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To assess independent and joint effects of pairs of vascular and cardiometabolic risk factors (VCMRFs) in relation to risk of all-cause dementia.
Population-based longitudinal cohort study of cognitive impairment. We used an algorithm to select pairs of VCMRFs and tested their joint effects in time-dependent Cox models. We used attributable proportions (AP) to measure the proportion of risk from interactions beyond any additive effect.
Economically depressed small-town population.
Adults age 65+ years with up to 10 yearly study visits (N=1701, median (Q1, Q3) age, 78 (71.0, 83.0), 62.3% female, 94.9% white).
Among 1701 participants free from prevalent dementia with at least one follow-up visit, 109 developed incident all-cause dementia. In pairings of APOE*4 with hypertension (HTN) and congestive heart failure (CHF), the variables contributed independently and additively to all-cause dementia risk. In pairings of APOE*4 with stroke and stroke with CHF, the variables demonstrated independent contributions to all-cause dementia risk; their joint effects showed excess detriment demonstrating synergistic interactions (joint HR [95% CI]: 28.33 [6.74, 119.01] and 50.30 [14.57, 173.57] respectively, fully adjusted models). Physical activity (PA) was independently associated with lower all-cause dementia risk when paired with APOE*4, stroke, and CHF in unadjusted models; these associations did not survive covariate adjustment. The joint effect of low PA and APOE*4 was associated with additively increased all-cause dementia risk (joint HR [95% CI]: 4.61 [2.07, 10.23], fully adjusted model).
Reduction of VCMRFs, including low PA, could be valuable for dementia prevention, especially among APOE*4 carriers.
Little is known about long-term employment outcomes for patients with first-episode schizophrenia-spectrum (FES) disorders who received early intervention services.
We compared the 10-year employment trajectory of patients with FES who received early intervention services with those who received standard care. Factors differentiating the employment trajectories were explored.
Patients with FES (N = 145) who received early intervention services in Hong Kong between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2002 were matched with those who entered standard care 1 year previously. We used hierarchical clustering analysis to explore the 10-year employment clusters for both groups. We used the mixed model test to compare cluster memberships and piecewise regression analysis to compare the employment trajectories of the two groups.
There were significantly more patients who received the early intervention service in the good employment cluster (early intervention: N = 98 [67.6%]; standard care: N = 76 [52.4%]; P = 0.009). In the poor employment cluster, there was a significant difference in the longitudinal pattern between early intervention and standard care for years 1–5 (P < 0.0001). The number of relapses during the first 3 years, months of full-time employment during the first year and years of education were significant in differentiating the clusters of the early intervention group.
Results suggest there was an overall long-term benefit of early intervention services on employment. However, the benefit was not sustained for all patients. Personalisation of the duration of the early intervention service with a focus on relapse prevention and early vocational reintegration should be considered for service enhancement.
Declaration of interests
No relevant conflicts of interests reported by C.L.M.H., Y.N.S., P.S., H.H.P. and K.K.Y. S.K.W.C., W.C.C. and E.H.M.L. report that they are members of the working group of the Early Assessment Service for Young People with Psychosis (EASY) programme of the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong. E.Y.H.C. is the convener of the working group of the EASY programme of the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong.
A quantitative X-ray fluorescence method for single or multielement analysis is reported. It requires no calibration curve and covers a wide concentration range. The sample is dispersed into a film-forming polymer solution from which a thin specimen is made. A simple intensity-concentration equation free from matrix factors is derived. The simplicity and versatility of this method are demonstrated with eighteen examples. The precision of this method is statistically estimated to be 5% relative.
A unified matrix-flushing theory and its practical applications for quantitative multicomponent analysis by X-ray diffraction are presented.
In this method, a fundamental “matrix-flushing” concept is introduced; the calibration curve procedure is shunted; the matrix (absorption) effect is totally eliminated; all components, crystalline or amorphous, can be determined.
Childhood maltreatment is one of the strongest predictors of adulthood depression and alterations to circulating levels of inflammatory markers is one putative mechanism mediating risk or resilience.
To determine the effects of childhood maltreatment on circulating levels of 41 inflammatory markers in healthy individuals and those with a major depressive disorder (MDD) diagnosis.
