To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
We examined Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) prevention practices and their relationship with hospital-onset healthcare facility-associated CDI rates (CDI rates) in Veterans Affairs (VA) acute-care facilities.
From January 2017 to February 2017, we conducted an electronic survey of CDI prevention practices and hospital characteristics in the VA. We linked survey data with CDI rate data for the period January 2015 to December 2016. We stratified facilities according to whether their overall CDI rate per 10,000 bed days of care was above or below the national VA mean CDI rate. We examined whether specific CDI prevention practices were associated with an increased risk of a CDI rate above the national VA mean CDI rate.
All 126 facilities responded (100% response rate). Since implementing CDI prevention practices in July 2012, 60 of 123 facilities (49%) reported a decrease in CDI rates; 22 of 123 facilities (18%) reported an increase, and 41 of 123 (33%) reported no change. Facilities reporting an increase in the CDI rate (vs those reporting a decrease) after implementing prevention practices were 2.54 times more likely to have CDI rates that were above the national mean CDI rate. Whether a facility’s CDI rates were above or below the national mean CDI rate was not associated with self-reported cleaning practices, duration of contact precautions, availability of private rooms, or certification of infection preventionists in infection prevention.
We found considerable variation in CDI rates. We were unable to identify which particular CDI prevention practices (i.e., bundle components) were associated with lower CDI rates.
The use of three-dimensional printing has been rapidly expanding over the last several decades. Virtual surgical three-dimensional simulation and planning has been shown to increase efficiency and accuracy in various clinical scenarios.
To report the feasibility of three-dimensional printing in paediatric laryngotracheal stenosis and discuss potential applications of three-dimensional printed models in airway surgery.
Retrospective case series in a tertiary care aerodigestive centre.
Three-dimensional printing was undertaken in two cases of paediatric laryngotracheal stenosis. One patient with grade 4 subglottic stenosis with posterior glottic involvement underwent an extended partial cricotracheal reconstruction. Another patient with grade 4 tracheal stenosis underwent tracheal resection and end-to-end anastomosis. Models of both tracheas were printed using PolyJet technology from a Stratasys Connex2 printer.
It is feasible to demonstrate stenosis in three-dimensional printed models, allowing for patient-specific pre-operative surgical simulation. The models serve as an educational tool for patients’ understanding of the surgery, and for teaching residents and fellows.
We present a workflow to track icebergs in proglacial fjords using oblique time-lapse photos and the Lucas-Kanade optical flow algorithm. We employ the workflow at LeConte Bay, Alaska, where we ran five time-lapse cameras between April 2016 and September 2017, capturing more than 400 000 photos at frame rates of 0.5–4.0 min−1. Hourly to daily average velocity fields in map coordinates illustrate dynamic currents in the bay, with dominant downfjord velocities (exceeding 0.5 m s−1 intermittently) and several eddies. Comparisons with simultaneous Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) measurements yield best agreement for the uppermost ADCP levels (~ 12 m and above), in line with prevalent small icebergs that trace near-surface currents. Tracking results from multiple cameras compare favorably, although cameras with lower frame rates (0.5 min−1) tend to underestimate high flow speeds. Tests to determine requisite temporal and spatial image resolution confirm the importance of high image frame rates, while spatial resolution is of secondary importance. Application of our procedure to other fjords will be successful if iceberg concentrations are high enough and if the camera frame rates are sufficiently rapid (at least 1 min−1 for conditions similar to LeConte Bay).
Measurements in the infrared wavelength domain allow direct assessment of the physical state and energy balance of cool matter in space, enabling the detailed study of the processes that govern the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems in galaxies over cosmic time. Previous infrared missions revealed a great deal about the obscured Universe, but were hampered by limited sensitivity.
SPICA takes the next step in infrared observational capability by combining a large 2.5-meter diameter telescope, cooled to below 8 K, with instruments employing ultra-sensitive detectors. A combination of passive cooling and mechanical coolers will be used to cool both the telescope and the instruments. With mechanical coolers the mission lifetime is not limited by the supply of cryogen. With the combination of low telescope background and instruments with state-of-the-art detectors SPICA provides a huge advance on the capabilities of previous missions.
