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Introduction: Simulation has assumed an integral role in the Canadian healthcare system with applications in quality improvement, systems development, and medical education. High quality simulation-based research (SBR) is required to ensure the effective and efficient use of this tool. This study sought to establish national SBR priorities and describe the barriers and facilitators of SBR in Emergency Medicine (EM) in Canada. Methods: Simulation leads (SLs) from all fourteen Canadian Departments or Divisions of EM associated with an adult FRCP-EM training program were invited to participate in three surveys and a final consensus meeting. The first survey documented active EM SBR projects. Rounds two and three established and ranked priorities for SBR and identified the perceived barriers and facilitators to SBR at each site. Surveys were completed by SLs at each participating institution, and priority research themes were reviewed by senior faculty for broad input and review. Results: Twenty SLs representing all 14 invited institutions participated in all three rounds of the study. 60 active SBR projects were identified, an average of 4.3 per institution (range 0-17). 49 priorities for SBR in Canada were defined and summarized into seven priority research themes. An additional theme was identified by the senior reviewing faculty. 41 barriers and 34 facilitators of SBR were identified and grouped by theme. Fourteen SLs representing 12 institutions attended the consensus meeting and vetted the final list of eight priority research themes for SBR in Canada: simulation in CBME, simulation for interdisciplinary and inter-professional learning, simulation for summative assessment, simulation for continuing professional development, national curricular development, best practices in simulation-based education, simulation-based education outcomes, and simulation as an investigative methodology. Conclusion: Conclusion: This study has summarized the current SBR activity in EM in Canada, as well as its perceived barriers and facilitators. We also provide a consensus on priority research themes in SBR in EM from the perspective of Canadian simulation leaders. This group of SLs has formed a national simulation-based research group which aims to address these identified priorities with multicenter collaborative studies.
Organic pig husbandry systems in Europe are diverse – ranging from indoor systems with concrete outside run (IN) to outdoor systems all year round (OUT) and combinations of both on one farm (POUT). As this diversity has rarely been taken into account in research projects on organic pig production, the aim of this study was to assess and compare pig health, welfare and productivity in these three systems. Animal health and welfare were assessed using direct observation and records of 22 animal-based measures, comprising 17 health-, 3 productivity- and 2 behavioural measures. These were collected in pregnant sows, weaners and fattening pigs during direct observations and from records within a cross-sectional study on 74 farms (IN: n = 34, POUT: n = 28, OUT: n = 12) in eight countries. Overall, prevalence of several animal health and welfare issues was low (e.g. median 0% for pigs needing hospitalisation, shoulder lesions, ectoparasites; <5% for runts, tail lesions, conjunctivitis). Exceptions in particular systems were respiratory problems in weaners and fatteners (IN: 60.0%, 66.7%; POUT: 66.7%, 60.0%), weaning diarrhoea (IN: 25.0%), and short tails in fatteners (IN: 6.5%, POUT: 2.3%). Total suckling piglet losses (recorded over a period of 12 months per farm) were high in all three systems (IN: 21.3%; POUT: 21.6; OUT: 19.2%). OUT had lower prevalences of respiratory problems, diarrhoea and lameness of sows. POUT farms in most cases kept sows outdoors and weaners and fatteners similar to IN farms, which was reflected in the results regarding several health and welfare parameters. It can be concluded, that European organic pigs kept in all three types of husbandry system showed a low prevalence of health and welfare problems as assessed by our methodology, but respiratory health and diarrhoea should be improved in weaners and fatteners kept indoors and total piglet mortality in all systems. The results provide benchmarks for organic pig producers and organisations which can be used in strategies to promote health and welfare improvement. Furthermore, in future research, the identified health and welfare issues (e.g. suckling piglet mortality, weaning diarrhoea) should be addressed, specifically considering effects of husbandry systems.