We investigated the association of childhood maltreatment with levels of 41 inflammatory markers in two groups, 164 patients with MDD and 301 controls, using multiplex electrochemiluminescence methods applied to blood serum.
Childhood maltreatment was not associated with altered inflammatory markers in either group after multiple testing correction. Body mass index (BMI) exerted strong effects on interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein levels in those with MDD.
Childhood maltreatment did not exert effects on inflammatory marker levels in either the participants with MDD or the control group in our study. Our results instead highlight the more pertinent influence of BMI.
Declaration of interest
D.A.C. and H.W. work for Eli Lilly Inc. R.N. has received speaker fees from Sunovion, Jansen and Lundbeck. G.B. has received consultancy fees and funding from Eli Lilly. R.H.M.-W. has received consultancy fees or has a financial relationship with AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cyberonics, Eli Lilly, Ferrer, Janssen-Cilag, Lundbeck, MyTomorrows, Otsuka, Pfizer, Pulse, Roche, Servier, SPIMACO and Sunovian. I.M.A. has received consultancy fees or has a financial relationship with Alkermes, Lundbeck, Lundbeck/Otsuka, and Servier. S.W. has sat on an advisory board for Sunovion, Allergan and has received speaker fees from Astra Zeneca. A.H.Y. has received honoraria for speaking from Astra Zeneca, Lundbeck, Eli Lilly, Sunovion; honoraria for consulting from Allergan, Livanova and Lundbeck, Sunovion, Janssen; and research grant support from Janssen. A.J.C. has received honoraria for speaking from Astra Zeneca, honoraria for consulting with Allergan, Livanova and Lundbeck and research grant support from Lundbeck.
The theory of modular representations of the symmetric group was studied first by Nakayama (5, 6), and later by Thrall and Nesbitt (11) and Robinson (7, 8, 9). Nakayama built up his elaborate theory of hooks for the express purpose of studying this problem, while Robinson's extensive work on the various phases of the relationship between Young diagrams, skew diagrams and star diagrams on the one hand, and representations of the symmetric group on the other, culminating in a set of relations among the degrees of the representations, serves as a starting point for this paper.
Rhizoctonia solani Kühn and Pythium aphanidermatum Edson cause cabbage seedling damping-off, resulting in severe yield losses. The current study demonstrates the production of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by two strains of Bacillus mycoides and the evaluation of a potential use of B. mycoides as a biocontrol agent to control cabbage damping-off. Two VOCs, dimethyl disulphide and ammonia, were found to reduce radial growth, cause hyphal deformation and result in organelle degeneration in both R. solani and P. aphanidermatum. Pathogen hyphae, after being exposed to VOCs, showed poor rigidity, shrinkage, curling and swelling. The amount of VOCs produced by B. mycoides and the antagonistic activity against plant pathogens varied, depending on the type of medium used to culture bacteria. Application of B. mycoides cell suspensions to cultivation medium promotes growth of five different plant species tested. Experiments conducted in greenhouses revealed that B. mycoides did not reduce damping-off incidence caused by R. solani. However, B. mycoides reduced damping-off incidence induced by P. aphanidermatum by as much as 45% on cabbage seedlings. The results provide valuable information on the feasibility of utilizing B. mycoides as a biocontrol agent in controlling cabbage damping-off.
We investigated the clinical predictors of methicillin-resistance and their impact on mortality in 371 patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia identified from two prospective multi-centre studies. Methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) accounted for 42.2% of community-onset and 74.5% of hospital-onset cases. No significant clinical difference was found between patients infected with MRSA vs. methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA), except that the former were more likely to have had hospital-onset bacteraemia and received antibiotics in the preceding 90 days. After stratifying according to the acquisition site, prior antibiotic use was the only independent predictor of having MRSA in both community-onset and hospital-onset cases. The frequency of inappropriate empirical antibiotic therapy was higher in patients with MRSA than in those with MSSA bacteraemia. However, methicillin resistance was not a predictor of mortality in patients and the clinical characteristics and outcomes of both MRSA and MSSA bacteraemia were similar. This study indicates that there are no definitive clinical or epidemiological risk factors which could distinguish MRSA from MSSA cases with the exception of the previous use of antibiotics for having MRSA bacteraemia, which emphasises the prudent use of glycopeptide treatment of patients at risk for invasive MRSA infections.
