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Optimizing research on the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) involves implementing initiatives maximizing the use of the available cohort study data; achieving sufficient statistical power to support subgroup analysis; and using participant data presenting adequate follow-up and exposure heterogeneity. It also involves being able to undertake comparison, cross-validation, or replication across data sets. To answer these requirements, cohort study data need to be findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR), and more particularly, it often needs to be harmonized. Harmonization is required to achieve or improve comparability of the putatively equivalent measures collected by different studies on different individuals. Although the characteristics of the research initiatives generating and using harmonized data vary extensively, all are confronted by similar issues. Having to collate, understand, process, host, and co-analyze data from individual cohort studies is particularly challenging. The scientific success and timely management of projects can be facilitated by an ensemble of factors. The current document provides an overview of the ‘life course’ of research projects requiring harmonization of existing data and highlights key elements to be considered from the inception to the end of the project.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with multimorbidity in adulthood. This link may be mediated by psychosocial and biological factors, but evidence is lacking. The current study evaluates this mediation model.
We analyzed data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging (N = 27 170 community participants). Participants were 45–85 years at recruitment, when allostatic load and social engagement data were collected, and 3 years older at follow-up, when ACEs and multimorbidity data were collected. Structural equation modeling was used to test for mediation in the overall sample, and in sex- and age-stratified subsamples, all analyses adjusted for concurrent lifestyle confounds.
In the overall sample, ACEs were associated with multimorbidity, directly, β = 0.12 (95% confidence interval 0.11–0.13) and indirectly. Regarding indirect associations, ACEs were related to social engagement, β = −0.14 (−0.16 to −0.12) and social engagement was related to multimorbidity, β = −0.10 (−0.12 to −0.08). ACEs were related to allostatic load, β = 0.04 (0.03–0.05) and allostatic load was related to multimorbidity, β = 0.16 (0.15–0.17). The model was significant for males and females and across age cohorts, with qualifications in the oldest stratum (age 75–85).
ACEs are related to multimorbidity, directly and via social engagement and allostatic load. This is the first study to show mediated pathways between early adversity and multimorbidity in adulthood. It provides a platform for understanding multimorbidity as a lifespan dynamic informing the co-occurrence of the varied disease processes represented in multimorbidity.
The aim of this study is to identify the types of community paramedicine programs and the training for each.
A systematic review of MEDLINE, Embase, grey literature, and bibliographies followed a search strategy using common community paramedicine terms. All studies published in English up to January 22, 2018, were captured. Screening and extraction were completed in duplicate by two independent reviewers. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) was used to assess studies’ methodological quality (full methodology on PROSPERO: CRD42017051774).
From 3,004 papers, there were 64 papers identified (58 unique community paramedicine programs). Of the papers with an appraisable study design (40.6%), the median MMAT score was 3 of 4 criteria met, suggesting moderate quality. Programs most often served frequent 911 callers (48.3%) and individuals at risk for emergency department admission, readmission, or hospitalization (41.4%); and 70.7% of programs were preventive home visits. Common services provided were home assessment (29.5%), medication management (39.7%), and referral and/or transport to community services (37.9%); and 77.6% of programs involved interprofessional collaboration. Community paramedicine training was described by 57% of programs and expanded upon traditional paramedicine training and emphasized technical skills. Study heterogeneity prevented meta-analysis.
Community paramedicine programs and training were diverse and allowed community paramedics to address a spectrum of population health and social needs. Training was poorly described. Enabling more programs to assess and report on program and training outcomes would support community paramedicine growth and the development of formalized training or education frameworks.
Both physical frailty and cognitive impairment predict death, but the joint effect of these two factors is uncertain. The objectives are to determine if the Mini-mental state examination (MMSE) and the Frailty Index (FI) predict death over a five-year interval after accounting for the effect of the other; and if there is an interaction in this effect.
An analysis of an existing prospective cohort study of 1,751 community living older adults followed over a five-year time frame. Age, gender, and education were self-reported. The predictor variables were the FI – a measure of frailty based on the “Accumulation of Deficits” model of frailty; and the MMSE. Cox proportional hazards models were constructed for the outcome of time to death.
The unadjusted Hazard Ratio (HR) (95% CI) for mortality was 2.17 (1.69, 2.80) for those who were only cognitively impaired, 2.02 (1.53, 2.68) for those who were only frail, and 3.57 (2.75, 4.62) for those who were both frail and cognitively impaired with the reference group of those who were neither frail nor cognitively impaired. Adjusted for age, gender, and education, the HR (95% CI) was 1.49 (1.13. 1.95) for those who were only cognitively impaired, 1.81 (1.35, 2.41) for those who were only frail, and 2.28 (1.69, 3.09) for those who were both frail and cognitively impaired.
Both frailty and cognitive impairment are predictors of mortality and the effect is cumulative. There was no interaction in this effect.
The consequences of minor trauma involving a head injury (MT-HI) in independent older adults are largely unknown. This study assessed the impact of a head injury on the functional outcomes six months post-injury in older adults who sustained a minor trauma.