In sub-Saharan Africa, there are limited data on burden of non-alcohol substance abuse (NAS) and depressive symptoms (DS), yet potential risk factors such as alcohol and intimate partner violence (IPV) are common and NAS abuse may be the rise. The aim of this study was to measure the burden of DS and NAS abuse, and determine whether alcohol use and IPV are associated with DS and/or NAS abuse. We conducted a cross-sectional study at five sites in four countries: Nigeria (nurses), South Africa (teachers), Tanzania (teachers) and two sites in Uganda (rural and peri-urban residents). Participants were selected by simple random sampling from a sampling frame at each of the study sites. We used a standardized tool to collect data on demographics, alcohol use and NAS use, IPV and DS and calculated prevalence ratios (PR). We enrolled 1415 respondents and of these 34.6% were male. DS occurred among 383 (32.3%) and NAS use among 52 (4.3%). In the multivariable analysis, being female (PR = 1.49, p = 0.008), NAS abuse (PR = 2.06, p = 0.02) and IPV (PR = 2.93, p < 0.001) were significantly associated with DS. Older age [odds ratio (OR) = 0.31, p < 0.001)], female (OR = 0.48, p = 0.036) were protective of NAS but current smokers (OR = 2.98, p < 0.001) and those reporting IPV (OR = 2.16, p = 0.024) were more likely to use NAS. Longitudinal studies should be done to establish temporal relationships with these risk factors to provide basis for interventions.
For this study, we adapted the Montgomery Borgatta Caregiver Burden Scale, used widely in the United States, to the Saudi Arabian context. To produce an Arabic, culturally sensitive version of the scale, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 Saudi family caregivers. The Arabic version of the scale was tested, and participants were asked to comment on the appropriateness of items for the construct of “caregiver burden” using the repertory grid technique and laddering procedure – two constructivist methods derived from personal construct theory. From interview findings, we examined the content of the items and the caregiver burden construct itself. Our findings suggest that the use of constructivist methods to refine constructs and quantitative instruments is highly informative. This strategy is feasible even when little is known about the investigated constructs in the target culture and further elucidates our understanding of cross-cultural variations or invariance of different versions of the scale.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global public health threat. Emergence of AMR occurs naturally, but can also be selected for by antimicrobial exposure in clinical and veterinary medicine. Despite growing worldwide attention to AMR, there are substantial limitations in our understanding of the burden, distribution and determinants of AMR at the population level. We highlight the importance of population-based approaches to assess the association between antimicrobial use and AMR in humans and animals. Such approaches are needed to improve our understanding of the development and spread of AMR in order to inform strategies for the prevention, detection and management of AMR, and to support the sustainable use of antimicrobials in healthcare.
Salmonella is a leading cause of bacterial foodborne illness. We report the collaborative investigative efforts of US and Canadian public health officials during the 2013–2014 international outbreak of multiple Salmonella serotype infections linked to sprouted chia seed powder. The investigation included open-ended interviews of ill persons, traceback, product testing, facility inspections, and trace forward. Ninety-four persons infected with outbreak strains from 16 states and four provinces were identified; 21% were hospitalized and none died. Fifty-four (96%) of 56 persons who consumed chia seed powder, reported 13 different brands that traced back to a single Canadian firm, distributed by four US and eight Canadian companies. Laboratory testing yielded outbreak strains from leftover and intact product. Contaminated product was recalled. Although chia seed powder is a novel outbreak vehicle, sprouted seeds are recognized as an important cause of foodborne illness; firms should follow available guidance to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination during sprouting.
White matter (WM) impairments have been reported in patients with bipolar disorder (BD) and those at high familial risk of developing BD. However, the distribution of these impairments has not been well characterized. Few studies have examined WM integrity in young people early in the course of illness and in individuals at familial risk who have not yet passed the peak age of onset.
WM integrity was examined in 63 BD subjects, 150 high-risk (HR) individuals and 111 participants with no family history of mental illness (CON). All subjects were aged 12 to 30 years.
This young BD group had significantly lower fractional anisotropy within the genu of the corpus callosum (CC) compared with the CON and HR groups. Moreover, the abnormality in the genu of the CC was also present in HR participants with recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) (n = 16) compared with CON participants.
