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Between 2001 and 2017, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh conducted training and research in Belize built around an annual two-week field course, part of the Edinburgh M.Sc. programme in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants, focused on tropical plant identification, botanical-collecting and tropical fieldwork skills. This long-term collaboration in one country has led to additional benefits, most notably capacity building, acquisition of new country records, completion of M.Sc. thesis projects and publication of the findings in journal articles, and continued cooperation. Detailed summaries are provided for the specimens collected by students during the field course or return visits to Belize for M.Sc. thesis projects. Additionally, 15 species not recorded in the national checklist for Belize are reported. The information in this paper highlights the benefits of collaborations between institutions and countries for periods greater than the typical funding cycles of three to five years.
Shared patient–clinician decision-making is central to choosing between medical treatments. Decision support tools can have an important role to play in these decisions. We developed a decision support tool for deciding between nonsurgical treatment and surgical total knee replacement for patients with severe knee osteoarthritis. The tool aims to provide likely outcomes of alternative treatments based on predictive models using patient-specific characteristics. To make those models relevant to patients with knee osteoarthritis and their clinicians, we involved patients, family members, patient advocates, clinicians, and researchers as stakeholders in creating the models.
Stakeholders were recruited through local arthritis research, advocacy, and clinical organizations. After being provided with brief methodological education sessions, stakeholder views were solicited through quarterly patient or clinician stakeholder panel meetings and incorporated into all aspects of the project.
Participating in each aspect of the research from determining the outcomes of interest to providing input on the design of the user interface displaying outcome predications, 86% (12/14) of stakeholders remained engaged throughout the project. Stakeholder engagement ensured that the prediction models that form the basis of the Knee Osteoarthritis Mathematical Equipoise Tool and its user interface were relevant for patient–clinician shared decision-making.
Methodological research has the opportunity to benefit from stakeholder engagement by ensuring that the perspectives of those most impacted by the results are involved in study design and conduct. While additional planning and investments in maintaining stakeholder knowledge and trust may be needed, they are offset by the valuable insights gained.
The transmission rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to gloves or gowns of healthcare personnel (HCP) caring for MRSA patients in a non–intensive care unit setting was 5.4%. Contamination rates were higher among HCP performing direct patient care and when patients had detectable MRSA on their body. These findings may inform risk-based contact precautions.
To determine sociodemographic factors associated with occupational, recreational and firearm-related noise exposure.
This nationally representative, multistage, stratified, cluster cross-sectional study sampled eligible National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey participants aged 20–69 years (n = 4675) about exposure to occupational and recreational noise and recurrent firearm usage, using a weighted multivariate logistic regression analysis.
Thirty-four per cent of participants had exposure to occupational noise and 12 per cent to recreational noise, and 13 per cent repeatedly used firearms. Males were more likely than females to have exposure to all three noise types (adjusted odds ratio range = 2.63–14.09). Hispanics and Asians were less likely to have exposure to the three noise types than Whites. Blacks were less likely than Whites to have occupational and recurrent firearm noise exposure. Those with insurance were 26 per cent less likely to have exposure to occupational noise than those without insurance (adjusted odds ratio = 0.74, 95 per cent confidence interval = 0.60–0.93).
Whites, males and uninsured people are more likely to have exposure to potentially hazardous loud noise.
Scientific quality and feasibility are part of ethics review by Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). Scientific Review Committees (SRCs) were proposed to facilitate this assessment by the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) SRC Consensus Group. This study assessed SRC feasibility and impact at CTSA-affiliated academic health centers (AHCs).
SRC implementation at 10 AHCs was assessed pre/post-intervention using quantitative and qualitative methods. Pre-intervention, four AHCs had no SRC, and six had at least one SRC needing modifications to better align with Consensus Group recommendations.
Facilitators of successful SRC implementation included broad-based communication, an external motivator, senior-level support, and committed SRC reviewers. Barriers included limited resources and staffing, variable local mandates, limited SRC authority, lack of anticipated benefit, and operational challenges. Research protocol quality did not differ significantly between study periods, but respondents suggested positive effects. During intervention, median total review duration did not lengthen for the 40% of protocols approved within 3 weeks. For the 60% under review after 3 weeks, review was lengthened primarily due to longer IRB review for SRC-reviewed protocols. Site interviews recommended designing locally effective SRC processes, building buy-in by communication or by mandate, allowing time for planning and sharing best practices, and connecting SRC and IRB procedures.
The CTSA SRC Consensus Group recommendations appear feasible. Although not conclusive in this relatively short initial implementation, sites perceived positive impact by SRCs on study quality. Optimal benefit will require local or federal mandate for implementation, adapting processes to local contexts, and employing SRC stipulations.
Aberrant activity of the subcallosal cingulate (SCC) is a common theme across pharmacologic treatment efficacy prediction studies. The functioning of the SCC in psychotherapeutic interventions is relatively understudied, as are functional differences among SCC subdivisions. We conducted functional connectivity analyses (rsFC) on resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data, collected before and after a course of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), using seeds from three SCC subdivisions.
Resting-state data were collected from unmedicated patients with current MDD (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale-17 > 16) before and after 14-sessions of CBT monotherapy. Treatment outcome was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Rostral anterior cingulate (rACC), anterior subcallosal cingulate (aSCC), and Brodmann’s area 25 (BA25) masks were used as seeds in connectivity analyses that assessed baseline rsFC and symptom severity, changes in connectivity related to symptom improvement after CBT, and prediction of treatment outcomes using whole-brain baseline connectivity.
Pretreatment BDI negatively correlated with pretreatment rACC ~ dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and aSCC ~ lateral prefrontal cortex rsFC. In a region-of-interest longitudinal analysis, rsFC between these regions increased post-treatment (p < 0.05FDR). In whole-brain analyses, BA25 ~ paracentral lobule and rACC ~ paracentral lobule connectivities decreased post-treatment. Whole-brain baseline rsFC with SCC did not predict clinical improvement.
rsFC features of rACC and aSCC, but not BA25, correlated inversely with baseline depression severity, and increased following CBT. Subdivisions of SCC involved in top-down emotion regulation may be more involved in cognitive interventions, while BA25 may be more informative for interventions targeting bottom-up processing. Results emphasize the importance of subdividing the SCC in connectivity analyses.
The Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Consortium and the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) undertook a Common Metrics Initiative to improve research processes across the national CTSA Consortium. This was implemented by Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the 64 CTSA academic medical centers. Three metrics were collaboratively developed by NCATS staff, CTSA Consortium teams, and outside consultants for Institutional Review Board Review Duration, Careers in Clinical and Translational Research, and Pilot Award Publications and Subsequent Funding. The implementation program included training on the metric operational guidelines, data collection, data reporting system, and performance improvement framework. The implementation team provided small-group coaching and technical assistance. Collaborative learning sessions, driver diagrams, and change packages were used to disseminate best and promising practices. After 14 weeks, 84% of hubs had produced a value for one metric and about half had produced an initial improvement plan. Overall, hubs reported that the implementation activities facilitated their Common Metrics performance improvement process. Experiences implementing the first three metrics can inform future directions of the Common Metrics Initiative and other research groups implementing standardized metrics and performance improvement processes, potentially including other National Institutes of Health institutes and centers.
We studied the association between chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) concentration on skin and resistant bacterial bioburden. CHG was almost always detected on the skin, and detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus on skin sites was infrequent. However, we found no correlation between CHG concentration and bacterial bioburden.
Mental disorders cause high burden in adolescents, but adolescents often underutilise potentially beneficial treatments. Perceived need for and barriers to care may influence whether adolescents utilise services and which treatments they receive. Adolescents and parents are stakeholders in adolescent mental health care, but their perceptions regarding need for and barriers to care might differ. Understanding patterns of adolescent-parent agreement might help identify gaps in adolescent mental health care.
A nationally representative sample of Australian adolescents aged 13–17 and their parents (N = 2310), recruited between 2013–2014, were asked about perceived need for four types of adolescent mental health care (counselling, medication, information and skill training) and barriers to care. Perceived need was categorised as fully met, partially met, unmet, or no need. Cohen's kappa was used to assess adolescent-parent agreement. Multinomial logistic regressions were used to model variables associated with patterns of agreement.
Almost half (46.5% (s.e. = 1.21)) of either adolescents or parents reported a perceived need for any type of care. For both groups, perceived need was greatest for counselling and lowest for medication. Identified needs were fully met for a third of adolescents. Adolescent-parent agreement on perceived need was fair (kappa = 0.25 (s.e. = 0.01)), but poor regarding the extent to which needs were met (kappa = −0.10 (s.e. = 0.02)). The lack of parental knowledge about adolescents' feelings was positively associated with adolescent-parent agreement that needs were partially met or unmet and disagreement about perceived need, compared to agreement that needs were fully met (relative risk ratio (RRR) = 1.91 (95% CI = 1.19–3.04) to RRR = 4.69 (95% CI = 2.38–9.28)). Having a probable disorder was positively associated with adolescent-parent agreement that needs were partially met or unmet (RRR = 2.86 (95% CI = 1.46–5.61)), and negatively with adolescent-parent disagreement on perceived need (RRR = 0.50 (95% CI = 0.30–0.82)). Adolescents reported most frequently attitudinal barriers to care (e.g. self-reliance: 55.1% (s.e. = 2.39)); parents most frequently reported that their child refused help (38.7% (s.e. = 2.69)). Adolescent-parent agreement was poor for attitudinal (kappa = −0.03 (s.e. = 0.06)) and slight for structural barriers (kappa = 0.02 (s.e. = 0.09)).
There are gaps in the extent to which adolescent mental health care is meeting the needs of adolescents and their parents. It seems important to align adolescents' and parents' needs at the beginning and throughout treatment and to improve communication between adolescents and their parents. Both might provide opportunities to increase the likelihood that needs will be fully met. Campaigns directed towards adolescents and parents need to address different barriers to care. For adolescents, attitudinal barriers such as stigma and mental health literacy require attention.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.