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Introduction: When a patient is incapable of making medical decisions for themselves, choices are made according to the patient's previously expressed, wishes, values, and beliefs by a substitute decision maker (SDM). While interventions to engage patients in their own advance care planning exist, little is known about public readiness to act as a SDM on behalf of a loved one. This mixed-methods survey aimed to describe attitudes, enablers and barriers to preparedness to act as a SDM, and support for a population-level curriculum on the role of an SDM in end-of-life and resuscitative care. Methods: From November 2017 to June 2018, a mixed-methods street intercept survey was conducted in Ottawa, Canada. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis were used to assess predictors of preparedness to be a SDM and understand support for a high school curriculum. Responses to open-ended questions were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: The 430 respondents were mostly female (56.5%) with an average age of 33.9. Although 73.0% of respondents felt prepared to be a SDM, 41.0% of those who reported preparedness never had a meaningful conversation with loved ones about their wishes in critical illness. The only predictors of SDM preparedness were the belief that one would be a future SDM (OR 2.36 95% CI 1.34-4.17), and age 50-64 compared to age 16-17 (OR 7.46 95% CI 1.25-44.51). Thematic enablers of preparedness included an understanding of a patient's wishes, the role of the SDM and strong familial relationships. Barriers included cultural norms, family conflict, and a need for time for high stakes decisions. Most respondents (71.9%) believed that 16 year olds should learn about SDMs. They noted age appropriateness, potential developmental and societal benefit, and improved decision making, while cautioning the need for a nuanced approach respectful of different maturity levels, cultures and individual experiences. Conclusion: This study reveals a concerning gap between perceived preparedness and actions taken in preparation to be an SDM for loved ones suffering critical illness. The results also highlight the potential role for high school education to address this gap. Future studies should further explore the themes identified to inform development of resources and curricula for improved health literacy in resuscitation and end-of-life care.
Introduction: Individualizing risk for stroke following a transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a topic of intense research, as existing scores are context-dependent or have not been well validated. The Canadian TIA Score stratifies risk of subsequent stroke into low, moderate and high risk. Our objective was to prospectively validate the Canadian TIA Score in a new cohort of emergency department (ED) patients. Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study in 14 Canadian EDs over 4 years. We enrolled consecutive adult patients with an ED visit for TIA or nondisabling stroke. Treating physicians recorded standardized clinical variables onto data collection forms. Given the ability of prompt emergency carotid endarterectomy (CEA) to prevent stroke (NNT = 3) in high risk patients, our primary outcome was the composite of subsequent stroke or CEA ≤7 days. We conducted telephone follow-up using the validated Questionnaire for Verifying Stroke Free Status at 7 and 90 days. Outcomes were adjudicated by panels of 3 local stroke experts, blinded to the index ED data collection form. Based on prior work, we estimated a sample size of 5,004 patients including 93 subsequent strokes, would yield 95% confidence bands of +/− 10% for sensitivity and likelihood ratio (LR). Our analyses assessed interval LRs (iLR) with 95% CIs. Results: We prospectively enrolled 7,569 patients with mean 68.4 +/−14.7 years and 52.4% female, of whom 107 (1.4%) had a subsequent stroke and 74 (1.0%) CEA ≤7 days (total outcomes = 181). We enrolled 81.2% of eligible patients; missed patients were similar to enrolled. The Canadian TIA Score stratified the stroke/CEA ≤7days risk as: Low (probability <0.2%, iLR 0.20 [95%CI 0.091-0.44]; Moderate (probability 1.3%, iLR 0.79 [0.68-0.92]; High (probability 2.6%, iLR 2.2 [1.9-2.6]. Sensitivity analysis for just stroke ≤7 days yielded similar results: Low iLR 0.17 [95%CI 0.056-0.52], Medium iLR 0.89 [0.75-1.1], High iLR 2.0 [1.6-2.4]. Conclusion: The Canadian TIA Score accurately identifies TIA patients risk for stroke/CEA ≤7 days. Patients classified as low risk can be safely discharged following a careful ED assessment with elective follow-up. Patients at moderate risk can undergo additional testing in the ED, have antithrombotic therapy optimized, and be offered early stroke specialist follow-up. Patients at high risk should in most cases be fully investigated and managed ideally in consultation with a stroke specialist during their index ED visit.
