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Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
Seasonal influenza virus epidemics have a major impact on healthcare systems. Data on population susceptibility to emerging influenza virus strains during the interepidemic period can guide planning for resource allocation of an upcoming influenza season. This study sought to assess the population susceptibility to representative emerging influenza virus strains collected during the interepidemic period. The microneutralisation antibody titers (MN titers) of a human serum panel against representative emerging influenza strains collected during the interepidemic period before the 2018/2019 winter influenza season (H1N1-inter and H3N2-inter) were compared with those against influenza strains representative of previous epidemics (H1N1-pre and H3N2-pre). A multifaceted approach, incorporating both genetic and antigenic data, was used in selecting these representative influenza virus strains for the MN assay. A significantly higher proportion of individuals had a ⩾four-fold reduction in MN titers between H1N1-inter and H1N1-pre than that between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre (28.5% (127/445) vs. 4.9% (22/445), P < 0.001). The geometric mean titer (GMT) of H1N1-inter was significantly lower than that of H1N1-pre (381 (95% CI 339–428) vs. 713 (95% CI 641–792), P < 0.001), while there was no significant difference in the GMT between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre. Since A(H1N1) predominated the 2018–2019 winter influenza epidemic, our results corroborated the epidemic subtype.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
Introduction: Many drugs, including cannabis and alcohol, cause impairment and contribute to motor vehicle collisions (MVCs). Policy makers require knowledge of the prevalence of drug use in crash-involved drivers, and types of drugs used in order to develop effective prevention programs. This issue is particularly relevant with the recent legalization of cannabis. We aim to study the prevalence of alcohol, cannabis, sedating medications, and other drugs in injured drivers from 4 Canadian Provinces. Methods: This prospective cohort study obtained excess clinical blood samples from consecutive injured drivers who attended a participating Canadian trauma centre following a MVC. Blood samples were analyzed using a broad spectrum toxicology screen capable of detecting cannabinoids, cocaine, amphetamines (including their major analogues), and opioids as well as psychotropic pharmaceuticals (including antihistamines, benzodiazepines, other hypnotics, and sedating antidepressants). Alcohol and cannabinoids were quantified. Health records were reviewed to extract demographic, medical, and MVC information using a standardized data collection tool. Results: This study has been collecting data in 4 trauma centres in British Columbia (BC) since 2011 and was launched in 2 trauma centres in Alberta (AB), 1 in Saskatchewan (SK), and 2 in Ontario (ON) in 2018. In preliminary results from BC (n = 2412), 8% of injured drivers tested positive for THC and 13% for alcohol. Preliminary results from other provinces (n = 301) suggest a regional variation in prevalence of drivers testing positive for THC (10% - 27%), alcohol (17% - 29%), and other drugs. By May 2018, an estimated 4500 cases from BC, 600 from AB, 150 from SK, and 650 from ON will have been analyzed. We will report the prevalence of positive tests for alcohol, THC, other recreational drugs, and sedating medications, pre and post cannabis legalization. The number of cases with alcohol and/or THC levels above Canadian per se limits will also be reported. Results will be reported according to province, driver sex, age, single vs. multi vehicle crashes, and requirement for hospital admission. Conclusion: This will be among the largest international datasets on drug use by injured drivers. Our findings will provide patterns of drug and alcohol impairment in 4 Canadian provinces pre and post cannabis legalization. The significance of these findings and implication for impaired driving policy and prevention programs in Canada will be discussed.
Different diagnostic interviews are used as reference standards for major depression classification in research. Semi-structured interviews involve clinical judgement, whereas fully structured interviews are completely scripted. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), a brief fully structured interview, is also sometimes used. It is not known whether interview method is associated with probability of major depression classification.
To evaluate the association between interview method and odds of major depression classification, controlling for depressive symptom scores and participant characteristics.
Data collected for an individual participant data meta-analysis of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) diagnostic accuracy were analysed and binomial generalised linear mixed models were fit.
