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Malignant otitis externa is a potentially fatal infection of the skull base. With an ageing population and increasing prevalence of diabetes, the incidence of malignant otitis externa in the British population is rising. To date, there remain no accepted diagnostic criteria, few prognostic indicators and no consensus treatment pathways.
A prospective case series was conducted at a tertiary referral teaching hospital.
A cohort of susceptible individuals predominates (elderly, male, with immunosuppression and diabetes), with 25 per cent reporting a preceding incident. Otorrhoea, otalgia and canal granulation were the commonest presenting features, alongside positive pseudomonas cultures. No clear markers for predicating disease severity were isolated; however, a high initial haemoglobin A1c level demonstrated a significant moderately positive correlation with length of treatment.
A treatment pathway designed to provide a standardised approach to investigation and treatment is proposed, which aims to increase earlier diagnosis, streamline care and facilitate the development of best practice.
Pharyngeal pouch surgical treatments can be carried out via an endoscopic or open approach. Injection of botulinum toxin into the cricopharyngeus was first described as an alternative treatment to the more invasive surgical procedures performed for cricopharyngeal dysfunction. It has not been previously described as a treatment option for pharyngeal pouch.
To compare operative time, average stay, complication rates and symptom control between endoscopic laser diverticulotomy, botulinum toxin injection and open procedures for pharyngeal pouch patients.
The medical records for 66 pharyngeal pouch procedures, carried out on 47 patients treated between 2011 and 2017, were identified and reviewed.
The mean operative time was 21 minutes for botulinum toxin injection, 38 for endoscopic laser diverticulotomy and 104 for open surgery. The mean hospital stay was 0.6 days for botulinum toxin injection, 4.7 for endoscopic laser diverticulotomy and 4 for open surgery. The improvement in Reflux Symptom Index scores was statistically significant for both endoscopic laser diverticulotomy and botulinum toxin injection. Botulinum toxin injection had a 0 per cent complication rate.
Botulinum toxin injection is a safe and effective treatment for pharyngeal pouch.
During the 2009 influenza pandemic, a rapid assessment of disease severity was a challenge as a significant proportion of cases did not seek medical care; care-seeking behaviour changed and the proportion asymptomatic was unknown. A random-digit-dialling telephone survey was undertaken during the 2011/12 winter season in England and Wales to address the feasibility of answering these questions. A proportional quota sampling strategy was employed based on gender, age group, geographical location, employment status and level of education. Households were recruited pre-season and re-contacted immediately following peak seasonal influenza activity. The pre-peak survey was undertaken in October 2011 with 1061 individuals recruited and the post-peak telephone survey in March 2012. Eight hundred and thirty-four of the 1061 (78.6%) participants were successfully re-contacted. Their demographic characteristics compared well to national census data. In total, 8.4% of participants self-reported an influenza-like illness (ILI) in the previous 2 weeks, with 3.2% conforming to the World Health Organization (WHO) ILI case definition. In total, 29.6% of the cases reported consulting their general practitioner. 54.1% of the 1061 participants agreed to be re-contacted about providing biological samples. A population-based cohort was successfully recruited and followed up. Longitudinal survey methodology provides a practical tool to assess disease severity during future pandemics.
The Pueblo population of Chaco Canyon during the Bonito Phase (AD 800–1130) employed agricultural strategies and water-management systems to enhance food cultivation in this unpredictable environment. Scepticism concerning the timing and effectiveness of this system, however, remains common. Using optically stimulated luminescence dating of sediments and LiDAR imaging, the authors located Bonito Phase canal features at the far west end of the canyon. Additional ED-XRF and strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) analyses confirm the diversion of waters from multiple sources during Chaco’s occupation. The extent of this water-management system raises new questions about social organisation and the role of ritual in facilitating responses to environmental unpredictability.
This paper presents a rare case of oculostapedial synkinesis.
After partial resolution of an idiopathic facial palsy, a male patient presented with persistent distortion of hearing when blinking and closing his eye. Audiometry findings were unremarkable, and cross-sectional imaging of the facial nerve revealed no abnormalities apart from an incidental contralateral meningioma. Initial conservative management, with referral to a specialist physiotherapist, failed to resolve the symptoms. The patient subsequently opted for surgical intervention, and underwent a transmeatal tympanotomy and transection of the stapedial tendon. Following this, he had complete resolution of symptoms.