BACKGROUND: Meningiomas are the most common primary benign brain tumors in adults. Given the extended life expectancy of most meningiomas, consideration of quality of life (QOL) is important when selecting the optimal management strategy. There is currently a dearth of meningioma-specific QOL tools in the literature. OBJECTIVE: In this systematic review, we analyze the prevailing themes and propose toward building a meningioma-specific QOL assessment tool. METHODS: A systematic search was conducted, and only original studies based on adult patients were considered. QOL tools used in the various studies were analyzed for identification of prevailing themes in the qualitative analysis. The quality of the studies was also assessed. RESULTS: Sixteen articles met all inclusion criteria. Fifteen different QOL assessment tools assessed social and physical functioning, psychological, and emotional well-being. Patient perceptions and support networks had a major impact on QOL scores. Surgery negatively affected social functioning in younger patients, while radiation therapy had a variable impact. Any intervention appeared to have a greater negative impact on physical functioning compared to observation. CONCLUSION: Younger patients with meningiomas appear to be more vulnerable within social and physical functioning domains. All of these findings must be interpreted with great caution due to great clinical heterogeneity, limited generalizability, and risk of bias. For meningioma patients, the ideal QOL questionnaire would present outcomes that can be easily measured, presented, and compared across studies. Existing scales can be the foundation upon which a comprehensive, standard, and simple meningioma-specific survey can be prospectively developed and validated.
Multiple human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 genotypes in China were first discovered in Yunnan Province before disseminating throughout the country. As the HIV-1 epidemic continues to expand in Yunnan, genetic characteristics and transmitted drug resistance (TDR) should be further investigated among the recently infected population. Among 2828 HIV-positive samples newly reported in the first quarter of 2014, 347 were identified as recent infections with BED-captured enzyme immunoassay (CEIA). Of them, 291 were successfully genotyped and identified as circulating recombinant form (CRF)08_BC (47.4%), unique recombinant forms (URFs) (18.2%), CRF01_AE (15.8%), CRF07_BC (14.4%), subtype C (2.7%), CRF55_01B (0.7%), subtype B (0.3%) and CRF64_BC (0.3%). CRF08_BC and CRF01_AE were the predominant genotypes among heterosexual and homosexual infections, respectively. CRF08_BC, URFs, CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC expanded with higher prevalence in central and eastern Yunnan. The recent common ancestor of CRF01_AE, CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC dated back to 1983.1, 1992.1 and 1989.5, respectively. The effective population sizes (EPS) for CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC increased exponentially during 1991–1999 and 1994–1999, respectively. The EPS for CRF08_BC underwent two exponential growth phases in 1994–1998 and 2001–2002. Lastly, TDR-associated mutations were identified in 1.8% of individuals. These findings not only enhance our understanding of HIV-1 evolution in Yunnan but also have implications for vaccine design and patient management strategies.
We analyse ruin probabilities for an insurance risk process with a more generalised dependence structure compared to the one introduced in Constantinescu et al. (2016). In this paper, we assume that a random threshold window is generated every time after a claim occurs. By comparing the previous inter-claim time with the threshold window, the distributions of the current threshold window and the inter-arrival time are determined. Furthermore, the statuses for the previous and current inter-arrival times give rise to the current claim size distribution as well. Like Constantinescu et al. (2016), we first identify the embedded Markov additive process where all the randomness takes a general form. Inspired by the Erlangisation technique, the key message of this paper is to analyse such risk process using a Markov fluid flow model where the underlying random variables follow phase-type distributions. This would further allow us to approximate the fixed observation windows by Erlang random variables. Then ruin probabilities under the process with Erlang(n) observation windows are proved to be Erlangian approximations for those related to the process with fixed threshold windows at the limit. An exact form of the limit can be obtained whose application will be illustrated further by a numerical example.