Our findings provide important validation of interhemispheric abnormalities in BD patients. The novel finding in HR subjects with recurrent MDD – a group at particular risk of future hypo/manic episodes – suggests that this may potentially represent a trait marker for BD, though this will need to be confirmed in longitudinal follow-up studies.
Breast cancer (BrCa) is the second commonest cause of cancer-related deaths in women. The metastatic breast cancer exhibits a high affinity to bone, leading to debilitating skeletal complications associated with significant morbidity and poor prognosis. Traditional in vitro and in vivo BrCa bone metastasis models contain many inherent limitations with regards to controllability, reproducibility, and flexibility of design. Thus, the objective of this research is to use a 3D bioprinting system and nanomaterials to recreate a biomimetic and tunable bone model suitable for the effective simulation and study of metastatic BrCa invading and colonizing a bone environment. For this purpose, we designed and 3D printed a series of scaffolds, comprised of a bone microstructure and nano hydroxyapatites (nHA, inorganic nano components in bone). The size and geometry of the bone microstructure was varied with 250 and 150 µm pores, in repeating square and hexagon patterns, for a total of four different pore geometries. 3D bioprinted scaffolds were subsequently conjugated with nHA, using an acetylation chemical functionalization process and then characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM). SEM imaging showed that our designed microfeatures were printable with the predesigned resolutions described above. Imaging further confirmed that acetylation effectively attached nHA to the surface of scaffolds and induced a nanoroughness. Metastatic BrCa cell 4 h adhesion and 1, 3 and 5 day proliferation were investigated in the bone model in vitro. The cell adhesion and proliferation results showed that all scaffolds are cytocompatible for BrCa cell growth; in particular the nHA scaffolds with small hexagonal pores had the highest cell density. Given this data, it can be stipulated that our 3D printed nHA scaffolds may make effective biomimetic environments for studying BrCa bone metastasis.
Individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) are characterized by maladaptive responses to both positive and negative outcomes, which have been linked to localized abnormal activations in cortical and striatal brain regions. However, the exact neural circuitry implicated in such abnormalities remains largely unexplored.
In this study 26 unmedicated adults with MDD and 29 matched healthy controls (HCs) completed a monetary incentive delay task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analyses probed group differences in connectivity separately in response to positive and negative outcomes (i.e. monetary gains and penalties).
Relative to HCs, MDD subjects displayed decreased connectivity between the caudate and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) in response to monetary gains, yet increased connectivity between the caudate and a different, more rostral, dACC subregion in response to monetary penalties. Moreover, exploratory analyses of 14 MDD patients who completed a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial after the baseline fMRI scans indicated that a more normative pattern of cortico-striatal connectivity pre-treatment was associated with greater improvement in symptoms 12 weeks later.
These results identify the caudate as a region with dissociable incentive-dependent dACC connectivity abnormalities in MDD, and provide initial evidence that cortico-striatal circuitry may play a role in MDD treatment response. Given the role of cortico-striatal circuitry in encoding action–outcome contingencies, such dysregulated connectivity may relate to the prominent disruptions in goal-directed behavior that characterize MDD.
