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An improved understanding of diagnostic and treatment practices for patients with rare primary mitochondrial disorders can support benchmarking against guidelines and establish priorities for evaluative research. We aimed to describe physician care for patients with mitochondrial diseases in Canada, including variation in care.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey of Canadian physicians involved in the diagnosis and/or ongoing care of patients with mitochondrial diseases. We used snowball sampling to identify potentially eligible participants, who were contacted by mail up to five times and invited to complete a questionnaire by mail or internet. The questionnaire addressed: personal experience in providing care for mitochondrial disorders; diagnostic and treatment practices; challenges in accessing tests or treatments; and views regarding research priorities.
We received 58 survey responses (52% response rate). Most respondents (83%) reported spending 20% or less of their clinical practice time caring for patients with mitochondrial disorders. We identified important variation in diagnostic care, although assessments frequently reported as diagnostically helpful (e.g., brain magnetic resonance imaging, MRI/MR spectroscopy) were also recommended in published guidelines. Approximately half (49%) of participants would recommend “mitochondrial cocktails” for all or most patients, but we identified variation in responses regarding specific vitamins and cofactors. A majority of physicians recommended studies on the development of effective therapies as the top research priority.
While Canadian physicians’ views about diagnostic care and disease management are aligned with published recommendations, important variations in care reflect persistent areas of uncertainty and a need for empirical evidence to support and update standard protocols.
First-degree heart block is a minor manifestation of acute rheumatic fever. Second and third degree heart block and junctional rhythms occur less commonly. We report patients presenting with these latter three electrocardiographic abnormalities and investigate their diagnostic utility.
Patients admitted to our centre meeting the 2014 New Zealand Rheumatic Fever Guideline Diagnostic Criteria for rheumatic fever over a 5-year period from January 2010 to December 2014 were identified. Clinical, haematologic, electrocardiographic, and echocardiographic records were reviewed. Electrocardiograms (ECG) were considered abnormal if there was second- or third-degree atrioventricular block or junctional rhythms. Comparative data from patients with advanced conduction abnormalities without a diagnosis of rheumatic fever during the same time period were reviewed.
A total of 201 patients met inclusion criteria for rheumatic fever. Of these, 17 (8.5%) had transient abnormalities of atrioventricular conduction, 5 (2.5%) with second or third-degree atrioventricular block, and 12 (6%) junctional rhythms. The remaining 173 (86%) patients had evidence of rheumatic valvulitis at presentation. Only one patient without rheumatic fever was found to have advanced conduction abnormalities over the study period, from a total of 3702 ECG.
This large contemporary cohort of acute rheumatic fever shows that 8.5% of cases had either advanced atrioventricular block or junctional rhythms both highly suggestive of the diagnosis in our population.
In the interest of promoting open and reproducible science, the Journal of Experimental Political Science editorial team will pilot the pre-acceptance of preregistered reports. We note that the launch of this new submission option is a complement to, and does not replace, the option to submit other types of manuscripts. JEPS remains open to receiving and reviewing high quality manuscripts regardless of whether they are based on preregistered studies.
The Norfolk Youth Service was created in 2012 in response to calls to redesign mental health services to better meet the needs of young people. The new service model transcends traditional boundaries by creating a single, ‘youth friendly’ service for young people aged 14–25 years. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the transition to this new model on patterns of referral, acceptance and service use. We analysed routinely collected data on young people aged 14–25 years referred for secondary mental healthcare in Norfolk before and after implementation of the youth mental health service. The number of referrals, their age and gender, proportion of referrals accepted and average number of service contacts per referral by age pre- and post-implementation were compared.
Referrals increased by 68% following implementation of the new service model, but the proportion of referrals accepted fell by 27 percentage points. Before implementation of the youth service, there was a clear discrepancy between the peak age of referral and the age of those seen by services. Following implementation, service contacts were more equitable across ages, with no marked discontinuity at age 18 years.
Our findings suggest that the transformation of services may have succeeded in reducing the ‘cliff edge’ in access to mental health services at the transition to adulthood. However, the sharp rise in referrals and reduction in the proportion of referrals accepted highlights the importance of considering possible unintended consequences of new service models.
We are excited and honored to be the editorial team for JEPS. We are indebted to Eric Dickson for his efforts as the journal's previous editor. He set a high bar for JEPS as an outlet for high quality experimental research. Lucky for us, the healthy state of experimental research means that we will continue to have a deep pool of well-crafted and important work. We also thank Nick Haas, who deftly guided us through the transition as Editorial Assistant. Without his help, it would have been a near impossible task to get up to speed.
