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The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is a low-frequency aperture array capable of high-time and frequency resolution astronomy applications such as pulsar studies. The large field-of-view of the MWA (hundreds of square degrees) can also be exploited to attain fast survey speeds for all-sky pulsar search applications, but to maximise sensitivity requires forming thousands of tied-array beams from each voltage-capture observation. The necessity of using calibration solutions that are separated from the target observation both temporally and spatially makes pulsar observations vulnerable to uncorrected, frequency-dependent positional offsets due to the ionosphere. These offsets may be large enough to move the source away from the centre of the tied-array beam, incurring sensitivity drops of
in Phase II extended array configuration. We analyse these offsets in pulsar observations and develop a method for mitigating them, improving both the source position accuracy and the sensitivity. This analysis prompted the development of a multi-pixel beamforming functionality that can generate dozens of tied-array beams simultaneously, which runs a factor of ten times faster compared to the original single-pixel version. This enhancement makes it feasible to observe multiple pulsars within the vast field of view of the MWA and supports the ongoing large-scale pulsar survey efforts with the MWA. We explore the extent to which ionospheric offset correction will be necessary for the MWA Phase III and the low-frequency square kilometre array (SKA-low).
Automated virtual reality therapies are being developed to increase access to psychological interventions. We assessed the experience with one such therapy of patients diagnosed with psychosis, including satisfaction, side effects, and positive experiences of access to the technology. We tested whether side effects affected therapy.
In a clinical trial 122 patients diagnosed with psychosis completed baseline measures of psychiatric symptoms, received gameChange VR therapy, and then completed a satisfaction questionnaire, the Oxford-VR Side Effects Checklist, and outcome measures.
79 (65.8%) patients were very satisfied with VR therapy, 37 (30.8%) were mostly satisfied, 3 (2.5%) were indifferent/mildly dissatisfied, and 1 (0.8%) person was quite dissatisfied. The most common side effects were: difficulties concentrating because of thinking about what might be happening in the room (n = 17, 14.2%); lasting headache (n = 10, 8.3%); and the headset causing feelings of panic (n = 9, 7.4%). Side effects formed three factors: difficulties concentrating when wearing a headset, feelings of panic using VR, and worries following VR. The occurrence of side effects was not associated with number of VR sessions, therapy outcomes, or psychiatric symptoms. Difficulties concentrating in VR were associated with slightly lower satisfaction. VR therapy provision and engagement made patients feel: proud (n = 99, 81.8%); valued (n = 97, 80.2%); and optimistic (n = 96, 79.3%).
Patients with psychosis were generally very positive towards the VR therapy, valued having the opportunity to try the technology, and experienced few adverse effects. Side effects did not significantly impact VR therapy. Patient experience of VR is likely to facilitate widespread adoption.
The complexities of chemical composition and crystal structure are fundamental characteristics of minerals that have high relevance to the understanding of their stability, occurrence and evolution. This review summarises recent developments in the field of mineral complexity and outlines possible directions for its future elaboration. The database of structural and chemical complexity parameters of minerals is updated by H-correction of structures with unknown H positions and the inclusion of new data. The revised average complexity values (arithmetic means) for all minerals are 3.54(2) bits/atom and 345(10) bits/cell (based upon 4443 structure reports). The distributions of atomic information amounts, chemIG and strIG, versus the number of mineral species fit the normal modes, whereas the distributions of total complexities, chemIG,total and strIG,total, along with numbers of atoms per formula and per unit cell are log normal. The three most complex mineral species known today are ewingite, morrisonite and ilmajokite, all either discovered or structurally characterised within the last five years. The most important complexity-generating mechanisms in minerals are: (1) the presence of isolated large clusters; (2) the presence of large clusters linked together to form three-dimensional frameworks; (3) formation of complex three-dimensional modular frameworks; (4) formation of complex modular layers; (5) high hydration state in salts with complex heteropolyhedral units; and (6) formation of ordered superstructures of relatively simple structure types. The relations between symmetry and complexity are considered. The analysis of temporal dynamics of mineralogical discoveries since 1875 with the step of 25 years show the increasing chemical and structural complexities of human knowledge of the mineral kingdom in the history of mineralogy. In the Earth's history, both diversity and complexity of minerals experience dramatic increases associated with the formation of Earth's continental crust, initiation of plate tectonics and the Great Oxidation event.
