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Depression in older people is likely to become a growing global health problem with aging populations. Significant cultural variation exists in beliefs about depression (terminology, symptomatology, and treatments) but data from sub-Saharan Africa are minimal. Low-resource interventions for depression have been effective in low-income settings but cannot be utilized without accurate diagnosis. This study aimed to achieve a shared understanding of depression in Tanzania in older people.
Using a qualitative design, focus groups were conducted with participants aged 60 and over. Participants from rural villages of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, were selected via randomized sampling using census data. Topic guides were developed including locally developed case vignettes. Transcripts were translated into English from Swahili and thematic analysis conducted.
Ten focus groups were held with 81 participants. Three main themes were developed: a) conceptualization of depression by older people and differentiation from other related conditions (“too many thoughts,” cognitive symptoms, affective and biological symptoms, wish to die, somatic symptoms, and its difference to other concepts); b) the causes of depression (inability to work, loss of physical strength and independence, lack of resources, family difficulties, chronic disease); c) management of depression (love and comfort, advice, spiritual support, providing help, medical help).
This research expands our understanding of how depression presents in older Tanzanians and provides information about lay beliefs regarding causes and management options. This may allow development of culturally specific screening tools for depression that, in turn, increase diagnosis rates, support accurate diagnosis, improve service use, and reduce stigma.
Commentary on the introduction of the Australian Curriculum (AC) has reflected a tension for educators of students with disabilities (SWD) between in-principle support for a curriculum that is inclusive of all students and the challenge of translating a general framework into relevant, individualised learning experiences appropriate for all SWD. In this paper, we report on findings from the second part of a national online survey in which we explored the perceptions and practices of 151 educators of SWD in specialist settings (special schools, disability units co-located at mainstream schools, special classes within mainstream schools) in relation to the AC. Specifically, these findings relate to the professional learning (PL) experiences and perceived needs of educators of SWD related to the AC and their advice to policymakers about the AC for SWD. Consistent with previous research, participants expressed a preference for PL experiences delivered on site, facilitated by content experts over extended periods, with opportunities for demonstration and targeted feedback, and in the context of collegial learning communities. In addition, participants raised concerns about the extent to which the AC is fully inclusive of all SWD. Implications for policy, practice, and future research are discussed.
Despite aspirations to be a world-class national curriculum, the Australian Curriculum (AC) has been criticised as ‘manifestly deficient’ (Australian Government Department of Education and Training, 2014 p. 5) as an inclusive curriculum, failing to meet the needs of all students with disabilities (SWD) and their teachers. There is a need for research into the daily attempts of educators to navigate the tension between a ‘top-down’ system-wide curriculum and a ‘bottom-up’ regard for individual student needs, with a view to informing both policy and practice. This article is the first of two research papers in which we report the findings from a national online Research in Special Education (RISE) Australian Curriculum Survey of special educators in special schools, classes, and units regarding their experience using the AC to plan for and teach SWD. Survey results indicated (a) inconsistent use of the AC as the primary basis for developing learning objectives and designing learning experiences, (b) infrequent use of the achievement standards to support assessment and reporting, and (c) considerable supplementation of the AC from other resources when educating SWD. Overall, participants expressed a lack of confidence in translating the AC framework into a meaningful curriculum for SWD. Implications for policy, practice, and future research are discussed.
Inflammation of the mammary gland following bacterial infection, commonly known as mastitis, affects all mammalian species. Although the aetiology and epidemiology of mastitis in the dairy cow are well described, the genetic factors mediating resistance to mammary gland infection are not well known, due in part to the difficulty in obtaining robust phenotypic information from sufficiently large numbers of individuals. To address this problem, an experimental mammary gland infection experiment was undertaken, using a Friesian-Jersey cross breed F2 herd. A total of 604 animals received an intramammary infusion of Streptococcus uberis in one gland, and the clinical response over 13 milkings was used for linkage mapping and genome-wide association analysis. A quantitative trait locus (QTL) was detected on bovine chromosome 11 for clinical mastitis status using micro-satellite and Affymetrix 10 K SNP markers, and then exome and genome sequence data used from the six F1 sires of the experimental animals to examine this region in more detail. A total of 485 sequence variants were typed in the QTL interval, and association mapping using these and an additional 37 986 genome-wide markers from the Illumina SNP50 bovine SNP panel revealed association with markers encompassing the interleukin-1 gene cluster locus. This study highlights a region on bovine chromosome 11, consistent with earlier studies, as conferring resistance to experimentally induced mammary gland infection, and newly prioritises the IL1 gene cluster for further analysis in genetic resistance to mastitis.
Comorbid depression in the medically ill is clinically important. Admission to a general hospital offers an opportunity to identify and initiate treatment for depression. However, we first need to know how common depression is in general hospital inpatients. We aimed to address this question by systematically reviewing the relevant literature.
