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TwinsUK is the largest cohort of community-dwelling adult twins in the UK. The registry comprises over 14,000 volunteer twins (14,838 including mixed, single and triplets); it is predominantly female (82%) and middle-aged (mean age 59). In addition, over 1800 parents and siblings of twins are registered volunteers. During the last 27 years, TwinsUK has collected numerous questionnaire responses, physical/cognitive measures and biological measures on over 8500 subjects. Data were collected alongside four comprehensive phenotyping clinical visits to the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London. Such collection methods have resulted in very detailed longitudinal clinical, biochemical, behavioral, dietary and socioeconomic cohort characterization; it provides a multidisciplinary platform for the study of complex disease during the adult life course, including the process of healthy aging. The major strength of TwinsUK is the availability of several ‘omic’ technologies for a range of sample types from participants, which includes genomewide scans of single-nucleotide variants, next-generation sequencing, metabolomic profiles, microbiomics, exome sequencing, epigenetic markers, gene expression arrays, RNA sequencing and telomere length measures. TwinsUK facilitates and actively encourages sharing the ‘TwinsUK’ resource with the scientific community — interested researchers may request data via the TwinsUK website (http://twinsuk.ac.uk/resources-for-researchers/access-our-data/) for their own use or future collaboration with the study team. In addition, further cohort data collection is planned via the Wellcome Open Research gateway (https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/gateways). The current article presents an up-to-date report on the application of technological advances, new study procedures in the cohort and future direction of TwinsUK.
Foodborne salmonellosis causes approximately 1 million illnesses annually in the United States. In the summer of 2017, we investigated four multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections associated with Maradol papayas imported from four Mexican farms. PulseNet initially identified a cluster of Salmonella Kiambu infections in June 2017, and early interviews identified papayas as an exposure of interest. Investigators from Maryland, Virginia and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) collected papayas for testing. Several strains of Salmonella were isolated from papayas sourced from Mexican Farm A, including Salmonella Agona, Gaminara, Kiambu, Thompson and Senftenberg. Traceback from two points of service associated with illness sub-clusters in two states identified Farm A as a common source of papayas, and three voluntary recalls of Farm A papayas were issued. FDA sampling isolated four additional Salmonella strains from papayas sourced from Mexican Farms B, C and D. In total, four outbreaks were identified, resulting in 244 cases with illness onset dates from 20 December 2016 to 20 September 2017. The sampling of papayas and the collaborative work of investigative partners were instrumental in identifying the source of these outbreaks and preventing additional illnesses. Evaluating epidemiological, laboratory and traceback evidence together during investigations is critical to solving and stopping outbreaks.
Recent years have seen an exponential increase in the variety of healthcare data captured across numerous sources. However, mechanisms to leverage these data sources to support scientific investigation have remained limited. In 2013 the Pediatric Heart Network (PHN), funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, developed the Integrated CARdiac Data and Outcomes (iCARD) Collaborative with the goals of leveraging available data sources to aid in efficiently planning and conducting PHN studies; supporting integration of PHN data with other sources to foster novel research otherwise not possible; and mentoring young investigators in these areas. This review describes lessons learned through the development of iCARD, initial efforts and scientific output, challenges, and future directions. This information can aid in the use and optimisation of data integration methodologies across other research networks and organisations.
To sustainably improve cleaning of high-touch surfaces (HTSs) in acute-care hospitals using a multimodal approach to education, reduction of barriers to cleaning, and culture change for environmental services workers.
The study was conducted in 2 academic acute-care hospitals, 2 community hospitals, and an academic pediatric and women’s hospital.
Frontline environmental services workers.
A 5-module educational program, using principles of adult learning theory, was developed and presented to environmental services workers. Audience response system (ARS), videos, demonstrations, role playing, and graphics were used to illustrate concepts of and the rationale for infection prevention strategies. Topics included hand hygiene, isolation precautions, personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning protocols, and strategies to overcome barriers. Program evaluation included ARS questions, written evaluations, and objective assessments of occupied patient room cleaning. Changes in hospital-onset C. difficile infection (CDI) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) bacteremia were evaluated.
On average, 357 environmental service workers participated in each module. Most (93%) rated the presentations as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ and agreed that they were useful (95%), reported that they were more comfortable donning/doffing PPE (91%) and performing hand hygiene (96%) and better understood the importance of disinfecting HTSs (96%) after the program. The frequency of cleaning individual HTSs in occupied rooms increased from 26% to 62% (P < .001) following the intervention. Improvement was sustained 1-year post intervention (P < .001). A significant decrease in CDI was associated with the program.
