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Background: A prolonged outbreak of carbapenemase-producing Serratia marcescens (CPSM) was identified in our quaternary healthcare center over a 2-year period from 2015 through 2017. A reservoir of IMP-4–producing S. marcescens in sink drains of clinical hand basins (CHB) was implicated in propagating transmission, supported by evidence from whole-genome sequencing (WGS). We assessed the impact of manual bioburden reduction intervention on further transmission of CPSM. Methods: Environmental sampling of frequently touched wet and dry areas around CPSM clinical cases was undertaken to identify potential reservoirs and transmission pathways. After identifying CHB as a source of CPSM, a widespread annual CHB cleaning intervention involving manual scrubbing of sink drains and the proximal pipes was implemented. Pre- and postintervention point prevalence surveys (PPS) of CHB drains performed to assess for CPSM colonization. Surveillance for subsequent transmission was conducted through weekly screening of patients and annual screening of CHB in transmission areas, and 6-monthly whole-hospital PPS of patients. All CPSM isolates were assessed by WGS. Results: In total, 6 patients were newly identified with CPSM from 2015 to 2017 (4.3 transmission events per 100,000 surveillance bed days [SBD]; 95% CI, 1.6–9.4). All clinical CPSM isolates were linked to CHB isolates by WGS. The CHB cleaning intervention resulted in a reduction in CHB colonization with CPSM in transmission areas from 72% colonization to 28% (ARR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.25–0.63). A single further clinical case of CPSM linked to the CHB isolates was detected over 2 years of surveillance from 2017 to 2019 following the implementation of the annual CHB cleaning program (0.7 transmissions per 100,000 SBD; 95% CI, 0.0–3.9). No transmissions were linked to undertaking the cleaning intervention. Conclusions: A simple intervention targeted at reducing the biological burden of CPSM in CHB drains at regular intervals was effective in preventing transmission of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales from the hospital environment to patients over a prolonged period of intensive surveillance. These findings highlight the importance of detailed cleaning for controlling the spread of multidrug-resistant organisms from healthcare environments.
The aim of this study was to quantify the correlation between adenosine triphosphate (ATP) measurements and bacterial cultures from duodenoscopes for evaluation of contamination following high-level disinfection.
Duodenoscopes used for any intended endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedure were included. Microbiologic and ATP data were collected concomitantly and in the same manner from ERCP duodenoscopes.
A high-volume endoscopy unit at a tertiary referral acute-care facility.
Duodenoscopes were sampled for ATP and bacterial contamination in a contemporaneous and highly standardized fashion using a “flush-brush-flush” method for the working channel (WC) and a dry flocked swab for the elevator mechanism (EM). Specimens were processed for any aerobic bacterial growth (colony-forming units, CFU). Growth of CFU>0 and ATP relative light unit (RLU)>0 was considered a contaminated result. Frequency of discord between among WC and EM measurements were calculated using 2×2 contingency tables. The Spearman correlation coefficient was used to calculate the relatedness of bacterial contamination and ATP as continuous measurements.
The Spearman correlation coefficient did not demonstrate significant relatedness between ATP and CFU for either a WC or EM site. Among 390 duodenoscope sampling events, ATP and CFU assessments of contamination were discordant in 82 of 390 WC measurements (21%) and 331 of 390 of EM measurements (84.9%). The EM was frequently and markedly positive by ATP measurement.
ATP measurements correlate poorly with a microbiologic standard assessing duodenoscope contamination, particularly for EM sampling. ATP may reflect biological material other than nonviable aerobic bacteria and may not serve as an adequate marker of bacterial contamination.
A wetland deposit from the southern Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, USA, has been radiocarbon dated and shows continuous deposition from the early Holocene to the present. Non-coastal records of Holocene paleoenvironments are rare from the southeastern USA. Increased stable carbon isotope ratios (?13C) of sedimentary organic matter and pollen percentages indicate warm, dry early- to mid-Holocene conditions. This interpretation is also supported by n-alkane biomarker data and bulk sedimentary C/N ratios. These warm, dry conditions coincide with a mid-Holocene hypsithermal, or altithermal, documented elsewhere in North America. Our data indicate that the southeastern USA warmed concurrently with much of the rest of the continent during the mid-Holocene. If the current "warming hole" in the southeastern USA persists, during a time of greenhouse gas-induced warming elsewhere, it will be anomalous both in space and time.
