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Despite the frequency that refugees suffer bereavement, there is a dearth of research into the prevalence and predictors of problematic grief reactions in refugees. To address this gap, this study reports a nationally representative population-based study of refugees to determine the prevalence of probable prolonged grief disorder (PGD) and its associated problems.
This study recruited participants from the Building a New Life in Australia (BNLA) prospective cohort study of refugees admitted to Australia between October 2013 and February 2014. The current data were collected in 2015–2016, and comprised 1767 adults, as well as 411 children of the adult respondents. Adult refugees were assessed for trauma history, post-migration difficulties, probable PGD, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental illness. Children were administered the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.
In this cohort, 38.1% of refugees reported bereavement, of whom 15.8% reported probable PGD; this represents 6.0% of the entire cohort. Probable PGD was associated with a greater likelihood of mental illness, probable PTSD, severe mental illness, currently unemployed and reported disability. Children of refugees with probable PGD reported more psychological difficulties than those whose parents did not have probable PGD. Probable PGD was also associated with the history of imprisonment, torture and separation from family. Only 56.3% of refugees with probable PGD had received psychological assistance.
Bereavement and probable PGD appear highly prevalent in refugees, and PGD seems to be associated with disability in the refugees and psychological problems in their children. The low rate of access to mental health assistance for these refugees highlights that there is a need to address this issue in refugee populations.
This study examined effects of risk factors in multiple domains measured in preschool and kindergarten on age 6 depression symptoms, and on changes in symptom levels between ages 4 and 6. Two models were examined in a large, diverse (N = 796) community sample of children and parents. Risk variables included SES, stress, conflict, parental depression, parental hostility, support, scaffolding, child negative affect (NA), effortful control (EC), sensory regulation (SR), and attachment security. Model 1 included effects of risk factors at ages 4 and 5 on child depression symptoms at age 6. Model 2 also included depression symptoms at all three ages to examine changes in these symptoms. Model 1 revealed that age 4 and 5 parental depression, NA, EC, and SR predicted age 6 child depression levels, Several age 4 variables had indirect pathways to age 6 depression via age 5 EC. Model 2 revealed that preschool depression was the only age 4 variable, and EC and SR were the only age 5 variables that significantly predicted increases in age 6 depression. These findings highlight the role of self-regulation in child depression and suggest that targeting self-regulation may be an effective prevention and intervention strategy.
This study examined the comminution of fresh herbage, subsequent nutrient release, and the characteristics of swallowed boli from three physically and chemically contrasting forages during ingestive mastication by dairy cows. The extent and pattern of nutrient release will determine their availability to rumen microflora, and potentially influence their efficiency of use. The forages evaluated were perennial ryegrass (ryegrass, Lolium perenne L., cv Alto AR37), lucerne (Medicago sativa L., cv Torlesse) and chicory (Cichorium intybus L., cv Choice). Experimental design was a 3×3 cross-over with three forages and three consecutive 1-day measurement periods, conducted twice. Six non-lactating, pregnant, multiparous Holstein-Friesian×Jersey cows (Bos taurus) were used, with the first cross-over applied to three mature (10.1±0.61 years old; BW 631±64 kg) cows, and the second to three young (4.8±0.02 years; BW 505±19 kg) cows. Fresh cut forage was offered to the cows following partial rumen evacuation. Swallowed boli were collected directly at the cardia at the commencement, middle and end of the first feeding bout of the first meal of the day. Forage species did not affect the fresh weight of ingested boli (mean 169 g, P=0.605) but the proportion of saliva in boli varied between forage. Boli of chicory contained the greatest amount of herbage material and least amount of saliva, whereas ryegrass boli were the opposite. Boli fresh weight tended to increase as time in the meal progressed, but the age of the cow was not shown to affect any boli characteristics or nutrient release. Particle size reduction was affected by forage, with 31%, 38% and 35% of chicory, lucerne and ryegrass herbage reduced to <2 mm. There was little evidence of relationship between comminution and any physical or chemical characteristic of the forage, except in ryegrass where extent of comminution was moderately correlated with herbage strength. Proportional release of herbage soluble carbohydrate exceeded that of N during mastication. Differences in loss of N were moderately correlated with the amount of N in the herbage (R2=0.53) but herbage comminution was not strongly correlated with release of either N or carbohydrate. These findings illustrate the complex animal×forage interactions that occur during mastication, and that it is not possible to infer nutrient loss from herbage based on herbage characteristics as the driver for this differ between species.
