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Advanced cancer patients who are parents of minor children experience heightened psychosocial distress. Oncology social workers (OSWs) are essential providers of psychosocial support to parents with advanced cancer. Yet, little is known about the experiences and approaches of OSWs in addressing these patients’ unique needs. The purpose of this study was to characterize the attitudes, practice behaviors, and training experiences of OSWs who provide psychosocial care for advanced cancer patients with minor children.
Forty-one OSWs participated in a cross-sectional survey addressing multiple facets of their psychosocial care for parents with advanced cancer. The five assessed domains of psychosocial support were communication support, emotional support, household support, illness and treatment decision-making support, and end-of-life planning.
Participants reported greatest confidence in counseling patients on communication with children about illness and providing support to co-parents about parenting concerns. OSWs reported less confidence in counseling parents on end-of-life issues and assisting families with non-traditional household structures. The majority of participants reported needing more time in their clinical practice to sufficiently address parents’ psychosocial needs. Nearly 90% of participants were interested in receiving further training on the care of parents with advanced cancer.
Significance of results
To improve the care of parents with advanced cancer, it is critical to understand how the psychosocial oncology workforce perceives its clinical practice needs. Study findings suggest an opportunity for enhanced training, particularly with respect to end-of-life needs and in response to the changing household structure of American families.
Using a legal standard for scrutinising the regulation of food label claims, this study assessed whether consumers are misled about wholegrain (WG) content and product healthfulness based on common product labels.
First, a discrete choice experiment used pairs of hypothetical products with different amounts of WG, sugar and salt to measure effects on assessment of healthfulness; and second, a WG content comprehension assessment used actual product labels to assess respondent understanding.
Online national panel survey.
For a representative sample of US adults (n 1030), survey responses were collected in 2018 and analysed in 2019.
First, 29–47 % of respondents incorrectly identified the healthier product from paired options, and respondents who self-identified as having difficulty in understanding labels were more likely to err. Second, for actual products composed primarily of refined grains, 43–51 % of respondents overstated the WG content, whereas for one product composed primarily of WG, 17 % of respondents understated the WG content.
The frequency of consumer misunderstanding of grain product labels was high in both study components. Potential policies to address consumer confusion include requiring disclosure of WG content as a percentage of total grain content or requiring disclosure of the grams of WG v. refined grains per serving.
This paper reassesses two conflicting hypotheses on the valuation impacts of private placements of equity (PPEs), the monitoring/certification hypothesis and the managerial entrenchment hypothesis, by focusing on the shareholder approval, active buyer, and premium pricing features of PPEs. We find that PPEs with these features have significant positive announcement returns and insignificant mean long-run returns, while the corresponding announcement and long-run returns for PPEs without such features are significantly negative. Firms with value-enhancing PPE features are better governed and use proceeds more efficiently. Thus, the heterogeneous nature of PPEs helps reconcile the puzzling return patterns and conflicting hypotheses regarding PPEs.
This research longitudinally examines the association between levels of state Medicaid prescription spending and the state strategies intended to constrain cost increases: the negotiated pricing strategy, as indicated by state rebate programs, and the price transparency strategy, as indicated by state operation of All-Payer Claims Databases. The findings demonstrate evidence that state Medicaid prescription spending is influenced by the negotiated pricing strategy, especially Managed Care Organization (MCO) rebates under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but not influenced by the price transparency strategy. State decisions for MCO rebates, such as carving prescription benefits into managed care benefits, were effective in containing levels of Medicaid prescription spending over time, while other single- and multi-state rebate programs were not. Based on these findings, state policymakers may consider utilizing the MCO rebate program to address increases in Medicaid prescription spending.
