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Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at risk of acquiring and transmitting respiratory viruses while working in healthcare settings.
To investigate the incidence of and factors associated with HCWs working during an acute respiratory illness (ARI).
HCWs from 9 Canadian hospitals were prospectively enrolled in active surveillance for ARI during the 2010–2011 to 2013–2014 influenza seasons. Daily illness diaries during ARI episodes collected information on symptoms and work attendance.
At least 1 ARI episode was reported by 50.4% of participants each study season. Overall, 94.6% of ill individuals reported working at least 1 day while symptomatic, resulting in an estimated 1.9 days of working while symptomatic and 0.5 days of absence during an ARI per participant season. In multivariable analysis, the adjusted relative risk of working while symptomatic was higher for physicians and lower for nurses relative to other HCWs. Participants were more likely to work if symptoms were less severe and on the illness onset date compared to subsequent days. The most cited reason for working while symptomatic was that symptoms were mild and the HCW felt well enough to work (67%). Participants were more likely to state that they could not afford to stay home if they did not have paid sick leave and were younger.
HCWs worked during most episodes of ARI, most often because their symptoms were mild. Further data are needed to understand how best to balance the costs and risks of absenteeism versus those associated with working while ill.
The smr and qacA/B genes in Staphylococcus aureus confer tolerance to antiseptics and are associated with nosocomial acquisition of infection and underlying medical conditions. Such antiseptic tolerance (AT) genes have also been reported in coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) and enterococci, however, few data are available regarding their prevalence. We sought to describe the frequency of AT genes among bloodstream isolates of S. aureus, CoNS and enterococci at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH).
Banked CoNS, S. aureus and enterococci isolated from blood cultures collected bewteen October 1, 2016, and October 1, 2017, were obtained from the TCH clinical microbiology laboratory. All isolates underwent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the qacA/B and smr genes. Medical records were reviewed for all cases.
In total, 103 CoNS, 19 Enterococcus spp, and 119 S. aureus isolates were included in the study, and 80.6% of the CoNS possessed at least 1 AT gene compared to 37% of S. aureus and 43.8% of E. faecalis isolates (P < .001). Among CoNS bloodstream isolates, the presence of either AT gene was strongly associated with nosocomial infection (P < .001). The AT genes in S. aureus were associated with nosocomial infection (P = .025) as well as the diagnosis of central-line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI; P = .04) and recent hospitalizations (P < .001). We found no correlation with genotypic AT in E. faecalis and any clinical variable we examined.
Antiseptic tolerance is common among bloodstream staphylococci and E. faecalis isolates at TCH. Among CoNS, the presence of AT genes is strongly correlated with nosocomial acquisition of infection, consistent with previous studies in S. aureus. These data suggest that the healthcare environment contributes to AT among staphylococci.
Not only is depression associated with increased inflammation but inflammation is a risk factor for the genesis of depression. Many of the environmental risk factors for depression are transduced through inflammatory signaling. Anti-inflammatory agents show promise for the management of depression in preclinical, epidemiological, and early clinical studies. This opens the door to the potential for anti-inflammatory agents to treat and prevent depression. There are no evidence-based pharmacotherapies for depression prevention.
ASPREE-D, aspirin in the prevention of depression in the elderly, is a sub study of ASPREE, which explores the potential of aspirin to prevent a range of inflammation related disorders in the elderly. With a sample size of 19,114, and a duration of 5 years, this placebo controlled study will be one of the largest randomized controlled trials in psychiatry and will provide definitive evidence on the ability of aspirin to prevent depression.
This paper presents the rationale for the study and presents a summary of the study design.
ASPREE-D may not only define novel therapy but will provide mechanistic proof of concept of the role of inflammation in depression.
Patients receiving a bone-anchored hearing aid have well-documented improvements in their quality of life and audiometric performance. However, the relationship between audiometric measurements and subjective improvement is not well understood.
Adult patients enrolled in the Nova Scotia bone-anchored hearing aid programme were identified. The pure tone average for fitting the sound-field threshold, as well as the better and worse hearing ear bone conduction and air conduction levels, were collected pre-operatively. Recipients were asked to complete the Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing questionnaire; their partners were asked to complete a pre- and post-bone anchored hearing aid fitting Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults questionnaire.
