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Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) is a national initiative designed to encourage patient-clinician discussions about the appropriate, evidence-based use of medical tests, procedures and treatments. The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians’ (CAEP) Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) working group developed and released ten recommendations relevant to Emergency Medicine in June 2015 (items 1–5) and October 2016 (items 6–10). In November 2016, the CAEP CWC working group developed a process for updating the recommendations. This process involves: 1) Using GRADE to evaluate the quality of evidence, 2) reviewing relevant recommendations on an ad hoc basis as new evidence emerges, and 3) reviewing all recommendations every five years. While the full review of the CWC recommendations will be performed in 2020, a number of high-impact studies were published after our initial launch that prompted an ad hoc review of the relevant three of our ten recommendations prior to the full review in 2020. This paper describes the results of the CAEP CWC working group's ad hoc review of three of our ten recommendations in light of recent publications.
Observations in psychiatric in-patient settings are used to reduce suicide, self-harm, violence and absconding risk. The study aims were to describe the characteristics of in-patients who died by suicide under observation and examine their service-related antecedents.
A national consecutive case series in England and Wales (2006–2012) was examined.
There were 113 suicides by in-patients under observation, an average of 16 per year. Most were under intermittent observation. Five deaths occurred while patients were under constant observation. Patient deaths were linked with the use of less experienced staff or staff unfamiliar with the patient, deviation from procedures and absconding.
We identified key elements of observation that could improve safety, including only using experienced and skilled staff for the intervention and using observation levels determined by clinical need not resources.
Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) is an initiative to encourage patient-physician discussions about the appropriate, evidence based use of medical tests, procedures and treatments. We present the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians’ (CAEP) top five list of recommendations, and the process undertaken to generate them.
The CAEP Expert Working Group (EWG) generated a candidate list of 52 tests, procedures, and treatments in emergency medicine whose value to care was questioned. This list was distributed to CAEP committee chairs, revised, and then divided and randomly allocated to 107 Canadian emergency physicians (EWG nominated) who voted on each item based on: action-ability, effectiveness, safety, economic burden, and frequency of use. The EWG discussed the items with the highest votes, and generated the recommendations by consensus.
The top five CAEP CWC recommendations are: 1) Don’t order CT head scans in adults and children who have suffered minor head injuries (unless positive for a validated head injury clinical decision rule); 2) Don’t prescribe antibiotics in adults with bronchitis/asthma and children with bronchiolitis; 3) Don’t order lumbosacral spinal imaging in patients with non-traumatic low back pain who have no red flags/pathologic indicators; 4) Don’t order neck radiographs in patients who have a negative examination using the Canadian C-spine rules; and 5) Don’t prescribe antibiotics after incision and drainage of uncomplicated skin abscesses unless extensive cellulitis exists.
The CWC recommendations for emergency medicine were selected using a mixed methods approach. This top 5 list was released at the CAEP Conference in June 2015 and should form the basis for future implementation efforts.
Job loss, debt and financial difficulties are associated with increased risk of mental illness and suicide in the general population. Interventions targeting people in debt or unemployed might help reduce these effects.
We searched MEDLINE, Embase, The Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and PsycINFO (January 2016) for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of interventions to reduce the effects of unemployment and debt on mental health in general population samples. We assessed papers for inclusion, extracted data and assessed risk of bias.
Eleven RCTs (n = 5303 participants) met the inclusion criteria. All recruited participants were unemployed. Five RCTs assessed ‘job-club’ interventions, two cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and a single RCT assessed each of emotional competency training, expressive writing, guided imagery and debt advice. All studies were at high risk of bias. ‘Job club’ interventions led to improvements in levels of depression up to 2 years post-intervention; effects were strongest among those at increased risk of depression (improvements of up to 0.2–0.3 s.d. in depression scores). There was mixed evidence for effectiveness of group CBT on symptoms of depression. An RCT of debt advice found no effect but had poor uptake. Single trials of three other interventions showed no evidence of benefit.
