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To assess the effectiveness and acceptability of antimicrobial stewardship-focused implementation strategies on inpatient fluoroquinolones.
Stewardship champions at 15 hospitals were surveyed regarding the use and acceptability of strategies to improve fluoroquinolone prescribing. Antibiotic days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 days present (DP) for sites with and without prospective audit and feedback (PAF) and/or prior approval were compared.
Among all of the sites, 60% had PAF or prior approval implemented for fluoroquinolones. Compared to sites using neither strategy (64.2 ± 34.4 DOT/DP), fluoroquinolone prescribing rates were lower for sites that employed PAF and/or prior approval (35.5 ± 9.8; P = .03) and decreased from 2017 to 2018 (P < .001). This decrease occurred without an increase in advanced-generation cephalosporins. Total antibiotic rates were 13% lower for sites with PAF and/or prior approval, but this difference did not reach statistical significance (P = .20). Sites reporting that PAF and/or prior approval were “completely” accepted had lower fluoroquinolone rates than sites where it was “moderately” accepted (34.2 ± 5.7 vs 48.7 ± 4.5; P < .01). Sites reported that clinical pathways and/or local guidelines (93%), prior approval (93%), and order forms (80%) “would” or “may” be effective in improving fluoroquinolone use. Although most sites (73%) indicated that requiring infectious disease consults would or may be effective in improving fluoroquinolones, 87% perceived implementation to be difficult.
PAF and prior approval implementation strategies focused on fluoroquinolones were associated with significantly lower fluoroquinolone prescribing rates and nonsignificant decreases in total antibiotic use, suggesting limited evidence for class substitution. The association of acceptability of strategies with lower rates highlights the importance of culture. These results may indicate increased acceptability of implementation strategies and/or sensitivity to FDA warnings.
United States dentists prescribe 10% of all outpatient antibiotics. Assessing appropriateness of antibiotic prescribing has been challenging due to a lack of guidelines for oral infections. In 2019, the American Dental Association (ADA) published clinical practice guidelines (CPG) on the management of acute oral infections. Our objective was to describe baseline national antibiotic prescribing for acute oral infections prior to the release of the ADA CPG and to identify patient-level variables associated with an antibiotic prescription.
We performed an analysis of national VA data from January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2017. We identified cases of acute oral infections using International Classification of Disease, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) codes. Antibiotics prescribed by a dentist within ±7 days of a visit were included. Multivariable logistic regression identified patient-level variables associated with an antibiotic prescription.
Of the 470,039 VA dental visits with oral infections coded, 12% of patient visits with irreversible pulpitis, 17% with apical periodontitis, and 28% with acute apical abscess received antibiotics. Although the median days’ supply was 7, prolonged use of antibiotics was frequent (≥8 days, 42%–49%). Patients with high-risk cardiac conditions, prosthetic joints, and endodontic, implant, and oral and maxillofacial surgery dental procedures were more likely to receive antibiotics.
Most treatments of irreversible pulpitis and apical periodontitis cases were concordant with new ADA guidelines. However, in cases where antibiotics were prescribed, prolonged antibiotic courses >7 days were frequent. These findings demonstrate opportunities for the new ADA guidelines to standardize and improve dental prescribing practices.
To characterize postextraction antibiotic prescribing patterns, predictors for antibiotic prescribing and the incidence of and risk factors for postextraction oral infection.
Retrospective analysis of a random sample of veterans who received tooth extractions from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017.
VA dental clinics.
Overall, 69,610 patients met inclusion criteria, of whom 404 were randomly selected for inclusion. Adjunctive antibiotics were prescribed to 154 patients (38.1%).
Patients who received or did not receive an antibiotic were compared for the occurrence of postextraction infection as documented in the electronic health record. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify factors associated with antibiotic receipt.
