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There is a clear need to educate and train the clinical research workforce to conduct scientifically sound clinical research. Meeting this need requires the creation of tools to assess both an individual’s preparedness to function efficiently in the clinical research enterprise and tools to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of programs that are designed to educate and train clinical research professionals. Here we report the development and validation of a competency self-assessment entitled the Competency Index for Clinical Research Professionals, version II (CICRP-II).
CICRP-II was developed using data collected from clinical research coordinators (CRCs) participating in the “Development, Implementation and Assessment of Novel Training In Domain-Based Competencies” (DIAMOND) project at four clinical and translational science award (CTSA) hubs and partnering institutions.
An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) identified a two-factor structure: the first factor measures self-reported competence to perform Routine clinical research functions (e.g., good clinical practice regulations (GCPs)), while the second factor measures competence to perform Advanced clinical functions (e.g., global regulatory affairs). We demonstrate the between groups validity by comparing CRCs working in different research settings.
The excellent psychometric properties of CICRP-II and its ability to distinguish between experienced CRCs at research-intensive CTSA hubs and CRCs working in less-intensive community-based sites coupled with the simplicity of alternative methods for scoring respondents make it a valuable tool for gauging an individual’s perceived preparedness to function in the role of CRC as well as an equally valuable tool to evaluate the value and effectiveness of clinical research education and training programs.
Over recent decades, biomass gains in remaining old-growth Amazonia forests have declined due to environmental change. Amazonia’s huge size and complexity makes understanding these changes, drivers, and consequences very challenging. Here, using a network of permanent monitoring plots at the Amazon–Cerrado transition, we quantify recent biomass carbon changes and explore their environmental drivers. Our study area covers 30 plots of upland and riparian forests sampled at least twice between 1996 and 2016 and subject to various levels of fire and drought. Using these plots, we aimed to: (1) estimate the long-term biomass change rate; (2) determine the extent to which forest changes are influenced by forest type; and (3) assess the threat to forests from ongoing environmental change. Overall, there was no net change in biomass, but there was clear variation among different forest types. Burning occurred at least once in 8 of the 12 riparian forests, while only 1 of the 18 upland forests burned, resulting in losses of carbon in burned riparian forests. Net biomass gains prevailed among other riparian and upland forests throughout Amazonia. Our results reveal an unanticipated vulnerability of riparian forests to fire, likely aggravated by drought, and threatening ecosystem conservation at the Amazon southern margins.
Natural living conductive biofilms transport electrons between electrodes and cells, as well as among cells fixed within the film, catalyzing an array of reactions from acetate oxidation to CO2 reduction. Synthetic biology offers tools to modify or improve electron transport through biofilms, creating a new class of engineered living conductive materials. Engineered living conductive materials could be used in a range of applications for which traditional conducting polymers are not appropriate, including improved catalytic coatings for microbial fuel-cell electrodes, self-powered sensors for austere environments, and next-generation living components of bioelectronic devices that interact with the human microbiome.
Maternal insufficiency during fetal development can have long-lasting effects on the offspring, most notably on nephron endowment. In polycystic kidney disease (PKD), variability in severity of disease is observed and maternal environment may be a modifying factor. In this study, we first established that in a rodent model of PKD, the Lewis polycystic kidney (LPK) rat’s nephron numbers are 25% lower compared with wildtype animals. We then investigated the effects of prenatal and postnatal maternal environment on phenotype and nephron number. LPK pups born from and raised by homozygous LPK dams (control) were compared with LPK pups cross-fostered onto heterozygous LPK dams to improve postnatal environment; with LPK pups born from and raised by heterozygous LPK dams to improve both prenatal and postnatal environment and with LPK pups born from and raised by Wistar Kyoto-LPK heterozygous dams to improve both prenatal and postnatal environment on a different genetic background. Improvement in both prenatal and postnatal environment improved postnatal growth, renal function and reduced blood pressure, most notably in animals with different genetic background. Animals with improved postnatal environment only showed improved growth and blood pressure, but to a lesser extent. All intervention groups showed increased nephron number compared with control LPK. In summary, prenatal and postnatal environment had significant effect in delaying progression and reducing severity of PKD, including nephron endowment.