Many patients with mental health disorders become increasingly isolated at home due to anxiety about going outside. A cognitive perspective on this difficulty is that threat cognitions lead to the safety-seeking behavioural response of agoraphobic avoidance.
We sought to develop a brief questionnaire, suitable for research and clinical practice, to assess a wide range of cognitions likely to lead to agoraphobic avoidance. We also included two additional subscales assessing two types of safety-seeking defensive responses: anxious avoidance and within-situation safety behaviours.
198 patients with psychosis and agoraphobic avoidance and 1947 non-clinical individuals completed the item pool and measures of agoraphobic avoidance, generalised anxiety, social anxiety, depression and paranoia. Factor analyses were used to derive the Oxford Cognitions and Defences Questionnaire (O-CDQ).
The O-CDQ consists of three subscales: threat cognitions (14 items), anxious avoidance (11 items), and within-situation safety behaviours (8 items). Separate confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated a good model fit for all subscales. The cognitions subscale was significantly associated with agoraphobic avoidance (r = .672, p < .001), social anxiety (r = .617, p < .001), generalized anxiety (r = .746, p < .001), depression (r = .619, p < .001) and paranoia (r = .655, p < .001). Additionally, both the O-CDQ avoidance (r = .867, p < .001) and within-situation safety behaviours (r = .757, p < .001) subscales were highly correlated with agoraphobic avoidance. The O-CDQ demonstrated excellent internal consistency (cognitions Cronbach’s alpha = .93, avoidance Cronbach’s alpha = .94, within-situation Cronbach’s alpha = .93) and test–re-test reliability (cognitions ICC = 0.88, avoidance ICC = 0.92, within-situation ICC = 0.89).
The O-CDQ, consisting of three separate scales, has excellent psychometric properties and may prove a helpful tool for understanding agoraphobic avoidance across mental health disorders.
Five international consensus statements on concussion in sports have been published. This commentary argues that there is a strong need for a new approach to them that foregrounds public health expertise and patient-centered guidance. Doing so will help players, parents and practitioners keep perspective about these potentially life-altering injuries especially when they recur.
Diet is a modifiable risk factor for chronic disease and a potential modulator of telomere length (TL). The study aim was to investigate associations between diet quality and TL in Australian adults after a 12-week dietary intervention with an almond-enriched diet (AED). Participants (overweight/obese, 50–80 years) were randomised to an AED (n 62) or isoenergetic nut-free diet (NFD, n 62) for 12 weeks. Diet quality was assessed using a Dietary Guideline Index (DGI), applied to weighed food records, that consists of ten components reflecting adequacy, variety and quality of core food components and discretionary choices within the diet. TL was measured by quantitative PCR in samples of lymphocytes, neutrophils, and whole blood. There were no significant associations between DGI scores and TL at baseline. Diet quality improved with AED and decreased with NFD after 12 weeks (change from baseline AED + 9·8 %, NFD − 14·3 %; P < 0·001). TL increased in neutrophils (+9·6 bp, P = 0·009) and decreased in whole blood, to a trivial extent (–12·1 bp, P = 0·001), and was unchanged in lymphocytes. Changes did not differ between intervention groups. There were no significant relationships between changes in diet quality scores and changes in lymphocyte, neutrophil or whole blood TL. The inclusion of almonds in the diet improved diet quality scores but had no impact on TL mid-age to older Australian adults. Future studies should investigate the impact of more substantial dietary changes over longer periods of time.
The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.