Background: Among patients with schizophrenia, there is evidence of a negative association between self-stigma and subjective quality of life (SQoL), and self-esteem was an important mediator in the association. We attempted to use a longitudinal study to investigate the aforementioned mediation on a sample with schizophrenia. Methods: We used longitudinal data retrieved from medical records of a psychiatric centre between June 2014 and December 2015. In the data, we retrieved information of self-stigma using the Self-Stigma Scale — Short; SQoL, using the WHO questionnaire on the Quality of Life — Short Form; and self-esteem, using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. All the measures were evaluated five times. Linear mixed-effect models accompanied by Sobel tests were used to tackle the mediating effects. Results: Data from 74 patients (57 males) with schizophrenia were eligible for analysis; their mean (SD) age was 39.53 (10.67); mean age of onset was 22.95 (8.38). Self-esteem was a mediator for patients in physical (p = .039), psychological (p = .003), and social SQoL (p = .004), but not in environment SQoL (p = .051). Conclusion: Based on our findings, mental health professionals could tailor different programs to patients with schizophrenia, such as self-stigma reduction and self-esteem improvement programs. However, treatment as a whole should be sensitive to both self-stigma and self-esteem. Also, we should consider individuals’ health and wellbeing from social perspectives of disability rather than the medical model of disability emphasising symptoms and medications.
Evidence suggests that semantic interference may be a sensitive indicator of early dementia. We examined the utility of the Semantic Interference Test (SIT), a cognitive stress memory paradigm which taps proactive and retroactive semantic interference, for predicting progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia in both a clinical and a population-based sample.
Participants with MCI in the clinical (n = 184) and population-based (n = 435) samples were followed for up to four years. We employed receiver operating characteristic (ROC) methods to establish optimal thresholds for four different SIT indices. Threshold performance was compared in the two samples using logistic and Cox proportional hazard regression models.
Within four years, 42 (22.8%) MCI individuals in the clinical sample and 45 (10.3%) individuals in the population-based sample progressed to dementia. Overall classification accuracy of SIT thresholds ranged from 61.4% to 84.8%. Different subtests of the SIT had slightly different performance characteristics in the two samples. However, regression models showed that thresholds established in the clinical sample performed similarly in the population sample before and after adjusting for demographics and other baseline neuropsychological test scores.
Despite differences in demographic composition and progression rates, baseline SIT scores predicted progression from MCI to dementia similarly in both samples. Thresholds that best predicted progression were slightly below thresholds established for distinguishing between amnestic MCI and cognitively normal subjects in clinical practice. This confirms the utility of the SIT in both clinical and population-based samples and establishes thresholds most predictive of progression of individuals with MCI.
Preparing and responding to the needs of children during public health emergencies continues to be challenging. The purpose of this study was to assess the usefulness of a tabletop exercise in initiating pediatric preparedness strategies and assessing the impact of the exercise on participants’ understanding of and confidence in their roles during pediatric public health emergencies.
A tabletop exercise was developed to simulate a public health emergency scenario involving smallpox in a child, with subsequent spread to multiple states. During the exercise, participants discussed and developed communication, collaboration, and medical countermeasure strategies to enhance pediatric public health preparedness. Exercise evaluation was designed to assess participants’ knowledge gained and level of confidence surrounding pediatric public health emergencies.
In total, 22 participants identified over 100 communication and collaboration strategies to promote pediatric public health preparedness during the exercise and found that the most beneficial aspect during the exercise was the partnership between pediatricians and public health officials. Participants’ knowledge and level of confidence surrounding a pediatric public health emergency increased after the exercise.
