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Integration of ethics into technology assessment in healthcare (HTA) reports is directly linked to the need of decision makers to provide rational grounds justifying their social choices. In a decision-making paradigm, facts and values are intertwined and the social role of HTA reports is to provide relevant information to decision makers. Since 2003, numerous surveys and discussions have addressed different aspects of the integration of ethics into HTA. This study aims to clarify how HTA professionals consider the integration of ethics into HTA, so an international survey was conducted in 2018 and the results are reported here.
A survey comprising twenty-two questions was designed and carried out from April 2018 to July 2018. Three hundred and twenty-eight HTA agencies from seventy-five countries were invited to participate in this survey.
Eighty-nine participants completed the survey, representing a participation rate of twenty-seven percent. As to how HTA reports should fulfill their social role, over 84 percent of respondents agreed upon the necessity to address this role for decision makers, patients, and citizens. At a lower level, the same was found regarding the necessity to make value-judgments explicit in different report sections, including ethical analysis. This contrasts with the response-variability obtained on the status of ethical analysis with the exception of the expertise required. Variability in stakeholder-participation usefulness was also observed.
This study reveals the importance of a three-phase approach, including assessment, contextual data, and recommendations, and highlights the necessity to make explicit value-judgments and have a systematic ethical analysis in order to fulfill HTA's social role in guiding decision makers.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Shortfalls in treatment quantity and quality are well-established, but the specific gaps in pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy are poorly understood. This paper analyzes the gap in treatment coverage for MDD and identifies critical bottlenecks.
Seventeen surveys were conducted across 15 countries by the World Health Organization-World Mental Health Surveys Initiative. Of 35 012 respondents, 3341 met DSM-IV criteria for 12-month MDD. The following components of effective treatment coverage were analyzed: (a) any mental health service utilization; (b) adequate pharmacotherapy; (c) adequate psychotherapy; and (d) adequate severity-specific combination of both.
MDD prevalence was 4.8% (s.e., 0.2). A total of 41.8% (s.e., 1.1) received any mental health services, 23.2% (s.e., 1.5) of which was deemed effective. This 90% gap in effective treatment is due to lack of utilization (58%) and inadequate quality or adherence (32%). Critical bottlenecks are underutilization of psychotherapy (26 percentage-points reduction in coverage), underutilization of psychopharmacology (13-point reduction), inadequate physician monitoring (13-point reduction), and inadequate drug-type (10-point reduction). High-income countries double low-income countries in any mental health service utilization, adequate pharmacotherapy, adequate psychotherapy, and adequate combination of both. Severe cases are more likely than mild-moderate cases to receive either adequate pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy, but less likely to receive an adequate combination.
Decision-makers need to increase the utilization and quality of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. Innovations such as telehealth for training and supervision plus non-specialist or community resources to deliver pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy could address these bottlenecks.
Implantable neural interfaces are important tools to accelerate neuroscience research and translate clinical neurotechnologies. The promise of a bidirectional communication link between the nervous system of humans and computers is compelling, yet important materials challenges must be first addressed to improve the reliability of implantable neural interfaces. This perspective highlights recent progress and challenges related to arguably two of the most common failure modes for implantable neural interfaces: (1) compromised barrier layers and packaging leading to failure of electronic components; (2) encapsulation and rejection of the implant due to injurious tissue–biomaterials interactions, which erode the quality and bandwidth of signals across the biology–technology interface. Innovative materials and device design concepts could address these failure modes to improve device performance and broaden the translational prospects of neural interfaces. A brief overview of contemporary neural interfaces is presented and followed by recent progress in chemistry, materials, and fabrication techniques to improve in vivo reliability, including novel barrier materials and harmonizing the various incongruences of the tissue–device interface. Challenges and opportunities related to the clinical translation of neural interfaces are also discussed.
