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This SHEA white paper identifies knowledge gaps and challenges in healthcare epidemiology research related to COVID-19 with a focus on core principles of healthcare epidemiology. These gaps, revealed during the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, are described in 10 sections: epidemiology, outbreak investigation, surveillance, isolation precaution practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), environmental contamination and disinfection, drug and supply shortages, antimicrobial stewardship, healthcare personnel (HCP) occupational safety, and return to work policies. Each section highlights three critical healthcare epidemiology research questions with detailed description provided in supplemental materials. This research agenda calls for translational studies from laboratory-based basic science research to well-designed, large-scale studies and health outcomes research. Research gaps and challenges related to nursing homes and social disparities are included. Collaborations across various disciplines, expertise and across diverse geographic locations will be critical.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
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’.
Antimicrobial stewardship programs are increasingly recognized as critical in optimizing the use of antimicrobials. Consequently, more physicians, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers are developing and implementing such programs in a variety of healthcare settings. The purpose of this guidance document is to outline the knowledge and skills that are needed to lead an antimicrobial stewardship program. It was developed by antimicrobial stewardship experts from organizations that are engaged in advancing the field of antimicrobial stewardship.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(12):1444–1451
To examine the use of vitamin D supplements during infancy among the participants in an international infant feeding trial.
Information about vitamin D supplementation was collected through a validated FFQ at the age of 2 weeks and monthly between the ages of 1 month and 6 months.
Infants (n 2159) with a biological family member affected by type 1 diabetes and with increased human leucocyte antigen-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes from twelve European countries, the USA, Canada and Australia.
Daily use of vitamin D supplements was common during the first 6 months of life in Northern and Central Europe (>80 % of the infants), with somewhat lower rates observed in Southern Europe (>60 %). In Canada, vitamin D supplementation was more common among exclusively breast-fed than other infants (e.g. 71 % v. 44 % at 6 months of age). Less than 2 % of infants in the USA and Australia received any vitamin D supplementation. Higher gestational age, older maternal age and longer maternal education were study-wide associated with greater use of vitamin D supplements.
Most of the infants received vitamin D supplements during the first 6 months of life in the European countries, whereas in Canada only half and in the USA and Australia very few were given supplementation.
Although neurocognition is commonly described in terms of different functional domains, some factor analytic studies have suggested a simpler dimensional structure for neuropsychological (NP) tests in patients with schizophrenia. Standardized tasks of everyday functioning, or tests of “functional capacity” (FC), are viewed differently from traditional NP tests, and are hence used as a co-primary measure in treatment studies. However, FC and NP tests have been found to be highly correlated. In fact, a recent study of ours suggested that performances on these different types of tasks constituted a single latent trait in a cross-sectional analysis. The current study examined the longitudinal factor structure of a combined set of NP and FC tests. Patients with schizophrenia (n = 195) were examined at two assessment occasions separated by periods ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months. Participants were assessed with the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) and two performance-based assessments of FC. A single latent trait was extracted using full information maximum likelihood procedures, and its temporal stability was examined in terms of: stability of the latent trait scores, the inter-correlations of the three indicators of the latent trait, and the stability of loadings for the FC and NP items underlying the latent trait at the two measurement occasions. All indices of temporal stability were confirmed, with stability not related to follow-up duration. Variation in clinical symptoms and treatments across the measurement occasions was negligible. These findings raise the question of whether cognitive abilities measured by NP tests and FC instruments are tapping a single ability construct, which might have shared causal influences as well. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–8)
We generate a multi-proxy sub-centennial-scale reconstruction of environmental change during the past two millennia from Itilliq Lake, Baffin Island, Arctic Canada. Our reconstruction arises from a finely subsectioned 210Pb- and 14C-dated surface sediment core and includes measures of organic matter (e.g., chlorophyll a; carbon–nitrogen ratio) and insect (Diptera: Chironomidae) assemblages. Within the past millennium, the least productive, and by inference coldest, conditions occurred ca. AD 1700–1850, late in the Little Ice Age. The 2000-yr sediment record also reveals an episode of reduced organic matter deposition during the 6th–7th century AD; combined with the few other records comparable in resolution that span this time interval from Baffin Island, we suggest that this cold episode was experienced regionally. A comparable cold climatic episode occurred in Alaska and western Canada at this time, suggesting that the first millennium AD cold climate anomaly may have occurred throughout the Arctic. Dramatic increases in aquatic biological productivity at multiple trophic levels are indicated by increased chlorophyll a concentrations since AD 1800 and chironomid concentrations since AD 1900, both of which have risen to levels unprecedented over the past 2000 yr.