Nutrition during the periconceptional period influences postnatal cardiovascular health. We determined whether in vitro embryo culture and transfer, which are manipulations of the nutritional environment during the periconceptional period, dysregulate postnatal blood pressure and blood pressure regulatory mechanisms. Embryos were either transferred to an intermediate recipient ewe (ET) or cultured in vitro in the absence (IVC) or presence of human serum (IVCHS) and a methyl donor (IVCHS+M) for 6 days. Basal blood pressure was recorded at 19–20 weeks after birth. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) were measured before and after varying doses of phenylephrine (PE). mRNA expression of signaling molecules involved in blood pressure regulation was measured in the renal artery. Basal MAP did not differ between groups. Baroreflex sensitivity, set point, and upper plateau were also maintained in all groups after PE stimulation. Adrenergic receptors alpha-1A (αAR1A), alpha-1B (αAR1B), and angiotensin II receptor type 1 (AT1R) mRNA expression were not different from controls in the renal artery. These results suggest there is no programmed effect of ET or IVC on basal blood pressure or the baroreflex control mechanisms in adolescence, but future studies are required to determine the impact of ET and IVC on these mechanisms later in the life course when developmental programming effects may be unmasked by age.
Effects of stresses associated with extremely preterm birth may be biologically “recorded” in the genomes of individuals born preterm via changes in DNA methylation (DNAm) patterns. Genome-wide DNAm profiles were examined in buccal epithelial cells from 45 adults born at extremely low birth weight (ELBW; ≤1000 g) in the oldest known cohort of prospectively followed ELBW survivors (Mage = 32.35 years, 17 male), and 47 normal birth weight (NBW; ≥2500 g) control adults (Mage = 32.43 years, 20 male). Sex differences in DNAm profiles were found in both birth weight groups, but they were greatly enhanced in the ELBW group (77,895 loci) versus the NBW group (3,424 loci), suggesting synergistic effects of extreme prenatal adversity and sex on adult DNAm profiles. In men, DNAm profiles differed by birth weight group at 1,354 loci on 694 unique genes. Only two loci on two genes distinguished between ELBW and NBW women. Gene ontology (GO) and network analyses indicated that loci differentiating between ELBW and NBW men were abundant in genes within biological pathways related to neuronal development, synaptic transportation, metabolic regulation, and cellular regulation. Findings suggest increased sensitivity of males to long-term epigenetic effects of extremely preterm birth. Group differences are discussed in relation to particular gene functions.
Advanced imaging techniques are enhancing research capacity focussed on the developmental origins of adult health and disease (DOHaD) hypothesis, and consequently increasing awareness of future health risks across various subareas of DOHaD research themes. Understanding how these advanced imaging techniques in animal models and human population studies can be both additively and synergistically used alongside traditional techniques in DOHaD-focussed laboratories is therefore of great interest. Global experts in advanced imaging techniques congregated at the advanced imaging workshop at the 2019 DOHaD World Congress in Melbourne, Australia. This review summarizes the presentations of new imaging modalities and novel applications to DOHaD research and discussions had by DOHaD researchers that are currently utilizing advanced imaging techniques including MRI, hyperpolarized MRI, ultrasound, and synchrotron-based techniques to aid their DOHaD research focus.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses suggest that behaviour change interventions have modest effect sizes, struggle to demonstrate effect in the long term and that there is high heterogeneity between studies. Such interventions take huge effort to design and run for relatively small returns in terms of changes to behaviour.
So why do behaviour change interventions not work and how can we make them more effective? This article offers some ideas about what may underpin the failure of behaviour change interventions. We propose three main reasons that may explain why our current methods of conducting behaviour change interventions struggle to achieve the changes we expect: 1) our current model for testing the efficacy or effectiveness of interventions tends to a mean effect size. This ignores individual differences in response to interventions; 2) our interventions tend to assume that everyone values health in the way we do as health professionals; and 3) the great majority of our interventions focus on addressing cognitions as mechanisms of change. We appeal to people’s logic and rationality rather than recognising that much of what we do and how we behave, including our health behaviours, is governed as much by how we feel and how engaged we are emotionally as it is with what we plan and intend to do.
Drawing on our team’s experience of developing multiple interventions to promote and support health behaviour change with a variety of populations in different global contexts, this article explores strategies with potential to address these issues.
While involving patients in health technology assessment (HTA) has become increasingly common and important around the world, little is known about the optimal methods of evaluating patients’ involvement (PI) in HTA. This scoping review was undertaken to provide an overview of currently available methods for the evaluation of PI, specifically the impact of PI on HTA recommendations.
A literature search was conducted using nine databases as well as a grey literature search of the websites of 26 organizations related to the conduct, practice or research of HTA to identify articles, reports and abstracts related to the evaluation of PI impact in HTA.
