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On August 14, 2017, a 6-kilometer mudslide occurred in Regent Area, Western Area District of Sierra Leone following a torrential downpour that lasted 3 days. More than 300 houses along River Juba were submerged; 1141 people were reported dead or missing and 5905 displaced. In response to the mudslide, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office in Sierra Leone moved swiftly to verify the emergency and constitute an incident management team to coordinate the response. Early contact was made with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and health sector partners. A Public Health Emergency Operations Center was set up to coordinate the response. Joint assessments, planning, and response among health sector partners ensured effectiveness and efficiency. Oral cholera vaccination was administered to high-risk populations to prevent a cholera outbreak. Surveillance for 4 waterborne diseases was enhanced through daily reporting from 9 health facilities serving the affected population. Performance standards from the WHO Emergency Response Framework were used to monitor the emergency response. An assessment of the country’s performance showed that the country’s response was well executed. To improve future response, we recommend enhanced district level preparedness, update of disaster response protocols, and pre-disaster mapping of health sector partners.
Interest in advanced thermoplastic composites for use in high performance structures stems from their order of magnitude improvement in fracture toughness and delamination resistance over epoxy based composites, their strong solvent resistance, and the possibility of dramatically lower fabrication costs through processing flexibility. The chemical and mechanical properties of semicrystalline thermoplastics depend on the morphology of the material, such as the crystallinity content and spherulite size. We describe here the use of x-ray diffraction to characterize the degree of crystallinity of the polyetheretherketone-graphite composite system, a leading thermoplastic candidate for use in aerospace vehicles. In reflection, diffraction from the microcrystalline graphite fibers dominates the scattered signal and must be adequately accounted for. The technique is useful on large samples and for quality control. In transmission, the graphite signal is weak, thus simplifying data analysis; however, sample thickness must be limited.
The value of the nosological distinction between non-affective and affective psychosis has frequently been challenged. We aimed to investigate the transdiagnostic dimensional structure and associated characteristics of psychopathology at First Episode Psychosis (FEP). Regardless of diagnostic categories, we expected that positive symptoms occurred more frequently in ethnic minority groups and in more densely populated environments, and that negative symptoms were associated with indices of neurodevelopmental impairment.
This study included 2182 FEP individuals recruited across six countries, as part of the EUropean network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene–Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. Symptom ratings were analysed using multidimensional item response modelling in Mplus to estimate five theory-based models of psychosis. We used multiple regression models to examine demographic and context factors associated with symptom dimensions.
A bifactor model, composed of one general factor and five specific dimensions of positive, negative, disorganization, manic and depressive symptoms, best-represented associations among ratings of psychotic symptoms. Positive symptoms were more common in ethnic minority groups. Urbanicity was associated with a higher score on the general factor. Men presented with more negative and less depressive symptoms than women. Early age-at-first-contact with psychiatric services was associated with higher scores on negative, disorganized, and manic symptom dimensions.
Our results suggest that the bifactor model of psychopathology holds across diagnostic categories of non-affective and affective psychosis at FEP, and demographic and context determinants map onto general and specific symptom dimensions. These findings have implications for tailoring symptom-specific treatments and inform research into the mood-psychosis spectrum.
A robust biomedical informatics infrastructure is essential for academic health centers engaged in translational research. There are no templates for what such an infrastructure encompasses or how it is funded. An informatics workgroup within the Clinical and Translational Science Awards network conducted an analysis to identify the scope, governance, and funding of this infrastructure. After we identified the essential components of an informatics infrastructure, we surveyed informatics leaders at network institutions about the governance and sustainability of the different components. Results from 42 survey respondents showed significant variations in governance and sustainability; however, some trends also emerged. Core informatics components such as electronic data capture systems, electronic health records data repositories, and related tools had mixed models of funding including, fee-for-service, extramural grants, and institutional support. Several key components such as regulatory systems (e.g., electronic Institutional Review Board [IRB] systems, grants, and contracts), security systems, data warehouses, and clinical trials management systems were overwhelmingly supported as institutional infrastructure. The findings highlighted in this report are worth noting for academic health centers and funding agencies involved in planning current and future informatics infrastructure, which provides the foundation for a robust, data-driven clinical and translational research program.
