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In this article, we investigate differences in the profiles of patients within the Australian mixed public-private maternal health system to examine the extent of adverse selection. There are conflicting influences on adverse selection within the private health sector in Australia due to government regulations that incentivise lower risk segments of the population to purchase community-rated private health insurance. We use a two-phase modelling methodology that incorporates statistical learning and logistic regression on a dataset that links administrative and longitudinal survey data for a large cohort of women. We find that the key predictor of private patient status is having private health insurance, which itself is largely driven by sociodemographic factors rather than health-or pregnancy-related factors. Additionally, transitioning between the public-private systems for a subsequent pregnancy is uncommon; however, it is primarily driven by changes in private health insurance when it occurs. Other significant factors when transitioning to the private system for a second pregnancy are hypertension, increased access to specialists and stress related to previous motherhood experiences. Consequently, there is limited evidence of adverse selection in this market, with targeted financial incentives likely outweighing the impact of community rating even during childbearing years where private health service use increases.
To characterize the association of longitudinal changes in maternal anthropometric measures with neonatal anthropometry and to assess to what extent late-gestational changes in maternal anthropometry are associated with neonatal body composition.
In a prospective cohort of pregnant women, maternal anthropometry was measured at six study visits across pregnancy and after birth, neonates were measured and fat and lean mass calculated. We estimated maternal anthropometric trajectories and separately assessed rate of change in the second (15–28 weeks) and third trimester (28–39 weeks) in relation to neonatal anthropometry. We investigated the extent to which tertiles of third-trimester maternal anthropometry change were associated with neonatal outcomes.
Women were recruited from twelve US sites (2009–2013).
Non-obese women with singleton pregnancies (n 2334).
A higher rate of increase in gestational weight gain was associated with larger-birth-weight infants with greater lean and fat mass. In contrast, higher rates of increase in maternal anthropometry measures were not associated with infant birth weight but were associated with decreased neonatal lean mass. In the third trimester, women in the tertile of lowest change in triceps skinfold (−0·57 to −0·06 mm per week) had neonates with 35·8 g more lean mass than neonates of mothers in the middle tertile of rate of change (−0·05 to 0·06 mm per week).
The rate of change in third-trimester maternal anthropometry measures may be related to neonatal lean and fat mass yet have a negligible impact on infant birth weight, indicating that neonatal anthropometry may provide additional information over birth weight alone.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
This paper adopts an actuarial approach to identify the risk factors of government-funded maternal out-of-hospital costs in Australia, with a focus on women who experience adverse birth outcomes. We use a two-phase modelling methodology incorporating both classification and regression trees and generalised linear models on a data set that links administrative and longitudinal survey data from a large sample of women, to address maternal out-of-hospital costs. We find that adverse births are a statistically significant risk factor of out-of-hospital costs in both the delivery and postnatal periods. Furthermore, other significant cost risk factors are in-vitro fertilisation, specialist use, general practitioner use, area of residence and mental health factors (including anxiety, intense anxiety, postnatal depression and stress about own health) and the results vary by perinatal sub-period and the patient’s private health insurance status. We highlight these differences and use the results as an evidence base to inform public policy. Mental health policy is identified as a priority area for further investigation due to the dominance of these factors in many of the fitted models.
Over the past several years, we have seen many attacks on publicly funded and mandated archaeology in the United States. These attacks occur at the state level, where governors and state legislatures try to defund or outright eliminate state archaeological programs and institutions. We have also seen several attacks at the federal level. Some members of Congress showcase archaeology as a waste of public tax dollars, and others propose legislation to move federally funded or permitted projects forward without consideration of impacts on archaeological resources. These attacks continue to occur, and we expect them to increase in the future. In the past, a vigilant network of historic preservation and archaeological organizations was able to thwart such attacks. The public, however, largely remains an untapped ally. As a discipline, we have not built a strong public support network. We have not demonstrated the value of archaeology to the public, beyond a scattering of educational and informational programs. In this article, we—a group of archaeologists whose work has focused on public engagement—provide a number of specific recommendations on how to build a strong public constituency for the preservation of our nation's archaeological heritage.
A predictive risk stratification tool (PRISM) to estimate a patient's risk of an emergency hospital admission in the following year was trialled in general practice in an area of the United Kingdom. PRISM's introduction coincided with a new incentive payment (‘QOF’) in the regional contract for family doctors to identify and manage the care of people at high risk of emergency hospital admission.
Alongside the trial, we carried out a complementary qualitative study of processes of change associated with PRISM's implementation. We aimed to describe how PRISM was understood, communicated, adopted, and used by practitioners, managers, local commissioners and policy makers. We gathered data through focus groups, interviews and questionnaires at three time points (baseline, mid-trial and end-trial). We analyzed data thematically, informed by Normalisation Process Theory (1).