SPICA instruments offer spectral resolving power ranging from R ~50 through 11 000 in the 17–230 μm domain and R ~28.000 spectroscopy between 12 and 18 μm. SPICA will provide efficient 30–37 μm broad band mapping, and small field spectroscopic and polarimetric imaging at 100, 200 and 350 μm. SPICA will provide infrared spectroscopy with an unprecedented sensitivity of ~5 × 10−20 W m−2 (5σ/1 h)—over two orders of magnitude improvement over what earlier missions. This exceptional performance leap, will open entirely new domains in infrared astronomy; galaxy evolution and metal production over cosmic time, dust formation and evolution from very early epochs onwards, the formation history of planetary systems.
To determine which healthcare worker (HCW) roles and patient care activities are associated with acquisition of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) on HCW gloves or gowns after patient care, as a surrogate for transmission to other patients.
Prospective cohort study.
Medical and surgical intensive care units at a tertiary-care academic institution.
VRE-colonized patients on Contact Precautions and their HCWs.
Overall, 94 VRE-colonized patients and 469 HCW–patient interactions were observed. Research staff recorded patient care activities and cultured HCW gloves and gowns for VRE before doffing and exiting patient room.
VRE were isolated from 71 of 469 HCWs’ gloves or gowns (15%) following patient care. Occupational/physical therapists, patient care technicians, nurses, and physicians were more likely than environmental services workers and other HCWs to have contaminated gloves or gowns. Compared to touching the environment alone, the odds ratio (OR) for VRE contamination associated with touching both the patient (or objects in the immediate vicinity of the patient) and environment was 2.78 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.99–0.77) and the OR associated with touching only the patient (or objects in the immediate vicinity) was 3.65 (95% CI, 1.17–11.41). Independent risk factors for transmission of VRE to HCWs were touching the patient’s skin (OR, 2.18; 95% CI, 1.15–4.13) and transferring the patient into or out of bed (OR, 2.66; 95% CI, 1.15–6.43).
Patient contact is a major risk factor for HCW contamination and subsequent transmission. Interventions should prioritize contact precautions and hand hygiene for HCWs whose activities involve touching the patient.
We evaluated and compared the completeness, timeliness, simplicity, usefulness and flexibility between the former National Tuberculosis (TB) Surveillance System (NTBSS) and the newer Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting System (CIDR). Completeness was assessed by examining the field completion of key variables and median time from diagnosis to notification was calculated to evaluate timeliness. Differences between the two systems on completeness and timeliness were statistically assessed using χ2 and Wilcoxon rank-sum test, respectively. An online questionnaire on simplicity, flexibility and usefulness was sent to key stakeholders. Time and diagnosis-related variables were more complete in NTBSS, while variables on drug susceptibility, HIV and laboratory tests were more complete in CIDR (P < 0.05). The median time notification interval increased significantly in CIDR (P < 0.05). Stakeholders thought that CIDR is simpler (37.5%), more useful (41.7%) and more flexible (29.2%) than NTBSS. This study demonstrated that CIDR did not improve data completeness and decreased timeliness of notification. Simplicity, usefulness and flexibility were improved but qualitative methods should be applied to further explore these results.
We present the first results of the MINDVIEW project. An innovative imaging system for the human brain examination, allowing simultaneous acquisition of PET/MRI images, has been designed and constructed. It consists of a high sensitivity and high resolution PET scanner integrated in a novel, head-dedicated, radio frequency coil for a 3T MRI scanner. Preliminary measurements from the PET scanner show sensitivity 3 times higher than state-of-the-art PET systems that will allow safe repeated studies on the same patient. The achieved spatial resolution, close to 1 mm, will enable differentiation of relevant brain structures for schizophrenia. A cost-effective and simple method of radiopharmaceutical production from 11C-carbon monoxide and a mini-clean room has been demonstrated. It has been shown that 11C-raclopride has higher binding potential in a new VAAT null mutant mouse model of schizophrenia compared to wild type control animals. A significant reduction in TSPO binding has been found in gray matter in a small sample of drug-naïve, first episode psychosis patients, suggesting a reduced number or an altered function of immune cells in brain at early stage schizophrenia.