Modern high-throughput molecular and analytical tools offer exciting opportunities to gain a mechanistic understanding of unique traits of weeds. During the past decade, tremendous progress has been made within the weed science discipline using genomic techniques to gain deeper insights into weedy traits such as invasiveness, hybridization, and herbicide resistance. Though the adoption of newer “omics” techniques such as proteomics, metabolomics, and physionomics has been slow, applications of these omics platforms to study plants, especially agriculturally important crops and weeds, have been increasing over the years. In weed science, these platforms are now used more frequently to understand mechanisms of herbicide resistance, weed resistance evolution, and crop–weed interactions. Use of these techniques could help weed scientists to further reduce the knowledge gaps in understanding weedy traits. Although these techniques can provide robust insights about the molecular functioning of plants, employing a single omics platform can rarely elucidate the gene-level regulation and the associated real-time expression of weedy traits due to the complex and overlapping nature of biological interactions. Therefore, it is desirable to integrate the different omics technologies to give a better understanding of molecular functioning of biological systems. This multidimensional integrated approach can therefore offer new avenues for better understanding of questions of interest to weed scientists. This review offers a retrospective and prospective examination of omics platforms employed to investigate weed physiology and novel approaches and new technologies that can provide holistic and knowledge-based weed management strategies for future.
The conservation of threatened species requires information on how management activities influence habitat quality. The Critically Endangered black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis is restricted to savannahs representing c. 5% of its historical range. Fire is used extensively in savannahs but little is known about how rhinos respond to burning. Our aim was to understand rhino responses to fire by studying habitat selection and foraging at multiple scales. We used resource selection functions and locations of 31 rhinos during 2014–2016 to study rhino habitat use in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Rhino selectivity was quantified by comparing forage consumption to plant species availability in randomly sampled vegetation plots; rhino diets were subsequently verified through DNA metabarcoding analysis of faecal samples. Rhino habitat use was a unimodal function of fire history, with highly occupied sites having fire frequencies of < 0.6 fires/year and maximum occupancy occurring at a fire frequency of 0.1 fires/year. Foraging stations had characteristic plant communities, with 17 species associated with rhino foraging. Rhinos were associated with, and disproportionately consumed, woody plants, forbs and legumes, all of which decreased in abundance with increasing fire frequency. In contrast to common management practices, multiple lines of evidence suggest that the current fire regime in the Serengeti negatively influences rhino habitat use and foraging and that frequent fire limits access of rhinos to preferred forage. We outline a conceptual model to guide managers and conservationists in the use of fire under variable habitat conditions.
OBJECTIVES/SPECIFIC AIMS: The purpose of the present secondary data analysis was to examine the effect of moderate-severe disturbed sleep before the start of radiation therapy (RT) on subsequent RT-induced pain. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: Analyses were performed on 676 RT-naïve breast cancer patients (mean age 58, 100% female) scheduled to receive RT from a previously completed nationwide, multicenter, phase II randomized controlled trial examining the efficacy of oral curcumin on radiation dermatitis severity. The trial was conducted at 21 community oncology practices throughout the US affiliated with the University of Rochester Cancer Center NCI’s Community Oncology Research Program (URCC NCORP) Research Base. Sleep disturbance was assessed using a single item question from the modified MD Anderson Symptom Inventory (SI) on a 0–10 scale, with higher scores indicating greater sleep disturbance. Total subjective pain as well as the subdomains of pain (sensory, affective, and perceived) were assessed by the short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire. Pain at treatment site (pain-Tx) was also assessed using a single item question from the SI. These assessments were included for pre-RT (baseline) and post-RT. For the present analyses, patients were dichotomized into 2 groups: those who had moderate-severe disturbed sleep at baseline (score≥4 on the SI; n=101) Versus those who had mild or no disturbed sleep (control group; score=0–3 on the SI; n=575). RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: Prior to the start of RT, breast cancer patients with moderate-severe disturbed sleep at baseline were younger, less likely to have had lumpectomy or partial mastectomy while more likely to have had total mastectomy and chemotherapy, more likely to be on sleep, anti-anxiety/depression, and prescription pain medications, and more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety disorder than the control group (all p’s≤0.02). Spearman rank correlations showed that changes in sleep disturbance from baseline to post-RT were significantly correlated with concurrent changes in total pain (r=0.38; p<0.001), sensory pain (r=0.35; p<0.001), affective pain (r=0.21; p<0.001), perceived pain intensity (r=0.37; p<0.001), and pain-Tx (r=0.35; p<0.001). In total, 92% of patients with moderate-severe disturbed sleep at baseline reported post-RT total pain compared with 79% of patients in the control group (p=0.006). Generalized linear estimating equations, after controlling for baseline pain and other covariates (baseline fatigue and distress, age, sleep medications, anti-anxiety/depression medications, prescription pain medications, and depression or anxiety disorder), showed that patients with moderate-severe disturbed sleep at baseline had significantly higher mean values of post-RT total pain (by 39%; p=0.033), post-RT sensory pain (by 41%; p=0.046), and post-RT affective pain (by 55%; p=0.035) than the control group. Perceived pain intensity (p=0.066) and pain-Tx (p=0.086) at post-RT were not significantly different between the 2 groups. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE OF IMPACT: These findings suggest that moderate-severe disturbed sleep prior to RT is an important predictor for worsening of pain at post-RT in breast cancer patients. There could be several plausible reasons for this. Sleep disturbance, such as sleep loss and sleep continuity disturbance, could result in impaired sleep related recovery and repair of tissue damage associated with cancer and its treatment; thus, resulting in the amplification of pain. Sleep disturbance may also reduce pain tolerance threshold through increased sensitization of the central nervous system. In addition, pain and sleep disturbance may share common neuroimmunological pathways. Sleep disturbance may modulate inflammation, which in turn may contribute to increased pain. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and whether interventions targeting sleep disturbance in early phase could be potential alternate approaches to reduce pain after RT.
Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) is an invasive perennial weed infesting range and recreational lands of North America. Previous research and omics projects with E. esula have helped develop it as a model for studying many aspects of perennial plant development and response to abiotic stress. However, the lack of an assembled genome for E. esula has limited the power of previous transcriptomics studies to identify functional promoter elements and transcription factor binding sites. An assembled genome for E. esula would enhance our understanding of signaling processes controlling plant development and responses to environmental stress and provide a better understanding of genetic factors impacting weediness traits, evolution, and herbicide resistance. A comprehensive transcriptome database would also assist in analyzing future RNA-seq studies and is needed to annotate and assess genomic sequence assemblies. Here, we assembled and annotated 56,234 unigenes from an assembly of 589,235 RNA-seq-derived contigs and a previously published Sanger-sequenced expressed sequence tag collection. The resulting data indicate that we now have sequence for >90% of the expressed E. esula protein-coding genes. We also assembled the gene space of E. esula by using a limited coverage (18X) genomic sequence database. In this study, the programs Velvet and Trinity produced the best gene-space assemblies based on representation of expressed and conserved eukaryotic genes. The results indicate that E. esula contains as much as 23% repetitive sequences, of which 11% are unique. Our sequence data were also sufficient for assembling a full chloroplast and partial mitochondrial genome. Further, marker analysis identified more than 150,000 high-quality variants in our E. esula L-RNA–scaffolded, whole-genome, Trinity-assembled genome. Based on these results, E. esula appears to have limited heterozygosity. This study provides a blueprint for low-cost genomic assemblies in weed species and new resources for identifying conserved and novel promoter regions among coordinately expressed genes of E. esula.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
An internationally approved and globally used classification scheme for the diagnosis of CHD has long been sought. The International Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Code (IPCCC), which was produced and has been maintained by the International Society for Nomenclature of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (the International Nomenclature Society), is used widely, but has spawned many “short list” versions that differ in content depending on the user. Thus, efforts to have a uniform identification of patients with CHD using a single up-to-date and coordinated nomenclature system continue to be thwarted, even if a common nomenclature has been used as a basis for composing various “short lists”. In an attempt to solve this problem, the International Nomenclature Society has linked its efforts with those of the World Health Organization to obtain a globally accepted nomenclature tree for CHD within the 11th iteration of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The International Nomenclature Society has submitted a hierarchical nomenclature tree for CHD to the World Health Organization that is expected to serve increasingly as the “short list” for all communities interested in coding for congenital cardiology. This article reviews the history of the International Classification of Diseases and of the IPCCC, and outlines the process used in developing the ICD-11 congenital cardiac disease diagnostic list and the definitions for each term on the list. An overview of the content of the congenital heart anomaly section of the Foundation Component of ICD-11, published herein in its entirety, is also included. Future plans for the International Nomenclature Society include linking again with the World Health Organization to tackle procedural nomenclature as it relates to cardiac malformations. By doing so, the Society will continue its role in standardising nomenclature for CHD across the globe, thereby promoting research and better outcomes for fetuses, children, and adults with congenital heart anomalies.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the evidence payers cited in their coverage policies for multi-gene panels and sequencing tests (panels), and to compare these findings with the evidence payers cited in their coverage policies for other types of medical interventions.