All groups showed high awareness of PRISM, but raised concerns about whether it could identify patients not yet known, and about whether there were sufficient community-based services to respond to care needs identified. All practices reported using PRISM to fulfil their QOF targets, but after the QOF reporting period ended, only two practices continued to use it. Family doctors said PRISM changed their awareness of patients and focused them on targeting the highest-risk patients, though they were uncertain about the potential for positive impact on this group.
Though external factors supported its uptake in the short term, with a focus on the highest risk patients, PRISM did not become a sustained part of normal practice for primary care practitioners.
New approaches are needed to safely reduce emergency admissions to hospital by targeting interventions effectively in primary care. A predictive risk stratification tool (PRISM) identifies each registered patient's risk of an emergency admission in the following year, allowing practitioners to identify and manage those at higher risk. We evaluated the introduction of PRISM in primary care in one area of the United Kingdom, assessing its impact on emergency admissions and other service use.
We conducted a randomized stepped wedge trial with cluster-defined control and intervention phases, and participant-level anonymized linked outcomes. PRISM was implemented in eleven primary care practice clusters (total thirty-two practices) over a year from March 2013. We analyzed routine linked data outcomes for 18 months.
We included outcomes for 230,099 registered patients, assigned to ranked risk groups.
Overall, the rate of emergency admissions was higher in the intervention phase than in the control phase: adjusted difference in number of emergency admissions per participant per year at risk, delta = .011 (95 percent Confidence Interval, CI .010, .013). Patients in the intervention phase spent more days in hospital per year: adjusted delta = .029 (95 percent CI .026, .031). Both effects were consistent across risk groups.
Primary care activity increased in the intervention phase overall delta = .011 (95 percent CI .007, .014), except for the two highest risk groups which showed a decrease in the number of days with recorded activity.
Introduction of a predictive risk model in primary care was associated with increased emergency episodes across the general practice population and at each risk level, in contrast to the intended purpose of the model. Future evaluation work could assess the impact of targeting of different services to patients across different levels of risk, rather than the current policy focus on those at highest risk.
Emergency admissions to hospital are a major financial burden on health services. In one area of the United Kingdom (UK), we evaluated a predictive risk stratification tool (PRISM) designed to support primary care practitioners to identify and manage patients at high risk of admission. We assessed the costs of implementing PRISM and its impact on health services costs. At the same time as the study, but independent of it, an incentive payment (‘QOF’) was introduced to encourage primary care practitioners to identify high risk patients and manage their care.
We conducted a randomized stepped wedge trial in thirty-two practices, with cluster-defined control and intervention phases, and participant-level anonymized linked outcomes. We analysed routine linked data on patient outcomes for 18 months (February 2013 – September 2014). We assigned standard unit costs in pound sterling to the resources utilized by each patient. Cost differences between the two study phases were used in conjunction with differences in the primary outcome (emergency admissions) to undertake a cost-effectiveness analysis.
We included outcomes for 230,099 registered patients. We estimated a PRISM implementation cost of GBP0.12 per patient per year.
Costs of emergency department attendances, outpatient visits, emergency and elective admissions to hospital, and general practice activity were higher per patient per year in the intervention phase than control phase (adjusted δ = GBP76, 95 percent Confidence Interval, CI GBP46, GBP106), an effect that was consistent and generally increased with risk level.
Despite low reported use of PRISM, it was associated with increased healthcare expenditure. This effect was unexpected and in the opposite direction to that intended. We cannot disentangle the effects of introducing the PRISM tool from those of imposing the QOF targets; however, since across the UK predictive risk stratification tools for emergency admissions have been introduced alongside incentives to focus on patients at risk, we believe that our findings are generalizable.
We have previously shown that the minor alleles of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2758331 are both associated with improved transplant-free survival after surgery for CHD in infants, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We hypothesised that one or both of these minor alleles are associated with better systemic ventricular function, resulting in improved survival.
This study is a follow-up analysis of 422 non-syndromic CHD patients who underwent neonatal cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Echocardiographic reports were reviewed. Systemic ventricular function was subjectively categorised as normal, or as mildly, moderately, or severely depressed. The change in function was calculated as the change from the preoperative study to the last available study. Stepwise linear regression, adjusting for covariates, was performed for the outcome of change in ventricular function. Model comparison was performed using Akaike’s information criterion. Only variables that improved the model prediction of change in systemic ventricular function were retained in the final model.
Genetic and echocardiographic data were available for 335/422 subjects (79%). Of them, 33 (9.9%) developed worse systemic ventricular function during a mean follow-up period of 13.5 years. After covariate adjustment, the presence of the VEGFA minor allele was associated with preserved ventricular function (p=0.011).
These data support the hypothesis that the mechanism by which the VEGFA single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 minor allele improves survival may be the preservation of ventricular function. Further studies are needed to validate this genotype–phenotype association and to determine whether this mechanism is related to increased vascular endothelial growth factor production.
