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B vitamins involved in one-carbon metabolism have been implicated in the development of inflammation- and angiogenesis-related chronic diseases, such as colorectal cancer (CRC). Yet, the role of one-carbon metabolism in inflammation and angiogenesis among CRC patients remains unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate associations of components of one-carbon metabolism with inflammation and angiogenesis biomarkers among newly diagnosed CRC patients (n 238) in the prospective ColoCare Study, Heidelberg. We cross-sectionally analysed associations between twelve B vitamins and one-carbon metabolites and ten inflammation and angiogenesis biomarkers from pre-surgery serum samples using multivariable linear regression models. We further explored associations among novel biomarkers in these pathways with Spearman partial correlation analyses. We hypothesised that pyridoxal-5’-phosphate (PLP) is inversely associated with inflammatory biomarkers. We observed that PLP was inversely associated with C-reactive protein (CRP) (r –0·33, Plinear < 0·0001), serum amyloid A (SAA) (r –0·23, Plinear = 0·003), IL-6 (r –0·39, Plinear < 0·0001), IL-8 (r –0·20, Plinear = 0·02) and TNFα (r –0·12, Plinear = 0·045). Similar findings were observed for 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate and CRP (r –0·14), SAA (r –0·14) and TNFα (r –0·15) among CRC patients. Folate catabolite acetyl-para-aminobenzoylglutamic acid (pABG) was positively correlated with IL-6 (r 0·27, Plinear < 0·0001), and pABG was positively correlated with IL-8 (r 0·21, Plinear < 0·0001), indicating higher folate utilisation during inflammation. Our data support the hypothesis of inverse associations between PLP and inflammatory biomarkers among CRC patients. A better understanding of the role and inter-relation of PLP and other one-carbon metabolites with inflammatory processes among colorectal carcinogenesis and prognosis could identify targets for future dietary guidance for CRC patients.
Ecological inference (EI) is the process of learning about individual behavior from aggregate data. We relax assumptions by allowing for “linear contextual effects,” which previous works have regarded as plausible but avoided due to nonidentification, a problem we sidestep by deriving bounds instead of point estimates. In this way, we offer a conceptual framework to improve on the Duncan–Davis bound, derived more than 65 years ago. To study the effectiveness of our approach, we collect and analyze 8,430
EI datasets with known ground truth from several sources—thus bringing considerably more data to bear on the problem than the existing dozen or so datasets available in the literature for evaluating EI estimators. For the 88% of real data sets in our collection that fit a proposed rule, our approach reduces the width of the Duncan–Davis bound, on average, by about 44%, while still capturing the true district-level parameter about 99% of the time. The remaining 12% revert to the Duncan–Davis bound.
The START (STrAtegies for RelaTives) intervention reduced depressive and anxiety symptoms of family carers of relatives with dementia at home over 2 years and was cost-effective.
To assess the clinical effectiveness over 6 years and the impact on costs and care home admission.
We conducted a randomised, parallel group, superiority trial recruiting from 4 November 2009 to 8 June 2011 with 6-year follow-up (trial registration: ISCTRN 70017938). A total of 260 self-identified family carers of people with dementia were randomised 2:1 to START, an eight-session manual-based coping intervention delivered by supervised psychology graduates, or to treatment as usual (TAU). The primary outcome was affective symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, total score (HADS-T)). Secondary outcomes included patient and carer service costs and care home admission.
In total, 222 (85.4%) of 173 carers randomised to START and 87 to TAU were included in the 6-year clinical efficacy analysis. Over 72 months, compared with TAU, the intervention group had improved scores on HADS-T (adjusted mean difference −2.00 points, 95% CI −3.38 to −0.63). Patient-related costs (START versus TAU, respectively: median £5759 v. £16 964 in the final year; P = 0.07) and carer-related costs (median £377 v. £274 in the final year) were not significantly different between groups nor were group differences in time until care home (intensity ratio START:TAU was 0.88, 95% CI 0.58–1.35).
START is clinically effective and this effect lasts for 6 years without increasing costs. This is the first intervention with such a long-term clinical and possible economic benefit and has potential to make a difference to individual carers.
Declarations of interest
G.L., Z.W. and C.C. are supported by the UCLH National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre. G.L. and P.R. were in part supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) North Thames at Bart's Health NHS Trust. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. Z.W. reports during the conduct of the study; personal fees from GE Healthcare, grants from GE Healthcare, grants from Lundbeck, other from GE Healthcare, outside the submitted work.