We reviewed published prevalence studies in any language which had used diagnostic interviews of general hospital inpatients and met basic methodological quality criteria. We focussed on interview-based studies in order to estimate the proportion of patients with a diagnosis of depressive illness.
Of 158 relevant articles, 65 (41%) describing 60 separate studies met our inclusion criteria. The 31 studies that focussed on general medical and surgical inpatients reported prevalence estimates ranging from 5% to 34%. There was substantial, highly statistically significant, heterogeneity between studies which was not materially explained by the covariates we were able to consider. The average of the reported prevalences was 12% (95% CI 10–15), with a 95% prediction interval of 4–32%. The remaining 29 studies, of a variety of specific clinical populations, are described.
The available evidence suggests a likely prevalence high enough to make it worthwhile screening hospital inpatients for depression and initiating treatment where appropriate. Further, higher quality, research is needed to clarify the prevalence of depression in specific settings and to further explore the reasons for the observed heterogeneity in estimates.
There is little evidence to guide pharmacological treatment in adults with Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease.
To investigate the effect of cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine on survival and function in adults with Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease.
This was a naturalistic longitudinal follow-up of a clinical cohort of 310 people with Down syndrome diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease collected from specialist community services in England.
Median survival time (5.59 years, 95% CI 4.67–6.67) for those on medication (n = 145, mainly cholinesterase inhibitors) was significantly greater than for those not prescribed medication (n = 165) (3.45 years, 95% CI 2.91–4.13, log-rank test P<0.001). Sequential assessments demonstrated an early effect in maintaining cognitive function.
Cholinesterase inhibitors appear to offer benefit for people with Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease that is comparable with sporadic Alzheimer's disease; a trial to test the effect of earlier treatment (prodromal Alzheimer's disease) in Down syndrome may be indicated.
Declaration of interest
A.S. has undertaken consulting for Ono Pharmaceuticals, outside the submitted work. Z.W. has received a consultancy fee and grant from GE Healthcare, outside the submitted work.
There is limited empirical information on service-level outcome domains and indicators for the large number of people with intellectual disabilities being treated in forensic psychiatric hospitals.
This study identified and developed the domains that should be used to measure treatment outcomes for this population.
A systematic review of the literature highlighted 60 studies which met eligibility criteria; they were synthesised using content analysis. The findings were refined within a consultation and consensus exercises with carers, patients and experts.
The final framework encompassed three a priori superordinate domains: (a) effectiveness, (b) patient safety and (c) patient and carer experience. Within each of these, further sub-domains emerged from our systematic review and consultation exercises. These included severity of clinical symptoms, offending behaviours, reactive and restrictive interventions, quality of life and patient satisfaction.
To index recovery, services need to measure treatment outcomes using this framework.
Little is known about the current views and practices of healthcare professionals (HCPs) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) regarding delivery of hospital palliative care. The present qualitative study explored the views of nursing staff and medical professionals on providing palliative and end-of-life care (EoLC) to hospital inpatients in Tanzania.
Focus group discussions were conducted with a purposive sample of HCPs working on the medical and pediatric wards of the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, a tertiary referral hospital in northern Tanzania. Transcriptions were coded using a thematic approach.
In total, 32 healthcare workers were interviewed via 7 focus group discussions and 1 semistructured interview. Four major themes were identified. First, HCPs held strong views on what factors were important to enable individuals with a life-limiting diagnosis to live and die well. Arriving at a state of “acceptance” was the ultimate goal; however, they acknowledged that they often fell short of achieving this for inpatients. Thus, the second theme involved identifying the “barriers” to delivering palliative care in hospital. Another important factor identified was difficulty with complex communications, particularly “breaking bad news,” the third theme. Fourth, participants were divided about their personal preferences for “place of EoLC,” but all emphasized the benefits of the hospital setting so as to enable better symptom control.
Significance of results:
Despite the fact that all the HCPs interviewed were regularly involved in providing palliative and EoLC, they had received limited formal training in its provision, although they identified such training as a universal requirement. This training gap is likely to be present across much of SSA. Palliative care training, particularly in terms of communication skills, should be comprehensively integrated within undergraduate and postgraduate education. Research is needed to develop culturally appropriate curricula to equip HCPs to manage the complex communication challenges that occur in caring for a diverse inpatient group with palliative care needs.
Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are a significant clinical and public health concern. Understanding the distribution of CRE colonization and developing a coordinated approach are key components of control efforts. The prevalence of CRE in the District of Columbia is unknown. We sought to determine the CRE colonization prevalence within healthcare facilities (HCFs) in the District of Columbia using a collaborative, regional approach.
This study included 16 HCFs in the District of Columbia: all 8 acute-care hospitals (ACHs), 5 of 19 skilled nursing facilities, 2 (both) long-term acute-care facilities, and 1 (the sole) inpatient rehabilitation facility.
