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Using existing data from clinical registries to support clinical trials and other prospective studies has the potential to improve research efficiency. However, little has been reported about staff experiences and lessons learned from implementation of this method in pediatric cardiology.
We describe the process of using existing registry data in the Pediatric Heart Network Residual Lesion Score Study, report stakeholders’ perspectives, and provide recommendations to guide future studies using this methodology.
The Residual Lesion Score Study, a 17-site prospective, observational study, piloted the use of existing local surgical registry data (collected for submission to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons-Congenital Heart Surgery Database) to supplement manual data collection. A survey regarding processes and perceptions was administered to study site and data coordinating center staff.
Survey response rate was 98% (54/55). Overall, 57% perceived that using registry data saved research staff time in the current study, and 74% perceived that it would save time in future studies; 55% noted significant upfront time in developing a methodology for extracting registry data. Survey recommendations included simplifying data extraction processes and tailoring to the needs of the study, understanding registry characteristics to maximise data quality and security, and involving all stakeholders in design and implementation processes.
Use of existing registry data was perceived to save time and promote efficiency. Consideration must be given to the upfront investment of time and resources needed. Ongoing efforts focussed on automating and centralising data management may aid in further optimising this methodology for future studies.
The Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) has made major advances in the molecular etiology of MDD, confirming that MDD is highly polygenic. Pathway enrichment results from PGC meta-analyses can also be used to help inform molecular drug targets. Prior to any knowledge of molecular biomarkers for MDD, drugs targeting molecular pathways (MPs) proved successful in treating MDD. It is possible that examining polygenicity within specific MPs implicated in MDD can further refine molecular drug targets.
Using a large case–control GWAS based on low-coverage whole genome sequencing (N = 10 640) in Han Chinese women, we derived polygenic risk scores (PRS) for MDD and for MDD specific to each of over 300 MPs previously shown to be relevant to psychiatric diagnoses. We then identified sets of PRSs, accounting for critical covariates, significantly predictive of case status.
Over and above global MDD polygenic risk, polygenic risk within the GO: 0017144 drug metabolism pathway significantly predicted recurrent depression after multiple testing correction. Secondary transcriptomic analysis suggests that among genes in this pathway, CYP2C19 (family of Cytochrome P450) and CBR1 (Carbonyl Reductase 1) might be most relevant to MDD. Within the cases, pathway-based risk was additionally associated with age at onset of MDD.
Results indicate that pathway-based risk might inform etiology of recurrent major depression. Future research should examine whether polygenicity of the drug metabolism gene pathway has any association with clinical presentation or treatment response. We discuss limitations to the generalizability of these preliminary findings, and urge replication in future research.
Optimising short- and long-term outcomes for children and patients with CHD depends on continued scientific discovery and translation to clinical improvements in a coordinated effort by multiple stakeholders. Several challenges remain for clinicians, researchers, administrators, patients, and families seeking continuous scientific and clinical advancements in the field. We describe a new integrated research and improvement network – Cardiac Networks United – that seeks to build upon the experience and success achieved to-date to create a new infrastructure for research and quality improvement that will serve the needs of the paediatric and congenital heart community in the future. Existing gaps in data integration and barriers to improvement are described, along with the mission and vision, organisational structure, and early objectives of Cardiac Networks United. Finally, representatives of key stakeholder groups – heart centre executives, research leaders, learning health system experts, and parent advocates – offer their perspectives on the need for this new collaborative effort.