Oculostapedial synkinesis is a rare complication of facial palsy, but is recognised in the literature. Given its unusual presentation, it can be overlooked, especially by more junior team members. This case highlights the need to pay careful attention to patients' symptoms and listen out for the description of hearing distortion on facial movement.
This paper highlights the importance of reporting air–bone gap closure in stapes surgery according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery guidelines and reviews compliance in recent years.
A retrospective case series was conducted and the outcomes were reviewed. Closure of the air–bone gap was calculated in 204 adult patients using the aforementioned guidelines. Results were recalculated ignoring the Carhart phenomenon to determine any significant difference. Adherence to guidelines was also reported as a secondary outcome.
Ignoring the Carhart phenomenon resulted in 75 per cent over-reporting of successful air–bone gap closure (p < 0.001). Over-reporting occurred in 5.9 per cent of papers, and in 11.8 per cent it was difficult to determine how the results were reached.
Despite the existence of clear guidelines, stapes surgery outcomes are still being over-reported as successful. This can lead to incorrect information being provided to patients during the consent process and makes comparative studies difficult.
Protected areas are central to global efforts to prevent species extinctions, with many countries investing heavily in their establishment. Yet the designation of protected areas alone can only abate certain threats to biodiversity. Targeted management within protected areas is often required to achieve fully effective conservation within their boundaries. It remains unclear what combination of protected area designation and management is needed to remove the suite of processes that imperil species. Here, using Australia as a case study, we use a dataset on the pressures facing threatened species to determine the role of protected areas and management in conserving imperilled species. We found that protected areas that are not resourced for threat management could remove one or more threats to 1,185 (76%) species and all threats to very few (n = 51, 3%) species. In contrast, a protected area network that is adequately resourced to manage threatening processes within their boundary could remove one or more threats to almost all species (n = 1,551; c. 100%) and all threats to almost half (n = 740, 48%). However, 815 (52%) species face one or more threats that require coordinated conservation actions that protected areas alone could not remove. This research shows that investing in the continued expansion of Australia's protected area network without providing adequate funding for threat management within and beyond the existing protected area network will benefit few threatened species. These findings highlight that as the international community expands the global protected area network in accordance with the 2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, a greater emphasis on the effectiveness of threat management is needed.
Urinary catheters, many of which are placed in the emergency department (ED) setting, are often inappropriate, and they are associated with infectious and noninfectious complications. Although several studies evaluating the effect of interventions have focused on reducing catheter use in the ED setting, the organizational contexts within which these interventions were implemented have not been compared.
A total of 18 hospitals in the Ascension health system (ie, system-based hospitals) and 16 hospitals in the state of Michigan (ie, state-based hospitals led by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association) implemented ED interventions focused on reducing urinary catheter use. Data on urinary catheter placement in the ED, indications for catheter use, and presence of physician order for catheter placement were collected for interventions in both hospital types. Multilevel negative binomial regression was used to compare the system-based versus state-based interventions.
A total of 13,215 patients (889 with catheters) from the system-based intervention were compared to 12,104 patients (718 with catheters) from the state-based intervention. Statistically significant and sustainable reductions in urinary catheter placement (incidence rate ratio, 0.79; P=.02) and improvements in appropriate use of urinary catheters (odds ratio [OR], 1.86; P=.004) in the ED were observed in the system-based intervention, compared to the state-based intervention. Differences by collaborative structure in changes in presence of physician order for urinary catheter placement (OR, 1.14; P=.60) were not observed.
An ED intervention consisting of establishing institutional guidelines for appropriate catheter placement and identifying clinical champions to promote adherence was associated with reducing unnecessary urinary catheter use under a system-based collaborative structure.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
I propose that there remains a central role for the item (or its equivalent) in a wider range of search and search-related tasks/functions than might be conveyed by the article. I consider the functional relationship between the framework and some aspects of previous theories, and suggest some challenges that the new framework might encounter.
Leibovich et al. argue persuasively that researchers should not assume that approximate number system (ANS) tasks harness an innate sense of number. However, some studies have reported a causal link between ANS tasks and mathematics performance, implicating the ANS in the development of numerical skills. Here we report a p-curve analysis, which indicates that these experimental studies do not contain evidential value.