The tabletop exercise was effective in identifying strategies to improve pediatric public health preparedness as well as enhancing participants’ knowledge and confidence surrounding a potential pediatric public health emergency. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:582–586)
On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas. The ensuing unprecedented flooding throughout the Texas coastal region affected millions of individuals.1 The statewide response in Texas included the sheltering of thousands of individuals at considerable distances from their homes. The Dallas area established large-scale general population sheltering as the number of evacuees to the area began to amass. Historically, the Dallas area is one familiar with “mega-sheltering,” beginning with the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.2 Through continued efforts and development, the Dallas area had been readying a plan for the largest general population shelter in Texas. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:33–37)
The Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) is a commonly used self-report to assess caregiver burden. A 12-item short form of the ZBI has been developed; however, its measurement invariance has not been examined across some different demographics. It is unclear whether different genders and educational levels of a population interpret the ZBI items similarly. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the measurement invariance of the 12-item ZBI across gender and educational levels in a Taiwanese sample.
Caregivers who had a family member with dementia (n = 270) completed the ZBI through telephone interviews. Three confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) models were conducted: Model 1 was the configural model, Model 2 constrained all factor loadings, Model 3 constrained all factor loadings and item intercepts. Multiple group CFAs and the differential item functioning (DIF) contrast under Rasch analyses were used to detect measurement invariance across males (n = 100) and females (n = 170) and across educational levels of junior high schools and below (n = 86) and senior high schools and above (n = 183).
The fit index differences between models supported the measurement invariance across gender and across educational levels (∆ comparative fit index (CFI) = −0.010 and 0.003; ∆ root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = −0.006 to 0.004). No substantial DIF contrast was found across gender and educational levels (value = −0.36 to 0.29).
The ZBI is appropriate for combined use and for comparisons in caregivers across gender and different educational levels in Taiwan.
Holstein-Friesian steer beef production is renowned globally as a secondary product of the milk industry. Grass feeding is a common practice in raising Holstein steers because of its low cost. Furthermore, grass feeding is an alternative way to produce beef with a balanced n-6 to n-3 fatty acids (FAs) ratio. However, the performance and meat quality of Holstein-Friesian cattle is more likely to depend on a high-quality diet. The aim of this study was to observe whether feeding two mixed diets; a corn-based total mixed ration (TMR) with winter ryegrass (Lolium perenne) or flaxseed oil-supplemented pellets with reed canary grass haylage (n-3 mix) provided benefits on carcass weight, meat quality and FA composition compared with cattle fed with reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) haylage alone. In all, 15 21-month-old Holstein-Friesian steers were randomly assigned to three group pens, were allowed free access to water and were fed different experimental diets for 150 days. Blood samples were taken a week before slaughter. Carcass weight and meat quality were evaluated after slaughter. Plasma lipid levels and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), creatine kinase (CK) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities were determined. Diet did not affect plasma triglyceride levels and GGT activity. Plasma cholesterol levels, including low-density and high-density lipoproteins, were higher in both mixed-diet groups than in the haylae group. The highest activities of plasma AST, CK and ALP were observed in the haylage group, followed by n-3 mix and TMR groups, respectively. Carcass weight was lower in the haylage group than in the other groups and no differences were found between the TMR and n-3 mix groups. Although the n-3 mix-fed and haylage-fed beef provided lower n-6 to n-3 FAs ratio than TMR-fed beef, the roasted beef obtained from the TMR group was more acceptable with better overall meat physicochemical properties and sensory scores. According to daily cost, carcass weight and n-6 to n-3 FAs ratio, the finishing diet containing flaxseed oil-supplemented pellets and reed canary grass haylage at the as-fed ratio of 40 : 60 could be beneficial for the production of n-3-enriched beef.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders and identifying effective treatment strategies is crucial for the control of depression. Well-conducted systematic reviews (SRs) and meta-analyses can provide the best evidence for supporting treatment decision-making. Nevertheless, the trustworthiness of conclusions can be limited by lack of methodological rigour. This study aims to assess the methodological quality of a representative sample of SRs on depression treatments.
A cross-sectional study on the bibliographical and methodological characteristics of SRs published on depression treatments trials was conducted. Two electronic databases (the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects) were searched for potential SRs. SRs with at least one meta-analysis on the effects of depression treatments were considered eligible. The methodological quality of included SRs was assessed using the validated AMSTAR (Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews) tool. The associations between bibliographical characteristics and scoring on AMSTAR items were analysed using logistic regression analysis.
