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Families facing end-stage nonmalignant chronic diseases (NMCDs) are presented with similar symptom burdens and need for psycho-social–spiritual support as their counterparts with advanced cancers. However, NMCD patients tend to face more variable disease trajectories, and thus may require different anticipatory supports, delivered in familiar environments. The Life Rainbow Programme (LRP) provides holistic, transdisciplinary, community-based end-of-life care for patients with NMCDs and their caregivers. This paper reports on the 3-month outcomes using a single-group, pre–post comparison.
Patients with end-stage NMCDs were screened for eligibility by a medical team before being referred to the LRP. Patients were assessed at baseline (T0), 1 month (T1), and 3 months (T2) using the Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale (IPOS). Their hospital use in the previous month was also measured by presentations at accident and emergency services, admissions to intensive care units, and number of hospital bed-days. Caregivers were assessed at T0 and T2 using the Chinese version of the Modified Caregiver Strain Index, and self-reported health, psychological, spiritual, and overall well-being. Over-time changes in outcomes for patients, and caregivers, were tested using paired-sample t-tests, Wilcoxon-signed rank tests, and chi-square tests.
Seventy-four patients and 36 caregivers participated in this research study. Patients reported significant improvements in all IPOS domains at both 1 and 3 months [ranging from Cohen's d = 0.495 (nausea) to 1.793 (depression and information needs fulfilled)]. Average hospital bed-days in the previous month fell from 3.50 to 1.68, comparing baseline and 1 month (p < 0.05). At 3 months, caregiver strain was significantly reduced (r = 0.332), while spiritual well-being was enhanced (r = 0.333).
After receiving 3 month's LRP services, patients with end-stage NMCDs and their caregivers experienced significant improvements in the quality of life and well-being, and their hospital bed-days were reduced.
The Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (RACS) is the first large-area survey to be conducted with the full 36-antenna Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope. RACS will provide a shallow model of the ASKAP sky that will aid the calibration of future deep ASKAP surveys. RACS will cover the whole sky visible from the ASKAP site in Western Australia and will cover the full ASKAP band of 700–1800 MHz. The RACS images are generally deeper than the existing NRAO VLA Sky Survey and Sydney University Molonglo Sky Survey radio surveys and have better spatial resolution. All RACS survey products will be public, including radio images (with
15 arcsec resolution) and catalogues of about three million source components with spectral index and polarisation information. In this paper, we present a description of the RACS survey and the first data release of 903 images covering the sky south of declination
made over a 288-MHz band centred at 887.5 MHz.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Background: Automated testing instruments (ATIs) are commonly used by clinical microbiology laboratories to perform antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST), whereas public health laboratories may use established reference methods such as broth microdilution (BMD). We investigated discrepancies in carbapenem minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) among Enterobacteriaceae tested by clinical laboratory ATIs and by reference BMD at the CDC. Methods: During 2016–2018, we conducted laboratory- and population-based surveillance for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) through the CDC Emerging Infections Program (EIP) sites (10 sites by 2018). We defined an incident case as the first isolation of Enterobacter spp (E. cloacae complex or E. aerogenes), Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, K. oxytoca, or K. variicola resistant to doripenem, ertapenem, imipenem, or meropenem from normally sterile sites or urine identified from a resident of the EIP catchment area in a 30-day period. Cases had isolates that were determined to be carbapenem-resistant by clinical laboratory ATI MICs (MicroScan, BD Phoenix, or VITEK 2) or by other methods, using current Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) criteria. A convenience sample of these isolates was tested by reference BMD at the CDC according to CLSI guidelines. Results: Overall, 1,787 isolates from 112 clinical laboratories were tested by BMD at the CDC. Of these, clinical laboratory ATI MIC results were available for 1,638 (91.7%); 855 (52.2%) from 71 clinical laboratories did not confirm as CRE at the CDC. Nonconfirming isolates were tested on either a MicroScan (235 of 462; 50.9%), BD Phoenix (249 of 411; 60.6%), or VITEK 2 (371 of 765; 48.5%). Lack of confirmation was most common among E. coli (62.2% of E. coli isolates tested) and Enterobacter spp (61.4% of Enterobacter isolates tested) (Fig. 1A), and among isolates testing resistant to ertapenem by the clinical laboratory ATI (52.1%, Fig. 1B). Of the 1,388 isolates resistant to ertapenem in the clinical laboratory, 1,006 (72.5%) were resistant only to ertapenem. Of the 855 nonconfirming isolates, 638 (74.6%) were resistant only to ertapenem based on clinical laboratory ATI MICs. Conclusions: Nonconfirming isolates were widespread across laboratories and ATIs. Lack of confirmation was most common among E. coli and Enterobacter spp. Among nonconfirming isolates, most were resistant only to ertapenem. These findings may suggest that ATIs overcall resistance to ertapenem or that isolate transport and storage conditions affect ertapenem resistance. Further investigation into this lack of confirmation is needed, and CRE case identification in public health surveillance may need to account for this phenomenon.