Exposure to armed conflict and forced displacement constitute significant risks for mental health. Existing evidence-based psychological interventions have limitations for scaling-up in low-resource humanitarian settings. The WHO has developed a guided self-help intervention, Self Help Plus (SH+), which is brief, implemented by non-specialists, and designed to be delivered to people with and without specific mental disorders. This paper outlines the study protocol for an evaluation of the SH+ intervention in northern Uganda, with South Sudanese refugee women.
A two-arm, single-blind cluster-randomised controlled trial will be conducted in 14 villages in Rhino Camp refugee settlement, with at least 588 women experiencing psychological distress. Villages will be randomly assigned to receive either SH+ with enhanced usual care (EUC), or EUC alone. SH+ is a five-session guided self-help intervention delivered in workshops with audio-recorded materials and accompanying pictorial guide. The primary outcome is reduction in overall psychological distress over time, with 3 months post-treatment as the primary end-point. Secondary outcomes are self-defined psychosocial concerns, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, hazardous alcohol use, feelings of anger, interethnic relations, psychological flexibility, functional impairment and subjective wellbeing. Psychological flexibility is a hypothesised mediator, and past trauma history and intervention attendance will be explored as potential moderators.
This trial will provide important information on the effectiveness of a scalable, guided self-help intervention for improving psychological health and wellbeing among people affected by adversity.
To evaluate the impact of discontinuing routine contact precautions (CP) for endemic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) on hospital adverse events.
Academic medical center with single-occupancy rooms.
We compared hospital reportable adverse events 1 year before and 1 year after discontinuation of routine CP for endemic MRSA and VRE (preintervention and postintervention periods, respectively). Throughout the preintervention period, daily chlorhexidine gluconate bathing was expanded to nearly all inpatients. Chart reviews were performed to identify which patients and events were associated with CP for MRSA/VRE in the preintervention period as well as the patients that would have met prior criteria for MRSA/VRE CP but were not isolated in the postintervention period. Adverse events during the 2 periods were compared using segmented and mixed-effects Poisson regression models.
There were 24,732 admissions in the preintervention period and 25,536 in the postintervention period. Noninfectious adverse events (ie, postoperative respiratory failure, hemorrhage/hematoma, thrombosis, wound dehiscence, pressure ulcers, and falls or trauma) decreased by 19% (12.3 to 10.0 per 1,000 admissions, P=.022) from the preintervention to the postintervention period. There was no significant difference in the rate of infectious adverse events after CP discontinuation (20.7 to 19.4 per 1,000 admissions, P=.33). Patients with MRSA/VRE showed the largest reduction in noninfectious adverse events after CP discontinuation, with a 72% reduction (21.4 to 6.08 per 1,000 MRSA/VRE admissions; P<.001).
After discontinuing routine CP for endemic MRSA/VRE, the rate of noninfectious adverse events declined, especially in patients who no longer required isolation. This suggests that elimination of CP may substantially reduce noninfectious adverse events.
The use of monthly intranasal mupirocin was associated with a significant reduction in the rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus transmission and Staphylococcus aureus invasive infection in a large neonatal intensive care unit. Resistance to mupirocin emerged over time, but it was rare and was not associated with adverse clinical outcomes.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
The aim of this feasibility trial was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the locally adapted Group Problem Management Plus (PM+) intervention for women in the conflict affected settings in Swat, Pakistan.
This mixed-methods study incorporated a quantitative component consisting of a two arm cluster randomised controlled feasibility trial, and qualitative evaluation of the acceptability of the Group PM+ to a range of stakeholder groups. For the quantitative component, on average from each of the 20 Lady Health Workers (LHWs) catchment area (20 clusters), six women were screened and recruited for the trial with score of >2 on the General Health Questionnaire and score of >16 on the WHO Disability Assessment Schedule. These LHW clusters were randomised on a 1 : 1 allocation ratio using a computer-based software through a simple randomisation method to the Group PM+ intervention or Enhanced Usual Care. The Group PM+ intervention consisted of five weekly sessions of 2 h duration delivered by local non-specialist females under supervision. The primary outcome was individual psychological distress, measured by levels of anxiety and depression on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale at 7th week after baseline. Secondary outcomes include symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), general psychological profile, levels of functioning and generalised psychological distress. Intervention acceptability was explored through in-depth interviews.
The results show that lay-helpers with no prior mental health experience can be trained to achieve the desired competency to successfully deliver the intervention in community settings under supervision. There was a good intervention uptake, with Group PM+ considered useful by participants, their families and lay-helpers. The outcome evaluation, which was not based on a large enough study to identify statistically significant results, indicated statistically significant improvements in depression, anxiety, general psychological profile and functioning. The PTSD symptoms and depressive disorder scores showed a trend in favour of the intervention.