The disposition and maintenance of alcohol addiction has been associated with dysfunctional learning, particularly with increased salience attribution to alcohol-associated stimuli and Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer, which establishes an effect of alcohol-associated cues on operant alcohol seeking and consumption. Previous imaging studies showed that dopamine dysfunction in the ventral striatum is associated with increased brain activation elicited by alcohol-associated cues in brain areas associated with attention. Furthermore, brain activation elicited by non-alcohol (e.g. monetary) reward was decreased in detoxified alcohol-dependent patients. Neuroadaptation following addiction therefore seems to augment neuronal responses to well-established, drug-associated stimuli while interfering with the learning of new, reward-seeking behaviour patterns. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) we showed that in detoxified alcoholics, reward-dependent reversal learning is impaired compared to healthy controls, and that this impairment correlates with reduced functional connectivity between the ventral striatum and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, we will present first data from a multimodal imaging study combining fMRI and positron-emission-tomography (PET) to measure the association between dopamine synthesis reduction and impaired functional brain activation during reversal learning in detoxified alcohol-dependent patients compared with healthy controls.
Stigma and social exclusion related to mental health are of substantial public health importance for Europe. As part of ROAMER (ROAdmap for MEntal health Research in Europe), we used systematic mapping techniques to describe the current state of research on stigma and social exclusion across Europe. Findings demonstrate growing interest in this field between 2007 and 2012. Most studies were descriptive (60%), focused on adults of working age (60%) and were performed in Northwest Europe—primarily in the UK (32%), Finland (8%), Sweden (8%) and Germany (7%). In terms of mental health characteristics, the largest proportion of studies investigated general mental health (20%), common mental disorders (16%), schizophrenia (16%) or depression (14%). There is a paucity of research looking at mechanisms to reduce stigma and promote social inclusion, or at factors that might promote resilience or protect against stigma/social exclusion across the life course. Evidence is also limited in relation to evaluations of interventions. Increasing incentives for cross-country research collaborations, especially with new EU Member States and collaboration across European professional organizations and disciplines, could improve understanding of the range of underpinning social and cultural factors which promote inclusion or contribute toward lower levels of stigma, especially during times of hardship.
To investigate the association between parity and the risk of incident dementia in women.
We pooled baseline and follow-up data for community-dwelling women aged 60 or older from six population-based, prospective cohort studies from four European and two Asian countries. We investigated the association between parity and incident dementia using Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for age, educational level, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and cohort, with additional analysis by dementia subtype (Alzheimer dementia (AD) and non-Alzheimer dementia (NAD)).
Of 9756 women dementia-free at baseline, 7010 completed one or more follow-up assessments. The mean follow-up duration was 5.4 ± 3.1 years and dementia developed in 550 participants. The number of parities was associated with the risk of incident dementia (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.02–1.13). Grand multiparity (five or more parities) increased the risk of dementia by 30% compared to 1–4 parities (HR = 1.30, 95% CI = 1.02–1.67). The risk of NAD increased by 12% for every parity (HR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.02–1.23) and by 60% for grand multiparity (HR = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.00–2.55), but the risk of AD was not significantly associated with parity.
Grand multiparity is a significant risk factor for dementia in women. This may have particularly important implications for women in low and middle-income countries where the fertility rate and prevalence of grand multiparity are high.
The Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial randomised neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome to a shunt strategy but otherwise retained standard of care. We aimed to describe centre-level practice variation at Fontan completion.
Centre-level data are reported as median or median frequency across all centres and range of medians or frequencies across centres. Classification and regression tree analysis assessed the association of centre-level factors with length of stay and percentage of patients with prolonged pleural effusion (>7 days).
