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Agency is the human capacity to freely choose one’s thoughts, motivations and actions without undue internal or external influences; it is distinguished from decisional capacity. Four well-known conditions that can deeply affect agency are depression, demoralization, existential distress, and family dysfunction. The study reviews how they may diminish agency in persons whose circumstances may lead them to consider or request euthanasia or assisted suicide. Since agency has been a relatively neglected dimension of autonomous choice at the end of life, it is argued that to respect the autonomy of individuals, it is essential to establish their agency.
Prospectively acquired Canadian cerebrospinal fluid samples were used to assess the performance characteristics of three ante-mortem tests commonly used to support diagnoses of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. The utility of the end-point quaking-induced conversion assay as a test for Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease diagnoses was compared to that of immunoassays designed to detect increased amounts of the surrogate markers 14-3-3γ and hTau. The positive predictive values of the end-point quaking-induced conversion, 14-3-3γ, and hTau tests conducted at the Prion Diseases Section of the Public Health Agency of Canada were 96%, 68%, and 66%, respectively.
Development of high energy density solid-state batteries with Li metal anodes has been limited by uncontrollable growth of Li dendrites in liquid and solid electrolytes (SEs). This, in part, may be caused by a dearth of information about mechanical properties of Li, especially at the nano- and microlength scales and microstructures relevant to Li batteries. We investigate Li electrodeposited in a commercial LiCoO2/LiPON/Cu solid-state thin-film cell, grown in situ in a scanning electron microscope equipped with nanomechanical capabilities. Experiments demonstrate that Li was preferentially deposited at the LiPON/Cu interface along the valleys that mimic the domain boundaries of underlying LiCoO2 (cathode). Cryogenic electron microscopy analysis of electrodeposited Li revealed a single-crystalline microstructure, and in situ nanocompression experiments on nano-pillars with 360–759 nm diameters revealed their average Young's modulus to be 6.76 ± 2.88 GPa with an average yield stress of 16.0 ± 6.82 MPa, ~24x higher than what has been reported for bulk polycrystalline Li. We discuss mechanical deformation mechanisms, stiffness, and strength of nano-sized electrodeposited Li in the framework of its microstructure and dislocation-governed nanoscale plasticity of crystals, and place it in the parameter space of existing knowledge on small-scale Li mechanics. The enhanced strength of Li at small scales may explain why it can penetrate and fracture through much stiffer and harder SEs than theoretically predicted.
Remote delivery of evidence-based psychological therapies via video conference has become particularly relevant following the COVID-19 pandemic, and is likely to be an on-going method of treatment delivery post-COVID. Remotely delivered therapy could be of particular benefit for people with social anxiety disorder (SAD), who tend to avoid or delay seeking face-to-face therapy, often due to anxiety about travelling to appointments and meeting mental health professionals in person. Individual cognitive therapy for SAD (CT-SAD), based on the Clark and Wells (1995) model, is a highly effective treatment that is recommended as a first-line intervention in NICE guidance (NICE, 2013). All of the key features of face-to-face CT-SAD (including video feedback, attention training, behavioural experiments and memory-focused techniques) can be adapted for remote delivery. In this paper, we provide guidance for clinicians on how to deliver CT-SAD remotely, and suggest novel ways for therapists and patients to overcome the challenges of carrying out a range of behavioural experiments during remote treatment delivery.
Key learning aims
(1) To learn how to deliver all of the core interventions of CT-SAD remotely.
(2) To learn novel ways of carrying out behavioural experiments remotely when some in-person social situations might not be possible.
Refractory depression is a major contributor to the economic burden of depression. Radically open dialectical behaviour therapy (RO DBT) is an unevaluated new treatment targeting overcontrolled personality, common in refractory depression, but it is not yet known whether the additional expense of RO DBT is good value for money.
To estimate the cost-effectiveness of RO DBT plus treatment as usual (TAU) compared with TAU alone in people with refractory depression (trial registration: ISRCTN85784627).
We undertook a cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a randomised trial evaluating RO DBT plus TAU versus TAU alone for refractory depression in three UK secondary care centres. Our economic evaluation, 12 months after randomisation, adopted the perspective of the UK National Health Service (NHS) and personal social services. It evaluated cost-effectiveness by comparing the net cost of RO DBT with the net gain in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), estimated using the EQ-5D-3L measure of health-related quality of life.
The additional cost of RO DBT plus TAU compared with TAU alone was £7048 and was associated with a difference of 0.032 QALYs, yielding an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of £220 250 per QALY. This ICER was well above the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) upper threshold of £30 000 per QALY. A cost-effectiveness acceptability curve indicated that RO DBT had a zero probability of being cost-effective compared with TAU at the NICE £30 000 threshold.
In its current resource-intensive form, RO DBT is not a cost-effective use of resources in the UK NHS.
