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Innovation Concept: Research training programs for students, especially in emergency medicine (EM), may be difficult to initiate due to lack of protected time, resources, and mentors (Chang Y, Ramnanan CJ. Academic Medicine 2015). We developed a ten-week summer program for medical students aimed at cultivating research skills through mentorship, clinical enrichment, and immersion in EM research culture through shadowing and project support. Methods: Five second year Ontario medical students were recruited to participate in the Summer Training and Research in Emergency Medicine (STAR-EM) program at University Health Network, Toronto, from June - Aug, 2019. Program design followed review of existing summer research programs and literature regarding challenges to EM research (McRae, Perry, Brehaut et al. CJEM 2018). The program had broad emergency physician (EP) engagement, with five EP research project mentors, and over ten EPs delivering academic sessions. Curriculum development was collaborative and iterative. All projects were approved by the hospital Research Ethics Board (REB). Curriculum, Tool or Material: Each weekly academic morning comprised small group teaching (topics including research methodology, manuscript preparation, health equity, quality improvement, and wellness), followed by EP-led group progress review of each student's project. Each student spent one half day per week in the emergency department (ED), shadowing an EP and identifying patients for recruitment for ongoing mentor-initiated ED research projects. Remaining time was spent on independent student project work. Presentation to faculty and program evaluation occurred in week 10. Scholarly output included one abstract submitted for publication per student. Program evaluation by students reflected a uniform impression that course material and mentorship were each excellent (100%, n = 5). Interest in pursuing academic EM as a career was identified by all students. Faculty researchers rated the program as very effective (80%, n = 4) or somewhat effective (20%, n = 1) in terms of enhancing productivity and scholarly output. Conclusion: The STAR-EM program provides a transferable model for other academic departments seeking to foster the development of future clinician investigators and enhance ED research culture. Program challenges included delays in REB approval for student projects and engaging recalcitrant staff to participate in research.
Introduction: Epidemiologic and modeling studies suggest that between 45 and 70% of individuals with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Canada remain undiagnosed. The Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver (CASL) recommends one-time screening of baby boomers (1945-1975). Screening programs in the US have shown a very high prevalence of previously undiagnosed HCV among patients seen in the emergency department (ED). We sought to assess the feasibility of implementing a targeted birth-cohort HCV screening program in a Canadian ED setting. Methods: Patients born from 1945 to 1975 presenting to the ED of a downtown Toronto hospital were offered HCV testing. Patients with life-threatening conditions, unable to provide verbal consent in English or intoxication were excluded. Blood samples were collected by finger prick on Dried Blood Spot (DBS) collection cards and tested for anti-HCV antibody with reflex to HCV RNA. Patients with positive HCV RNA were referred to a liver specialist. Results: During a 27-month period (July 2017 - Sept 2019), 8363 patients in the birth cohort presented to the ED during daytime hours. 80% (6714) met eligibility criteria, and 48.4% (3247) were offered testing. Screening was performed by non-medical staff (mean 8/day, median spots on DBS 4). 345 (10.6%) had been previously tested, and 639 (19.7%) declined. 2136 (65.8%) patients underwent testing: median age 58.4 years (40-82), 1117 male (52.3%). Of these, 45 patients (2.1%; 95% CI 1.5%-2.7%) were anti-HCV positive: 32 (76.2%) were HCV RNA positive, 10 (23.8%) negative and 3 not done due to inadequate DBS sample. 26 patients (81.3%) were linked to care and 3 (9.4%) lost to follow-up. HCV prevalence in the ED was significantly higher than the general Canadian population (2.1% vs 0.7%; p < 0.0001) but much lower than reported rates in American EDs (2.1% vs 10.3%; p < 0.0001). Conclusion: Acceptance of HCV screening in the ED birth cohort was high and easily performed using DBS to ensure the majority of positive samples were tested for HCV RNA. Challenges included implementation that limited number of people tested, and linkage to care for HCV positive patients. HCV prevalence among this ED birth cohort was higher than the general population but lower than seen in the ED in the US. This may in part be due to exclusion of individuals with more severe medical issues, refusal by higher risk subgroups, or population and healthcare system differences between countries.
