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Rapid diagnosis of dementia is essential to ensure optimum patient care. This study used real-world data to quantify the dementia diagnostic pathway in Australia.
A real-world, cross-sectional survey of physicians and patients.
Primary care or specialist physicians managing patients with cognitive impairment (CI).
Descriptive analyses focused on key events in the diagnostic pathway. Regression modeling compared the duration between first consultation and formal diagnosis with various factors.
Data for 600 patients were provided by 60 physicians. Mean time from initial symptoms to first consultation was 6.1 ± 4.4 months; 20% of patients had moderate or severe CI at first consultation. Mean time from first consultation to formal diagnosis was 4.0 ± 7.4 months (1.2 ± 3.6 months if not referred to a secondary physician, and 5.3 ± 8.3 months if referred). Time from first consultation to diagnosis was significantly associated with CI severity at first consultation; time was shorter with more severe CI. There was no association of disease severity and referral to a secondary physician; 69.5% of patients were referred, the majority (57.1%) to a geriatrician. The highest proportion of patients were diagnosed by geriatricians (47.4%). Some form of test or scale was used to aid diagnosis in 98.8% of patients.
A substantial number of Australians experience cognitive decline and behavioral changes some time before consulting a physician or being diagnosed with dementia. Increasing public awareness of the importance of early diagnosis is essential to improve the proportion of patients receiving comprehensive support prior to disease progression.
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 is the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Due to the consistent association, there is interest as to whether E4 influences the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, there is a constant search for other genetic biomarkers contributing to these phenotypes, such as microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) haplotypes. Here, participants from the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative were genotyped to investigate whether the APOE E4 allele or MAPT H1 haplotype are associated with five neurodegenerative diseases: (1) AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), (2) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (3) frontotemporal dementia (FTD), (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) vascular cognitive impairment.
Genotypes were defined for their respective APOE allele and MAPT haplotype calls for each participant, and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the associations with the presentations of neurodegenerative diseases.
Our work confirmed the association of the E4 allele with a dose-dependent increased presentation of AD, and an association between the E4 allele alone and MCI; however, the other four diseases were not associated with E4. Further, the APOE E2 allele was associated with decreased presentation of both AD and MCI. No associations were identified between MAPT haplotype and the neurodegenerative disease cohorts; but following subtyping of the FTD cohort, the H1 haplotype was significantly associated with progressive supranuclear palsy.
This is the first study to concurrently analyze the association of APOE isoforms and MAPT haplotypes with five neurodegenerative diseases using consistent enrollment criteria and broad phenotypic analysis.
The Comprehensive Assessment of Neurodegeneration and Dementia (COMPASS-ND) cohort study of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) is a national initiative to catalyze research on dementia, set up to support the research agendas of CCNA teams. This cross-country longitudinal cohort of 2310 deeply phenotyped subjects with various forms of dementia and mild memory loss or concerns, along with cognitively intact elderly subjects, will test hypotheses generated by these teams.
The COMPASS-ND protocol, initial grant proposal for funding, fifth semi-annual CCNA Progress Report submitted to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research December 2017, and other documents supplemented by modifications made and lessons learned after implementation were used by the authors to create the description of the study provided here.
The CCNA COMPASS-ND cohort includes participants from across Canada with various cognitive conditions associated with or at risk of neurodegenerative diseases. They will undergo a wide range of experimental, clinical, imaging, and genetic investigation to specifically address the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of these conditions in the aging population. Data derived from clinical and cognitive assessments, biospecimens, brain imaging, genetics, and brain donations will be used to test hypotheses generated by CCNA research teams and other Canadian researchers. The study is the most comprehensive and ambitious Canadian study of dementia. Initial data posting occurred in 2018, with the full cohort to be accrued by 2020.
Availability of data from the COMPASS-ND study will provide a major stimulus for dementia research in Canada in the coming years.
Employability assessment was developed to help claims professionals decide total and permanent disability insurance claims, yet it has not been empirically evaluated. This descriptive study sought formative knowledge about employability assessment from claims professionals working in the multibillion-dollar Australian life insurance total and permanent disability market. Claims assessors (n = 53) and technical advisors (n = 51) responded to a nationwide online survey. Participants found employability assessment was cost effective and very useful in deciding claims. Having an objective, realistic, and clear picture of a claimant’s employment prospects was important. Highly rated components of employability assessment included transferable skills analysis; summary of education, training and experience; job match rationale; and labour market analysis with employer contact. Face-to-face claimant interviews were favoured by 56% of participants, particularly when there was legal involvement. Standardised provider training and certification were recommended to improve report quality and withstand scrutiny of the courts. Billing time estimates are higher than extant costs for assessment tasks. More than half (56%) the participants considered rehabilitation counsellors were best qualified to conduct employability assessments. The study findings contribute new knowledge to this emergent field and point to further research into quality and cost of employability assessment, and provider accreditation.
