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This study aimed to determine the knowledge of first year health sciences students at a South African university regarding hearing loss and symptoms attributable to personal listening devices and their practices concerning the use of personal listening devices.
This was a cross-sectional study carried out using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire.
Of 336 students, 269 (80.1 per cent) completed the questionnaire. While most participants could identify symptoms that could be caused by extensive use of personal listening devices, almost 30 per cent did not know that it could cause permanent hearing loss. Personal listening devices were used by 90.7 per cent of participants, with 77.8 per cent having used them for more than five years. Use was at a high volume in 14.9 per cent of participants and for more than 2 hours per day in 52.7 per cent.
The findings indicate the need for an educational programme to inform students as to safe listening practices when using personal listening devices.
To analyse how the auditory brainstem response changes in patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
Data were collected via retrospective medical chart review.
Forty-three patients were included in this study. The mean latency of auditory brainstem response wave 1 was significantly longer for the affected side than for the unaffected side (p = 0.003). The mean latency of auditory brainstem response wave 1 was significantly shorter, and the mean amplitude of auditory brainstem response wave 1 was significantly larger, in the good response group compared to the poor response group. In forward conditional logistic regression analysis, auditory brainstem response wave 1 latency was an independent predictor of a good response (odds ratio = 34.37, 95 per cent confidence interval = 1.56–757.15, p = 0.025).
In patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the latency of wave 1 of the auditory brainstem response was significantly increased and was related to prognosis.
Presenteeism, or working while ill, by healthcare personnel (HCP) experiencing influenza-like illness (ILI) puts patients and coworkers at risk. However, hospital policies and practices may not consistently facilitate HCP staying home when ill.
Objective and methods:
We conducted a mixed-methods survey in March 2018 of Emerging Infections Network infectious diseases physicians, describing institutional experiences with and policies for HCP working with ILI.
Of 715 physicians, 367 (51%) responded. Of 367, 135 (37%) were unaware of institutional policies. Of the remaining 232 respondents, 206 (89%) reported institutional policies regarding work restrictions for HCP with influenza or ILI, but only 145 (63%) said these were communicated at least annually. More than half of respondents (124, 53%) reported that adherence to work restrictions was not monitored or enforced. Work restrictions were most often not perceived to be enforced for physicians-in-training and attending physicians. Nearly all (223, 96%) reported that their facility tracked laboratory-confirmed influenza (LCI) in patients; 85 (37%) reported tracking ILI. For employees, 109 (47%) reported tracking of LCI and 53 (23%) reported tracking ILI. For independent physicians, not employed by the facility, 30 (13%) reported tracking LCI and 11 (5%) ILI.
More than one-third of respondents were unaware of whether their institutions had policies to prevent HCP with ILI from working; among those with knowledge of institutional policies, dissemination, monitoring, and enforcement of these policies was highly variable. Improving communication about work-restriction policies, as well as monitoring and enforcement, may help prevent the spread of infections from HCP to patients.
This study examines the ways political events can affect the stock prices of politically connected firms by studying one of the biggest corruption scandals in modern South Korean history, which led to the first-ever impeachment of a sitting president. We analyzed the stock returns of firms that donated money to foundations allegedly controlled by the president's confidante. We found that the abnormal stock returns of politically connected firms decreased when the president was removed from office. Using tick-by-tick stock price data, we were able to pinpoint the exact moments when the stock prices of firms that donated money fluctuated, as the president's fate was determined by the justices of the Constitutional Court.
Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
Online self-reported 24-h dietary recall systems promise increased feasibility of dietary assessment. Comparison against interviewer-led recalls established their convergent validity; however, reliability and criterion-validity information is lacking. The validity of energy intakes (EI) reported using Intake24, an online 24-h recall system, was assessed against concurrent measurement of total energy expenditure (TEE) using doubly labelled water in ninety-eight UK adults (40–65 years). Accuracy and precision of EI were assessed using correlation and Bland–Altman analysis. Test–retest reliability of energy and nutrient intakes was assessed using data from three further UK studies where participants (11–88 years) completed Intake24 at least four times; reliability was assessed using intra-class correlations (ICC). Compared with TEE, participants under-reported EI by 25 % (95 % limits of agreement −73 % to +68 %) in the first recall, 22 % (−61 % to +41 %) for average of first two, and 25 % (−60 % to +28 %) for first three recalls. Correlations between EI and TEE were 0·31 (first), 0·47 (first two) and 0·39 (first three recalls), respectively. ICC for a single recall was 0·35 for EI and ranged from 0·31 for Fe to 0·43 for non-milk extrinsic sugars (NMES). Considering pairs of recalls (first two v. third and fourth recalls), ICC was 0·52 for EI and ranged from 0·37 for fat to 0·63 for NMES. EI reported with Intake24 was moderately correlated with objectively measured TEE and underestimated on average to the same extent as seen with interviewer-led 24-h recalls and estimated weight food diaries. Online 24-h recall systems may offer low-cost, low-burden alternatives for collecting dietary information.
Maternal systemic inflammation during pregnancy may restrict embryo−fetal growth, but the extent of this effect remains poorly established in undernourished populations. In a cohort of 653 maternal−newborn dyads participating in a multi-armed, micronutrient supplementation trial in southern Nepal, we investigated associations between maternal inflammation, assessed by serum α1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein, in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, and newborn weight, length and head and chest circumferences. Median (IQR) maternal concentrations in α1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein in the first and third trimesters were 0.65 (0.53–0.76) and 0.40 (0.33–0.50) g/l, and 0.56 (0.25–1.54) and 1.07 (0.43–2.32) mg/l, respectively. α1-acid glycoprotein was inversely associated with birth size: weight, length, head circumference and chest circumference were lower by 116 g (P = 2.3 × 10−6), and 0.45 (P = 3.1 × 10−5), 0.18 (P = 0.0191) and 0.48 (P = 1.7 × 10−7) cm, respectively, per 50% increase in α1-acid glycoprotein averaged across both trimesters. Adjustment for maternal age, parity, gestational age, nutritional and socio-economic status and daily micronutrient supplementation failed to alter any association. Serum C-reactive protein concentration was largely unassociated with newborn size. In rural Nepal, birth size was inversely associated with low-grade, chronic inflammation during pregnancy as indicated by serum α1-acid glycoprotein.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
Several life-threatening diseases of the kidney have their origins in mutational events that occur during embryonic development. In this study, we investigate the role of the Wolffian duct (WD), the earliest embryonic epithelial progenitor of renal tubules, in the etiology of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). ADPKD is associated with a germline mutation of one of the two Pkd1 alleles. For the disease to occur, a second event that disrupts the expression of the other inherited Pkd1 allele must occur. We postulated that this secondary event can occur in the pronephric WD. Using Cre-Lox recombination, mice with WD-specific deletion of one or both Pkd1 alleles were generated. Homozygous Pkd1-targeted deletion in WD-derived tissues resulted in mice with large cystic kidneys and serologic evidence of renal failure. In contrast, heterozygous deletion of Pkd1 in the WD led to kidneys that were phenotypically indistinguishable from control in the early postnatal period. High-throughput sequencing, however, revealed underlying gene and microRNA (miRNA) changes in these heterozygous mutant kidneys that suggest a strong predisposition toward developing ADPKD. Bioinformatic analysis of this data demonstrated an upregulation of several miRNAs that have been previously associated with PKD; pathway analysis further demonstrated that the differentially expressed genes in the heterozygous mutant kidneys were overrepresented in signaling pathways associated with maintenance and function of the renal tubular epithelium. These results suggest that the WD may be an early epithelial target for the genetic or molecular signals that can lead to cyst formation in ADPKD.
In this study, the pull-in phenomenon of a Nano-actuator is investigated employing a nonlocal Bernoulli-Euler beam model with clamped-clamped conditions. The model accounts for viscous damping, residual stresses, the van der Waals (vdW) force and electrostatic forces with nonlocal effects. The hybrid differential transformation/finite difference method (HDTFDM) is used to analyze the nonlocal effects on a graphene sheet nanobeam, which is electrostatically actuated under the influence of the coupling effect, the von Kármán nonlinear strains and the fringing field effect. The pull-in voltage as calculated by the presented model deviates by no more than 0.29% from previous literature, verifying the validity of the HDTFDM. Furthermore, the nonlocal nonlinear behavior of the electrostatically actuated nanobeam is investigated, and the effects of viscous damping, residual stresses, and length-gap ratio are examined in detail. Overall, the results reveal that small scale effects significantly influence the characteristics of the graphene sheet nanobeam actuator.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Little is known about long-term employment outcomes for patients with first-episode schizophrenia-spectrum (FES) disorders who received early intervention services.