‘Job-club’ interventions may be effective in reducing depressive symptoms in unemployed people, particularly those at high risk of depression. Evidence for CBT-type interventions is mixed; further trials are needed. However the studies are old and at high risk of bias. Future intervention studies should follow CONSORT guidelines and address issues of poor uptake.
People with a history of self-harm are at a far greater risk of suicide than the general population. However, the relationship between self-harm and suicide is complex.
To undertake the first systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies of risk factors and risk assessment scales to predict suicide following self-harm.
We conducted a search for prospective cohort studies of populations who had self-harmed. For the review of risk scales we also included studies examining the risk of suicide in people under specialist mental healthcare, in order to broaden the scope of the review and increase the number of studies considered. Differences in predictive accuracy between populations were examined where applicable.
Twelve studies on risk factors and 7 studies on risk scales were included. Four risk factors emerged from the metaanalysis, with robust effect sizes that showed little change when adjusted for important potential confounders. These included: previous episodes of self-harm (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.68, 95% CI 1.38–2.05, K = 4), suicidal intent (HR = 2.7, 95% CI 1.91–3.81, K = 3), physical health problems (HR = 1.99, 95% CI 1.16–3.43, K = 3) and male gender (HR = 2.05, 95% CI 1.70–2.46, K = 5). The included studies evaluated only three risk scales (Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), Suicide Intent Scale (SIS) and Scale for Suicide Ideation). Where meta-analyses were possible (BHS, SIS), the analysis was based on sparse data and a high heterogeneity was observed. The positive predictive values ranged from 1.3 to 16.7%.
The four risk factors that emerged, although of interest, are unlikely to be of much practical use because they are comparatively common in clinical populations. No scales have sufficient evidence to support their use. The use of these scales, or an over-reliance on the identification of risk factors in clinical practice, may provide false reassurance and is, therefore, potentially dangerous. Comprehensive psychosocial assessments of the risks and needs that are specific to the individual should be central to the management of people who have self-harmed.
Sodium nitroprusside (SNP) has been reported to rapidly reduce psychotic symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. This has the potential to revolutionize treatment for schizophrenia. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that SNP leads to a reduction in psychotic symptoms and an improvement in spatial working memory (SWM) performance in patients with schizophrenia.
This was a single-centre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial performed from 27 August 2014 to 10 February 2016 (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT02176044). Twenty patients with schizophrenia aged 18–60 years with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were recruited from psychiatric outpatient clinics in the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, London, UK. Baseline symptoms were measured using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and the 18-item Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS-18), and SWM was assessed using the CANTAB computerized test. Participants received either an infusion of SNP (0.5 μg/kg per min for 4 h) or placebo and were re-assessed for symptoms and SWM performance immediately after the infusion, and 4 weeks later.
SNP did not lead to any reduction in psychotic symptoms or improvement in SWM performance compared to placebo.
Although this study was negative, it is possible that the beneficial effects of SNP may occur in patients with a shorter history of illness, or with more acute exacerbation of symptoms.
Little is known about the precursors of suicide risk among primary-care patients. This study aimed to examine suicide risk in relation to patterns of clinical consultation, psychotropic drug prescribing, and psychiatric diagnoses.
Nested case-control study in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), England. Patients aged ⩾16 years who died by suicide during 2002–2011 (N = 2384) were matched on gender, age and practice with up to 20 living control patients (N = 46 899).
Risk was raised among non-consulting patients, and increased sharply with rising number of consultations in the preceding year [⩾12 consultations v. 1: unadjusted odds ratio (OR) 6.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.9–7.3]. Markedly elevated risk was also associated with the prescribing of multiple psychotropic medication types (⩾5 types v. 0: OR 62.6, CI 44.3–88.4) and with having several psychiatric diagnoses (⩾4 diagnoses v. 0: OR 31.1, CI 19.3–50.1). Risk was also raised among patients living in more socially deprived localities. The confounding effect of multiple psychotropic drug types largely accounted for the rising risk gradient observed with increasing consultation frequency.
