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The growing aging population and the high prevalence of several concomitant chronic diseases have contributed to the elevated rates of caregiver burden and suffering in patients. In turn, intending to relieve unnecessary pain in patients, there has been a rapid growth of outpatient palliative care programs. However, little has been studied about caregiver burden as a relevant factor potentially affecting the effectiveness of these programs. This study aimed to determine the extent of caregiver burden as a possible mediator on the effectiveness of a home-based palliative care program.
Sixty-six palliative patients (56% women; mean age + SD = 71, 6 ± 17.7) and their caregivers were assessed with measures for physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms before and 1 month after the start of a home-based palliative care program.
The association between caregiver burden and palliative outcomes was corroborated with a categorical regression model (p < 0.01). Caregiver burden was found to be a significant mediator in the relationship between outcome measures for palliative care at baseline and after 1 month of enrollment in the program.
Significance of results
To our knowledge, this is the first study to assess the role of caregiver burden in the effectiveness of a home-based palliative care program. Although further work is required, the results indicate that a patient-focused intervention does not have the same beneficial effect if the caregiver burden is not addressed. Future home-based palliative care programs should focus on caregivers as well as patients, with particular attention to psychosocial intervention on caregivers.
Clinical Enterobacteriacae isolates with a colistin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) ≥4 mg/L from a United States hospital were screened for the mcr-1 gene using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and confirmed by whole-genome sequencing. Four colistin-resistant Escherichia coli isolates contained mcr-1. Two isolates belonged to the same sequence type (ST-632). All subjects had prior international travel and antimicrobial exposure.
Background: Cerebellar atrophy is characterized by loss of cerebellar tissue, with evidence on brain imaging of enlarged interfolial spaces compared to the foliae. Genetic ataxias associated with cerebellar atrophy are a heterogeneous group of disorders. We investigated the prevalence in Canada and the diagnostic yield of whole exome sequencing (WES) for this group of conditions. Methods: Between 2011 and 2017, WES was performed in 91 participants with cerebellar atrophy as part of one of two national research programs, Finding of Rare Genetic Disease Genes (FORGE) or Enhanced Care for Rare Genetic Diseases in Canada (Care4Rare). Results: A genetic diagnosis was established in 58% of cases (53/91). Pathogenic variants were found in 24 known genes, providing a diagnosis for 46/53 participants (87%), and in four novel genes, accounting for 7/53 cases (13%). 38/91 cases (42%) remained unsolved. The most common diagnoses were channelopathies in 12/53 patients (23%) and mitochondrial disorders in 9/53 (17%). Inheritance was autosomal recessive in the majority of cases. Additional clinical findings provided useful clues to some of the diagnoses. Conclusions: This is the first report on the prevalence of genetic ataxias associated with cerebellar atrophy in Canada, and the utility of WES for this group of conditions.
There are increasing efforts aiming to utilise endophytes as biological control agents (BCAs) to improve crop production. However, reliability remains a major practical constraint for the development of novel BCAs. Many organisms are adapted to their specific habitat; it is optimistic to expect that a new organism added can find a niche or even out-compete those adapted and already present. Our approach for isolating novel BCAs for specific plant diseases is therefore to look in healthy plants in a habitat where disease is a problem, since we predict that it is more likely to find competitive strains among those present and adapted. In vitro inhibitory activities often do not correlate with in planta efficacy, especially since endophytes rely on intimate plant contact. They can, however, be useful to indicate modes of action. We therefore screen for in planta biological activity as early as possible in the process in order to minimise the risk of discarding valuable strains. Finally, some fungi are endophytic in one situation and pathogenic in another (the mutualism–parasitism continuum). This depends on their biology, environmental conditions, the formulation of inoculum, the health, developmental stage and cultivar of the host plant, and the structure of the plant microbiome.
To determine the association between the sleep duration and the risk of all-cause mortality in adults.
A search strategy was conducted in the MEDLINE, CENTRAL, EMBASE and LILACS databases. Searches were also conducted in other databases and unpublished literature. Cohort studies were included without language, time or setting restrictions. The risk of bias was evaluated with a modified Cochrane Collaboration's tool. An analysis of random effects was conducted. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. The measure of the effect was the risk difference (RD) with a 95% confidence interval (CI). The planned comparisons were 7–9 h of sleep v. <7 h and the same reference v. >9 h.
Thirty-nine studies were included in our qualitative analysis, regarding the quantitative analysis, 19 studies were included in <7 v. 7–9 h analysis, and 18 studies in the >9 v. 7–9 h. A low risk of bias was shown for most of the study items. The overall RD for all-cause mortality was 0.09 (95% CI 0.07–0.11) favouring the >9 h group compared with our reference. In contrast, no differences were found between the <7 h and the reference sleep duration groups (RD 0.00, 95% CI 0.00–0.01).
We found a probable association of long sleep duration and higher mortality; however, it could reflect an underlying systemic or neurological disease that cause sleep fragmentation, deterioration in quality and micro-awakenings.