Methods: We used the University of California at San Francisco TRANSPERS Payer Coverage Registry to identify coverage policies for panels issued by five of the largest US private payers. We reviewed each policy and categorized the evidence cited within as: clinical studies, systematic reviews, technology assessments, cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs), budget impact studies, and clinical guidelines. We compared the evidence cited in these coverage policies for panels with the evidence cited in policies for other intervention types (pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostic tests and imaging, and surgical interventions) as reported in a previous study.
Results: Fifty-five coverage policies for panels were included. On average, payers cited clinical guidelines in 84 percent of their coverage policies (range, 73–100 percent), clinical studies in 69 percent (50–87 percent), technology assessments 47 percent (33–86 percent), systematic reviews or meta-analyses 31 percent (7–71 percent), and CEAs 5 percent (0–7 percent). No payers cited budget impact studies in their policies. Payers less often cited clinical studies, systematic reviews, technology assessments, and CEAs in their coverage policies for panels than in their policies for other intervention types. Payers cited clinical guidelines in a comparable proportion of policies for panels and other technology types.
Conclusions: Payers in our sample less often cited clinical studies and other evidence types in their coverage policies for panels than they did in their coverage policies for other types of medical interventions.
Objectives: Fatigue is a common and persisting symptom after childhood brain injury. This study examined whether child characteristics and symptomatology preinjury or 6 months postinjury (pain, sleep, and mood, inattention) predicted fatigue at 12months postinjury. Methods: Parents of 79 children (0–18 years) rated fatigue at 12 months after injury on a multidimensional scale (general, sleep/rest, and cognitive). Demographic and clinical data were collected at injury. Parents rated child sleep, pain, physical/motor function, mood, and inattention at injury (preinjury description), and 6 months postinjury. Children were divided into two traumatic brain injury severity groups: mild TBI (n=57) and moderate/severe TBI (n=27). Hierarchical regression models were used to examine (i) preinjury factors and (ii) symptoms 6 months postinjury predictive of fatigue (general, sleep/rest, and cognitive) at 12 months postinjury. Results: Sleep/rest fatigue was predicted by preinjury fatigue (7% of variance) and psychological symptoms preinjury (10% of variance). General fatigue was predicted by physical/motor symptoms (27%), sleep (10%) and mood symptoms (9%) 6 months postinjury. Sleep/rest fatigue was predicted by physical/motor symptoms (10%), sleep symptoms (13%) and mood symptoms (9%) 6 months postinjury. Cognitive fatigue was predicted by physical/motor symptoms (17%) 6 months postinjury. Conclusions: Preinjury fatigue and psychological functioning identified those at greatest risk of fatigue 12 months post-TBI. Predictors of specific fatigue domains at 12 months differed across each of the domains, although consistently included physical/motor function as well as sleep and mood symptoms postinjury. (JINS, 2018, 24, 224–236)
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is associated with increased cost, morbidity, and mortality in postoperative patients. Variable rates of postoperative CDI are reported among 4 surgical specialties during the 30-month study period. Risk factors for CDI include antibiotic use, increased ASA score, and increased admissions in the past year.