Population decline among Asian horseshoe crabs in Asia is increasingly reported, but knowledge of their population and ecological status in China is limited. We conducted community interviews in 30 fishing villages around Beibu Gulf in Guangxi, China, to collect distribution information about the potential spawning/nursery grounds of Tachypleus tridentatus and Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda, and any imminent threats to their populations. Based on the results from 400 respondents we identified 45 potential spawning/nursery grounds distributed widely along the shores of Beibu Gulf. We visited 10 of these sites and verified the presence of juvenile horseshoe crabs by field surveys. Nearly all respondents reported an overall depletion in horseshoe crab populations from these 45 sites, which they attributed mainly to unsustainable fishing practices. Respondents who reported having seen horseshoe crab mating pairs on shores were mostly older people, which may suggest a considerable reduction in horseshoe crabs coming to the shores to spawn in recent years. The mean daily harvest of adult T. tridentatus offshore, as indicated by fishers, has declined from c. 50–1,000 in the 1990s to 0–30 individuals during 2011–2016. Our Wisdom of Crowds approach, supported by confirmatory field surveys, is a cost-effective method for assessing the population status of horseshoe crabs, and the level of threat they face. Similar approaches with other species are likely to be particularly valuable in the Asia–Pacific region, where well-structured population monitoring is largely unaffordable.
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether significant difference exists on radiation dose delivered to organs at risks in megavoltage computed tomography (MVCT) verification using three predefined scanning modes, namely fine (2 mm), normal (4 mm) and coarse (6 mm). This will provide information for the imaging protocol of tomotherapy for the left breast.
Materials and methods
Organ doses were measured using thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLD-100) placed within a female Rando phantom for MVCT imaging. Kruskal–Wallis test was conducted with p<0·05 to evaluate the significant difference between the three MVCT scanning modes.
Statistically significant difference existed in organ absorbed dose between different scan mode selections (p<0·001). Relative to the normal scan selection (4 mm), the absorbed dose to the organs of interests can be scaled down by 0·7 and scaled up by 2·1 for coarse (6 mm) and fine scans (2 mm) respectively.
Optimisation of imaging protocols is of paramount importance to keep the radiation exposure ‘as low as reasonably achievable’. The recommendation of undergoing daily coarse mode for MVCT verification in breast tomotherapy not only mitigates the radiation exposure to normal tissues, but also trims the scan-acquisition time.
The neuropsychological origins of negative syndrome of schizophrenia remain elusive. Evidence from behavioural studies, which utilised emotion-inducing pictures to elicit motivated behaviour generally reported that that schizophrenia patients experienced similar affective experience as healthy individuals but failed to translate emotional salience to motivated behaviour, a phenomenon called emotion–behaviour decoupling. However, a few studies have examined emotion–behaviour decoupling in non-psychotic high-risk populations, who are relatively unaffected by medication effects.
In this study, we examined the nature and extent of emotion–behaviour decoupling in in three independent samples (65 schizophrenia patients v. 63 controls; 40 unaffected relatives v. 45 controls; and 32 individuals with social anhedonia v. 32 controls). We administered an experimental task to examine their affective experience and its coupling with behaviour, using emotion-inducing slides, and allowed participants to alter stimulus exposure using button-pressing to seek pleasure or avoid aversion.
Schizophrenia patients reported similar affective experiences as their controls, while their unaffected relatives and individuals with high levels of social anhedonia exhibited attenuated affective experiences, in particular in the arousal aspect. Compared with their respective control groups, all of the three groups showed emotion–behaviour decoupling.
Our findings support that both genetically and behaviourally high-risk groups exhibit emotion–behaviour decoupling. The familial association apparently supports its role as a putative trait marker for schizophrenia.
Evidence suggests that autism and schizophrenia share similarities in genetic, neuropsychological and behavioural aspects. Although both disorders are associated with theory of mind (ToM) impairments, a few studies have directly compared ToM between autism patients and schizophrenia patients. This study aimed to investigate to what extent high-functioning autism patients and schizophrenia patients share and differ in ToM performance.
Thirty high-functioning autism patients, 30 schizophrenia patients and 30 healthy individuals were recruited. Participants were matched in age, gender and estimated intelligence quotient. The verbal-based Faux Pas Task and the visual-based Yoni Task were utilised to examine first- and higher-order, affective and cognitive ToM. The task/item difficulty of two paradigms was examined using mixed model analyses of variance (ANOVAs). Multiple ANOVAs and mixed model ANOVAs were used to examine group differences in ToM.