To Investigate the peripheral inflammatory profile in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from three subgroups – probable Lewy body disease (probable MCI-LB), possible Lewy body disease, and probable Alzheimer’s disease (probable MCI-AD) – as well as associations with clinical features.
Memory clinics and dementia services.
Patients were classified based on clinical symptoms as probable MCI-LB (n = 38), possible MCI-LB (n = 18), and probable MCI-AD (n = 21). Healthy comparison subjects were recruited (n = 20).
Ten cytokines were analyzed from plasma samples: interferon (IFN)-gamma, interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. C-reactive protein levels were investigated.
There was a higher level of IL-10, IL-1beta, IL-2, and IL-4 in MCI groups compared to the healthy comparison group (p < 0.0085). In exploratory analyses to understand these findings, the MC-AD group lower IL-1beta (p = 0.04), IL-2 (p = 0.009), and IL-4 (p = 0.012) were associated with increasing duration of memory symptoms, and in the probable MCI-LB group, lower levels of IL-1beta were associated with worsening motor severity (p = 0.002). In the possible MCI-LB, longer duration of memory symptoms was associated with lower levels of IL-1beta (p = 0.003) and IL-4 (p = 0.026).
There is increased peripheral inflammation in patients with MCI compared to healthy comparison subjects regardless of the MCI subtype. These possible associations with clinical features are consistent with other work showing that inflammation is increased in early disease but require replication. Such findings have importance for timing of putative therapeutic strategies aimed at lowering inflammation.
Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have identified functional connectivity patterns associated with acute undernutrition in anorexia nervosa (AN), but few have investigated recovered patients. Thus, a trait connectivity profile characteristic of the disorder remains elusive. Using state-of-the-art graph–theoretic methods in acute AN, the authors previously found abnormal global brain network architecture, possibly driven by local network alterations. To disentangle trait from starvation effects, the present study examines network organization in recovered patients.
Graph–theoretic metrics were used to assess resting-state network properties in a large sample of female patients recovered from AN (recAN, n = 55) compared with pairwise age-matched healthy controls (HC, n = 55).
Indicative of an altered global network structure, recAN showed increased assortativity and reduced global clustering as well as small-worldness compared with HC, while no group differences at an intermediate or local network level were evident. However, using support-vector classifier on local metrics, recAN and HC could be separated with an accuracy of 70.4%.
This pattern of results suggests that long-term recovered patients have an aberrant global brain network configuration, similar to acutely underweight patients. While the finding of increased assortativity may represent a trait marker of AN, the remaining findings could be seen as a scar following prolonged undernutrition.
The lead article for this issue of EJAM is Prof. Bernard J. Matkowsky's personalized survey-style article on the theory and application of singular perturbation methods to noisy dynamical systems in the limit of small noise. This article is based on his John von Neumann Prize lecture presented at the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Annual Meeting in July 2017. The John von Neumann Lecture is awarded by SIAM for outstanding and distinguished contributions to the field of applied mathematical sciences and for the effective communication of these ideas to the community. From 1990–1996, Matkowsky was an inaugural editorial board member for EJAM.
Collaborative programs have helped reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) rates in community-based nursing homes. We assessed whether collaborative participation produced similar benefits among Veterans Health Administration (VHA) nursing homes, which are part of an integrated system.
This study included 63 VHA nursing homes enrolled in the “AHRQ Safety Program for Long-Term Care,” which focused on practices to reduce CAUTI.
Changes in CAUTI rates, catheter utilization, and urine culture orders were assessed from June 2015 through May 2016. Multilevel mixed-effects negative binomial regression was used to derive incidence rate ratios (IRRs) representing changes over the 12-month program period.
There was no significant change in CAUTI among VHA sites, with a CAUTI rate of 2.26 per 1,000 catheter days at month 1 and a rate of 3.19 at month 12 (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 0.99; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.67–1.44). Results were similar for catheter utilization rates, which were 11.02% at month 1 and 11.30% at month 12 (IRR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.95–1.09). The numbers of urine cultures per 1,000 residents were 5.27 in month 1 and 5.31 in month 12 (IRR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.82–1.05).
No changes in CAUTI rates, catheter use, or urine culture orders were found during the program period. One potential reason was the relatively low baseline CAUTI rate, as compared with a cohort of community-based nursing homes. This low baseline rate is likely related to the VHA’s prior CAUTI prevention efforts. While broad-scale collaborative approaches may be effective in some settings, targeting higher-prevalence safety issues may be warranted at sites already engaged in extensive infection prevention efforts.
