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Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
Pulmonary hypertension is a complex and progressive condition that is either idiopathic or heritable, or associated with one or multiple health conditions, with or without congenital or acquired cardiovascular disease. Recent developments have tremendously increased the armamentarium of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in children and young adults with pulmonary hypertension that is still associated with a high morbidity and mortality. These modalities include non-invasive imaging, pharmacotherapy, interventional and surgical procedures, and supportive measures. The optimal, tailored diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for pulmonary hypertension in the young are rapidly evolving but still face enormous challenges: Healthcare providers need to take the patient’s age, development, disease state, and family concerns into account when initiating advanced diagnostics and treatment. Therefore, there is a need for guidance on core and advanced medical training in paediatric pulmonary hypertension. The Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology working group “pulmonary hypertension, heart failure and transplantation” has produced this document as an expert consensus statement; however, all recommendations must be considered and applied in the context of the local and national infrastructure and legal regulations.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
To sustainably improve cleaning of high-touch surfaces (HTSs) in acute-care hospitals using a multimodal approach to education, reduction of barriers to cleaning, and culture change for environmental services workers.
The study was conducted in 2 academic acute-care hospitals, 2 community hospitals, and an academic pediatric and women’s hospital.
Frontline environmental services workers.
A 5-module educational program, using principles of adult learning theory, was developed and presented to environmental services workers. Audience response system (ARS), videos, demonstrations, role playing, and graphics were used to illustrate concepts of and the rationale for infection prevention strategies. Topics included hand hygiene, isolation precautions, personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning protocols, and strategies to overcome barriers. Program evaluation included ARS questions, written evaluations, and objective assessments of occupied patient room cleaning. Changes in hospital-onset C. difficile infection (CDI) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) bacteremia were evaluated.
On average, 357 environmental service workers participated in each module. Most (93%) rated the presentations as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ and agreed that they were useful (95%), reported that they were more comfortable donning/doffing PPE (91%) and performing hand hygiene (96%) and better understood the importance of disinfecting HTSs (96%) after the program. The frequency of cleaning individual HTSs in occupied rooms increased from 26% to 62% (P < .001) following the intervention. Improvement was sustained 1-year post intervention (P < .001). A significant decrease in CDI was associated with the program.
A novel program that addressed environmental services workers’ knowledge gaps, challenges, and barriers was well received and appeared to result in learning, behavior change, and sustained improvements in cleaning.
The mammal family Tenrecidae (Afrotheria: Afrosoricida) is endemic to Madagascar. Here we present the conservation priorities for the 31 species of tenrec that were assessed or reassessed in 2015–2016 for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Six species (19.4%) were found to be threatened (4 Vulnerable, 2 Endangered) and one species was categorized as Data Deficient. The primary threat to tenrecs is habitat loss, mostly as a result of slash-and-burn agriculture, but some species are also threatened by hunting and incidental capture in fishing traps. In the longer term, climate change is expected to alter tenrec habitats and ranges. However, the lack of data for most tenrecs on population size, ecology and distribution, together with frequent changes in taxonomy (with many cryptic species being discovered based on genetic analyses) and the poorly understood impact of bushmeat hunting on spiny species (Tenrecinae), hinders conservation planning. Priority conservation actions are presented for Madagascar's tenrecs for the first time since 1990 and focus on conserving forest habitat (especially through improved management of protected areas) and filling essential knowledge gaps. Tenrec research, monitoring and conservation should be integrated into broader sustainable development objectives and programmes targeting higher profile species, such as lemurs, if we are to see an improvement in the conservation status of tenrecs in the near future.
This study investigated the characteristics of subjective memory complaints (SMCs) and their association with current and future cognitive functions.
A cohort of 209 community-dwelling individuals without dementia aged 47–90 years old was recruited for this 3-year study. Participants underwent neuropsychological and clinical assessments annually. Participants were divided into SMCs and non-memory complainers (NMCs) using a single question at baseline and a memory complaints questionnaire following baseline, to evaluate differential patterns of complaints. In addition, comprehensive assessment of memory complaints was undertaken to evaluate whether severity and consistency of complaints differentially predicted cognitive function.
SMC and NMC individuals were significantly different on various features of SMCs. Greater overall severity (but not consistency) of complaints was significantly associated with current and future cognitive functioning.
SMC individuals present distinctive features of memory complaints as compared to NMCs. Further, the severity of complaints was a significant predictor of future cognition. However, SMC did not significantly predict change over time in this sample. These findings warrant further research into the specific features of SMCs that may portend subsequent neuropathological and cognitive changes when screening individuals at increased future risk of dementia.
To evaluate the impact of discontinuing routine contact precautions (CP) for endemic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) on hospital adverse events.
Academic medical center with single-occupancy rooms.
