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The diet of most adults is low in fish and, therefore, provides limited quantities of the long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids (LCn-3FAs), eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA, DHA). Since these compounds serve important roles in the brain, we sought to determine if healthy adults with low-LCn-3FA consumption would exhibit improvements in neuropsychological performance and parallel changes in brain morphology following repletion through fish oil supplementation.
In a randomized, controlled trial, 271 mid-life adults (30–54 years of age, 118 men, 153 women) consuming ⩽300 mg/day of LCn-3FAs received 18 weeks of supplementation with fish oil capsules (1400 mg/day of EPA and DHA) or matching placebo. All participants completed a neuropsychological test battery examining four cognitive domains: psychomotor speed, executive function, learning/episodic memory, and fluid intelligence. A subset of 122 underwent neuroimaging before and after supplementation to measure whole-brain and subcortical tissue volumes.
Capsule adherence was over 95%, participant blinding was verified, and red blood cell EPA and DHA levels increased as expected. Supplementation did not affect performance in any of the four cognitive domains. Exploratory analyses revealed that, compared to placebo, fish oil supplementation improved executive function in participants with low-baseline DHA levels. No changes were observed in any indicator of brain morphology.
In healthy mid-life adults reporting low-dietary intake, supplementation with LCn-3FAs in moderate dose for moderate duration did not affect neuropsychological performance or brain morphology. Whether salutary effects occur in individuals with particularly low-DHA exposure requires further study.
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.
A new fossil site in a previously unexplored part of western Madagascar (the Beanka Protected Area) has yielded remains of many recently extinct vertebrates, including giant lemurs (Babakotia radofilai, Palaeopropithecus kelyus, Pachylemur sp., and Archaeolemur edwardsi), carnivores (Cryptoprocta spelea), the aardvark-like Plesiorycteropus sp., and giant ground cuckoos (Coua). Many of these represent considerable range extensions. Extant species that were extirpated from the region (e.g., Prolemur simus) are also present. Calibrated radiocarbon ages for 10 bones from extinct primates span the last three millennia. The largely undisturbed taphonomy of bone deposits supports the interpretation that many specimens fell in from a rock ledge above the entrance. Some primates and other mammals may have been prey items of avian predators, but human predation is also evident. Strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) suggest that fossils were local to the area. Pottery sherds and bones of extinct and extant vertebrates with cut and chop marks indicate human activity in previous centuries. Scarcity of charcoal and human artifacts suggests only occasional visitation to the site by humans. The fossil assemblage from this site is unusual in that, while it contains many sloth lemurs, it lacks ratites, hippopotami, and crocodiles typical of nearly all other Holocene subfossil sites on Madagascar.
The Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) is a consortium of 18 twin studies from 5 different countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, United States, and Australia) established to explore the nature of gene–environment (GE) interplay in functioning across the adult lifespan. Fifteen of the studies are longitudinal, with follow-up as long as 59 years after baseline. The combined data from over 76,000 participants aged 14–103 at intake (including over 10,000 monozygotic and over 17,000 dizygotic twin pairs) support two primary research emphases: (1) investigation of models of GE interplay of early life adversity, and social factors at micro and macro environmental levels and with diverse outcomes, including mortality, physical functioning and psychological functioning; and (2) improved understanding of risk and protective factors for dementia by incorporating unmeasured and measured genetic factors with a wide range of exposures measured in young adulthood, midlife and later life.
To update current estimates of non–device-associated urinary tract infection (ND-UTI) rates and their frequency relative to catheter-associated UTIs (CA-UTIs) and to identify risk factors for ND-UTIs.
Academic teaching hospital.
All adult hospitalizations between 2013 and 2017 were included. UTIs (device and non-device associated) were captured through comprehensive, hospital-wide active surveillance using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case definitions and methodology.