We identified 1,248 unique citations, six of which met our eligibility criteria. These six records (five articles, and one report) were all published after 2012. Four assessed the impact of patient experience submissions on final HTA recommendations; one evaluated the impact of direct involvement on HTA committees, and one assessed impact of multiple forms of involvement. Methods of evaluation included quantitative analyses of reimbursement decisions, qualitative interviews with those directly involved in an assessment, surveys of patient groups and committee members, and the review of HTA reports.
Quantitative evaluation of PI based on associations with funding decisions may not be feasible or fully capture the relevant impact of PI in the assessment of health technologies. Rather, a combination of both qualitative and quantitative strategies may allow for the most comprehensive assessment of the impact of PI on HTA recommendations when possible.
Introduction: Prognostication is a significant challenge early in the post-cardiac arrest period. Common prognostic factors for neurological survival are unreliable (high false positive rates) until 72 hours post-cardiac arrest. It is not known whether there are a combination of factors that can be utilized earlier in the post-cardiac arrest period to accurately predict patient outcome. Our objective was to predict neurological outcome utilizing a novel combination of patient factors early in the post-cardiac arrest period. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using data from our local cardiac arrest registry. We included adult patients who obtained a return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). We excluded patients who did not survive for at least 24 hours post-ROSC and those who had a do not resuscitate (DNR) order within 2 hours of ROSC. We performed an ordinal regression analysis using the proportional odds model to predict neurological outcome (modified rankin score (mRS)). We included a good neurological outcome (mRS 0-2), poor neurological outcome (mRS 3-5), and dead (mRS 6) as an ordinal outcome. We included a number of patient demographics, intra- and post-cardiac arrest factors as covariates in our model. The predictive performance of our model was analyzed using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves for discrimination and Brier statistic for calibration. Results: We included 3448 patients in our analysis. We found that an initial shockable rhythm (odds ratio (OR) 4.1; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.6, 5.4), the absence of pupillary reflexes (OR 3.5; 95% CI 2.4,4.8) and maximum motor score on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) (OR 1.5; 95% CI 1.4,1.6) had the greatest association with improved neurologic outcome. Longer duration of resuscitation was associate with worse outcomes (OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.82,0.87). The overall performance of our model was excellent with an area under the ROC curve of 0.89 and a Brier statistic of 0.13. Conclusion: Our model predicted good neurological outcome with a high rate of accuracy, however external validation of the model is required. This model may be useful in providing initial risk stratification of patients in clinical practice and future research on post-cardiac arrest care.
Introduction: Despite recent advances in resuscitation, some patients remain in ventricular fibrillation (VF) after multiple defibrillation attempts during out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Vector change defibrillation (VC) and double sequential external defibrillation (DSED) have been proposed as alternate therapeutic strategies for OHCA patients with refractory VF. The primary objective was to determine the feasibility, safety and sample size required for a future cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) with crossover comparing VC or DSED to standard defibrillation for patients experiencing refractory VF. Secondary objectives were to evaluate the intervention effect on VF termination and return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). Methods: We conducted a pilot cluster RCT with crossover in four Canadian paramedic services and included all treated adult OHCA patients who presented in VF and received a minimum of three defibrillation attempts. In addition to standard cardiac arrest care, each EMS service was randomly assigned to provide continued standard defibrillation (control), VC or DSED. Services crossed over to an alternate defibrillation strategy after six months. Prior to the launch of the trial, 2,500 paramedics received in-person training for VC and DSED defibrillation using a combination of didactic, video and simulated scenarios. Results: Between March 2018 and September 2019, 152 patients were enrolled. Monthly enrollment varied from 1.4 to 6.1 cases per service. With respect to feasibility, 89.5% of cases received the defibrillation strategy they were randomly allocated to, and 93.1% of cases received a VC or DSED shock prior to the sixth defibrillation attempt. There were no reported cases of defibrillator malfunction, skin burns, difficulty with pad placement or concerns expressed by paramedics, patients, families, or ED staff about the trial. In the standard defibrillation group, 66.6% of cases resulted in VF termination, compared to 82.0% in VC and 76.3% of cases in the DSED group. ROSC was achieved in 25.0%, 39.3% and 40.0% of standard, VC and DSED groups, respectively. Conclusion: Findings from our pilot RCT suggest the DOSE VF protocol is feasible and safe. VF termination and ROSC were higher with VC and DSED compared to standard defibrillation. The results of this pilot trial will allow us to inform a multicenter cluster RCT with crossover to determine if alternate defibrillation strategies for refractory VF may impact patient-centered, clinical outcomes
Like other European countries, the Defined Daily Dose (DDD) of antidepressants prescribed in Scotland increased almost fivefold in the 15y to 2007/8.