The Yellow Sea region is of high global importance for waterbird populations, but recent systematic bird count data enabling identification of the most important sites are relatively sparse for some areas. Surveys of waterbirds at three sites on the coast of southern Jiangsu Province, China, in 2014 and 2015 produced peak counts of international importance for 24 species, including seven globally threatened and six Near Threatened species. The area is of particular global importance for the ‘Critically Endangered’ Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea (peak count across all three study sites: 62 in spring  and 225 in autumn  and ‘Endangered’ Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer (peak count across all three study sites: 210 in spring  and 1,110 in autumn ). The southern Jiangsu coast is therefore currently the most important migratory stopover area in the world, in both spring and autumn, for both species. Several serious and acute threats to waterbirds were recorded at these study sites. Paramount is the threat of large-scale land claim which would completely destroy intertidal mudflats of critical importance to waterbirds. Degradation of intertidal mudflat habitats through the spread of invasive Spartina, and mortality of waterbirds by entrapment in nets or deliberate poisoning are also real and present serious threats here. Collisions with, and displacement by, wind turbines and other structures, and industrial chemical pollution may represent additional potential threats. We recommend the rapid establishment of effective protected areas for waterbirds in the study area, maintaining large areas of open intertidal mudflat, and the urgent removal of all serious threats currently faced by waterbirds here.
Ketamine has recently become an agent of interest as an acute treatment for severe depression and as the anaesthetic for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Subanaesthetic doses result in an acute reduction in depression severity while evidence is equivocal for this antidepressant effect with anaesthetic or adjuvant doses. Recent systematic reviews call for high-quality evidence from further randomised controlled trials (RCTs).
To establish if ketamine as the anaesthetic for ECT results in fewer ECT treatments, improvements in depression severity ratings and less memory impairment than the standard anaesthetic.
Double-blind, parallel-design, RCT of intravenous ketamine (up to 2 mg/kg) with an active comparator, intravenous propofol (up to 2.5 mg/kg), as the anaesthetic for ECT in patients receiving ECT for major depression on an informal basis. (Trial registration: European Clinical Trials Database (EudraCT): 2011-000396-14 and clinicalTrials.gov: NCT01306760.)
No significant differences were found on any outcome measure during, at the end of or 1 month following the ECT course.
Ketamine as an anaesthetic does not enhance the efficacy of ECT.
The dietary inflammatory index (DIITM) is a novel composite score based on a range of nutrients and foods known to be associated with inflammation. DII scores have been linked to the risk of a number of cancers, including oesophageal squamous cell cancer and oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC). Given that OAC stems from acid reflux and that the oesophageal epithelium undergoes a metaplasia-dysplasia transition from the resulting inflammation, it is plausible that a high DII score (indicating a pro-inflammatory diet) may exacerbate risk of OAC and its precursor conditions. The aim of this analytical study was to explore the association between energy-adjusted dietary inflammatory index (E-DIITM) in relation to risk of reflux oesophagitis, Barrett’s oesophagus and OAC. Between 2002 and 2005, reflux oesophagitis (n 219), Barrett’s oesophagus (n 220) and OAC (n 224) patients, and population-based controls (n 256), were recruited to the Factors influencing the Barrett’s Adenocarcinoma Relationship study in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. E-DII scores were derived from a 101-item FFQ. Unconditional logistic regression analysis was applied to determine odds of oesophageal lesions according to E-DII intakes, adjusting for potential confounders. High E-DII scores were associated with borderline increase in odds of reflux oesophagitis (OR 1·87; 95 % CI 0·93, 3·73), and significantly increased odds of Barrett’s oesophagus (OR 2·05; 95 % CI 1·22, 3·47), and OAC (OR 2·29; 95 % CI 1·32, 3·96), when comparing the highest with the lowest tertiles of E-DII scores. In conclusion, a pro-inflammatory diet may exacerbate the risk of the inflammation-metaplasia-adenocarcinoma pathway in oesophageal carcinogenesis.