A total of 358 SRs were included and appraised. Over half of included SRs (n = 195) focused on non-pharmacological treatments and harms were reported in 45.5% (n = 163) of all studies. Studies varied in methods and reporting practices: only 112 (31.3%) took the risk of bias among primary studies into account when formulating conclusions; 245 (68.4%) did not fully declare conflict of interests; 93 (26.0%) reported an ‘a priori’ design and 104 (29.1%) provided lists of both included and excluded studies. Results from regression analyses showed: more recent publications were more likely to report ‘a priori’ designs [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 1.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09–1.57], to describe study characteristics fully (AOR 1.16, 95% CI 1.06–1.28), and to assess presence of publication bias (AOR 1.13, 95% CI 1.06–1.19), but were less likely to list both included and excluded studies (AOR 0.86, 95% CI 0.81–0.92). SRs published in journals with higher impact factor (AOR 1.14, 95% CI 1.04–1.25), completed by more review authors (AOR 1.12, 95% CI 1.01–1.24) and SRs on non-pharmacological treatments (AOR 1.62, 95% CI 1.01–2.59) were associated with better performance in publication bias assessment.
The methodological quality of included SRs is disappointing. Future SRs should strive to improve rigour by considering of risk of bias when formulating conclusions, reporting conflict of interests and authors should explicitly describe harms. SR authors should also use appropriate methods to combine the results, prevent language and publication biases, and ensure timely updates.
A radiocarbon (14C) dating technique with accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) was applied to estimate the year of death and the year of birth of unidentified human remains. Because many of the samples have been preserved in formaldehyde, it was necessary to evaluate the influence of formaldehyde on carbon ages. Samples intentionally preserved in formaldehyde during the known period were measured, and their Δ14C values were compared with results obtained from fresh samples. The influence of formaldehyde on soft tissue was 14 times larger than that on cortical bone. Unfortunately, an effective method for removing the influence of formaldehyde has not yet been found. 14C ages could be obtained only from the samples not preserved in formaldehyde. The years of birth were determined by the ages of the dentin samples, while the years of death were determined by the ages of the bone and soft tissue samples. Multiple sampling from a body provides an advantage in determination of one of two possible ages of a sample obtained using the bomb peak. Victims of the Korean War were ascertained by the year of death. The year of death and the age at death of unidentified bodies were also determined for forensic investigation.
The propensity score (PS) weighting method is an analytic technique that has been applied in multiple fields for a number of purposes. Here, we discuss two common applications, which are (1) to correct for selection bias and (2) to adjust for confounding variables when estimating the effect of an exposure variable on the outcome of interest.
Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) production has been very rare in serotype K1 Klebsiella pneumoniae ST23 strains, which are well-known invasive community strains. Among 92 ESBL-producing strains identified in 218 isolates from nine Asian countries, serotype K1 K. pneumoniae strains were screened. Two ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae isolates from Singapore and Indonesia were determined to be serotype K1 and ST23. Their plasmids, which contain CTX-M-15 genes, are transferable rendering the effective transfer of ESBL resistance plasmids to other organisms.
In many developed countries, cognitive functioning (as measured by neuropsychological tests) appears to be improving over time in the population at large, in parallel with the declining age-specific incidence of dementia. Here, we investigated cohort effects in the age-associated trajectories of verbal memory function in older adults. We sought to determine whether they varied by decade of birth and, if so, whether the change would be explained by increasing educational attainment.
Pooling data from two prospective US population-based studies between 1987 and 2015, we identified four birth cohorts born 1902–1911, 1912–1921, 1922–1931, and 1932–1943. Among these cohorts, we compared age-associated trajectories both of performance and of practice effects on immediate and delayed recall of a 10-item Word List. We used mixed effects models, first including birth cohorts and cohort X age interaction terms, and then controlling for education and education X age interaction.
We observed significant cohort effects in performance (baseline and age-associated trajectories) in both immediate recall and delayed recall, with function improving between the earliest- and latest-born cohorts. For both tests, we also observed cohort effects on practice effects with the highest levels in the latest-born cohorts. Including education in the models did not attenuate these effects.
In this longitudinal population study, across four decade-long birth cohorts, there were significant improvements in test performance and practice effects in verbal memory tests, not explained by education. Whether this reflects declining disease incidence or other secular trends awaits further investigation.