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Our knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of complex host-associated communities has grown exponentially in the last decade through improvements in sequencing technologies. Despite this, there are still many outstanding research questions, which will undoubtably lead to many more. Concerted effort is required to elucidate the composition and function of taxonomic groups other than bacteria that constitute host microbiomes, and to extend our current cataloguing efforts to non-model and field-based host organisms. Further to this, we need to continue to move beyond the 'who?' question provided by relatively cheap amplicon sequencing to gain a better understanding of 'what?' the microbiome is doing, using metatranscriptomics approaches. Critically, we need to understand how members of the microbiome interact to confer function. Given the current unprecedented environmental change, microbiome plasticity may prove vital to host resilience and fitness. Furthermore, there is considerable potential for microbial biotechnology to improve numerous aspects of humanity, although care must be taken to ensure environmental and social justice prevail.
A classic example of microbiome function is its role in nutrient assimilation in both plants and animals, but other less obvious roles are becoming more apparent, particularly in terms of driving infectious and non-infectious disease outcomes and influencing host behaviour. However, numerous biotic and abiotic factors influence the composition of these communities, and host microbiomes can be susceptible to environmental change. How microbial communities will be altered by, and mitigate, the rapid environmental change we can expect in the next few decades remain to be seen. That said, given the enormous range of functional diversity conferred by microbes, there is currently something of a revolution in microbial bioengineering and biotechnology in order to address real-world problems including human and wildlife disease and crop and biofuel production. All of these concepts are explored in further detail throughout the book.
Through a long history of co-evolution, multicellular organisms form a complex of host cells plus many associated microorganism species. Consisting of algae, bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists and viruses, and collectively referred to as the microbiome, these microorganisms contribute to a range of important functions in their hosts, from nutrition, to behaviour and disease susceptibility. In this book, a diverse and international group of active researchers outline how multicellular organisms have become reliant on their microbiomes to function, and explore this vital interdependence across the breadth of soil, plant, animal and human hosts. They draw parallels and contrasts across hosts in different environments, and discuss how this invisible microbial ecosystem influences everything from the food we eat, to our health, to the correct functioning of ecosystems we depend on. This insightful read also pertinently encourages students and researchers in microbial ecology, ecology, and microbiology to consider how this interdependence may be key to mitigating environmental changes and developing microbial biotechnology to improve life on Earth.
Approximately 18% of adults with intellectual disabilities living in the community display behaviours that challenge. Intensive support teams (ISTs) have been recommended to provide high-quality responsive care aimed at avoiding unnecessary admissions and reducing lengthy in-patient stays.
To identify and describe the geographical distribution and characteristics of ISTs, and to develop a typology of IST service models in England.
We undertook a national cross-sectional survey of 73 ISTs. A hierarchical cluster analysis was performed based on six prespecified grouping factors (mode of referrals, size of case-load, use of outcome measures, staff composition, hours of operation and setting of service). A simplified form of thematic analysis was used to explore free-text responses.
Cluster analysis identified two models of IST provision: (a) independent and (b) enhanced provision based around a community intellectual disability service. ISTs aspire to adopt person-centred care, mostly use the framework of positive behaviour support for behaviour that challenges, and report concerns about organisational and wider context issues.
This is the first study to examine the delivery of intensive support to people with intellectual disability and behaviour that challenges. A two-cluster model of ISTs was found to have statistical validity and clinical utility. The clinical heterogeneity indicates that further evaluation of these service models is needed to establish their clinical and cost-effectiveness.
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a planned large radio interferometer designed to operate over a wide range of frequencies, and with an order of magnitude greater sensitivity and survey speed than any current radio telescope. The SKA will address many important topics in astronomy, ranging from planet formation to distant galaxies. However, in this work, we consider the perspective of the SKA as a facility for studying physics. We review four areas in which the SKA is expected to make major contributions to our understanding of fundamental physics: cosmic dawn and reionisation; gravity and gravitational radiation; cosmology and dark energy; and dark matter and astroparticle physics. These discussions demonstrate that the SKA will be a spectacular physics machine, which will provide many new breakthroughs and novel insights on matter, energy, and spacetime.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
Residual herbicides are routinely applied to control troublesome weeds in pumpkin production. Fluridone and acetochlor, Groups 12 and 15 herbicides, respectively, provide broad-spectrum PRE weed control. Field research was conducted in Virginia and New Jersey to evaluate pumpkin tolerance and weed control to PRE herbicides. Treatments consisted of fomesafen at two rates, ethalfluralin, clomazone, halosulfuron, fluridone, S-metolachlor, acetochlor emulsifiable concentrate (EC), acetochlor microencapsulated (ME), and no herbicide. At one site, fluridone, acetochlor EC, acetochlor ME, and halosulfuron injured pumpkin 81%, 39%, 34%, and 35%, respectively, at 14 d after planting (DAP); crop injury at the second site was 40%, 8%, 19%, and 33%, respectively. Differences in injury between the two sites may have been due to the amount and timing of rainfall after herbicides were applied. Fluridone provided 91% control of ivyleaf morningglory and 100% control of common ragweed at 28 DAP. Acetochlor EC controlled redroot pigweed 100%. Pumpkin treated with S-metolachlor produced the most yield (10,764 fruits ha–1) despite broadcasting over the planted row; labeling requires a directed application to row-middles. A separate study specifically evaluated fluridone applied PRE at 42, 84, 126, 168, 252, 336, and 672 g ai ha–1. Fluridone resulted in pumpkin injury ≥95% when applied at rates of ≥168 g ai ha–1; significant yield loss was noted when the herbicide was applied at rates >42 g ai ha–1. We concluded that fluridone and acetochlor formulations are unacceptable candidates for pumpkin production.
