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A nationwide survey indicated that screening for asymptomatic carriers of C. difficile is an uncommon practice in US healthcare settings. Better understanding of the role of asymptomatic carriage in C. difficile transmission, and of the measures available to reduce that risk, are needed to inform best practices regarding the management of carriers.
The majority of paediatric Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI) are community-associated (CA), but few data exist regarding associated risk factors. We conducted a case–control study to evaluate CA-CDI risk factors in young children. Participants were enrolled from eight US sites during October 2014–February 2016. Case-patients were defined as children aged 1–5 years with a positive C. difficile specimen collected as an outpatient or ⩽3 days of hospital admission, who had no healthcare facility admission in the prior 12 weeks and no history of CDI. Each case-patient was matched to one control. Caregivers were interviewed regarding relevant exposures. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was performed. Of 68 pairs, 44.1% were female. More case-patients than controls had a comorbidity (33.3% vs. 12.1%; P = 0.01); recent higher-risk outpatient exposures (34.9% vs. 17.7%; P = 0.03); recent antibiotic use (54.4% vs. 19.4%; P < 0.0001); or recent exposure to a household member with diarrhoea (41.3% vs. 21.5%; P = 0.04). In multivariable analysis, antibiotic exposure in the preceding 12 weeks was significantly associated with CA-CDI (adjusted matched odds ratio, 6.25; 95% CI 2.18–17.96). Improved antibiotic prescribing might reduce CA-CDI in this population. Further evaluation of the potential role of outpatient healthcare and household exposures in C. difficile transmission is needed.
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.
To test the hypothesis that long-term care facility (LTCF) residents with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) or asymptomatic carriage of toxigenic strains are an important source of transmission in the LTCF and in the hospital during acute-care admissions.
A 6-month cohort study with identification of transmission events was conducted based on tracking of patient movement combined with restriction endonuclease analysis (REA) and whole-genome sequencing (WGS).
Veterans Affairs hospital and affiliated LTCF.
The study included 29 LTCF residents identified as asymptomatic carriers of toxigenic C. difficile based on every other week perirectal screening and 37 healthcare facility-associated CDI cases (ie, diagnosis >3 days after admission or within 4 weeks of discharge to the community), including 26 hospital-associated and 11 LTCF-associated cases.
Of the 37 CDI cases, 7 (18·9%) were linked to LTCF residents with LTCF-associated CDI or asymptomatic carriage, including 3 of 26 hospital-associated CDI cases (11·5%) and 4 of 11 LTCF-associated cases (36·4%). Of the 7 transmissions linked to LTCF residents, 5 (71·4%) were linked to asymptomatic carriers versus 2 (28·6%) to CDI cases, and all involved transmission of epidemic BI/NAP1/027 strains. No incident hospital-associated CDI cases were linked to other hospital-associated CDI cases.
Our findings suggest that LTCF residents with asymptomatic carriage of C. difficile or CDI contribute to transmission both in the LTCF and in the affiliated hospital during acute-care admissions. Greater emphasis on infection control measures and antimicrobial stewardship in LTCFs is needed, and these efforts should focus on LTCF residents during hospital admissions.
A range of endophenotypes characterise psychosis, however there has been limited work understanding if and how they are inter-related.
This multi-centre study includes 8754 participants: 2212 people with a psychotic disorder, 1487 unaffected relatives of probands, and 5055 healthy controls. We investigated cognition [digit span (N = 3127), block design (N = 5491), and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (N = 3543)], electrophysiology [P300 amplitude and latency (N = 1102)], and neuroanatomy [lateral ventricular volume (N = 1721)]. We used linear regression to assess the interrelationships between endophenotypes.
