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Early in a foodborne disease outbreak investigation, illness incubation periods can help focus case interviews, case definitions, clinical and environmental evaluations and predict an aetiology. Data describing incubation periods are limited. We examined foodborne disease outbreaks from laboratory-confirmed, single aetiology, enteric bacterial and viral pathogens reported to United States foodborne disease outbreak surveillance from 1998–2013. We grouped pathogens by clinical presentation and analysed the reported median incubation period among all illnesses from the implicated pathogen for each outbreak as the outbreak incubation period. Outbreaks from preformed bacterial toxins (Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus and Clostridium perfringens) had the shortest outbreak incubation periods (4–10 h medians), distinct from that of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (17 h median). Norovirus, salmonella and shigella had longer but similar outbreak incubation periods (32–45 h medians); campylobacter and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli had the longest among bacteria (62–87 h medians); hepatitis A had the longest overall (672 h median). Our results can help guide diagnostic and investigative strategies early in an outbreak investigation to suggest or rule out specific etiologies or, when the pathogen is known, the likely timeframe for exposure. They also point to possible differences in pathogenesis among pathogens causing broadly similar syndromes.
Human donor milk (DM) is Holder pasteurised (62·5°C, 30 min) to ensure its microbiological safety for infant consumption. In low-resource settings, flash heating is used to pasteurise milk. Although there is considerable interest in non-thermal alternatives (high hydrostatic pressure processing (HHP) and UVC irradiation) for pasteurisation, their effect on the fatty acid composition is not well understood. Of particular interest is the effect of pasteurisation on the generation of oxylipins. DM from eight mothers containing bacteria >5 × 107 colony-forming units/l was used. In a paired design, each pool of milk underwent four pasteurisation techniques: Holder; flash heating; UVC (250 nm, 25 min) and HHP (500 MPa, 8 min). Fatty acids were quantified by GC-flame ionisation detection and oxylipins derived from arachidonic acid; 18-carbon PUFA (α-linolenic acid, linoleic acid and γ-linolenic acid) and EPA/DHA were measured by liquid chromatography-tandem MS in aliquots of raw and processed milk. There were no significant changes to the composition of fatty acids following all pasteurisation techniques compared with raw milk. The n-6:n-3 ratio remained constant ranging from 6·4 to 6·6. Several arachidonic acid-derived oxylipins were highest post-UVC and elevated post-HHP compared with raw milk. Several oxylipins derived from 18-carbon PUFA (linoleic and α-linolenic acids) were elevated in UVC-treated milk. EPA/DHA-derived oxylipins were on average, unaffected by pasteurisation. Although some PUFA-derived oxylipins were increased following UVC and HHP, no method affected the fatty acid composition of human DM. Further research is needed to determine if varying levels of oxylipins in human DM as a result of processing can potentially mediate cellular signalling; proliferation and apoptosis, especially important for preterm infant development.
Veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is frequently used in patients with cardiac disease. We evaluated short-term outcomes and identified factors associated with hospital mortality in cardiac patients supported with veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
A retrospective review of patients supported with veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation at a university-affiliated children’s hospital was performed.
A total of 253 patients with cardiac disease managed with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation were identified; survival to discharge was 48%, which significantly improved from 39% in an earlier era (1995–2001) (p=0.01). Patients were categorised into surgical versus non-surgical groups on the basis of whether they had undergone cardiac surgery before or not, respectively. The most common indication for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation: 96 (51%) in the surgical group and 45 (68%) in the non-surgical group. In a multiple covariate analysis, single-ventricle physiology (p=0.01), duration of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (p<0.01), and length of hospital stay (p=0.03) were associated with hospital mortality. Weekend or night shift cannulation was associated with mortality in non-surgical patients (p=0.05).
