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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.
To examine associations between diet and risk of developing gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Prospective cohort with a median follow-up of 15·8 years. Baseline diet was measured using a FFQ. GERD was defined as self-reported current or history of daily heartburn or acid regurgitation beginning at least 2 years after baseline. Sex-specific logistic regressions were performed to estimate OR for GERD associated with diet quality scores and intakes of nutrients, food groups and individual foods and beverages. The effect of substituting saturated fat for monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat on GERD risk was examined.
A cohort of 20 926 participants (62 % women) aged 40–59 years at recruitment between 1990 and 1994.
For men, total fat intake was associated with increased risk of GERD (OR 1·05 per 5 g/d; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·09; P = 0·016), whereas total carbohydrate (OR 0·89 per 30 g/d; 95 % CI 0·82, 0·98; P = 0·010) and starch intakes (OR 0·84 per 30 g/d; 95 % CI 0·75, 0·94; P = 0·005) were associated with reduced risk. Nutrients were not associated with risk for women. For both sexes, substituting saturated fat for polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat did not change risk. For both sexes, fish, chicken, cruciferous vegetables and carbonated beverages were associated with increased risk, whereas total fruit and citrus were associated with reduced risk. No association was observed with diet quality scores.
Diet is a possible risk factor for GERD, but food considered as triggers of GERD symptoms might not necessarily contribute to disease development. Potential differential associations for men and women warrant further investigation.
Disparities exist in the health, livelihood, and opportunities for the 46-60 million people living in America’s rural communities. Rural communities across the United States need a new energy and focus concentrated around health and health care that allows for the designing capturing, and spreading of existing and new innovations. This paper aims to provide a framework for policy solutions to build a healthier rural America describing both the current state of rural health policy and the policies and practices in states that could be used as a national model for positive change.
OBJECTIVES/GOALS: HIV-specific CD8+ T-cells play a critical role in partially controlling viral replication in infected-individuals, but ultimately fail to eliminate infection. Enhancing these T-cell responses through lymphocyte engineering approaches has the potential as a novel therapy capable of achieving durable control or eradication of infection. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: IL-15 Superagonist (IL-15SA) potently supports the in vivo persistence and antiviral activity of adoptively transferred CD8+ T-cells. The Deep-PrimingTM technology platform, developed by Torque, allows for loading of immunomodulators onto the surface of T-cells via electrostatic ‘nanogels’, which slowly release to deliver sustained autocrine immune stimulation without the harmful effects of systemic exposure. Here, we investigate the impact of IL-15SA Deep-Priming on HIV-specific CD8+ T-cells in a humanized mouse model of HIV infection. Humanized mice were generated by engrafting NOD-scid-IL2Rgnull mice with memory CD4+ T-cells isolated from an ARV-suppressed HIV+ donor. An autologous HIV-specific Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte (CTL) clone was isolated, and killing potential confirmed. Four weeks post humanization, mice were infected with HIV and received an infusion of unmodified HIV-Specific CTLs, or IL-15SA Deep-Primed HIV-specific CTLs (CTL-DP). T-cell numbers and plasma viral loads were quantified weekly by flow cytometry and qRT-PCR. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: Mice receiving unmodified CTLs trended toward reduced viral loads compared to the No Treatment condition, while mice receiving CTL-DP saw significant, 2-Log10 reductions in VL (p < 0.01). At 41 days post-infection 100% (5/5) of the No Treatment, 66.7% (4/6) of the CTL treatment, and 16.7% (1/6) of CTL-DP treatment mice had detectable viremia. IL-15SA Deep-Priming increased CTL expansion and persistence in peripheral blood which correlated with improved CD4+T-cell preservation. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE OF IMPACT: Here we demonstrate the first in vivo analysis of IL-15SA Deep-Priming of HIV-Specific CTLs. These data suggest that Deep-Priming of patient T-cells can enhance in vivo function and persistence, leading to improved viral suppression; a significant advancement in the field of HIV cure research. CONFLICT OF INTEREST DESCRIPTION: Austin Boesch, Thomas Andresen, and Douglas Jones are employees of Torque. Darrell Irvine is a co-founder of Torque and Chairman of Torque’s Scientific Advisory Board.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) history have high rates of performance validity test (PVT) failure. The study aimed to determine whether those with scores in the invalid versus valid range on PVTs show similar benefit from psychotherapy and if psychotherapy improves PVT performance.
Veterans (N = 100) with PTSD, mild-to-moderate TBI history, and cognitive complaints underwent neuropsychological testing at baseline, post-treatment, and 3-month post-treatment. Veterans were randomly assigned to cognitive processing therapy (CPT) or a novel hybrid intervention integrating CPT with TBI psychoeducation and cognitive rehabilitation strategies from Cognitive Symptom Management and Rehabilitation Therapy (CogSMART). Performance below standard cutoffs on any PVT trial across three different PVT measures was considered invalid (PVT-Fail), whereas performance above cutoffs on all measures was considered valid (PVT-Pass).
Although both PVT groups exhibited clinically significant improvement in PTSD symptoms, the PVT-Pass group demonstrated greater symptom reduction than the PVT-Fail group. Measures of post-concussive and depressive symptoms improved to a similar degree across groups. Treatment condition did not moderate these results. Rate of valid test performance increased from baseline to follow-up across conditions, with a stronger effect in the SMART-CPT compared to CPT condition.
Both PVT groups experienced improved psychological symptoms following treatment. Veterans who failed PVTs at baseline demonstrated better test engagement following treatment, resulting in higher rates of valid PVTs at follow-up. Veterans with invalid PVTs should be enrolled in trauma-focused treatment and may benefit from neuropsychological assessment after, rather than before, treatment.