We investigate an actuarial approach to identifying the factors impacting government-funded maternal hospital costs in Australia, with a focus on women who experience adverse birth outcomes. We propose a two-phase modelling methodology that adopts actuarial methods from typical insurance claim cost modelling and extends to other statistical techniques to account for the large volume of covariates available for modelling. Specifically, Classification and Regression Trees and generalised linear mixed models are employed to analyse a data set that links longitudinal survey and administrative data from a large sample of women. The results show that adverse births are a statistically significant risk factor affecting maternal hospital costs in the antenatal and delivery periods. Other significant cost risk factors in the delivery period include mode of delivery, private health insurance status, diabetes, smoking status, area of residence and onset of labour. We demonstrate the efficacy of using actuarial techniques in non-traditional areas and highlight how the results can be used to inform public policy.
Introduction: This study evaluates the association of baseline e-cigarette use with smoking cessation in a sample of 2-year college student smokers.
Methods: Participants were 1,400 students from over 60 2-year colleges across 25 states who were current smokers enrolled in a web-assisted tobacco intervention (WATI) trial. Survey data at baseline, 1-, and 6-months, were evaluated.
Results: At 6-months, baseline e-cigarette users were more likely to report cessation of traditional cigarettes compared to non-users (OR 1.39, 95% CI 1.002–1.92). Cessation was also associated with higher baseline confidence in quitting and greater time to first cigarette after awakening. Baseline e-cigarette use was not associated with self-reported cessation of all nicotine/tobacco products (OR 1.09, 95% CI 0.75–1.58) nor biochemically verified cessation of all nicotine/tobacco products (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.47–1.47). Higher confidence was again associated with both self-reported and biochemically verified cessation of all nicotines.
A robust collection of mammal, bird, fish, and shellfish remains from an 8,000-year residential sequence at Morro Bay, a small, isolated estuary on the central California coast, shows a strong focus on marine species during the Middle-Late Transition cultural phase (950–700 cal B.P.), which largely coincides with the Medieval Climatic Anomaly (MCA). Previous studies have provided modest evidence for increased fishing and rabbit hunting during the MCA in adjacent regions, but the Morro Bay findings suggest a distinctive marine-focused subsistence refugium during the period of drought. Specifically, the sequence shows striking all-time peaks in marine and estuarine birds, fish NISP/m3, and fish/deer + rabbits during the MCA. Heavy exploitation of fish, aquatic birds, rabbits, and shellfish suggests that the bow and arrow, which seems to have arrived in the area at this time, had little impact on local subsistence strategies.
Objectives: It is unclear whether the primary motor cortex (PMC) is involved in the mental simulation of movement [i.e., motor imagery (MI)]. The present study aimed to clarify PMC involvement using a highly novel adaptation of the hand laterality task (HLT). Methods: Participants were administered single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the hand area of the left PMC (hPMC) at either 50 ms, 400 ms, or 650 ms post stimulus presentation. Motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) were recorded from the right first dorsal interosseous via electromyography. To avoid the confound of gross motor response, participant response (indicating left or right hand) was recorded via eye tracking. Participants were 22 healthy adults (18 to 36 years), 16 whose behavioral profile on the HLT was consistent with the use of a MI strategy (MI users). Results: hPMC excitability increased significantly during HLT performance for MI users, evidenced by significantly larger right hand MEPs following single-pulse TMS 50 ms, 400 ms, and 650 ms post stimulus presentation relative to baseline. Subsequent analysis showed that hPMC excitability was greater for more complex simulated hand movements, where hand MEPs at 50 ms were larger for biomechanically awkward movements (i.e., hands requiring lateral rotation) compared to simpler movements (i.e., hands requiring medial rotation). Conclusions: These findings provide support for the modulation of PMC excitability during the HLT attributable to MI, and may indicate a role for the PMC during MI. (JINS, 2017, 23, 185–193)
Objectives: The worldwide spread of Parkinson’s disease (PD) calls for sensitive and specific measures enabling its early (or, ideally, preclinical) detection. Here, we use language measures revealing deficits in PD to explore whether similar disturbances are present in asymptomatic individuals at risk for the disease. Methods: We administered executive, semantic, verb-production, and syntactic tasks to sporadic PD patients, genetic PD patients with PARK2 (parkin) or LRRK2 (dardarin) mutation, asymptomatic first-degree relatives of the latter with similar mutations, and socio-demographically matched controls. Moreover, to detect sui generis language disturbances, we ran analysis of covariance tests using executive functions as covariate. Results: The two clinical groups showed impairments in all measures, most of which survived covariation with executive functions. However, the key finding concerned asymptomatic mutation carriers. While these subjects showed intact executive, semantic, and action-verb production skills, they evinced deficits in a syntactic test with minimal working memory load. Conclusions: We propose that this sui generis disturbance may constitute a prodromal sign anticipating eventual development of PD. Moreover, our results suggest that mutations on specific genes (PARK2 and LRRK2) compromising basal ganglia functioning may be subtly related to language-processing mechanisms. (JINS, 2017, 23, 150–158)