Indigenous women and children experience some of the most profound health disparities globally. These disparities are grounded in historical and contemporary trauma secondary to colonial atrocities perpetuated by settler society. The health disparities that exist for chronic diseases may have their origins in early-life exposures that Indigenous women and children face. Mechanistically, there is evidence that these adverse exposures epigenetically modify genes associated with cardiometabolic disease risk. Interventions designed to support a resilient pregnancy and first 1000 days of life should abrogate disparities in early-life socioeconomic status. Breastfeeding, prenatal care and early child education are key targets for governments and health care providers to start addressing current health disparities in cardiometabolic diseases among Indigenous youth. Programmes grounded in cultural safety and co-developed with communities have successfully reduced health disparities. More works of this kind are needed to reduce inequities in cardiometabolic diseases among Indigenous women and children worldwide.
Herbicide resistance is ‘wicked’ in nature; therefore, results of the many educational efforts to encourage diversification of weed control practices in the United States have been mixed. It is clear that we do not sufficiently understand the totality of the grassroots obstacles, concerns, challenges, and specific solutions needed for varied crop production systems. Weed management issues and solutions vary with such variables as management styles, regions, cropping systems, and available or affordable technologies. Therefore, to help the weed science community better understand the needs and ideas of those directly dealing with herbicide resistance, seven half-day regional listening sessions were held across the United States between December 2016 and April 2017 with groups of diverse stakeholders on the issues and potential solutions for herbicide resistance management. The major goals of the sessions were to gain an understanding of stakeholders and their goals and concerns related to herbicide resistance management, to become familiar with regional differences, and to identify decision maker needs to address herbicide resistance. The messages shared by listening-session participants could be summarized by six themes: we need new herbicides; there is no need for more regulation; there is a need for more education, especially for others who were not present; diversity is hard; the agricultural economy makes it difficult to make changes; and we are aware of herbicide resistance but are managing it. The authors concluded that more work is needed to bring a community-wide, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the complexity of managing weeds within the context of the whole farm operation and for communicating the need to address herbicide resistance.
Little is known about what motivates people to enroll in research registries. The purpose of this study is to identify facilitators of registry enrollment among diverse older adults.
Participants completed an 18-item Research Interest Assessment Tool. We used logistic regression analyses to examine responses across participants and by race and gender.
Participants (N=374) were 58% black, 76% women, with a mean age of 68.2 years. All participants were motivated to maintain their memory while aging. Facilitators of registry enrolled varied by both race and gender. Notably, blacks (estimate=0.71, p<0.0001) and women (estimate=0.32, p=0.03) were more willing to enroll in the registry due to home visits compared with whites and men, respectively.
Researchers must consider participant desire for maintaining memory while aging and home visits when designing culturally tailored registries.
Seven half-day regional listening sessions were held between December 2016 and April 2017 with groups of diverse stakeholders on the issues and potential solutions for herbicide-resistance management. The objective of the listening sessions was to connect with stakeholders and hear their challenges and recommendations for addressing herbicide resistance. The coordinating team hired Strategic Conservation Solutions, LLC, to facilitate all the sessions. They and the coordinating team used in-person meetings, teleconferences, and email to communicate and coordinate the activities leading up to each regional listening session. The agenda was the same across all sessions and included small-group discussions followed by reporting to the full group for discussion. The planning process was the same across all the sessions, although the selection of venue, time of day, and stakeholder participants differed to accommodate the differences among regions. The listening-session format required a great deal of work and flexibility on the part of the coordinating team and regional coordinators. Overall, the participant evaluations from the sessions were positive, with participants expressing appreciation that they were asked for their thoughts on the subject of herbicide resistance. This paper details the methods and processes used to conduct these regional listening sessions and provides an assessment of the strengths and limitations of those processes.