We report improvement in survival compared with an earlier era in cardiac patients supported with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Single-ventricle physiology continues to negatively impact survival, along with evidence of organ dysfunction during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, duration of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and length of stay.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
Utilising routine surveillance data, this study presents a method for generating a baseline comparison that can be used in future foodborne outbreak investigations following a case–case methodology. Salmonella and Campylobacter cases (2012–2015) from Maricopa County, AZ were compared to determine differences in risk factors, symptoms and demographics. For foods and other risk factors, adjusted odds ratios were developed using Campylobacter as the reference. Comparisons were also made for three major Salmonella subtypes, Typhimurium, Enteritidis and Poona as compared with Campylobacter. Salmonella cases were younger, while Campylobacter cases were more Hispanic and female. Campylobacter cases reported consuming peppers, sprouts, poultry, queso fresco, eggs and raw nuts more and reported contact with animal products, birds, visiting a farm or dairy, owning a pet, a sick pet, swimming in a river, lake or pond, or handling multiple raw meats more. Salmonella cases reported visiting a petting zoo and contact with a reptile more. There were significant variations by Salmonella subtype in both foods and exposures. We recommend departments conduct this analysis to generate a baseline comparison and a running average of relevant odds ratios allowing staff to focus on trace-back of contaminated food items earlier in the outbreak investigation process.
In 785 mother–child (50% male) pairs from a longitudinal epidemiological birth cohort, we investigated associations between inflammation-related epigenetic polygenic risk scores (i-ePGS), environmental exposures, cognitive function, and child and adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems. We examined prenatal and postnatal effects. For externalizing problems, one prenatal effect was found: i-ePGS at birth associated with higher externalizing problems (ages 7–15) indirectly through lower cognitive function (age 7). For internalizing problems, we identified two effects. For a prenatal effect, i-ePGS at birth associated with higher internalizing symptoms via continuity in i-ePGS at age 7. For a postnatal effect, higher postnatal adversity exposure (birth through age 7) associated with higher internalizing problems (ages 7–15) via higher i-ePGS (age 7). Hence, externalizing problems were related mainly to prenatal effects involving lower cognitive function, whereas internalizing problems appeared related to both prenatal and postnatal effects. The present study supports a link between i-ePGS and child and adolescent mental health.
Few studies have examined the challenges faced by emergency medicine (EM) physicians in conducting goals of care discussions. This study is the first to describe the perceived barriers and facilitators to these discussions as reported by Canadian EM physicians and residents.
A team of EM, palliative care, and internal medicine physicians developed a survey comprising multiple choice, Likert-scale and open-ended questions to explore four domains of goals-of-care discussions: training; communication; environment; and patient beliefs.
Surveys were sent to 273 EM staff and residents in six sites, and 130 (48%) responded. Staff physicians conducted goals-of-care discussions several times per month or more, 74.1% (80/108) of the time versus 35% (8/23) of residents. Most agreed that goals-of-care discussions are within their scope of practice (92%), they felt comfortable having these discussions (96%), and they are adequately trained (73%). However, 66% reported difficulty initiating goals-of-care discussions, and 54% believed that admitting services should conduct them. Main barriers were time (46%), lack of a relationship with the patient (25%), patient expectations (23%), no prior discussions (21%), and the inability to reach substitute decision-makers (17%). Fifty-four percent of respondents indicated that the availability of 24-hour palliative care consults would facilitate discussions in the emergency department (ED).
Important barriers to discussing goals of care in the ED were identified by respondents, including acuity and lack of prior relationship, highlighting the need for system and environmental interventions, including improved availability of palliative care services in the ED.
Hepatitis A infection results in a spectrum of illness from asymptomatic disease to severe fulminant hepatitis. Since 2000, <50 cases have been reported annually in Ireland. We report on an outbreak of hepatitis A associated with a childcare facility(CCF) in 2015 in Ireland. Between January and July 2015, 12 outbreak-associated symptomatic hepatitis A cases were identified, including one delayed, retrospective diagnosis. Seven (58%) cases were adults, eight (67%) were male, six of the adults required hospitalisation. All 12 cases were confirmed on serology and the four cases that were genotyped were identical on phylogenetic analysis. Potential environmental exposures and hygiene practices at the CCF were investigated. Outbreak control measures included the provision of: hepatitis A information, infection prevention advice, hepatitis A vaccination to 554 CCF contacts, and voluntary closure of the CCF for deep-cleaning and staff education. From a healthcare perspective1, outbreak control costs were in excess of €45 000. This outbreak illustrates the considerable adult morbidity that can occur in hepatitis A outbreaks, highlights the challenges in controlling a large CCF-associated outbreak and the importance of early recognition by clinicians of hepatitis A.