In the present work, the interactions between forsterite-91 with distilled water and forsterite-91 with artificial seawater were studied at two pHs (2.0 and 8.0) using different techniques. A large increase in pH was observed for samples incubated at an initially acidic pH (2.0) due to the dissolution of forsterite-91 in distilled water and artificial seawater. Thus, in acidic hydrothermal vents, an increase in the amount of hydrocarbons and magnetite should be expected due to the release of Fe(II). The pHPZC decreased and the pHIEP increased when forsterite-91 was treated with distilled water and artificial seawater. The ions from the artificial seawater had an effect on zeta potential. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images and X-ray diffractograms showed halite in the samples of forsterite-91 mixed with artificial seawater. The presence of halite or adsorption of ions on the surface of forsterite-91 could affect the synthesis of magnetite and hydrocarbons in hydrothermal vents, due to a decrease in the dissolution rates of forsterite-91. The dissolution of forsterite-91 yields low concentrations of Fe(III) and Mn(II) as detected by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. Microanalysis of forsterite-91 showed a higher amount of Mn, with an oxidation that was likely not +II, as Mn in supernatant solutions was only detected by EPR spectroscopy after mixing with artificial seawater at pH 2.0. As Fe(III) and Mn(II) are catalyst constituents of magnetite and manganese oxide, respectively, their presence is important for synthesis in hydrothermal vents. Etch pits were observed only in the forsterite-91 sample mixed with distilled water at pH 8.0. Na, Cl, S, Ca and K were detected in the samples mixed with artificial seawater by SEM–EDS. Si, Mg, Fe and Al were detected in almost all supernatant samples due to forsterite-91 dissolution. Cr was not dissolved in the experiments, thus Cr in the mineral could serve as an effective catalyst for Fischer Tropsch Types (FTT) reactions in hydrothermal vent systems. X-ray diffractograms of the original forsterite-91 also showed peaks arising from zeolites and clinochlore. After the samples were treated with artificial seawater, X-ray diffractograms showed the dissolution of zeolite. Experiments should be performed in the natural environment to verify the potential for zeolites to act as a catalyst in hydrothermal vents.
While bipolar disorder (BD) is a leading cause of disability, and an important contributor to disability in BD is cognitive impairment, there is little systematic research on the longitudinal course of cognitive function and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) in late-life. In this report, we characterize the 2-year course of cognitive function and IADLs in older adults with BD.
We recruited non-demented individuals 50 years and older with BD I or BD II (n = 47) from out-patient clinics or treatment studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Comparator subjects (‘controls’) were 22 individuals of comparable age and education with no psychiatric or neurologic history, but similar levels of cardiovascular disease. We assessed cognitive function and IADLs at baseline, 1- and 2-year time-points. The neuropsychological evaluation comprised 21 well-established and validated tests assessing multiple cognitive domains. We assessed IADLs using a criterion-referenced, performance-based instrument. We employed repeated-measures mixed-effects linear models to examine trajectory of cognitive function. We employed non-parametric tests for analysis of IADLs.
The BD group displayed worse cognitive function in all domains and worse IADL performance than the comparator group at baseline and over follow-up. Global cognitive function and IADLs were correlated at all time-points. The BD group did not exhibit accelerated cognitive decline over 2 years.
Over 2 years, cognitive impairment and associated functional disability of older adults with BD appear to be due to long-standing neuroprogressive processes compounded by normal cognitive aging rather than accelerated cognitive loss in old age.
Transmission electron microscope studies of Ti-doped, congruent lithium niobate (LiNbO3) have shown that extended structural faults are only present within the Ti diffused layer (i.e. the wave guiding region). Structural faults have not been observed in undoped control crystals of congruent and stoichiometric LiNbO3. Therefore, it appears that the introduction of Ti is responsible for the formation of these defects. The chemical driving forces which may be controlling the formation of structural faults are discussed.
Diffraction contrast experiments, which have been interpreted in terms of two-beam dynamical theory for a centrosymmetric crystal, indicate that the faults are tensile in nature (i.e. formed by removing a plane of atoms – so-called intrinsic faults) and have a displacement vector of the type c/12/001] when indexed in the hexagonal coordinate system. That is, the displacement vector is along the c-axis. The detailed crystallographic character of the fault planes is not clear; both (118) and (1 1 12) planes have been confirmed from trace analyses and therefore the fault has a shear component. Additional contrast experiments will be required in order to clarify this feature of structural faults in Ti-doped LiNbO3.
Since the extent of these structural faults is tens of microns, they are clearly potential scattering sites for photons. In this regard, a systematic understanding of their origin and thermal stability is crucial to integrated optical device technologies based on LiNbO3 and on the Ti-doped waveguide fabrication technique.