To analyze whether electronically available comorbid conditions are risk factors for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-defined, hospital-onset Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) after controlling for antibiotic and gastric acid suppression therapy use.
Patients aged ≥18 years admitted to the University of Maryland Medical Center between November 7, 2015, and May 31, 2017.
Comorbid conditions were assessed using the Elixhauser comorbidity index. The Elixhauser comorbidity index and the comorbid condition components were calculated using the International Classification of Disease, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) codes extracted from electronic medical records. Bivariate associations between CDI and potential covariates for multivariable regression, including antibiotic use, gastric acid suppression therapy use, as well as comorbid conditions, were estimated using log binomial multivariable regression.
After controlling for antibiotic use, age, proton-pump inhibitor use, and histamine-blocker use, the Elixhauser comorbidity index was a significant risk factor for predicting CDI. There was an increased risk of 1.26 (95% CI, 1.19–1.32) of having CDI for each additional Elixhauser point added to the total Elixhauser score.
An increase in Elixhauser score is associated with CDI. Our study and other studies have shown that comorbid conditions are important risk factors for CDI. Electronically available comorbid conditions and scores like the Elixhauser index should be considered for risk-adjustment of CDC CDI rates.
We assessed various locations and frequency of environmental sampling to maximize information and maintain efficiency when sampling for Acinetobacter baumannii. Although sampling sites in closer proximity to the patient were more likely positive, to fully capture environmental contamination, we found value in sampling all sites and across multiple days.
Risk adjustment is needed to fairly compare central-line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) rates between hospitals. Until 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) methodology adjusted CLABSI rates only by type of intensive care unit (ICU). The 2017 CDC models also adjust for hospital size and medical school affiliation. We hypothesized that risk adjustment would be improved by including patient demographics and comorbidities from electronically available hospital discharge codes.
Using a cohort design across 22 hospitals, we analyzed data from ICU patients admitted between January 2012 and December 2013. Demographics and International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Edition, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) discharge codes were obtained for each patient, and CLABSIs were identified by trained infection preventionists. Models adjusting only for ICU type and for ICU type plus patient case mix were built and compared using discrimination and standardized infection ratio (SIR). Hospitals were ranked by SIR for each model to examine and compare the changes in rank.
Overall, 85,849 ICU patients were analyzed and 162 (0.2%) developed CLABSI. The significant variables added to the ICU model were coagulopathy, paralysis, renal failure, malnutrition, and age. The C statistics were 0.55 (95% CI, 0.51–0.59) for the ICU-type model and 0.64 (95% CI, 0.60–0.69) for the ICU-type plus patient case-mix model. When the hospitals were ranked by adjusted SIRs, 10 hospitals (45%) changed rank when comorbidity was added to the ICU-type model.
Our risk-adjustment model for CLABSI using electronically available comorbidities demonstrated better discrimination than did the CDC model. The CDC should strongly consider comorbidity-based risk adjustment to more accurately compare CLABSI rates across hospitals.
Precision farming advances are providing opportunities in both production agriculture and agricultural research. For growers and agronomists, the benefits of identifying where crops are stressed, the location of weeds and estimating yields on a large scale are clear. Researchers, who have different needs, can benefit from a detailed focus on a specific characteristic, such as one disease (e.g. yellow rust). This paper will review how recent advances in technology are beginning to allow the development of specialised tools within research and agriculture and how current precision agriculture tools can be effective at measuring desirable traits.
Increasing use of daily chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) bathing can potentially lead to selection for organisms with reduced susceptibility to CHG, limiting the utility of CHG. We examined reduced susceptibility to CHG of fluoroquinolone-resistant gram-negative bacilli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus. No evidence suggested reduced susceptibility to CHG.
