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Our study objective was to describe the Canadian emergency medicine (EM) research community landscape prior to the initiation of a nationwide network.
A two-phase electronic survey was sent to 17 Canadian medical schools. The Phase 1 Environmental Scan was administered to department chairs/hospital EM chiefs, to identify EM physicians conducting clinical or educational research. The Phase 2 Survey was sent to the identified EM researchers to assess four themes: 1) geographic distribution, 2) training/career satisfaction, 3) time/financial compensation, and 4) research facilitators/barriers. Descriptive analyses were conducted, and results were stratified by Canadian regions.
A total of 92 EM researchers were identified in Phase 1; 67 (73%) responded to the Phase 2 Survey. Of those, 42 (63%) reported being clinical researchers, and 19 (45%) had a graduate degree. Three provinces encompassed most of the researchers (n = 35). Of the respondents, 61% had a research degree, 66% felt adequately trained for their research career, 73% had financial support, 83% had access to office spaces, 52% had no mentor during their first years of their career, 69% felt satisfied with their research career, and 82% suggested that they will still be conducting research in 5 years.
EM researchers reported being adequately trained, even though only a little over half had a graduate degree. Only two-thirds had financial support, and mentorship was lacking in one-third of the participants. Not all respondents had a form of infrastructure, but most felt optimistic about their careers. The Canadian EM research environment could be improved to ensure better research capacity.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia (SCZ) are separate neurodevelopmental disorders that are both characterized by difficulties in social cognition and social functioning. Due to methodological confounds, the degree of similarity in social cognitive impairments across these two disorders is currently unknown. This study therefore conducted a comprehensive comparison of social cognitive ability in ASD and SCZ to aid efforts to develop optimized treatment programs.
In total, 101 individuals with ASD, 92 individuals with SCZ or schizoaffective disorder, and 101 typically developing (TD) controls, all with measured intelligence in the normal range and a mean age of 25.47 years, completed a large battery of psychometrically validated social cognitive assessments spanning the domains of emotion recognition, social perception, mental state attribution, and attributional style.
Both ASD and SCZ performed worse than TD controls, and very few differences were evident between the two clinical groups, with effect sizes (Cohen's d) ranging from 0.01 to 0.34. For those effects that did reach statistical significance, such as greater hostility in the SCZ group, controlling for symptom severity rendered them non-significant, suggesting that clinical distinctions may underlie these social cognitive differences. Additionally, the strength of the relationship between neurocognitive and social cognitive performance was of similar, moderate size for ASD and SCZ.
Findings largely suggest comparable levels of social cognitive impairment in ASD and SCZ, which may support the use of existing social cognitive interventions across disorders. However, future work is needed to determine whether the mechanisms underlying these shared impairments are also similar or if these common behavioral profiles may emerge via different pathways.
Currently no national guidelines exist for the management of scabies outbreaks in residential or nursing care homes for the elderly in the United Kingdom. In this setting, diagnosis and treatment of scabies outbreaks is often delayed and optimal drug treatment, environmental control measures and even outcome measures are unclear. We undertook a systematic review to establish the efficacy of outbreak management interventions and determine evidence-based recommendations. Four electronic databases were searched for relevant studies, which were assessed using a quality assessment tool drawing on STROBE guidelines to describe the quality of observational data. Nineteen outbreak reports were identified, describing both drug treatment and environmental management measures. The quality of data was poor; none reported all outcome measures and only four described symptom relief measures. We were unable to make definitive evidence-based recommendations. We draw on the results to propose a framework for data collection in future observational studies of scabies outbreaks. While high-quality randomised controlled trials are needed to determine optimal drug treatment, evidence on environmental measures will need augmentation through other literature studies. The quality assessment tool designed is a useful resource for reporting of outcome measures including patient-reported measures in future outbreaks.