We compared hospital reportable adverse events 1 year before and 1 year after discontinuation of routine CP for endemic MRSA and VRE (preintervention and postintervention periods, respectively). Throughout the preintervention period, daily chlorhexidine gluconate bathing was expanded to nearly all inpatients. Chart reviews were performed to identify which patients and events were associated with CP for MRSA/VRE in the preintervention period as well as the patients that would have met prior criteria for MRSA/VRE CP but were not isolated in the postintervention period. Adverse events during the 2 periods were compared using segmented and mixed-effects Poisson regression models.
There were 24,732 admissions in the preintervention period and 25,536 in the postintervention period. Noninfectious adverse events (ie, postoperative respiratory failure, hemorrhage/hematoma, thrombosis, wound dehiscence, pressure ulcers, and falls or trauma) decreased by 19% (12.3 to 10.0 per 1,000 admissions, P=.022) from the preintervention to the postintervention period. There was no significant difference in the rate of infectious adverse events after CP discontinuation (20.7 to 19.4 per 1,000 admissions, P=.33). Patients with MRSA/VRE showed the largest reduction in noninfectious adverse events after CP discontinuation, with a 72% reduction (21.4 to 6.08 per 1,000 MRSA/VRE admissions; P<.001).
After discontinuing routine CP for endemic MRSA/VRE, the rate of noninfectious adverse events declined, especially in patients who no longer required isolation. This suggests that elimination of CP may substantially reduce noninfectious adverse events.
From 2000 to 2009, rates of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii increased 10-fold to 0.2 per 1,000 patient days. From 2010 to 2015, however, rates markedly declined and have stayed below 0.05 per 1,000 patient days. Herein, we present a 15-year trend analysis and discuss interventions that may have led to the decline.
Zirconolite glass-ceramics are being developed as potential wasteforms for the disposition of Pu wastes in the UK. Previous studies utilised a variety of surrogates whilst this work uses both cold-press and sinter and hot isostatic press methods to validate the wasteform with PuO2. A cold press and sinter sample was fabricated as part of a validation study for plutonium incorporation in hot isostatically pressed (HIPed) wasteforms. The results confirmed the cold-press and sinter, achieved successful waste incorporation and a microstructure and phase assemblage that was in agreement with those expected of a HIPed equivalent. A HIP sample was fabricated of the same composition and characterised by SEM and XRD. Results were in agreement with the sintered sample and achieved complete waste incorporation into the glass-ceramic wasteform. These samples have demonstrated successful incorporation of PuO2 into glass-ceramic HIPed wasteforms proposed for processing Pu-based waste-streams in the UK.
What is a good (useful) mathematical model in animal science? For models constructed for prediction purposes, the question of model adequacy (usefulness) has been traditionally tackled by statistical analysis applied to observed experimental data relative to model-predicted variables. However, little attention has been paid to analytic tools that exploit the mathematical properties of the model equations. For example, in the context of model calibration, before attempting a numerical estimation of the model parameters, we might want to know if we have any chance of success in estimating a unique best value of the model parameters from available measurements. This question of uniqueness is referred to as structural identifiability; a mathematical property that is defined on the sole basis of the model structure within a hypothetical ideal experiment determined by a setting of model inputs (stimuli) and observable variables (measurements). Structural identifiability analysis applied to dynamic models described by ordinary differential equations (ODEs) is a common practice in control engineering and system identification. This analysis demands mathematical technicalities that are beyond the academic background of animal science, which might explain the lack of pervasiveness of identifiability analysis in animal science modelling. To fill this gap, in this paper we address the analysis of structural identifiability from a practitioner perspective by capitalizing on the use of dedicated software tools. Our objectives are (i) to provide a comprehensive explanation of the structural identifiability notion for the community of animal science modelling, (ii) to assess the relevance of identifiability analysis in animal science modelling and (iii) to motivate the community to use identifiability analysis in the modelling practice (when the identifiability question is relevant). We focus our study on ODE models. By using illustrative examples that include published mathematical models describing lactation in cattle, we show how structural identifiability analysis can contribute to advancing mathematical modelling in animal science towards the production of useful models and, moreover, highly informative experiments via optimal experiment design. Rather than attempting to impose a systematic identifiability analysis to the modelling community during model developments, we wish to open a window towards the discovery of a powerful tool for model construction and experiment design.
We report on a target system supporting automated positioning of nano-targets with a precision resolution of
in three dimensions. It relies on a confocal distance sensor and a microscope. The system has been commissioned to position nanometer targets with 1 Hz repetition rate. Integrating our prototype into the table-top ATLAS 300 TW-laser system at the Laboratory for Extreme Photonics in Garching, we demonstrate the operation of a 0.5 Hz laser-driven proton source with a shot-to-shot variation of the maximum energy about 27% for a level of confidence of 0.95. The reason of laser shooting experiments operated at 0.5 Hz rather than 1 Hz is because the synchronization between the nano-foil target positioning system and the laser trigger needs to improve.