Introduction: Diagnosing pulmonary embolism (PE) can be challenging because the signs and symptoms are often non-specific. Studies have shown that evidence-based algorithms are not always adhered to in the Emergency Department (ED) and are often not used correctly, which leads to unnecessary CT scanning. The YEARS diagnostic algorithm, consisting of three items (clinical signs of deep vein thrombosis, hemoptysis, and whether pulmonary embolism is the most likely diagnosis) and D-dimer, is a novel and simplified way to approach suspected acute PE. The purpose of this study was to 1) evaluate the use of the YEARS algorithm in the ED and 2) to compare the rates of testing for PE if the YEARS algorithm was used. Methods: This was a health records review of ED patients investigated for PE at two emergency departments over a two-year period (April 2013-March 2015). Inclusion criteria were ED physician ordered CT pulmonary angiogram, ventilation-perfusion scan, or D-dimer for investigation of PE. Patients under the age of 18 and those without a D-dimer test were excluded. PE was considered to be present during the emergency department visit if PE was diagnosed on CT or VQ (subsegmental level or above), or if the patient was subsequently found to have PE or deep vein thrombosis during the next 30 days. Trained researchers extracted anonymized data. The rate of CT/VQ imaging and the false negative rate was calculated. Results: There were 1,163 patients that were tested for PE and 1,083 patients were eligible for our analysis. Of the total, 317/1,083 (29.3%; 95%CI 26.6-32.1%) had CT/VQ imaging for PE, and 41/1,083 (3.8%; 95%CI 2.8-5.1%) patients were diagnosed with PE at baseline. Three patients had a missed PE, resulting in a false negative rate of 0.4% (95%CI 0.1-1.2%). If the YEARS algorithm was used, 211/1,083 (19.5%; 95%CI 17.2-22.0%) would have required imaging for PE. Of the patients who would not have required imaging according to the YEARS algorithm, 8/872 (0.9%; 95%CI 0.5-1.8%) would have had a missed PE. Conclusion: If the YEARS algorithm was used in all patients with suspected PE, fewer patients would have required imaging with a small increase in the false negative rate.