The Faux Pas Task was more difficult than the Yoni Task. High-functioning autism patients showed more severely impaired verbal-based ToM in the Faux Pas Task, but shared similar visual-based ToM impairments in the Yoni Task with schizophrenia patients.
The findings that individuals with high-functioning autism shared similar but more severe impairments in verbal ToM than individuals with schizophrenia support the autism–schizophrenia continuum. The finding that verbal-based but not visual-based ToM was more impaired in high-functioning autism patients than schizophrenia patients could be attributable to the varied task/item difficulty between the two paradigms.
7″-resolution CO (1-0) observations of M82 with the Owens Valley millimeter-wave interferometer have resolved 2 components of molecular gas in the central 1.5 arcmin of the galaxy: (1) a high plane of M82, and (2) shell-like or filamentary structures of molecular gas, with size-scale as large as 400 pc, extending most likely out of the plane of the galaxy.
Physical activity is beneficial for children’s well-being. The effect of dietary supplementation on children’s physical activity in food-insecure areas remains little studied. We examined the effects of a lipid-based nutrient supplement (LNS) on children’s objectively measured physical activity in a randomised, controlled, outcome-assessor-blinded trial. Mothers of the children received one capsule daily of Fe-folic acid (IFA), one capsule containing eighteen micronutrients (MMN) or one 20 g sachet of LNS (containing twenty-two MMN, protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and 494 kJ (118 kcal)) during pregnancy and for 6 months thereafter. Children in the IFA and MMN groups received no supplementation, and these groups were collapsed into a single control group; children in the LNS group received 20 g LNS from 6 to 18 months. We measured physical activity with accelerometers over 1 week at 18 months. The main outcome was mean vector magnitude counts/15 s. Of the 728 children at the beginning of child intervention at 6 months, 570 (78 %) provided sufficient data for analysis. The mean accelerometer counts for the 190 children in the LNS group and for the 380 children in the control group were 303 (sd 59) and 301 (sd 56), respectively (Pfor difference=0·65). LNS, given to mothers during pregnancy and 6 months postpartum and to their infants from 6 to 18 months of age, did not increase physical activity among 18-month-old children.
Generally, people believe that the unpulsed high-energy gamma rays from the direction of Crab Nebula and pulsar comes from the nebula. But it is entirely possible that the unpulsed high-energy gamma rays from the direction of the Crab Nebula and pulsar are actually emitted from a region extending to a couple of light cylinder radii from the pulsar instead of from the extensive nebula. In this conference paper, we study the possibility that the unpulsed high-energy gamma rays from 100 MeV to 10 GeV are emitted from the extensive nebula. In our model, two pulsed photon beams from two different outer gaps cross each other beyond the light cylinder and result in pair production. Since the pitch angles of these pairs do not correlate with the local magnetic field, and the typical mean free path for pair production is comparable to the local radius of curvature, the subsequent synchrotron radiation and inverse-Compton scattering produce unpulsed X-rays and gamma-rays respectively.
Patients with schizophrenia have intact ability to experience emotion, but empirical evidence suggests that they fail to translate emotional salience into effortful behaviour. Previous research in patients with chronic schizophrenia suggests that working memory is important in integrating emotion and behaviour. This study aimed to examine avolition and anhedonia in patients with first-episode schizophrenia and clarify the role of working memory in emotion–behaviour coupling.
We recruited 72 participants with first-episode schizophrenia and 61 healthy controls, and used a validated emotion-inducing behavioural paradigm to measure participants' affective experiences and how experienced emotion coupled with behaviour. Participants were given the opportunity to expend effort to increase or decrease their exposure to emotion-inducing photographs. Participants with schizophrenia having poor working memory were compared with those with intact working memory in their liking and emotion–behaviour coupling.
Patients with first-episode schizophrenia experienced intact ‘in-the-moment’ emotion, but their emotion was less predictive of the effort expended, compared with controls. The emotion–behaviour coupling was significantly weaker in patients with schizophrenia with poor working memory than in those with intact working memory. However, compared with controls, patients with intact working also showed substantial emotion–behaviour decoupling.