This multicenter prospective cohort study in eight sites included patients who were aged 65 years or older, previously independent, presenting to the emergency department (ED) for a minor trauma, and discharged within 48 hours. To assess the functional decline, we used a validated test: the Older Americans’ Resources and Services Scale. The cognitive function of study patients was also evaluated. Finally, we explored the influence of a concomitant injury on the functional decline in the MT-HI group.
All 926 eligible patients were included in the analyses: 344 MT-HI patients and 582 minor trauma without head injury. After six months, the functional decline was similar in both groups: 10.8% and 11.9%, respectively (RR=0.79 [95% CI: 0.55–1.14]). The proportion of patients with mild cognitive disabilities was also similar: 21.7% and 22.8%, respectively (RR=0.91 [95% CI: 0.71–1.18]). Furthermore, for the group of patients with a MT-HI, the functional outcome was not statistically different with or without the presence of a co-injury (RR=1.35 [95% CI: 0.71–2.59]).
This study did not demonstrate that the occurrence of a MT-HI is associated with a worse functional or cognitive prognosis than other minor injuries without a head injury in an elderly population, six months after injury.
Falls among community-dwelling seniors constitute a major public health concern because of the potential morbidity and mortality associated with the fall. This study examined the informal care networks accessed by Canadian seniors who had visited the Emergency Department as a result of a fall, and considered the implications of the processes of asking for and receiving help on the senior's identity. Four themes were identified. The first was valuing independence. The remaining three themes concerned threats to the participants' identities linked to the need to ask for or receive help from family and friends. They were: becoming indebted, feeling devalued and becoming a burden to others. Seniors were noted to excuse family members from the expectation of helping because of work and family commitments, and illness. Participants described a mutually beneficial relationship with friends wherein both parties valued their independence and provided assistance to the other when needed. Their comments suggested that assistance was viewed as a good to be traded among peers. Our findings indicate that seniors value their independence and may not seek help even when it appears to be available, if asking threatens valued identities. Health and social care practitioners and policy makers responsible for planning and delivery of services should take this into account in order to ensure the best possible care for injured community-dwelling seniors.
Canadians are living longer, and older persons are making up a larger share of the population (14% in 2006, projected to rise to 20% by 2021). The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a national longitudinal study of adult development and aging that will recruit 50,000 Canadians aged 45 to 85 years of age and follow them for at least 20 years. All participants will provide a common set of information concerning many aspects of health and aging, and 30,000 will undergo an additional in-depth examination coupled with the donation of biological specimens (blood and urine). The CLSA will become a rich data source for the study of the complex interrelationship among the biological, physical, psychosocial, and societal factors that affect healthy aging.
Biological specimen collection is an integral part of many longitudinal epidemiological studies. It is important to achieve high participant satisfaction for continuing involvement, and high sample quality for accurate biomarker measurement. We conducted a study to evaluate these issues on the sample collection proposed for the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA). There were 85 participants recruited, and 65 attended either a hospital laboratory or private laboratory. Approximately 100 mL of blood and a random urine specimen were collected from each participant for a total of 2,108 sample aliquots. Quality standards were met for more than 90 per cent of samples and were similar for samples collected in both laboratories. More than 90 per cent of participants rated satisfaction with the collection as being good or excellent, and 84 per cent would be willing to repeat the collection in one to three years.
Standard clinical diagnostic procedures are often inappropriate and frequently not feasible to apply in population-based studies, yet ascertaining accurate disease status is essential. We conducted a systematic review to identify algorithms, criteria, and tools used to ascertain 17 chronic diseases, and assessed the feasibility of developing algorithms for the CLSA. Of the 29,616 citations screened, 668 papers met all inclusion criteria. We determined that the information included in a disease algorithm will differ by condition type. The diagnosis of some symptomatic conditions, such as osteoarthritis and arthritis, will require substantiation by clinical criteria (e.g., x-rays, bone density measurement) while other conditions, such as depression, will rely solely on self-report. Asymptomatic conditions, such as hypertension, are more difficult to ascertain by self-report and will require additional physiologic measures (e.g., blood pressure) as well as laboratory measures (e.g., glucose). This pilot study identified the tools necessary to develop disease ascertainment algorithms.
Une des clés au succès de l’Étude longitudinale canadienne sur le vieillissement (ÉLCV) sera de tirer profit des sources de données secondaires, en particulier données relatives à l’utilisation des soins de santé (USS). Pour examiner les aspects pratiques, méthodologiques et éthiques d’accéder à des données sur l’USS, des entrevues qualitatives individuelles ont été réalisés auprès de 53 administrateurs de données et commissaires/ombudsman à la protection de la vie privée à travers le Canada. Les participants de l’étude ont indiqué que d’obtenir la permission d’accéder à des données sur l’USS est généralement possible; cependant, ils ont noté que ce processus sera complexe et long, exigeant des travaux préparatoires considérables et méticuleux afin de s’assurer que la documentation soit appropriée et que le tout soit conforme aux variations juridiques ainsi qu’aux lignes, législatives et politiques.
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