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.
Early-onset conduct problems (CP) are a key predictor of adult criminality and poor mental health. While previous studies suggest that both genetic and environmental risks play an important role in the development of early-onset CP, little is known about potential biological processes underlying these associations. In this study, we examined prospective associations between DNA methylation (cord blood at birth) and trajectories of CP (4–13 years), using data drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Methylomic variation at seven loci across the genome (false discovery rate < 0.05) differentiated children who go on to develop early-onset (n = 174) versus low (n = 86) CP, including sites in the vicinity of the monoglyceride lipase (MGLL) gene (involved in endocannabinoid signaling and pain perception). Subthreshold associations in the vicinity of three candidate genes for CP (monoamine oxidase A [MAOA], brain-derived neurotrophic factor [BDNF], and FK506 binding protein 5 [FKBP5]) were also identified. Within the early-onset CP group, methylation levels of the identified sites did not distinguish children who will go on to persist versus desist in CP behavior over time. Overall, we found that several of the identified sites correlated with prenatal exposures, and none were linked to known genetic methylation quantitative trait loci. Findings contribute to a better understanding of epigenetic patterns associated with early-onset CP.
Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) are the most common and costly condition of childhood. Low vitamin D levels have been hypothesized as a risk factor for URTI. The primary objective was to determine if serum vitamin D levels were associated with health-service utilization (HSU) for URTI including hospital admission, emergency department visits and outpatient sick visits. The secondary objectives were to determine whether oral vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy or childhood was associated with HSU for URTI.
Cohort study. HSU was determined by linking each child’s provincial health insurance number to health administrative databases. Multivariable quasi Poisson regression was used to evaluate the association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D, vitamin D supplementation and HSU for URTI.
Children participating in the TARGet Kids! network between 2008 and 2013.
Healthy children aged 0–5 years (n 4962) were included; 52 % were male and mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D was 84 nmol/l (range 11–355 nmol/l). There were 105 (2 %), 721 (15 %) and 3218 (65 %) children with at least one hospital admission, emergency department visit or outpatient sick visit for URTI, respectively. There were no statistically significant associations between 25-hydroxyvitamin D or vitamin D supplementation and HSU for URTI.
A clinically meaningful association between vitamin D (continuously and dichotomized at <50 and <75 nmol/l) and HSU for URTI was not identified. While vitamin D may have other benefits for health, reducing HSU for URTI does not appear to be one of them.
Introduction: Patients presenting to the Emergency Department (ED) may require clarification of their goals of care (GOC) to ensure they receive treatments aligned with their values. However, these discussions can be difficult to conduct for multiple reasons, including lack of time in a busy ED, competing priorities and a limited relationship with the patient. Few studies have examined the perceived challenges faced by Emergency Physicians in conducting GOC discussions. This study sought to contextualize and discern the barriers and facilitators to having these conversations as reported by Emergency physicians. Methods: An interdisciplinary team of Emergency Medicine, Palliative Care and Internal Medicine providers developed an online survey comprised of multiple choice, Likert-scale and open-ended questions to explore four domains of GOC discussions: training; communication; environment; and personal beliefs. Invitations and scheduled reminders were sent to 275 ED physicians at six academic sites in a Canadian urban centre, including 49 EM residents. Results: 105 (46%) staff physicians and 23 (47%) residents responded with similar representation from all sites. Differences were reported in the frequency of GOC discussions: 59% of staff physicians conduct several per month whereas 65% of residents conduct less than one per month. Most agreed that GOC discussions are within their scope of practice (92%), they feel comfortable (96%), and are adequately trained (73%) to have them; however, 66% reported difficulty initiating GOC discussions. 73% believed that admitting services should conduct GOC discussions, yet acuity was noted in the comments as a major determinant with initiating GOC discussions by ED physicians. Main barriers identified were lack of time, chaotic environment, lack of advanced directives and the inability to reach substitute decision makers. 54% of respondents indicated that the availability of 24-hour Palliative Care consults would facilitate GOC discussions in the ED. Conclusion: Emergency physicians are prepared to conduct goals of care discussions, but often believe they should instead be conducted by the patient’s admitting service. Multiple perceived barriers to goals of care discussion in the ED were identified, and a majority of respondents felt that the availability of Palliative Care in the ED may facilitate these discussions.