A total of 17 158 participants (2287 with major depression) from 57 primary studies were analysed. Among fully structured interviews, odds of major depression were higher for the MINI compared with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) (odds ratio (OR) = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.15–3.87). Compared with semi-structured interviews, fully structured interviews (MINI excluded) were non-significantly more likely to classify participants with low-level depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≤6) as having major depression (OR = 3.13; 95% CI = 0.98–10.00), similarly likely for moderate-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores 7–15) (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.56–1.66) and significantly less likely for high-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≥16) (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.26–0.97).
The MINI may identify more people as depressed than the CIDI, and semi-structured and fully structured interviews may not be interchangeable methods, but these results should be replicated.
Declaration of interest
Drs Jetté and Patten declare that they received a grant, outside the submitted work, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, which was jointly funded by the Institute and Pfizer. Pfizer was the original sponsor of the development of the PHQ-9, which is now in the public domain. Dr Chan is a steering committee member or consultant of Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Lilly, MSD and Pfizer. She has received sponsorships and honorarium for giving lectures and providing consultancy and her affiliated institution has received research grants from these companies. Dr Hegerl declares that within the past 3 years, he was an advisory board member for Lundbeck, Servier and Otsuka Pharma; a consultant for Bayer Pharma; and a speaker for Medice Arzneimittel, Novartis, and Roche Pharma, all outside the submitted work. Dr Inagaki declares that he has received grants from Novartis Pharma, lecture fees from Pfizer, Mochida, Shionogi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Daiichi-Sankyo, Meiji Seika and Takeda, and royalties from Nippon Hyoron Sha, Nanzando, Seiwa Shoten, Igaku-shoin and Technomics, all outside of the submitted work. Dr Yamada reports personal fees from Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., MSD K.K., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, Seishin Shobo, Seiwa Shoten Co., Ltd., Igaku-shoin Ltd., Chugai Igakusha and Sentan Igakusha, all outside the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests. No funder had any role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Introduction: With the increasing volume of medical literature published each year, it is difficult for clinicians to translate the latest research into practice. Awareness is the first step of knowledge translation and journals have begun using social media to increase the dissemination and awareness of their publications. Infographics can describe research findings visually, are shared broadly on social media, and may be a more effective way to convey information. We hypothesized that infographic abstracts would increase the social media dissemination and online readership of research articles relative to traditional abstracts. Methods: In this randomized controlled trial, 24 original research articles were chosen from the six issues of the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine (CJEM) published between July 2016 and May 2017 (4 articles per issue). Half were randomized to the infographic and control groups within each issue. Infographic articles were promoted using a visual infographic outlining the findings of the article. Control articles were promoted using a screen capture image of each articles abstract. Both were disseminated through the journals social media accounts (Twitter and Facebook) along with the link to the selected article. Infographics were also published on CanadiEM.org. Abstract views, full text views, and the change in Altmetric score were tracked for 30 days and compared between groups. Unpaired two-tailed t-tests were used to detect significant differences. Results: Abstract views (mean, SD) were significantly higher for infographic articles (378.9, 162.0) than control articles (175.5, 69.2, p<0.001). Mean Altmetric scores were significantly higher for infographic articles (26.4, 13.8) than control articles (3.4, 1.7, p<0.0001). There was no statistically significant difference in full-text views between infographic (49.7, 90.4) and control articles (25.3, 12.3). Conclusion: CJEM articles promoted on social media using infographics had higher abstract viewership and Altmetric scores than those promoted with traditional abstracts. Although there was no difference in full-text readership, our results suggest that infographic abstracts may have a role in increasing the dissemination of medical literature.
In Hong Kong, universal varicella vaccination started in July 2014. Before this, children could receive varicella vaccine via the private market. We analysed the epidemiology of varicella and zoster before universal vaccination. We estimated varicella vaccination coverage through surveys in preschool children. We estimated the burden of varicella and zoster with varicella notifications from 1999/00 to 2013/14, Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) attendance and inpatient admissions to public hospitals from 2004/05 to 2013/14. We fitted a catalytic model to serological data on antibodies against varicella-zoster virus to estimate the force of infection. We found that varicella vaccination coverage gradually increased to about 50% before programme inception. In children younger than 5 years, the annual rate of varicella notifications, varicella admission and zoster A&E attendance generally declined. The annual notification, A&E attendance and hospitalisation rate of varicella and zoster generally increased for individuals between 10 and 59 years old. Varicella serology indicated an age shift during the study period towards a higher proportion of infections in slightly older individuals, but the change was most notable before vaccine licensure. In conclusion, we observed a shift in the burden of varicella to slightly older age groups with a corresponding increase in incidence but it cannot necessarily be attributed to private market vaccine coverage alone. Increasing varicella vaccination uptake in the private market might affect varicella transmission and epidemiology, but not to the level of interrupting transmission.
Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) are increasingly reported in residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs). We assessed whether implementation of directly observed hand hygiene (DOHH) by hand hygiene ambassadors can reduce environmental contamination with MDROs.
From July to August 2017, a cluster-randomized controlled study was conducted at 10 RCHEs (5 intervention versus 5 nonintervention controls), where DOHH was performed at two-hourly intervals during daytime, before meals and medication rounds by a one trained nurse in each intervention RCHE. Environmental contamination by MRDOs, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter species (CRA), and extended-spectrum β-lactamse (ESBL)–producing Enterobacteriaceae, was evaluated using specimens collected from communal areas at baseline, then twice weekly. The volume of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) consumed per resident per week was measured.
The overall environmental contamination of communal areas was culture-positive for MRSA in 33 of 100 specimens (33%), CRA in 26 of 100 specimens (26%), and ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in 3 of 100 specimens (3%) in intervention and nonintervention RCHEs at baseline. Serial monitoring of environmental specimens revealed a significant reduction in MRSA (79 of 600 [13.2%] vs 197 of 600 [32.8%]; P<.001) and CRA (56 of 600 [9.3%] vs 94 of 600 [15.7%]; P=.001) contamination in the intervention arm compared with the nonintervention arm during the study period. The volume of ABHR consumed per resident per week was 3 times higher in the intervention arm compared with the baseline (59.3±12.9 mL vs 19.7±12.6 mL; P<.001) and was significantly higher than the nonintervention arm (59.3±12.9 mL vs 23.3±17.2 mL; P=.006).
The direct observation of hand hygiene of residents could reduce environmental contamination by MDROs in RCHEs.
A “stone in the pond” strategy is a practical approach to investigating large-scale nosocomial tuberculosis (TB) exposures. Here, we describe such a risk-stratified approach to contact tracing after a TB exposure that occurred over 5 months in a pediatric inpatient ward in a country with a moderate TB burden.
Despite the growing interest in the phenomenon of learning without intention, the incidental learning of phonological features, especially prosodic features, has received relatively little attention. This paper reports an experiment on incidental learning of lexical stress rules, and investigates whether the resultant knowledge can be unconscious, abstract, and rule based. Participants were incidentally exposed to a lexical stress system where stress location of a word is mainly determined by the final phoneme, syllable type, and syllable weight. Learning was assessed by a pronunciation judgment task. Results indicate that participants were able to transfer their knowledge of stress patterns to novel words whose final phoneme was not previously encountered, suggesting that participants had acquired abstract and potentially rule-based knowledge. The combined use of subjective and objective measures of awareness in the present study provides a strong piece of evidence of the acquisition of implicit knowledge.
The neuropsychological origins of negative syndrome of schizophrenia remain elusive. Evidence from behavioural studies, which utilised emotion-inducing pictures to elicit motivated behaviour generally reported that that schizophrenia patients experienced similar affective experience as healthy individuals but failed to translate emotional salience to motivated behaviour, a phenomenon called emotion–behaviour decoupling. However, a few studies have examined emotion–behaviour decoupling in non-psychotic high-risk populations, who are relatively unaffected by medication effects.
In this study, we examined the nature and extent of emotion–behaviour decoupling in in three independent samples (65 schizophrenia patients v. 63 controls; 40 unaffected relatives v. 45 controls; and 32 individuals with social anhedonia v. 32 controls). We administered an experimental task to examine their affective experience and its coupling with behaviour, using emotion-inducing slides, and allowed participants to alter stimulus exposure using button-pressing to seek pleasure or avoid aversion.