Introduction: 9-1-1 telecommunicators receive minimal education on agonal breathing, often resulting in unrecognized out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). We successfully piloted an educational intervention that significantly improved telecommunicators’ OHCA recognition and bystander CPR rates in Ottawa. We sought to better understand the operations of Canadian 9-1-1 communications centers (CC) in preparation for a multi-centre study of this intervention. Methods: We conducted a National survey of all Canadian CCs. Survey domains included information on organizational structure, dispatch system used, education curriculum, and performance monitoring. It was peer-reviewed, translated in French, pilot-tested, and distributed electronically using a modified Dillman method. We designated respondents in each CC before distribution and used targeted follow-up and small incentives to increase response rate. Respondents also described functioning of neighboring CCs if known. Results: We received information from 51/51 provincial and 1/25 territorial CCs, representing 99.7% of the Canadian population. CCs largely utilize the Medical Dispatch Priority System (MPDS) platform (93%), many are Province/Ministry regulated (50%) and most require a High School diploma as minimum entry level education (78%). Telecommunicators receive initial in-class training (median 1.3 months, IQR 0.3-1.9; range 0.1-2.2), often followed by a preceptorship (84.4%) (median 1.0 months, IQR 0.7-1.7; range 0.4-6.0). Educational curriculum includes information on agonal breathing in 41% of CC, without audio examples in 34%. Among responding CCs, over 39,000 suspected OHCA 9-1-1 calls are received annually. Few CCs maintain local performance statistics on OHCA recognition (25%), bystander CPR rates (25%) or survival rates (50%). Most (97%) expressed interest in future research collaborations. Conclusion: Most Canadian telecommunicators receive no or minimal education in recognizing agonal breathing. Further training and improved OHCA monitoring may assist recognition and enhance outcomes.
High-intensity laser–plasma interactions produce a wide array of energetic particles and beams with promising applications. Unfortunately, the high repetition rate and high average power requirements for many applications are not satisfied by the lasers, optics, targets, and diagnostics currently employed. Here, we aim to address the need for high-repetition-rate targets and optics through the use of liquids. A novel nozzle assembly is used to generate high-velocity, laminar-flowing liquid microjets which are compatible with a low-vacuum environment, generate little to no debris, and exhibit precise positional and dimensional tolerances. Jets, droplets, submicron-thick sheets, and other exotic configurations are characterized with pump–probe shadowgraphy to evaluate their use as targets. To demonstrate a high-repetition-rate, consumable, liquid optical element, we present a plasma mirror created by a submicron-thick liquid sheet. This plasma mirror provides etalon-like anti-reflection properties in the low field of 0.1% and high reflectivity as a plasma, 69%, at a repetition rate of 1 kHz. Practical considerations of fluid compatibility, in-vacuum operation, and estimates of maximum repetition rate are addressed. The targets and optics presented here demonstrate a potential technique for enabling the operation of laser–plasma interactions at high repetition rates.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and stress/trauma exposure are cross-sectionally associated with advanced DNA methylation age relative to chronological age. However, longitudinal inquiry and examination of associations between advanced DNA methylation age and a broader range of psychiatric disorders is lacking. The aim of this study was to examine if PTSD, depression, generalized anxiety, and alcohol-use disorders predicted acceleration of DNA methylation age over time (i.e. an increasing pace, or rate of advancement, of the epigenetic clock).
Genome-wide DNA methylation and a comprehensive set of psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses were assessed in 179 Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans who completed two assessments over the course of approximately 2 years. Two DNA methylation age indices (Horvath and Hannum), each a weighted index of an array of genome-wide DNA methylation probes, were quantified. The pace of the epigenetic clock was operationalized as change in DNA methylation age as a function of time between assessments.
Analyses revealed that alcohol-use disorders (p = 0.001) and PTSD avoidance and numbing symptoms (p = 0.02) at Time 1 were associated with an increasing pace of the epigenetic clock over time, per the Horvath (but not the Hannum) index of cellular aging.