Whole apples have not been previously implicated in outbreaks of foodborne bacterial illness. We investigated a nationwide listeriosis outbreak associated with caramel apples. We defined an outbreak-associated case as an infection with one or both of two outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes highly related by whole-genome multilocus sequence typing (wgMLST) from 1 October 2014 to 1 February 2015. Single-interviewer open-ended interviews identified the source. Outbreak-associated cases were compared with non-outbreak-associated cases and traceback and environmental investigations were performed. We identified 35 outbreak-associated cases in 12 states; 34 (97%) were hospitalized and seven (20%) died. Outbreak-associated ill persons were more likely to have eaten commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples (odds ratio 326·7, 95% confidence interval 32·2–3314). Environmental samples from the grower's packing facility and distribution-chain whole apples yielded isolates highly related to outbreak isolates by wgMLST. This outbreak highlights the importance of minimizing produce contamination with L. monocytogenes. Investigators should perform single-interviewer open-ended interviews when a food is not readily identified.
In this project we have involved four high-achieving pre-university summer placement students in the development of undergraduate teaching materials, namely tutorial videos for first year undergraduate Electrical and Electronic Engineering lab, and computer simulations of didactic semiconductor structures for an Electrical Science first year compulsory taught module. Here we describe our approach and preliminary results.
To examine self-reported practices and policies to reduce infection and transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO) in healthcare settings outside the United States.
International members of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) Research Network.
Electronic survey of infection control and prevention practices, capabilities, and barriers outside the United States and Canada. Participants were stratified according to their country’s economic development status as defined by the World Bank as low-income, lower-middle-income, upper-middle-income, and high-income.
A total of 76 respondents (33%) of 229 SHEA members outside the United States and Canada completed the survey questionnaire, representing 30 countries. Forty (53%) were high-, 33 (43%) were middle-, and 1 (1%) was a low-income country. Country data were missing for 2 respondents (3%). Of the 76 respondents, 64 (84%) reported having a formal or informal antibiotic stewardship program at their institution. High-income countries were more likely than middle-income countries to have existing MDRO policies (39/64 [61%] vs 25/64 [39%], P=.003) and to place patients with MDRO in contact precautions (40/72 [56%] vs 31/72 [44%], P=.05). Major barriers to preventing MDRO transmission included constrained resources (infrastructure, supplies, and trained staff) and challenges in changing provider behavior.
In this survey, a substantial proportion of institutions reported encountering barriers to implementing key MDRO prevention strategies. Interventions to address capacity building internationally are urgently needed. Data on the infection prevention practices of low income countries are needed.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
The Millimetre Astronomy Legacy Team 90 GHz survey aims to characterise the physical and chemical evolution of high-mass clumps. Recently completed, it mapped 90 GHz line emission towards 3 246 high-mass clumps identified from the ATLASGAL 870 μm Galactic plane survey. By utilising the broad frequency coverage of the Mopra telescope’s spectrometer, maps in 16 different emission lines were simultaneously obtained. Here, we describe the first catalogue of the detected line emission, generated by Gaussian profile fitting to spectra extracted towards each clumps’ 870 μm dust continuum peak. Synthetic spectra show that the catalogue has a completeness of > 95%, a probability of a false-positive detection of < 0.3%, and a relative uncertainty in the measured quantities of < 20% over the range of detection criteria. The detection rates are highest for the (1–0) transitions of HCO+, HNC, N2H+, and HCN (~77–89%). Almost all clumps (~95%) are detected in at least one of the molecular transitions, just over half of the clumps (~53%) are detected in four or more of the transitions, while only one clump is detected in 13 transitions. We find several striking trends in the ensemble of properties for the different molecular transitions when plotted as a function of the clumps’ evolutionary state as estimated from Spitzer mid-IR images, including (1) HNC is relatively brighter in colder, less evolved clumps than those that show active star formation, (2) N2H+ is relatively brighter in the earlier stages, (3) that the observed optical depth decreases as the clumps evolve, and (4) the optically thickest HCO+ emission shows a ‘blue-red asymmetry’ indicating overall collapse that monotonically decreases as the clumps evolve. This catalogue represents the largest compiled database of line emission towards high-mass clumps and is a valuable data set for detailed studies of these objects.