Declaration of interest
R.H. is co-owner and director of Radically Open Ltd, the RO DBT training and dissemination company. D.K. reports grants outside the submitted work from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). T.L. receives royalties from New Harbinger Publishing for sales of RO DBT treatment manuals, speaking fees from Radically Open Ltd, and a grant outside the submitted work from the Medical Research Council. He was co-director of Radically Open Ltd between November 2014 and May 2015 and is married to Erica Smith-Lynch, the principal shareholder and one of two directors of Radically Open Ltd. H.O'M. reports personal fees outside the submitted work from the Charlie Waller Institute and Improving Access to Psychological Therapy. S.R. provides RO DBT supervision through her company S C Rushbrook Ltd. I.R. reports grants outside the submitted work from NIHR and Health & Care Research Wales. M. Stanton reports personal fees outside the submitted work from British Isles DBT Training, Stanton Psychological Services Ltd and Taylor & Francis. M. Swales reports personal fees outside the submitted work from British Isles DBT Training, Guilford Press, Oxford University Press and Taylor & Francis. B.W. was co-director of Radically Open Ltd between November 2014 and February 2015.
Individuals with depression often do not respond to medication or psychotherapy. Radically open dialectical behaviour therapy (RO DBT) is a new treatment targeting overcontrolled personality, common in refractory depression.
To compare RO DBT plus treatment as usual (TAU) for refractory depression with TAU alone (trial registration: ISRCTN 85784627).
RO DBT comprised 29 therapy sessions and 27 skills classes over 6 months. Our completed randomised trial evaluated RO DBT for refractory depression over 18 months in three British secondary care centres. Of 250 adult participants, we randomised 162 (65%) to RO DBT. The primary outcome was the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), assessed masked and analysed by treatment allocated.
After 7 months, immediately following therapy, RO DBT had significantly reduced depressive symptoms by 5.40 points on the HRSD relative to TAU (95% CI 0.94–9.85). After 12 months (primary end-point), the difference of 2.15 points on the HRSD in favour of RO DBT was not significant (95% CI –2.28 to 6.59); nor was that of 1.69 points on the HRSD at 18 months (95% CI –2.84 to 6.22). Throughout RO DBT participants reported significantly better psychological flexibility and emotional coping than controls. However, they reported eight possible serious adverse reactions compared with none in the control group.
The RO DBT group reported significantly lower HRSD scores than the control group after 7 months, but not thereafter. The imbalance in serious adverse reactions was probably because of the controls' limited opportunities to report these.
There is international interest in the training of psychological therapists to deliver evidence-based treatment for common mental health problems. The UK Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, one of the largest training initiatives, relies on competent therapists to successfully deliver cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and promote good patient outcome.
To evaluate an IAPT CBT training course by assessing if trainees’ clinical skills improve during training and reach competency standards, and to report patient outcome for submitted training cases. To investigate a possible relationship between trainee competence and patient outcome. To explore professional differences during training.
CBT trainee (n = 252) competence was assessed via audio recordings of therapy sessions at the beginning, middle and end of training. Patient pre- to post-treatment outcomes were extracted from submitted training cases (n = 1927). Differences in professional background were examined across competence, academic final grade and tutorial support.
CBT trainees attained competence by the end of the course with 77% (anxiety recordings) and 72% (depression recordings) improving reliably. Training cases reported pre- to post-treatment effect sizes of 1.08–2.26 across disorders. CBT competence predicted a small variance in clinical outcome for depression cases. Differences in professional background emerged, with clinical psychologists demonstrating greater competence and higher academic grades. Trainees without a core professional background required more additional support to achieve competence.
Part of a new CBT therapist workforce was successfully trained to deliver relatively brief treatment effectively. Trainees without a core profession can be successfully trained to competence, but may need additional support. This has implications for workforce training.
Emergency physicians play an important role in providing care at the end-of-life as well as identifying patients who may benefit from a palliative approach. Several studies have shown that emergency medicine (EM) residents desire further training in palliative care. We performed a national cross-sectional survey of EM program directors. Our primary objective was to describe the number of Canadian postgraduate EM training programs with palliative and end-of-life care curricula.
A 15-question survey in English and French was sent by email to all program directors of both the Canadian College of Family Physicians emergency medicine (CCFP(EM)) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada emergency medicine (RCPSC-EM) postgraduate training programs countrywide using FluidSurveys™ with a modified Dillman approach.
We received a total of 26 responses from the 36 (response rate = 72.2%) EM postgraduate programs in Canada. Ten out of 26 (38.5%) programs had a structured educational program pertaining to palliative and end-of-life care. Lectures or seminars were the exclusive choice to teach content. Clinical palliative medicine rotations were mandatory in one out of 26 (3.8%) programs. The top two barriers to implementation of palliative and end-of-life care curricula were lack of time (84.6%) and curriculum development concerns (80.8%).