This is the first study to suggest that posttraumatic psychopathology is longitudinally associated with a quickened pace of the epigenetic clock. Results raise the possibility that accelerated cellular aging is a common biological consequence of stress-related psychopathology, which carries implications for identifying mechanisms of stress-related cellular aging and developing interventions to slow its pace.
Introduction: Medical journals are an essential venue for knowledge translation. Skilled reviewers and editors are required to ensure quality standards in research publications and yet postgraduate programs rarely include this training in their curricula. Imparting appropriate skills and developing capacity in journalship has thus proved challenging. The Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine (CJEM) is the national journal for Emergency Medicine (EM) in Canada. The CJEM editorial board recently decided to provide longitudinal mentorship for junior academic faculty members and trainees through an editorial internship. The internship had three goals for participants: (1) introduce and develop the responsibilities and skills of a good editor; (2) enhance a career in academic EM; and, (3) galvanize future participation as a reviewer or editor in scientific publications. Methods: The senior editorial board of CJEM and the inaugural intern developed a one-year Editorial Internship that was launched in June 2017. The curricular framework was designed by current and prior CJEM senior editors from four Canadian universities, and was informed by similar programs in the United States. The curriculum was refined iteratively based on feedback and discussion between the senior editors and intern. The internship was designed for a single individual in the Canadian EM community, including residents, pediatric fellows and practicing emergency physicians. Results: To develop the responsibilities and skills of being a good editor, the intern performed six mentored reviews of manuscripts either under current review at CJEM or previous submissions identified as difficult peer review decisions. In addition, the intern learned about CJEM values and norms by participating in monthly videoconference meetings and quarterly editorial board meetings. To enhance an academic career, the intern was assigned two writing projects under the guidance of senior editors for publication in CJEM, and completed an online critical appraisal course. Conclusion: The inaugural editorial intern gained experience as an editor and produced scholarly work. We feel the internship met its first two goals, and CJEM has committed to continue the internship annually. The ultimate determination of whether the internship achieved its third goal will only be known after longitudinal tracking of participants career involvement in academic publishing and editing.
An outbreak of mumps within a student population in Scotland was investigated to assess the effect of previous vaccination on infection and clinical presentation, and any genotypic variation. Of the 341 cases, 79% were aged 18–24. Vaccination status was available for 278 cases of whom 84% had received at least one dose of mumps containing vaccine and 62% had received two. The complication rate was 5·3% (mainly orchitis), and 1·2% were admitted to hospital. Genetic sequencing of mumps virus isolated from cases across Scotland classified 97% of the samples as genotype G. Two distinct clusters of genotype G were identified, one circulating before the outbreak and the other thereafter, suggesting the virus that caused this outbreak was genetically different from the previously circulating virus. Whilst the poor vaccine effectiveness we found may be due to waning immunity over time, a contributing factor may be that the current mumps vaccine is less effective against some genotypes. Although the general benefits of the measles–mumps–rubella (MMR) vaccine should continue to be promoted, there may be value in reassessing the UK vaccination schedule and the current mumps component of the MMR vaccine.
Cardiometabolic diseases exhibit changes in lipid biology, which is important as lipids have critical roles in membrane architecture, signalling, hormone synthesis, homoeostasis and metabolism. However, Developmental Origins of Health and Disease studies of cardiometabolic disease rarely include analysis of lipids. This short review highlights some examples of lipid pathology and then explores the technology available for analysing lipids, focussing on the need to develop imaging modalities for intracellular lipids. Analytical methods for studying interactions between the complex endocrine and intracellular signalling pathways that regulate lipid metabolism have been critical in expanding our understanding of how cardiometabolic diseases develop in association with obesity and dietary factors. Biochemical methods can be used to generate detailed lipid profiles to establish links between lifestyle factors and metabolic signalling pathways and determine how changes in specific lipid subtypes in plasma and homogenized tissue are associated with disease progression. New imaging modalities enable the specific visualization of intracellular lipid traffic and distribution in situ. These techniques provide a dynamic picture of the interactions between lipid storage, mobilization and signalling, which operate during normal cell function and are altered in many important diseases. The development of methods for imaging intracellular lipids can provide a dynamic real-time picture of how lipids are involved in complex signalling and other cell biology pathways; and how they ultimately regulate metabolic function/homoeostasis during early development. Some imaging modalities have the potential to be adapted for in vivo applications, and may enable the direct visualization of progression of pathogenesis of cardiometabolic disease after poor growth in early life.