This trial showed robust acceptance in the local settings with delivery by non-specialists under supervision by local trained females. The trial paves the way for further adaptation and exploration of the outcomes through larger-scale implementation and definitive randomised controlled trials in the local settings.
Prolonged separation from parental support is a risk factor for psychopathology. This study assessed the impact of brief separation from parents during childhood trauma on adult attachment tendencies and post-traumatic stress.
Children (n = 806) exposed to a major Australian bushfire disaster in 1983 and matched controls (n = 725) were assessed in the aftermath of the fires (mean age 7–8 years) via parent reports of trauma exposure and separation from parents during the fires. Participants (n = 500) were subsequently assessed 28 years after initial assessment on the Experiences in Close Relationships scale to assess attachment security, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was assessed using the PTSD checklist.
Being separated from parents was significantly related to having an avoidant attachment style as an adult (B = −3.69, s.e. = 1.48, β = −0.23, p = 0.013). Avoidant attachment was associated with re-experiencing (B = 0.03, s.e. = 0.01, β = 0.31, p = 0.045), avoidance (B = 0.03, s.e. = 0.01, β = 0.30, p = 0.001) and numbing (B = 0.03, s.e. = 0.01, β = 0.30, p < 0.001) symptoms. Anxious attachment was associated with re-experiencing (B = 0.03, s.e. = 0.01, β = 0.18, p = 0.001), numbing (B = 0.03, β = 0.30, s.e. = 0.01, p < 0.001) and arousal (B = 0.04, s.e. = 0.01, β = 0.43, p < 0.001) symptoms.
These findings demonstrate that brief separation from attachments during childhood trauma can have long-lasting effects on one's attachment security, and that this can be associated with adult post-traumatic psychopathology.
Although perceived social support is thought to be a strong predictor of psychological outcomes following trauma exposure, the temporal relationship between perceived positive and negative social support and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms has not been empirically established. This study investigated the temporal sequencing of perceived positive social support, perceived negative social support, and PTSD symptoms in the 6 years following trauma exposure among survivors of traumatic injury.
Participants were 1132 trauma survivors initially assessed upon admission to one of four Level 1 trauma hospitals in Australia after experiencing a traumatic injury. Participants were followed up at 3 months, 12 months, 24 months, and 6 years after the traumatic event.
Latent difference score analyses revealed that greater severity of PTSD symptoms predicted subsequent increases in perceived negative social support at each time-point. Greater severity of PTSD symptoms predicted subsequent decreases in perceived positive social support between 3 and 12 months. High levels of perceived positive or negative social support did not predict subsequent changes in PTSD symptoms at any time-point.
Results highlight the impact of PTSD symptoms on subsequent perceived social support, regardless of the type of support provided. The finding that perceived social support does not influence subsequent PTSD symptoms is novel, and indicates that the relationship between PTSD and perceived social support may be unidirectional.
This paper outlines a dating program designed to test the reproducibility of radiocarbon dates on different materials of Late-Glacial age (plant macrofossils, fossil beetle remains, and the “humic” and “humin” chemical fractions of limnic sediments) using a combination of radiometric (beta counting) and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) techniques. The results have implications for the design of sampling strategies and for the development of improved dating protocols, both of which are important if a high-precision 14C chronology for the Late-Glacial is to be achieved.
A new National Electrostatic Corporation (NEC) 5MV accelerator mass spectrometer became operational at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC) in July 2002. It has 2 Cs sputter negative ion sources: a 134-sample source (S1) for the routine measurement of all species, and a hybrid source (S2) with 40 spaces for radiocarbon measurements with either graphite or CO2 samples. A number of performance tests on graphite samples have been carried out on both sources. A precison of better than 0.3% is feasible for modern samples on a routine basis. The 14C background of the machine and the graphite preparation process blank are 0.04 ± 0.01 and 0.16 ± 0.05 pMC, respectively, indicating that 14C dating back to ~50 kyr BP is possible. The normalized 14C values for a series of reference materials agree well with the IAEA, TIRI, and FIRI consensus values. Routine measurement of 14C has been underway since May 2003. Preliminary results of performance tests on the CO2 gas ion source are also reported.
There is no doubt that since 1995 when the first two bacterial genomes were fully sequenced, Haemophilus influenzae (Fleischmann et al. 1995) and Mycoplasma genitalium (Fraser et al. 1995), our understanding of bacterial pathogens has benefited hugely from the wealth of information provided by high-quality reference bacterial genomes. Over the past 20 years, comparative analyses of these reference genomes has unravelled many of the mechanisms of pathogenicity. However, we are now in the age of NGS, which has revolutionized the field of comparative genomics, allowing evolutionary adaptations to be placed in a more resolved phylogenetic framework, and the emergence of virulence, pathogenicity and antibiotic resistance to be reconstructed far more accurately. The fine-scale resolution and low cost of NGS permit investigations of genome variation at an unprecedented scale, within an individual species or even at the level of individual disease outbreaks or bacterial populations within a patient. Furthermore, simple tweaks to the methodologies can provide a wealth of functional information that, when placed in a phylogenetic context, drives our understanding of pathogen biology even further forward. Here, we provide a review of recent progress in the field of bacterial genomics, and its impact both clinically and intellectually on our knowledge of bacterial pathogens.