There was no difference in the frequency of postextraction oral infection identified among patients who did and did not receive antibiotics (4.5% vs 3.2%; P = .59). Risk factors for postextraction infection could not be identified due to the low frequency of this outcome. Patients who received antibiotics were more likely to have a greater number of teeth extracted (aOR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.03–1.18), documentation of acute infection at time of extraction (aOR, 3.02; 95% CI, 1.57–5.82), molar extraction (aOR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.10–2.86) and extraction performed by an oral maxillofacial surgeon (aOR, 2.29; 95% CI, 1.44–3.58) or specialty dentist (aOR, 5.77; 95% CI, 2.05–16.19).
Infectious complications occurred at a low incidence among veterans undergoing tooth extraction who did and did not receive postextraction antibiotics. These results suggest that antibiotics have a limited role in preventing postprocedural infection; however, future studies are necessary to more clearly define the role of antibiotics for this indication.
This is an epidemiological study of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in Veterans’ Affairs medical centers (VAMCs). In 2017, almost 75% of VAMCs had at least 1 CRE case. We observed substantial geographic variability, with more cases in urban, complex facilities. This supports the benefit of tailoring infection control strategies to facility characteristics.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Although infections caused by Acinetobacter baumannii are often healthcare-acquired, difficult to treat, and associated with high mortality, epidemiologic data for this organism are limited. We describe the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and outcomes for patients with extensively drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (XDRAB).
Retrospective cohort study
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs)
Patients with XDRAB cultures (defined as nonsusceptible to at least 1 agent in all but 2 or fewer classes) at VAMCs between 2012 and 2018.
Microbiology and clinical data was extracted from national VA datasets. We used descriptive statistics to summarize patient characteristics and outcomes and bivariate analyses to compare outcomes by culture source.
Among 11,546 patients with 15,364 A. baumannii cultures, 408 (3.5%) patients had 667 (4.3%) XDRAB cultures. Patients with XDRAB were older (mean age, 68 years; SD, 12.2) with median Charlson index 3 (interquartile range, 1–5). Respiratory specimens (n = 244, 36.6%) and urine samples (n = 187, 28%) were the most frequent sources; the greatest proportion of patients were from the South (n = 162, 39.7%). Most patients had had antibiotic exposures (n = 362, 88.7%) and hospital or long-term care admissions (n = 331, 81%) in the prior 90 days. Polymyxins, tigecycline, and minocycline demonstrated the highest susceptibility. Also, 30-day mortality (n = 96, 23.5%) and 1-year mortality (n = 199, 48.8%) were high, with significantly higher mortality in patients with blood cultures.
The proportion of Acinetobacter baumannii in the VA that was XDR was low, but treatment options are extremely limited and clinical outcomes were poor. Prevention of healthcare-associated XDRAB infection should remain a priority, and novel antibiotics for XDRAB treatment are urgently needed.
A survey of Veterans’ Affairs Medical Centers on control of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and carbapenem-producing CRE (CP-CRE) demonstrated that most facilities use VA guidelines but few screen for CRE/CP-CRE colonization regularly or regularly communicate CRE/CP-CRE status at patient transfer. Most respondents were knowledgeable about CRE guidelines but cited lack of adequate resources.
In the absence of pyuria, positive urine cultures are unlikely to represent infection. Conditional urine reflex culture policies have the potential to limit unnecessary urine culturing. We evaluated the impact of this diagnostic stewardship intervention.
We conducted a retrospective, quasi-experimental (nonrandomized) study, with interrupted time series, from August 2013 to January 2018 to examine rates of urine cultures before versus after the policy intervention. We compared 3 intervention sites to 3 control sites in an aggregated series using segmented negative binomial regression.
The study included 6 acute-care hospitals within the Veterans’ Health Administration across the United States.
Adult patients with at least 1 urinalysis ordered during acute-care admission, excluding pregnant patients or those undergoing urological procedures, were included.
At the intervention sites, urine cultures were performed if a preceding urinalysis met prespecified criteria. No such restrictions occurred at the control sites. The primary outcome was the rate of urine cultures performed per 1,000 patient days. The safety outcome was the rate of gram-negative bloodstream infection per 1,000 patient days.