In the Pampa region of Argentina, farming activities have been performed since the beginning of the 20th century, but in the 1990s, land-use patterns rapidly changed towards intensive agriculture and poultry breeding. This study compares the helminth community of Akodon azarae (Rodentia) among three habitats with different land use in pampean agroecosystems: poultry farms, mono-cultivated fields and abandoned fields (not used for 35 years), under the prediction that there will be greater helminth richness and diversity in mice from abandoned fields compared to those from the other habitats. Nevertheless, the highest abundance of A. azarae occurred on poultry farms, the habitat most disturbed by human activity, while cultivated fields showed the lowest. Helminth richness and diversity were significantly higher on poultry farms than in the other habitats, due to the presence of Trichuris laevitestis, Protospirura numidica criceticola and cysts of Taenia taeniaeformis. We suggest that the helminth fauna of A. azarae can survive on poultry farms despite disturbance from farming activities, because rodents can move and get shelter within farm perimeter fences, where dense and high vegetation grows. This farm area could offer good conditions for geohelminth development, while chicken sheds could attract insects that are intermediate hosts of helminths with indirect life cycles. On the contrary, agrochemicals applied in cultivated fields would negatively influence helminth diversity and composition, by decreasing host populations (arthropods and rodents) and affecting free larval stages of geohelminths.
To determine whether antimicrobial-impregnated textiles decrease the acquisition of pathogens by healthcare provider (HCP) clothing.
We completed a 3-arm randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of 2 types of antimicrobial-impregnated clothing compared to standard HCP clothing. Cultures were obtained from each nurse participant, the healthcare environment, and patients during each shift. The primary outcome was the change in total contamination on nurse scrubs, measured as the sum of colony-forming units (CFU) of bacteria.
PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING
Nurses working in medical and surgical ICUs in a 936-bed tertiary-care hospital.
Nurse subjects wore standard cotton-polyester surgical scrubs (control), scrubs that contained a complex element compound with a silver-alloy embedded in its fibers (Scrub 1), or scrubs impregnated with an organosilane-based quaternary ammonium and a hydrophobic fluoroacrylate copolymer emulsion (Scrub 2). Nurse participants were blinded to scrub type and randomly participated in all 3 arms during 3 consecutive 12-hour shifts in the intensive care unit.
In total, 40 nurses were enrolled and completed 3 shifts. Analyses of 2,919 cultures from the environment and 2,185 from HCP clothing showed that scrub type was not associated with a change in HCP clothing contamination (P=.70). Mean difference estimates were 0.118 for the Scrub 1 arm (95% confidence interval [CI], −0.206 to 0.441; P=.48) and 0.009 for the Scrub 2 rm (95% CI, −0.323 to 0.342; P=.96) compared to the control. HCP became newly contaminated with important pathogens during 19 of the 120 shifts (16%).
Antimicrobial-impregnated scrubs were not effective at reducing HCP contamination. However, the environment is an important source of HCP clothing contamination.
Interactions between human lysozyme (HL) and the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Klebsiella pneumoniae O1, a causative agent of lung infection, were identified by surface plasmon resonance. To characterize the molecular mechanism of this interaction, HL binding to synthetic disaccharides and tetrasaccharides representing one and two repeating units, respectively, of the O-chain of this LPS were studied. pH-dependent structural rearrangements of HL after interaction with the disaccharide were observed through nuclear magnetic resonance. The crystal structure of the HL-tetrasaccharide complex revealed carbohydrate chain packing into the A, B, C, and D binding sites of HL, which primarily occurred through residue-specific, direct or water-mediated hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic contacts. Overall, these results support a crucial role of the Glu35/Asp53/Trp63/Asp102 residues in HL binding to the tetrasaccharide. These observations suggest an unknown glycan-guided mechanism that underlies recognition of the bacterial cell wall by lysozyme and may complement the HL immune defense function.
Among the most abundant biopolymers in the biosphere, lignin represents an untapped opportunity to create novel bioproducts. In this article, we discuss possibilities to synthesize nano- and microparticles by harnessing lignin’s inherent tendency to associate and to develop new material compositions and functions by controlling its capacity to assemble into supramolecular structures. Because lignin is biodegradable, antimicrobial, antioxidative, and carbon neutral, inexpensive industrial lignin streams could generate value-added particulate materials that preserve the structure, composition, and colloidal features inherent to this macromolecule. We present available routes for synthesis or isolation of lignin particles, including antisolvent and aerosol processing. Metallic and polymeric lignin particle hybrids for magnetic, antibacterial, catalytic, photonic, and other applications are also discussed. Overall, the facile formation of nano- and microparticles from lignins is expected to open new pathways toward future material development.