In July 1917 Leonard and Virginia Woolf marked the beginning of the Hogarth Press by hand-printing 150 copies of Two Stories, contributing one story each. An announcement was issued in May, and printing was completed once Dora Carrington delivered her woodblocks. In October, Woolf began to devote her attention to the eighteenth-century poet and visual artist William Blake in a TLS review of Edward Thomas’ book, A Literary Pilgrim in England (1917). This simultaneous occurrence is the starting point for a discussion of Two Stories as an avant-garde artefact which drew inspiration from Blake's woodblock illustrations. I will seek to demonstrate that a Blakean resonance is an unexpected facet to Two Stories. In doing so, I am not only looking back to 1917, but to Diane Gillespie's introduction of Blake to Woolf studies in The Sisters’ Arts: The Writing and Painting of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell (1988) and her “Blake and Bloomsbury: Mental Warfare” (1990).
Experts describe the early twentieth century as “a period of extraordinary vitality” in woodblock printmaking (Brett 5). This development appears in the use of woodblock illustration by luxury printing presses such as Kelmscott and the Golden Cockerel, whose designs were often highly ornate. To avoid saturating this piece with images I have not reproduced examples but I have included relevant bibliographies which provide illustrations in the works cited section. The woodblock illustrations of Two Stories were made at the Omega Workshops led by Roger Fry between 1913 and 1919, whose directorship allowed artists to “avoid the preciosity of conventional fine book production of this period” (Carey and Griffiths 49). By experimental, I mean the freedoms obtained in textual illustration by turning away from the “preciosity” exhibited by figures such as William Morris at the Kelmscott Press whose work was precious precisely because it favoured an ornate finish over the rough and exciting touch of the artists’ own hand. Comparison between woodblock illustrations made by artists at the Cockerel or Kelmscott, and those working in Fry's workshop, reveals that the striking variety in style of the Omega Workshops was not matched by wood engravings made at luxury printing houses. This suggests that artists at the Omega Workshop were not burdened by ideas of house style.
Hospitalized older adults are at high risk of falling. The HELPER system is a ceiling-mounted fall detection system that sends an alert to a smartphone when a fall is detected. This article describes the performance of the HELPER system, which was pilot tested in a geriatric mental health hospital. The system’s accuracy in detecting falls was measured against the hospital records documenting falls. Following the pilot test, nurses were interviewed regarding their perceptions of this technology. In this study, the HELPER system missed one documented fall but detected four falls that were not documented. Although sensitivity (.80) of the system was high, numerous false alarms brought down positive predictive value (.01). Interviews with nurses provided valuable insights based on the operation of the technology in a real environment; these and other lessons learned will be particularly valuable to engineers developing this and other health and social care technologies.
The aim of this analysis was to test if changes in insomnia symptoms and global sleep quality are associated with coinciding changes in depressed mood among older adults. We report on results yielded from secondary analysis of longitudinal data from a clinical trial of older adults (N = 49) aged 55 to 80 years who reported at least moderate levels of sleep problems. All measures were collected at baseline and after the trial ten weeks later. We computed change scores for two separate measures of disturbed sleep, the Athens Insomnia Scale (AIS) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and tested their association with change in depressed mood (Beck Depression Inventory-II; BDI-II) in two separate linear regression models adjusted for biological covariates related to sleep (sex, age, body mass index, and NF-κB as a biological marker previously correlated with insomnia and depression). Change in AIS scores was associated with change in BDI-II scores (β = 0.38, p < 0.01). Change in PSQI scores was not significantly associated with change in BDI-II scores (β = 0.17, p = 0.26). Our findings suggest that improvements over ten weeks in insomnia symptoms rather than global sleep quality coincide with improvement in depressed mood among older adults.
Because individuals develop dementia as a manifestation of neurodegenerative or neurovascular disorder, there is a need to develop reliable approaches to their identification. We are undertaking an observational study (Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative [ONDRI]) that includes genomics, neuroimaging, and assessments of cognition as well as language, speech, gait, retinal imaging, and eye tracking. Disorders studied include Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and vascular cognitive impairment. Data from ONDRI will be collected into the Brain-CODE database to facilitate correlative analysis. ONDRI will provide a repertoire of endophenotyped individuals that will be a unique, publicly available resource.