The study included 224,573 urine cultures from 50,901 admissions in 24,759 unique patients. Among the intervention sites, the overall average number of urine cultures performed did not significantly decrease relative to the preintervention period (5.9% decrease; P = 0.8) but did decrease by 21% relative to control sites (P < .01). We detected no significant difference in the rates of gram-negative bloodstream infection among intervention or control sites (P = .49).
Conditional urine reflex culture policies were associated with a decrease in urine culturing without a change in the incidence of gram-negative bloodstream infection.
There have been conflicting reports on the relationship between thyroid function and mood between studies in subjects on thyroxine and the general population not on thyroxine. We investigated this relationship in a large population study.
We analysed data on serum TSH levels and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) scores from the HUNT 2 study (age ≥ 40 years). Following a test for interaction, analyses were performed separately in females on thyroxine (n=1,265) and in people not on thyroxine (males n=9,319 and females n=17,694).
More females on thyroxine had high depression and anxiety scores than females not on thyroxine (depression 18.4% vs 13.0%, p< 0.001, anxiety 23.4% vs 18.7% p< 0.001). In those not on thyroxine there was an inverse association between serum TSH and depression score in males (B coefficient = -0.61, 95% CI -0.91 to -0.24, p=0.001) though not in females (B coefficient = -0.07, -0.33 to 0.19), and an inverse association between TSH and anxiety score in both sexes (B coefficient for males = -0.68, 95% CI -1.04 to -0.32, p< 0.001; females -0.37, -0.67 to -0.08, p=0.01). By contrast, in females on thyroxine, TSH was positively associated with both depression (B coefficient = +0.27, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.51, p< 0.05) and anxiety (B coefficient = +0.29, 0.01 to 0.56, p< 0.05).
There is a different relationship between thyroid function and depression and anxiety in females on thyroxine compared to individuals with no thyroid disease.
Stigma against mental illness and the mentally ill is well known. However, stigma against psychiatrists and mental health professionals is known but not discussed widely. Public attitudes and also those of other professionals affect recruitment into psychiatry and mental health services. The reasons for this discriminatory attitude are many and often not dissimilar to those held against mentally ill individuals. In this Guidance paper we present some of the factors affecting the image of psychiatry and psychiatrists which is perceived by the public at large. We look at the portrayal of psychiatry, psychiatrists in the media and literature which may affect attitudes. We also explore potential causes and explanations and propose some strategies in dealing with negative attitudes. Reduction in negative attitudes will improve recruitment and retention in psychiatry. We recommend that national psychiatric societies and other stakeholders, including patients, their families and carers, have a major and significant role to play in dealing with stigma, discrimination and prejudice against psychiatry and psychiatrists.
Stigma and social exclusion related to mental health are of substantial public health importance for Europe. As part of ROAMER (ROAdmap for MEntal health Research in Europe), we used systematic mapping techniques to describe the current state of research on stigma and social exclusion across Europe. Findings demonstrate growing interest in this field between 2007 and 2012. Most studies were descriptive (60%), focused on adults of working age (60%) and were performed in Northwest Europe—primarily in the UK (32%), Finland (8%), Sweden (8%) and Germany (7%). In terms of mental health characteristics, the largest proportion of studies investigated general mental health (20%), common mental disorders (16%), schizophrenia (16%) or depression (14%). There is a paucity of research looking at mechanisms to reduce stigma and promote social inclusion, or at factors that might promote resilience or protect against stigma/social exclusion across the life course. Evidence is also limited in relation to evaluations of interventions. Increasing incentives for cross-country research collaborations, especially with new EU Member States and collaboration across European professional organizations and disciplines, could improve understanding of the range of underpinning social and cultural factors which promote inclusion or contribute toward lower levels of stigma, especially during times of hardship.
To characterize antifungal stewardship among antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) at a diverse range of hospitals and to correlate antifungal stewardship with hospital characteristics.
ASP physician and/or pharmacist members at Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) Research Network (SRN) hospitals.