Schizophrenia patients reported similar affective experiences as their controls, while their unaffected relatives and individuals with high levels of social anhedonia exhibited attenuated affective experiences, in particular in the arousal aspect. Compared with their respective control groups, all of the three groups showed emotion–behaviour decoupling.
Our findings support that both genetically and behaviourally high-risk groups exhibit emotion–behaviour decoupling. The familial association apparently supports its role as a putative trait marker for schizophrenia.
Evidence suggests that autism and schizophrenia share similarities in genetic, neuropsychological and behavioural aspects. Although both disorders are associated with theory of mind (ToM) impairments, a few studies have directly compared ToM between autism patients and schizophrenia patients. This study aimed to investigate to what extent high-functioning autism patients and schizophrenia patients share and differ in ToM performance.
Thirty high-functioning autism patients, 30 schizophrenia patients and 30 healthy individuals were recruited. Participants were matched in age, gender and estimated intelligence quotient. The verbal-based Faux Pas Task and the visual-based Yoni Task were utilised to examine first- and higher-order, affective and cognitive ToM. The task/item difficulty of two paradigms was examined using mixed model analyses of variance (ANOVAs). Multiple ANOVAs and mixed model ANOVAs were used to examine group differences in ToM.
The Faux Pas Task was more difficult than the Yoni Task. High-functioning autism patients showed more severely impaired verbal-based ToM in the Faux Pas Task, but shared similar visual-based ToM impairments in the Yoni Task with schizophrenia patients.
The findings that individuals with high-functioning autism shared similar but more severe impairments in verbal ToM than individuals with schizophrenia support the autism–schizophrenia continuum. The finding that verbal-based but not visual-based ToM was more impaired in high-functioning autism patients than schizophrenia patients could be attributable to the varied task/item difficulty between the two paradigms.
Aging is accompanied by cognitive decline that is escalated in older adults reporting extreme sleep duration. Social relationships can influence health outcomes and thus may qualify the association between sleep duration and cognitive function. The present study examines the moderating effects of marital status, household size, and social network with friends and relatives on the sleep–cognition association among older adults.
Data (N = 4,169) came from the Social Isolation, Health, and Lifestyles Survey, a nationally representative survey of community-dwelling older Singaporeans (≥ 60 years). Sleep duration and social relationships were self-reported. Cognitive function was assessed with the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire.
Regression analysis revealed that the inverted U-shaped association between sleep duration and cognitive function was less profound among older adults who were married (vs. unmarried) and those who had stronger (vs. weaker) social networks. In contrast, it was more prominent among individuals who had more (vs. fewer) household members.
Being married and having stronger social networks may buffer against the negative cognitive impact of extreme sleep duration. But larger household size might imply more stress for older persons, and therefore strengthen the sleep duration–cognitive function association. We discuss the potential biological underpinnings and the policy implications of the findings. Although our findings are based on a large sample, replication studies using objective measures of sleep duration and other cognitive measures are needed.
Introduction: Cycling as a form of active transportation is popular in many urban communities. However, little is known about the prevalence and circumstances of cycling injuries, particularly injuries resulting from single bicycle crashes which are not recorded in road trauma surveillance systems based on police crash reports. This study aimed to examine the profile and circumstances of cycling injuries seen in an urban emergency department (ED). Methods: This was a cross-sectional historical chart review study. All injured patients attending our ED are electronically flagged according to mechanism of injury. We reviewed the medical charts of all ED visits in 2015 that were flagged as “Cyclist Injury” or “Fall” to identify all cyclists who were injured while travelling on public roads (including sidewalks). Off road injuries were excluded. Results: In 2015, a total of 6450 ED presentations were flagged as cyclist injury (n=694) or fall (n=5756), and 667 cycling injuries met our inclusion criteria. Of these, 73 (11%) were admitted to hospital. The most common mechanisms of injury were fall from bicycle (51%), crash into stationary object (16%), and collisions with moving motor vehicles (25%). Potential contributing factors included alcohol or drug impairment (11%), road hazards (9%), avoidance manoeuvre (5%) and dooring (3%), although the cause of the crash was generally poorly documented in the medical charts. The most common injured body regions were upper extremity (55%) followed by head and neck (34%). Most injuries were abrasions/lacerations and fractures. Conclusion: Two thirds of cyclist injuries in this series were caused by single bicycle incidents, events not captured in official road trauma statistics which are based on police crash reports. The large majority of injured cyclists were treated and released from the ED. In most cases, the cause of the crash was poorly documented. This data highlights the limitations of using police crash reports or hospital admission records for road trauma surveillance and the significant knowledge gap in our understanding of causative factors leading to cycling injuries.