Forty-eight patients who completed and returned the Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing questionnaire had partners who completed the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults questionnaire. The results from the Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing questionnaire correlated with the sound-field hearing threshold post-bone-anchored hearing aid fitting and the pure tone average of the better hearing ear bone conduction (total Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing Scale to the pre-operative better hearing ear air curve (r = 0.3); worse hearing ear air curve (r = 0.27); post-operative, bone-anchored hearing aid-aided sound-field thresholds (r = 0.35)). An improvement in sound-field threshold correlated only with spatial abilities. In the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults questionnaire, there was no correlation between the subjective evaluation of each patient and their partner.
The subjective impressions of hearing aid recipients with regards to speech reception and the spatial qualities of hearing correlate well with pre-operative audiometric results. However, the overall magnitude of sound-field improvement predicts an improvement of spatial perception, but not other aspects of hearing, resulting in hearing aid recipients having strongly disparate subjective impressions when compared to those of their partners.
Recent evidence points to partially shared genetics of neuropsychiatric disorders.
We examined risk of intellectual disability and other neuropsychiatric outcomes in 3174 children of mothers with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or unipolar major depression compared with 3129 children of unaffected mothers.
We used record linkage across Western Australian population-based registers. The contribution of obstetric factors to risk of intellectual disability was assessed.
Children were at significantly increased risk of intellectual disability with odds ratios (ORs) of 3.2 (95% CI 1.8–5.7), 3.1 (95% CI 1.9–4.9) and 2.9 (95% CI 1.8–4.7) in the maternal schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and unipolar depression groups respectively. Multivariate analysis suggests familial and obstetric factors may contribute independently to the risk. Although summated labour/delivery complications (OR = 1.4, 95% CI 1.0–2.0) just failed to reach significance, neonatal encephalopathy (OR = 7.7, 95% CI 3.0–20.2) and fetal distress (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.1–2.7) were independent significant predictors. Rates of rare syndromes in children of mothers with mental disorder were well above population rates. Risk of pervasive developmental disorders, including autism, was significantly elevated for children of mothers with bipolar disorder. Risk of epilepsy was doubled for children of mothers with unipolar depression.
Our findings provide epidemiological support for clustering of neuropsychiatric disorders. Further larger epidemiological studies are warranted.
Bone-anchored hearing aid recipients experience well documented improvements in their audiometric performance and quality of life. While hearing aid recipients may understate their functional improvement, their partners may be more aware of such improvement. We sought to investigate patients' partners' perceptions of functional improvement following bone-anchored hearing aid fitting.
Surveys were sent to 153 patients who had received a bone-anchored hearing aid through the Nova Scotia bone-anchored hearing aid programme. The validated survey asked patients' partners to give their subjective impression of the bone-anchored hearing aid recipient's functional status.
Results and conclusions:
Surveys were completed by 90 patients (58.8 per cent), of whom 72 reported having a partner. Partners reported a significant improvement in hearing (p ≤ 0.0001). Partners reported improvement in 87.0 per cent of functional scenarios, no change in 12.6 per cent, and a decline in 0.4 per cent. These findings demonstrate a significant improvement in the emotional and social effects of hearing impairment, as perceived by bone-anchored hearing aid recipients' partners.
Aluminium nitride film has been synthesized at substrate temperatures lower than 100 °C by using ion beam enhanced reactive magnetron sputtering. The growth rate was much higher than that obtained by usual physical vapor deposition at low substrate temperatures. The stoichiometry of the film was controlled by varying the resultant current of the ion beam used and identified by X-ray diffraction analysis. The optical properties of the film were also studied.
Direct Ion Beam Nitridation (IBN) and Oxidation (IBO) of Si, Ge, and Si0.8Ge0.2 were investigated at room temperature as a function of ion energy. The ion energies were selected between 100 eV and 1 keV to establish the role of energy on phase formation and film properties. Si0.8Ge0.2 films were grown by MBE on Si (100) and transferred in UHV to the ion beam processing chamber. The modification of composition and chemical binding was measured as a function of ion beam exposure by in situ XPS analysis. The samples were nitridized or oxidized using until the N or O 1s signal reached saturation for ion doses between 5×1016 to 1×1017 ions/cm2. Combined characterization by XPS, SEM, ellipsometry and cross-section TEM showed that insulating films of stoichiometric SiO2 and Si-rich Si3N4 were formed during IBO and IBN of Si at all energies used. The formation of Ge dielectric thin films by IBO and IBN was found to be strongly energy dependent and insulating layers could be grown only at the lower energies (E ≤ 200 eV). In contrast to pure Ge, insulating SiGe-oxide and SiGe-nitride were successfully formed on Si0.8Ge0.20.2 at all energies studied.