The P300 amplitude and latency were not associated (regression coef. −0.06, 95% CI −0.12 to 0.01, p = 0.060), and P300 amplitude was positively associated with block design (coef. 0.19, 95% CI 0.10–0.28, p < 0.001). There was no evidence of associations between lateral ventricular volume and the other measures (all p > 0.38). All the cognitive endophenotypes were associated with each other in the expected directions (all p < 0.001). Lastly, the relationships between pairs of endophenotypes were consistent in all three participant groups, differing for some of the cognitive pairings only in the strengths of the relationships.
The P300 amplitude and latency are independent endophenotypes; the former indexing spatial visualisation and working memory, and the latter is hypothesised to index basic processing speed. Individuals with psychotic illnesses, their unaffected relatives, and healthy controls all show similar patterns of associations between endophenotypes, endorsing the theory of a continuum of psychosis liability across the population.
Clozapine is an atypical antipsychotic agent used primarily in the management of treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Previous studies have demonstrated clozapine’s superior efficacy over other antipsychotic medications in treating this population of patients. The aim of this study was to assess if the number of hospital admissions and days spent in hospital reduced with the initiation of clozapine, compared with when the same sample of patients were prescribed other antipsychotics prior to clozapine initiation.
A mirror-image study design was adopted. In this case the intervention under study was the initiation of clozapine. Information was collected retrospectively from the charts of patients attending the University Hospital Galway clozapine clinic. The number of admissions and number of hospital days were collected for each patient over the 3 years before and after clozapine initiation. Wilcoxon’s signed-rank test was used to test for statistical significance.
The total sample size comprised of 62 patients, of which the majority were male (74.2%) and had a diagnosis of schizophrenia (82.3%). The mean dose of clozapine was 417 mg, and mean age of the sample was 38 years. Mean number of hospital admissions reduced from 2.8 to 0.8 (p<0.0001) following initiation of clozapine. Mean number of days spent in hospital reduced from 116.4 to 17.1 (p<0.0001).
After initiation of clozapine treatment, patients experience a substantial reduction in number of hospital admissions and number of days spent in hospital when compared with a similar period prior to clozapine initiation.
Fungal spores, especially those of coprophilous fungi, are present in dung middens of Rhinoceros unicornis (greater one-horned rhinoceros) in both forest and grassland areas of the Kaziranga National Park, India. The presence of coprophilous fungi on rhino dung, chiefly Sporormiella, Saccobolus, Ascodesmis, Cercophora, and Sordaria, is documented for the first time. The Sporormiella–Ascodesmis–Saccobolus assemblage is abundant and characterizes the rhino dung in forest and grassland areas. The presence of coprophilous fungi spores allows for an examination of the relationship between rhinoceros ecology and the flora and other fauna in the region. The overall dataset is useful in interpreting the present and past distribution of rhino and other associated animals based on the relative abundance of different types of coprophilous fungi spores and their relationship to paleoherbivory and paleoecology in India and adjoining areas.
To explore the mental health tribunal experiences of people admitted involuntarily under the Mental Health Act 2001.
Employing a qualitative descriptive study design, data were collected from 23 service users who had experienced mental health tribunals during a recent involuntary admission. Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted ~3 months post-revocation of their involuntary admission order. Data were analysed using an inductive thematic process.
The majority of participants reported mixed experiences comprising positive and negative aspects in relation to information provision, emotional support and an inclusive atmosphere. Some participants reported receiving accessible information about the tribunal process, felt emotionally supported throughout, and encountered respectful and dignifying practices during the tribunal proceedings. However, many participants described experiencing non-inclusive practices, reported feeling ill-informed regarding the tribunal process, emotionally unsupported during and after the tribunal, and distressed by what they perceived as adversarial tribunal proceedings.