Introduction: With the current opioid crisis in Canada, presentations of acute opioid withdrawal (AOW) to emergency departments (ED) are increasing. Undertreated symptoms may result in relapse, overdose and death. Buprenorphine/naloxone (bup/nal) is a partial opioid agonist/antagonist used to mitigate symptoms of AOW, approved by Health Canad in 2007 for opioid use disorder. It is superior to clonidine, and increases follow up with addiction treatment programs when initiated in the ED. Nevertheless, in our inner-city ED in 2014, bup/nal was rarely prescribed. We aimed to increase ED physician prescribing of bup/nal for AOW by 50% over a 26-month period. Methods: Commencing in 2014, an interprofessional team of ED physicians, nurses (RN), pharmacists and QI specialists collaborated to improve the care of patients with AOW. PDSA cycles included: (1) needs assessment of emergency physicians knowledge and practices in 2014; (2) Grand Rounds and a web based information sheet in 2015; (3) ED stocking of bup/nal; (4) convenience order set to standardize AOW management; (5) Grand Rounds in 2016 and (6) peer-coaching for RNs, including case-based discussions and pocket card cognitive aids. The outcome was the number of times bup/nal was prescribed per month by ED physicians between Sept, 2015 and Oct, 2017. Data included the prescriber and use of order set as the process measure. The balancing measure was the number of patients referred to the Addiction Medicine Team who subsequently received bup/nal. Results: Bup/nal was prescribed by ED physicians 70 times, and 14 times by the Addiction Medicine Team. With each PDSA cycle, there was an increase in prescribing, with no significant shifts or trends. By all physicians, the median number of prescriptions per month was 3, and increased from 2 to 4 prescriptions/month after nursing education. There was a smaller increase in the median from 2 to 3 prescriptions/month by ED physicians alone. The order set was used 97% of the time. Conclusion: Bup/nal is safe, effective, and increases follow up with addiction programs for comprehensive assessment and treatment planning. We met our goal of increasing bup/nal prescribing in the ED for AOW by 50%. Moreover, prescribing increased by 100% with the addition of patients who received bup/nal after a referral to the Addiction Medicine Team. The intervention with the greatest impact was RN education, demonstrating that peer-coaching and teaching by an interprofessional team is key to changing practice. Unfortunately, overall prescribing remains low, and ED physicians may still be hesitant to prescribe bup/nal and defer to the specialists. It is unclear if this is due to a low number of patients presenting with AOW, patients with contraindications to bup/nal, or ED physician factors. The next step is an audit of all patients with AOW to see what percentage of those eligible are treated with bup/nal. A follow up survey to determine ongoing barriers will inform further PDSA cycles.
Six streams of dust were unexpectedly detected by the Ulysses dust detector while this spacecraft was approximately within one AU distance from Jupiter (Grün et al., 1993). Stream durations ranged from hours to days for individual streams. It was clear that the dust in these streams (or bursts), from their directionality of approach to the spacecraft and from the nearness of stream occurrences to Jupiter, emanated from the Jovian system.
Following the original report, Baguhl et al. (1994) later relaxed the criteria for differentiating true dust impacts from “noise pulses” and found almost triple the number of dust impacts in the six streams already found. They also found 5 more streams that, except for one stream, clearly emanated from the Jovian system. The criteria were relaxed in such a way as to not introduce “noise events” into the data.
Our study adds to the Quaternary history of eolian systems and deposits in western Wisconsin, USA, primarily within the lower Chippewa River valley. Thickness and textural patterns of loess deposits in the region indicate transport by west-northwesterly and westerly winds. Loess is thickest and coarsest on the southeastern flanks of large bedrock ridges and uplands, similar in some ways to shadow dunes. In many areas, sand was transported up and onto the western flanks of bedrock ridges as sand ramps, presumably as loess was deposited in their lee. Long, linear dunes, common on the sandy lowlands of the Chippewa valley, also trend to the east-southeast. Small depressional blowouts are widespread here as well and often lie immediately upwind of small parabolic dunes. Finally, in areas where sediment was being exposed by erosion along cutbanks of the Chippewa River, sand appears to have been transported up and onto the terrace treads, forming cliff-top dunes. Luminescence data indicate that this activity has continued throughout the latest Pleistocene and into the mid-Holocene. Together, these landforms and sediments paint a picture of a locally destabilized landscape with widespread eolian activity throughout much of the postglacial period.