Argon plasma exposure has been used to induce surface chemical modification of aluminium thin films, causing a drastic change in etch rate in standard HNO3/CH3COOH/H3PO4 etchant. The inhibition period was found to increase with power and Ar plasma exposure time. Auger electron and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopies have indicated formation of an aluminium fluoride (AlF3) surface layer due to fluorine contamination originating from the residue left in the plasma chamber during CF4 processing. The high etch selectivity between unexposed and argon plasma exposed regions has been exploited as a new technique for resistless patterning of aluminium.
In this study we show that upon exposure to electron cyclotron resonance hydrogen plasmas, both thermally grown and sputter deposited oxides are degraded, resulting in large shifts of flat band voltage, and increases in fixed charge and interface state density.
Direct ion beam deposition of carbon films on silicon in the ion energy range of 15–500eV and temperature range of 25–800°C has been studied using mass selected C+ ions under ultrahigh vacuum. The films were characterized with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy and diffraction analysis. Films deposited at room temperature consist mainly of amorphous carbon. Deposition at a higher temperature, or post-implantation annealing leads to formation of microcrystalline graphite. A deposition temperature above 800°C favors the formation of microcrystalline graphite with a preferred orientation in the (0001) direction. No evidence of diamond formation was observed in these films.
This paper addresses the issue of chlorine adsorption on GaAs(100) with respect to the mechanisms of thermal and ion-enhanced etching. The use of halogenated precursors eg. dichloroethane is also discussed in regard to chemically assisted ion beam etching (CAIBE).
Kinetics of persistent photoconductivity, photoquenching, and thermal and optical recovery observed in low energy Ar+ bombarded on (100) GaAs surfaces have been investigated. Rate and transport equations for these processes were derived and simulated employing transport parameters, trap locations and densities determined by deep level transient spectroscopy. Excellent correlation was obtained between the results of preliminary simulation and the experimentally observed values. The exponential decay of persistent photoconductivity response curve was determined to be due to metastable electron traps with longer lifetime and is consistent with an earlier proposed model.
Thin films of cubic boron nitride (c-BN) together with hexagonal one (h-BN) have been prepared by using the ion beam deposition method (IBD). Boron was deposited onto silicon wafers by a sputtering beam of 600 eV argon ions, and the growing films were simultaneously irradiated by nitrogen ions at 200 eV. The films were subsequently characterized by infrared absorption (IR) spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and microhardness measurements. The IR spectra show the evidence of BN layer formation by the absorption peaks at about 1350, 1120 and 810 cm−1, which are in good agreement with those of bulk BN.
The effect of low-energy ion bombardment on ion-beam-sputtered yttrium-oxide films was studied. Yttria films were subjected to argon ions accelerated by a potential of up to 500 V with current densities of up to 8 μA/cm2 and were deposited at differing substrate temperatures. Yttria films bombarded during deposition were found to be amorphous, and trends observed with increased ion energy include reduced amount of residual compressive stress, increased argon content, and decreased refractive index, depending on deposited energy and substrate temperature.
Both photoluminescence (PL) and electroluminescence (EL) energy spectra were studied in the temperature range of 80 to 300 K on a-Si:H p-i-n structures. The EL spectrum depends on several parameters such as the i-layer thickness and the sample structure with or without a buffer layer (b-layer), while the PL spectrum shows no difference when those parameters are varied. Comparing PL and EL in 0.5 μm p-i-n devices with and without a buffer layer, we found that (a) at 80 K, the main-band peak energy is 1.3 eV for PL and 1.2 eV for EL; (b) the PL spectral line shape does not change with the insertion of a buffer layer, but the EL spectra show more enhanced main-band luminescence with the buffer layer; (c) the temperature dependence of the PL intensity shows a slope of 26 K which is similar to that of a-Si:H films, but the EL efficiency shows a weaker temperature dependence that varies with the diode structure.