A novel program that addressed environmental services workers’ knowledge gaps, challenges, and barriers was well received and appeared to result in learning, behavior change, and sustained improvements in cleaning.
There are a variety of causes of acute heart failure in children including myocarditis, genetic/metabolic conditions, and congenital heart defects. In cases with a structurally normal heart and a negative personal and family history, myocarditis is often presumed to be the cause, but we hypothesise that genetic disorders contribute to a significant portion of these cases. We reviewed our cases of children who presented with acute heart failure and underwent genetic testing from 2008 to 2017. Eighty-seven percent of these individuals were found to have either a genetic syndrome or pathogenic or likely pathogenic variant in a cardiac-related gene. None of these individuals had a personal or family history of cardiomyopathy that was suggestive of a genetic aetiology prior to presentation. All of these individuals either passed away or were listed for cardiac transplantation indicating genetic testing may provide important information regarding prognosis in addition to providing information critical to assessment of family members.
Current techniques for measuring the dry matter intake (DMI) of grazing lactating beef cows are invasive, time consuming and expensive making them impractical for use on commercial farms. This study was undertaken to explore the potential to develop and validate a model to predict DMI of grazing lactating beef cows, which could be applied in a commercial farm setting, using non-invasive animal measurements. The calibration dataset used to develop the model was comprised of 94 measurements recorded on 106 beef or beef–dairy crossbred cows (maternal origin). The potential of body measurements, linear type scoring, grazing behaviour and thermal imaging to predict DMI in combination with known biologically plausible adjustment variables and energy sinks was investigated. Multivariable regression models were constructed for each independent variable using SAS PROC REG and contained milk yield, BW, parity, calving day and maternal origin (dairy or beef). Of the 94 variables tested, 32 showed an association with DMI (P < 0.25) upon multivariable analysis. These variables were incorporated into a backwards linear regression model using SAS PROC REG. Variables were retained in this model if P < 0.05. Five variables; width at pins, full body depth, ruminating mastications, central ligament and rump width score, were retained in the model in addition to milk yield, BW, parity, calving day and maternal origin. The inclusion of these variables in the model increased the predictability of DMI by 0.23 (R2 = 0.68) when compared to a model containing milk yield, BW, parity, calving day and maternal origin only. This model was applied to data recorded on an independent dataset; a herd of 60 lactating beef cows two years after the calibration study. The R2 for the validation was 0.59. Estimates of DMI are required for measuring feed efficiency. While acknowledging challenges in applicability, the findings suggest a model such as that developed in this study may be used as a tool to more easily and less invasively estimate DMI on large populations of commercial beef cows, and therefore measure feed efficiency.
Introduction: The harm that may come to healthcare providers impacted by adverse events has led them to be called “second victims.” Our objective was to characterize the range and context of interventions used to support second victims in acute care settings. Methods: We performed a scoping study using the process described by Arksey and O'Malley. Comprehensive searches of scientific databases and grey literature were conducted in September 2017 and updated in November 2018. A library scientist searched PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE and CENTRAL. We sought unpublished literature (Canadian Electronic Library, Proquest and Scopus) and searched reference lists of included studies. Stakeholder organizations and authors of included studies were contacted through email, requesting information on relevant programs. Two reviewers independently reviewed titles and abstracts using predetermined criteria. Using a structured data abstraction form, two reviewers independently extracted data and appraised methodological quality with the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT). All discrepancies were resolved through consensus. A qualitative approach was used to categorize the context and characteristics of the identified strategies and interventions. Results: Our search strategy yielded 3883 results. After screening titles and abstracts, 173 studies underwent full text screening. Extracted data reflected 21 interventions categorized as providing peer-support (n = 7), proactive education (n = 7) or both (n = 7). Programs came from Canada (n = 2), Spain (n = 2), and United States (n = 17). Specific traumatic events were described as the trigger for development of five programs. While some programs were confined to a standard definition of second victim as a healthcare provider traumatized by an “unanticipated adverse patient event” (n = 6), other programs had a broader scope (n = 12) including situations such as non-accidental trauma, stressful anticipated patient events and complaints/litigation (3 programs were unclear about the definition). Confidentiality was assured in nine peer support programs. Outcome measures were often not reported and were limited in terms of quality. Conclusion: This is a new area of study with little scientific rigour from which to determine whether these programs are effective. Concerns about protecting healthcare providers from potential legal proceedings hinder documentation and study of program effectiveness.