Among the most important stimuli for developing the FLAIR multi-object spectroscopy system on the 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope was its potential for carrying out large-scale redshift surveys of galaxies of intermediate magnitude (B <~ 17). During FLAIR’s lengthy development period, these objects provided the yardstick by which the system’s performance was measured, and a number of limited-area redshift surveys were carried out. We are now following these with a 1-in-3 survey over the 60 fields of the ROE/Durham Galaxy Catalogue to produce a redshift map of some 4000 galaxies out to a distance of ~ 300h−1 Mpc (where the parameter h is the Hubble constant expressed as a fraction of 100 kms−1 Mpc−1). In this paper we summarise the results from our redshift surveys to highlight the capabilities of FLAIR. We present a status report on the current large-scale survey, and show that the recently-introduced FLAIR II system will speed its progress considerably.
The four-fold advantage over a conventional 4 m reflector which naive information theory confers on the 1.2 m UK Schmidt telescope (Dawe and Watson 1982, Watson 1983) is only approachable in practice under certain rather specific conditions. These relate principally to the surface distribution on the sky of the object classes of interest, and the type of detection employed. Clearly, for general survey work with sky-limited photographic detection, the information advantage is high, but it can be demonstrated (Dawe and Watson 1983) that the relatively new technique of multi-object fibre-optics spectroscopy (eg Hill et al. 1980, 1982, Gray 1983, Lund and Enard 1983) with linear detectors offers very high potential in certain regimes of operation. In particular, the UK Schmidt telescope (UKST) equipped with 400 fibre channels has four times the effective light grasp (= number of fibres utilized × aperture) of a 4 m reflector (with a 1 deg field and equipped with any number of fibres) for target objects with surface densities between approximately 1 and 10 per square degree (Dawe and Watson 1983). Objects ranging from galactic variable stars to quasars lie within these limits, but of especial interest are galaxies, whose apparent luminosity function in this range of surface densities runs from magnitudes 15 to 17 (MacGillivray, private communication). Large-scale, medium accuracy (60 km s−1) redshift surveys of galaxies within this magnitude range promise to be extremely fruitful (Davis 1982) and are easily within the reach of the UKST fibre-coupled to a CCD spectrograph (Watson and Dawe 1984).
The dynamic model Nitrogen Dynamics in Crop rotations in Ecological Agriculture (NDICEA) was used to assess the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) balance of long-term organic cropping trials and typical organic crop rotations on a range of soil types and rainfall zones in the UK. The measurements of soil N taken at each of the organic trial sites were also used to assess the performance of NDICEA. The modeled outputs compared well to recorded soil N levels, with relatively small error margins. NDICEA therefore seems to be a useful tool for UK organic farmers. The modeling of typical organic rotations has shown that positive N balances can be achieved, although negative N balances can occur under high rainfall conditions and on lighter soil types as a result of leaching. The analysis and modeling also showed that some organic cropping systems rely on imported sources of P and K to maintain an adequate balance and large deficits of both nutrients are apparent in stockless systems. Although the K deficits could be addressed through the buffering capacity of minerals, the amount available for crop uptake will depend on the type and amount of minerals present, current cropping and fertilization practices and the climatic environment. A P deficit represents a more fundamental problem for the maintenance of crop yields and the organic sector currently relies on mined sources of P which represents a fundamental conflict with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements organic principles.
Hopes to identify genetic susceptibility loci accounting for the heritability seen in unipolar depression have not been fully realized. Family history remains the ‘gold standard’ for both risk stratification and prognosis in complex phenotypes such as depression. Meanwhile, the physiological mechanisms underlying life-event triggers for depression remain opaque. Epigenetics, comprising heritable changes in gene expression other than alterations of the nucleotide sequence, may offer a way to deepen our understanding of the aetiology and pathophysiology of unipolar depression and optimize treatments. A heuristic target for exploring the relevance of epigenetic changes in unipolar depression is the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) gene (NR3C1) has been found to be susceptible to epigenetic modification, specifically DNA methylation, in the context of environmental stress such as early life trauma, which is an established risk for depression later in life.
In this paper we discuss the progress that has been made by studies that have investigated the relationship between depression, early trauma, the HPA axis and the NR3C1 gene. Difficulties with the design of these studies are also explored.
Future efforts will need to comprehensively address epigenetic natural histories at the population, tissue, cell and gene levels. The complex interactions between the epigenome, genome and environment, as well as ongoing nosological difficulties, also pose significant challenges.
The work that has been done so far is nevertheless encouraging and suggests potential mechanistic and biomarker roles for differential DNA methylation patterns in NR3C1 as well as novel therapeutic targets.