The effect of the ingestion of diets containing either myo-inositol or exogenous phytase on plasma metabolites was examined using 29 kg barrows. The diets were: control (maize, soya, rapeseed, rice bran), control plus 2 g/kg myo-inositol, control plus 1000 phytase units (FYT)/kg or 3000 FYT/kg exogenous phytase. Pigs were housed in a PigTurn device and blood was collected, from jugular catheters, via an automated system at −30, (30 min before feeding), 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 240, 300 and 360 min post-feeding. The addition of 2 g/kg myo-inositol to the basal diet resulted in an increase in plasma myo-inositol concentration that was evident 45–60 min after diet introduction and persisted to 360 min post-feeding. Similarly, supplementation of the basal diet with either 1000 or 3000 FYT/kg exogenous phytase resulted in an increase in plasma myo-inositol concentration that was still rising 360 min post-feeding. Plasma P concentration was increased over time by the addition of 1000 and 3000 FYT/kg phytase, but not by the addition of myo-inositol. Other plasma metabolites examined were not affected by dietary treatment. It can be concluded that oral delivery of myo-inositol results in rapid increase in plasma myo-inositol concentrations that peak approximately 45–60 min after feeding. Use of supplemental phytase achieves similar increases in myo-inositol concentration in plasma but the appearance is more gradual. Furthermore, supplementation of pig diets with exogenous phytase results in rapid appearance of P in plasma that may be sustained over time relative to diets with no added phytase.
We review the development of a disaster health care response system in Mississippi aimed at improving disaster response efforts. Large-scale disasters generate many injured and ill patients, which causes a significant utilization of emergency health care services and often requires external support to meet clinical needs. Disaster health care services require a solid infrastructure of coordination and collaboration to be effective. Following Hurricane Katrina, the state of Mississippi implemented best practices from around the nation to establish a disaster health care response system. The State Medical Response System of Mississippi provides an all-hazards system designed to support local response efforts at the time, scope, and scale required to successfully manage the incident. Components of this disaster health care response system can be replicated or adapted to meet the dynamic landscape of health care delivery following disasters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:600–604)
Training for the clinical research workforce does not sufficiently prepare workers for today’s scientific complexity; deficiencies may be ameliorated with training. The Enhancing Clinical Research Professionals’ Training and Qualifications developed competency standards for principal investigators and clinical research coordinators.
Clinical and Translational Science Awards representatives refined competency statements. Working groups developed assessments, identified training, and highlighted gaps.
Forty-eight competency statements in 8 domains were developed.
Training is primarily investigator focused with few programs for clinical research coordinators. Lack of training is felt in new technologies and data management. There are no standardized assessments of competence.
The translation of discoveries to drugs, devices, and behavioral interventions requires well-prepared study teams. Execution of clinical trials remains suboptimal due to varied quality in design, execution, analysis, and reporting. A critical impediment is inconsistent, or even absent, competency-based training for clinical trial personnel.
In 2014, the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) funded the project, Enhancing Clinical Research Professionals’ Training and Qualifications (ECRPTQ), aimed at addressing this deficit. The goal was to ensure all personnel are competent to execute clinical trials. A phased structure was utilized.
This paper focuses on training recommendations in Good Clinical Practice (GCP). Leveraging input from all Clinical and Translational Science Award hubs, the following was recommended to NCATS: all investigators and study coordinators executing a clinical trial should understand GCP principles and undergo training every 3 years, with the training method meeting the minimum criteria identified by the International Conference on Harmonisation GCP.
We anticipate that industry sponsors will acknowledge such training, eliminating redundant training requests. We proposed metrics to be tracked that required further study. A separate task force was composed to define recommendations for metrics to be reported to NCATS.
Objectives: The Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) makes recommendations to the Australian Government for funding health technologies under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). Differences in public, clinical, commercial, and political opinions on health expenditure emphasize the importance of defensible funding decisions. We aimed to evaluate the quality of health technology assessment (HTA) reports over time and among health technologies assessed for MSAC.
Main Outcome Measures: A cohort study was performed of HTA reports prepared for MSAC between 1998 and 2013. We measured the quality of HTA reports using reporting guidelines proposed by the European Collaboration for Assessment of Health Interventions. Individual component scores across eleven domains were calculated, and summed for an overall aggregate score. We used linear regression to investigate any change in quality over time and among the types of technologies assessed.
Results: We included 110 HTA reports. The safety (80 percent), effectiveness (84 percent), economic (74 percent), and organizational (99 percent) domains were better reported than the psychological, social, and ethical considerations (34 percent). The basic (75 percent), methodological (62 percent), background (82 percent), contextual (46 percent), status quo (54 percent), and technical information (66 percent) that framed each assessment were inconsistently reported. On average, overall quality scores increased by 2 percent (p < 0.001) per year, from approximately 60 percent to 80 percent over the 15-year period, with no significant difference among surgical, diagnostic or other nonpharmaceutical health technologies (p = 0.22).
Conclusions: HTA reports prepared for MSAC are a key tool in allocating scarce health resources. The overall quality of these reports has improved, but the reporting of specific domains and subthemes therein could be better addressed.