In biological monitoring, deploying an effective standardised quantitative sampling method, optimised by trap design and sampling effort, is an essential consideration. To exemplify this using dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae) communities, three pitfall trap designs (un-baited (TN), baited at ground level (flat trap, TF), and baited above the trap (hanging trap, TH)), employed with varying levels of sampling effort (number of traps=1, 2, 3 … 10; number of days=1, 2, 3), were evaluated for sampling completeness and efficiency in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Modelling and resampling simulation approaches were used to suggest optimal sampling protocols across environmentally diverse sites. Overall, TF recovered the greatest abundance and species richness of dung beetles, but behavioural guilds showed conflicting trends: endocoprids preferred TH while paracoprids and telocoprids preferred TF. Resampling simulation of trap type and the two components of sampling effort suggested that six TF traps left for three days was most efficient in obtaining a representative sample and allowed differentiation between trap types, allowing the improved efficiency to be recognised. The effect of trap type on non-target specimens, particularly ants, was also investigated. TF and TH caught almost no by-catch, which is ethically desirable.
To evaluate the impact of discontinuation of contact precautions (CP) for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) and expansion of chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) use on the health system.
We compared hospital-wide laboratory-identified clinical culture rates (as a marker of healthcare-associated infections) 1 year before and after routine CP for endemic MRSA and VRE were discontinued and CHG bathing was expanded to all units. Culture data from patients and cost data on material utilization were collected. Nursing time spent donning personal protective equipment was assessed and quantified using time-driven activity-based costing.
Average positive culture rates before and after discontinuing CP were 0.40 and 0.32 cultures/100 admissions for MRSA (P=.09), and 0.48 and 0.40 cultures/100 admissions for VRE (P=.14). When combining isolation gown and CHG costs, the health system saved $643,776 in 1 year. Before the change, 28.5% intensive care unit and 19% medicine/surgery beds were on CP for MRSA/VRE. On the basis of average room entries and donning time, estimated nursing time spent donning personal protective equipment for MRSA/VRE before the change was 45,277 hours/year (estimated cost, $4.6 million).
Discontinuing routine CP for endemic MRSA and VRE did not result in increased rates of MRSA or VRE after 1 year. With cost savings on materials, decreased healthcare worker time, and no concomitant increase in possible infections, elimination of routine CP may add substantial value to inpatient care delivery.
The relative contribution of demographic, lifestyle and medication factors to the association between affective disorders and cardiometabolic diseases is poorly understood.
To assess the relationship between cardiometabolic disease and features of depresion and bipolar disorder within a large population sample.
Cross-sectional study of 145 991 UK Biobank participants: multivariate analyses of associations between features of depression or bipolar disorder and five cardiometabolic outcomes, adjusting for confounding factors.
There were significant associations between mood disorder features and ‘any cardiovascular disease’ (depression odds ratio (OR) = 1.15, 95% CI 1.12–1.19; bipolar OR = 1.28, 95% CI 1.14–1.43) and with hypertension (depression OR = 1.15, 95% CI 1.13–1.18; bipolar OR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.12–1.42). Individuals with features of mood disorder taking psychotropic medication were significantly more likely than controls not on psychotropics to report myocardial infarction (depression OR = 1.47, 95% CI 1.24–1.73; bipolar OR = 2.23, 95% CI 1.53–3.57) and stroke (depression OR = 2.46, 95% CI 2.10–2.80; bipolar OR = 2.31, 95% CI 1.39–3.85).
Associations between features of depression or bipolar disorder and cardiovascular disease outcomes were statistically independent of demographic, lifestyle and medication confounders. Psychotropic medication may also be a risk factor for cardiometabolic disease in individuals without a clear history of mood disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a highly heritable polygenic disorder. Recent
enrichment analyses suggest that there may be true risk variants for
bipolar disorder in the expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) in the
We sought to assess the impact of eQTL variants on bipolar disorder risk
by combining data from both bipolar disorder genome-wide association
studies (GWAS) and brain eQTL.
To detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that influence
expression levels of genes associated with bipolar disorder, we jointly
analysed data from a bipolar disorder GWAS (7481 cases and 9250 controls)
and a genome-wide brain (cortical) eQTL (193 healthy controls) using a
Bayesian statistical method, with independent follow-up replications. The
identified risk SNP was then further tested for association with
hippocampal volume (n = 5775) and cognitive performance
(n = 342) among healthy individuals.
Integrative analysis revealed a significant association between a brain
eQTL rs6088662 on chromosome 20q11.22 and bipolar disorder (log Bayes
factor = 5.48; bipolar disorder P =
5.85×10–5). Follow-up studies across multiple independent
samples confirmed the association of the risk SNP (rs6088662) with gene
expression and bipolar disorder susceptibility (P =
3.54×10–8). Further exploratory analysis revealed that
rs6088662 is also associated with hippocampal volume and cognitive
performance in healthy individuals.
Our findings suggest that 20q11.22 is likely a risk region for bipolar
disorder; they also highlight the informative value of integrating
functional annotation of genetic variants for gene expression in
advancing our understanding of the biological basis underlying complex
disorders, such as bipolar disorder.