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In 2016, we reviewed preventive control measures for secondary transmission of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in humans in European Union (EU)/European Free Trade Association (EEA) countries to inform the revision of the respective Norwegian guidelines which at that time did not accommodate for the varying pathogenic potential of STEC. We interviewed public health experts from EU/EEA institutes, using a semi-structured questionnaire. We revised the Norwegian guidelines using a risk-based approach informed by the new scientific evidence on risk factors for HUS and the survey results. All 13 (42%) participating countries tested STEC for Shiga toxin (stx) 1, stx2 and eae (encoding intimin). Five countries differentiated their control measures based on clinical and/or microbiological case characteristics, but only Denmark based their measures on routinely conducted stx subtyping. In all countries, but Norway, clearance was obtained with ⩽3 negative STEC specimens. After this review, Norway revised the STEC guidelines and recommended only follow-up of cases infected with high-virulent STEC (determined by microbiological and clinical information); clearance is obtained with three negative specimens. Implementation of the revised Norwegian guidelines will lead to a decrease of STEC cases needing follow-up and clearance, and will reduce the burden of unnecessary public health measures and the socioeconomic impact on cases. This review of guidelines could assist other countries in adapting their STEC control measures.
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 is the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Due to the consistent association, there is interest as to whether E4 influences the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, there is a constant search for other genetic biomarkers contributing to these phenotypes, such as microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) haplotypes. Here, participants from the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative were genotyped to investigate whether the APOE E4 allele or MAPT H1 haplotype are associated with five neurodegenerative diseases: (1) AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), (2) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (3) frontotemporal dementia (FTD), (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) vascular cognitive impairment.
Genotypes were defined for their respective APOE allele and MAPT haplotype calls for each participant, and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the associations with the presentations of neurodegenerative diseases.
Our work confirmed the association of the E4 allele with a dose-dependent increased presentation of AD, and an association between the E4 allele alone and MCI; however, the other four diseases were not associated with E4. Further, the APOE E2 allele was associated with decreased presentation of both AD and MCI. No associations were identified between MAPT haplotype and the neurodegenerative disease cohorts; but following subtyping of the FTD cohort, the H1 haplotype was significantly associated with progressive supranuclear palsy.
This is the first study to concurrently analyze the association of APOE isoforms and MAPT haplotypes with five neurodegenerative diseases using consistent enrollment criteria and broad phenotypic analysis.
Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a pathogenic nematode and the cause of neuroangiostrongyliasis, an eosinophilic meningitis more commonly known as rat lungworm disease. Transmission is thought to be primarily due to ingestion of infective third stage larvae (L3) in gastropods, on produce, or in contaminated water. The gold standard to determine the effects of physical and chemical treatments on the infectivity of A. cantonensis L3 larvae is to infect rodents with treated L3 larvae and monitor for infection, but animal studies are laborious and expensive and also raise ethical concerns. This study demonstrates propidium iodide (PI) to be a reliable marker of parasite death and loss of infective potential without adversely affecting the development and future reproduction of live A. cantonensis larvae. PI staining allows evaluation of the efficacy of test substances in vitro, an improvement upon the use of lack of motility as an indicator of death. Some potential applications of this assay include determining the effectiveness of various anthelmintics, vegetable washes, electromagnetic radiation and other treatments intended to kill larvae in the prevention and treatment of neuroangiostrongyliasis.
Introduction: Alberta has one of the highest rates of domestic violence (DV) in the country. Emergency departments (EDs) and urgent care centres (UCCs) are significant points of opportunity to screen for DV and intervene. In Alberta, the Calgary Zone began a universal education and direct inquiry program for DV in EDs and UCCs for patients > = 14 years in 2003. The Calgary model is unique in that (a) it provides universal education in addition to screening and (b) screening is truly universal as it includes all age groups and genders. While considering expanding this model provincially, we engaged in the GRADE Adolopment process, to achieve multi-stakeholder consensus on a provincial approach to DV screening, as herewith described. Methods: Using GRADE, we synthesized and rated the quality of evidence on DV screening and presented it to an expert panel of stakeholders from the community, EDs, and Alberta Health Services. There was moderate certainty evidence that screening improved DV identification in antenatal clinics, maternal health services and EDs. There was no evidence of harm and low certainty evidence of improvement in patient-important outcomes. As per Adolopment, the expert panel reviewed the evidence in the context of: a) values and preferences b) benefits and harms, and c) acceptability, feasibility, and resource implications. Results: The panel came to a unanimous decision to conditionally recommend universal screening, i.e., screening all adults above 14 years of age in EDs and UCCs. By conditional, the panel noted that EDs and UCCs must have support resources in place for patients who screen positive to realize the full benefit of screening and avoid harm. The panel deemed universal screening to be a logistically easier recommendation, compared to training healthcare professionals to screen certain subpopulations or assess for specific symptoms associated with DV. The panel noted that despite absence of evidence that screening would impact patient-important outcomes, there was evidence that effective interventions following a positive screen could positively impact these outcomes. The panel stressed the importance of evidence creation in the context of absence of evidence. Conclusion: A GRADE Adolopment process achieved consensus on provincial expansion of an ED-based DV screening program. Moving forward, we plan to gather evidence on patient-important outcomes and understudied subpopulations (i.e. men and the elderly).