From 2013 to 2017 there were 163,386 hospitalizations (97,485 unique patients) and 1,273 UTIs (715 ND-UTIs and 558 CA-UTIs). The rate of ND-UTIs remained stable, decreasing slightly from 6.14 to 5.57 ND-UTIs per 10,000 hospitalization days during the study period (P = .15). However, the proportion of UTIs that were non–device related increased from 52% to 72% (P < .0001). Female sex (hazard ratio [HR], 1.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.50–2.50) and increasing age were associated with increased ND-UTI risk. Additionally, the following conditions were associated with increased risk: peptic ulcer disease (HR, 2.25; 95% CI, 1.04–4.86), immunosuppression (HR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.15–1.91), trauma admissions (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.02–1.81), total parenteral nutrition (HR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.35–2.94) and opioid use (HR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.10–2.32). Urinary retention (HR, 1.41; 95% CI, 0.96–2.07), suprapubic catheterization (HR, 2.28; 95% CI, 0.88–5.91), and nephrostomy tubes (HR, 2.02; 95% CI, 0.83–4.93) may also increase risk, but estimates were imprecise.
Greater than 70% of UTIs are now non–device associated. Current targeted surveillance practices should be reconsidered in light of this changing landscape. We identified several modifiable risk factors for ND-UTIs, and future research should explore the impact of prevention strategies that target these factors.
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 is the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Due to the consistent association, there is interest as to whether E4 influences the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, there is a constant search for other genetic biomarkers contributing to these phenotypes, such as microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) haplotypes. Here, participants from the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative were genotyped to investigate whether the APOE E4 allele or MAPT H1 haplotype are associated with five neurodegenerative diseases: (1) AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), (2) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (3) frontotemporal dementia (FTD), (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) vascular cognitive impairment.
Genotypes were defined for their respective APOE allele and MAPT haplotype calls for each participant, and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the associations with the presentations of neurodegenerative diseases.
Our work confirmed the association of the E4 allele with a dose-dependent increased presentation of AD, and an association between the E4 allele alone and MCI; however, the other four diseases were not associated with E4. Further, the APOE E2 allele was associated with decreased presentation of both AD and MCI. No associations were identified between MAPT haplotype and the neurodegenerative disease cohorts; but following subtyping of the FTD cohort, the H1 haplotype was significantly associated with progressive supranuclear palsy.
This is the first study to concurrently analyze the association of APOE isoforms and MAPT haplotypes with five neurodegenerative diseases using consistent enrollment criteria and broad phenotypic analysis.
The National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (NAS-NRC) Twin Registry is one of the oldest, national population-based twin registries in the USA. It comprises 15,924 White male twin pairs born in the years 1917–1927 (N = 31.848), both of whom served in the armed forces, chiefly during World War II. This article updates activities in this registry since the most recent report in Twin Research and Human Genetics (Page, 2006). Records-based data include information from enlistment charts and Veterans Administration data linkages. There have been three major epidemiologic questionnaires and an education and earnings survey. Separate data collection efforts with the NAS-NRC registry include the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) subsample, the Duke Twins Study of Memory in Aging and a clinically based study of Parkinson’s disease. Progress has been made on consolidating the various data holdings of the NAS-NRC Twin Registry. Data that had been available through the National Academy of Sciences are now freely available through National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA).
In 2013, a task force was developed to discuss the future of the Canadian pediatric neurology workforce. The consensus was that there was no indication to reduce the number of training positions, but that the issue required continued surveillance. The current study provides a 5-year update on Canadian pediatric neurology workforce data.
Names, practice types, number of weekly outpatient clinics, and dates of certification of all physicians currently practicing pediatric neurology in Canada were obtained. International data were used to compute comparisons between countries. National data sets were used to provide information about the number of residency positions available and the number of Canadian graduates per year. Models for future projections were developed based on published projected population data and trends from the past decade.
The number of pediatric neurologists practicing in Canada has increased 165% since 1994. During this period, wait times have not significantly shortened. There are regional discrepancies in access to child neurologists. The Canadian pediatric neurology workforce available to see outpatient consultations is proportionally less than that of USA. After accounting for retirements and emigrations, the number of child neurologists being added to the workforce each year is 4.9. This will result in an expected 10-year increase in Canadian pediatric neurologists from 151 to 200.
Despite an increase in the number of Canadian child neurologists over the last two decades, we do not predict that there will be problems with underemployment over the next decade.