Objectives: To summarize the clinical characteristics and outcomes of pediatric sports-related concussion (SRC) patients who were evaluated and managed at a multidisciplinary pediatric concussion program and examine the healthcare resources and personnel required to meet the needs of this patient population. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of all pediatric SRC patients referred to the Pan Am Concussion Program from September 1st, 2013 to May 25th, 2015. Initial assessments and diagnoses were carried out by a single neurosurgeon. Return-to-Play decision-making was carried out by the multidisciplinary team. Results: 604 patients, including 423 pediatric SRC patients were evaluated at the Pan Am Concussion Program during the study period. The mean age of study patients was 14.30 years (SD: 2.32, range 7-19 years); 252 (59.57%) were males. Hockey (182; 43.03%) and soccer (60; 14.18%) were the most commonly played sports at the time of injury. Overall, 294 (69.50%) of SRC patients met the clinical criteria for concussion recovery, while 75 (17.73%) were lost to follow-up, and 53 (12.53%) remained in active treatment at the end of the study period. The median duration of symptoms among the 261 acute SRC patients with complete follow-up was 23 days (IQR: 15, 36). Overall, 25.30% of pediatric SRC patients underwent at least one diagnostic imaging test and 32.62% received referral to another member of our multidisciplinary clinical team. Conclusion: Comprehensive care of pediatric SRC patients requires access to appropriate diagnostic resources and the multidisciplinary collaboration of experts with national and provincially-recognized training in TBI.
Against medical advice, head and neck cancer (HNC) patients have been shown to continue to smoke and misuse alcohol post-diagnosis and treatment. This study aimed to better understand the barriers to and facilitators of health behavior change (HBC) in HNC patients.
We conducted nine focus groups following a standard protocol. Eligible patients were diagnosed less than three years previously with a primary HNC and selected using maximum variability sampling (gender, age, cancer stage, smoking, and alcohol misuse). Thematic analysis was conducted using NVivo 10 software.
Participants were mostly men (79%), 65 years of age (SD = 10.1), and married/common-law (52%, n = 15). Mean time from diagnosis was 19 months (SD = 12.3, range = 5.0–44.5), and most had advanced cancer (65.5%, n = 19). Participants provided a larger than anticipated definition of health behaviors, encompassing both traditional (smoking, drinking, diet, exercise, UV protection) and HNC-related (e.g., dental hygiene, skin care, speech exercises, using a PEG, gaining weight). The main emerging theme was patient engagement, that is, being proactive in rehabilitation, informed by the medical team, optimistic, flexible, and seeking support when needed. Patients were primarily motivated to stay proactive and engage in positive health behaviors in order to return to normal life and reclaim function, rather than to prevent a cancer recurrence. Barriers to patient engagement included emotional aspects (e.g., anxiety, depression, trauma, demoralization), symptoms (e.g., fatigue, pain), lack of information about HBC, and healthcare providers' authoritarian approach in counseling on HBC. We found some commonalities in barriers and facilitators according to behavior type (i.e., smoking/drinking/UV protection vs. diet/exercise).
Significance of Results:
This study underlines the key challenges in addressing health behaviors in head and neck oncology, including treatment-related functional impairments, symptom burden, and the disease's emotional toll. This delicate context requires health promotion strategies involving close rehabilitative support from a multidisciplinary team attentive to the many struggles of patients both during treatments and in the longer-term recovery period. Health promotion in HNC should be integrated into routine clinical care and target both traditional and HNC-related behaviors, emphasizing emotional and functional rehabilitation as key components.
Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) are an increasing burden among healthcare facilities. We assessed facility-level perceived importance of and responses to various MDROs.
A pilot survey to assess staffing, knowledge, and the perceived importance of and response to various multidrug resistant organisms (MDROs)
Acute care and long-term healthcare facilities
In 2012, a survey was distributed to infection preventionists at ~300 healthcare facilities. Pathogens assessed were Clostridium difficile, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, multidrug-resistant (defined as bacterial resistance to ≥3 antibiotic classes) Pseudomonas, and extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli.
A total of 74 unique facilities responded, including 44 skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and 30 acute care facilities (ACFs). While ACFs consistently isolated patients with active infections or colonization due to these MDROs, SNFs had more variable responses. SNFs had more multi-occupancy rooms and reported less specialized training in infection control and prevention than did ACFs. Of all facilities with multi-occupancy rooms, 86% employed a cohorting practice for patients, compared with 50% of those without multi-occupancy rooms; 20% of ACFs and 7% of SNFs cohorted staff while caring for patients with the same MDRO. MRSA and C. difficile were identified as important pathogens in ACFs and SNFs, while CRE importance was unknown or was considered important in <50% of SNFs.
We identified stark differences in human resources, knowledge, policy, and practice between ACFs and SNFs. For regional control of emerging MDROs like CRE, there is an opportunity for public health officials to provide targeted education and interventions. Education campaigns must account for differences in audience resources and baseline knowledge.
