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This is an observational cohort study comparing 156 patients evaluated for acute stroke between March 30th and May 31st 2020 at a comprehensive stroke center with 138 patients evaluated during the corresponding time period in 2019. During the pandemic, the proportion of COVID- 19 positive patients was low (3%), the time from symptom-onset to hospital presentation was significantly longer, and a smaller proportion of patients underwent reperfusion therapy. Among patients directly evaluated at our institution, door-to-needle and door-to-recanalization metrics were significantly longer. Our findings support concerns that the current pandemic may have a negative impact on the management of acute stroke.
What are Americans’ views on liberal democracy? Have their attitudes changed since the 1950s? How do their attitudes about liberal democracy shape political behavior, such as vote choice? We replicated McClosky’s (1964) seminal study on a module to the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study. Our exploration of 26 survey questions reveals both continuity and change in Americans’ attitudes toward liberal democracy. Whereas Americans have become more hostile toward some standard democratic procedural rules of the game, we also find that they harbor more tolerant attitudes toward racial and ethnic equality. We subjected respondents’ answers to an exploratory factor analysis, which reveals three distinct dimensions regarding democratic values: elitism, authoritarianism, and racial supremacy. We find that elitism and racial supremacy significantly influenced political behavior in the 2016 presidential election and note that these factors contributed to mass unrest in 2020, exposing fault lines deeply rooted in America’s contentious political history.
Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with poorer cognitive function in older adults. Although understudied in middle-aged adults, the relationship between alcohol and cognition may also be influenced by genetics such as the apolipoprotein (ApoE) ε4 allele, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. We examined the relationship between alcohol consumption, ApoE genotype, and cognition in middle-aged adults and hypothesized that light and/or moderate drinkers (≤2 drinks per day) would show better cognitive performance than heavy drinkers or non-drinkers. Additionally, we hypothesized that the association between alcohol use and cognitive function would differ by ApoE genotype (ε4+ vs. ε4−).
Participants were 1266 men from the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA; M age = 56; range 51–60) who completed a neuropsychological battery assessing seven cognitive abilities: general cognitive ability (GCA), episodic memory, processing speed, executive function, abstract reasoning, verbal fluency, and visuospatial ability. Alcohol consumption was categorized into five groups: never, former, light, moderate, and heavy.
In fully adjusted models, there was no significant main effect of alcohol consumption on cognitive functions. However, there was a significant interaction between alcohol consumption and ApoE ε4 status for GCA and episodic memory, such that the relationship of alcohol consumption and cognition was stronger in ε4 carriers. The ε4+ heavy drinking subgroup had the poorest GCA and episodic memory.
Presence of the ε4 allele may increase vulnerability to the deleterious effects of heavy alcohol consumption. Beneficial effects of light or moderate alcohol consumption were not observed.
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.
Lake sediments are key archives for paleoenvironmental investigation as they provide continuous records of the depositional history of the lake and its watershed. Lake Futalaufquen (42.8°S) is an oligotrophic waterbody located in Los Alerces National Park in the Andes of northern Patagonia, South America. A sedimentary sequence covering 1600 years was recovered to analyze the potential for paleoenvironmental reconstructions of the last millennia. Integration of different geochemical and mineralogical parameters and comparison with climatic reconstructions from other Patagonian records give clues for the identification of a warm period around AD 800–1000, associated with the Medieval Climatic Anomaly. The high frequency of tephra layers beginning in the mid-sixteenth century precludes identification of the Little Ice Age, recorded in northern Patagonia as a cold period from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. Furthermore, the parameters analysed do not provide evidence of late-twentieth-century global warming. However, Zn deposition, a long-distance atmospheric transport process of anthropogenic origin, was identified during the last century.
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.
This essay reads Gerard Manley Hopkins's poetry for its “ecological perception”: a perceptual modality involving the dynamic interaction between human bodies and environmental givens or potentialities. Linking Hopkins's syncretic ideas about perception to the psychologist J. J. Gibson's account of our sensitivity to environmental “affordances,” the essay assesses three scales of ecological perception in Hopkins (arboreal, atmospheric, apocalyptic) and stresses the particular relevance of the intermediate (atmospheric) scale for our experience of environmental crisis. In “The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe,” Hopkins recognizes the “teleconnections” bridging global systems and specific sites without remaining rooted to the local or bioregional (arboreal) or rushing to a vantage beyond planetary confines (apocalyptic).
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants including genetics, environmental data and imaging. An online mental health questionnaire was designed for UK Biobank participants to expand its potential.
Describe the development, implementation and results of this questionnaire.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting a patient group. Operational criteria were agreed for defining likely disorder and risk states, including lifetime depression, mania/hypomania, generalised anxiety disorder, unusual experiences and self-harm, and current post-traumatic stress and hazardous/harmful alcohol use.
A total of 157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Participants were aged 45–82 (53% were ≥65 years) and 57% women. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status. Lifetime depression was a common finding, with 24% (37 434) of participants meeting criteria and current hazardous/harmful alcohol use criteria were met by 21% (32 602), whereas other criteria were met by less than 8% of the participants. There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with a high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The UK Biobank questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed because of selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Evidence from observational studies indicates that seaweed consumption may reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, and obesity. Accumulating evidence from in vitro and animal studies suggest seaweed have antihyperlipidemic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which may in part be attributed to the high content of soluble dietary fibre in seaweeds. The viscosity of seaweed fibres is suggested to mediate antihyperlipdiemic effects via the alteration of lipid/bile acid absorption kinetics to decrease low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). Thus, there is a need to evaluate the efficacy of seaweed derived dietary fibre in the management of dyslipidemia. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of a fibre rich extract from Palmaria palmata on the lipid profile as well as markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in healthy adults. A total of 60 healthy participants (30 male and 30 female) aged 20 to 58 years, were assigned to consume the Palmaria palmata fibre extract (5g/day), Synergy-1 and the placebo (maltodextrin) for a duration of 4 weeks with a minimum 4 week washout between each treatment in a double blind, randomised crossover study conducted over 5 months. Fasting concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) were analysed and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and LDL: HDL ratio was calculated. C-reactive protein (CRP) and Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma (FRAP) were analysed as markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, respectively. Supplementation for 4 weeks with Palmaria palmata resulted in favourable changes to lipid profiles with a reduced LDL:HDL ratio; however intention-to-treat univariate ANCOVA identified no significant difference between the treatment groups over time on any of the lipid profile markers. A non-significant increase in CRP and triglyceride concentration along with lower FRAP was also observed with Palmaria palmata supplementation. Evidence from this study suggests that Palmaria palmata may have effects on lipid metabolism and appears to mobilise triglycerides. More research is needed in individuals with dyslipidaemia to fully elucidate these effects.
The risk of endocarditis varies with CHD complexity and the presence of prosthetic valves. The purpose of the study was therefore to describe incidence and outcomes of prosthetic valve endocarditis in adults with repair tetralogy of Fallot.
Retrospective review of adult tetralogy of Fallot patients who underwent prosthetic valve implantation, 1990–2017. We defined prosthetic valve endocarditis-related complications as prosthetic valve dysfunction, perivalvular extension of infection such abscess/aneurysm/fistula, heart block, pulmonary/systemic embolic events, recurrent endocarditis, and death due to sepsis.
A total of 338 patients (age: 37 ± 15 years) received 352 prosthetic valves (pulmonary [n = 308, 88%], tricuspid [n = 13, 4%], mitral [n = 9, 3%], and aortic position [n = 22, 6%]). The annual incidence of prosthetic valve endocarditis was 0.4%. There were 12 prosthetic valve endocarditis-related complications in six patients, and these complications were prosthetic valve dysfunction (n = 4), systemic/pulmonary embolic events (n = 2), heart block (n = 1), aortic root abscess (n = 1), recurrent endocarditis (n = 2), and death due to sepsis (n = 1). Three (50%) patients required surgery at 2 days, 6 weeks, and 23 weeks from the time of prosthetic valve endocarditis diagnosis. Altogether three of the six (50%) patients died, and one of these deaths was due to sepsis.
The incidence, complication rate, and outcomes of prosthetic valve endocarditis in tetralogy of Fallot patients underscore some of the risks of having a prosthetic valve. It is important to educate the patients on the need for early presentation if they develop systemic symptoms, have a high index of suspicion for prosthetic valve endocarditis, and adopt a multi-disciplinary care approach in this high-risk population.
Psychotropic prescription rates continue to increase in the United States (USA). Few studies have investigated whether social-structural factors may play a role in psychotropic medication use independent of mental illness. Food insecurity is prevalent among people living with HIV in the USA and has been associated with poor mental health. We investigated whether food insecurity was associated with psychotropic medication use independent of the symptoms of depression and anxiety among women living with HIV in the USA.
We used cross-sectional data from the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a nationwide cohort study. Food security (FS) was the primary explanatory variable, measured using the Household Food Security Survey Module. First, we used multivariable linear regressions to test whether FS was associated with symptoms of depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression [CESD] score), generalised anxiety disorder (GAD-7 score) and mental health-related quality of life (MOS-HIV Mental Health Summary score; MHS). Next, we examined associations of FS with the use of any psychotropic medications, including antidepressants, sedatives and antipsychotics, using multivariable logistic regressions adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, income, education and alcohol and substance use. In separate models, we additionally adjusted for symptoms of depression (CESD score) and anxiety (GAD-7 score).
Of the 905 women in the sample, two-thirds were African-American. Lower FS (i.e. worse food insecurity) was associated with greater symptoms of depression and anxiety in a dose–response relationship. For the psychotropic medication outcomes, marginal and low FS were associated with 2.06 (p < 0.001; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.36–3.13) and 1.99 (p < 0.01; 95% CI = 1.26–3.15) times higher odds of any psychotropic medication use, respectively, before adjusting for depression and anxiety. The association of very low FS with any psychotropic medication use was not statistically significant. A similar pattern was found for antidepressant and sedative use. After additionally adjusting for CESD and GAD-7 scores, marginal FS remained associated with 1.93 (p < 0.05; 95% CI = 1.16–3.19) times higher odds of any psychotropic medication use. Very low FS, conversely, was significantly associated with lower odds of antidepressant use (adjusted odds ratio = 0.42; p < 0.05; 95% CI = 0.19–0.96).
Marginal FS was associated with higher odds of using psychotropic medications independent of depression and anxiety, while very low FS was associated with lower odds. These complex findings may indicate that people experiencing very low FS face barriers to accessing mental health services, while those experiencing marginal FS who do access services are more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications for distress arising from social and structural factors.
Nudges are increasingly being proposed and used as a policy tool around the world. The success of nudges depends on public acceptance. However, several questions about what makes a nudge acceptable remain unanswered. In this paper, we examine whether policy alternatives to nudges influence the public's acceptance of these nudges: Do attitudes change when the nudge is presented alongside either a more paternalistic policy alternative (legislation) or a less paternalistic alternative (no behavioral intervention)? In two separate samples drawn from the Swedish general public, we find a very small effect of alternatives on the acceptability of various default nudges overall. Surprisingly, we find that when the alternative to the nudge is legislation, acceptance decreases and perceived intrusiveness increases (relative to conditions where the alternative is no regulation). An implication of this finding is that acceptance of nudges may not always automatically increase when nudges are explicitly compared to more paternalistic alternatives.