Systemic changes could ensure that the positive experiences encountered by the minority of participants in this study are more consistently experienced. Ongoing education and training of stakeholders in the provision of inclusive tribunal practices, and the provision of accessible information and emotional support to service users through the stages of the involuntary admission process appear likely to be beneficial. Service users should automatically be offered the option of having a support person of their choosing present during tribunals.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
Social disinhibition difficulties are common following traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, clinically sensitive tools to objectively assess the difficulties are lacking. This study aimed to pilot a new clinical measure of social disinhibition, the social disinhibition task (SDT). Whether social disinhibition is dependent on the type of social information judgements required and whether disinhibited responses can be adjusted with additional guidance were also examined. Participants were 31 adults (25 Male) with moderate-to-severe TBI and 22 adult (17 Male) healthy control participants. Participants viewed scenes of complex social situations and were asked to describe a character in them (Part A), describe a character while inhibiting inappropriate or negative responses (Part B), and describe a character while not only inhibiting negative responses, but also providing positive responses (Part C). One-half of the items contained a faux pas requiring participants to make inferences about a character's mental state. TBI and control participants responded similarly to Part A, although control participants responded less positively than TBI participants in the faux pas items. TBI participants were significantly impaired on Part B indicating they experienced difficulties in inhibiting automatic responding. TBI participants were however able to adjust their responding in Part C so that they respond similarly to the control participants. Between group differences were not detected in reaction time. Overall, the SDT appears to be suitable to detect social inhibition difficulties in clinical settings and provides a new direction for remediation of the difficulties in individuals with TBI.
The Antarctic Roadmap Challenges (ARC) project identified critical requirements to deliver high priority Antarctic research in the 21st century. The ARC project addressed the challenges of enabling technologies, facilitating access, providing logistics and infrastructure, and capitalizing on international co-operation. Technological requirements include: i) innovative automated in situ observing systems, sensors and interoperable platforms (including power demands), ii) realistic and holistic numerical models, iii) enhanced remote sensing and sensors, iv) expanded sample collection and retrieval technologies, and v) greater cyber-infrastructure to process ‘big data’ collection, transmission and analyses while promoting data accessibility. These technologies must be widely available, performance and reliability must be improved and technologies used elsewhere must be applied to the Antarctic. Considerable Antarctic research is field-based, making access to vital geographical targets essential. Future research will require continent- and ocean-wide environmentally responsible access to coastal and interior Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Year-round access is indispensable. The cost of future Antarctic science is great but there are opportunities for all to participate commensurate with national resources, expertise and interests. The scope of future Antarctic research will necessitate enhanced and inventive interdisciplinary and international collaborations. The full promise of Antarctic science will only be realized if nations act together.
Do non-graded, one-time, short presentations by a panel of professors on foreign policy issues affect voting behavior among students? Did the panel itself contribute to students’ understanding of the importance of foreign policy in evaluating candidates? Did presentations lead to changes in students’ candidate preferences? And, finally, did the event lead to sustained changes in students’ preferences? We find that even though issues of foreign policy tend not to be front and center in American elections, when young voters are presented with information about candidate’s foreign policy positions, as we did in this study, it does seem to have an impact on which candidate they plan on voting for.
To examine the delivery and assessment of psychiatry at undergraduate level in the six medical schools in the Republic of Ireland offering a medical degree programme.
A narrative description of the delivery and assessment of psychiatry at undergraduate level by collaborative senior faculty members from all six universities in Ireland.
Psychiatry is integrated to varying degrees across all medical schools. Clinical experience in general adult psychiatry and sub-specialities is provided by each medical school; however, the duration of clinical attachment varies, and the provision of some sub-specialities (i.e. forensic psychiatry) is dependent on locally available resources. Five medical schools provide ‘live’ large group teaching sessions (lectures), and all medical schools provide an array of small group teaching sessions. Continuous assessment encompasses 10–35% of the total assessment marks, depending on the medical school. Only one medical school does not provide a clinical examination in the form of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination with viva examinations occurring at three medical schools.
Many similarities exist in relation to the delivery of psychiatry at undergraduate level in Ireland. Significant variability exists in relation to assessment with differences in continuous assessment, written and clinical exams and the use of vivas noted. The use of e-learning platforms has increased significantly in recent years, with their role envisaged to include cross-disciplinary teaching sessions and analysis of examinations and individual components within examinations which will help refine future examinations and enable greater sharing of resources between medical schools.