An electronic survey administered August–September 2018 via the SRN to 111 hospitals. The χ2 test was used to test associations between ASP and hospital characteristics and use of antifungal stewardship strategies.
Of 111 hospitals, 45 (41%) responded; most were academic medical centers (65%) caring for stem-cell patients (73.3%) and solid-organ transplant patients (80.0%). Most hospitals have large, well-established ASPs: 60% had >5 team members and 68.9% had a duration ≥6 years. In 43 hospitals (95.6%), ASPs used antifungal stewardship strategies, most commonly prospective audit and feedback (73.3%) by a pharmacist (71.4%). Half of ASPs (51.1%) created guidelines for invasive fungal infection (IFI) management. Most hospitals (71.1%) offered rapid laboratory tests to diagnose IFI, but polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and antifungal susceptibility testing varied. Also, 29 ASPs (64.4%) perform surveillance of antifungal utilization, but only 9 (31%) reported to the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network. ASP size, duration, and presence of transplant populations were not associated with a higher likelihood of using antifungal stewardship strategies (P > .05 for all).
The use of antifungal stewardship strategies was high at SRN hospitals, but they mainly involved audit and feedback. ASPs should be encouraged (1) to disseminate guidelines for IFI management, (2) to promote access to laboratory tests for rapid and accurate IFI diagnosis, and (3) to perform surveillance for antifungal utilization with reporting to the CDC.
Mobile devices with health apps, direct-to-consumer genetic testing, crowd-sourced information, and other data sources have enabled research by new classes of researchers. Independent researchers, citizen scientists, patient-directed researchers, self-experimenters, and others are not covered by federal research regulations because they are not recipients of federal financial assistance or conducting research in anticipation of a submission to the FDA for approval of a new drug or medical device. This article addresses the difficult policy challenge of promoting the welfare and interests of research participants, as well as the public, in the absence of regulatory requirements and without discouraging independent, innovative scientific inquiry. The article recommends a series of measures, including education, consultation, transparency, self-governance, and regulation to strike the appropriate balance.
The individual right of access to one’s own data is a crucial privacy protection long recognized in U.S. federal privacy laws. Mobile health devices and research software used in citizen science often fall outside the HIPAA Privacy Rule, leaving participants without HIPAA’s right of access to one’s own data. Absent state laws requiring access, the law of contract, as reflected in end-user agreements and terms of service, governs individuals’ ability to find out how much data is being stored and how it might be shared with third parties. Efforts to address this problem by establishing norms of individual access to data from mobile health research unfortunately can run afoul of the FDA’s investigational device exemption requirements.
Nuclear rings are excellent laboratories to study star formation (SF) under extreme conditions. We compiled a sample of 9 galaxies that exhibit bright nuclear rings at 3-33 GHz radio continuum observed with the Jansky Very Large Array, of which 5 are normal star-forming galaxies and 4 are Luminous Infrared Galaxies (LIRGs). Using high frequency radio continuum as an extinction-free tracer of SF, we estimated the size and star formation rate of each nuclear ring and a total of 37 individual circumnuclear star-forming regions. Our results show that majority of the SF in the sample LIRGs take place in their nuclear rings, and circumnuclear SF in local LIRGs are much more spatially concentrated compared to those in the local normal galaxies and previously studied nuclear and extra-nuclear SF in normal galaxies at both low and high redshifts.
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 rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
Drawing on a landscape analysis of existing data-sharing initiatives, in-depth interviews with expert stakeholders, and public deliberations with community advisory panels across the U.S., we describe features of the evolving medical information commons (MIC). We identify participant-centricity and trustworthiness as the most important features of an MIC and discuss the implications for those seeking to create a sustainable, useful, and widely available collection of linked resources for research and other purposes.
Laboratory identification of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is a key step in controlling its spread. Our survey showed that most Veterans Affairs laboratories follow VA guidelines for initial CRE identification, whereas 55.0% use PCR to confirm carbapenemase production. Most respondents were knowledgeable about CRE guidelines. Barriers included staffing, training, and financial resources.