To assess the impact of stepped, collaborative care for depression on population antidepressant use.
A depression service (“Doing Well”) was implemented in 15/30 primary care practices in Renfrewshire, Scotland from July 2004 (population 76,013). Prescribing was compared with the remaining 15 “control” practices in Renfrewshire and Scotland nationally.
Doing Well offered prompt assessment and access to guided self-help or brief CBT or IPT. Clinical judgement guided antidepressant recommendations but drugs were not usually recommended for patients with a PHQ score < 15.
Antidepressant use followed a “rational” profile, increasing with depression severity:
PHQ score at referral
[Antidepressant use by depression severity]
Antidepressant use increased by 3.8% in Doing Well practices, 11.8% in control practices and 12.9% in Scotland. This represents a relative reduction in DDDs in the intervention area.
[Antidepressant use over time by area]
Providing rapid, local access to brief psychological therapies and rational prescribing support was associated with a relative reduction in the rise of antidepressant use, but a modest increase in prescribing overall.
The European Prediction of Psychosis Study (EPOS) aimed to study a large sample of young patients who are at risk of psychosis and to estimate their conversion rate to psychosis during 18 months follow-up. This presentation describes quality of life and its changes in patients at risk of psychosis.
In six European centres, 16 to 35 year old psychiatric patients were examined. Risk of psychosis was defined by occurrence of basic symptoms, attenuated psychotic symptoms, brief, limited or intermittent psychotic symptoms or familial risk plus reduced functioning. Quality of life (QoL), measured by the Modular System for Quality of Life, was assessed at baseline and at 9 and 18 months’ follow-ups. Psychiatric patients without prodromal symptoms and healthy subjects were comparison groups.
In all, 245 risk patients were included. At baseline, they reported lower QoL than non-risk patients and healthy controls. Basic symptoms associated negatively with QoL, and there were differences between the study centres. During the follow-up, QoL raised less in risk patients than in non-risk patients. Baseline QoL did not predict transition to psychosis. However, its development was poorer in patients with than in those without transition to psychosis.
Those of the psychiatric patients who are at risk of psychosis have lower QoL than other psychiatric patients or healthy controls. QoL does not predict transition to psychosis, but its changes correlates with changes in clinical state. The results indicate that there is a need for comprehensive intervention with the patients at risk of psychosis.
Both schizophrenia and ultra high risk (UHR) patients show reduced neurocognitive performance compared to matched healthy control subjects. In the current study we compared neurocognitive performance at baseline and follow up between UHR patients who made the transition to psychosis and patients who did not.
Patients were eligible for the study when they met criteria for one or more of the following groups: Attenuated symptoms or brief limited intermitted psychotic symptoms or a first degree family member with a psychotic disorder and reduced functioning or basic symptoms. We assessed 216 UHR patients (166 males, mean age: 22,6 SD 5,2) with a neuropsychological test battery composed of the National adult reading test (premorbid IQ), California verbal memory test (verbal memory), spatial working memory test, verbal fluency first letter and categories (executive functioning), finger tapping test (motor speed) and continuous performance test (sustained attention). Data were collected in 7 participating centres of EPOS. Follow up was at 9 months.
37 UHR patients made the transition to psychosis (25 males, mean age 21,5 SD 4,8). The only test that showed a significant difference between the transition and non transition group at baseline was verbal fluency categories (t= 2.79, p = 0.006).
Patients who later make the transition to psychosis perform significantly worse on verbal fluency categories than patients who do not make the transition to psychosis. Verbal fluency may contribute to an improved prediction of psychosis in UHR patients. Follow up results will also be presented.