To evaluate the association of airborne colony-forming units (CFU) at incision sites during implantation of prostheses with the incidence of either incisional or prosthesis-related surgical site infections.
Randomized, controlled trial.
Primary, public institution.
Three hundred patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty, instrumented spinal procedures, or vascular bypass graft implantation.
Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to either the intervention group or the control group. A novel device (Air Barrier System), previously shown to reduce airborne CFU at incision sites, was utilized in the intervention group. Procedures assigned to the control group were performed without the device, under routine operating room atmospheric conditions. Patients were followed up for 12 months to determine whether airborne CFU levels at the incision sites predicted the incidence of incisional or prosthesis-related infection.
Data were available for 294 patients, 148 in the intervention group and 146 in the control group. CFU density at the incision site was significantly lower in the intervention group than in the control group (P<.001). The density of airborne CFU at the incision site during the procedures was significantly related to the incidence of implant infection (P=.021). Airborne CFU densities were 4 times greater in procedures with implant infection versus no implant infection. All 4 of the observed prosthesis infections occurred in the control group.
Reduction of airborne CFU specifically at the incision site during operations may be an effective strategy to reduce prosthesis-related infections. Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01610271
This paper illuminates how national eating disorder (ED) policy translates into day-to-day practice by exploring how ED services are experienced by those who deliver and use them.
A mixed-methods approach was used, which combined qualitative and quantitative techniques. The paper collates data from three studies: (i) an interview study exploring the lived experiences of young people with EDs (n=8), their parents (n=5) and their healthcare professionals (n=3); (ii) a national survey of health professionals’ perspectives on existing ED services (n=171); (iii) a nationwide survey of secondary-school students’ eating concerns and patterns of help-seeking (n=290).
The qualitative interviews with young people and their parents revealed feelings of isolation and helplessness. Young people expressed interest in patient support groups, while parents desired greater support for the family unit. Parents were highly critical of available services, particularly in relation to access. These criticisms were echoed in the survey of healthcare professionals, who reported many barriers to delivering effective care. Clinicians were almost unanimous in calling for care pathways to be clarified via a standardised treatment protocol. The survey of adolescents indicated widespread reluctance to seek help regarding eating concerns: over one-third expressed concern about their own eating habits, but half of these had not divulged their concerns to anyone. Participants’ preferred pathways of help-seeking revolved around family and friends, and adolescents were unsure about routes of access to professional support.
The research demonstrates that many aspects of national ED policy have not been implemented in practice. The paper highlights specific gaps and suggests ways they can be redressed.
Accurate and complete reporting of study methods, results and interpretation are essential components for any scientific process, allowing end-users to evaluate the internal and external validity of a study. When animals are used in research, excellence in reporting is expected as a matter of continued ethical acceptability of animal use in the sciences. Our primary objective was to assess completeness of reporting for a series of studies relevant to mitigation of pain in neonatal piglets undergoing routine management procedures. Our second objective was to illustrate how authors can report the items in the Reporting guidElines For randomized controLled trials for livEstoCk and food safety (REFLECT) statement using examples from the animal welfare science literature. A total of 52 studies from 40 articles were evaluated using a modified REFLECT statement. No single study reported all REFLECT checklist items. Seven studies reported specific objectives with testable hypotheses. Six studies identified primary or secondary outcomes. Randomization and blinding were considered to be partially reported in 21 and 18 studies, respectively. No studies reported the rationale for sample sizes. Several studies failed to report key design features such as units for measurement, means, standard deviations, standard errors for continuous outcomes or comparative characteristics for categorical outcomes expressed as either rates or proportions. In the discipline of animal welfare science, authors, reviewers and editors are encouraged to use available reporting guidelines to ensure that scientific methods and results are adequately described and free of misrepresentations and inaccuracies. Complete and accurate reporting increases the ability to apply the results of studies to the decision-making process and prevent wastage of financial and animal resources.