Introduction: The CJEM Social Media Team was created in 2014 to assist the journal with the dissemination of its research online. It consists of two Social Media Editors (Junior and Senior) and a team of volunteer medical students and residents to assist their work. Collaborative promotional agreements were developed to promote CJEM articles on the Skeptics’ Guide to Emergency Medicine (SGEM) podcast through the ‘Hot off the Press’ (HOP) series and the CanadiEM blog through an infographic series. Methods:CJEM papers were selected for promotion by the Team based on their perceived interest to the online community of emergency physicians. Altmetric scores, which are a measure of online dissemination derived from a weighted algorithm of social media metrics, were collated for articles promoted using the SGEM HOP or CanadiEM blogs. A control group was created using the articles with the top two Altmetric scores in each CJEM issue in 2015 and 2016. Erratum, Letters, and articles written by the social media editors were excluded from the control groups. The success of the social media promotion was quantified through the measurement of Altmetric scores as of January 1, 2017. Unpaired two-tailed t-tests with unequal variance were used to test for significant differences. Results: 106 and 82 eligible articles were published in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Four articles in 2015 and two articles in 2016 were excluded from the control groups because they were written by the social media editors. SGEM HOP podcasts promoted one article in 2015 and five articles in 2016. CanadiEM infographics promoted three articles in 2015 and eight articles in 2016. No articles were promoted in both series. The average Altmetric score was higher for SGEM HOP (61.0) than CanadiEM Infographics (31.5, p<0.04), 2015 controls (15.8, p<0.01), and 2016 controls (13.6, p<0.01). The average Altmetric score for CanadiEM Infographics was higher than 2015 controls (p<0.04) and 2016 controls (p<0.02). There was no significant difference between the control groups. Conclusion: The results suggest that collaborating with established social media websites to promote CJEM articles using podcasts and infographics increases their social media dissemination. Given the nonrandomized design of these results, causative conclusions cannot be drawn. A randomized study of the impact of social media promotion on readership is underway.
Introduction: Medical conditions that impair perception, cognition or motor skills may make people unfit to drive. Reporting unfit drivers to licensing authorities is seen by many as a public health obligation. This study investigates physician knowledge, attitudes and practice around the management of medically unfit drivers. Methods: We used an online survey to explore physician knowledge of fitness to drive issues and their attitudes and practice with regard to counselling and reporting unfit drivers. Email invitations to participate in the survey were sent to all physicians in BC through DoctorsofBC and to all emergency physicians (EPs) in the UBC Department of Emergency Medicine. Results: We received responses from 242 physicians (47% EPs, 40% GPs, 13% others). The majority (78%) reported little/no knowledge on determining driver fitness and 94% had little/no training around guidelines, reporting, and laws involving fitness to drive. Most (88%) agreed that physicians should be obligated to advise medically unfit patients not to drive, and 74% reported that they often warn patients not to drive. The majority of physicians also chart their opinion of patients’ fitness to drive (67% do so more than twice per year). Most respondents (70%) indicated that it is “always appropriate” to report definitely unfit drivers whereas only 25% indicated that it is “always appropriate” to report potentially unfit drivers. However, in practice physicians see far more unfit drivers than they report to licensing authority: 67% of physicians encounter definitely unfit drivers more than twice per year but only 19% report definitely unfit drivers more than twice per year and 34% never report definitely unfit drivers. Compared to other physicians, EPs reported less knowledge and training about criteria for determining fitness to drive, were more likely to feel that reporting unfit drivers was not their responsibility, and were less likely to report unfit drivers to licensing authorities. Conclusion: Our findings indicate a need for more education and information resources to help physicians, particularly EPs, identify and manage medically unfit drivers. Although most physicians warn unfit drivers not to drive and document this in medical records, many medically unfit drivers are not reported to licensing authorities, a potential public health problem that should be further investigated.