Introduction: Diagnosing pulmonary embolism (PE) can be challenging because the signs and symptoms are often non-specific. Studies have shown that evidence-based algorithms are not always adhered to in the Emergency Department (ED), which leads to unnecessary CT scanning. The pulmonary embolism rule-out criteria (PERC) can identify patients who can be safely discharged from the ED without further investigation for PE. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of the PERC rule in the ED and to compare the rates of testing for PE if the PERC rule was used. Methods: This was a health records review of ED patients investigated for PE at two emergency departments over a two-year period (April 2013-March 2015). Inclusion criteria were ED physician ordered CT pulmonary angiogram, ventilation-perfusion scan, or D-dimer for investigation of PE. Patients under the age of 18 were excluded. PE was considered to be present during the emergency department visit if PE was diagnosed on CT or VQ (subsegmental level or above), or if the patient was subsequently found to have PE or deep vein thrombosis during the next 30 days. Trained researchers extracted anonymized data. The rate of CT/VQ imaging and the negative predictive value was calculated. Results: There were 1,163 patients that were tested for PE and 1,097 patients were eligible for our analysis. Of the total, 330/1,097 (30.1%; 95%CI 27.4-32.3%) had CT/VQ imaging for PE, and 48/1,097 (4.4%; 95%CI 3.3-5.8%) patients were diagnosed with PE. 806/1,097 (73.5%; 95%CI 70.8-76.0%) were PERC positive, and of these, 44 patients had a PE (5.5%; 95%CI 4.1-7.3%). Conversely, 291/1,097 (26.5%; 95%CI 24.0-29.2%) patients were PERC negative, and of these, 4 patients had a PE (1.4%; 95%CI 0.5-3.5%). Of the PERC negative patients, 291/291 (100.0%; 95%CI 98.7-100.0%) had a D-dimer test done, and 33/291 (11.3%; 95%CI 8.2-15.5%) had a CT angiogram. If PERC was used, CT/VQ imaging would have been avoided in 33/1,097 (3%; 95%CI 2.2-4.2%) patients and the D-dimer would have been avoided in 291/1,097 (26.5%; 95%CI 24.0-29.2%) patients. Conclusion: If the PERC rule was used in all patients with suspected PE, fewer patients would have further testing. The false negative rate for the PERC rule was low.
The correlation between objective and subjective nasal obstruction is poor, and dissatisfaction rates after surgery for nasal obstruction are high. Accordingly, novel assessment techniques may be required. This survey aimed to determine patient experience and preferences for the measurement of nasal obstruction.
Prospective survey of rhinology patients.
Of 72 questionnaires distributed, 60 were completed (response rate of 83 per cent). Obstruction duration (more than one year) (χ2 = 13.5, p = 0.00024), but not obstruction severity, affected willingness to spend more time being assessed. Questionnaires (48 per cent) and nasal inspiratory peak flow measurement (53 per cent) are the most commonly used assessment techniques. Forty-nine per cent of participants found their assessment unhelpful in understanding their obstruction. Eighty-two per cent agreed or strongly agreed that a visual and numerical aid would help them understand their blockage.
Many patients are dissatisfied with current assessment techniques; a novel device with visual or numerical results may help. Obstruction duration determines willingness to undergo longer assessment.
Recent observations on strength and deformation of small metals containing microstructures, including dislocation patterns, grain boundaries, and second-phase precipitates are reviewed. These microstructures impose an internal length scale that may interplay with the extrinsic length scale due to the specimen size to affect strength and deformation in an intricate manner. For micro-crystals containing pre-existing dislocations, Taylor work-hardening may dictate the dependence of strength on specimen size. The presence of grain boundaries in a small specimen may lead to effects far from the conventional Hall–Petch behavior. Precipitate–dislocation interactions in a small specimen may lead to an interesting weakest-size behavior.
Vitamin D plays an important role in skeletal health throughout life. Some studies have hypothesised that vitamin D may reduce the risk of other diseases. Our study aimed to estimate age-specific and sex-specific serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) status and to identify the determinants of serum 25(OH)D status in Hong Kong, a subtropical city in southern China. In 2009–2010, households in Hong Kong were followed up to identify acute respiratory illnesses, and sera from 2694 subjects were collected in three to four different study phases to permit measurement of 25(OH)D levels at different times of the year. A questionnaire survey on diet and lifestyle was conducted among children, with simultaneous serum collection in April and May 2010. The mean of serum 25(OH)D levels in age groups ranged from 39 to 63 nmol/l throughout the year with the mean values in all age groups in spring below 50 nmol/l. Children aged 6–17 years, and girls and women had significantly lower serum 25(OH)D levels than adults, and boys and men, respectively (all P< 0·001). We estimated that serum 25(OH)D levels in Hong Kong followed a lagged pattern relative to climatic season by 5 weeks with lowest observed levels in early spring (March). For children aged 6–17 years, reporting a suntan, having at least 1 servings of fish/week and having at least 1 serving of eggs/week were independently associated with higher serum 25(OH)D levels. Adequate sunlight exposure and increased intake of dietary vitamin D could improve vitamin D status, especially for children and females in the winter and spring.