Health technology assessment (HTA) is not simply a mechanistic technical exercise as it takes place within a specific institutional context. Yet, we know little about how this context influences the operation of HTA and its ability to influence policy and practice. We seek to demonstrate the importance of considering institutional context, using a case study of Hungary, a country that has pioneered HTA in Central and Eastern Europe. We conducted 26 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with public- and private-sector stakeholders. We found that while the HTA Department, the Hungarian HTA organisation, fulfilled its formal role envisaged in the legislation, its potential for supporting evidence-based decision-making was not fully realised given the low levels of transparency and stakeholder engagement. Further, the Department’s practical influence throughout the reimbursement process was perceived as being constrained by the payer and policy-makers, as well as its own limited organisational capacity. There was also scepticism as to whether the current operational form of the HTA process delivered ‘good value for money’. Nevertheless, it still had a positive impact on the development of a broader institutional HTA infrastructure in Hungary. Our findings highlight the importance of considering institutional context in analysing the HTA function within health systems.
Ebola is a high consequence infectious disease—a disease with the potential to cause outbreaks, epidemics, or pandemics with deadly possibilities, highly infectious, pathogenic, and virulent. Ebola’s first reported cases in the United States in September 2014 led to the development of preparedness capabilities for the mitigation of possible rapid outbreaks, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) providing guidelines to assist public health officials in infectious disease response planning. These guidelines include broad goals for state and local agencies and detailed information concerning the types of resources needed at health care facilities. However, the spatial configuration of populations and existing health care facilities is neglected. An incomplete understanding of the demand landscape may result in an inefficient and inequitable allocation of resources to populations. Hence, this paper examines challenges in implementing CDC’s guidance for Ebola preparedness and mitigation in the context of geospatial allocation of health resources and discusses possible strategies for addressing such challenges. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:563–566)
Transparency is recognised to be a key underpinning of the work of health technology assessment (HTA) agencies, yet it has only recently become a subject of systematic inquiry. We contribute to this research field by considering the Polish Agency for Health Technology Assessment (AHTAPol). We situate the AHTAPol in a broader context by comparing it with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in England. To this end, we analyse all 332 assessment reports, called verification analyses, that the AHTAPol issued from 2012 to 2015, and a stratified sample of 22 Evidence Review Group reports published by NICE in the same period. Overall, by increasingly presenting its key conclusions in assessment reports, the AHTAPol has reached the transparency standards set out by NICE in transparency of HTA outputs. The AHTAPol is more transparent than NICE in certain aspects of the HTA process, such as providing rationales for redacting assessment reports and providing summaries of expert opinions. Nevertheless, it is less transparent in other areas of the HTA process, such as including information on expert conflicts of interest. Our findings have important implications for understanding HTA in Poland and more broadly. We use them to formulate recommendations for policymakers.
The special lead article in this issue of EJAM, by Profs. John Ockendon and Brian Sleeman, is dedicated to Prof. Joseph B. Keller (referred to as Joe by his friends), Emeritus professor of Stanford University, who was one of the greatest applied mathematicians of our time. Joe died in September 2016. A workshop in honour of Joe was held at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge, UK, in March 2017, focussing on some of the astonishingly wide range of topics in the mathematical sciences and continuum mechanics that Joe made substantial contributions to over his long career. This article discusses some of these pioneering contributions, describes some modern developments as discussed by the workshop speakers, and provides a more personal tribute to Joe, his history, and to his large influence on the international applied mathematics community. May the spirit of Joe, and his flavour of applied mathematics, continue to be reflected in EJAM.
Lake Ejagham is a small, shallow lake in Cameroon, West Africa, which supports five endemic species of cichlid fishes in two distinct lineages. Genetic evidence suggests a relatively young age for the species flocks, but supporting geologic evidence has thus far been unavailable. Here we present diatom, geochemical, mineralogical, and radiocarbon data from two sediment cores that provide new insights into the age and origin of Lake Ejagham and its endemic fishes. Radiocarbon ages at the base of the longer core indicate that the lake formed approximately 9 ka ago, and the diatom record of the shorter core suggests that hydroclimate variability during the last 3 millennia was similar to that of other lakes in Cameroon and Ghana. These findings establish a maximum age of ca. 9 cal ka BP for the lake and its endemic species and suggest that repeated cichlid speciation in two distinct lineages occurred rapidly within the lake. Local geology and West African paleoclimate records argue against a volcanic, chemical, or climatic origin for Lake Ejagham. Although not conclusive, the morphometry of the lake and possible signs of impact-induced effects on quartz grains are instead more suggestive of a bolide impact.
