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Archaeologists evince a strong tendency to impute significance to the material traces they study, a propensity that has been especially marked since the post-processual emphasis on meaning and that has taken on renewed vigour with the turn to materiality. But are there not situations in which things are rather incidental or insignificant? This set of essays emerged from a workshop held in Berlin in April 2018, in which a group of scholars was invited to discuss the place of the incidental in social life in general and in archaeology in particular. Rather than lengthy formal papers, we offer an introduction that presents a general set of reflections on the issue of the incidentalness of things, followed by essays that pursue particular directions raised by that introduction as well as our discussions in Berlin. It is our hope that these brief forays into a complex topic will stimulate further work on this subject.
A developing application of laser-driven currents is the generation of magnetic fields of picosecond–nanosecond duration with magnitudes exceeding
. Single-loop and helical coil targets can direct laser-driven discharge currents along wires to generate spatially uniform, quasi-static magnetic fields on the millimetre scale. Here, we present proton deflectometry across two axes of a single-loop coil ranging from 1 to 2 mm in diameter. Comparison with proton tracking simulations shows that measured magnetic fields are the result of kiloampere currents in the coil and electric charges distributed around the coil target. Using this dual-axis platform for proton deflectometry, robust measurements can be made of the evolution of magnetic fields in a capacitor coil target.
Recovery Colleges are opening internationally. The evaluation focus has been on outcomes for Recovery College students who use mental health services. However, benefits may also arise for: staff who attend or co-deliver courses; the mental health and social care service hosting the Recovery College; and wider society. A theory-based change model characterising how Recovery Colleges impact at these higher levels is needed for formal evaluation of their impact, and to inform future Recovery College development. The aim of this study was to develop a stratified theory identifying candidate mechanisms of action and outcomes (impact) for Recovery Colleges at staff, services and societal levels.
Inductive thematic analysis of 44 publications identified in a systematised review was supplemented by collaborative analysis involving a lived experience advisory panel to develop a preliminary theoretical framework. This was refined through semi-structured interviews with 33 Recovery College stakeholders (service user students, peer/non-peer trainers, managers, community partners, clinicians) in three sites in England.
Candidate mechanisms of action and outcomes were identified at staff, services and societal levels. At the staff level, experiencing new relationships may change attitudes and associated professional practice. Identified outcomes for staff included: experiencing and valuing co-production; changed perceptions of service users; and increased passion and job motivation. At the services level, Recovery Colleges often develop somewhat separately from their host system, reducing the reach of the college into the host organisation but allowing development of an alternative culture giving experiential learning opportunities to staff around co-production and the role of a peer workforce. At the societal level, partnering with community-based agencies gave other members of the public opportunities for learning alongside people with mental health problems and enabled community agencies to work with people they might not have otherwise. Recovery Colleges also gave opportunities to beneficially impact on community attitudes.
This study is the first to characterise the mechanisms of action and impact of Recovery Colleges on mental health staff, mental health and social care services, and wider society. The findings suggest that a certain distance is needed in the relationship between the Recovery College and its host organisation if a genuine cultural alternative is to be created. Different strategies are needed depending on what level of impact is intended, and this study can inform decision-making about mechanisms to prioritise. Future research into Recovery Colleges should include contextual evaluation of these higher level impacts, and investigate effectiveness and harms.
An outbreak of mumps within a student population in Scotland was investigated to assess the effect of previous vaccination on infection and clinical presentation, and any genotypic variation. Of the 341 cases, 79% were aged 18–24. Vaccination status was available for 278 cases of whom 84% had received at least one dose of mumps containing vaccine and 62% had received two. The complication rate was 5·3% (mainly orchitis), and 1·2% were admitted to hospital. Genetic sequencing of mumps virus isolated from cases across Scotland classified 97% of the samples as genotype G. Two distinct clusters of genotype G were identified, one circulating before the outbreak and the other thereafter, suggesting the virus that caused this outbreak was genetically different from the previously circulating virus. Whilst the poor vaccine effectiveness we found may be due to waning immunity over time, a contributing factor may be that the current mumps vaccine is less effective against some genotypes. Although the general benefits of the measles–mumps–rubella (MMR) vaccine should continue to be promoted, there may be value in reassessing the UK vaccination schedule and the current mumps component of the MMR vaccine.
It is increasingly essential for medical researchers to be literate in statistics, but the requisite degree of literacy is not the same for every statistical competency in translational research. Statistical competency can range from ‘fundamental’ (necessary for all) to ‘specialized’ (necessary for only some). In this study, we determine the degree to which each competency is fundamental or specialized.