A greater proportion of patients with several psychiatric diagnoses, those prescribed multiple psychotropic medication types, and those who consult at very high frequency might be considered for referral to mental health services by their general practitioners. Non-consulters are also at increased risk, which suggests that conventional models of primary care may not be effective in meeting the needs of all people in the community experiencing major psychosocial difficulties.
No standard exists for provision of care following catastrophic natural disasters. Host nations, funders, and overseeing agencies need a method to identify the most effective interventions when allocating finite resources. Measures of effectiveness are real-time indicators that can be used to link early action with downstream impact.
Group consensus methods can be used to develop measures of effectiveness detailing the major functions of post natural disaster acute phase medical response.
A review of peer-reviewed disaster response publications (2001-2011) identified potential measures describing domestic and international medical response. A steering committee comprised of six persons with publications pertaining to disaster response, and those serving in leadership capacity for a disaster response organization, was assembled. The committee determined which measures identified in the literature review had the best potential to gauge effectiveness during post-disaster acute-phase medical response. Using a modified Delphi technique, a second, larger group (Expert Panel) evaluated these measures and novel measures suggested (or “free-texted”) by participants for importance, validity, usability, and feasibility. After three iterations, the highest rated measures were selected.
The literature review identified 397 measures. The steering committee approved 116 (29.2%) of these measures for advancement to the Delphi process. In Round 1, 25 (22%) measures attained >75% approval and, accompanied by 77 free-text measures, graduated to Round 2. There, 56 (50%) measures achieved >75% approval. In Round 3, 37 (66%) measures achieved median scores of 4 or higher (on a 5-point ordinal scale). These selected measures describe major aspects of disaster response, including: Evaluation, Treatment, Disposition, Public Health, and Team Logistics. Of participants from the Expert Panel, 24/39 (63%) completed all rounds. Thirty-three percent of these experts represented international agencies; 42% represented US government agencies.
Experts identified response measures that reflect major functions of an acute medical response. Measures of effectiveness facilitate real-time assessment of performance and can signal where practices should be improved to better aid community preparedness and response. These measures can promote unification of medical assistance, allow for comparison of responses, and bring accountability to post-disaster acute-phase medical care. This is the first consensus-developed reporting tool constructed using objective measures to describe the functions of acute phase disaster medical response. It should be evaluated by agencies providing medical response during the next major natural disaster.
DaftaryRK, CruzAT, ReavesEJ, BurkleFMJr, ChristianMD, FagbuyiDB, GarrettAL, KapurGB, SirbaughPE. Making Disaster Care Count: Consensus Formulation of Measures of Effectiveness for Natural Disaster Acute Phase Medical Response. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014;29(5):1-7.
Official suicide statistics for England are based on deaths given suicide verdicts and most cases given an open verdict following a coroner's inquest. Previous research indicates that some deaths given accidental verdicts are considered to be suicides by clinicians. Changes in coroners' use of different verdicts may bias suicide trend estimates. We investigated whether suicide trends may be over- or underestimated when they are based on deaths given suicide and open verdicts.
Possible suicides assessed by 12 English coroners in 1990/91, 1998 and 2005 and assigned open, accident/misadventure or narrative verdicts were rated by three experienced suicide researchers according to the likelihood that they were suicides. Details of all suicide verdicts given by these coroners were also recorded.
In 1990/91, 72.0% of researcher-defined suicides received a suicide verdict from the coroner, this decreased to 65.4% in 2005 (ptrend < 0.01); equivalent figures for combined suicide and open verdicts were 95.4% (1990/91) and 86.7% (2005). Researcher-defined suicides with a verdict of accident/misadventure doubled over that period, from 4.6% to 9.1% (p < 0.01). Narrative verdict cases rose from zero in 1990/91 to 25 in 2005 (4.2% of researcher-defined suicides that year). In 1998 and 2005, 50.0% of the medicine poisoning deaths given accidental/misadventure verdicts were rated as suicide by the researchers.