We describe 14 yr of public data from the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array (PPTA), an ongoing project that is producing precise measurements of pulse times of arrival from 26 millisecond pulsars using the 64-m Parkes radio telescope with a cadence of approximately 3 weeks in three observing bands. A comprehensive description of the pulsar observing systems employed at the telescope since 2004 is provided, including the calibration methodology and an analysis of the stability of system components. We attempt to provide full accounting of the reduction from the raw measured Stokes parameters to pulse times of arrival to aid third parties in reproducing our results. This conversion is encapsulated in a processing pipeline designed to track provenance. Our data products include pulse times of arrival for each of the pulsars along with an initial set of pulsar parameters and noise models. The calibrated pulse profiles and timing template profiles are also available. These data represent almost 21 000 h of recorded data spanning over 14 yr. After accounting for processes that induce time-correlated noise, 22 of the pulsars have weighted root-mean-square timing residuals of
in at least one radio band. The data should allow end users to quickly undertake their own gravitational wave analyses, for example, without having to understand the intricacies of pulsar polarisation calibration or attain a mastery of radio frequency interference mitigation as is required when analysing raw data files.
Damage to the corticospinal tract (CST) from stroke leads to motor deficits. The damage can be quantified as the amount of overlap between the stroke lesion and CST (CST Injury). Previous literature has shown that the degree of motor deficits post-stroke is related to the amount of CST Injury. These studies delineate the stroke lesion from structural T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, often acquired for research. In Canada, computed tomography (CT) is the most common imaging modality used in routine acute stroke care. In this proof-of-principle study, we determine whether CST Injury, using lesions delineated from CT scans, significantly explains the variability in motor impairment in individuals with stroke.
Thirty-seven participants with stroke were included in this study. These individuals had a CT scan within the acute stage (7 days) of their stroke and underwent motor assessments. Brain images from CT scans were registered to MRI space. We performed a stepwise regression analysis to determine the contribution of CST injury and demographic variables in explaining motor impairment variability.
Using clinically available CT scans, we found modest evidence that CST Injury explains variability in motor impairment (R2adj = 0.12, p = 0.02). None of the participant demographic variables entered the model.
We show for the first time a relationship between CST Injury and motor impairment using CT scans. Further work is required to evaluate the utility of data derived from clinical CT scans as a biomarker of stroke motor recovery.
Patients with severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, may be legally mandated to undergo psychiatric treatment. Patients’ experiences in these situations are not well characterized. This systematic review of qualitative studies aims to describe the experiences of patients with schizophrenia and related disorders who have undergone legally mandated treatment.
Four bibliographic databases were searched: CINAHL Plus (1981–2019), EMBASE (1947–2019), MEDLINE (1946–2019), and PsycINFO (1806–2019). These databases were searched for keywords, text words, and medical subject headings related to schizophrenia, legally mandated treatment and patient experience. The reference lists of included studies and systematic reviews were also investigated. The identified titles and abstracts were reviewed for study inclusion. A thematic analysis was completed for the synthesis of positive and negative aspects of legally mandated treatment.
A total of 4,008 citations were identified. Eighteen studies were included in the final synthesis. For the thematic analysis, results were collated under two broad themes; positive patient experiences and negative patient experiences. Patients were satisfied when their autonomy was respected, and dissatisfied when it was not. Patients often retrospectively recognized that their treatment was beneficial. Furthermore, negative aspects of the treatment included deficits in communication and a lack of information.
Intervention research has historically focused on clinical outcomes and the quantitative aspects of treatment. Thus, this study provides insight into the qualitative aspects of patients’ experiences with legally mandated treatment. Recognizing these opinions and experiences can lead to better attitudes toward treatment for patients with schizophrenia and related psychiatric illnesses.
There is a substantial proportion of patients who drop out of treatment before they receive minimally adequate care. They tend to have worse health outcomes than those who complete treatment. Our main goal is to describe the frequency and determinants of dropout from treatment for mental disorders in low-, middle-, and high-income countries.
