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The DESCANT (Dementia Early Stage Cognitive Aids New Trial) intervention provided a personalised care package to improve the cognitive abilities, function and well -being of people with early-stage dementia and their carers by providing a range of memory aids, with training and support for use. This presentation will explore findings from a goal attainment scaling exercise undertaken within a multi-site pragmatic randomised trial, part of a NIHR-funded research programme ‘Effective Home Support in Dementia Care: Components, Impacts and Costs of Tertiary Prevention.’
The aim was to describe the Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) approach developed; investigate the types of goals identified by people with dementia and their carers and subsequent attainment; and explore the role of Dementia Support Practitioners (DSPs) in the process. This GAS exercise was designed by researchers, a clinical psychologist, a clinician and a DSP. Goal setting and attainment were conducted with the person with dementia and their carer and recorded by DSPs. Data were obtained from 117 intervention records and semi-structured interviews with five DSPs delivering the intervention across seven NHS Trusts in England and Wales. The GAS exercise was conducted as planned with goals and extent of involvement in the exercise tailored to individual participants and engagement was high. Demographic characteristics from the trial baseline dataset were analysed. Measures were created from intervention records to permit quantification and descriptive analysis. Interviews were professionally transcribed and subject to thematic analysis to identify salient themes.
A total of 293 goals were identified across the 117 participants. From these 17 goal types were distinguished across six domains: self -care; household tasks; daily occupation; orientation; communication; and well-being and safety. A measure of goal attainment appropriate to both the client group and a modest intervention was obtained. On average participants had evidenced some improvement regarding goals set. Qualitative findings suggested overall DSPs were positive about their experience of goal setting. Although several challenges were identified, if these were overcome, measuring goal attainment was generally viewed as straightforward. GAS can be used in the context of a psychosocial intervention for people with early-stage dementia to identify and measure attainment of personalised care goals.
A consensus workshop on low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) was held in November 2018 where seventeen experts (the panel) discussed three themes identified as key to the science and policy of LCS: (1) weight management and glucose control; (2) consumption, safety and perception; (3) nutrition policy. The aims were to identify the reliable facts on LCS, suggest research gaps and propose future actions. The panel agreed that the safety of LCS is demonstrated by a substantial body of evidence reviewed by regulatory experts and current levels of consumption, even for high users, are within agreed safety margins. However, better risk communication is needed. More emphasis is required on the role of LCS in helping individuals reduce their sugar and energy intake, which is a public health priority. Based on reviews of clinical evidence to date, the panel concluded that LCS can be beneficial for weight management when they are used to replace sugar in products consumed in the diet (without energy substitution). The available evidence suggests no grounds for concerns about adverse effects of LCS on sweet preference, appetite or glucose control; indeed, LCS may improve diabetic control and dietary compliance. Regarding effects on the human gut microbiota, data are limited and do not provide adequate evidence that LCS affect gut health at doses relevant to human use. The panel identified research priorities, including collation of the totality of evidence on LCS and body weight control, monitoring and modelling of LCS intakes, impacts on sugar reduction and diet quality and developing effective communication strategies to foster informed choice. There is also a need to reconcile policy discrepancies between organisations and reduce regulatory hurdles that impede low-energy product development and reformulation.
Refractory depression is a major contributor to the economic burden of depression. Radically open dialectical behaviour therapy (RO DBT) is an unevaluated new treatment targeting overcontrolled personality, common in refractory depression, but it is not yet known whether the additional expense of RO DBT is good value for money.
To estimate the cost-effectiveness of RO DBT plus treatment as usual (TAU) compared with TAU alone in people with refractory depression (trial registration: ISRCTN85784627).
We undertook a cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a randomised trial evaluating RO DBT plus TAU versus TAU alone for refractory depression in three UK secondary care centres. Our economic evaluation, 12 months after randomisation, adopted the perspective of the UK National Health Service (NHS) and personal social services. It evaluated cost-effectiveness by comparing the net cost of RO DBT with the net gain in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), estimated using the EQ-5D-3L measure of health-related quality of life.
The additional cost of RO DBT plus TAU compared with TAU alone was £7048 and was associated with a difference of 0.032 QALYs, yielding an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of £220 250 per QALY. This ICER was well above the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) upper threshold of £30 000 per QALY. A cost-effectiveness acceptability curve indicated that RO DBT had a zero probability of being cost-effective compared with TAU at the NICE £30 000 threshold.
In its current resource-intensive form, RO DBT is not a cost-effective use of resources in the UK NHS.