A recent paper, “Parkinson's disease mild cognitive impairment classifications and neurobehavioral symptoms” (McDermott et al., 2017), provides an interesting comparison of the influence of different criteria for Parkinson's disease with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI) on progression to dementia (PDD). Unfortunately, McDermott et al. (2017) incorrectly stated that “only 21% of PD-MCI participants (identified with a 1.5 SD cut-off) converted to PDD within four years” (p.6) in our study (Wood et al., 2016). However, the important point made by Wood et al. (2016) was that the proportion of conversions to PDD was 51% when the PD-MCI diagnosis required a minimum of two 1.5 SD impairments within any single cognitive domain, whereas additional PD-MCI patients classified with one impairment at 1.5 SD in each of the two domains (but never two impairments in the same domain) had a non-significant risk of dementia relative to non-MCI patients (11% vs. 6% converted, respectively). Our PDD conversion rate was 38% when combining both 1.5 SD criteria (21/56 PD-MCI patients vs. 4/65 non-MCI patients converted); McDermott et al. (2017) found a 42% conversion rate over three years for similarly described PD-MCI patients (10/24 PD-MCI patients vs. 0/27 non-MCI patients converted). Our study was also part of a multinational study (n = 467) showing that PD-MCI has predictive validity beyond known demographic and PD-specific factors of influence (Hoogland et al., 2017). All three studies found that multiple cognitive domain impairments are common in PD-MCI. Nonetheless, the research community needs to clarify the association between PD-MCI subtypes and, especially, the optimal cognitive markers for dementia risk in PD patients.
The genetic and environmental contributions of negative valence systems (NVS) to internalizing pathways study (also referred to as the Adolescent and Young Adult Twin Study) was designed to examine varying constructs of the NVS as they relate to the development of internalizing disorders from a genetically informed perspective. The goal of this study was to evaluate genetic and environmental contributions to potential psychiatric endophenotypes that contribute to internalizing psychopathology by studying adolescent and young adult twins longitudinally over a 2-year period. This report details the sample characteristics, study design, and methodology of this study. The first wave of data collection (i.e., time 1) is complete; the 2-year follow-up (i.e., time 2) is currently underway. A total of 430 twin pairs (N = 860 individual twins; 166 monozygotic pairs; 57.2% female) and 422 parents or legal guardians participated at time 1. Twin participants completed self-report surveys and participated in experimental paradigms to assess processes within the NVS. Additionally, parents completed surveys to report on themselves and their twin children. Findings from this study will help clarify the genetic and environmental influences of the NVS and their association with internalizing risk. The goal of this line of research is to develop methods for early internalizing disorder risk detection.
I came to graduate school intent on becoming a mathematical psychologist and was going to work with Gordon Bower, one of the authors of a prominent textbook on mathematical psychology. On my first visit to his office he informed me that mathematical psychology was dead (a greatly exaggerated demise) and that I should go into artificial intelligence. The AI courses I took at Stanford presented an inspiring image of AI as pursuing the goal of a unified characterization of intelligence. While much of AI has abandoned this goal of unification, I imprinted on a similar but different goal of trying to achieve a more unified understanding of human cognition. My major accomplishment is what I have been able to contribute to this goal, currently realized in a cognitive architecture called ACT-R.
The first major step in this effort was the development with Gordon Bower of the HAM (Human Associative Memory) theory of human memory. We showed that many of the then fashionable effects in the study of human memory could be simulated by a computer system that just followed the links in memory. It did not take us long after completing the HAM theory, however, to recognize its major shortcoming. Just as Guthrie had criticized Tolman for leaving his rat buried in thought, we left the human buried in its memories with no course of action.
Allen Newell had been working on production systems to provide a principled theory of how human knowledge resulted in action. A production system is composed of many statements similar to: IF one's memory is in state x, THEN do y. Such a system essentially organizes set of cognitive reflexes into coherent cognitive behavior. The first published version of an ACT (Adaptive Control of Thought) theory was essentially a production system that responded to the declarative memories of HAM. Newell's work drew me to Carnegie Mellon, where I have spent over half my adult life. From Newell I learned about his conception of a cognitive architecture and realized that this was what I had been striving for with ACT. Borrowing heavily from the ideas in my environment, I developed a version of the ACT* theory, which I thought was “the final major reformulation within the ACT framework.” This was an incorrect projection to match Gordon Bower's from fifteen years earlier.