We report the results from the first 12 months of a 2-year maintenance phase of a study evaluating long-term efficacy and safety of venlafaxine extended-release (XR) in preventing recurrence of depression.
Patients with recurrent unipolar depression (N=1096) were randomly assigned in a 3:1 ratio to 10-week treatment with venlafaxine XR (75 mg/d to 300 mg/d) or fluoxetine (20 mg/d to 60 mg/d). Responders (HAM-D17 total score ≤12 and ≥50% decrease from baseline) entered a 6-month, double-blind, continuation phase on the same medication. Continuation phase responders enrolled into the maintenance treatment period consisting of 2 consecutive 12-month phases. At the start of each maintenance phase, venlafaxine XR responders were randomly assigned to double-blind treatment with venlafaxine XR or placebo; fluoxetine responders continued for each period. Time to recurrence (HAM-D17 total score >12 and <50% reduction from acute phase baseline at 2 consecutive visits or the last visit prior to discontinuation) was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier methods and compared between groups using log-rank tests.
At the end of the continuation phase, venlafaxine XR responders were randomly assigned to venlafaxine XR (n=164) or placebo (n=172); 129 patients in each group were evaluated for efficacy. The cumulative probability of recurrence through 12 months was 23.1% (95% CI: 15.3, 30.9) for venlafaxine XR and 42.0% (95% CI: 31.8, 52.2) for placebo (P=0.005).
Twelve months of venlafaxine XR maintenance treatment was effective in preventing recurrence in depressed patients who had been successfully treated with venlafaxine XR during acute and continuation therapy.
This study evaluated the efficacy and safety of venlafaxine extended-release (XR) in preventing recurrence of depression.
Outpatients with recurrent unipolar depression (N=1096) were randomly assigned in a 3:1 ratio to 10-week treatment with venlafaxine XR (75 mg/d to 300 mg/d) or fluoxetine (20 mg/d to 60 mg/d). Responders (HAM-D17 ≤12 and ≥50% decrease from baseline) entered a 6-month, double-blind, continuation phase on the same medication. Continuation phase responders enrolled into maintenance treatment consisting of 2 consecutive 12-month phases. At the start of each maintenance phase, venlafaxine XR responders were randomized to double-blind treatment with venlafaxine XR or placebo; fluoxetine responders continued on fluoxetine. Time to recurrence (HAM-D17 >12 and <50% reduction from acute phase baseline at 2 consecutive visits or the last valid visit prior to discontinuation) was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier methods and compared between groups using log-rank tests.
In the second maintenance phase, the cumulative probabilities of recurrence through 12 months in the venlafaxine XR (n=43) and placebo (n=40) groups were 8.0% (95% CI: 0.0, 16.8) and 44.8% (95% CI: 27.6, 62.0), respectively (P<0.001). The probabilities of recurrence over 24 months for patients assigned to venlafaxine XR (n=129) or placebo (n=129) for the first maintenance phase were 28.5% (95% CI 18.3, 37.8) and 47.3% (95% CI 36.4, 58.2), respectively (P=0.005).
An additional 12 months of venlafaxine XR maintenance therapy was effective in preventing recurrence in depressed patients who had responded to venlafaxine XR after acute, continuation, and 12 months' initial maintenance therapy.
The Learning Health System Network clinical data research network includes academic medical centers, health-care systems, public health departments, and health plans, and is designed to facilitate outcomes research, pragmatic trials, comparative effectiveness research, and evaluation of population health interventions.
The Learning Health System Network is 1 of 13 clinical data research networks assembled to create, in partnership with 20 patient-powered research networks, a National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network.
Results and Conclusions
Herein, we describe the Learning Health System Network as an emerging resource for translational research, providing details on the governance and organizational structure of the network, the key milestones of the current funding period, and challenges and opportunities for collaborative science leveraging the network.