Declaration of interest
R.H. is co-owner and director of Radically Open Ltd, the RO DBT training and dissemination company. D.K. reports grants outside the submitted work from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). T.L. receives royalties from New Harbinger Publishing for sales of RO DBT treatment manuals, speaking fees from Radically Open Ltd, and a grant outside the submitted work from the Medical Research Council. He was co-director of Radically Open Ltd between November 2014 and May 2015 and is married to Erica Smith-Lynch, the principal shareholder and one of two directors of Radically Open Ltd. H.O'M. reports personal fees outside the submitted work from the Charlie Waller Institute and Improving Access to Psychological Therapy. S.R. provides RO DBT supervision through her company S C Rushbrook Ltd. I.R. reports grants outside the submitted work from NIHR and Health & Care Research Wales. M. Stanton reports personal fees outside the submitted work from British Isles DBT Training, Stanton Psychological Services Ltd and Taylor & Francis. M. Swales reports personal fees outside the submitted work from British Isles DBT Training, Guilford Press, Oxford University Press and Taylor & Francis. B.W. was co-director of Radically Open Ltd between November 2014 and February 2015.
Individuals with depression often do not respond to medication or psychotherapy. Radically open dialectical behaviour therapy (RO DBT) is a new treatment targeting overcontrolled personality, common in refractory depression.
To compare RO DBT plus treatment as usual (TAU) for refractory depression with TAU alone (trial registration: ISRCTN 85784627).
RO DBT comprised 29 therapy sessions and 27 skills classes over 6 months. Our completed randomised trial evaluated RO DBT for refractory depression over 18 months in three British secondary care centres. Of 250 adult participants, we randomised 162 (65%) to RO DBT. The primary outcome was the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), assessed masked and analysed by treatment allocated.
After 7 months, immediately following therapy, RO DBT had significantly reduced depressive symptoms by 5.40 points on the HRSD relative to TAU (95% CI 0.94–9.85). After 12 months (primary end-point), the difference of 2.15 points on the HRSD in favour of RO DBT was not significant (95% CI –2.28 to 6.59); nor was that of 1.69 points on the HRSD at 18 months (95% CI –2.84 to 6.22). Throughout RO DBT participants reported significantly better psychological flexibility and emotional coping than controls. However, they reported eight possible serious adverse reactions compared with none in the control group.
The RO DBT group reported significantly lower HRSD scores than the control group after 7 months, but not thereafter. The imbalance in serious adverse reactions was probably because of the controls' limited opportunities to report these.
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.
Latrodectism following Black Widow envenomation is rare in Canada. We present the case of a previously healthy 50 year old male who presented with an acute abdomen, hypertension, and urinary retention. After a thorough work up it was determined to be as a result of a Black Widow spider bite. Due to climate change we may see more cases of Latrodectism in the future and it should be considered as a differential diagnosis in anyone presenting with an acute abdomen after an insect bite.
We have previously shown that the minor alleles of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2758331 are both associated with improved transplant-free survival after surgery for CHD in infants, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We hypothesised that one or both of these minor alleles are associated with better systemic ventricular function, resulting in improved survival.
This study is a follow-up analysis of 422 non-syndromic CHD patients who underwent neonatal cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Echocardiographic reports were reviewed. Systemic ventricular function was subjectively categorised as normal, or as mildly, moderately, or severely depressed. The change in function was calculated as the change from the preoperative study to the last available study. Stepwise linear regression, adjusting for covariates, was performed for the outcome of change in ventricular function. Model comparison was performed using Akaike’s information criterion. Only variables that improved the model prediction of change in systemic ventricular function were retained in the final model.
Genetic and echocardiographic data were available for 335/422 subjects (79%). Of them, 33 (9.9%) developed worse systemic ventricular function during a mean follow-up period of 13.5 years. After covariate adjustment, the presence of the VEGFA minor allele was associated with preserved ventricular function (p=0.011).
These data support the hypothesis that the mechanism by which the VEGFA single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 minor allele improves survival may be the preservation of ventricular function. Further studies are needed to validate this genotype–phenotype association and to determine whether this mechanism is related to increased vascular endothelial growth factor production.
Dementia is a major health problem with a growing number of people affected by the condition, both directly and indirectly through caring for someone with dementia. Many live at home but little is known about the range and intensity of the support they receive. Previous studies have mainly reported on discrete services within a single geographical area. This paper presents a protocol for study of different services across several sites in England. The aim is to explore the presence, effects, and cost-effectiveness of approaches to home support for people in later stage dementia and their carers.
