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Background: Telemedicine has been defined as the use of technology to provide healthcare when the provider and patient are geographically separated. Use of telemedicine to meet the needs of specific populations has become increasingly common across Canada. The current study employs the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) to connect the emergency departments of a community hospital system and a pediatric tertiary care hospital. OTN functions through a two-way video conferencing system, allowing physicians at the tertiary site to see and hear the patient being treated in the community hospitals. Aim Statement: The aim of this project is to ensure essential care is provided to CTAS 1 and 2 pediatric patients who present to Niagara Health emergency departments, to increase the number of appropriate patient transfers. Measures & Design: Data for this project include a) description of common diagnoses, b) time of call, c) occurrence of transfers, and d) professional perceptions of the technology. A descriptive design was used together with the implementation of quality improvement cycles as the intervention occurred. Quality improvement methodologies including plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycles ensured continuous improvement to the process of OTN use and therefore patient safety throughout the study. Evaluation/Results: Since the intervention was employed on December 17, 2018 there have been a total of 19 cases for which 4 transfers were requested. Changes to the process were made including the addition of weekly technology tests and feedback to health professionals involved to garner further support for the use. Results have indicated that seizure was the most common diagnosis, accounting for 37% of cases. The majority of calls were placed after 19:00 hours with no calls being placed between 24:00 and 10:00. Discussion/Impact: Healthcare providers had positive perceptions of the technology agreeing that decision making between on-site and remote teams was timely and collaborative, as well as that patient care and outcomes were improved with its use. The results of this study will be used to determine the benefits of employing telemedicine in the emergency departments of other hospital systems.
Depression is a highly prevalent psychiatric disorder. Furthermore, it is one of the most common neuropsychiatric presentations in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Common underlying neuropathological processes appear to exist between these conditions. Synaptic degeneration has been implicated in AD pathogenesis, while its role in depression is not well understood.
This study aims to investigate synaptic degeneration as a possible underlying mechanism for depression and whether antidepressants could alleviate the stated pathology.
Primary rodent hippocampal neurons treated with corticosterone were used as an in vitro model of depression. Toxicity of corticosterone was determined through the lactate dehydrogenase and caspase-3 activity assays. Immunocytochemical analysis of synaptic proteins was employed to investigate effects of corticosterone on synapses.
Neurotoxicity was observed in hippocampal neurons after treatment with corticosterone (10μM) for 24 hours. Aggregations of synaptotagmin and synaptophysin were observed 24 hours after treatment with corticosterone (10μM). Similar effects were observed after sub-lethal treatments with corticosterone (0.5μM and 1μM) for 48 and 72 hours. Pre-treatment for 1 hour with imipramine and escitalopram (20μM and 40μM for both agents) were able to alleviate these toxic effects.
These results suggest the involvement of synaptic degeneration in corticosterone-induced toxicity and that commonly used antidepressants are able to alleviate synaptic derangements. Taken together, synaptic degeneration could be a common pathway for neuronal demise occurring in AD and depression, which can be attenuated by antidepressant administration. Future research to elucidate the precise mechanism for the synaptic protective effect of antidepressants is warranted.
Red meat is an important dietary source of protein and many other essential nutrients including omega(n)-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which provide numerous benefits to human health. It is well known that grass-fed meat contains a more favourable fatty acid profile, compared to other feeding regimes, but the feasibility of grass finishing is in decline for many farmers/producers. Therefore, alternative methods to enhance the fatty acid profile of red meats, such as beef, are needed to meet increasing consumer demands for ‘healthier’ products. This study compared plasma PUFA concentrations across cattle finished on three different feeding regimes. Three farms supplied livestock to the current study, where cattle were fed three different feeding regimes for a minimum of 15-weeks prior to slaughter. Feeding regimes were ad lib concentrate (negative control), n3-enriched ad lib concentrate (treatment) or grass-fed only (positive control). Blood was collected at slaughter into EDTA tubes and plasma aliquots were stored at -80°C until analysis. A validated gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method was used to quantify individual PUFA concentrations in mg/ml [linoleic acid (LA); arachidonic acid (AA); alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA); docosapentaenoic acid (DPA); docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)]. Samples from 23, 49 and 40 animals (in control, treatment & grass groups, respectively) were available for the current analysis. One-way ANOVA tests revealed significant differences between groups in all PUFA concentrations quantified (all P < 0.026). Post-hoc (LSD) tests showed mean ± SD n3 PUFA concentrations were significantly different within all three groups (all P < 0.04), increasing from negative control (0.049 ± 0.013 mg/ml), to treatment (0.095 ± 0.034 mg/ml) and grass-fed groups (0.461 ± 0.132 mg/ml). The opposite was observed for mean ± SD n6 PUFA concentrations (1.060 ± 0.297 vs. 0.918 ± 0.267 vs. 0.355 ± 0.085 mg/ml, respectively; all P < 0.02). Cattle finished on either treatment or grass regimes had a more favourable n6:n3 PUFA ratio, compared to negative control (11.98 and 0.79 vs. 22.65, respectively). This study demonstrates that the finishing diet can impact plasma PUFA concentrations of beef cattle. Animals finished on the n3-enriched concentrate had, on average, double the total n3 PUFA concentrations, as well as an improved n6:n3 ratio, compared to control cattle. These results provide preliminary data on an alternative n3-enriched feeding regime for beef cattle to improve PUFA concentrations. Further research, however, is required to confirm if such beneficial changes are also observed in bovine muscle, which would have direct benefits for consumers.
