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Health-related fear is a normal and common response in the face of the global pandemic of COVID-19. Children and young people are frequently being exposed to messages about the threat to health, including from the media and authorities. Whilst for most, their anxiety will be proportionate to the threat, for some, existing pre-occupation with physical symptoms and illness will become more problematic. There is a growing body of evidence that health anxiety may occur in childhood, however much of the literature is taken from research using adult samples. This practitioner review aims to give an overview of the assessment and treatment of health-related worries in children and young people in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This review is based on the limited existing evidence in this population and the more substantial evidence base for treating health anxiety in adults. We consider the adaptations needed to ensure such interventions are developmentally appropriate.
The pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) evaluates new cancer drugs for public funding recommendations. While pCODR's deliberative framework evaluates overall clinical benefit and includes considerations for exceptional circumstances, rarity of indication is not explicitly addressed. Given the high unmet need that typically accompanies these indications, we explored the impact of rarity on oncology HTA recommendations and funding decisions.
We examined pCODR submissions with final recommendations from 2012 to 2017. Incidence rates were calculated using pCODR recommendation reports and statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society. Indications were classified as rare if the incidence rate was lower than 1/100,000 diagnoses, a definition referenced by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health. Each pCODR final report was examined for the funding recommendation/justification, level of supporting evidence (presence of a randomized control trial [RCT]), and time to funding (if applicable).
Of the ninety-six pCODR reviews examined, 16.6 percent were classified as rare indications per above criteria. While the frequency of positive funding recommendations were similar between rare and nonrare indication (78.6 vs. 75 percent), rare indications were less likely to be presented with evidence from RCT (50 vs. 90 percent). The average time to funding did not differ significantly across provinces.
Rare indications appear to be associated with weaker clinical evidence. There appears to be no association between rarity, positive funding recommendations, and time to funding. Further work will evaluate factors associated with positive recommendations and the real-world utilization of funded treatments for rare indications.
We report the results from the first 12 months of a 2-year maintenance phase of a study evaluating long-term efficacy and safety of venlafaxine extended-release (XR) in preventing recurrence of depression.
Patients with recurrent unipolar depression (N=1096) were randomly assigned in a 3:1 ratio to 10-week treatment with venlafaxine XR (75 mg/d to 300 mg/d) or fluoxetine (20 mg/d to 60 mg/d). Responders (HAM-D17 total score ≤12 and ≥50% decrease from baseline) entered a 6-month, double-blind, continuation phase on the same medication. Continuation phase responders enrolled into the maintenance treatment period consisting of 2 consecutive 12-month phases. At the start of each maintenance phase, venlafaxine XR responders were randomly assigned to double-blind treatment with venlafaxine XR or placebo; fluoxetine responders continued for each period. Time to recurrence (HAM-D17 total score >12 and <50% reduction from acute phase baseline at 2 consecutive visits or the last visit prior to discontinuation) was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier methods and compared between groups using log-rank tests.
At the end of the continuation phase, venlafaxine XR responders were randomly assigned to venlafaxine XR (n=164) or placebo (n=172); 129 patients in each group were evaluated for efficacy. The cumulative probability of recurrence through 12 months was 23.1% (95% CI: 15.3, 30.9) for venlafaxine XR and 42.0% (95% CI: 31.8, 52.2) for placebo (P=0.005).
Twelve months of venlafaxine XR maintenance treatment was effective in preventing recurrence in depressed patients who had been successfully treated with venlafaxine XR during acute and continuation therapy.
This study evaluated the efficacy and safety of venlafaxine extended-release (XR) in preventing recurrence of depression.
Outpatients with recurrent unipolar depression (N=1096) were randomly assigned in a 3:1 ratio to 10-week treatment with venlafaxine XR (75 mg/d to 300 mg/d) or fluoxetine (20 mg/d to 60 mg/d). Responders (HAM-D17 ≤12 and ≥50% decrease from baseline) entered a 6-month, double-blind, continuation phase on the same medication. Continuation phase responders enrolled into maintenance treatment consisting of 2 consecutive 12-month phases. At the start of each maintenance phase, venlafaxine XR responders were randomized to double-blind treatment with venlafaxine XR or placebo; fluoxetine responders continued on fluoxetine. Time to recurrence (HAM-D17 >12 and <50% reduction from acute phase baseline at 2 consecutive visits or the last valid visit prior to discontinuation) was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier methods and compared between groups using log-rank tests.
In the second maintenance phase, the cumulative probabilities of recurrence through 12 months in the venlafaxine XR (n=43) and placebo (n=40) groups were 8.0% (95% CI: 0.0, 16.8) and 44.8% (95% CI: 27.6, 62.0), respectively (P<0.001). The probabilities of recurrence over 24 months for patients assigned to venlafaxine XR (n=129) or placebo (n=129) for the first maintenance phase were 28.5% (95% CI 18.3, 37.8) and 47.3% (95% CI 36.4, 58.2), respectively (P=0.005).
An additional 12 months of venlafaxine XR maintenance therapy was effective in preventing recurrence in depressed patients who had responded to venlafaxine XR after acute, continuation, and 12 months' initial maintenance therapy.
Sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) can reduce the production efficiency and impair the welfare of cattle, potentially in all production systems. The aim of this study was to characterise measurable postmortem observations from divergently managed intensive beef finishing farms with high rates of concentrate feeding. At the time of slaughter, we obtained samples from 19 to 20 animals on each of 6 beef finishing units (119 animals in total) with diverse feeding practices, which had been subjectively classified as being high risk (three farms) or low risk (three farms) for SARA on the basis of the proportions of barley, silage and straw in the ration. We measured the concentrations of histamine, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), lactate and other short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in ruminal fluid, LPS and SCFA in caecal fluid. We also took samples of the ventral blind sac of the rumen for histopathology, immunohistopathology and gene expression. Subjective assessments were made of the presence of lesions on the ruminal wall, the colour of the lining of the ruminal wall and the shape of the ruminal papillae. Almost all variables differed significantly and substantially among farms. Very few pathological changes were detected in any of the rumens examined. The animals on the high-risk diets had lower concentrations of SCFA and higher concentrations of lactate and LPS in the ruminal fluid. Higher LPS concentrations were found in the caecum than the rumen but were not related to the risk status of the farm. The diameters of the stratum granulosum, stratum corneum and of the vasculature of the papillae, and the expression of the gene TLR4 in the ruminal epithelium were all increased on the high-risk farms. The expression of IFN-γ and IL-1β and the counts of cluster of differentiation 3 positive and major histocompatibility complex class two positive cells were lower on the high-risk farms. High among-farm variation and the unbalanced design inherent in this type of study in the field prevented confident assignment of variation in the dependent variables to individual dietary components; however, the CP percentage of the total mixed ration DM was the factor that was most consistently associated with the variables of interest. Despite the strong effect of farm on the measured variables, there was wide inter-animal variation.
Pain and depression are common in the population and co-morbid with each other. Both are predictive of one another and are also associated with cognitive function; people who are in greater pain and more depressed respectively perform less well on tests of cognitive function. It has been argued that pain might cause deterioration in cognitive function, whereas better cognitive function earlier in life might be a protective factor against the emergence of disease. When looking at the dynamic relationship between these in chronic diseases, studying samples that already have advanced disease progression often confounds this relationship.
Using data from waves 1 to 3 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) (n = 516), we examined the interplay between pain, cognitive function and depression in a subsample of respondents reporting a diagnosis of arthritis at wave 2 of the ELSA using cross-lagged panel models.
The models showed that pain, cognitive function and depression at wave 1, prior to diagnosis, predict pain at wave 2, and that pain at wave 1 predicts depression at wave 2. Pain and depression at wave 2 predict cognitive function at wave 3.
The results indicate that better cognitive function might be protective against the emergence of pain prior to an arthritis diagnosis, but cognitive function is subsequently impaired by pain and depression. Furthermore, higher depression predicts lower cognitive function, but not vice versa. This is discussed in the context of the emerging importance of inflammation in depression.
All Fire and Emergency Services (FES) personnel must balance FES work with their other responsibilities. Given that women tend to take on a greater responsibility for management of household/domestic activities than men, the on-call component of their FES work may be associated with very different challenges. Despite this, women have rarely been the focus of on-call research.
To explore women’s on-call experiences in the FES by examining coping styles and strategies, with the goal of helping to innovate the way women are supported in FES roles.
Relevant findings from two studies are included. The first study involved FES personnel from two agencies in Australia (n=24) who participated in a semi-structured interview. The second study was an anonymous online survey to determine work characteristics, sleep, stress, and coping in on-call workers more broadly, with workers from all industries across Australia (n=228) invited to participate.
Interview data identified two major themes in terms of coping with on-call work. Support (from family, social, and work), planning, and preparation were identified as important in helping women cope in the context of on-call unpredictability. Results from the survey (43% women) showed that on-call workers were an engaged group in terms of their coping, with 67% classified as having a positive coping style and 58% of women indicating that they agreed/strongly agreed with the statement, “I cope well with on-call work.”
Taken together, these data highlight engagement with positive coping by women who do on-call work, including in the FES. Importantly, positive coping strategies, such as talking about emotions, problem-solving, and seeking support have been linked to increased shift work tolerance in other populations. Coping style and strategies represent modifiable variables which could be specifically applied to assist women to manage the unique challenges associated with on-call work in the FES.
There are few prevalence studies of suicide attempts and non-suicidal self-harm (NSSH).
We aimed to estimate the prevalence of thoughts of NSSH, suicidal thoughts, NSSH and suicide attempts among 18- to 34-year-olds in Scotland.
We interviewed a representative sample of young adults from across Scotland.
We interviewed 3508 young people; 11.3 and 16.2% reported a lifetime history of suicide attempts and NSSH, respectively. The first episode of NSSH tended to precede the first suicide attempt by about 2 years. Age at onset of NSSH and suicide attempt was younger in females. Earlier age at onset was associated with more frequent NSSH/suicide attempts. Women are significantly more likely to report NSSH and suicide attempts compared with men.
One in nine young people has attempted suicide and one in six has engaged in NSSH. Clinicians should be vigilant, as suicide attempts and NSSH are relatively common.
Studies to quantify genetic variation in cassava germplasm, available within the national breeding programmes in Africa, have been limited. Here, we report on the nature and extent of genetic variation that exists within 1401 cassava varieties from seven countries: Tanzania (270 genotypes); Uganda (268); Kenya (234); Rwanda (184); Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC; 177); Madagascar (186); Mozambique (82). The vast majority of these genotypes do not exist within a formal germplasm conservation initiative and were derived from farmers' fields and National Agricultural Research Systems breeding programmes. Genotypes were assayed using 26 simple sequence repeat markers. Moderate genetic variation was observed with evidence of a genetic bottleneck in the region. Some differentiation was observed among countries in both cultivars and landraces. Euclidean distance revealed the pivotal position of Tanzanian landraces in the region, and STRUCTURE analysis revealed subtle and fairly complex relationships among cultivars and among landraces and cultivars analysed together. This is likely to reflect original germplasm introductions, gene flow including farmer exchanges, disease pandemics, past breeding programmes and the introduction of cultivars from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture – Nigeria. Information generated from this study will be useful to justify and guide a regional cassava genetic resource conservation strategy, to identify gaps in cassava diversity in the region and to guide breeding strategies.