The median Fontan age (14 centres, 320 patients) was 3.1 years (range from 1.7 to 3.9), and the weight-for-age z-score was −0.56 (−1.35 + 0.44). Extra-cardiac Fontans were performed in 79% (4–100%) of patients at the 13 centres performing this procedure; lateral tunnels were performed in 32% (3–100%) at the 11 centres performing it. Deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (nine centres) ranged from 6 to 100%. Major complications occurred in 17% (7–33%). The length of stay was 9.5 days (9–12); 15% (6–33%) had prolonged pleural effusion. Centres with fewer patients (<6%) with prolonged pleural effusion and fewer (<41%) complications had a shorter length of stay (<10 days; sensitivity 1.0; specificity 0.71; area under the curve 0.96). Avoiding deep hypothermic circulatory arrest and higher weight-for-age z-score were associated with a lower percentage of patients with prolonged effusions (<9.5%; sensitivity 1.0; specificity = 0.86; area under the curve 0.98).
Fontan perioperative practices varied widely among study centres. Strategies to decrease the duration of pleural effusion and minimise complications may decrease the length of stay. Further research regarding deep hypothermic circulatory arrest is needed to understand its association with prolonged pleural effusion.
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.
We present a broad study of linear, clustered, noble gas puffs irradiated with the frequency doubled (527 nm) Titan laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Pure Ar, Kr, and Xe clustered gas puffs, as well as two mixed-gas puffs consisting of KrAr and XeKrAr gases, make up the targets. Characterization experiments to determine gas-puff density show that varying the experimental parameter gas-delay timing (the delay between gas puff initialization and laser-gas-puff interaction) provides a simple control over the gas-puff density. X-ray emission (>1.4 keV) is studied as a function of gas composition, density, and delay timing. Xe gas puffs produce the strongest peak radiation in the several keV spectral region. The emitted radiation was found to be anisotropic, with smaller X-ray flux observed in the direction perpendicular to both laser beam propagation and polarization directions. The degree of anisotropy is independent of gas target type but increases with photon energy. X-ray spectroscopic measurements estimate plasma parameters and highlight their difference with previous studies. Electron beams with energy in excess of 72 keV are present in the noble gas-puff plasmas and results indicate that Ar plays a key role in their production. A drastic increase in harder X-ray emissions (X-ray flash effect) and multi-MeV electron-beam generation from Xe gas-puff plasma occurred when the laser beam was focused on the front edge of the linear gas puff.
Sexually reproducing pathogens such as Cyclospora cayetanensis often produce genetically heterogeneous infections where the number of unique sequence types detected at any given locus varies depending on which locus is sequenced. The genotypes assigned to these infections quickly become complex when additional loci are analysed. This genetic heterogeneity confounds the utility of traditional sequence-typing and phylogenetic approaches for aiding epidemiological trace-back, and requires new methods to address this complexity. Here, we describe an ensemble of two similarity-based classification algorithms, including a Bayesian and heuristic component that infer the relatedness of C. cayetanensis infections. The ensemble requires a set of haplotypes as input and assigns arbitrary distances to specimen pairs reflecting their most likely relationships. The approach was applied to data generated from a test cohort of 88 human fecal specimens containing C. cayetanensis, including 30 from patients whose infections were associated with epidemiologically defined outbreak clusters of cyclosporiasis. The ensemble assigned specimens to plausible clusters of genetically related infections despite their complex haplotype composition. These relationships were corroborated by a significant number of epidemiological linkages (P < 0.0001) suggesting the ensemble's utility for aiding epidemiological trace-back investigations of cyclosporiasis.