We compared the 10-year employment trajectory of patients with FES who received early intervention services with those who received standard care. Factors differentiating the employment trajectories were explored.
Patients with FES (N = 145) who received early intervention services in Hong Kong between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2002 were matched with those who entered standard care 1 year previously. We used hierarchical clustering analysis to explore the 10-year employment clusters for both groups. We used the mixed model test to compare cluster memberships and piecewise regression analysis to compare the employment trajectories of the two groups.
There were significantly more patients who received the early intervention service in the good employment cluster (early intervention: N = 98 [67.6%]; standard care: N = 76 [52.4%]; P = 0.009). In the poor employment cluster, there was a significant difference in the longitudinal pattern between early intervention and standard care for years 1–5 (P < 0.0001). The number of relapses during the first 3 years, months of full-time employment during the first year and years of education were significant in differentiating the clusters of the early intervention group.
Results suggest there was an overall long-term benefit of early intervention services on employment. However, the benefit was not sustained for all patients. Personalisation of the duration of the early intervention service with a focus on relapse prevention and early vocational reintegration should be considered for service enhancement.
Declaration of interests
No relevant conflicts of interests reported by C.L.M.H., Y.N.S., P.S., H.H.P. and K.K.Y. S.K.W.C., W.C.C. and E.H.M.L. report that they are members of the working group of the Early Assessment Service for Young People with Psychosis (EASY) programme of the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong. E.Y.H.C. is the convener of the working group of the EASY programme of the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong.
To explore recent mothers’ views of the health visiting antenatal contact in England.
English health visitors are mandated to be in contact with all women in the third trimester of pregnancy. The aim of this antenatal contact is to assess the needs of the family before the birth and support preparation for parenthood. Recent data show that this contact is provided fragmentarily and not always face-to-face. More information on how women view this contact could inform service provision.
Twenty-nine mothers with a baby less than 1 year old were recruited via social media and word of mouth. Having had antenatal contact with a health visitor was not a requirement to participate in the study. Women took part in face-to-face or phone interviews and all recordings were transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using systematic thematic analysis.
Eleven women had contact with a health visitor during pregnancy: nine through a home visit, one via a letter and one via a phone call. The remaining 18 women were asked about what they would have wanted from an antenatal contact. Three themes were identified: relationship building, information provision, and mode and time of contact. Some participants who had experienced a home visit reported building rapport with their health visitor before the postnatal period, but not everyone had this experience. Women reported requesting and receiving information about the health visiting service and the role of the health visitor. Finally, women suggested different modes of contact, suggesting a letter or that the information about health visiting could be provided by a midwife. A few women preferred a home visit. These study findings show women were unclear regarding the aim of the health visitor antenatal contact. As such, the contact is unlikely to reach its full potential in supporting parents-to-be.
Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of hospitalisations among adults in the USA. Individuals with diabetes mellitus (DM) have been associated with increased risk for pneumonia and complications including death. The objectives of this study were to (1) compare the prevalence and healthcare utilisation patterns for pneumonia in individuals with and without DM, and (2) identify risk factors for pneumonia in those with DM. We performed a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of the US adult population using Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys (MEPS) data from 2014. Overall, the data represented 24 million individuals with DM and 218 million without DM in the USA. The population-based rate for a pneumonia event was 34 per 1000 persons for individuals with DM and 19 per 1000 persons without DM. Compared to the non-DM group, individuals with DM were treated 1.8x, 2.6x and 1.4x more in the ED, hospital and outpatient, respectively. Furthermore, the average cost per pneumonia event was significantly higher among individuals with DM compared to non-DM in the inpatient setting ($11 931 vs. $7751; P < 0.001). Among individuals with DM, female sex, DM complications, smokers and administration of pneumococcal vaccines were significant factors associated with a pneumonia event.