We investigated how different models of HIV transmission, and assumptions regarding the distribution of unprotected sex and syringe-sharing events (‘risk acts’), affect quantitative understanding of HIV transmission process in people who inject drugs (PWID). The individual-based model simulated HIV transmission in a dynamic sexual and injecting network representing New York City. We constructed four HIV transmission models: model 1, constant probabilities; model 2, random number of sexual and parenteral acts; model 3, viral load individual assigned; and model 4, two groups of partnerships (low and high risk). Overall, models with less heterogeneity were more sensitive to changes in numbers risk acts, producing HIV incidence up to four times higher than that empirically observed. Although all models overestimated HIV incidence, micro-simulations with greater heterogeneity in the HIV transmission modelling process produced more robust results and better reproduced empirical epidemic dynamics.
Fixed hippocampal volume reductions and shape abnormalities are established findings in schizophrenia, but the relationship between hippocampal volume change and clinical outcome has been relatively unexplored in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. In light of recent findings correlating hippocampal volume change and clinical outcome in first-episode psychotic adults, we hypothesized that fewer decreases in hippocampal volume would be associated with better functional outcome and fewer psychotic symptoms in our rare and chronically ill population of childhood-onset schizophrenia (COS) patients.
We prospectively obtained 114 structural brain magnetic resonance images (MRIs) from 27 COS subjects, each with three or more scans between the ages of 10 and 30 years. Change in hippocampal volume, measured by fit slope and percentage change, was regressed against clinical ratings (Children's Global Assessment Scale, Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms, Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms) at last scan (controlling for sex, time between scans and total intracranial volume).
Fewer negative symptoms were associated with less hippocampal volume decrease (fit slope: p = 0.0003, and percentage change: p = 0.005) while positive symptoms were not related to hippocampal change. There was also a relationship between improved clinical global functioning and maintained hippocampal volumes (fit slope: p = 0.025, and percentage change: p = 0.043).
These results suggest that abnormal hippocampal development in schizophrenia can be linked to global functioning and negative symptoms. The hippocampus can be considered a potential treatment target for future therapies.
Self-report questionnaires are frequently used in clinical and epidemiologic studies to assess post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A number of studies have evaluated these scales relative to clinician administered structured interviews; however, there has been no formal evaluation of their performance relative to non-clinician administered epidemiologic assessments such as the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). We examined the diagnostic performance of two self-report PTSD scales, the PTSD checklist (PCL) and the Vietnam Era Twin Registry (VET-R) PTSD scale, compared to the CIDI.
Data were derived from a large epidemiologic follow-up study of PTSD in 5141 Vietnam Era Veterans. Measures included the PCL, VET-R PTSD scale and CIDI. For both the PCL and VET-R PTSD scale, ROC curves, areas under the curve (AUC), sensitivity, specificity, % correctly classified, likelihood ratios, predictive values and quality estimates were generated based on the CIDI PTSD diagnosis.
For the PCL and VET-R PTSD scale the AUCs were 89.0 and 87.7%, respectively. Optimal PCL cutpoints varied from the 31–33 range (when considering sensitivity and specificity) to the 36–56 range (when considering quality estimates). Similar variations were found for the VET-R PTSD, ranging from 31 (when considering sensitivity and specificity) to the 37–42 range (when considering quality estimates).
The PCL and VET-R PTSD scale performed similarly using a CIDI PTSD diagnosis as the criterion. There was a range of acceptable cutpoints, depending on the metric used, but most metrics suggested a lower PCL cutpoint than in previous studies in Veteran populations.
We present the first results of a dedicated search for Diffuse Interstellar Bands that have profiles with FWHM > 6 Å. Broad DIBs have been noticed in past surveys using averages of multiple sight lines (e.g. Jenniskens & Désert, 1994), but careful detection, measurement, and cataloguing for individual sight lines has not been done since the pioneering work of Herbig (1995). We have initiated an observing campaign using the Apache Point Observatory in order to obtain low-resolution spectra to search for such broad DIBs and monitor their behaviour from star to star. A first sample of 21 stars with 0.3 < E(B-V) < 3.3 mag, along with 15 matched low-reddening stars, were observed with the APO/DIS B400 (R ~ 450) and R300 (R ~ 1000) gratings to obtain spectra having S/N > 500.