Background: Ataluren is the first drug to treat the underlying cause of nmDMD. Methods: ACT DMD is a Phase 3, randomized, double-blind study. Males 7-16 years with nmDMD and a screening six-minute walk distance (6MWD) ≥150 m and <80%-predicted were randomized to ataluren 40 mg/kg/day or placebo for 48 weeks. A pre-specified subgroup included patients with baseline 6MWD 300-400 m. A meta-analysis of the overall ACT DMD population and the ‘ambulatory decline phase’ subgroup of the Phase 2b study (those patients meeting ACT DMD entry criteria) was pre-specified in the statistical plan. Results: In the overall ACT DMD population (N=228), changes in TFTs favored ataluren over placebo: 10-meter walk/run, -1.2s (p=0.117); 4-stair climb, -1.8s (p=0.058); 4-stair descend, -1.8s (p=0.012). In the pre-specified subgroup (n=99), these differences increased to -2.1s, -3.6s, and -4.3s, respectively, and were statistically significant (p<0.01) for 4-stair climb and descend. Results are supported by the meta-analysis (N=291), which demonstrated significant differences (p<0.05) in 10-meter walk/run, 4-stair climb, 4-stair descend. Conclusions: TFT results showed a benefit for ataluren in ACT DMD, and a larger treatment effect in the pre-specified baseline 6MWD 300-400 m subgroup as well as the pre-specified meta-analysis of ACT DMD and the Phase 2b study decline subgroup.
Twin studies have lacked statistical power to apply advanced genetic modelling techniques to the search for cognitive endophenotypes for bipolar disorder.
To quantify the shared genetic variability between bipolar disorder and cognitive measures.
Structural equation modelling was performed on cognitive data collected from 331 twins/siblings of varying genetic relatedness, disease status and concordance for bipolar disorder.
Using a parsimonious AE model, verbal episodic and spatial working memory showed statistically significant genetic correlations with bipolar disorder (rg = |0.23|–|0.27|), which lost statistical significance after covarying for affective symptoms. Using an ACE model, IQ and visual-spatial learning showed statistically significant genetic correlations with bipolar disorder (rg = |0.51|–|1.00|), which remained significant after covarying for affective symptoms.
Verbal episodic and spatial working memory capture a modest fraction of the bipolar diathesis. IQ and visual-spatial learning may tap into genetic substrates of non-affective symptomatology in bipolar disorder.
Background: Ataluren is the first drug to treat the underlying cause of nmDMD. Methods: Phase 2 and 3 studies of ataluren in nmDMD were reviewed, with efficacy and safety/tolerability findings summarized. Results: Ataluren nmDMD trials include: a Phase 2a proof-of-concept study (N=38); a Phase 2b randomized controlled trial (RCT) (N=174); an ongoing US-based open-label safety extension study (N=108); an ongoing non-US-based open-label safety/efficacy extension study (N=94); and a Phase 3 RCT, ACT DMD (N=228), whose primary endpoint was change in six-minute walk distance (6MWD) over 48 weeks. The proof-of-concept study demonstrated increased dystrophin production in post-treatment muscle biopsies from ataluren-treated patients with nmDMD. The Phase 2b results demonstrated an ataluren treatment effect in 6MWD, timed function tests, and other measures of physical functioning, The Phase 3 ACT DMD results demonstrated an ataluren treatment effect in patients with nmDMD in both primary and secondary endpoints, particularly in those with a baseline 6MWD of 300-400m. Ataluren was consistently well-tolerated in all three trials, as well as in the ongoing extension studies. Trial findings will be presented in detail. Conclusions: The totality of the results demonstrates that ataluren enables nonsense mutation readthrough in the dystrophin mRNA, producing functional dystrophin and slowing disease progression.