The aims of this study were to identify Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization prevalence, behavioural risk factors, and to determine staphylococcal protein A (spa) types in community-based injection drug users (IDUs). Nasal swabs were collected and methicillin susceptibility testing and spa/SCCmec typing were performed on S. aureus isolates. Generalized estimating equations were used to report adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Of the 440 participants, 24·1% were colonized and 5·7% had methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). Colonization was associated with age, employment/marital status, and the presence of scabs but not with sexually transmitted disease co-infection, HIV status, antibiotic use, hospitalization, or drug treatment programme participation. The USA300 MRSA clone spa types were most common, but 15/49 spa types were new to one of the international databases. Community-based IDUs appear to have different risk factors compared to IDUs from clinical studies. In addition, the number of newly identified spa types indicates a diverse, understudied population.
We examined factors affecting the immunogenicity of trivalent inactivated influenza vaccination (TIV) in children using the antibody titres of children participating in a Hong Kong community-based study. Antibody titres of strains included in the 2009–2010 northern hemisphere TIV [seasonal A(H1N1), seasonal A(H3N2) and B (Victoria lineage)] and those not included in the TIV [2009 pandemic A(H1N1) and B (Yamagata lineage)] were measured by haemagglutination inhibition immediately before and 1 month after vaccination. Multivariate regression models were fitted in a Bayesian framework to characterize the distribution of changes in antibody titres following vaccination. Statistically significant rises in geometric mean antibody titres were observed against all strains, with a wide variety of standard deviations and correlations in rises observed, with the influenza type B antibodies showing more variability than the type A antibodies. The dynamics of antibody titres after vaccination can be used in more complex models of antibody dynamics in populations.
The epidemiology of varicella is believed to differ between temperate and tropical countries. We conducted a varicella seroprevalence study in elementary and college students in the US territory of American Samoa before introduction of a routine varicella vaccination programme. Sera from 515 elementary and 208 college students were tested for the presence of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) IgG antibodies. VZV seroprevalence increased with age from 76·0% in the 4–6 years group to 97·7% in those aged ⩾23 years. Reported history of varicella disease for elementary students was significantly associated with VZV seropositivity. The positive and negative predictive values of varicella disease history were 93·4% and 36·4%, respectively, in elementary students and 97·6% and 3·0%, respectively, in college students. VZV seroprevalence in this Pacific island appears to be similar to that in temperate countries and suggests endemic VZV circulation.
We examined the impact of the neonatal hepatitis B immunization programme, first provided to all neonates born to mothers screened positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in late 1983, on the age-specific prevalence of HBsAg carriage in teenage mothers managed in 1998–2008. HBsAg carriage was found in 2·5%, 2·7%, 8·8% and 8·0% of mothers aged ⩽16, 17, 18, and 19 years, respectively (P = 0·004), which was also correlated with advancing age (P = 0·011). While neither difference nor correlation with age was found in mothers born before 1984, the prevalence of 1·2%, 1·5%, 7·1% and 8·3%, respectively, was significantly different among (P = 0·008) and correlated with (P = 0·002) age in mothers born 1984 onwards. Regression analysis indicated there was a significantly higher incidence of HBsAg carriage from age 17 onwards (adjusted odds ratio 2·55, 95% confidence interval 1·07–6·10, P = 0·035), suggesting that the protective effect of the vaccine declined in late adolescence.