Cyclones are expected to increase in frequency and intensity, significantly impacting communities and healthcare services. During these times, those with chronic diseases such as opioid dependence are at an increased risk of disease exacerbation due to treatment regimen interruptions. Disruptions to the continuity of the opioid replacement therapy (ORT) service can be detrimental to both clients and the community which can potentially lead to relapse, withdrawal, and risky behaviors.
To explore the impacts of cyclones on opioid treatment programs within community and hospital pharmacies in Queensland.
Qualitative research methods were used in this study with two methods of data analysis employed: the text analytics software, Leximancer®, and manual coding. Interviews were conducted with five hospital and five community pharmacists and four Queensland opioid treatment program (QOTP) employees. Participants worked in Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville, and Yeppoon in a community impacted by a cyclone and involved with ORT supply.
The themes developed in the manual coding were “impact on essential services,” “human experience,” “healthcare infrastructure,” “preparedness,” and “interprofessional networks.” These themes were aligned with those identified in the Leximancer® analysis. The community pharmacists focused on client stability, whereas, the hospital pharmacists and QOTP employees focused on the need for disaster plans to be implemented.
The greatest concern for participants was maintaining the stability of their clients. Communication amongst the dosing sites and ORT stakeholders was most concerning. This led to a lack of dosing information in a timely manner with pharmacists being hesitant to provide doses and takeaways due to legislative restrictions. A review of coordinated efforts and the legislative constraints is recommended to ensure continuity of ORT supply during cyclones.
Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home was launched in two provinces, including a new clinical practice guideline, database, and paramedic training. The aim of this study was to evaluate patient/family satisfaction and paramedic comfort and confidence.
In Part A, we gathered perspectives of patients/families via surveys mailed at enrolment and telephone interviews after an encounter. Responses were reported descriptively and by thematic analysis. In Part B, we surveyed paramedics online pre- and 18 months post-launch. Comfort and confidence were scored on a 4-point Likert scale, and attitudes on a 7-point Likert scale, reported as the median (interquartile range [IQR]); analysis with Wilcoxon ranked sum/thematic analysis of free text.
In Part A, 67/255 (30%) enrolment surveys were returned. Three themes emerged: fulfilling wishes, peace of mind, and feeling prepared for emergencies. In 18 post-encounter interviews, four themes emerged: 24/7 availability, paramedic professionalism and compassion, symptom relief, and a plea for program continuation. Thematic saturation was reached with little divergence. In Part B, 235/1255 (18.9%) pre- and 267 (21.3%) post-surveys were completed. Comfort with providing palliative care without transport improved post launch (p = < 0.001) as did confidence in palliative care without transport (p = < 0.001). Respondents strongly agreed that all paramedics should be able to provide basic palliative care.
After implementation of the multifaceted Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home Program, paramedics describe palliative care as important and rewarding. The program resulted in high patient/family satisfaction; simply registering provides peace of mind. After an encounter, families particularly noted the compassion and professionalism of the paramedics.
A key message from the review of cognitive dysfunction in psychiatry published by Millan et al (2012) was not just that cognitive skills are often compromised in patients with psychiatric disorders, but that deficits in specific domains are common to a number of conditions. The review also highlighted that the magnitude of the observed deficits varied across disorders. A helpful element of the Millan et al study was the inclusion of a table in which the authors sought to convey the domains of cognition and a categorization of the magnitude of the observed deficits.
In previous articles, we have considered best practice for the assessment of cognition. In these contributions, we have argued not for the use of specific tests, but instead for measures that meet acceptable standards of reliability, validity, and sensitivity. In the course of our discussions, we have included reference to test validity in the context of considering whether selected measures index appropriate domains of cognition. In this article, we begin with a brief discussion of the requirements for good test selection, especially with respect to issues of sensitivity, reliability, and validity. Thereafter the focus of this article is on the issue of domain validity. We will critically review the specification of the cognitive domains proposed by Millan et al, as well as those selected by authors of meta-analyses characterizing cognitive deficits in major depressive disorders. This focus is solely to make the discussion tractable, though we propose that the issues raised will be applicable across all psychiatric and neurological disorders.