We surveyed members of 4 professional organizations, targeting doctorally trained biostatisticians and epidemiologists who taught statistics to medical research learners in the past 5 years. Respondents rated 24 educational competencies on a 5-point Likert scale anchored by ‘fundamental’ and ‘specialized.’
There were 112 responses. Nineteen of 24 competencies were fundamental. The competencies considered most fundamental were assessing sources of bias and variation (95%), recognizing one’s own limits with regard to statistics (93%), identifying the strengths, and limitations of study designs (93%). The least endorsed items were meta-analysis (34%) and stopping rules (18%).
We have identified the statistical competencies needed by all medical researchers. These competencies should be considered when designing statistical curricula for medical researchers and should inform which topics are taught in graduate programs and evidence-based medicine courses where learners need to read and understand the medical research literature.
Giardia duodenalis and Cryptosporidium species are protozoan parasites capable of causing gastrointestinal disease in humans and animals through the ingestion of infective faeces. Whereas Cryptosporidium species can be acquired locally or through foreign travel, there is the mis-conception that giardiasis is considered to be largely travel-associated, which results in differences in laboratory testing algorithms. In order to determine the level of variation in testing criteria and detection methods between diagnostic laboratories for both pathogens across Scotland, an audit was performed. Twenty Scottish diagnostic microbiology laboratories were invited to participate with questions on sample acceptance criteria, testing methods, testing rates and future plans for pathogen detection. Reponses were received from 19 of the 20 laboratories representing each of the 14 territorial Health Boards. Detection methods varied between laboratories with the majority performing microscopy, one using a lateral flow immunochromatographic antigen assay, another using a manually washed plate-based enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and one laboratory trialling a plate-based EIA automated with an EIA plate washer. Whereas all laboratories except one screened every stool for Cryptosporidium species, an important finding was that significant variation in the testing algorithm for detecting Giardia was noted with only four laboratories testing all diagnostic stools. The most common criteria were ‘travel history’ (11 laboratories) and/or ‘when requested’ (14 laboratories). Despite only a small proportion of stools being examined in 15 laboratories for Giardia (2%–18% of the total number of stools submitted), of interest is the finding that a higher positivity rate was observed for Giardia than Cryptosporidium in 10 of these 15 laboratories. These findings highlight that the underreporting of Giardia in Scotland is likely based on current selection and testing algorithms.
Cryptosporidium parvum (C. parvum) is one of the most prevalent protozoan pathogens responsible for inducing human and animal disease worldwide. In this study, the glycoprotein-60 (gp60) subtyping tool was employed to assess the molecular diversity of C. parvum from human feces throughout Scotland during potential outbreaks. Over a 24-month period, microscopy analysis revealed 1139 positive feces containing Cryptosporidium species with 256 identified by molecular methods specifically as C. parvum. Cryptosporidium parvum was shown to be more prevalent in rural areas of Scotland and subtyping of 87 isolates demonstrated the predominant family as IIa, which occurred in 94% (n = 82) of isolates. The IIaA15G1R1 subtype was most common, being isolated from 47% (n = 41) of Scottish human cases. Non-IIa strains constituted a total of 5 isolates and included subtypes from the IIc, IId and IIg families. This information contributes significantly to existing knowledge and understanding of C. parvum subtypes in Scotland which is vital in assisting with the management of future local and national outbreaks.
Giardiasis, caused by the intestinal protozoan parasite Giardia intestinalis (synonyms: G. lamblia, G. duodenalis), is one of the most frequent parasites to infect the Scottish population. Transmission of the infective cysts in faecal matter is commonly via food and/or water. Giardia is subdivided into assemblages, where clinical and epidemiological differences have been described between assemblages A and B. This snapshot descriptive epidemiological study examines 30 positive cases of Giardia of which 72% (n = 21) were shown to be assemblage A, 14% (n = 4) assemblage B and 10% (n = 3) mixed assemblages (A and B). There was a 2:3 female:male ratio of affected individuals with foreign travel recorded in 22 of these cases. The commonest symptom was diarrhoea which was reported in 80% of cases followed by tiredness. Five cases required hospitalization emphasizing the importance of gaining a greater understanding of how Giardia assemblages influence clinical outcomes to assist in formulating guidelines to manage potential Giardia outbreaks.