In March 2017, the New Jersey Department of Health received reports of 3 patients who developed septic arthritis after receiving intra-articular injections for osteoarthritis knee pain at the same private outpatient facility in New Jersey. The risk of septic arthritis resulting from intra-articular injection is low. However, outbreaks of septic arthritis associated with unsafe injection practices in outpatient settings have been reported.
An infection prevention assessment of the implicated facility’s practices was conducted because of the ongoing risk to public health. The assessment included an environmental inspection of the facility, staff interviews, infection prevention practice observations, and a medical record and office document review. A call for cases was disseminated to healthcare providers in New Jersey to identify patients treated at the facility who developed septic arthritis after receiving intra-articular injections.
We identified 41 patients with septic arthritis associated with intra-articular injections. Cultures of synovial fluid or tissue from 15 of these 41 case patients (37%) recovered bacteria consistent with oral flora. The infection prevention assessment of facility practices identified multiple breaches of recommended infection prevention practices, including inadequate hand hygiene, unsafe injection practices, and poor cleaning and disinfection practices. No additional cases were identified after infection prevention recommendations were implemented by the facility.
Aseptic technique is imperative when handling, preparing, and administering injectable medications to prevent microbial contamination.
This investigation highlights the importance of adhering to infection prevention recommendations. All healthcare personnel who prepare, handle, and administer injectable medications should be trained in infection prevention and safe injection practices.
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.
To sustainably improve cleaning of high-touch surfaces (HTSs) in acute-care hospitals using a multimodal approach to education, reduction of barriers to cleaning, and culture change for environmental services workers.
The study was conducted in 2 academic acute-care hospitals, 2 community hospitals, and an academic pediatric and women’s hospital.
Frontline environmental services workers.
A 5-module educational program, using principles of adult learning theory, was developed and presented to environmental services workers. Audience response system (ARS), videos, demonstrations, role playing, and graphics were used to illustrate concepts of and the rationale for infection prevention strategies. Topics included hand hygiene, isolation precautions, personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning protocols, and strategies to overcome barriers. Program evaluation included ARS questions, written evaluations, and objective assessments of occupied patient room cleaning. Changes in hospital-onset C. difficile infection (CDI) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) bacteremia were evaluated.
On average, 357 environmental service workers participated in each module. Most (93%) rated the presentations as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ and agreed that they were useful (95%), reported that they were more comfortable donning/doffing PPE (91%) and performing hand hygiene (96%) and better understood the importance of disinfecting HTSs (96%) after the program. The frequency of cleaning individual HTSs in occupied rooms increased from 26% to 62% (P < .001) following the intervention. Improvement was sustained 1-year post intervention (P < .001). A significant decrease in CDI was associated with the program.
A novel program that addressed environmental services workers’ knowledge gaps, challenges, and barriers was well received and appeared to result in learning, behavior change, and sustained improvements in cleaning.
A nationwide survey indicated that screening for asymptomatic carriers of C. difficile is an uncommon practice in US healthcare settings. Better understanding of the role of asymptomatic carriage in C. difficile transmission, and of the measures available to reduce that risk, are needed to inform best practices regarding the management of carriers.
Legume cover crops can supply a significant amount of nitrogen (N) for cash crops, which is particularly important for organic farmers. Because N mineralization from cover crop residue depends on the amount of biomass, cover crop quality, as well as environmental conditions such as soil moisture and temperature, predicting the amount of N mineralized and the timing of release has been difficult. We have developed a Cover Crop Nitrogen Calculator based on the N subroutine of the CERES crop model and evaluated the use of the predicted N credits on yields of fall broccoli [Brassica oleracea L. (Italica group)] at a research farm and two working farms. Research farm trials consisted of a cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp.) cover crop and no cover crop treatments, each at four N rates (0N, 0.5N, 1N and 1.5N, with 1N the target N rate of 112 kg N ha−1 in 2013 and 168 kg N ha−1 in 2014 and 2015) in a randomized complete block design. On-farm trials consisted of a cowpea or sunn hemp (Crotolaria juncea L.) cover crop at four N rates (0N, 0.5N, 1N and 1.5N) and no cover crop treatment at the 1N rate in a completely randomized design. Cover crop biomass and quality (N%, carbohydrates%, cellulose% and lignin%) were measured and used with a 5-yr average soil moisture and soil temperature from a local weather station to predict an N credit. In the cover crop treatments, the N rate was modified by the predicted credit, while the no cover crop treatment received the full N fertilizer rate either as feathermeal (certified organic fields) or as urea (conventional field). At the research farm, broccoli yield increased up to the 0.5N rate, and there was no difference in yield between the no cover 0.5N rate and the cover crop 0.5N rate in 2013, 2014 and 2105. On-farm, we saw an N response in two site-years. In these site-years, there was no difference between the no cover 1N rate and the cover crop 1N rate. At the third site-year, no N response was seen. Overall, our results showed using the cover crop credit predicted by the Calculator did not reduce yields. The use of a decision support tool such as the Calculator may help farmers better manage N fertilizer when cover crops are used, and increase cover crop adoption.