Cognitive impairment (CI) that arises in some older adults limits independence and decreases quality of life. Cognitive stimulation programs delivered by professional therapists have been shown to help maintain cognitive abilities, but the costs of such programming are prohibitive. The present study explored the feasibility and efficacy of using long-term care homes' volunteers to administer a cognitive stimulation program to residents.
Thirty-six resident participants and 16 volunteers were alternately assigned to one of two parallel groups: a control group (CG) or stimulation group (SG). For eight weeks, three times each week, CG participants met for standard “friendly visits” (casual conversation between a resident and volunteer) and SG participants met to work through a variety of exercises to stimulate residents’ reasoning, attention, and memory abilities. Resident participants were pre- and post-tested using the Weschler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence–Second Edition, Test of Memory, and Learning-Senior Edition, a modified Letter Sorting test (LS), Clock Drawing Test (CDT), and the Action Word Verbal Fluency Test.
Two-way analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) controlling for dementia diagnosis indicated statistically greater improvements in the stimulation participants than in the control participants in Immediate Verbal Memory, p = 0.011; Non-Verbal Memory, p = 0.012; Learning, p = 0.016; and Verbal Fluency, p = 0.024.
The feasibility and efficiency of a volunteer-administered cognitive stimulation program was demonstrated. Longitudinal studies with larger sample sizes are recommended in order to continue investigating the breadth and depth volunteer roles in the maintenance of the cognitive abilities of older adults.
In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean–atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010–2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5.
Since the publication of “A Compendium of Strategies to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections in Acute Care Hospitals” in 2008, prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) has become a national priority. Despite improvements, preventable HAIs continue to occur. The 2014 updates to the Compendium were created to provide acute care hospitals with up-to-date, practical, expert guidance to assist in prioritizing and implementing their HAI prevention efforts. They are the product of a highly collaborative effort led by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), and The Joint Commission, with major contributions from representatives of a number of organizations and societies with content expertise, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS), the Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), the Society for Hospital Medicine (SHM), and the Surgical Infection Society (SIS).
Since the publication of “A Compendium of Strategies to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections in Acute Care Hospitals” in 2008, prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) has become a national priority. Despite improvements, preventable HAIs continue to occur. The 2014 updates to the Compendium were created to provide acute care hospitals with up-to-date, practical, expert guidance to assist in prioritizing and implementing their HAI prevention efforts. They are the product of a highly collaborative effort led by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), and The Joint Commission, with major contributions from representatives of a number of organizations and societies with content expertise, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS), the Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), the Society for Hospital Medicine (SHM), and the Surgical Infection Society (SIS).
Recent studies have implicated Ca supplements in vascular risk elevation, and therefore these supplements may also be associated with the occurrence of brain lesions (or hyperintensities) in older adults. These lesions represent damage to brain tissue that is caused by ischaemia. In the present cross-sectional clinical observational study, the association between Ca-containing dietary supplement use and lesion volumes was investigated in a sample of 227 older adults (60 years and above). Food and supplemental Ca intakes were assessed with the Block 1998 FFQ; participants with supplemental Ca intake above zero were categorised as supplement users. Lesion volumes were determined from cranial MRI (1·5 tesla) scans using a semi-automated technique; volumes were log-transformed because they were non-normal. ANCOVA models revealed that supplement users had greater lesion volumes than non-users, even after controlling for food Ca intake, age, sex, race, years of education, energy intake, depression and hypertension (Ca supplement use: β = 0·34, se 0·10, F1,217= 10·98, P= 0·0011). The influence of supplemental Ca use on lesion volume was of a magnitude similar to that of the influence of hypertension, a well-established risk factor for lesions. Among the supplement users, the amount of supplemental Ca was not associated with lesion volume (β = − 0·000035, se 0·00 015, F1,139= 0·06, P= 0·81). The present study demonstrates that the use of Ca-containing dietary supplements, even low-dose supplements, by older adults may be associated with greater lesion volumes. Evaluation of randomised controlled trials is warranted to determine whether this relationship is a causal one.