This is a prospective observational study employing mixed methods. At least 300 participants (people with dementia and their carers) from geographical areas with demonstrably different ranges of services available for people with dementia will be selected. Within each area, participants will be recruited from a range of services. Participants will be interviewed on two occasions and data will be collected on their characteristics and circumstances, quality of life, carer health and burden, and informal and formal support for the person with dementia. The structured interviews will also collect qualitative data to explore the perceptions of older people and carers.
This national study will explore the components of appropriate and effective home support for people with late stage dementia and their carers. It aims to inform commissioners and service providers across health and social care.
Adequate pain relief at the scene of injury and during transport to hospital is a major challenge in all acute traumas, especially for those with hip fractures, whose injuries are difficult to immobilize and long-term outcomes may be adversely affected by administration of opiate analgesics. Fascia Iliaca Compartment Block (FICB) is a procedure routinely undertaken by clinicians in emergency departments for hip fracture patients, but use by paramedics at the scene of emergency calls, is not yet evaluated (1).
We undertook a randomized controlled feasibility trial using novel audited scratchcard randomization to allocate eligible patients to FICB or usual care. Paramedics are recruited and trained to assess patients for hip fracture and carry out FICB. We will follow up patients to assess accuracy of paramedic diagnosis, acceptability to patients and paramedics, compliance of paramedics and also measures of pain, side effects, time in hospital and quality of life in order to plan a full trial if appropriate. The primary outcome measure is health related quality of life, measured using Short Form (SF)-12 at 1 and 6 months. Interviews and focus groups will be used to understand acceptability of FICB to patients and paramedics. This study was funded by Health and Care Research Wales (1003).
We have developed:
• paramedic pathway to assess patients for hip fracture and FICB
• paramedic training package, delivered by Consultant Anaesthetist
• randomization scratchcards.
To date we have recruited nineteen paramedics; ten are fully trained and recruiting patients, the remainder are being trained. Fifty-four patients have been randomized and thirty-five have consented to follow-up. Thirteen 1-month and five 6-month follow-up questionnaires have been received.
This study will enable us to recommend whether to undertake a definitive multi-centre randomized controlled trial of FICB by paramedics for hip fracture to determine if the procedure is effective for patients and worthwhile for the National Health Service.
New approaches are needed to safely reduce emergency admissions to hospital by targeting interventions effectively in primary care. A predictive risk stratification tool (PRISM) identifies each registered patient's risk of an emergency admission in the following year, allowing practitioners to identify and manage those at higher risk. We evaluated the introduction of PRISM in primary care in one area of the United Kingdom, assessing its impact on emergency admissions and other service use.
We conducted a randomized stepped wedge trial with cluster-defined control and intervention phases, and participant-level anonymized linked outcomes. PRISM was implemented in eleven primary care practice clusters (total thirty-two practices) over a year from March 2013. We analyzed routine linked data outcomes for 18 months.
We included outcomes for 230,099 registered patients, assigned to ranked risk groups.
Overall, the rate of emergency admissions was higher in the intervention phase than in the control phase: adjusted difference in number of emergency admissions per participant per year at risk, delta = .011 (95 percent Confidence Interval, CI .010, .013). Patients in the intervention phase spent more days in hospital per year: adjusted delta = .029 (95 percent CI .026, .031). Both effects were consistent across risk groups.
Primary care activity increased in the intervention phase overall delta = .011 (95 percent CI .007, .014), except for the two highest risk groups which showed a decrease in the number of days with recorded activity.
Introduction of a predictive risk model in primary care was associated with increased emergency episodes across the general practice population and at each risk level, in contrast to the intended purpose of the model. Future evaluation work could assess the impact of targeting of different services to patients across different levels of risk, rather than the current policy focus on those at highest risk.
Emergency admissions to hospital are a major financial burden on health services. In one area of the United Kingdom (UK), we evaluated a predictive risk stratification tool (PRISM) designed to support primary care practitioners to identify and manage patients at high risk of admission. We assessed the costs of implementing PRISM and its impact on health services costs. At the same time as the study, but independent of it, an incentive payment (‘QOF’) was introduced to encourage primary care practitioners to identify high risk patients and manage their care.
We conducted a randomized stepped wedge trial in thirty-two practices, with cluster-defined control and intervention phases, and participant-level anonymized linked outcomes. We analysed routine linked data on patient outcomes for 18 months (February 2013 – September 2014). We assigned standard unit costs in pound sterling to the resources utilized by each patient. Cost differences between the two study phases were used in conjunction with differences in the primary outcome (emergency admissions) to undertake a cost-effectiveness analysis.