Children with congenital heart disease are at high risk for malnutrition. Standardisation of feeding protocols has shown promise in decreasing some of this risk. With little standardisation between institutions’ feeding protocols and no understanding of protocol adherence, it is important to analyse the efficacy of individual aspects of the protocols.
Adherence to and deviation from a feeding protocol in high-risk congenital heart disease patients between December 2015 and March 2017 were analysed. Associations between adherence to and deviation from the protocol and clinical outcomes were also assessed. The primary outcome was change in weight-for-age z score between time intervals.
Increased adherence to and decreased deviation from individual instructions of a feeding protocol improves patients change in weight-for-age z score between birth and hospital discharge (p = 0.031). Secondary outcomes such as markers of clinical severity and nutritional delivery were not statistically different between groups with high or low adherence or deviation rates.
High-risk feeding protocol adherence and fewer deviations are associated with weight gain independent of their influence on nutritional delivery and caloric intake. Future studies assessing the efficacy of feeding protocols should include the measures of adherence and deviations that are not merely limited to caloric delivery and illness severity.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a chronic disease that disproportionately affects Indigenous Australians. We have previously reported the localization of a novel T2D locus by linkage analysis to chromosome 2q24 in a large admixed Indigenous Australian pedigree (Busfield et al. (2002). American Journal of Human Genetics, 70, 349–357). Here we describe fine mapping of this region in this pedigree, with the identification of SNPs showing strong association with T2D: rs3845724 (diabetes p = 7 × 10−4), rs4668106 (diabetes p = 9 × 10−4) and rs529002 (plasma glucose p = 3 × 10−4). These associations were successfully replicated in an independent collection of Indigenous Australian T2D cases and controls. These SNPs all lie within the gene encoding ceramide synthase 6 (CERS6) and thus may regulate ceramide synthesis.
Synchrotron radiation was used to obtain a high-resolution powder diffraction pattern of the high-density form of BeH2, a material whose unit-cell dimensions have not previously been determined. The observed d-spacing values were presented to three different computer indexing programs. All three programs returned as best solution a body-centered orthorhombic unit cell with a = 9.082, b = 4.160, c = 7.707 Å and V = 292 Å3. Interpretation of the three-dimensional Patterson led to 12 BeH2 molecules per unit cell; thus, the theoretical density is 0.755 g/cm3. The molecular structure is based on a network of corner-sharing BeH4 tetrahedra rather than flat, infinite chains with hydrogen bridges previously assumed.
Syndromic surveillance is a form of surveillance that generates information for public health action by collecting, analysing and interpreting routine health-related data on symptoms and clinical signs reported by patients and clinicians rather than being based on microbiologically or clinically confirmed cases. In England, a suite of national real-time syndromic surveillance systems (SSS) have been developed over the last 20 years, utilising data from a variety of health care settings (a telehealth triage system, general practice and emergency departments). The real-time systems in England have been used for early detection (e.g. seasonal influenza), for situational awareness (e.g. describing the size and demographics of the impact of a heatwave) and for reassurance of lack of impact on population health of mass gatherings (e.g. the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games).We highlight the lessons learnt from running SSS, for nearly two decades, and propose questions and issues still to be addressed. We feel that syndromic surveillance is an example of the use of ‘big data’, but contend that the focus for sustainable and useful systems should be on the added value of such systems and the importance of people working together to maximise the value for the public health of syndromic surveillance services.