Introduction: Most medically unfit drivers are not reported to licensing authorities. In BC, physicians are only obligated to report unfit drivers who continue to drive after being warned to stop. This study investigates barriers to and incentives for physician reporting of medically unfit drivers. Methods: We used an online survey to study physician-reported barriers to reporting medically unfit drivers and their idea of incentives that would improve reporting. Email invitations to participate in the survey were sent to all physicians in BC through DoctorsofBC and to all emergency physicians (EPs) in the UBC Department of Emergency Medicine. Results: We received responses from 242 physicians (47% EPs, 40% GPs, 13% others). The most common barrier to reporting was not knowing which unfit drivers continue to drive (79% of respondents). Other barriers included lack of time (51%), lack of knowledge of the process, guidelines, or legal requirement for reporting (51%, 50%, 45% respectively), fearing loss of rapport with patients (48%), pressure from patients not to report (34%), lack of remuneration (27%), and pressure from family members not to report (25%).EPs were significantly less likely than other physicians to cite loss of rapport, pressure from patients, or pressure from family as barriers, but more likely to cite not being aware of drivers who continue to drive after being warned, lack of knowledge (regarding legal requirements to report, guidelines for determining fitness, and the reporting process), and lack of time. Factors that would increase reporting unfit drivers included better understanding of criteria for fitness to drive (70%), more information regarding how to report (67%), more information on when to report (65%), and compensation (43%).Free text comments from respondents identified other barriers/incentives. Reporting might be simplified by telephone hotlines or allowing physician designates to report. Physicians feared legal liability and suggested the need for better medico-legal protection. Loss of patient rapport might be minimized by public education. Failure of response from licensing authorities to a report (long wait times, lack of feedback to physician) was seen as a barrier to reporting. Conclusion: We identified barriers to physician reporting of medically unfit drivers and incentives that might increase reporting. This information could inform programs aiming to improve reporting of unfit drivers.
Introduction: Walking as a form of active transportation is promoted by health professions and environmentalists alike. While the health benefits are indisputable, active transportation is not without risk. Pedestrians are vulnerable road users who often suffer serious injuries especially when involved with collisions with motor-vehicles. While pedestrian injuries involving motor-vehicles are captured in road trauma surveillance systems based on police crash reports, non-collision injuries in this population may be caused by poorly designed infrastructure but are seldom counted as road trauma. This gap hinders road improvement efforts aiming to increase safety for all road users. This study aims to address this knowledge gap. Our objective is to study the profile and circumstances of injuries in pedestrians presenting to ED. Methods: This was a cross-sectional historical chart review study. All injured patients attending our ED are electronically flagged according to mechanism of injury. We reviewed the medical charts of all ED visits flagged as “Pedestrian” or “Fall” to identify all injured pedestrians (defined in this study as anyone walking on a public roadway or getting on/off public transportation). All pedestrian injuries occurred in 2015 were included for chart review. Results: In 2015, a total of 6192 ED presentations were flagged as pedestrian (n=436) or fall (n=5756), and 1108 of these met our inclusion criteria. Of these, 181 (16%) were admitted to hospital. Older pedestrians (≥70 yrs) had a higher hospital admission rate (78/303; 27%) compared to younger ones (<70 yrs: 103/805; 13%). Collision with motor vehicles (MVCs) resulted in only 25% of pedestrian injuries while fall (or tripping) accounted for about 72%. MVC related injuries were more common in younger pedestrians (29% vs 13%) whereas fall related injuries occurred more in older pedestrians (85% vs 67%). The most commonly sustained injuries among the fallers were abrasions followed by fractures. Conclusion: Police crash reports (which capture only MVC related pedestrian injuries) or hospital admission data (which miss those who are treated and released from ED) do not capture all cases of pedestrian injury. ED visit data provides a more realistic count of pedestrian injuries. More pedestrian injuries are caused by falls than by MVCs and policymakers should pay more attention to fall prevention strategies for older pedestrians outside their home environment.