Respondents from 13 low- or middle-income countries (N = 60 224) and 15 in high-income countries (N = 77 303) were screened for mental and substance use disorders. Cross-tabulations were used to examine the distribution of treatment and dropout rates for those who screened positive. The timing of dropout was examined using Kaplan–Meier curves. Predictors of dropout were examined with survival analysis using a logistic link function.
Dropout rates are high, both in high-income (30%) and low/middle-income (45%) countries. Dropout mostly occurs during the first two visits. It is higher in general medical rather than in specialist settings (nearly 60% v. 20% in lower income settings). It is also higher for mild and moderate than for severe presentations. The lack of financial protection for mental health services is associated with overall increased dropout from care.
Extending financial protection and coverage for mental disorders may reduce dropout. Efficiency can be improved by managing the milder clinical presentations at the entry point to the mental health system, providing adequate training, support and specialist supervision for non-specialists, and streamlining referral to psychiatrists for more severe cases.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
Short-term peripheral venous catheter–related bloodstream infection (PVCR-BSI) rates have not been systematically studied in resource-limited countries, and data on their incidence by number of device days are not available.
Prospective, surveillance study on PVCR-BSI conducted from September 1, 2013, to May 31, 2019, in 727 intensive care units (ICUs), by members of the International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium (INICC), from 268 hospitals in 141 cities of 42 countries of Africa, the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, South East Asia, and Western Pacific regions. For this research, we applied definition and criteria of the CDC NHSN, methodology of the INICC, and software named INICC Surveillance Online System.
We followed 149,609 ICU patients for 731,135 bed days and 743,508 short-term peripheral venous catheter (PVC) days. We identified 1,789 PVCR-BSIs for an overall rate of 2.41 per 1,000 PVC days. Mortality in patients with PVC but without PVCR-BSI was 6.67%, and mortality was 18% in patients with PVC and PVCR-BSI. The length of stay of patients with PVC but without PVCR-BSI was 4.83 days, and the length of stay was 9.85 days in patients with PVC and PVCR-BSI. Among these infections, the microorganism profile showed 58% gram-negative bacteria: Escherichia coli (16%), Klebsiella spp (11%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (6%), Enterobacter spp (4%), and others (20%) including Serratia marcescens. Staphylococcus aureus were the predominant gram-positive bacteria (12%).
PVCR-BSI rates in INICC ICUs were much higher than rates published from industrialized countries. Infection prevention programs must be implemented to reduce the incidence of PVCR-BSIs in resource-limited countries.
Little is known about who would benefit from Internet-based personalised nutrition (PN) interventions. This study aimed to evaluate the characteristics of participants who achieved greatest improvements (i.e. benefit) in diet, adiposity and biomarkers following an Internet-based PN intervention. Adults (n 1607) from seven European countries were recruited into a 6-month, randomised controlled trial (Food4Me) and randomised to receive conventional dietary advice (control) or PN advice. Information on dietary intake, adiposity, physical activity (PA), blood biomarkers and participant characteristics was collected at baseline and month 6. Benefit from the intervention was defined as ≥5 % change in the primary outcome (Healthy Eating Index) and secondary outcomes (waist circumference and BMI, PA, sedentary time and plasma concentrations of cholesterol, carotenoids and omega-3 index) at month 6. For our primary outcome, benefit from the intervention was greater in older participants, women and participants with lower HEI scores at baseline. Benefit was greater for individuals reporting greater self-efficacy for ‘sticking to healthful foods’ and who ‘felt weird if [they] didn’t eat healthily’. Participants benefited more if they reported wanting to improve their health and well-being. The characteristics of individuals benefiting did not differ by other demographic, health-related, anthropometric or genotypic characteristics. Findings were similar for secondary outcomes. These findings have implications for the design of more effective future PN intervention studies and for tailored nutritional advice in public health and clinical settings.
The right common carotid artery originates from the innominate (brachiocephalic) artery. The external landmark is the right sternoclavicular joint. The left common carotid artery originates directly from the aortic arch in the superior mediastinum.