Double layer (DL) Ba0.7Sr0.3TiO3 (BST) capacitors with Pt electrodes have been fabricated with similar growth conditions on different substrates. The substrates used in the present study were r-plane sapphire, polycrystalline alumina Al2O3 (99.6% and 96%), and glazed polycrystalline alumina. BST films were grown by metal-organic decomposition (MOD) method. By varying the annealing conditions which affects the formation of the crystalline structure, significant changes in the dielectric properties of the BST films have been observed. BST films were characterized by Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FE-SEM) and Powder X-ray Diffractometer (PXRD). These observations showed that BST films grown at lower temperatures on alumina substrates exhibited the smallest grain size. BST films of the same thickness prepared under the same thermal processing conditions showed higher capacitance when grown on all types of alumina-based substrates compared to those deposited on control SiO2/Si. The higher capacitance on alumina was always associated with larger dissipation factor, and lower or similar leakage current density. The final tuning, of the dielectric properties of BST DL capacitors on non-silicon substrates, was correlated to the initial film formation temperature and post-annealing conditions of the BST films. The leakage current density, of DL BST capacitors fabricated on glazed alumina, becomes smallest when the BST processing temperature was lowered by 100 °C compared to the control SiO2/Si. The typical achieved leakage current density for 1500×1500 μm2 DL capacitors on glazed alumina was 3.8×10-9 A/cm2 at 250 kV/cm (36.5 fF/μm2), about 3 times lower than on SiO2/Si substrates (1.1×10-8 A/cm2 at 250 kV/cm, 31 fF/μm2).
Bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3) and its alloys have long been held as the best bulk commercial thermoelectric (TE) materials. In recent years, significant enhancement of the TE figure of merit (ZT) of these traditional TE materials has been predicted through reduction of dimensions (i.e., nanostructures and nanoengineering). We are particularly interested investigating electrolyte composition variations to control the composition of nanowires to enable large ZT enhancement. We report here the constant current electrochemical deposition of BixTey nanowires of diameters of 35, 55, 73 and 200 nm and lengths up to 50 microns. We are able to obtain controlled, uniform growth of high quality n-type bismuth telluride nanowires. A design of experimental matrix investigating the effects of current density and solution pH values on the overall growth rate and nanowire crystalline quality has been performed. The effects of growth conditions on materials and structural characteristics of BixTey nanowires have been studied by SEM, High Resolution TEM, EDX, concentric beam electron diffraction patterns, and ICP. The TE properties of individual BixTey nanowires are currently being evaluated using micro/nano fabricated devices and UHV Scanning Thermoelectric Microscopy.
Microstructured semiconductor neutron detectors have superior efficiency performance over thin-film coated planar semiconductor detectors. The microstructured detectors have patterns deeply etched into the semiconductor substrates subsequently backfilled with neutron reactive materials. The detectors operate as pn junction diodes. Two variations of the diodes have been fabricated, which either have a rectifying pn junction selectively formed around the etched microstructures or have pn junctions conformally diffused inside the microstructures. The devices with the pn junctions formed in the perforations have lower leakage currents and better signal formation than the devices with selective pn junctions around the etched patterns. Further, pulse height spectra from conformally diffused detectors have the main features predicted by theoretical models, whereas pulse height spectra from the selectively diffused detectors generally do not show these features. The improved performance of the conformal devices is attributed to stronger and more uniform electric fields in the detector active region. Also, system noise, which is directly related to leakage current, has been dramatically reduced as a result of the conformal diffusion fabrication technique. A sinusoidal patterned device with 100 μm deep perforations backfilled with 6LiF was determined to have 11.9 ± 0.078% intrinsic detection efficiency for 0.0253 eV neutrons, as calibrated with thin-film planar semiconductor devices and a 3He proportional counter.
To analyse changes in the distribution of BMI in Australia between 1980 and 2000.
Data were from the 1980, 1983 and 1989 National Heart Foundation Risk Factor Prevalence Study, the 1995 National Nutrition Survey and the 1999/2000 Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. Survey participants were aged 25–64 years and resident in Australian capital cities. BMI was calculated as weight divided by height squared (kg/m2), where weight and height were measured using standard procedures.
Mean BMI was higher in 2000 than 1980 in all sex and age groups. The age-adjusted increase was 1·4 kg/m2 in men and 2·1 kg/m2 in women. The BMI distribution shifted rightwards for all sex and age groups and became increasingly right-skewed. The change between 1980 and 2000 ranged from a decrease of 0·04 kg/m2 at the lower end of the distribution for men aged 25–34 years to an increase of 7·4 kg/m2 at the higher end for women aged 55–64 years. While the prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) doubled, the prevalence of obesity class III (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2) increased fourfold.
BMI in urban Australian adults has increased and its distribution has become increasingly right-skewed. This has resulted in a large increase in the prevalence of obesity, particularly the more severe levels of obesity. It will be important to monitor changes in the different classes of obesity and the extent to which obesity interventions both shift the BMI distribution leftwards and decrease the skew of the distribution.