Inpatients on all units excluding psychiatry and obstetrics-gynecology.
CRE identification was performed on perianal swab samples using real-time polymerase chain reaction, culture, and antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST). Prevalence was calculated by facility and unit type as the number of patients with a positive result divided by the total number tested. Prevalence ratios were compared using the Poisson distribution.
Of 1,022 completed tests, 53 samples tested positive for CRE, yielding a prevalence of 5.2% (95% CI, 3.9%–6.8%). Of 726 tests from ACHs, 36 (5.0%; 95% CI, 3.5%–6.9%) were positive. Of 244 tests from long-term-care facilities, 17 (7.0%; 95% CI, 4.1%–11.2%) were positive. The relative prevalence ratios by facility type were 0.9 (95% CI, 0.5–1.5) and 1.5 (95% CI, 0.9–2.6), respectively. No CRE were identified from the inpatient rehabilitation facility.
A baseline CRE prevalence was established, revealing endemicity across healthcare settings in the District of Columbia. Our study establishes a framework for interfacility collaboration to reduce CRE transmission and infection.
FFQ are popular instruments for assessing dietary intakes in epidemiological studies but have not been validated for use in severely obese pregnancy. The aim of the present study was to compare nutrient intakes assessed by an FFQ with those obtained from a food diary among severely obese pregnant women.
Comparison of an FFQ containing 170 food items and a food diary for 4 d (three weekdays and one weekend day); absolute agreement was assessed using the paired t test and relative agreement by Pearson/Spearman correlation, cross-classification into tertiles and weighted kappa values.
Antenatal metabolic clinic for severely obese women.
Thirty-one severely obese (BMI at booking ≥40·0 kg/m2) and thirty-two lean control (BMI = 20·0–24·9 kg/m2) pregnant women.
The findings showed that nutrient intakes estimated by the FFQ were significantly higher than those from the food diary; average correlation was 0·32 in obese and 0·43 in lean women. A mean of 48·5 % of obese and 47·3 % of lean women were correctly classified, while 12·9 % (obese) and 10·0 % (lean) were grossly misclassified. Weighted κ values ranged from −0·04 to 0·79 in obese women and from 0·16 to 0·78 in lean women.
Overall, the relative agreement between the FFQ and food diary was lower in the obese group than in the lean group, but was comparable with earlier studies conducted in pregnant women. The validity assessments suggest that the FFQ is a useful tool for ranking severely obese pregnant women according to the levels of their dietary intake.
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy remains common in many countries. Exposure to even low amounts of alcohol (i.e. ethanol) in pregnancy can lead to the heterogeneous fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), while heavy alcohol consumption can result in the fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FAS is characterized by cerebral dysfunction, growth restriction and craniofacial malformations. However, the effects of lower doses of alcohol during pregnancy, such as those that lead to FASD, are less well understood. In this article, we discuss the findings of recent studies performed in our laboratories on the effects of fetal alcohol exposure using sheep, in which we investigated the effects of late gestational alcohol exposure on the developing brain, arteries, kidneys, heart and lungs. Our studies indicate that alcohol exposure in late gestation can (1) affect cerebral white matter development and increase the risk of hemorrhage in the fetal brain, (2) cause left ventricular hypertrophy with evidence of altered cardiomyocyte maturation, (3) lead to a decrease in nephron number in the kidney, (4) cause altered arterial wall stiffness and endothelial and smooth muscle function and (5) result in altered surfactant protein mRNA expression, surfactant phospholipid composition and pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA expression in the lung. These findings suggest that fetal alcohol exposure in late gestation can affect multiple organs, potentially increasing the risk of disease and organ dysfunction in later life.
Acute rheumatic fever and its chronic sequelae, rheumatic cardiac disease, and neuropsychiatric movement disorders, remain major public health problems in South Africa. Early identification and treatment of streptococcal pharyngitis in susceptible individuals would prevent rheumatic cardiac disease. The B-cell antigen D8/17 is a marker of susceptibility to rheumatic fever in some populations.
Methods and results
We assessed the significance of the D8/17 marker in a group of South Africans. Blood was collected from 107 individuals; 40 patients had previous confirmed rheumatic fever, 20 were first-degree relatives, and 47 were controls. The expression of D8/17 in each sample was analysed by flow cytometry. The mean proportion of B-cells that were D8/17 positive was 0.5% in the index cases, 0.47% in their relatives, and 0.27% in the controls. There was a significant difference between the index cases and the controls, p = 0.03, but the mean percentage positive in each group was very low.
Patients with a history of rheumatic fever had statistically increased expression of the D8/17 marker. However, the actual percentages in this observational study were markedly lower than in other populations, ranging from 0.14%–1.53% compared to 11.6%–39.3%. The D8/17 marker would be an impractical screening tool in the South African population.