This study investigated the characteristics of subjective memory complaints (SMCs) and their association with current and future cognitive functions.
A cohort of 209 community-dwelling individuals without dementia aged 47–90 years old was recruited for this 3-year study. Participants underwent neuropsychological and clinical assessments annually. Participants were divided into SMCs and non-memory complainers (NMCs) using a single question at baseline and a memory complaints questionnaire following baseline, to evaluate differential patterns of complaints. In addition, comprehensive assessment of memory complaints was undertaken to evaluate whether severity and consistency of complaints differentially predicted cognitive function.
SMC and NMC individuals were significantly different on various features of SMCs. Greater overall severity (but not consistency) of complaints was significantly associated with current and future cognitive functioning.
SMC individuals present distinctive features of memory complaints as compared to NMCs. Further, the severity of complaints was a significant predictor of future cognition. However, SMC did not significantly predict change over time in this sample. These findings warrant further research into the specific features of SMCs that may portend subsequent neuropathological and cognitive changes when screening individuals at increased future risk of dementia.
Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is an evidence-based treatment program for people with severe mental illness developed in high-income countries. We report the first randomized controlled trial of ACT in mainland China.
Sixty outpatients with schizophrenia with severe functional impairments or frequent hospitalizations were randomly assigned to ACT (n = 30) or standard community treatment (n = 30). The severity of symptoms and level of social functioning were assessed at baseline and every 3 months during the 1-year study. The primary outcome was the duration of hospital readmission. Secondary outcomes included a pre-post change in symptom severity, the rates of symptom relapse and gainful employment, social and occupational functioning, and quality of life of family caregivers.
Based on a modified intention-to-treat analysis, the outcomes for ACT were significantly better than those of standard community treatment. ACT patients were less likely to be readmitted [3.3% (1/30) v. 25.0% (7/28), Fisher's exact test p = 0.023], had a shorter mean readmission time [2.4 (13.3) v. 30.7 (66.9) days], were less likely to relapse [6.7% (2/30) v. 28.6% (8/28), Fisher's exact test p = 0.038], and had shorter mean time in relapse [3.5 (14.6) v. 34.4 (70.6) days]. The ACT group also had significantly longer times re-employed and greater symptomatic improvement and their caregivers experienced a greater improvement in their quality of life.
Our results show that culturally adapted ACT is both feasible and effective for individuals with severe schizophrenia in urban China. Replication studies with larger samples and longer duration of follow up are warranted.
Introduction: Bronchiolitis is a viral respiratory infection and the most common reason for hospitalization of infants. Despite evidence that few interventions are beneficial in patients with bronchiolitis, other studies would have shown that a significant proportion of patients undergo various forms of low value care. This objective of this project was to 1. establish baseline management of bronchiolitis in the Calgary Zone, and 2. deliver audit and feedback (A&F) reports to pediatric emergency physicians (PEP) to identify opportunities and strategies for practice improvement. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included all patients 12 months old that presented to a Calgary emergency department or urgent care center with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2017. Using data from various electronic health data sources, we captured age, vital signs, CTAS, common therapeutic interventions (bronchodilators, steroids, antibiotics) and investigations (chest x-ray (CXR), viral studies, antibiotics). Results were stratified by site and by admission status. Descriptive statistics were used to report baseline characteristics and interventions. Interhospital ranges (IHR) were provided to compare different hospitals in the zone. For the A&F component of the project, consenting PEP received a report of both their individual and peer comparator data and an in-person multi-disciplinary facilitated feedback session. Results: We included 4023 patients from all 6 sites (range from 28 to 3316 patients). Admission rates were 21.7% (IHR 0-29%). Mean age was 5.4 months old. Bronchodilator use was 27.0% (IHR 21-41%). 22.0% of patients received a CXR (IHR 0-57%) and 30.3% had viral studies done (IHR range 0.8-33%). PEP had higher usage of viral studies (30% vs 5.7%), whereas non-PEP had higher CXR usage (46.2% vs 23.4%). 41 of 66 PEP consented to receive their individual A&F reports (62%). In the facilitated feedback session PEP 1. identified two areas (bronchodilators and viral studies) where improvements could be made and 2. discussed specific strategies to decrease practice variation and minimize low value care including development of a multi-disciplinary care pathway, alignment with in-patient management, education and repeated A&F reports. Conclusion: Significant variability exists in management of patients with bronchiolitis across different hospitals in our zone. A facilitated feedback session identified areas for improvement and multi-disciplinary strategies to reduced low value care for patients with bronchiolitis. Future phases of this project include repeated data in 6 months and implementation of a provincial care pathway for the management of bronchiolitis.