To assess the impact of farm management on herd fertility, a survey of 105 beef farms in Northern Ireland was conducted to establish the relationship between management variables and fertility. Each herd's average calving interval (CI) and the proportion of cows with a CI > 450 days (extended calving interval, ECI) was calculated to establish herd fertility. The relationship between each response variable (CI and proportion ECI) and each explanatory variable (respondents’ answers to questionnaire) was examined using univariate linear regression analyses. All response variables found to be associated with the explanatory variables were modelled against each group in turn using a fully automated multivariate stepwise regression algorithm employing the method of forward selection with backward elimination. The optimum 365-day CI and a proportion of 0 cows per hundred calved ECI targets were not widely attained in the current study. The distribution of CI and proportion ECI in the current study suggests more realistic targets would be a 379-day CI and 5 cows per hundred calved with ECI in commercial beef breeding herds. Six management factors were found to be associated with herd fertility: herd vaccination, bull selection, fertility management, breeding female management, perception of extension service (rural education provided by the government) and record keeping. It was found that respondents who vaccinated cows had a reduction of 5 cows per hundred calved in the proportion of cows with ECI, and as the number of vaccines administered to a cow increased, the CI decreased. Regular vaccination of breeding bulls was associated with a 9-day reduction in CI. Bull selection strategy had several associations with herd fertility; most notable was that respondents who used visual selection rather than estimated breeding values (EBVs) to select bulls were found to have a 15-day longer CI and 7 cows per hundred calved higher proportion of cows with ECI. For each 0·01 increase in the proportion of cows served by artificial insemination, CI increased by 0·16 days. Respondents who rated their beef breeding herd fertility as ‘very good’ had lower ECI and CI than those who rated beef breeding herd fertility as poor or satisfactory. Condition scoring of cows at weaning lowered ECI by 5 cows per hundred calved. Those who perceived the extension service to be very useful had the lowest CI and lowest ECI. Respondents who did not keep a record of CI to assess herd fertility had an 11-day longer CI and 6 cows per hundred calved higher proportion ECI than those who did not. In conclusion, the survey found a number of important variables linked to improved fertility including selecting sires based on EBVs and using a robust vaccination programme.
Epidemiology formed the basis of ‘the Barker hypothesis’, the concept of ‘developmental programming’ and today’s discipline of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). Animal experimentation provided proof of the underlying concepts, and continues to generate knowledge of underlying mechanisms. Interventions in humans, based on DOHaD principles, will be informed by experiments in animals. As knowledge in this discipline has accumulated, from studies of humans and other animals, the complexity of interactions between genome, environment and epigenetics, has been revealed. The vast nature of programming stimuli and breadth of effects is becoming known. As a result of our accumulating knowledge we now appreciate the impact of many variables that contribute to programmed outcomes. To guide further animal research in this field, the Australia and New Zealand DOHaD society (ANZ DOHaD) Animals Models of DOHaD Research Working Group convened at the 2nd Annual ANZ DOHaD Congress in Melbourne, Australia in April 2015. This review summarizes the contributions of animal research to the understanding of DOHaD, and makes recommendations for the design and conduct of animal experiments to maximize relevance, reproducibility and translation of knowledge into improving health and well-being.