Anomalously broad diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) at 5780.5, 5797.1, 6196.0, and 6613.6 Å are found in absorption along the line of sight to Herschel 36, an O star system next to the bright Hourglass nebula of the Hii region Messier 8. Excited lines of CH and CH+ are seen as well. We show that the region is very compact and itemize other anomalies of the gas. An infrared-bright star within 400 AU is noted. The combination of these effects produces anomalous DIBs, interpreted by Oka et al. (2013, see also this volume) as being caused predominantly by infrared pumping of rotational levels of relatively small molecules.
The differential diagnosis of endolaryngeal mesenchymal neoplasms includes a wide spectrum of benign and malignant pathologies, which have been rarely photo-documented and assessed as a group.
Non-epithelial neoplasms of the endolarynx seen at our centre from 2002 to 2011 (n = 38; 36 treated at our institution) were retrospectively reviewed, with attention to clinical presentation, radiographic imaging, operative management, histology, and pre- and post-operative endoscopy. Submucosal squamous cell carcinomas, mucosal cysts, amyloid and Teflon granulomas were excluded.
Twenty-three of a total of 36 patients underwent definitive endoscopic surgical treatment. Supraglottic pathologies included lymphoma, lipoma, neuroendocrine carcinoma, lymphangioma, oncocytoma, haemangioma, synovial cell sarcoma and benign spindle cell neoplasm. Transglottic pathologies included synovial cell sarcoma and granular cell tumour. Glottic pathologies included granular cell tumour, osteoma, rhabdomyoma, rhabdomycosarcoma and myofibroblastic sarcoma. Subglottic pathologies included chondrosarcoma, neurofibroma, adenoid cystic carcinoma and vascular malformation.
The site of origin, degree of malignant behaviour and sensitivity to adjuvant treatment determined the course of surgical management, i.e. endolaryngeal versus transcervical, and limited removal versus wider resection.
Thousands of rescue and recovery workers descended on the World Trade Center (WTC) in the wake of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 (9/11). Recent studies show that respiratory illness and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are the hallmark health problems, but relationships between them are poorly understood. The current study examined this link and evaluated contributions of WTC exposures.
Participants were 8508 police and 12 333 non-traditional responders examined at the WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program (WTC-MMTP), a clinic network in the New York area established by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to explore patterns of association among exposures, other risk factors, probable WTC-related PTSD [based on the PTSD Checklist (PCL)], physician-assessed respiratory symptoms arising after 9/11 and present at examination, and abnormal pulmonary functioning defined by low forced vital capacity (FVC).
Fewer police than non-traditional responders had probable PTSD (5.9% v. 23.0%) and respiratory symptoms (22.5% v. 28.4%), whereas pulmonary function was similar. PTSD and respiratory symptoms were moderately correlated (r=0.28 for police and 0.27 for non-traditional responders). Exposure was more strongly associated with respiratory symptoms than with PTSD or lung function. The SEM model that best fit the data in both groups suggested that PTSD statistically mediated the association of exposure with respiratory symptoms.
Although longitudinal data are needed to confirm the mediation hypothesis, the link between PTSD and respiratory symptoms is noteworthy and calls for further investigation. The findings also support the value of integrated medical and psychiatric treatment for disaster responders.
The cognitive profile of early onset Parkinson’s disease (EOPD) has not been clearly defined. Mutations in the parkin gene are the most common genetic risk factor for EOPD and may offer information about the neuropsychological pattern of performance in both symptomatic and asymptomatic mutation carriers. EOPD probands and their first-degree relatives who did not have Parkinson’s disease (PD) were genotyped for mutations in the parkin gene and administered a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. Performance was compared between EOPD probands with (N = 43) and without (N = 52) parkin mutations. The same neuropsychological battery was administered to 217 first-degree relatives to assess neuropsychological function in individuals who carry parkin mutations but do not have PD. No significant differences in neuropsychological test performance were found between parkin carrier and noncarrier probands. Performance also did not differ between EOPD noncarriers and carrier subgroups (i.e., heterozygotes, compound heterozygotes/homozygotes). Similarly, no differences were found among unaffected family members across genotypes. Mean neuropsychological test performance was within normal range in all probands and relatives. Carriers of parkin mutations, whether or not they have PD, do not perform differently on neuropsychological measures as compared to noncarriers. The cognitive functioning of parkin carriers over time warrants further study. (JINS, 2011, 17, 1–10)