Introduction: Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) often present to the ED with acute exacerbations (AE-COPD) of the disease. A potential occult yet fatal disease that might contribute or accompany an AE-COPD presentation is a pulmonary embolism (PE). Previous studies have investigated and report rates of PE in up to 29% of patients presenting with AE-COPD. Misdiagnoses of PE leads to poor outcomes, however, over-testing for PE also presents with substantial risks to the patient and strain on acute care resources. The goal of this study was to pragmatically identify the prevalence and 30-day incidence of PE in patients presenting with AE-COPD to EDs, as well as the burden and yield of PE investigations. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of extracted data for patients □50 years old presenting to one of four emergency departments in Calgary with an AE-COPD since 2013. Patients with a history of outpatient anticoagulation therapy from a community pharmacy were excluded. Each patient chart was reviewed to identify a diagnosis of PE during the admission for an AE-COPD, or 30 days post discharge from an AE-COPD admission or ED presentation. An AE-COPD diagnosis was defined as a primary. Results: A total of 9554 AE-COPD ED patient visits were included in the study. 0.69% (95%CI 0.54 to 0.88) were identified to have a PE. 26 of the 66 (39.4%) were diagnosed during an AE-COPD inpatient admission, while 43 (65.2%) were diagnosed within 30 days post-discharge from an AE-COPD admission or ED presentation. Since 2016, 7.4% of AE-COPD patients underwent a CT-PE, while 16.7% underwent a d-dimer. The most common chief complaint in PE patients was dyspnea (75.8%). The mean age of the PE diagnosed was 73.4, with nearly equal representation of both sexes. Many patients had underlying comorbidities, such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancer of various sites, all of which are risk factors for developing a PE. Conclusion: The prevalence and 30-day incidence of PE in AE-COPD patients appears to be lower than what was previously reported in the literature. Despite this, a significant proportion of AE-COPD patients were exposed to the risks and burden of a PE work up, with low diagnostic yield. PE investigations in AE-COPD should be used selectively and could inform a quality improvement indicator. A future prospective study would drastically contribute to whether a PE clinical work up should be recommended and of value to patients.
Speleothem organic matter can be a powerful tracer for past environmental conditions and karst processes. Carbon isotope measurements (δ13C and 14C) in particular can provide crucial information on the provenance and age of speleothem organic matter, but are challenging due to low concentrations of organic matter in stalagmites. Here, we present a method development study on extraction and isotopic characterization of speleothem organic matter using a rapid procedure with low laboratory contamination risk. An extensive blank assessment allowed us to quantify possible sources of contamination through the entire method. Although blank contamination is consistently low (1.7 ± 0.34 – 4.3 ± 0.86 μg C for the entire procedure), incomplete sample decarbonation poses a still unresolved problem of the method, but can be detected when considering both δ13C and 14C values. We test the method on five stalagmites, showing reproducible results on samples as small as 7 μg C for δ13C and 20 μg C for 14C. Furthermore, we find consistently lower non-purgeable organic carbon (NPOC) 14C values compared to the carbonate 14C over the bomb spike interval in two stalagmites from Yok Balum Cave, Belize, suggesting overprint of a pre-aged or even fossil source of carbon on the organic fraction incorporated by these stalagmites.
Advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD) may place a high burden on patients and their caregivers. Understanding the determinants of caregiver burden is of critical importance. This understanding requires the availability of adequate assessment tools. Recently, the Parkinson’s disease caregiver burden questionnaire (PDCB) has been developed as a PD-specific measure of caregiver burden. However, the PDCB has only been evaluated in a sample of Australian caregivers of patients at a less advanced stage of the disease.
We tested whether a German translation of the PDCB qualifies as an adequate measure of caregiver burden in a German sample of caregivers of advanced patients with PD.
We collected PDCB data from 65 caregivers of advanced patients with PD. Reliability of the scale was assessed and compared against the original version. To validate the German version of the PDCB, we examined the correlations with the caregiver burden inventory (CBI), the short form 36 health survey (SF-36), the Parkinson’s disease quality of life questionnaire 39 (PDQ-39), disease duration, and the amount of caregiving time.