Between 1990/91 and 2005, the proportion of researcher-defined suicides given a suicide verdict by coroners decreased, largely due to an increased use of accident/misadventure verdicts, particularly for deaths involving poisoning. Consideration should be given to the inclusion of ‘accidental’ deaths by poisoning with medicines in the statistics available for monitoring suicides rates.
Psychiatric in-patients are at high risk of suicide. Recent reductions in bed numbers in many countries may have affected this risk but few studies have specifically investigated temporal trends. We aimed to explore trends in psychiatric in-patient suicide over time.
A prospective study of all patients admitted to National Health Service (NHS) in-patient psychiatric care in England (1997–2008). Suicide rates were determined using National Confidential Inquiry and Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data.
Over the study period there were 1942 psychiatric in-patient suicides. Between the first 2 years of the study (1997, 1998) and the last 2 years (2007, 2008) the rate of in-patient suicide fell by nearly one-third from 2.45 to 1.68 per 100 000 bed days. This fall in rate was observed for males and females, across ethnicities and diagnoses. It was most marked for patients aged 15–44 years. Rates also fell for the most common suicide methods, particularly suicide by hanging on the ward (a 59% reduction). Although the number of post-discharge suicides fell, the rate of post-discharge suicide may have increased by 19%. The number of suicide deaths in those under the care of crisis resolution/home treatment teams has increased in recent years to approximately 160 annually.
The rate of suicide among psychiatric in-patients in England has fallen considerably. Possible explanations include falling general population rates, changes in the at-risk population or improved in-patient safety. However, a transfer of risk to the period after discharge or other clinical settings such as crisis resolution teams cannot be ruled out.
Bimetallic Pd-Au nanoparticles have received much attention due to their potential applications in catalysis. We have developed a Pd-Au alloy potential based on Chen-Mobius lattice inversion method and applied it to the investigation of the melting of Pd-Au binary nanoparticles via molecular dynamics simulations. Our simulation results show the particle size dependence of the melting point and an enrichment of Au atoms to the surface near melting temperature.
Self-harm is a common reason for Emergency Department (ED) attendance. We aimed to develop a clinical tool to help identify patients at higher risk of repeat self-harm, or suicide, within 6 months of an ED self-harm presentation.
The tool, the ReACT Self-Harm Rule, was derived using multicentre data from a prospective cohort study. Binary recursive partitioning was applied to data from two centres, and data from a separate centre were used to test the tool. There were 29 571 self-harm presentations to five hospital EDs between January 2003 and June 2007, involving 18 680 adults aged ⩾16 years. We estimated sensitivity, specificity and positive and negative predictive values to measure the performance of the tool.
A self-harm presentation was classified as higher risk if at least one of the following factors was present: recent self-harm (in the past year), living alone or homelessness, cutting as a method of harm and treatment for a current psychiatric disorder. The rule performed with 95% sensitivity [95% confidence interval (CI) 94–95] and 21% specificity (95% CI 21–22), and had a positive predictive value of 30% (95% CI 30–31) and a negative predictive value of 91% (95% CI 90–92) in the derivation centres; it identified 83/92 of all subsequent suicides.
The ReACT Self-Harm Rule might be used as a screening tool to inform the process of assessing self-harm presentations to ED. The four risk factors could also be used as an adjunct to in-depth psychosocial assessment to help guide risk formulation. The use of multicentre data helped to maximize the generalizability of the tool, but we need to further verify its external validity in other localities.
To date, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has made little impact on the diagnosis and monitoring of psychoses in individual patients. In this study, we used a support vector machine (SVM) whole-brain classification approach to predict future illness course at the individual level from MRI data obtained at the first psychotic episode.