The associations with weather and bathing water quality on infectious intestinal disease (IID) were investigated using data from two Scottish NHS Board areas. Monthly counts of viral and non-viral gastrointestinal infections were modelled as a smooth function of temperature, relative humidity and average monthly counts of faecal indicator organisms, respectively, adjusting for season and long-term trend effects. Strong seasonal patterns were observed for each group of pathogens. Peak viral gastrointestinal infection was in May while that of non-viral gastrointestinal infections was in July. A statistically significant negative association existed between weather (temperature and humidity) and viral infection. Average levels of non-viral gastrointestinal infections increased as temperature and relative humidity increased. Increasing levels of faecal indicator organisms in bathing waters were also associated with an increase in the average number of viral and non-viral gastrointestinal infections at the ecological level. Future climate change and prolonged precipitation events may result in increasing levels of faecal indicator organisms in bathing waters leading to likely increases in IIDs.
Previous evidence has suggested an association between cryptosporidiosis and consumption of unfiltered drinking water from Loch Katrine in Scotland. Before September 2007, the water was only micro-strained and chlorinated; however, since that time, coagulation and rapid gravity filtration have been installed. In order to determine risk factors associated with cryptosporidiosis, including drinking water, we analysed data on microbiologically confirmed cases of cryptosporidiosis from 2004 to 2010. We identified an association between the incidence of cryptosporidiosis and unfiltered Loch Katrine drinking water supplied to the home (odds ratio 1·86, 95% confidence interval 1·11–3·11, P = 0·019). However, while filtration appears to be associated with initially reduced rates of cryptosporidiosis, evidence suggests it may paradoxically make those consumers more susceptible to other transmission routes in the long-term. These findings support implementation of similar treatment for other unfiltered drinking-water supplies, as a means of reducing cryptosporidiosis associated with drinking water.
The effectiveness of influenza vaccination programmes is seldom known during an epidemic. We developed an internet-based system to record influenza-like symptoms and response to infection in a participating cohort. Using self-reports of influenza-like symptoms and of influenza vaccine history and uptake, we estimated vaccine effectiveness (VE) without the need for individuals to seek healthcare. We found that vaccination with the 2010 seasonal influenza vaccine was significantly protective against influenza-like illness (ILI) during the 2010–2011 influenza season (VE 52%, 95% CI 27–68). VE for individuals who received both the 2010 seasonal and 2009 pandemic influenza vaccines was 59% (95% CI 27–77), slightly higher than VE for those vaccinated in 2010 alone (VE 46%, 95% CI 9–68). Vaccinated individuals with ILI reported taking less time off work than unvaccinated individuals with ILI (3·4 days vs. 5·3 days, P<0·001).
On 24 August 2008, an outbreak alert regarding cases of acute gastroenteritis in Podgorica triggered investigations to guide control measures. From 23 August to 7 September, 1699 cases were reported in Podgorica (population 136 000) and we estimated the total size of the outbreak to be 10 000–15 000 corresponding to an attack rate of ~10%. We conducted an age- and neighbourhood-matched case-control study, microbiologically analysed faecal and municipal water samples and assessed the water distribution system. All cases (83/83) and 90% (89/90) of controls drank unboiled chlorinated municipal water [matched odds ratio (mOR) 11·2, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1·6–∞]. Consumption of bottled water was inversely associated with illness (mOR 0·3, 95% CI 0·1–0·8). Analyses of faecal samples identified six norovirus genotypes (21/38 samples) and occasionally other viruses. Multiple defects in the water distribution system were noted. These results suggest that the outbreak was caused by faecally contaminated municipal water. It is unusual to have such a large outbreak in a European city especially when the municipal water supply is chlorinated. Therefore, it is important to establish effective multiple-barrier water-treatment systems whenever possible, but even with an established chlorinated supply, sustained vigilance is central to public health.
Three hundred and seventy-six patients attending their general practitioner with cutaneous warts at five health centres in Northern Ireland were screened for human papilloma virus (HPV) types 1 and 2 IgM antibody using an indirect immunofluorescence test. Eighty-eight (23·4%) patients were positive for HPV type 1 IgM and 156 (41·5%) for HPV type 2 IgM. HPV 1 IgM antibody was significantly more likely to be associated with plantar warts than warts elsewhere (P 0·0001). HPV 2 IgM was present in 45 (34·1%) patients with plantar warts and 99 (45·6%) patients with warts at other sites (P=0·1). Evidence of multiple infection by HPV types 1 and 2 was demonstrated by the finding of HPV 1 and 2 IgM antibodies in the sera of 16 (4·3%). HPV 4 was found in only 1 out of 30 biopsies and HPV 4 IgM was undetectable in 50 randomly chosen sera.