Historical context: molecular typing of bacteria
To understand the evolution and spread of bacterial pathogens, it is essential to not only discriminate between species, but also have the ability to discriminate at the subspecies level. Researchers across all fields of microbiology depend on molecular typing techniques in order to obtain the resolution to investigate population structure (Maiden et al. 1998), molecular evolution (Feil et al. 1999), epidemiological tracking (Foley et al. 2009) and phenotypic variation (Brown et al. 2010). Furthermore, molecular typing techniques are instrumental in the clinical setting to provide precise diagnoses of infections (Goering et al. 2013). Traditional molecular typing techniques typically depend on the sequencing of a small number of loci. The speed and process by which these loci evolve vary depending on the bacteria in question, each bringing its own advantages and limitations. For Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes TB, variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) and insertion sequences (IS elements), including IS6110, are typically used as the typing loci because they have a relatively high genetic turnover, allowing some level of discrimination in what is an extremely clonal pathogen with a very slow mutation rate.
A consortium of Australian universities and the Anglo-Australian Observatory is currently implementing an adaptive optical system at the Anglo-Australian Telescope. This project aims to enhance the science output of the telescope and establish the utility of adaptive optics at the AAT site. The first stage of the project is a fast tip-tilt system, described here, to be installed in the west coudé room. Subsequent funding has been obtained to implement a second-stage, low-order deformable mirror system which is also outlined. Both phases will primarily serve the IRIS camera/spectrograph, since the maximum gains in image quality will occur in the infrared.
The present study examined a cascade model of age 4 and 5 contextual, parent, parenting, and child factors on symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) at age 6 in a diverse community sample of 796 children. Contextual factors include socioeconomic status, family stress, and conflict; parent factors included parental depression; parenting factors included parental hostility, support, and scaffolding skills; child factors included child effortful control (EC), negative affect (NA), and sensory regulation. Direct effects of age 5 conflict, hostility, scaffolding, EC, and NA were found. Significant indirect, cascading effects on age 6 ODD symptom levels were noted for age 4 socioeconomic status via age 5 conflict and scaffolding skills; age 4 parental depression via age 5 child NA; age 4 parental hostility and support via age 5 EC; age 4 support via age 5 EC; and age 4 attachment via age 5 EC. Parenting contributed to EC, and the age 5 EC effects on subsequent ODD symptom levels were distinct from age 5 parental contributions. Scaffolding and ODD symptoms may have a reciprocal relationship. These results highlight the importance of using a multidomain model to examine factors associated with ODD symptoms early in the child's grammar school years.
We undertook a cross-sectional survey of antimicrobial stewardship clinicians in North America and Australasia regarding practices, goals, and barriers to implementation of stewardship for pediatric oncology patients. Goals and barriers were similar regardless of clinician or institutional characteristics and geographic location. Strategies addressing these factors could help optimize antimicrobial use.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2016;37(3):343–347
Depression and anxiety disorders are the leading cause of sickness absence and long-term work incapacity in most developed countries. The present study aimed to carry out a systematic meta-review examining the effectiveness of workplace mental health interventions, defined as any intervention that a workplace may either initiate or facilitate that aims to prevent, treat or rehabilitate a worker with a diagnosis of depression, anxiety or both. Relevant reviews were identified via a detailed systematic search of academic and grey literature databases. All articles were subjected to a rigorous quality appraisal using the AMSTAR assessment. Of the 5179 articles identified, 140 studies met the inclusion criteria, of which 20 were deemed to be of moderate or high quality. Together, these reviews analysed 481 primary research studies. Moderate evidence was identified for two primary prevention interventions; enhancing employee control and promoting physical activity. Stronger evidence was found for CBT-based stress management although less evidence was found for other secondary prevention interventions, such as counselling. Strong evidence was also found against the routine use of debriefing following trauma. Tertiary interventions with a specific focus on work, such as exposure therapy and CBT-based and problem-focused return-to-work programmes, had a strong evidence base for improving symptomology and a moderate evidence base for improving occupational outcomes. Overall, these findings demonstrate there are empirically supported interventions that workplaces can utilize to aid in the prevention of common mental illness as well as facilitating the recovery of employees diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety.