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The association between schizophrenia and decreased vitamin D levels is well documented. Low maternal and postnatal vitamin D levels suggest a possible etiological mechanism. Alternatively, vitamin D deficiency in patients with schizophrenia is presumably (also) the result of disease-related factors or demographic risk factors such as urbanicity.
In a study population of 347 patients with psychotic disorder and 282 controls, group differences in vitamin D concentration were examined. Within the patient group, associations between vitamin D, symptom levels and clinical variables were analyzed. Group × urbanicity interactions in the model of vitamin D concentration were examined. Both current urbanicity and urbanicity at birth were assessed.
Vitamin D concentrations were significantly lower in patients (B = −8.05; 95% confidence interval (CI) −13.68 to −2.42; p = 0.005). In patients, higher vitamin D concentration was associated with lower positive (B = −0.02; 95% CI −0.04 to 0.00; p = 0.049) and negative symptom levels (B = −0.03; 95% CI −0.05 to −0.01; p = 0.008). Group differences were moderated by urbanicity at birth (χ2 = 6.76 and p = 0.001), but not by current urbanicity (χ2 = 1.50 and p = 0.224). Urbanicity at birth was negatively associated with vitamin D concentration in patients (B = −5.11; 95% CI −9.41 to −0.81; p = 0.020), but not in controls (B = 0.72; 95% CI −4.02 to 5.46; p = 0.765).
Lower vitamin D levels in patients with psychotic disorder may in part reflect the effect of psychosis risk mediated by early environmental adversity. The data also suggest that lower vitamin D and psychopathology may be related through direct or indirect mechanisms.
Introduction: Patient satisfaction is an essential component of effective delivery of quality care in the emergency department (ED). Frequent reflection on current practices is required to detect areas in need of improvement. The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) outlined five ‘Leading Practices’ (LPs) targeted to increase patient satisfaction in this setting. The ED volunteers are a group of individuals who have unique perspectives on ED practices that are unbiased by confounders affecting patients and staff. The goal of this study was to explore the unique perspectives of ED volunteers involving what they believe will improve the delivery of patient-centered care, as well as to examine to what extent Saskatoon EDs are embracing the principles outlined in the OHA LPs. Methods: A two-phase mixed methods approach, with a survey followed by interviews that allowed participants to expand on survey findings was used. The pool of 45 ED volunteers was extended the opportunity to participate resulting in 36 survey responses and 6 interviews. The 13 Likert-grade survey questions were generated to align to each of the LPs and allowed room for qualitative feedback. Interview questions were generated following 15 survey responses to expand on the LPs that were rated below average. Results: Analysis of responses identified inefficient ED processes leading to increased waiting times, inefficient patient location, inadequate signage, a lack of physical space, unclean environments, and a lack of staff and volunteer awareness regarding spiritual care and interpreter services, perceptions of received care by patients due to long wait times and level of cultural safety training of ED staff. Themes reduced from interviews yielded common themes such as patient frustration, disorganization, uncomfortable environment, overcrowding, prolonged wait times, and patient misconception of ED processes at Site 1. Themes common to Site 2 included organization, patient-friendly environment, patient misconception of ED processes, and prolonged wait times. Additionally, the volunteers suggested a plethora of interventions that could improve the current processes in Saskatoon's EDs to make them more patient friendly. Conclusion: Saskatoon EDs comply reasonably well to the OHA Leading practices. Surveying ED volunteers provides important insight into current practices and areas for improvement, and should be considered at other sites to improve adherence to the OHA LPs.
Innovation Concept: Competence by Design (CBD) was implemented nationally for Emergency Medicine (EM) residents beginning training in 2018. One challenge is the need to introduce residents to Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) that are assessed across numerous clinical rotations. The Royal College's resources detail these requirements, but do not map them to specific rotations or present them in a succinct format. This is problematic as trainees are less likely to succeed when expectations are unclear. We identified a need to create practical resources that residents can use at the bedside. Methods: We followed an intervention mapping framework to design two practical, user-friendly, low-cost, aesthetically pleasing resources that could be used by residents and observers at the bedside to facilitate competency-based assessment. Curriculum, Tool or Material: First, we designed a set of rotation- and stage-specific EPA reference cards for the use of residents and observers at the bedside. These cards list EPAs and clinical presentations likely to be encountered during various stages of training and on certain rotations. Second, we developed a curriculum board to organize the EPA reference cards by stage based upon our program's curriculum map. The curriculum board allows residents to view the program's curriculum map and the EPAs associated with each clinical rotation at a glance. It also contains hooks to hang and store extra cards in an organized manner. Conclusion: We believe that these practical and inexpensive tools facilitated our residency program's transition to competency-based EPA assessments. Anecdotally, the residents are using the cards and completing the suggested rotation-specific EPAs. We hope that the reference cards and curriculum board will be successfully incorporated into other residency programs to facilitate the introduction of their EPA-based CBD assessment system.
Introduction: Formal ultrasound imaging, with use of ultrasound technicians and radiologists, provides a valuable diagnostic component to patient care in the Emergency Department (ED). Outside of regular weekday hours, ordering formal ultrasounds can produce logistical difficulties. EDs have developed protocols for next-day ultrasounds, where the patient returns the following day for imaging and reassessment by an ED physician. This creates additional stress on ED resources – personnel, bed space, finances – that are already strained. There is a dearth of literature regarding the use of next-day ultrasounds or guidelines to direct efficient use. This study sought to accumulate data on the use of ED next-day ultrasounds and patient oriented clinical outcomes. Methods: This study was a retrospective chart review of 150 patients, 75 from each of two different tertiary care hospitals in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. After a predetermined start date, convenience samples were collected of all patients who had undergone a next-day ultrasound ordered from the ED until the quota was satisfied. Patients were identified by an electronic medical record search for specific triage note phrases indicating use of next-day ultrasounds. Different demographic, clinical, and administrative parameters were collected and analyzed. Results: Of the 150 patients, the mean age was 35.9 years and 75.3% were female. Median length of stay for the first visit was 4.1 hours, and 2.2 hours for the return visit. Most common ultrasound scans performed were abdomen and pelvis/gyne (34.7%), complete abdomen (30.0%), duplex extremity venous (10.0%). Most common indications on the ultrasound requisition were nonspecific abdominal pain (18.7%), vaginal bleeding with or without pregnancy (17.3%), and hepatobiliary pathology (15.3%). Ultrasounds results reported a relevant finding 56% of the time, and 34% were completely normal. After the next-day ultrasound 5.3% of patients had a CT scan, 10.7% had specialist consultation, 8.2% were admitted, and 7.3% underwent surgery. Conclusion: Information was gathered to close gaps in knowledge about the use of next-day ultrasounds from the ED. A large proportion of patients are discharged home without further interventions. Additional research and the development of next-day ultrasound guidelines or outpatient pathways may improve patient care and ED resource utilization.
Oxygen was introduced into a single crystal of titanium in successive stages. The intensities of the h00 and 00l reflections were measured with a single-crystal diffractometer. The observed variation of the intensities with oxygen concentration was attributed to three factors: (1) the additional scattering from the oxygen atoms, (2) a change in the Debye-Waller factor, and (3) an exponential factor originating from the distortion around the oxygen atom. The theory of X-ray scattering from crystals containing centers of distortion was applied to the hexagonal titanium containing interstitial oxygen atoms. Using the variation of the lattice constant with oxygen concentration, it was possible to predict the intensity reduction due to lattice strains. It was concluded that it would have been possible to obtain an estimate of the defect concentration from the X-ray measurements of lattice expansion and intensity reduction.
This paper presents latest thinking from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Model Risk Working Party and follows on from their Phase I work, Model Risk: Daring to Open the Black Box. This is a more practical paper and presents the contributors’ experiences of model risk gained from a wide range of financial and non-financial organisations with suggestions for good practice and proven methods to reduce model risk. After a recap of the Phase I work, examples of model risk communication are given covering communication: to the Board; to the regulator; and to external stakeholders. We present a practical framework for model risk management and quantification with examples of the key actors, processes and cultural challenge. Lessons learned are then presented from other industries that make extensive use of models and include the weather forecasting, software and aerospace industries. Finally, a series of case studies in practical model risk management and mitigation are presented from the contributors’ own experiences covering primarily financial services.
To provide guidance for dosing lithium during pregnancy.
Retrospective observational cohort study. Data on lithium blood level measurements (n = 1101), the daily lithium dose, dosing alterations/frequency and creatinine blood levels were obtained from 113 pregnancies of women receiving lithium treatment during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Lithium blood levels decreased in the first trimester (−24%, 95% CI −15 to −35), reached a nadir in the second trimester (−36%, 95% CI −27 to −47), increased in the third trimester (−21%, 95% CI −13 to −30) and were still slightly increased postpartum (+9%, 95% CI +2 to +15). Delivery itself was not associated with an acute change in lithium and creatinine blood levels.
We recommend close monitoring of lithium blood levels until 34 weeks of pregnancy, then weekly until delivery and twice weekly for the first 2 weeks postpartum. We suggest creatinine blood levels are measured to monitor renal clearance.
Children and adolescents are a vulnerable group to develop post-traumatic stress symptoms after natural or man-made disasters. In the light of increasing numbers of refugees under the age of 18 years worldwide, there is a significant need for effective treatments. This meta-analytic review investigates specific psychosocial treatments for children and adolescents after man-made and natural disasters. In a systematic literature search using MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsycINFO, as well as hand-searching existing reviews and contacting professional associations, 36 studies were identified. Random- and mixed-effects models were applied to test for average effect sizes and moderating variables. Overall, treatments showed high effect sizes in pre–post comparisons (Hedges' g = 1.34) and medium effect sizes as compared with control conditions (Hedges' g = 0.43). Treatments investigated by at least two studies were cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), narrative exposure therapy for children (KIDNET) and classroom-based interventions, which showed similar effect sizes. However, studies were very heterogenic with regard to their outcomes. Effects were moderated by type of profession (higher level of training leading to higher effect sizes). A number of effective psychosocial treatments for child and adolescent survivors of disasters exist. CBT, EMDR, KIDNET and classroom-based interventions can be equally recommended. Although disasters require immediate reactions and improvisation, future studies with larger sample sizes and rigorous methodology are needed.
Herbicides are the foundation of weed control in commercial crop-production systems. However, herbicide-resistant (HR) weed populations are evolving rapidly as a natural response to selection pressure imposed by modern agricultural management activities. Mitigating the evolution of herbicide resistance depends on reducing selection through diversification of weed control techniques, minimizing the spread of resistance genes and genotypes via pollen or propagule dispersal, and eliminating additions of weed seed to the soil seedbank. Effective deployment of such a multifaceted approach will require shifting from the current concept of basing weed management on single-year economic thresholds.
The visual system is influenced by action. Objects that are easier to reach or catch look closer and slower, respectively. Here, we describe evidence for one action-specific effect, and show that none of the six pitfalls can account for the results. Vision is not an isolate module, as shown by this top-down effect of action on perception.
Self-harm (SH; intentional self-poisoning or self-injury) is common in children and adolescents, often repeated, and strongly associated with suicide. This is an update of a broader Cochrane review on psychosocial and pharmacological treatments for SH published in 1998 and updated in 1999. We have now divided the review into three separate reviews; this review is focused on psychosocial and pharmacological interventions for SH in children and adolescents.
In view of the considerable ground covered by the Commission at its Paris meetings and the fairly complete record of the activities of institutes and observatories, etc. published in the Minutes, it has not been deemed profitable by the president to call for further reports in advance of the Stockholm meeting. At the Paris meeting it was agreed that such reports be printed independently before each meeting of the Union and that reprints of or references to the published reports be sent to the president. It is hoped that all such reports if ready will be made available before the Stockholm meeting so that they may be summarized by the representatives in attendance or by the president and recorded in the Minutes. With reference to the pronouncement at the Paris meeting “that it is eminently desirable that more attention be given to the development of accurate general perturbations and mean elements on the basis of accurate osculating elements”, the president has visited the Planeten-Institut at Frankfurt and the Rechen-Institut at Berlin and has been in correspondence with the Leningrad Institute. From these sources particularly valuable material has been received.
Self-harm (intentional self-poisoning or self-injury) is common, often repeated, and strongly associated with suicide. This is an update of a broader Cochrane review on psychosocial and pharmacological treatments for self-harm, first published in 1998 and previously updated in 1999. We have now divided the review into three separate reviews. This review is focused on pharmacological interventions in adults who self-harm.
With the increasing use of complex quantitative models in applications throughout the financial world, model risk has become a major concern. Such risk is generated by the potential inaccuracy and inappropriate use of models in business applications, which can lead to substantial financial losses and reputational damage. In this paper, we deal with the management and measurement of model risk. First, a model risk framework is developed, adapting concepts such as risk appetite, monitoring, and mitigation to the particular case of model risk. The usefulness of such a framework for preventing losses associated with model risk is demonstrated through case studies. Second, we investigate the ways in which different ways of using and perceiving models within an organisation both lead to different model risks. We identify four distinct model cultures and argue that in conditions of deep model uncertainty, each of those cultures makes a valuable contribution to model risk governance. Thus, the space of legitimate challenges to models is expanded, such that, in addition to a technical critique, operational and commercial concerns are also addressed. Third, we discuss through the examples of proxy modelling, longevity risk, and investment advice, common methods and challenges for quantifying model risk. Difficulties arise in mapping model errors to actual financial impact. In the case of irreducible model uncertainty, it is necessary to employ a variety of measurement approaches, based on statistical inference, fitting multiple models, and stress and scenario analysis.
Clinical and ethical implications of personality and mood changes in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients treated with subthalamic deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) are under debate. Although subjectively perceived personality changes are often mentioned by patients and caregivers, few empirical studies concerning these changes exist. Therefore, we analysed subjectively perceived personality and mood changes in STN-DBS PD patients.
In this prospective study of the ELSA-DBS group, 27 PD patients were assessed preoperatively and 1 year after STN-DBS surgery. Two categories, personality and mood changes, were analysed with semi-structured interviews. Patients were grouped into personality change yes/no, as well as positive/negative mood change groups. Caregivers were additionally interviewed about patients’ personality changes. Characteristics of each group were assessed with standard neurological and psychiatric measurements. Predictors for changes were analysed.
Personality changes were perceived by six of 27 (22%) patients and by 10 of 23 caregivers (44%). The preoperative hypomania trait was a significant predictor for personality change perceived by patients. Of 21 patients, 12 (57%) perceived mood as positively changed. Higher apathy and anxiety ratings were found in the negative change group.
Our results show that a high proportion of PD patients and caregivers perceived personality changes under STN-DBS, emphasizing the relevance of this topic. Mood changed in positive and negative directions. Standard measurement scales failed to adequately reflect personality or mood changes subjectively perceived by patients. A more individualized preoperative screening and preparation for patients and caregivers, as well as postoperative support, could therefore be useful.
The predominant protein-centric perspective in protein–DNA-binding studies assumes that the protein drives the interaction. Research focuses on protein structural motifs, electrostatic surfaces and contact potentials, while DNA is often ignored as a passive polymer to be manipulated. Recent studies of DNA topology, the supercoiling, knotting, and linking of the helices, have shown that DNA has the capability to be an active participant in its transactions. DNA topology-induced structural and geometric changes can drive, or at least strongly influence, the interactions between protein and DNA. Deformations of the B-form structure arise from both the considerable elastic energy arising from supercoiling and from the electrostatic energy. Here, we discuss how these energies are harnessed for topology-driven, sequence-specific deformations that can allow DNA to direct its own metabolism.