We evaluated the impact of an electronic health record based 72-hour antimicrobial time-out (ATO) on antimicrobial utilization. We observed that 6 hours after the ATO, 21% of empiric antimicrobials were discontinued or de-escalated. There was a significant reduction in the duration of antimicrobial therapy but no impact on overall antimicrobial usage metrics.
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.
Entamoeba histolytica is an enteric parasite that infects approximately 50 million people worldwide. Although E. histolytica is a zoonotic parasite that has the potential to infect nonhuman primates, such transmission is poorly understood. Consequently, this study examined whether E. histolytica is present among humans, chimpanzees and baboons living in the Greater Gombe Ecosystem (GGE), Tanzania. The primary aims were to determine patterns of E. histolytica infection in a system with human-nonhuman primate overlap and to test associations between infection status and potential risk factors of disease. Entamoeba spp. occurred in 60.3% of human, 65.6% of chimpanzee and 88.6% of baboon samples. Entamoeba histolytica occurred in 12.1% of human, 34.1% of chimpanzee and 10.9% of baboon samples. Human E. histolytica infection was associated with gastrointestinal symptoms. This was the first study to confirm the presence of E. histolytica in the GGE. The high sample prevalence of E. histolytica in three sympatric primates suggests that zoonotic transmission is possible and stresses the need for further phylogenetic studies. Interventions targeting better sanitation and hygiene practices for humans living in the GGE can help prevent E. histolytica infection in humans, while also protecting the endangered chimpanzees and other primates in this region.
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’.
Traditional ambulatory rhythm monitoring in children can have limitations, including cumbersome leads and limited monitoring duration. The ZioTM patch ambulatory monitor is a small, adhesive, single-channel rhythm monitor that can be worn up to 2 weeks. In this study, we present a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of the ZioTM monitor’s impact in clinical practice. Patients aged 0–18 years were included in the study. A total of 373 studies were reviewed in 332 patients. In all, 28.4% had structural heart disease, and 16.9% had a prior surgical, catheterisation, or electrophysiology procedure. The most common indication for monitoring was tachypalpitations (41%); 93.5% of these patients had their symptoms captured during the study window. The median duration of monitoring was 5 days. Overall, 5.1% of ZioTM monitoring identified arrhythmias requiring new intervention or increased medical management; 4.0% identified arrhythmias requiring increased clinical surveillance. The remainder had either normal-variant rhythm or minor rhythm findings requiring no change in management. For patients with tachypalpitations and no structural heart disease, 13.2% had pathological arrhythmias, but 72.9% had normal-variant rhythm during symptoms, allowing discharge from cardiology care. Notably, for patients with findings requiring intervention or increased surveillance, 56% had findings first identified beyond 24 hours, and only 62% were patient-triggered findings. Seven studies (1.9%) were associated with complications or patient intolerance. The ZioTM is a well-tolerated device that may improve what traditional Holter and event monitoring would detect in paediatric cardiology patients. This study shows a positive clinical impact on the management of patients within a paediatric cardiology practice.
Measurements of snow accumulation are critical for reliable prediction of future ice mass loss and hence projections of sea level change. However, there are currently very few published in situ measurements of snow accumulation in the Pine Island–Thwaites glacier catchment of the Amundsen Sea Embayment, and none from low elevation sites west of 100.77° longitude. Here measurements of snow accumulation over an 11 month period in 2016 are reported for six sites in the Pine Island–Thwaites glacier catchment. The average accumulation rates of 0.10±0.01 to 1.26±0.22 m w.e. yr-1 are comparable with those derived from airborne radar for the period 1985–2009, suggesting very high rates of snowfall, particularly in the vicinity of the grounding line.
West Antarctic climate and surface mass balance (SMB) records are sparse. To fill this gap, regional atmospheric climate modelling is useful, providing that such models are employed at sufficiently high horizontal resolution and coupled with a snow model. Here we present the results of a high-resolution (5.5 km) regional atmospheric climate model (RACMO2) simulation of coastal West Antarctica for the period 1979–2015. We evaluate the results with available in situ weather observations, remote-sensing estimates of surface melt, and SMB estimates derived from radar and firn cores. Moreover, results are compared with those from a lower-resolution version, to assess the added value of the resolution. The high-resolution model resolves small-scale climate variability invoked by topography, such as the relatively warm conditions over ice-shelf grounding zones, and local wind speed accelerations. Surface melt and SMB are well reproduced by RACMO2. This dataset will prove useful for picking ice core locations, converting elevation changes to mass changes, for driving ocean, ice-sheet and coupled models, and for attributing changes in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and shelves to changes in atmospheric forcing.
To use next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis to enhance epidemiological information to identify and resolve a Clostridium difficile outbreak and to evaluate its effectiveness beyond the capacity of current standard PCR ribotyping.
NGS analysis was performed as part of prospective surveillance of all detected C. difficile isolates at a university hospital. An outbreak of a novel C. difficile sequence type (ST)-295 was identified in a hospital and a community hostel for homeless adults. Phylogenetic analysis was performed of all ST-295 and closest ST-2 isolates. Epidemiological details were obtained from hospital records and the public health review of the community hostel.
We identified 7 patients with C. difficile ST-295 infections between June 2013 and April 2015. Of these patients, 3 had nosocomial exposure to this infection and 3 had possible hostel exposure. Current Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA)— Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) surveillance definitions (2010) were considered in light of our NGS findings. The initial transmission was not detectable using current criteria, because of 16 weeks between ST-295 exposure and symptoms. We included 3 patients with hostel exposure who met surveillance criteria of hospital-acquired infection due to their hospital admissions.
NGS analysis enhanced epidemiological information and helped identify and resolve an outbreak beyond the capacity of standard PCR ribotyping. In this cluster of cases, NGS was used to identify a hostel as the likely source of community-based C. difficile transmission.