A symptom of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease
(AD) is a flat learning profile. Learning slope calculation methods vary, and
the optimal method for capturing neuroanatomical changes associated with MCI and
early AD pathology is unclear. This study cross-sectionally compared four
different learning slope measures from the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test
(simple slope, regression-based slope, two-slope method, peak slope) to
structural neuroimaging markers of early AD neurodegeneration (hippocampal
volume, cortical thickness in parahippocampal gyrus, precuneus, and lateral
prefrontal cortex) across the cognitive aging spectrum [normal
control (NC); (n=198;
age=76±5), MCI (n=370;
age=75±7), and AD (n=171;
age=76±7)] in ADNI. Within diagnostic group,
general linear models related slope methods individually to neuroimaging
variables, adjusting for age, sex, education, and APOE4 status. Among MCI,
better learning performance on simple slope, regression-based slope, and late
slope (Trial 2–5) from the two-slope method related to larger
parahippocampal thickness (all p-values<.01) and
hippocampal volume (p<.01). Better regression-based
slope (p<.01) and late slope
(p<.01) were related to larger ventrolateral
prefrontal cortex in MCI. No significant associations emerged between any slope
and neuroimaging variables for NC (p-values ≥.05) or
AD (p-values ≥.02). Better learning performances
related to larger medial temporal lobe (i.e., hippocampal volume,
parahippocampal gyrus thickness) and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex in MCI
only. Regression-based and late slope were most highly correlated with
neuroimaging markers and explained more variance above and beyond other common
memory indices, such as total learning. Simple slope may offer an acceptable
alternative given its ease of calculation. (JINS, 2015,
Psychosocial interventions directed to couples where one has advanced cancer can reduce distress, enhance communication, and provide an opportunity for relational growth. The present study aimed to develop an intervention to facilitate communication about living with advanced cancer using the Patient Dignity Inventory (PDI) as the focus of a clinical interview with couples toward the end of life.
Couples were recruited from oncology and palliative care services at a Sydney hospital. After the PDI was developed and manualized as an intervention for couples, the PDI–Couple Interview (PDI–CI) was delivered by a clinical psychologist and comprised the following: (1) the patient completed the PDI; (2) the patient's identified partner completed the PDI about how they thought the patient was feeling; and (3) the clinician reviewed the results with the couple, summarizing areas of concurrence and discordance and facilitating discussion.
Some 34 couples were referred, of which 12 consented, 9 of whom completed the clinical interview. Reported benefits included enabling couples to express their concerns together, identifying differences in understanding, and giving “permission to speak” with each other. The focus of the interview around the PDI provided a structure that was particularly acceptable for men. Most couples confirmed that they were “on the same page,” and where differences were identified, it provided a forum for discussion and a mutual understanding of the challenges in managing advanced cancer within a supportive context.
Significance of Results:
Participant couples' experiences of the PDI–CI provide valuable insight into the benefits of this intervention. This preliminary study indicates that the intervention is a relatively simple means of enhancing closer communication and connection between couples where one has advanced cancer and may be an important adjunct in helping prepare couples for the challenges inherent toward the end of life. Further investigation of feasibility with a larger sample is recommended.
Subcortical hyperintensities (SH) on neuroimaging are a prominent feature of vascular dementia (VaD) and SH severity correlates with cognitive impairment in this population. Previous studies demonstrated that SH burden accounts for a degree of the cognitive burden among VaD patients, although it remains unclear if individual factors such as cognitive reserve influence cognitive status in VaD. To address this issue, we examined 36 individuals diagnosed with probable VaD (age = 77.56; education = 12). All individuals underwent MMSE evaluations and MRI brain scans. We predicted that individuals with higher educational attainment would exhibit less cognitive difficulty despite similar levels of SH volume, compared to individuals with less educational attainment. A regression analysis revealed that greater SH volume was associated with lower scores on the MMSE. Additionally, education moderated the relationship between SH volume and MMSE score, demonstrating that individuals with higher education had higher scores on the MMSE despite similar degrees of SH burden. These results suggest that educational attainment buffers the deleterious effects of SH burden on cognitive status among VaD patients. (JINS, 2011, 17, 531–536)