1 year old and mainly diagnosed with presumed non-bacterial CNSI (non-BI) (59%). The urban districts of HCMC in proximity to the hospitals as well as some outer districts had the highest incidences of BI and non-BI; BI incidence was higher in the dry season. Monthly BI incidence exhibited a significant decreasing trend over the study. Both BI and non-BI were significantly associated with lags in monthly average temperature, rainfall, and river water level. Our findings add new insights into this important group of infections in Vietnam, and highlight where resources for the prevention and control of paediatric CNSI should be allocated.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
We aimed to describe the natural history of heavy episodic drinking (HED) and associated harms from adolescence to young adulthood in a large Australian population cohort study.
The Australian Temperament Project consists of mothers and babies (4–8 months) recruited from Infant Welfare Centres and followed every 2 to 4 years until age 28 years. Analyses were based on data from 1156 young people (497 male; 659 female) surveyed repeatedly at ages 16, 18, 20, 24 and 28 years. We used dual processes latent class growth analysis to estimate trajectories of HED and associated harms, employing a piecewise approach to model the hypothesized rise and subsequent fall across adolescence and the late twenties, respectively.
We identified four sex-specific trajectories and observed little evidence of maturing-out across the twenties. In males, a normative pattern of increasing HED across the twenties with little related harm was observed (40% of the male sample). Early and late starter groups that peaked in harms at age 20 years with only minor attenuation in binging thereafter were also observed (6.1% and 35%, respectively). In females, a normative pattern of increasing, but moderate, HED with little related harm was observed (44% of the female sample). Early and late starter groups were also identified (18% and 17%, respectively); however, unlike males, the female late starter group showed a pattern of increasing HED and related harms.
Continued patterns of risky alcohol use and related harms are apparent for both males and females across the twenties.
Background: Standardized data collection for traumatic brain injury (TBI) (including concussion) using common data elements (CDEs) has strengthened clinical care and research capacity in the United States and Europe. Currently, Ontario healthcare providers do not collect uniform data on adult patients diagnosed with concussion. Objective: The Ontario Concussion Care Strategy (OCCS) is a collaborative network of multidisciplinary healthcare providers, brain injury advocacy groups, patient representatives, and researchers with a shared vision to improve concussion care across the province, starting with the collection of standardized data. Methods: The International Framework of Functioning Disability and Health was selected as the conceptual framework to inform the selection of CDEs. The CDEs recommended by the OCCS were identified using key literature, including the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke–Zurich Consensus Statements for concussion in sport and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation Concussion/mTBI clinical guidelines. Results: The OCCS has recommended and piloted CDEs for Ontario that are readily available at no cost, clinically relevant, patient friendly, easy to interpret, and recognized by the international scientific community. Conclusions: The implementation of CDEs can help to shift Ontario toward internationally recognized standard data collection, and in so doing yield a more comprehensive evidence-based approach to care while also supporting rigorous research.
Predicting recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (rCDI) remains difficult. METHODS. We employed a retrospective cohort design. Granular electronic medical record (EMR) data had been collected from patients hospitalized at 21 Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals. The derivation dataset (2007–2013) included data from 9,386 patients who experienced incident CDI (iCDI) and 1,311 who experienced their first CDI recurrences (rCDI). The validation dataset (2014) included data from 1,865 patients who experienced incident CDI and 144 who experienced rCDI. Using multiple techniques, including machine learning, we evaluated more than 150 potential predictors. Our final analyses evaluated 3 models with varying degrees of complexity and 1 previously published model.
Despite having a large multicenter cohort and access to granular EMR data (eg, vital signs, and laboratory test results), none of the models discriminated well (c statistics, 0.591–0.605), had good calibration, or had good explanatory power.
Our ability to predict rCDI remains limited. Given currently available EMR technology, improvements in prediction will require incorporating new variables because currently available data elements lack adequate explanatory power.
Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for schizophrenia founded on Western belief systems and values may not be efficacious in different cultures without adaptation. This systematic review analyses the nature and outcomes of culturally-adapted psychosocial interventions in schizophrenia, examining how interventions have been adapted, their efficacy and what features drive heterogeneity in outcome.
Articles identified by searching electronic databases from inception to 3 March 2016, reference lists and previous reviews were independently screened by two authors for eligible controlled trials. Data on the nature of adaptations was analysed inductively using thematic analyses. Meta-analyses were conducted using random effects models to calculate effect sizes (Hedges’ g) for symptoms.
Forty-six studies with 7828 participants were included, seven adapted for minority populations. Cultural adaptations were grouped into nine themes: language, concepts and illness models, family, communication, content, cultural norms and practices, context and delivery, therapeutic alliance, and treatment goals. Meta-analyses showed significant post-treatment effects in favour of adapted interventions for total symptom severity (n = 2345, g: −0.23, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.36 to −0.09), positive (n = 1152, g: −0.56, 95% CI −0.86 to −0.26), negative (n = 855, g: −0.39, 95% CI −0.63 to −0.15), and general (n = 525, g: −0.75, CI −1.21 to −0.29) symptoms.
The adaptation process can be described within a framework that serves as a benchmark for development or assessment of future adaptations. Culturally adapted interventions were more efficacious than usual treatment in proportion to the degree of adaptation. There is insufficient evidence to show that adapted interventions are better than non-adapted interventions. Features of context, intervention and design influenced efficacy. Investigating whether adaptation improves efficacy, most importantly amongst ethnic minorities, requires better designed trials with comparisons against unadapted interventions.