We included outcomes for 230,099 registered patients. We estimated a PRISM implementation cost of GBP0.12 per patient per year.
Costs of emergency department attendances, outpatient visits, emergency and elective admissions to hospital, and general practice activity were higher per patient per year in the intervention phase than control phase (adjusted δ = GBP76, 95 percent Confidence Interval, CI GBP46, GBP106), an effect that was consistent and generally increased with risk level.
Despite low reported use of PRISM, it was associated with increased healthcare expenditure. This effect was unexpected and in the opposite direction to that intended. We cannot disentangle the effects of introducing the PRISM tool from those of imposing the QOF targets; however, since across the UK predictive risk stratification tools for emergency admissions have been introduced alongside incentives to focus on patients at risk, we believe that our findings are generalizable.
A predictive risk stratification tool (PRISM) to estimate a patient's risk of an emergency hospital admission in the following year was trialled in general practice in an area of the United Kingdom. PRISM's introduction coincided with a new incentive payment (‘QOF’) in the regional contract for family doctors to identify and manage the care of people at high risk of emergency hospital admission.
Alongside the trial, we carried out a complementary qualitative study of processes of change associated with PRISM's implementation. We aimed to describe how PRISM was understood, communicated, adopted, and used by practitioners, managers, local commissioners and policy makers. We gathered data through focus groups, interviews and questionnaires at three time points (baseline, mid-trial and end-trial). We analyzed data thematically, informed by Normalisation Process Theory (1).
All groups showed high awareness of PRISM, but raised concerns about whether it could identify patients not yet known, and about whether there were sufficient community-based services to respond to care needs identified. All practices reported using PRISM to fulfil their QOF targets, but after the QOF reporting period ended, only two practices continued to use it. Family doctors said PRISM changed their awareness of patients and focused them on targeting the highest-risk patients, though they were uncertain about the potential for positive impact on this group.
Though external factors supported its uptake in the short term, with a focus on the highest risk patients, PRISM did not become a sustained part of normal practice for primary care practitioners.
An episode of postpartum psychosis can be devastating for a woman and her
family, and it is vital we understand the factors involved in the aetiology
of this condition. Sleep and circadian rhythm disruption is a plausible
candidate but further research is needed that builds on the latest advances
in chronobiology and neuroscience.
Although meta-analytic neuroimaging studies demonstrate a relative lack of specificity in the brain, this evidence may be the result of limits inherent to these types of studies. From this perspective, we review recent findings that suggest that brain function is most appropriately categorized according to the computational capacity of each brain system, rather than the specific task states that elicit its activity.
I used to pore over the latest offerings from various highly reputable academic or scholarly quarters, and find nothing of any real practical help. (Tony Blair, cited in Powell, 2011)
During the 2000s there was a great deal of rhetoric about evidencebased policy and evidence-based policy-making (Davies et al, 2000; Perkins et al, 2010). However, policy and policy-making often appear to be rather more based on the existing ideas (or even prejudices or ideologies) of those in positions of power rather than on research evidence. And there are several reasons for this.
Policy-makers may believe they already know what needs to be done, and so do not need to examine what research says. Equally, those in positions of power may find research inaccessible in terms of its place of publication, or that it is written in dense, academic language they find difficult to understand. They may also find research to be too equivocal, too concerned with trying to consider both sides of a problem than coming to a conclusion or solution that they can get on with turning into a workable policy. Policy-makers may also have strong views about what needs to be done by government, regardless of what researchers are telling them, often seeming to put their own political goals ahead of research, and their ideology ahead of evidence.
When looking back at NHS reorganisations, it does seems to be the case that since the 1980s policy-makers have been unable to resist changing organisational structures, not even waiting to see if the last changes they attempted to put into place had worked or hadn’t. Secretaries of State for Health have sometimes seemed as if they are intent on leaving their own impression on the NHS organisation without considering whether what they are planning to change has any real chance of working.
From the perspective of academics and researchers, on the other hand, policy-makers and politicians often appear to have short attention spans and do not want to engage with the complexities of the area they are trying to change. Politicians can sometimes look as if they have decided what needs to be done without looking at lessons from the past or from other countries.
Reforming Healthcare: What's the Evidence? is the first major critical overview of the research published on healthcare reform in England from 1990 onwards by a team of leading UK health policy academics.