As part of further investigations into three linked haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) cases in Wales and England, 21 rats from a breeding colony in Cherwell, and three rats from a household in Cheltenham were screened for hantavirus. Hantavirus RNA was detected in either the lungs and/or kidney of 17/21 (81%) of the Cherwell rats tested, higher than previously detected by blood testing alone (7/21, 33%), and in the kidneys of all three Cheltenham rats. The partial L gene sequences obtained from 10 of the Cherwell rats and the three Cheltenham rats were identical to each other and the previously reported UK Cherwell strain. Seoul hantavirus (SEOV) RNA was detected in the heart, kidney, lung, salivary gland and spleen (but not in the liver) of an individual rat from the Cherwell colony suspected of being the source of SEOV. Serum from 20/20 of the Cherwell rats and two associated HFRS cases had high levels of SEOV-specific antibodies (by virus neutralisation). The high prevalence of SEOV in both sites and the moderately severe disease in the pet rat owners suggest that SEOV in pet rats poses a greater public health risk than previously considered.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a debilitating disorder, characterized by obsessions and compulsions relating specifically to perceived appearance, and which has been newly classified within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders grouping. Until now, little research has been conducted into the cognitive profile of this disorder.
Participants with BDD (n=12) and participants without BDD (n=16) were tested using a computerized neurocognitive battery investigating attentional set-shifting (Intra/Extra Dimensional Set Shift Task), decision-making (Cambridge Gamble Task), motor response-inhibition (Stop-Signal Reaction Time Task), and affective processing (Affective Go-No Go Task). The groups were matched for age, IQ, and education.
In comparison to controls, patients with BDD showed significantly impaired attentional set-shifting, abnormal decision-making, impaired response inhibition, and greater omission and commission errors on the emotional processing task.
Despite the modest sample size, our results showed that individuals with BDD performed poorly compared to healthy controls on tests of cognitive flexibility, reward and motor impulsivity, and affective processing. Results from separate studies in OCD patients suggest similar cognitive dysfunction. Therefore, these findings are consistent with the reclassification of BDD alongside OCD. These data also hint at additional areas of decision-making abnormalities that might contribute specifically to the psychopathology of BDD.
Sleep curtailment is common in the Westernised world and coincides with an increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This review considers the recently published evidence for whether sleep duration is involved in the development of T2DM in human subjects and whether sleep has a role to play in glucose control in people who have diabetes. Data from large, prospective studies indicate a U-shaped relationship between sleep duration and the development of T2DM. Smaller, cross-sectional studies also support a relationship between short sleep duration and the development of both insulin resistance and T2DM. Intervention studies show that sleep restriction leads to insulin resistance, with recent sleep extension studies offering tantalising data showing a potential benefit of sleep extension on glucose control and insulin sensitivity. In people with established diabetes the published literature shows an association between poor glucose control and both short and long sleep durations. However, there are currently no studies that determine the causal direction of this relationship, nor whether sleep interventions are likely to offer benefit for people with diabetes to help them achieve tighter glucose control.