Reconciliation of unpaid care and employment is an increasingly important societal, economic and policy issue, both in the UK and internationally. Previous research shows the effectiveness of formal social care services in enabling carers to remain in employment. Using quantitative and qualitative data collected from carers and the person they care for in 2013 and 2015, during a period of cuts to adult social care in England, we explore barriers experienced to receipt of social care services. The main barriers to receipt of services identified in our study were availability, characteristics of services such as quality, and attitudes of carer and care-recipient to receiving services. These barriers have particular implications for carers' ability to reconcile care and employment.
The association between n-3 PUFA intake and type 2 diabetes (T2D) is unclear, and studies relating objective biomarkers of n-3 PUFA consumption to diabetic status remain limited. The aim of this study was to determine whether erythrocyte n-3 PUFA levels (n-3 index; n-3I) are associated with T2D in a cohort of older adults (n 608). To achieve this, the n-3I (erythrocyte %EPA+%DHA) was determined by GC and associated with fasting blood glucose; HbA1c; and plasma insulin. Insulin resistance (IR) was assessed using the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA--IR). OR for T2D were calculated for each quartile of n-3I. In all, eighty-two type 2 diabetic (46·3 % female; 76·7 (sd 5·9) years) and 466 non-diabetic (57·9 % female; 77·8 (sd 7·1) years) individuals were included in the analysis. In overweight/obese (BMI≥27 kg/m2), the prevalence of T2D decreased across ascending n-3I quartiles: 1·0 (reference), 0·82 (95 % CI 0·31, 2·18), 0·56 (95 % CI 0·21, 1·52) and 0·22 (95 % CI 0·06, 0·82) (Ptrend=0·015). A similar but non-significant trend was seen in overweight men. After adjusting for BMI, no associations were found between n-3I and fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, insulin or HOMA-IR. In conclusion, higher erythrocyte n-3 PUFA status may be protective against the development of T2D in overweight women. Further research is warranted to determine whether dietary interventions that improve n-3 PUFA status can improve measures of IR, and to further elucidate sex-dependent differences.
The collective response of electrons in an ultrathin foil target irradiated by an ultraintense (
) laser pulse is investigated experimentally and via 3D particle-in-cell simulations. It is shown that if the target is sufficiently thin that the laser induces significant radiation pressure, but not thin enough to become relativistically transparent to the laser light, the resulting relativistic electron beam is elliptical, with the major axis of the ellipse directed along the laser polarization axis. When the target thickness is decreased such that it becomes relativistically transparent early in the interaction with the laser pulse, diffraction of the transmitted laser light occurs through a so called ‘relativistic plasma aperture’, inducing structure in the spatial-intensity profile of the beam of energetic electrons. It is shown that the electron beam profile can be modified by variation of the target thickness and degree of ellipticity in the laser polarization.
Anxiety is common and problematic in dementia, yet there is a lack of
To develop a cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) manual for anxiety in
dementia and determine its feasibility through a randomised controlled
A ten-session CBT manual was developed. Participants with dementia and
anxiety (and their carers) were randomly allocated to CBT plus treatment
as usual (TAU) (n = 25) or TAU (n =
25). Outcome and cost measures were administered at baseline, 15 weeks
and 6 months.
At 15 weeks, there was an adjusted difference in anxiety (using the
Rating Anxiety in Dementia scale) of (–3.10, 95% CI −6.55 to 0.34) for
CBT compared with TAU, which just fell short of statistical significance.
There were significant improvements in depression at 15 weeks after
adjustment (–5.37, 95% CI −9.50 to −1.25). Improvements remained
significant at 6 months. CBT was cost neutral.
CBT was feasible (in terms of recruitment, acceptability and attrition)
and effective. A fully powered RCT is now required.
This paper explores the effectiveness of paid services in supporting unpaid carers’ employment in England. There is currently a new emphasis in England on ‘replacement care’, or paid services for the cared-for person, as a means of supporting working carers. The international evidence on the effectiveness of paid services as a means of supporting carers’ employment is inconclusive and does not relate specifically to England. The study reported here explores this issue using the 2009/10 Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England. The study finds a positive association between carers’ employment and receipt of paid services by the cared-for person, controlling for covariates. It therefore gives support to the hypothesis that services for the cared-for person are effective in supporting carers’ employment. Use of home care and a personal assistant are associated on their own with the employment of both men and women carers, while use of day care and meals-on-wheels are associated specifically with women's employment. Use of short-term breaks are associated with carers’ employment when combined with other services. The paper supports the emphasis in English social policy on paid services as a means of supporting working carers, but questions the use of the term ‘replacement care’ and the emphasis on ‘the market’.