The total PDCB score proved to be reliable and to be significantly related to CBI and SF-36 scores. PDCB scores also increased with increasing amounts of caregiving time.
The German version of the PDCB appears to be an adequate measure of caregiver burden in caregivers of advanced PD patients.
In Norway, incidence of sporadic domestically acquired salmonellosis is low, and most frequently due to Salmonalla Typhimurium. We investigated the risk factors for sporadic Salmonella infections in Norway to improve control and prevention measures. Surveillance data for all Salmonella infections from 2000 to 2015 were analysed for seasonality and proportion associated with domestic reservoirs, hedgehogs and wild birds. A prospective case–control study was conducted from 2010 to 2012 by recruiting cases from the Norwegian Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases and controls from the Norwegian Population Registry (389 cases and 1500 controls). Univariable analyses using logistic regression were conducted and a multivariable model was developed using regularised/penalised logistic regression. In univariable analysis, eating snow, dirt, sand or playing in a sandbox (aOR 4.14; CI 2.15–7.97) was associated with salmonellosis. This was also the only exposure significantly associated with illness in the multivariable model. Since 2004, 34.2% (n = 354) of S. Typhimuirum cases had an MLVA profile linked to a domestic reservoir. A seasonal trend with a peak in August for all Salmonella types and in February for S. Typhimurium was observed. Indirect exposure to domestic reservoirs remains a source of salmonellosis in Norway, particularly for children. Information to the public about avoiding environmental exposure should be strengthened and initiatives to combat salmonellosis in the food chain should be reinforced.
Objectives: Maintaining two active languages may increase cognitive and brain reserve among bilingual individuals. We explored whether such a neuroprotective effect was manifested in the performance of memory tests for participants with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). Methods: We compared 42 bilinguals to 25 monolinguals on verbal and nonverbal memory tests. We used: (a) the Loewenstein-Acevedo Scales for Semantic Interference and Learning (LASSI-L), a sensitive test that taps into proactive, retroactive, and recovery from proactive semantic interference (verbal memory), and (b) the Benson Figure delayed recall (nonverbal memory). A subsample had volumetric MRI scans. Results: The bilingual group significantly outperformed the monolingual group on two LASSI-L cued recall measures (Cued A2 and Cued B2). A measure of maximum learning (Cued A2) showed a correlation with the volume of the left hippocampus in the bilingual group only. Cued B2 recall (sensitive to recovery from proactive semantic interference) was correlated with the volume of the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex of both cerebral hemispheres in the bilingual group, as well as with the left and right hippocampus in the monolingual group. The memory advantage in bilinguals on these measures was associated with higher inhibitory control as measured by the Stroop Color-Word test. Conclusions: Our results demonstrated a superior performance of aMCI bilinguals over aMCI monolinguals on selected verbal memory tasks. This advantage was not observed in nonverbal memory. Superior memory performance of bilinguals over monolinguals suggests that bilinguals develop a different and perhaps more efficient semantic association system that influences verbal recall. (JINS, 2019, 25, 15–28)
Measurements in the infrared wavelength domain allow direct assessment of the physical state and energy balance of cool matter in space, enabling the detailed study of the processes that govern the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems in galaxies over cosmic time. Previous infrared missions revealed a great deal about the obscured Universe, but were hampered by limited sensitivity.
SPICA takes the next step in infrared observational capability by combining a large 2.5-meter diameter telescope, cooled to below 8 K, with instruments employing ultra-sensitive detectors. A combination of passive cooling and mechanical coolers will be used to cool both the telescope and the instruments. With mechanical coolers the mission lifetime is not limited by the supply of cryogen. With the combination of low telescope background and instruments with state-of-the-art detectors SPICA provides a huge advance on the capabilities of previous missions.
SPICA instruments offer spectral resolving power ranging from R ~50 through 11 000 in the 17–230 μm domain and R ~28.000 spectroscopy between 12 and 18 μm. SPICA will provide efficient 30–37 μm broad band mapping, and small field spectroscopic and polarimetric imaging at 100, 200 and 350 μm. SPICA will provide infrared spectroscopy with an unprecedented sensitivity of ~5 × 10−20 W m−2 (5σ/1 h)—over two orders of magnitude improvement over what earlier missions. This exceptional performance leap, will open entirely new domains in infrared astronomy; galaxy evolution and metal production over cosmic time, dust formation and evolution from very early epochs onwards, the formation history of planetary systems.
Latino and Black males are more likely to suffer serious violent victimization compared to White males, and it is likely that economic disadvantage and other individual level differences play a key role in these disparities. This study of self-reported data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (1973–2010) is the first effort to assess three important issues: 1) the extent to which the relationship between serious violent victimization and race and ethnicity can be accounted for by age, location of residence, poverty status, and employment; 2) whether these factors have similar influences among Black, White, and Latino males; and 3) whether the net risk for violence associated with race and ethnicity has diminished over time. Our results show that disparities between Black and White male violent victimization decrease approximately 70% once age, location of residence, poverty status, and employment are taken into account, and that differences between Latinos and White males are fully accounted for by these factors. Poverty status is the only factor that varies in the strength of its association with violence across groups. We also find little evidence to suggest that the association between race, ethnicity and victimization risk changed significantly from 1973 to 2010, once other factors are considered. Despite notable declines in violence over this time period, Black and White disparities in male victimization persist over the past four decades; however, the relationship between poverty status and violence has increased some for Black and White males.
Introduction: Community Paramedics (CPs) require access to timely blood analysis in the field to guide treatment and transport decisions. Point of care testing (POCT), as opposed to traditional laboratory analysis, may offer a solution, but limited research exists on CP POCT. The objective of this study is to compare the validity of two POCT devices (Abbott i-STAT® and Alere epoc®) and their use by CPs in the community. Methods: In a CP programme responding to 6,000 annual patient care events, a split sample validation of POCT against traditional laboratory analysis for seven analytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, creatinine, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and glucose) was conducted on a consecutive sample of patients. The difference of proportion of discrepant results between POCT and laboratory was compared using a two sample proportion test. Usability was analysed by survey of CP experience, an expert heuristic evaluation of devices, a review of device-logged errors, coded observations of POCT use during quality control testing, and a linear mixed effects model of Systems Usability Scale (SUS) adjusted for CP clinical and POCT experience. Results: Of 1,649 CP calls for service screened for enrollment, 174 had a blood draw, with 108 patient care encounters (62.1%) enrolled from 73 participants. Participants had a mean age of 58.7 years (SD16.3); 49% were female. In 4 of 646 (0.6%) individual comparisons, POCT reported a critical value that the laboratory did not; with no statistically significant difference in the number of discrepant critical values reported with epoc® compared to i-STAT®. There were no instances of the laboratory reporting a critical value when POCT did not. In 88 of 1,046 (8.4%) individual comparisons, the a priori defined acceptable difference between POCT and the laboratory was exceeded; occurring more often in epoc® (10.7%;95%CI:8.1%,13.3%) compared to i-STAT® (6.1%;95%CI:4.1%,8.2%)(p=0.007). Eighteen of 19 CP surveys were returned, with 11/18 (61.1%) preferring i-STAT® over epoc®. The i-STAT® had a higher mean SUS score (higher usability) compared to the epoc® (84.0/100 vs. 59.6/100; p=0.011). Fewer field blood analysis device-logged errors occurred in i-STAT® (7.8%;95%CI:2.9%,12.7%) compared to epoc® (15.5%;95%CI:9.3%,21.7%) although not statistically significant (p=0.063). Conclusion: CP programs can expect valid results from POCT. Usability assessment suggests a preference for i-STAT.
Introduction: Safe and efficient handovers between emergency medical services (EMS) practitioners and emergency nurses are vital as poor transitions may lead to loss of information and place patients at risk for adverse events. We conducted a mixed methods systematic review to a) examine factors that disrupt or improve handovers from EMS practitioners to emergency department nurses, and b) investigate the effectiveness of interventional strategies that lead to improvements in communication and fewer adverse events. Methods: We searched electronic databases (DARE, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane, CINAHL, Joanna Briggs Institute EBP; Communication Abstracts); grey literature (grey literature databases, organization websites, querying experts in emergency medicine); and reference lists of the included studies. Citation tracking was conducted for the included studies. Two reviewers independently screened titles/abstracts and full-texts for inclusion and methodological quality using the Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool for quantitative studies and the Joanna Briggs Institute Critic Appraisal Checklist for Qualitative Research. Narrative and thematic synthesis were conducted to integrate and explore relationships within the data. Results: Twenty-two studies were included in this review from the 6150 records initially retrieved. Our analysis suggests that qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research approaches have been utilized to explore handovers. Studies (n=11) have predominantly explored existing patterns of handovers focusing on barriers and facilitators. Interventions (e.g. multimedia transmission of pre-hospital information, tailored e-learning program) were investigated in five studies. Results suggest that lack of formal handover training, workflow interruptions, workload, and strained working relationships between EMS and nursing are perceived threats to optimal handovers. Conclusion: The findings from this review can inform the development of handover interventions and contribute to a more rigorous approach to researching handovers between EMS practitioners and emergency nurses. Furthermore, there is a need for studies in which specific interventions to optimize handovers are examined.