The discovery of the fully developed Formative sites of Cotocallao (ca. 3750-2350 cal. B.P.) in the Quito Basin and La Chimba (ca. 2650-1700 cal. B.P.) in the northern highlands of Ecuador has raised questions about their cultural antecedents, which have not been resolved despite decades of archaeological work in the region. Paleoenvironmental coring investigations were conducted at Lake San Pablo in northern highland Ecuador to determine the date for the onset of prehistoric maize farming in the temperate highland valleys of this region. The investigations included analysis of lake sediments for pollen, phytoliths, diatoms, and tephra. Maize pollen was identified as early as 4900 cal. B.P., while maize phytoliths dated even earlier, to 6200 or 6600 cal. B.P. These results demonstrate a long history of maize farming in valleys around Lake San Pablo, but in the context of a punctuated record of major and minor volcanic eruptions. It is concluded that early horticultural sites predating Cotocallao and La Chimba must exist, but to find such sites, archaeologists will have to locate and study deeply buried A-horizon soils.
The objective was to investigate the association between early and late maternal smoking during pregnancy on offspring body mass index (BMI). We undertook a retrospective cohort study using linked records from the Women’s and Children’s Health Network in South Australia. Among a cohort of women delivering a singleton, live-born infants between January 2000 and December 2005 (n=7658), 5961 reported not smoking during pregnancy, 297 reported quitting smoking during the first trimester of pregnancy, and 1400 reported continued smoking throughout pregnancy. Trained nurses measured the height and weight of the children at preschool visits in a state-wide surveillance programme. The main outcome measure was age- and sex-specific BMI z-score. At 4 to 5 years, mean (s.d.) BMI z-score was 0.40 (1.05), 0.60 (1.07) and 0.65 (1.18) in children of mothers who reported never smoking, quitting smoking and continued smoking during pregnancy, respectively. Compared with the group of non-smokers, both quitting smoking and continued smoking were associated with an increase in child BMI z-score of 0.15 (95% confidence interval: 0.01–0.29) and 0.21 (0.13–0.29), respectively. A significant dose–response relationship was also observed between the number of cigarettes smoked per day on average during the second half of pregnancy and the increase in offspring BMI z-score (P<0.001). In conclusion, any maternal smoking in pregnancy, even if mothers quit, is associated with an increase in offspring BMI at 4 to 5 years of age.
We sought to 1) identify best practices for training and mentoring clinician researchers, 2) characterize facilitators and barriers for Canadian emergency medicine researchers, and 3) develop pragmatic recommendations to improve and standardize emergency medicine postgraduate research training programs to build research capacity.
We performed a systematic review of MEDLINE and Embase using search terms relevant to emergency medicine research fellowship/graduate training. We conducted an email survey of all Canadian emergency physician researchers. The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) research fellowship program was analysed, and other similar international programs were sought. An expert panel reviewed these data and presented recommendations at the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) 2014 Academic Symposium. We refined our recommendations based on feedback received.
Of 1,246 potentially relevant citations, we included 10 articles. We identified five key themes: 1) creating training opportunities; 2) ensuring adequate protected time; 3) salary support; 4) infrastructure; and 5) mentorship. Our survey achieved a 72% (67/93) response rate. From these responses, 42 (63%) consider themselves clinical researchers (i.e., spend a significant proportion of their career conducting research). The single largest constraint to conducting research was funding. Factors felt to be positive contributors to a clinical research career included salary support, research training (including an advanced graduate degree), mentorship, and infrastructure. The SAEM research fellowship was the only emergency medicine research fellowship program identified. This 2-year program requires approval of both the teaching centre and each applying fellow. This program requires training in 15 core competencies, manuscript preparation, and submission of a large grant to a national peer-review funding organization.
We recommend that the CAEP Academic Section create a process to endorse research fellowship/graduate training programs. These programs should include two phases: Phase I: Research fellowship/graduate training would include an advanced research university degree and 15 core learning areas. Phase II: research consolidation involves a further 1-3 years with an emphasis on mentorship and scholarship production. It is anticipated that clinician scientists completing Phase I and Phase II training at a CAEP Academic Section-endorsed site(s) will be independent researchers with a higher likelihood of securing external peer-reviewed funding and be able to have a meaningful external impact in emergency medicine research.