A eutectoid carbon steel was studied at three different annealing heat treatment cycles: spheroidizing, isothermal annealing, and normalization (air cooling). The aim of this study was to determine the correlation among thermal, structural, and metallurgical properties, as a result of the annealing heat treatment. Microstructure differences were produced by the heat treatment cooling rate with significant effects on Vickers nanohardness, thermal properties, and crystallinity. It was reflected in photothermal radiometry (PTR) images as in thermal conductivity and diffusivity. The amplitude signal increased as the cooling rate increased. It means that as the cooling rate increased, crystallinity, thermal diffusivity, and conductivity decreased. The cooling rate affected the metallurgical structure directly, and consequently, the nanohardness which decreased due to the solid solution formation and decomposition of the pearlite phase. As the cooling rate increased, the nanohardness increased modifying structural properties and the steel crystallinity. As the cooling rate decreased, the crystallinity increased.
We compared the cost-effectiveness (CE) of an active case-finding (ACF) programme for household contacts of tuberculosis (TB) cases enrolled in first-line treatment to routine passive case-finding (PCF) within an established national TB programme in Peru. Decision analysis was used to model detection of TB in household contacts through: (1) self-report of symptomatic cases for evaluation (PCF), (2) a provider-initiated ACF programme, (3) addition of an Xpert MTB/RIF diagnostic test for a single sputum sample from household contacts, and (4) all strategies combined. CE was calculated as the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) in terms of US dollars per disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted. Compared to PCF alone, ACF for household contacts resulted in an ICER of $2155 per DALY averted. The addition of the Xpert MTB/RIF diagnostic test resulted in an ICER of $3275 per DALY averted within a PCF programme and $3399 per DALY averted when an ACF programme was included. Provider-initiated ACF of household contacts in an urban setting of Lima, Peru can be highly cost-effective, even including costs to seek out contacts and perform an Xpert/MTB RIF test. ACF including Xpert MTB/RIF was not cost-effective if TB cases detected had high rates of default from treatment or poor outcomes.
We present liquid-cell transmission electron microscopy (liquid-cell TEM) imaging of fixed and non-fixed prostate cancer cells (PC3 and LNCaP) with high resolution in a custom developed silicon nitride liquid cell. Fixed PC3 cells were imaged for 90–120 min without any discernable damage. High contrast on the cellular structures was obtained even at low electron doses (~2.5 e−/nm2 per image). The images show distinct structures of cell compartments (nuclei and nucleoli) and cell boundaries without any further sample embedding, dehydration, or staining. Furthermore, we observed dynamics of vesicles trafficking from the cell membrane in consecutive still frames in a non-fixed cell. Our findings show that liquid-cell TEM, operated at low electron dose, is an excellent tool to investigate dynamic events in non-fixed cells with enough spatial resolution (few nm) and natural amplitude contrast to follow key intracellular processes.
Lower and middle income countries (LMICs) are home to >80% of the global population, but mental health researchers and LMIC investigator led publications are concentrated in 10% of LMICs. Increasing research and research outputs, such as in the form of peer reviewed publications, require increased capacity building (CB) opportunities in LMICs. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) initiative, Collaborative Hubs for International Research on Mental Health reaches across five regional ‘hubs’ established in LMICs, to provide training and support for emerging researchers through hub-specific CB activities. This paper describes the range of CB activities, the process of monitoring, and the early outcomes of CB activities conducted by the five research hubs.
The indicators used to describe the nature, the monitoring, and the early outcomes of CB activities were developed collectively by the members of an inter-hub CB workgroup representing all five hubs. These indicators included but were not limited to courses, publications, and grants.
Results for all indicators demonstrate a wide range of feasible CB activities. The five hubs were successful in providing at least one and the majority several courses; 13 CB recipient-led articles were accepted for publication; and nine grant applications were successful.
The hubs were successful in providing CB recipients with a wide range of CB activities. The challenge remains to ensure ongoing CB of mental health researchers in LMICs, and in particular, to sustain the CB efforts of the five hubs after the termination of NIMH funding.
The discrepancy between abundances computed using optical recombination lines (ORLs) and collisionally excited lines (CELs) is a major, unresolved problem with significant implications for the determination of chemical abundances throughout the Universe. In planetary nebulae (PNe), the most common explanation for the discrepancy is that two different gas phases coexist: a hot component with standard metallicity, and a much colder plasma enhanced in heavy elements. This dual nature is not predicted by mass loss theories, and direct observational support for it is still weak. In this work, we present our recent findings that demonstrate that the largest abundance discrepancies are associated with close binary central stars. OSIRIS-GTC tunable filter imaging of the faint O ii ORLs and MUSE-VLT deep 2D spectrophotometry confirm that O ii ORL emission is more centrally concentrated than that of [Oiii] CELs and, therefore, that the abundance discrepancy may be closely linked to binary evolution.
Recent work (Corradi et al. 2015; Jones et al. 2016) has shown that the phenomenon of extreme abundance discrepancies, where recombination line abundances exceed collisionally excited line abundances by factors of 10 or more, seem to be strongly associated with planetary nebulae with close binary central stars. To further investigate, we have obtained spectra of a sample of nebulae with known close binary central stars, using FORS2 on the VLT, and we have discovered several new extreme abundance discrepancy objects. We did not find any non-extreme discrepancies, suggesting that a very high fraction of nebulae with close binary central stars also have an extreme abundance discrepancy.