The carotid sheath contains the common and internal carotid arteries, the internal jugular vein, and the vagus nerve. The internal jugular vein lies lateral and superficial to the common carotid artery and vagus nerve. The vagus nerve lies posteriorly, between the artery and the vein. On occasion the vagus nerve may be located anterior to the vessels.
The carotid sheath and its contents are covered superficially by the platysma, anterior margin of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, and the omohyoid muscle. Deep to the vessels are the longus colli and longus capitis muscles. Medial to the carotid sheath is the esophagus and trachea.
At the level of the superior border of the thyroid cartilage, the common carotid artery bifurcates into the internal and external carotid arteries.
The facial vein crosses the carotid sheath superficially to enter the internal jugular vein at the level of the carotid bifurcation.
The external carotid artery lies medial to the internal carotid artery for the majority of their course. The first branch of the external carotid artery is the superior thyroid artery located near the carotid bifurcation.
The internal carotid artery does not have any extracranial branches.
At the level of the angle of the mandible, the internal and external carotid arteries are crossed superficially by the hypoglossal nerve (Cranial Nerve XII) and the posterior belly of the digastric muscle. The glossopharyngeal nerve (Cranial Nerve IX) passes in front of the internal carotid artery, above the hypoglossal nerve.
The external carotid arteries terminate in the parotid gland, where they divide into the superficial temporal and maxillary arteries.
At the level of the skull base, the internal carotid arteries cross deep and medial to the external carotid arteries to enter the carotid canal behind the styloid process.
Methods of suicide have received considerable attention in suicide research. The common approach to differentiate methods of suicide is the classification into “violent” versus “non-violent” method. Interestingly, since the proposition of this dichotomous differentiation, no further efforts have been made to question the validity of such a classification of suicides. This study aimed to challenge the traditional separation into “violent” and “non-violent” suicides by generating a cluster analysis with a data-driven, machine learning approach. In a retrospective analysis, data on all officially confirmed suicides (N = 77,894) in Austria between 1970 and 2016 were assessed. Based on a defined distance metric between distributions of suicides over age group and month of the year, a standard hierarchical clustering method was performed with the five most frequent suicide methods. In cluster analysis, poisoning emerged as distinct from all other methods – both in the entire sample as well as in the male subsample. Violent suicides could be further divided into sub-clusters: hanging, shooting, and drowning on the one hand and jumping on the other hand. In the female sample, two different clusters were revealed – hanging and drowning on the one hand and jumping, poisoning, and shooting on the other. Our data-driven results in this large epidemiological study confirmed the traditional dichotomization of suicide methods into “violent” and “non-violent” methods, but on closer inspection “violent methods” can be further divided into sub-clusters and a different cluster pattern could be identified for women, requiring further research to support these refined suicide phenotypes.
Early behaviors that differentiate later biomarkers for psychopathology can guide preventive efforts while also facilitating pathophysiological research. We tested whether error-related negativity (ERN) moderates the link between early behavior and later psychopathology in two early childhood phenotypes: behavioral inhibition and irritability. From ages 2 to 7 years, children (n = 291) were assessed longitudinally for behavioral inhibition (BI) and irritability. Behavioral inhibition was assessed via maternal report and behavioral responses to novelty. Childhood irritability was assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist. At age 12, an electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded while children performed a flanker task to measure ERN, a neural indicator of error monitoring. Clinical assessments of anxiety and irritability were conducted using questionnaires (i.e., Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders and Affective Reactivity Index) and clinical interviews. Error monitoring interacted with early BI and early irritability to predict later psychopathology. Among children with high BI, an enhanced ERN predicted greater social anxiety at age 12. In contrast, children with high childhood irritability and blunted ERN predicted greater irritability at age 12. This converges with previous work and provides novel insight into the specificity of pathways associated with psychopathology.