Background: The Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (CERAD-NAB) offers information on the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and gives a profile of cognitive functioning. This study explores the effects of age, education and gender on participants' performance on eight subtests in the Chinese-Cantonese version of the CERAD-NAB.
Methods: The original English version of the CERAD-NAB was translated and content-validated into a Chinese-Cantonese version to suit the Hong Kong Chinese population. The battery was administered to 187 healthy volunteers aged 60 to 94 years. Participants were excluded if they had neurological, medical or psychiatric disorders (including dementia). Stepwise multiple linear regression analyses were performed to assess the relative contribution of the demographic variables to the scores on each subtest.
Results: The Cantonese version of CERAD-NAB was shown to have good content validity and excellent inter-rater reliability. Stepwise multiple regression analyses revealed that performances on seven and four out of eight subtests in the CERAD-NAB were significantly influenced by education level and age, respectively. Age and education had significant effects on participants' performance on many tests. Gender also showed a significant effect on one subtest.
Conclusions: The preliminary data will serve as an initial phase for clinical interpretation of the CERAD-NAB for Cantonese-speaking Chinese elders.
In mid-June 2009, an outbreak of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 (pH1N1) infection occurred in a secondary school in Hong Kong. We carried out an epidemiological investigation to delineate the characteristics of the outbreak, gauge the extent of secondary household transmission, and assess the protective role of oseltamivir in household contacts. We interviewed pH1N1-confirmed cases using a standardized questionnaire. Sixty-five of 511 students in the school were affected. Of the 205 household contacts identified, 12 were confirmed as cases. All cases recovered. The estimated secondary household attack rate was 5·9% (95% CI 2·7–9·1). Household contacts aged <18 years were about 15 times more likely to be infected than older contacts. Household contacts who had received oseltamivir prophylaxis were less likely to acquire a secondary infection than those who had not (odds ratio=0). The estimated mean household serial interval of pH1N1 virus was 2·8 days (95% CI 2·1–3·4 days).
We investigated the degradation mechanism of GaN LEDs due to the application of a high d.c. stressing current. To identify the underlying process for device failure we examined the effects of the InGaN quantum well growth parameters on the hot-electron hardness of the devices. Systematic characterizations on the degradations in the microstructural, thermoreflectance, and low frequency noise properties of the devices were performed.
Patients with major depressive disorder are found to show selective attention biases towards mood-congruent information. Although previous studies have identified various structural changes in the brains of these patients, it remains unclear whether the structural abnormalities are associated with these attention biases. In this study, we used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to explore the structural correlates of attention biases towards depression-related stimuli.
Seventeen female patients with major depressive disorder and 17 female healthy controls, matched on age and intelligence, underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They also performed positive-priming (PP) and negative-priming (NP) tasks involving neutral and negative words that assessed selective attention biases. The reaction time (RT) to a target word that had been attended to or ignored in a preceding trial was measured on the PP and NP tasks respectively. The structural differences between the two groups were correlated with the indexes of attention biases towards the negative words.
The enhanced facilitation of attention to stimuli in the PP task by the negative valence was only found in the depressed patients, not in the healthy controls. Such attention biases towards negative stimuli were found to be associated with reduced gray-matter concentration (GMC) in the right superior frontal gyrus, the right anterior cingulate gyrus and the right fusiform gyrus. No differential effect in inhibition of attention towards negative stimuli in the NP task was found between the depressed patients and the healthy controls.
Specific structural abnormalities in depression are associated with their attention biases towards mood-congruent information.
A white cast iron of composition Fe81C14Si5 can be cast into a nanostructure with network morphology by a fluxing technique. The conventional morphology of white cast iron, which is brittle, is eutectic. The mechanical behavior of network white cast iron is attractive. Hardness tests indicate that its average hardness value is ∼770 HV. The indentations made during hardness tests have no cracks. A stylus surface profiler was employed to study the surface profile at and near the indentations. The studies indicate that there are severe plastic flows, but without cracks.