Objectives: Parkinson’s disease (PD) results in a range of non-motor deficits that can affect mood, cognition, and language, and many of these issues are unresponsive to pharmacological intervention. Aerobic exercise can improve mood and cognition in healthy older adults, although only a few studies have examined exercise effects on these domains in PD. The current study assesses the effects of aerobic exercise on aspects of cognition, mood, and language production in people with PD. Methods: This study compares the effects of aerobic exercise to stretch-balance training and a no-contact control group in participants with idiopathic PD. The aerobic and stretch-balance groups trained three times a week for 16 weeks, while controls continued normal activities. Outcome measures included disease severity, mood, cognition (speed of processing, memory, and executive function), and language production (picture descriptions). Cognition and language were assessed in single and dual task conditions. Results: Depressive symptoms increased only in the control group (p<.02). Executive function improved in the aerobic exercise group only in the single task (p=.007) and declined in controls in the dual task. Completeness of picture descriptions improved significantly more in the aerobic group than in the stretch-balance group (p<.02). Conclusions: Aerobic exercise is a viable intervention for PD that can be protective against increased depressive symptoms, and can improve several non-motor domains, including executive dysfunction and related aspects of language production. (JINS, 2016, 22, 878–889)
Medullosa stands apart from most Paleozoic seed plants in its combination of large leaf area, complex vascular structure, and extremely large water-conducting cells. To investigate the hydraulic consequences of these anatomical features and to compare them with other seed plants, we have adapted a model of water transport in xylem cells that accounts for resistance to flow from the lumen, pits, and pit membranes, and that can be used to compare extinct and extant plants in a quantitative way. Application of this model to Medullosa, the Paleozoic coniferophyte Cordaites, and the extant conifer Pinus shows that medullosan tracheids had the capacity to transport water at volume flow rates more comparable to those of angiosperm vessels than to those characteristic of ancient and modern coniferophyte tracheids. Tracheid structure in Medullosa, including the large pit membrane area per tracheid and the high ratio of tracheid diameter to wall thickness, suggests that its xylem cells operated at significant risk of embolism and implosion, making this plant unlikely to survive significant water stress These features further suggest that tracheids could not have furnished significant structural support, requiring either that other tissues supported these plants or that at least some medullosans were vines. In combination with high tracheid conductivity, distinctive anatomical characters of Medullosa such as the anomalous growth of vascular cambium and the large number of leaf traces that enter each petiole base suggest vascular adaptations to meet the evapotranspiration demands of its large leaves. The evolution of highly efficient conducting cells dictates a need to supply structural support via other tissues, both in tracheid-based stem seed plants and in vessel-bearing angiosperms.
We present a morphometric analysis of water transport cells within a physiologically explicit three-dimensional space. Previous work has shown that cell length, diameter, and pit resistance govern the hydraulic resistance of individual conducting cells; thus, we use these three parameters as axes for our morphospace. We compare living and extinct plants within this space to investigate how patterns of plant conductivity have changed over evolutionary time. Extinct coniferophytes fall within the range of living conifers, despite differences in tracheid-level anatomy. Living cycads, Ginkgo biloba, the Miocene fossil Ginkgo beckii, and extinct cycadeoids overlap with both conifers and vesselless angiosperms. Three Paleozoic seed plants, however, occur in a portion of the morphospace that no living seed plant occupies. Lyginopteris, Callistophyton, and, especially, Medullosa evolved tracheids with high conductivities similar to those of some vessel-bearing angiosperms. Such fossils indicate that extinct seed plants evolved a structural and functional diversity of xylem architectures broader, in some ways, than the range observable in living seed plants.
Vegetation affects feedbacks in Earth's hydrologic system, but is constrained by physiological adaptations. In extant ecosystems, the mechanisms controlling plant water used can be measured experimentally; for extinct plants in the recent geological past, water use can be inferred from nearest living relatives, assuming minimal evolutionary change. In deep time, where no close living relatives exist, fossil material provides the only information for inferring plant water use. However, mechanistic models for extinct plant water use must be built on first principles and tested on extant plants. Plants serve as a conduit for water movement from the soil to the atmosphere, constrained by tissue-level construction and gross architecture. No single feature, such as stomata or veins, encompasses enough of the complexity underpinning water-use physiology to serve as the basis of a model of functional water use in all (or perhaps any) extinct plants. Rather, a “functional whole plant” model must be used. To understand the interplay between plant and atmosphere, water use in relation to environmental conditions is investigated in an extinct plant, the seed fern Medullosa ((Division Pteridospermatophyta), by reviewing methods for reconstructing physiological variables such as leaf and stem hydraulic capacity, photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, and albedo. Medullosans had the potential for extremely high photosynthetic and assimilation rates, water transport, stomatal conductance, and transpiration—rates comparable to later angiosperms. When these high growth and gas exchange rates of medullosans are combined with the unique atmospheric gas composition of the late Paleozoic atmosphere, complex vegetation-environmental feedbacks are expected despite their basal phylogenetic position relative to post-Paleozoic seed plants.