Our findings provide strong evidence for emotion–behaviour decoupling in first-episode schizophrenia. Although working memory deficits contribute to defective translation of liking into effortful behaviour, schizophrenia alone affects emotion–behaviour coupling.
Neurological soft signs (NSS) have long been considered potential endophenotypes for schizophrenia. However, few studies have investigated the heritability and familiality of NSS. The present study examined the heritability and familiality of NSS in healthy twins and patient–relative pairs.
The abridged version of the Cambridge Neurological Inventory was administered to 267 pairs of monozygotic twins, 124 pairs of dizygotic twins, and 75 pairs of patients with schizophrenia and their non-psychotic first-degree relatives.
NSS were found to have moderate but significant heritability in the healthy twin sample. Moreover, patients with schizophrenia correlated closely with their first-degree relatives on NSS.
Taken together, the findings provide evidence on the heritability and familiality of NSS in the Han Chinese population.
Dysregulation of the striatum and altered corticostriatal connectivity have been associated with psychotic disorders. Social anhedonia has been identified as a predictor for the development of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The aim of the present study was to examine corticostriatal functional connectivity in individuals with high social anhedonia.
Twenty-one participants with high social anhedonia score and 30 with low social anhedonia score measured by the Chinese version of the Revised Social Anhedonia Scale were recruited from university undergraduates (age 17–21 years) to undergo resting-state functional MRI scans. Six subdivisions of the striatum in each hemisphere were defined as seeds. Voxel-wise functional connectivity analyses were conducted between each seed and the whole brain voxels, followed by repeated-measures ANOVA for the group effect.
Participants with high social anhedonia showed hyper-connectivity between the ventral striatum and the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula, and between the dorsal striatum and the motor cortex. Hypo-connectivity in participants with high social anhedonia was also observed between the ventral striatum and the posterior cingulate cortex. Partial correlation analyses further showed that the functional connectivity between the ventral striatum and the prefrontal cortex was associated with pleasure experience and emotional suppression.
Our findings suggest that altered corticostriatal connectivity can be found in participants with high levels of social anhedonia. Since social anhedonia has been considered a predictor for schizophrenia spectrum disorders, our results may provide novel evidence on the early changes in brain functional connectivity in at-risk individuals.
The tight correlations observed between galaxies and their SMBH provides compelling evidence that the evolution of the galaxy and its central black hole are strongly linked. This is generally attributed to feedback mechanisms which, according to simulations, often take the form of outflows of gas, quenching star formation in the host galaxy and halting accretion onto the central black hole. While there are a number of plausible ways that outflows could be produced, recent results have shown that in some cases radio jets could be responsible for driving fast outflows of gas. One such example is seen in the nearby radio galaxy 3C293. In this talk I will present results from JVLA radio observations where we detect fast outflows (~1200 km/s) of neutral gas which are being driven by the radio-jet approximately 0.5 kpc from the central core, providing direct evidence for jet-ISM interaction. This is accompanied with recent IFU observations showing that ionised gas outflows are also being driven by the radio jet. Pinpointing the location of these outflows enables us to derive crucial parameters, such as the mass outflow rates and kinetic energy involved, which we can compare to predictions from galaxy evolution simulations.
We studied the γ-ray variability of 13 blazars observed with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT). These blazars were among the brightest ones monitored during the first 4 years of the Fermi sky survey. We modelled their γ-ray light curves with the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck (OU) process or mixed OU process. The power spectral density (PSD) of the OU process is a zero-centered Lorentzian function, proportional to 1/fα with α changing at a characteristic time scale, τ0, from 0 (τ ≫ τ0) to 2 (τ ≪ τ0). The PSD of the mixed OU process has in addition an intermediate part with 0 < α < 2 between the long and short characteristic time scales. We show that the OU model provides a good description of the Fermi/LAT light curves of three blazars in our sample. For the first time we provide constraints on the characteristic γ-ray time scale of variability in two BL Lac sources, 3C 66A and PKS 2155-304. We find that the mixed OU process describes the light curves of the remaining 10 blazars better than the OU process. We infer that their Fermi/LAT PSD resemble power-law functions and constrain their PSD slopes.