Symmetric, two-sided morphology seems to argue against relativistic effects dominating compact radio emission. This kind of structure has been reported for a number of sources (Phillips and Mutel 1982; Pearson 1983) based on maps made at one frequency. Various arguments, all indirect, can be made for these sources being (1) Twin regions formed at the ends of jets which emerge from an invisible core, or (2) misidentified core-jet sources wherein the core and an unusually bright knot are wrongly taken to be a “double.” A telling test of both hypotheses is to map the sources in question over an octave or so of frequency. Proponents of view (1) would predict that the two double components will show nearly identical spectral indices and that weak central cores with flat or rising spectra might even be revealed. Champions of view (2) would predict that one end or the other will dominate at high frequencies (the core!) or that complex bridges of emission (the jet!) will be revealed between the components at low frequencies. We have followed our initial discovery of 5 symmetric compact doubles by (A) attempting to enlarge the sample of symmetric sources available to study, and (B) by investigating at 5 GHz those doubles for which the best maps exist at 1.7 GHz.
Two observational programs which provide new information about particular LBVs through investigations of their immediate surroundings are described. (1) Digital spectral classification of OB supergiants in compact groups apparently associated with Radcliffe 127 and S Doradus has revealed several interesting objects and indicates which of them are likely to be generically related to the LBVs. (2) Velocity-resolved images of the Eta Carinae shell show qualitatively new features, which will contribute substantially to the interpretation of its complex spatial/kinematical structure.
Knowledge regarding association of dietary branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) and type 2 diabetes (T2D), and the contribution of BCAA from meat to the risk of T2D are scarce. We evaluated associations between dietary BCAA intake, meat intake, interaction between BCAA and meat intake and risk of T2D. Data analyses were performed for 74 155 participants aged 50−79 years at baseline from the Women’s Health Initiative for up to 15 years of follow-up. We excluded from analysis participants with treated T2D, and factors potentially associated with T2D or missing covariate data. The BCAA and total meat intake was estimated from FFQ. Using Cox proportional hazards models, we assessed the relationship between BCAA intake, meat intake, and T2D, adjusting for confounders. A 20 % increment in total BCAA intake (g/d and %energy) was associated with a 7 % higher risk for T2D (hazard ratio (HR) 1·07; 95 % CI 1·05, 1·09). For total meat intake, a 20 % increment was associated with a 4 % higher risk of T2D (HR 1·04; 95 % CI 1·03, 1·05). The associations between BCAA intake and T2D were attenuated but remained significant after adjustment for total meat intake. These relations did not materially differ with or without adjustment for BMI. Our results suggest that dietary BCAA and meat intake are positively associated with T2D among postmenopausal women. The association of BCAA and diabetes risk was attenuated but remained positive after adjustment for meat intake suggesting that BCAA intake in part but not in full is contributing to the association of meat with T2D risk.
We present results from a multiwavelength study of the blazar PKS 1954–388 at radio, UV, X-ray, and gamma-ray energies. A RadioAstron observation at 1.66 GHz in June 2012 resulted in the detection of interferometric fringes on baselines of 6.2 Earth-diameters. This suggests a source frame brightness temperature of greater than 2 × 1012 K, well in excess of both equipartition and inverse Compton limits and implying the existence of Doppler boosting in the core. An 8.4-GHz TANAMI VLBI image, made less than a month after the RadioAstron observations, is consistent with a previously reported superluminal motion for a jet component. Flux density monitoring with the Australia Telescope Compact Array confirms previous evidence for long-term variability that increases with observing frequency. A search for more rapid variability revealed no evidence for significant day-scale flux density variation. The ATCA light-curve reveals a strong radio flare beginning in late 2013, which peaks higher, and earlier, at higher frequencies. Comparison with the Fermi gamma-ray light-curve indicates this followed ~ 9 months after the start of a prolonged gamma-ray high-state—a radio lag comparable to that seen in other blazars. The multiwavelength data are combined to derive a Spectral Energy Distribution, which is fitted by a one-zone synchrotron-self-Compton (SSC) model with the addition of external Compton (EC) emission.
Aims: This study aimed to evaluate pharmacists’ and physicians’ perception and knowledge of e-cigarettes, including comfort level in counselling patients on these products. The study also assessed if, and to what extent, patient e-cigarette usage is collected as a marker of tobacco use status.
Methods: Surveys were distributed to community pharmacists and family practice physicians for 3 months, and responses were analysed utilising descriptive and inferential statistics.
Results: The majority of respondents reported not feeling fully confident on counselling patients about e-cigarettes, and responses revealed gaps in knowledge in both groups. Mixed results were obtained on the inclusion of e-cigarettes in assessment of patient smoking status.
Conclusions: Pharmacists and physicians would benefit from further information on e-cigarettes. Due to the increasing popularity, healthcare professionals will be called upon to serve as, care providers and informational resources to patients who use these products. This survey provided a consensus that further steps should be taken to increase product training and information dissemination.
Functional neurological disorders (FNDs), also known as conversion disorder, are unexplained neurological symptoms unrelated to a neurological cause. The disorder is common, yet poorly understood. The symptoms are experienced as involuntary but have similarities to voluntary processes. Here we studied intention awareness in FND.
A total of 26 FND patients and 25 healthy volunteers participated in this functional magnetic resonance study using Libet's clock.
FND is characterized by delayed awareness of the intention to move relative to the movement itself. The reporting of intention was more precise, suggesting that these findings are reliable and unrelated to non-specific attentional deficits. That these findings were more prominent with aberrant positive functional movement symptoms rather than negative symptoms may be relevant to impairments in timing for an inhibitory veto process. Attention towards intention relative to movement was associated with lower right inferior parietal cortex activity in FND, a region early in the processing of intention. During rest, aberrant functional connectivity was observed with the right inferior parietal cortex and other motor intention regions.
The results converge with observations of low inferior parietal activity comparing involuntary with voluntary movement in FND, emphasizing core deficiencies in intention. Heightened precision of this impaired intention is consistent with Bayesian theories of impaired top-down priors that might influence the sense of involuntariness. A primary impairment in voluntary motor intention at an early processing stage might explain clinical observations of slowed effortful voluntary movement, heightened self-directed attention and underlie functional movements. These findings further suggest novel therapeutic targets.
Identifying youth who may engage in future substance use could facilitate early identification of substance use disorder vulnerability. We aimed to identify biomarkers that predicted future substance use in psychiatrically un-well youth.
LASSO regression for variable selection was used to predict substance use 24.3 months after neuroimaging assessment in 73 behaviorally and emotionally dysregulated youth aged 13.9 (s.d. = 2.0) years, 30 female, from three clinical sites in the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms (LAMS) study. Predictor variables included neural activity during a reward task, cortical thickness, and clinical and demographic variables.
Future substance use was associated with higher left middle prefrontal cortex activity, lower left ventral anterior insula activity, thicker caudal anterior cingulate cortex, higher depression and lower mania scores, not using antipsychotic medication, more parental stress, older age. This combination of variables explained 60.4% of the variance in future substance use, and accurately classified 83.6%.
These variables explained a large proportion of the variance, were useful classifiers of future substance use, and showed the value of combining multiple domains to provide a comprehensive understanding of substance use development. This may be a step toward identifying neural measures that can identify future substance use disorder risk, and act as targets for therapeutic interventions.
We investigated the physiology of two closely related albatross species relative to their breeding strategy: black-browed albatrosses (Thalassarche melanophris) breed annually, while grey-headed albatrosses (T. chrysostoma) breed biennially. From observations of breeding fate and blood samples collected at the end of breeding in one season and feather corticosterone levels (fCort) sampled at the beginning of the next breeding season, we found that in both species some post-breeding physiological parameters differed according to breeding outcome (successful, failed, deferred). Correlations between post-breeding physiology and fCort, and links to future breeding decisions, were examined. In black-browed albatrosses, post-breeding physiology and fCort were not significantly correlated, but fCort independently predicted breeding decision the next year, which we interpret as a possible migratory carry-over effect. In grey-headed albatrosses, post-breeding triglyceride levels were negatively correlated with fCort, but only in females, which we interpret as a potential cost of reproduction. However, this potential cost did not carry-over to future breeding in the grey-headed albatrosses. None of the variables predicted future breeding decisions. We suggest that biennial breeding in the grey-headed albatrosses may have evolved as a strategy to buffer against the apparent susceptibility of females to negative physiological costs of reproduction. Future studies are needed to confirm this.