Objectives: There have been multiple calls for explicit integration of ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) in health technology assessment (HTA) and addressing ELSI has been highlighted as key in optimizing benefits in the Omics/Personalized Medicine field. This study examines HTAs of an early clinical example of Personalized Medicine (gene expression profile tests [GEP] for breast cancer prognosis) aiming to: (i) identify ELSI; (ii) assess whether ELSIs are implicitly or explicitly addressed; and (iii) report methodology used for ELSI integration.
Methods: A systematic search for HTAs (January 2004 to September 2012), followed by descriptive and qualitative content analysis.
Results: Seventeen HTAs for GEP were retrieved. Only three (18%) explicitly presented ELSI, and only one reported methodology. However, all of the HTAs included implicit ELSI. Eight themes of implicit and explicit ELSI were identified. “Classical” ELSI including privacy, informed consent, and concerns about limited patient/clinician genetic literacy were always presented explicitly. Some ELSI, including the need to understand how individual patients’ risk tolerances affect clinical decision-making after reception of GEP results, were presented both explicitly and implicitly in HTAs. Others, such as concern about evidentiary deficiencies for clinical utility of GEP tests, occurred only implicitly.
Conclusions: Despite a wide variety of important ELSI raised, these were rarely explicitly addressed in HTAs. Explicit treatment would increase their accessibility to decision-makers, and may augment HTA efficiency maximizing their utility. This is particularly important where complex Personalized Medicine applications are rapidly expanding choices for patients, clinicians and healthcare systems.
No study systematically has investigated the supportive care needs of general head and neck cancer patients using validated measures. These needs include physical and daily living needs, health system and information needs, patient care and support needs, psychological needs, and sexuality needs. Identifying the unmet needs of head and neck cancer patients is a necessary first step to improving the care we provide to patients seen in our head and neck oncology clinics. It is recommended as the first step in intervention development in the Pan-Canadian Clinical Practice Guideline of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (see Howell, 2009). This study aimed to identify: (1) met and unmet supportive care needs of head and neck cancer patients, and (2) variability in needs according to demographics, disease variables, level of distress, and quality-of-life domains.
Participants were recruited from the otolaryngology–head and neck surgery clinics of two university teaching hospitals. Self-administered questionnaires included sociodemographic and medical questions, as well as validated measures such as the Supportive Care Needs Survey–Short Form (SCNS-SF34), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–General (FACT-G) and Head and Neck Module (FACT-H&N) (quality of life measures).
One hundred and twenty-seven patients participated in the survey. 68% of them experienced unmet needs, and 25% revealed a clinically significant distress level on the HADS. The highest unmet needs were psychological (7 of top 10 needs). A multiple linear regression indicated a higher level of overall unmet needs when patients were divorced, had a high level of anxiety (HADS subscale), were in poor physical condition, or had a diminished emotional quality of life (FACT-G subscales).
Significance of results:
The results of this study highlight the overwhelming presence of unmet psychological needs in head and neck cancer patients and underline the importance of implementing interventions to address these areas perceived by patients as important. In line with hospital resource allocation and cost-effectiveness, one may also contemplate screening patients for high levels of anxiety, as well as target patients who are divorced and present low levels of physical well-being, as these patients may have more overall needs to be met.
Describe the clinical and molecular epidemiology of incident Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) cases in Chicago area acute healthcare facilities (HCFs).
Design and Setting.
Laboratory, clinical, and epidemiologic information was collected for patients with incident CDI who were admitted to acute HCFs in February 2009. Stool cultures and restriction endonuclease analysis typing of the recovered C. difficile isolates was performed.
Two hundred sixty-three patients from 25 acute HCFs.
Acute HCF rates ranged from 2 to 7 patients with CDI per 10,000 patient-days. The crude mortality rate was 8%, with 20 deaths occurring in patients with CDI. Forty-two (16%) patients had complications from CDI, including 4 patients who required partial, subtotal, or total colectomy, 3 of whom died. C. difficile was isolated and typed from 129 of 178 available stool specimens. The BI strain was identified in 79 (61%) isolates. Of patients discharged to long-term care who had their isolate typed, 36 (67%) had BI-associated CDI.
Severe disease was common and crude mortality was substantial among patients with CDI in Chicago area acute HCFs in February 2009. The outbreak-associated BI strain was the predominant endemic strain identified, accounting for nearly two-thirds of cases. Focal HCF outbreaks were not reported, despite the presence of the BI strain. Transfer of patients between acute and long-term HCFs may have contributed to the high incidence of BI cases in this investigation.