Palliative and end-of-life care training within EM has been identified as an area of need. This cross-sectional survey demonstrates that a minority of Canadian EM programs have palliative and end-of-life care curricula. It will be important for all EM training programs, RCPSC-EM and CCFP(EM), in Canada, to develop an agreed upon set of competencies and to structure their curricula around them.
Following Kristallnacht, Dietrich Bonhoeffer marked the date of the pogrom beside Psalm 74:8 in his personal Bible. This annotation has been frequently cited; however, though scholars have recognised historical implications of associating this psalm text with Kristallnacht, the discourse has yet to examine this annotation thoroughly in the context of Bonhoeffer's figural interpretation of the Psalms during this period. This article will establish the context of Bonhoeffer's figural approach to the Psalter in order to address this question: by connecting Psalm 74:8 with Kristallnacht, what theological claim might Bonhoeffer have been making about the events of November 1938?
The relationship between depression and sexual behaviour among men who have sex with men (MSM) is poorly understood.
To investigate prevalence and correlates of depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire-9 score ≥10) and the relationship between depressive symptoms and sexual behaviour among MSM reporting recent sex.
The Attitudes to and Understanding of Risk of Acquisition of HIV (AURAH) is a cross-sectional study of UK genitourinary medicine clinic attendees without diagnosed HIV (2013–2014).
Among 1340 MSM, depressive symptoms (12.4%) were strongly associated with socioeconomic disadvantage and lower supportive network. Adjusted for key sociodemographic factors, depressive symptoms were associated with measures of condomless sex partners in the past 3 months (≥2 (prevalence ratio (PR) 1.42, 95% CI 1.17–1.74; P=0.001), unknown or HIV-positive status (PR 1.43, 95% CI 1.20–1.71; P<0.001)), sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis (PR 1.46, 95% CI 1.19–1.79; P<0.001) and post-exposure prophylaxis use in the past year (PR 1.83, 95% CI 1.33–2.50; P<0.001).
Management of mental health may play a role in HIV and STI prevention.
The notion of spirituality/religious belief is recognized internationally as a domain within end-of-life care and is important in patients' and carers' quality-of-life. When faced with incurable illness, patients often become more philosophical about their life; many seek comfort in spiritual or religious philosophies. Our intention was to understand how personal spirituality and religious faith might help those living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/motor neuron disease (ALS/MND) cope with their impending death.
Unsolicited narratives (internet and print-published) written by individuals diagnosed with the terminal condition of ALS/MND were analyzed thematically. Narratives from 161 individuals diagnosed with ALS/MND written over a period of 37 years (from 1968 to 2005) were included.
Our findings reveal that religious faith sustains and helps people to avoid despair, and personal spirituality helps them make sense of what is happening to them.
Significance of Results:
The use of personal narratives by people with ALS/MND has provided a vehicle for sharing their deepest spiritual and religious thoughts with others. The place of spirituality and religious faith within ALS/MND care should not be underestimated. Assessment of religious or spiritual needs should become a routine part of practice and is the responsibility of all members of the multidisciplinary team.
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has been extensively described in healthcare settings; however, risk factors associated with community-acquired (CA) CDI remain uncertain. This study aimed to synthesize the current evidence for an association between commonly prescribed medications and comorbidities with CA-CDI.
A systematic search was conducted in 5 electronic databases for epidemiologic studies that examined the association between the presence of comorbidities and exposure to medications with the risk of CA-CDI. Pooled odds ratios were estimated using 3 meta-analytic methods. Subgroup analyses by location of studies and by life stages were conducted.
Twelve publications (n=56,776 patients) met inclusion criteria. Antimicrobial (odds ratio, 6.18; 95% CI, 3.80–10.04) and corticosteroid (1.81; 1.15–2.84) exposure were associated with increased risk of CA-CDI. Among the comorbidities, inflammatory bowel disease (odds ratio, 3.72; 95% CI, 1.52–9.12), renal failure (2.64; 1.23–5.68), hematologic cancer (1.75; 1.02–5.68), and diabetes mellitus (1.15; 1.05–1.27) were associated with CA-CDI. By location, antimicrobial exposure was associated with a higher risk of CA-CDI in the United States, whereas proton-pump inhibitor exposure was associated with a higher risk in Europe. By life stages, the risk of CA-CDI associated with antimicrobial exposure greatly increased in adults older than 65 years.
Antimicrobial exposure was the strongest risk factor associated with CA-CDI. Further studies are required to investigate the risk of CA-CDI associated with medications commonly prescribed in the community. Patients with diarrhea who have inflammatory bowel disease, renal failure, hematologic cancer, or diabetes are appropriate populations for interventional studies of screening.