To describe the frequency of selected antimicrobial resistance patterns among pathogens causing device-associated and procedure-associated healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) reported by hospitals in the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).
Data are included on HAIs (ie, central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and surgical site infections) reported to the Patient Safety Component of the NHSN between January 2006 and October 2007. The results of antimicrobial susceptibility testing of up to 3 pathogenic isolates per HAI by a hospital were evaluated to define antimicrobial-resistance in the pathogenic isolates. The pooled mean proportions of pathogenic isolates interpreted as resistant to selected antimicrobial agents were calculated by type of HAI and overall. The incidence rates of specific device-associated infections were calculated for selected antimicrobial-resistant pathogens according to type of patient care area; the variability in the reported rates is described.
Overall, 463 hospitals reported 1 or more HAIs: 412 (89%) were general acute care hospitals, and 309 (67%) had 200-1,000 beds. There were 28,502 HAIs reported among 25,384 patients. The 10 most common pathogens (accounting for 84% of any HAIs) were coagulase-negative staphylococci (15%), Staphylococcus aureus (15%), Enterococcus species (12%), Candida species (11%), Escherichia coli (10%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (8%), Klebsiella pneumoniae (6%), Enterobacter species (5%), Acinetobacter baumannii (3%), and Klebsiella oxytoca (2%). The pooled mean proportion of pathogenic isolates resistant to antimicrobial agents varied significantly across types of HAI for some pathogen-antimicrobial combinations. As many as 16% of all HAIs were associated with the following multidrug-resistant pathogens: methicillin-resistant S. aureus (8% of HAIs), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (4%), carbapenem-resistant P. aeruginosa (2%), extended-spectrum cephalosporin-resistant K. pneumoniae (1%), extended-spectrum cephalosporin-resistant E. coli (0.5%), and carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii, K. pneumoniae, K. oxytoca, and E. coli (0.5%). Nationwide, the majority of units reported no HAIs due to these antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.
Grey matter and other structural brain abnormalities are consistently
reported in first-onset schizophrenia, but less is known about the extent
of neuroanatomical changes in first-onset affective psychosis
To determine which brain abnormalities are specific to (a) schizophrenia
and (b) affective psychosis
We obtained dual-echo (proton density/T2-weighted) magnetic resonance
images and carried out voxel-based analysis on the images of 73 patients
with first-episode psychosis (schizophrenia n=44,
affective psychosis n=29) and 58 healthy controls
Both patients with schizophrenia and patients with affective psychosis
had enlarged lateral and third ventricle volumes. Regional cortical grey
matter reductions (including bilateral anterior cingulate gyrus, left
insula and left fusiform gyrus) were evident in affective psychosis but
not in schizophrenia, although patients with schizophrenia displayed
decreased hippocampal grey matter and increased striatal grey matter at a
more liberal statistical threshold
Both schizophrenia and affective psychosis are associated with volumetric
abnormalities at the onset of frank psychosis, with some of these evident
in common brain areas
The prevalence, incidence and outcomes of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) and thrombotic thrombocytopaenic purpura (TTP) are not well established in adults or children from prospective studies. We sought to identify both outcomes and current management strategies using prospective, national surveillance of HUS and TTP, from 2003 to 2005 inclusive. We also investigated the links between these disorders and factors implicated in the aetiology of HUS and TTP including infections, chemotherapy, and immunosuppression. Most cases of HUS were caused by verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC), of which serotype O157 predominated, although other serotypes were identified. The list of predisposing factors for TTP was more varied although use of immunosuppressive agents and severe sepsis, were the most frequent precipitants. The study demonstrates that while differentiating between HUS and TTP is sometimes difficult, in most cases the two syndromes have quite different predisposing factors and clinical parameters, enabling clinical and epidemiological profiling for these disorders.
The legacy of the workhouse origin of services for older people in the United Kingdom remains in the memory of patients and practitioners and is still a reality for some. In the area in which we work, geriatric medicine services are still provided in Victorian Poor Law buildings, although, we hope, not for much longer. The disadvantage that this causes to patients in terms of access to modern services and investigations is quite clear and the importance given to the ‘routing of age discrimination’ in the National Service Framework for Older People has in general been welcomed. In a parallel document, the Department of Health has stressed the importance of a robust policy for medicines management based on the twin principles of appropriate prescribing. Firstly, all older people should receive all the medication from which they would benefit. Secondly, steps should be taken to reduce the risk of adverse effects, the frequency of which rise with age. The prescribing principles outlined in these two documents, together with the other National Service Frameworks, form a powerful basis to improve the health of older people.