Introduction: Point-of-care ultrasonography (PoCUS) is being incorporated into Canadian undergraduate medical school curricula. The purpose of this study was to evaluate novel PoCUS education sessions to determine what aspects of the sessions benefitted from hands-on training and which PoCUS skills were retained over time. Methods: Second year medical students voluntarily received three different PoCUS training sessions, each lasting three hours. Prior to the sessions, participants prepared independently with pre-circulated online learning materials. After a 15-minute lecture, experienced PoCUS providers led small group (1 instructor: 5 students), live scanning sessions. Evaluations were conducted before and after each session using expert validated multiple choice questions testing general and procedural knowledge, image recognition and interpretation. Volunteer students were evaluated via direct observation of live scanning using an objective structured assessment of technical skills (OSAT) based on the O-score and then re-evaluated at 2 months post-training to assess PoCUS skills retention. Results: 40 second year medical students participated in extended Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (eFAST), cardiac, and gallbladder PoCUS sessions. The live-training sessions significantly improved student PoCUS knowledge beyond what they learned independently for eFAST (p < 0.001), cardiac (p < 0.001), and gallbladder (p = 0.02). The largest improvement was noted in procedural knowledge test scores improving from 44.0% to 84.0% (n = 38). 16 students were evaluated after each session with a mean O-score of 2.37. 8 students returned two months later to be re-evaluated demonstrating a change in O-scores for eFAST (2.00 to 2.38, p = 0.15), cardiac (2.28 to 2.00, p = 0.32), and gallbladder (2.91 to 1.88, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Procedural PoCUS knowledge benefited the most with hands-on training. eFAST and cardiac PoCUS competency was maintained over time while gallbladder PoCUS competency degraded suggesting that targeted PoCUS skills training may be possible. Further study is required to determine the best use of PoCUS resources in undergraduate medical education.
Early institutional rearing is associated with increased risk for subsequent peer relationship difficulties, but the underlying mechanisms have not been identified. Friendship characteristics, social behaviors with peers, normed assessments of social problems, and social cue use were assessed in 142 children (mean age = 10.06, SD = 2.02; range 7–13 years), of whom 67 were previously institutionalized (PI), and 75 were raised by their biological families. Anxiety and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, often elevated among PI children, were examined as potential mediators of PI status and baseline social functioning and longitudinal follow-ups (2 and 4 years later). Twenty-seven percent of PI children fell above the Child Behavior Checklist Social Problems cutoff. An examination of specific social behaviors with peers indicated that PI and comparison children did not differ in empathic concern or peer social approach, though parents were more likely to endorse aggression/overarousal as a reason that PI children might struggle with friendships. Comparison children outperformed PI children in computerized testing of social cue use learning. Finally, across these measures, social difficulties exhibited in the PI group were mediated by ADHD symptoms with predicted social problems assessed 4 years later. These findings show that, when PI children struggle with friendships, mechanisms involving attention and behavior regulation are likely contributors.
Firefighters are routinely exposed to various traumatic events and often experience a range of trauma-related symptoms. Although these repeated traumatic exposures rarely progress to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, firefighters are still considered to be a vulnerable population with regard to trauma.
To investigate how the human brain responds to or compensates for the repeated experience of traumatic stress.
We included 98 healthy firefighters with repeated traumatic experiences but without any diagnosis of mental illness and 98 non-firefighter healthy individuals without any history of trauma. Functional connectivity within the fear circuitry, which consists of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, insula, amygdala, hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), was examined using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Trauma-related symptoms were evaluated using the Impact of Event Scale – Revised.
The firefighter group had greater functional connectivity between the insula and several regions of the fear circuitry including the bilateral amygdalae, bilateral hippocampi and vmPFC as compared with healthy individuals. In the firefighter group, stronger insula–amygdala connectivity was associated with greater severity of trauma-related symptoms (β = 0.36, P = 0.005), whereas higher insula–vmPFC connectivity was related to milder symptoms in response to repeated trauma (β = −0.28, P = 0.01).
The current findings suggest an active involvement of insular functional connectivity in response to repeated traumatic stress. Functional connectivity of the insula in relation to the amygdala and vmPFC may be potential pathways that underlie the risk for and resilience to repeated traumatic stress, respectively.
Although many mental health care systems provide care interventions that are not related to direct health care, little is known about the interfaces between the latter and core health care. ‘Core health care’ refers to services whose explicit aim is direct clinical treatment which is usually provided by health professionals, i.e., physicians, nurses, psychologists. ‘Other care’ is typically provided by other staff and includes accommodation, training, promotion of independence, employment support and social skills. In such a definition, ‘other care’ does not necessarily mean being funded or governed differently. The aims of the study were: (1) using a standard classification system (Description and Evaluation of Services and Directories in Europe for Long Term Care, DESDE-LTC) to identify ‘core health’ and ‘other care’ services provided to adults with mental health problems; and (2) to investigate the balance of care by analysing the types and characteristics of core health and other care services.