Pulmonary hypertension is a complex and progressive condition that is either idiopathic or heritable, or associated with one or multiple health conditions, with or without congenital or acquired cardiovascular disease. Recent developments have tremendously increased the armamentarium of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in children and young adults with pulmonary hypertension that is still associated with a high morbidity and mortality. These modalities include non-invasive imaging, pharmacotherapy, interventional and surgical procedures, and supportive measures. The optimal, tailored diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for pulmonary hypertension in the young are rapidly evolving but still face enormous challenges: Healthcare providers need to take the patient’s age, development, disease state, and family concerns into account when initiating advanced diagnostics and treatment. Therefore, there is a need for guidance on core and advanced medical training in paediatric pulmonary hypertension. The Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology working group “pulmonary hypertension, heart failure and transplantation” has produced this document as an expert consensus statement; however, all recommendations must be considered and applied in the context of the local and national infrastructure and legal regulations.
Tom Dishion, a pioneer in prevention science, was one of the first to recognize the importance of adapting interventions to the needs of individual families. Building towards this goal, we suggest that prevention trials be used to assess baseline target moderated mediation (BTMM), where preventive intervention effects are mediated through change in specific targets, and the resulting effect varies across baseline levels of the target. Four forms of BTMM found in recent trials are discussed including compensatory, rich-get-richer, crossover, and differential iatrogenic effects. A strategy for evaluating meaningful preventive effects is presented based on preventive thresholds for diagnostic conditions, midpoint targets and proximal risk or protective mechanisms. Methods are described for using the results from BTMM analyses of these thresholds to estimate indices of intervention risk reduction or increase as they vary over baseline target levels, and potential cut points are presented for identifying subgroups that would benefit from program adaptation because of weak or potentially iatrogenic program effects. Simulated data are used to illustrate curves for the four forms of BTMM effects and how implications for adaptation change when untreated control group outcomes also vary over baseline target levels.
The study examined (a) whether alcohol use subgroups could be identified among African Americans assessed from adolescence through early adulthood, and (b) whether subgroup membership was associated with the interaction between internalizing symptoms and antisocial behavior polygenic risk scores (PRSs) and environmental characteristics (i.e., parental monitoring, community disadvantage). Participants (N = 436) were initially recruited for an elementary school-based prevention trial in a Mid-Atlantic city. Youths reported on the frequency of their past year alcohol use from ages 14–26. DNA was obtained from participants at age 21. Internalizing symptoms and antisocial behavior PRSs were created based on a genome-wide association study (GWAS) conducted by Benke et al. (2014) and Tielbeek et al. (2017), respectively. Parental monitoring and community disadvantage were assessed at age 12. Four classes of past year alcohol use were identified: (a) early-onset, increasing; (b) late-onset, moderate use; (c) low steady; and (d) early-onset, decreasing. In high community disadvantaged settings, participants with a higher internalizing symptoms PRS were more likely to be in the early-onset, decreasing class than the low steady class. When exposed to elevated community disadvantage, participants with a higher antisocial behavior PRS were more likely to be in the early-onset, increasing class than the early-onset, decreasing and late-onset, moderate use classes.
A national need is to prepare for and respond to accidental or intentional disasters categorized as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE). These incidents require specific subject-matter expertise, yet have commonalities. We identify 7 core elements comprising CBRNE science that require integration for effective preparedness planning and public health and medical response and recovery. These core elements are (1) basic and clinical sciences, (2) modeling and systems management, (3) planning, (4) response and incident management, (5) recovery and resilience, (6) lessons learned, and (7) continuous improvement. A key feature is the ability of relevant subject matter experts to integrate information into response operations. We propose the CBRNE medical operations science support expert as a professional who (1) understands that CBRNE incidents require an integrated systems approach, (2) understands the key functions and contributions of CBRNE science practitioners, (3) helps direct strategic and tactical CBRNE planning and responses through first-hand experience, and (4) provides advice to senior decision-makers managing response activities. Recognition of both CBRNE science as a distinct competency and the establishment of the CBRNE medical operations science support expert informs the public of the enormous progress made, broadcasts opportunities for new talent, and enhances the sophistication and analytic expertise of senior managers planning for and responding to CBRNE incidents.