Introduction: Adolescents who present to emergency departments (ED) following intentional injuries present a challenge in terms of ascertaining their intent and risk for future self-injurious or suicidal behaviour. Our ED has seen an 80% increase in visits for mental health issues over the past ten years. As usage of our Emergency Mental Health and Addictions Services (EMHAS) team continues to rise, it is increasingly important to understand the incidence of NSSI among our youth, explore if NSSI is reported at triage and identify characteristics that may distinguish these adolescents from others presenting for mental health assessment. Methods: This is an exploratory research study using retrospective data. Patients who had an Emergency Mental Health Triage (EMHT) form on their health record from an ED visit between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018 were eligible. Trained research assistants, using a structured data collection form in REDCap. abstracted data from the EMHT form, the EMHAS Assessment form, the Assessment of Suicide Risk Inventory and our CHIRPP (Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program) database. We calculated kappa values and 95% confidence intervals to describe the extent to which the forms agree with respect to identifying NSSI. We will compare the cohort who reports NSSI with the cohort who does not report NSSI using chi-square statistics depending. We will use descriptive statistics to characterize the NSSI patients. Results: During the one-year study period 955 patients had an EMHT form completed. In preliminary analysis 558 (58.4%) reported a history of NSSI. Patients reported NSSI on both the EMHT form and the EMHAS assessment form 64.7% of the time (kappa 0.56) indicating moderate agreement. In patients with NSSI, 9.5% of patients reported it only at triage and 25.8% of patients reported it only during their EMHAS assessment. Between group comparisons and descriptive analysis is underway. Conclusion: More than half of youth triaged with an emergency mental health complaint in our ED reported a history of NSSI. Screening at triage was moderately effective in identifying adolescents with NSSI compared to an in-depth assessment by the mental health team. Further research is needed to clarify how NSSI relates to risk for suicide.
Demonstrable diffraction (powder or single-cry still) with the use of zero-power isotopic sources would provide important data on such systems and may have implications in analysis (in this work, we fabricated 100-mCi 55Fe, acceleratorproduced, and 4-mCi 117Pm-Cu beta-excited sources). Powder-diffraction efficiency with the use of a special diffrac to meter adapted to these sources is about 10−5 (calculated) for the Mn Kα X-rays (55Fe) on the NaCl 200 plane. This beam flux at three times natural background intensity was experimentally achieved by using photon spectrometry with proportional counters and multichannel analysis. The Lip diffraction pattern was demonstrated with intensities roughly in agreement with prediction. Lithium fluoride single-crystal diffraction intensity (200 plane) exceeded by 250-fold that of powder. Powder main-peak intensity (θ = 31.5°) produced 9.2 photons per minute at the receiving slit versus 2.3 × 103 events for the single crystal. This single-crystal intensity with 60-sec runs provided a peak resolution of 0.29° full width at half maximum. The first-order Kα, Kβ1 first order, and Kβ1 second-order beams (θ = 31.5°, 28.3°, and 71.6°, respectively) were demonstrated, with 1900 events per minute in the main peak (Kα). X-ray noscreen emulsion was used to study photographic recording on the LiF single crystal with exposures as short as 2.5 hr. A 2-in.-diameter camera, newly designed for the 55Fe source, is collecting further emulsion data.
The isotopic source is stable, highly predictable in intensity, reliable, and compact. Requiring zero power, it thus has a potential for remote applications. Where its low output can be tolerated, it may hold promise for analysis, especially where its size, weight, and stability tire important criteria. Source work here points to possible 55Fe improvement in photon output of 102 over the source described here. Such an increase may make certain special analytical applications feasible.
Following chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear disasters, medically unexplained symptoms have been observed among unexposed persons.
This study examined belief in exposure in relation to postdisaster symptoms in a volunteer sample of 137 congressional workers after the 2001 anthrax attacks on Capitol Hill.
Postdisaster symptoms, belief in exposure, and actual exposure status were obtained through structured diagnostic interviews and self-reported presence in offices officially designated as exposed through environmental sampling. Multivariate models were tested for associations of number of postdisaster symptoms with exposure and belief in exposure, controlling for sex and use of antibiotics.
The sample was divided into 3 main subgroups: exposed, 41%; unexposed but believed they were exposed, 17%; and unexposed and did not believe that they were exposed, 42%. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the volunteers reported experiencing symptoms after the anthrax attacks. Belief in anthrax exposure was significantly associated with the number of ear/nose/throat, musculoskeletal, and all physical symptoms. No significant associations were found between anthrax exposure and the number of postdisaster symptoms.