Star formation in the Galactic disc is primarily controlled by gravity, turbulence, and magnetic fields. It is not clear that this also applies to star formation near the Galactic Centre. Here we determine the turbulence and star formation in the CMZ cloud G0.253+0.016. Using maps of 3 mm dust emission and HNCO intensity-weighted velocity obtained with ALMA, we measure the volume-density variance σρ /ρ 0=1.3±0.5 and turbulent Mach number
= 11±3. Combining these with turbulence simulations to constrain the plasma β = 0.34±0.35, we reconstruct the turbulence driving parameter b=0.22±0.12 in G0.253+0.016. This low value of b indicates solenoidal (divergence-free) driving of the turbulence in G0.253+0.016. By contrast, typical clouds in the Milky Way disc and spiral arms have a significant compressive (curl-free) driving component (b > 0.4). We speculate that shear causes the solenoidal driving in G0.253+0.016 and show that this may reduce the star formation rate by a factor of 7 compared to nearby clouds.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with elevated risk for metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, the direction of this association is not yet established, as most prior studies employed cross-sectional designs. The primary goal of this study was to evaluate bidirectional associations between PTSD and MetS using a longitudinal design.
A total of 1355 male and female veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan underwent PTSD diagnostic assessments and their biometric profiles pertaining to MetS were extracted from the electronic medical record at two time points (spanning ~2.5 years, n = 971 at time 2).
The prevalence of MetS among veterans with PTSD was just under 40% at both time points and was significantly greater than that for veterans without PTSD; the prevalence of MetS among those with PTSD was also elevated relative to age-matched population estimates. Cross-lagged panel models revealed that PTSD severity predicted subsequent increases in MetS severity (β = 0.08, p = 0.002), after controlling for initial MetS severity, but MetS did not predict later PTSD symptoms. Logistic regression results suggested that for every 10 PTSD symptoms endorsed at time 1, the odds of a subsequent MetS diagnosis increased by 56%.
Results highlight the substantial cardiometabolic concerns of young veterans with PTSD and raise the possibility that PTSD may predispose individuals to accelerated aging, in part, manifested clinically as MetS. This demonstrates the need to identify those with PTSD at greatest risk for MetS and to develop interventions that improve both conditions.
To determine the prevalence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonization on intensive care unit (ICU) admission, risk factors for P. aeruginosa colonization, and the incidence of subsequent clinical culture with P. aeruginosa among those colonized and not colonized.
We conducted a cohort study of patients admitted to a medical or surgical intensive care unit of a tertiary care hospital. Patients had admission perirectal surveillance cultures performed. Risk factors analyzed included comorbidities at admission, age, sex, antibiotics received during current hospitalization before ICU admission, and type of ICU.
Of 1,840 patients, 213 (11.6%) were colonized with P. aeruginosa on ICU admission. Significant risk factors in the multivariable analysis for colonization were age (odds ratio, 1.02 [95% CI, 1.01–1.03]), anemia (1.90 [1.05–3.42]), and neurologic disorder (1.80 [1.27–2.54]). Of the 213 patients colonized with P. aeruginosa on admission, 41 (19.2%) had a subsequent clinical culture positive for P. aeruginosa on ICU admission and 60 (28.2%) had a subsequent clinical culture positive for P. aeruginosa in the current hospitalization (ICU period and post-ICU period). Of these 60 patients, 49 (81.7%) had clinical infections. Of the 1,627 patients not colonized on admission, only 68 (4.2%) had a subsequent clinical culture positive for P. aeruginosa in the current hospitalization. Patients colonized with P. aeruginosa were more likely to have a subsequent positive clinical culture than patients not colonized (incidence rate ratio, 6.74 [95% CI, 4.91–9.25]).
Prediction rules or rapid diagnostic testing will help clinicians more appropriately choose empirical antibiotic therapy for subsequent infections.