One hundred patients at their first psychotic episode and 91 healthy controls had an MRI scan. Patients were re-evaluated 6.2 years (s.d.=2.3) later, and were classified as having a continuous, episodic or intermediate illness course. Twenty-eight subjects with a continuous course were compared with 28 patients with an episodic course and with 28 healthy controls. We trained each SVM classifier independently for the following contrasts: continuous versus episodic, continuous versus healthy controls, and episodic versus healthy controls.
At baseline, patients with a continuous course were already distinguishable, with significance above chance level, from both patients with an episodic course (p=0.004, sensitivity=71, specificity=68) and healthy individuals (p=0.01, sensitivity=71, specificity=61). Patients with an episodic course could not be distinguished from healthy individuals. When patients with an intermediate outcome were classified according to the discriminating pattern episodic versus continuous, 74% of those who did not develop other episodes were classified as episodic, and 65% of those who did develop further episodes were classified as continuous (p=0.035).
We provide preliminary evidence of MRI application in the individualized prediction of future illness course, using a simple and automated SVM pipeline. When replicated and validated in larger groups, this could enable targeted clinical decisions based on imaging data.
Mortality, including suicide and accidents, is elevated in self-harm populations. Although risk factors for suicide following self-harm are often investigated, rarely have those for accidents been studied. Our aim was to compare risk factors for suicide and accidents.
A prospective cohort (n=30 202) from the Multicentre Study of Self-harm in England, 2000–2007, was followed up to 2010 using national death registers. Risk factors for suicide (intentional self-harm and undetermined intent) and accidents (narcotic poisoning, non-narcotic poisoning, and non-poisoning) following the last hospital presentation for self-harm were estimated using Cox models.
During follow-up, 1833 individuals died, 378 (20.6%) by suicide and 242 (13.2%) by accidents. Independent predictors of both suicide and accidents were: male gender, age ⩾35 years (except accidental narcotic poisoning) and psychiatric treatment (except accidental narcotic poisoning). Factors differentiating suicide from accident risk were previous self-harm, last method of self-harm (twofold increased risks for cutting and violent self-injury versus self-poisoning) and mental health problems. A risk factor specific to accidental narcotic poisoning was recreational/illicit drug problems, and a risk factor specific to accidental non-narcotic poisoning and non-poisoning accidents was alcohol involvement with self-harm.
The similarity of risk factors for suicide and accidents indicates common experiences of socio-economic disadvantage, life problems and psychopathology resulting in a variety of self-destructive behaviour. Of factors associated with the accidental death groups, those for non-narcotic poisoning and other accidents were most similar to suicide; differences seemed to be related to criteria coroners use in reaching verdicts. Our findings support the idea of a continuum of premature death.
A novel, non-vacuum and a patented process developed by ISET for manufacturing terrestrial CIGS solar cells was successfully applied to fabricate CIGS solar cells on flexible 50 μm thick Mo foil for space power applications. Solar cells of area 5.0 cm2 were fabricated with their AM0 efficiency approaching 9.0% with an estimated power density of 250 watts/kg. With further improvements it is possible to fabricate CIGS solar cells with AM0 efficiencies approaching 13%. This process can be used to fabricate low cost, light-weight CIGS solar cells on a variety of flexible substrates much lighter than Mo foil to achieve power densities approaching 1.0 kW/kg.
The paper describes ISET's patented non-vacuum process for low cost mass production of CIGS solar cells. In this process, the water based precursor inks of mixed oxides are deposited on various conducting substrates by a variety of non-vacuum coating techniques. The oxides are converted to CIGS by annealing and the device is completed by deposition of CdS by CBD followed by ZnO deposition by MOCVD. Small area solar cells with efficiency >13% have been fabricated by this process. The advantages of this non-vacuum process are: high compositional control of the absorber layer, high materials utilization and low cost.