Given the high incidence of these symptoms, these data suggest that even in the absence of physical injury or illness, there may be surges in health care utilization. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:555-560)
The triazines are one of the most widely used herbicide classes ever developed and are critical for managing weed populations that have developed herbicide resistance. These herbicides are traditionally valued for their residual weed control in more than 50 crops. Scientific literature suggests that atrazine, and perhaps other s-triazines, may no longer remain persistent in soils due to enhanced microbial degradation. Experiments examined the rate of degradation of atrazine and two other triazine herbicides, simazine and metribuzin, in both atrazine-adapted and non-history Corn Belt soils, with similar soils being used from each state as a comparison of potential triazine degradation. In three soils with no history of atrazine use, the t1/2 of atrazine was at least four times greater than in three soils with a history of atrazine use. Simazine degradation in the same three sets of soils was 2.4 to 15 times more rapid in history soils than non-history soils. Metribuzin in history soils degraded at 0.6, 0.9, and 1.9 times the rate seen in the same three non-history soils. These results indicate enhanced degradation of the symmetrical triazine simazine, but not of the asymmetrical triazine metribuzin.
Herbicide resistance is ‘wicked’ in nature; therefore, results of the many educational efforts to encourage diversification of weed control practices in the United States have been mixed. It is clear that we do not sufficiently understand the totality of the grassroots obstacles, concerns, challenges, and specific solutions needed for varied crop production systems. Weed management issues and solutions vary with such variables as management styles, regions, cropping systems, and available or affordable technologies. Therefore, to help the weed science community better understand the needs and ideas of those directly dealing with herbicide resistance, seven half-day regional listening sessions were held across the United States between December 2016 and April 2017 with groups of diverse stakeholders on the issues and potential solutions for herbicide resistance management. The major goals of the sessions were to gain an understanding of stakeholders and their goals and concerns related to herbicide resistance management, to become familiar with regional differences, and to identify decision maker needs to address herbicide resistance. The messages shared by listening-session participants could be summarized by six themes: we need new herbicides; there is no need for more regulation; there is a need for more education, especially for others who were not present; diversity is hard; the agricultural economy makes it difficult to make changes; and we are aware of herbicide resistance but are managing it. The authors concluded that more work is needed to bring a community-wide, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the complexity of managing weeds within the context of the whole farm operation and for communicating the need to address herbicide resistance.
Seven half-day regional listening sessions were held between December 2016 and April 2017 with groups of diverse stakeholders on the issues and potential solutions for herbicide-resistance management. The objective of the listening sessions was to connect with stakeholders and hear their challenges and recommendations for addressing herbicide resistance. The coordinating team hired Strategic Conservation Solutions, LLC, to facilitate all the sessions. They and the coordinating team used in-person meetings, teleconferences, and email to communicate and coordinate the activities leading up to each regional listening session. The agenda was the same across all sessions and included small-group discussions followed by reporting to the full group for discussion. The planning process was the same across all the sessions, although the selection of venue, time of day, and stakeholder participants differed to accommodate the differences among regions. The listening-session format required a great deal of work and flexibility on the part of the coordinating team and regional coordinators. Overall, the participant evaluations from the sessions were positive, with participants expressing appreciation that they were asked for their thoughts on the subject of herbicide resistance. This paper details the methods and processes used to conduct these regional listening sessions and provides an assessment of the strengths and limitations of those processes.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
Knowledge of the effects of burial depth and burial duration on seed viability and, consequently, seedbank persistence of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) and waterhemp [Amaranthus tuberculatus (Moq.) J. D. Sauer] ecotypes can be used for the development of efficient weed management programs. This is of particular interest, given the great fecundity of both species and, consequently, their high seedbank replenishment potential. Seeds of both species collected from five different locations across the United States were investigated in seven states (sites) with different soil and climatic conditions. Seeds were placed at two depths (0 and 15 cm) for 3 yr. Each year, seeds were retrieved, and seed damage (shrunken, malformed, or broken) plus losses (deteriorated and futile germination) and viability were evaluated. Greater seed damage plus loss averaged across seed origin, burial depth, and year was recorded for lots tested at Illinois (51.3% and 51.8%) followed by Tennessee (40.5% and 45.1%) and Missouri (39.2% and 42%) for A. palmeri and A. tuberculatus, respectively. The site differences for seed persistence were probably due to higher volumetric water content at these sites. Rates of seed demise were directly proportional to burial depth (α=0.001), whereas the percentage of viable seeds recovered after 36 mo on the soil surface ranged from 4.1% to 4.3% compared with 5% to 5.3% at the 15-cm depth for A. palmeri and A. tuberculatus, respectively. Seed viability loss was greater in the seeds placed on the soil surface compared with the buried seeds. The greatest influences on seed viability were burial conditions and time and site-specific soil conditions, more so than geographical location. Thus, management of these weed species should focus on reducing seed shattering, enhancing seed removal from the soil surface, or adjusting tillage systems.