The study was conducted in eight selected local areas in eight European countries with different mental health systems. All publicly funded mental health services, regardless of the funding agency, for people over 18 years old were identified and coded. The availability, capacity and the workforce of the local mental health services were described using their functional main activity or ‘Main Types of Care’ (MTC) as the standard for international comparison, following the DESDE-LTC system.
In these European study areas, 822 MTCs were identified as providing core health care and 448 provided other types of care. Even though one-third of mental health services in the selected study areas provided interventions that were coded as ‘other care’, significant variation was found in the typology and characteristics of these services across the eight study areas.
The functional distinction between core health and other care overcomes the traditional division between ‘health’ and ‘social’ sectors based on governance and funding. The overall balance between core health and other care services varied significantly across the European sites. Mental health systems cannot be understood or planned without taking into account the availability and capacity of all services specifically available for this target population, including those outside the health sector.
Culturally linked family influences during adolescence are important predictors of health and well-being for Latino youth, yet few studies have examined whether these familial influences are associated with indicators of typical physiological stress processes. Following a cultural neurobiology framework, we examined the role of family in the everyday lives of Latino adolescents (N = 209; Mage = 18.10; 85.1% Mexican descent; 64.4% female) by investigating familism values and perceptions of parent support as well as daily family assistance behaviors in relation to hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis diurnal patterns, indexed by salivary cortisol five times a day for 3 weekdays. Three-level growth curve analyses revealed that perceptions of parental support were associated with greater cortisol awakening responses, whereas familism values were not associated with diurnal cortisol patterns. In day-to-day analyses, assisting family during the day (compared to not assisting family) was associated with lower waking cortisol levels and flatter diurnal slopes the next day. Our findings highlight the dynamic associations and multiple time courses between cultural values and behaviors, daily experiences, and physiological stress processes for Latino adolescents. Further, we identified important cultural risk and promotive factors associated with physiological regulation in daily life and potential pathways toward health outcomes in adulthood.
Naturally time-averaged accumulations of skeletal remains—death assemblages—provide reliable, albeit temporally coarse, information on the species composition and structure of communities in diverse settings, and their mismatch with local living communities usually signals recent human-driven ecological change. Here, we present the first test of live–dead mismatch as an indicator of human stress using ostracodes. On three islands along a gradient of human population density in the Bahamas, we compared the similarity of living and death assemblages in 10 lakes with relatively low levels of human stress to live–dead similarity in 11 physically comparable lakes subject to industrial, agricultural, or other human activities currently or in the past. We find that live–dead agreement in pristine lakes is consistently excellent, boding well for using death assemblages in modern-day and paleolimnological biodiversity assessments. In most comparison of physically similar paired lakes, sample-level live–dead mismatch in both taxonomic composition and species’ rank abundance is on average significantly greater in the stressed lakes; live–dead agreement is not lower in all samples from stressed lakes, but is more variable. When samples are pooled for lake-level and island-level comparisons, stressed lakes still yield lower live–dead agreement, but the significance of the difference with pristine lakes decreases—species that occur dead-only (or alive-only) in one sample are likely to occur alive (or dead) in other samples. Interisland differences in live–dead agreement are congruent with, but not significantly correlated with, differences in human population density. This situation arises from heterogeneity in the timing and magnitudes of stresses and in the extent of poststress recovery. Live–dead mismatch in ostracode assemblages thus may be a reliable indicator of human impact at the sample level with the potential to be a widely applicable tool for identifying impacted habitats and, perhaps, monitoring the progress of their recovery.