Iodine-129 is a high-yield fission product formed in nuclear reactors and is a risk-driving radionuclide in both contaminated land and radioactive waste disposal due to its high mobility and long half-life. Here, the bioreduction behaviour of iodate was investigated by tracking iodine speciation and concentration in solution during the development of progressive anoxia in sediment microcosm experiments incubated at neutral pH. Experiments with acetate added as an electron donor showed the expected cascade of terminal electron-accepting processes. Analysis of solution chemistry showed reduction of iodate to iodide during the early stages of metal (Mn(IV) and Fe(III)) reduction, but with no significant retention of iodine species on solids. There was, however, a net release of natural iodine associated with the sediments to solution when robust iron reduction / sulfate reduction had developed. In addition, over 210 days, the controls with no electron donor and the sterile controls showed no Mn(IV) or Fe(III) reduction but displayed modest sorption of iodate to the sediments in the absence of bioreduction. Overall these results show that under oxic conditions iodate may be partially sorbed to sediments over extended periods but that development of mildly reducing conditions leads to the reductive release of iodine to solution as iodide.
Neptunium-237 will be present in radioactive wastes over extended time periods due to its long half-life (2.13 × 106 years). Understanding its behaviour under conditions relevant to radioactive waste disposal is therefore of particular importance. Here, microcosm experiments were established using sediments from a legacy lime workings with high-pH conditions as an analogue of cementitious intermediate-level radioactive waste disposal. To probe the influence of Fe biogeochemistry on Np(V) in these systems, additional Fe(III) (as ferrihydrite) was added to select experiments. Biogeochemical changes were tracked in experiments with low levels of Np(V) (20 Bq ml–1; 3.3 μM), whilst parallel higher concentration systems (2.5 KBq ml–1; 414 μM) allowed X-ray absorption spectroscopy. As expected, microbial reduction processes developed in microbially-active systems with an initial pH of 10; however, during microbial incubations the pH dropped from 10 to ∼7, reflecting the high levels of microbial metabolism occurring in these systems. In microbially-active systems without added Fe(III), 90% sorption of Np(V) occurred within one hour with essentially complete removal by one day. In the ferrihydrite-amended systems, complete sorption of Np(V) to ferrihydrite occurred within one hour. For higher-activity sediments, X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) at end points where Fe(II) ingrowth was observed confirmed that complete reductive precipitation of Np(V) to Np(IV) had occurred under similar conditions to low-level Np experiments. Finally, pre-reduced, Fe(III)-reducing sediments, with and without added Fe(III) and held at pH 10, were spiked with Np(V). These alkaline pre-reduced sediments showed significant removal of Np to sediments, and XAS confirmed partial reduction to Np(IV) with the no Fe system, and essentially complete reduction to Np(IV) in the Fe(III)-enriched systems. This suggested an indirect, Fe(II)-mediated pathway for Np(V) reduction under alkaline conditions. Microbial analyses using 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing suggested a role for alkali-tolerant, Gram-positive Firmicutes in coupled Fe(III) reduction and Np immobilization in these experiments.
In the United States alone, ∼14,000 children are hospitalised annually with acute heart failure. The science and art of caring for these patients continues to evolve. The International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was held on February 4 and 5, 2015. The 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was funded through the Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program Endowment, a philanthropic collaboration between All Children’s Hospital and the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida (USF). Sponsored by All Children’s Hospital Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program, the International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit assembled leaders in clinical and scientific disciplines related to paediatric heart failure and created a multi-disciplinary “think-tank”. The purpose of this manuscript is to summarise the lessons from the 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute, to describe the “state of the art” of the treatment of paediatric cardiac failure, and to discuss future directions for research in the domain of paediatric cardiac failure.
Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is characterized by perfectionism, need for control, and cognitive rigidity. Currently, little neuropsychological data exist on this condition, though emerging evidence does suggest that disorders marked by compulsivity, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), are associated with impairment in cognitive flexibility and executive planning on neurocognitive tasks.
The current study investigated the neurocognitive profile in a nonclinical community-based sample of people fulfilling diagnostic criteria for OCPD in the absence of major psychiatric comorbidity.
Twenty-one nonclinical subjects who fulfilled Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria for OCPD were compared with 15 healthy controls on selected clinical and neurocognitive tasks. OCPD was measured using the Compulsive Personality Assessment Scale (CPAS). Participants completed tests from the Cambridge Automated Neuropsychological Test Battery including tests of set shifting (Intra-Extra Dimensional [IED] Set Shifting) executive planning (Stockings of Cambridge [SOC]), and decision making (Cambridge Gamble Task [CGT]).
The OCPD group made significantly more IED-ED shift errors and total shift errors, and also showed longer mean initial thinking time on the SOC at moderate levels of difficulty. No differences emerged on the CGT.
Nonclinical cases of OCPD showed significant cognitive inflexibility coupled with executive planning deficits, whereas decision-making remained intact. This profile of impairment overlaps with that of OCD and implies that common neuropsychological changes affect individuals with these disorders.