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In the UK, acute mental healthcare is provided by in-patient wards and crisis resolution teams. Readmission to acute care following discharge is common. Acute day units (ADUs) are also provided in some areas.
To assess predictors of readmission to acute mental healthcare following discharge in England, including availability of ADUs.
We enrolled a national cohort of adults discharged from acute mental healthcare in the English National Health Service (NHS) between 2013 and 2015, determined the risk of readmission to either in-patient or crisis teams, and used multivariable, multilevel logistic models to evaluate predictors of readmission.
Of a total of 231 998 eligible individuals discharged from acute mental healthcare, 49 547 (21.4%) were readmitted within 6 months, with a median time to readmission of 34 days (interquartile range 10–88 days). Most variation in readmission (98%) was attributable to individual patient-level rather than provider (trust)-level effects (2.0%). Risk of readmission was not associated with local availability of ADUs (adjusted odds ratio 0.96, 95% CI 0.80–1.15). Statistically significant elevated risks were identified for participants who were female, older, single, from Black or mixed ethnic groups, or from more deprived areas. Clinical predictors included shorter index admission, psychosis and being an in-patient at baseline.
Relapse and readmission to acute mental healthcare are common following discharge and occur early. Readmission was not influenced significantly by trust-level variables including availability of ADUs. More support for relapse prevention and symptom management may be required following discharge from acute mental healthcare.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), underscoring the urgent need for simple, efficient, and inexpensive methods to decontaminate masks and respirators exposed to severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We hypothesized that methylene blue (MB) photochemical treatment, which has various clinical applications, could decontaminate PPE contaminated with coronavirus.
The 2 arms of the study included (1) PPE inoculation with coronaviruses followed by MB with light (MBL) decontamination treatment and (2) PPE treatment with MBL for 5 cycles of decontamination to determine maintenance of PPE performance.
MBL treatment was used to inactivate coronaviruses on 3 N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) and 2 medical mask models. We inoculated FFR and medical mask materials with 3 coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and we treated them with 10 µM MB and exposed them to 50,000 lux of white light or 12,500 lux of red light for 30 minutes. In parallel, integrity was assessed after 5 cycles of decontamination using multiple US and international test methods, and the process was compared with the FDA-authorized vaporized hydrogen peroxide plus ozone (VHP+O3) decontamination method.
Overall, MBL robustly and consistently inactivated all 3 coronaviruses with 99.8% to >99.9% virus inactivation across all FFRs and medical masks tested. FFR and medical mask integrity was maintained after 5 cycles of MBL treatment, whereas 1 FFR model failed after 5 cycles of VHP+O3.
MBL treatment decontaminated respirators and masks by inactivating 3 tested coronaviruses without compromising integrity through 5 cycles of decontamination. MBL decontamination is effective, is low cost, and does not require specialized equipment, making it applicable in low- to high-resource settings.
For people in mental health crisis, acute day units (ADUs) provide daily structured sessions and peer support in non-residential settings, often as an addition or alternative to crisis resolution teams (CRTs). There is little recent evidence about outcomes for those using ADUs, particularly compared with those receiving CRT care alone.
We aimed to investigate readmission rates, satisfaction and well-being outcomes for people using ADUs and CRTs.
We conducted a cohort study comparing readmission to acute mental healthcare during a 6-month period for ADU and CRT participants. Secondary outcomes included satisfaction (Client Satisfaction Questionnaire), well-being (Short Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale) and depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale).
We recruited 744 participants (ADU: n = 431, 58%; CRT: n = 312, 42%) across four National Health Service trusts/health regions. There was no statistically significant overall difference in readmissions: 21% of ADU participants and 23% of CRT participants were readmitted over 6 months (adjusted hazard ratio 0.78, 95% CI 0.54–1.14). However, readmission results varied substantially by setting. At follow-up, ADU participants had significantly higher Client Satisfaction Questionnaire scores (2.5, 95% CI 1.4–3.5, P < 0.001) and well-being scores (1.3, 95% CI 0.4–2.1, P = 0.004), and lower depression scores (−1.7, 95% CI −2.7 to −0.8, P < 0.001), than CRT participants.
Patients who accessed ADUs demonstrated better outcomes for satisfaction, well-being and depression, and no significant differences in risk of readmission, compared with those who only used CRTs. Given the positive outcomes for patients, and the fact that ADUs are inconsistently provided in the National Health Service, their value and place in the acute care pathway needs further consideration and research.
This study compared the level of education and tests from multiple cognitive domains as proxies for cognitive reserve.
The participants were educationally, ethnically, and cognitively diverse older adults enrolled in a longitudinal aging study. We examined independent and interactive effects of education, baseline cognitive scores, and MRI measures of cortical gray matter change on longitudinal cognitive change.
Baseline episodic memory was related to cognitive decline independent of brain and demographic variables and moderated (weakened) the impact of gray matter change. Education moderated (strengthened) the gray matter change effect. Non-memory cognitive measures did not incrementally explain cognitive decline or moderate gray matter change effects.
Episodic memory showed strong construct validity as a measure of cognitive reserve. Education effects on cognitive decline were dependent upon the rate of atrophy, indicating education effectively measures cognitive reserve only when atrophy rate is low. Results indicate that episodic memory has clinical utility as a predictor of future cognitive decline and better represents the neural basis of cognitive reserve than other cognitive abilities or static proxies like education.
Nick Martin is a pioneer in recognizing the need for large sample size to study the complex, heterogeneous and polygenic disorders of common mental disorders. In the predigital era, questionnaires were mailed to thousands of twin pairs around Australia. Always quick to adopt new technology, Nick’s studies progressed to phone interviews and then online. Moreover, Nick was early to recognize the value of collecting DNA samples. As genotyping technologies improved over the years, these twin and family cohorts were used for linkage, candidate gene and genome-wide association studies. These cohorts have underpinned many analyses to disentangle the complex web of genetic and lifestyle factors associated with mental health. With characteristic foresight, Nick is chief investigator of our Australian Genetics of Depression Study, which has recruited 16,000 people with self-reported depression (plus DNA samples) over a time frame of a few months — analyses are currently ongoing. The mantra of sample size, sample size, sample size has guided Nick’s research over the last 30 years and continues to do so.
Biomarkers diagnose, predict or assess the risk of disease, and studies of the effects of genetic variation on biomarker phenotypes in the general population complement studies on patients diagnosed with disease. This paper traces the evolution of studies on biomarker genetics over the past 40 years through examples drawn from the work of Professor Martin and his colleagues.
The Comprehensive Assessment of Neurodegeneration and Dementia (COMPASS-ND) cohort study of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) is a national initiative to catalyze research on dementia, set up to support the research agendas of CCNA teams. This cross-country longitudinal cohort of 2310 deeply phenotyped subjects with various forms of dementia and mild memory loss or concerns, along with cognitively intact elderly subjects, will test hypotheses generated by these teams.
The COMPASS-ND protocol, initial grant proposal for funding, fifth semi-annual CCNA Progress Report submitted to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research December 2017, and other documents supplemented by modifications made and lessons learned after implementation were used by the authors to create the description of the study provided here.
The CCNA COMPASS-ND cohort includes participants from across Canada with various cognitive conditions associated with or at risk of neurodegenerative diseases. They will undergo a wide range of experimental, clinical, imaging, and genetic investigation to specifically address the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of these conditions in the aging population. Data derived from clinical and cognitive assessments, biospecimens, brain imaging, genetics, and brain donations will be used to test hypotheses generated by CCNA research teams and other Canadian researchers. The study is the most comprehensive and ambitious Canadian study of dementia. Initial data posting occurred in 2018, with the full cohort to be accrued by 2020.
Availability of data from the COMPASS-ND study will provide a major stimulus for dementia research in Canada in the coming years.
Objective: To validate a case definition of multiple sclerosis (MS) using health administrative data and to provide the first province-wide estimates of MS incidence and prevalence for Saskatchewan, Canada. Methods: We used population-based health administrative data between January 1, 1996 and December 31, 2015 to identify individuals with MS using two potential case definitions: (1) ≥3 hospital, physician, or prescription claims (Marrie definition); (2) ≥1 hospitalization or ≥5 physician claims within 2 years (Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System [CCDSS] definition). We validated the case definitions using diagnoses from medical records (n=400) as the gold standard. Results: The Marrie definition had a sensitivity of 99.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 92.3-99.2), specificity of 98.5% (95% CI 97.3-100.0), positive predictive value (PPV) of 99.5% (95% CI 97.2-100.0), and negative predictive value (NPV) of 97.5% (95% CI 94.4-99.2). The CCDSS definition had a sensitivity of 91.0% (95% CI 81.2-94.6), specificity of 99.0% (95% CI 96.4-99.9), PPV of 98.9% (95% CI 96.1-99.9), and NPV of 91.7% (95% CI 87.2-95.0). Using the more sensitive Marrie definition, the average annual adjusted incidence per 100,000 between 2001 and 2013 was 16.5 (95% CI 15.8-17.2), and the age- and sex-standardized prevalence of MS in Saskatchewan in 2013 was 313.6 per 100,000 (95% CI 303.0-324.3). Over the study period, incidence remained stable while prevalence increased slightly. Conclusion: We confirm Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates of MS in the world. Similar to other regions in Canada, incidence has remained stable while prevalence has gradually increased.
To progress toward universal health coverage and promote inclusive social and economic development, it will be necessary to strengthen domestic resource mobilization for health. In this paper, we examine options for increasing domestic government revenue in low- and middle-income countries. We analyze the relationship between level of economic development and levels of government revenue and expenditure, and show that a country’s level of economic development does not predetermine its spending levels. Government revenue can be increased through improved tax compliance and efficiency in revenue collection, maximizing revenue from mineral and other natural resources, and increasing tax rates where appropriate. The emphasis should be on increasing revenue through the most progressive means possible; the purpose of raising government spending on health would be defeated if that spending were funded by increasing the relative tax burden of those who are meant to benefit. Increasing government revenue through taxation or other sources is first and foremost a fiscal policy choice or political decision and should be supported through concerted global action.
Since at least the 1990s, there has been growing recognition that societies need global public goods (GPGs) in order to protect and promote public health. While the term GPG is sometimes used loosely to denote that which is ‘good’ for the global public, we restrict our use of the term to its technical definition (goods that are non-excludable and non-rival in consumption) for its useful analytical clarity. Examples of important GPGs for health include standards and guidelines, research on the causes and treatment of disease, and comparative evidence and analysis. While institutions for providing public goods are relatively well developed at the national level – being clearly recognized as a responsibility of sovereign states – institutional arrangements to do so remain fragmented and thin at the global level. For example, the World Health Organization, mandated to provide many GPGs, is not appropriately financed to do so. Three steps are needed to better govern the financing and provision of GPGs for health: first, improved data to develop a clearer picture of how much money is currently going to providing which types of GPGs; second, a legitimate global political process to decide upon priority missing GPGs, followed by estimates of total amounts needed; and third, financing streams for GPGs from governments and private sources, to be channeled through new or existing institutions. Financing should go toward fully financing some GPGs, complementing or supplementing existing national or international financing for others, or deploying funds to make potential GPGs less ‘excludable’ by putting them into the public domain. As globalization deepens the degree of interdependence between countries and as formerly low-income economies advance, there may be less relative need for development assistance to meet basic health care needs, and greater relative need to finance GPGs. Strengthening global arrangements for GPGs today is a worthy investment for improved global health in the years to come.
Previous studies have described various associations between tax policy and health. Here we propose a unifying conceptual framework of ‘Five R’s’ to stimulate awareness about the importance of tax to health improvement. First, tax can improve representation and democratic accountability, and help make governments more responsive to the needs of its citizens. Second, tax can create a revenue stream for a universal pool of public finance for health care and other public services. Third, progressive taxation when combined with appropriate public spending can help redistribute wealth and income and mitigate social and health inequalities. Fourth, the re-pricing of harmful products (e.g. tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food) can help reduce their consumption. Fifth, taxation provides a route by which certain harmful industries can be regulated. The paper also discusses the barriers that hinder the full potential for taxation to be used to improve health, including: weak tax administrations, large ‘shadow economies’, international trade liberalisation, tax avoidance, transfer pricing by transnational corporations and banking secrecy. We suggest that a greater awareness of the manifold associations between tax and health will encourage health practitioners to actively promote fairer and better taxation, thereby helping to improve health and reduce health inequalities.
Global discussions on universal health coverage (UHC) have focussed attention on the need for increased government funding for health care in many low- and middle-income countries. The objective of this paper is to explore potential targets for government spending on health to progress towards UHC. An explicit target for government expenditure on health care relative to gross domestic product (GDP) is a potentially powerful tool for holding governments to account in progressing to UHC, particularly in the context of UHC’s inclusion in the Sustainable Development Goals. It is likely to be more influential than the Abuja target, which requires decreases in budget allocations to other sectors and is opposed by finance ministries for undermining their autonomy in making sectoral budget allocation decisions. International Monetary Fund and World Health Organisation data sets were used to analyse the relationship between government health expenditure and proxy indicators for the UHC goals of financial protection and access to quality health care, and triangulated with available country case studies estimating the resource requirements for a universal health system. Our analyses point towards a target of government spending on health of at least 5% of GDP for progressing towards UHC. This can be supplemented by a per capita target of $86 to promote universal access to primary care services in low-income countries.
Since the 2007/2008 financial crisis, the rhetoric in the development assistance dialogue has shifted away from raising more international funding for health, to requesting countries to move toward self-sufficiency. This paper examines the potential of 46 countries identified by an international panel in 2009 as being of high need to raise additional funding for health from domestic sources. Economic growth alone would allow 12 of them to reach a level of health spending where their populations could have access to a very basic set of health services. All of them have the potential to raise additional domestic funds through a range of measures that have been tried successfully in other low- and middle-income countries, but they would all remain well below the eventual objective of universal health coverage without increased and predictable external financial support.
Recent developments have transformed the role and characteristics of middle-income countries (MICs). Many stakeholders now question the appropriate role of MICs in the system of development assistance for health (DAH), and key funders have already recast their approach to these countries. The pressing question is whether MICs should be recipients, funders, both or neither. The answer has deep implications for individual countries and their citizens, and for the DAH system as a whole. We clarify the fundamental issues involved and emphasise a special feature of many MICs: mid-level gross national income per capita (GNIpc) combined with substantial health needs and large inequalities. We discuss the trade-off between concerns for capacity and need, and illustrate a capacity-based approach to setting the level of a GNIpc eligibility threshold. We also discuss how needs-based exceptions and incentive-preserving instruments can complement such a threshold. Against this background, we outline options for the future roles of MICs in various circumstances. We conclude that major players in the DAH system have reason to reconsider the criteria for allocating DAH among countries and the norms for which countries should contribute and how much.
After years of unprecedented growth in development assistance for health (DAH), the DAH system is challenged on several fronts: by the economic downturn and stagnation of DAH, by the epidemiological transition and increase in non-communicable diseases and by the economic transition and rise of the middle-income countries. Central to any potent response is a fair and effective allocation of DAH across countries. A myriad of criteria has been proposed or is currently used, but there have been no comprehensive assessment of their distributional implications. We simulated the implications of 11 quantitative allocation criteria across countries and country categories. We found that the distributions varied profoundly. The group of low-income countries received most DAH from needs-based criteria linked to domestic capacity, while the group of upper-middle-income countries was most favoured by an income-inequality criterion. Compared to a baseline distribution guided by gross national income per capita, low-income countries received less DAH by almost all criteria. The findings can inform funders when examining and revising the criteria they use, and provide input to the broader debate about what criteria should be used.
After a ‘golden age’ of extraordinary growth in the level of development assistance for health (DAH) since 1990, funding seems to have reached a plateau. With the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals, debate has intensified regarding what international financing for health should look like in the post-2015 era. In this review paper, we offer a systematic overview of problems and proposals for change. Major critiques of the current DAH system include: that the total volume of financing is inadequate; financial flows are volatile and uncertain; DAH may not result in additional resources for health; too small a proportion of DAH is transferred to recipient countries; inappropriate priority setting; inadequate coordination; weak mechanisms for accountability; and disagreement on the rationale for DAH. Proposals to address these critiques include: financing-oriented proposals to address insufficient levels and high volatility of DAH; governance-oriented proposals to address concerns regarding additionality, proportions reaching countries, priority setting, coordination and accountability; and proposals that reach beyond the existing DAH system. We conclude with a discussion of prospects for change.
After years of unprecedented growth in development assistance for health (DAH), the system is challenged on several fronts: by the economic downturn and stagnation of DAH, by the epidemiological transition and increase in non-communicable diseases, and by the economic transition and rise of the middle-income countries. This raises questions about which countries should receive DAH and how much, and, fundamentally, what criteria that promote fair and effective allocation. Yet, no broad comparative assessment exists of the criteria used today. We reviewed the allocation criteria stated by five multilateral and nine bilateral funders of DAH. We found that several funders had only limited information about concrete criteria publicly available. Moreover, many funders not devoted to health lacked specific criteria for DAH or criteria directly related to health, and no funder had criteria directly related to inequality. National income per capita was emphasised by many funders, but the associated eligibility thresholds varied considerably. These findings and the broad overview of criteria can assist funders in critically examining and revising the criteria they use, and inform the wider debate about what the optimal criteria are.