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Sub-clinical mastitis (SCM) affects milk composition. In this study, we hypothesise that large-scale mining of milk composition features by pattern recognition models can identify the best predictors of SCM within the milk composition features. To this end, using data mining algorithms, we conducted a large-scale and longitudinal study to evaluate the ability of various milk production parameters as indicators of SCM. SCM is the most prevalent disease of dairy cattle, causing substantial economic loss for the dairy industry. Developing new techniques to diagnose SCM in its early stages improves herd health and is of great importance. Test-day Somatic Cell Count (SCC) is the most common indicator of SCM and the primary mastitis surveillance approach worldwide. However, test-day SCC fluctuates widely between days, causing major concerns for its reliability. Consequently, there would be great benefit to identifying additional efficient indicators from large-scale and longitudinal studies. With this intent, data was collected at every milking (twice per day) for a period of 2 months from a single farm using in-line electronic equipment (346 248 records in total). The following data were analysed: milk volume, protein concentration, lactose concentration, electrical conductivity (EC), milking time and peak flow. Three SCC cut-offs were used to estimate the prevalence of SCM: Australian ≥ 250 000 cells/ml, European ≥200 000 cells/ml and New Zealand ≥ 150 000 cells/ml. At first, 10 different Attribute Weighting Algorithms (AWM) were applied to the data. In the absence of SCC, lactose concentration featured as the most important variable, followed by EC. For the first time, using attribute weighted modelling, we showed that the concentration of lactose in milk can be used as a strong indicator of SCM. The development of machine-learning expert systems using two or more milk variables (such as lactose concentration and EC) may produce a predictive pattern for early SCM detection.
Introduction: With ongoing medical advances and an increase in elderly and complex patients presenting to the Emergency Department (ED), there is a requirement for nurses to continue to gain new knowledge and skills to provide optimal patient care. Quality initiatives are frequently introduced with the goal of improving patient safety and the effectiveness of care delivery; some being provincial, while others are new requirements from Accreditation Canada. We sought the perspectives of emergency nurses regarding the importance of key ED processes and standards, and their impact on patient care and nurse efficiency. Methods: All Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses throughout the Edmonton Zone EDs were invited to complete an online survey consisting of 23 statements on nursing attitudes (10 on nursing duties) and beliefs (11 on the importance of Accreditation standards and their impacts; two that involved selecting the 5 most important nursing activities). The survey was constructed through an iterative approach. Response options included a 7-point Likert scale (‘very strongly disagree’ to ‘very strongly agree’). Median scores and interquartile ranges were determined for each survey statement. Results: A total of 433/1241 (34.9%) surveys were submitted. Respondents were predominantly Registered Nurses (91.4%), female (88.9%), and worked 0-5 years overall in the ED (43.7%). Overall, respondents were favourable (‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’) towards the Accreditation Canada standards and other quality initiatives. They were, however, ‘neutral’ towards universal domestic violence screening, and whether there is a difference between Best Possible Medication History (BPMH) and med reconciliation. The top five nursing activities in terms of perceived importance were: vital sign documentation, recording of allergies, listening to patients’ concerns, hand hygiene, and obtaining a complete nursing history. Best Possible Medication History and the screening risk tools followed these. Conclusion: Despite their heavy workload, nurses strongly agreed on the importance of med reconciliation, falls risk, and skin care, but felt that improved documentation forms could support efficiency. Nursing perspective is valuable in informing future attempts to standardize, streamline, and simplify documentation, including the design and implementation of a provincial clinical information system.
A considerable body of evidence suggests that early caregiving may affect the short-term functioning and longer term development of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical axis. Despite this, most research to date has been cross-sectional in nature or restricted to relatively short-term longitudinal follow-ups. More important, there is a paucity of research on the role of caregiving in low- and middle-income countries, where the protective effects of high-quality care in buffering the child's developing stress regulation systems may be crucial. In this paper, we report findings from a longitudinal study (N = 232) conducted in an impoverished periurban settlement in Cape Town, South Africa. We measured caregiving sensitivity and security of attachment in infancy and followed children up at age 13 years, when we conducted assessments of hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenocortical axis reactivity, as indexed by salivary cortisol during the Trier Social Stress Test. The findings indicated that insecure attachment was predictive of reduced cortisol responses to social stress, particularly in boys, and that attachment status moderated the impact of contextual adversity on stress responses: secure children in highly adverse circumstances did not show the blunted cortisol response shown by their insecure counterparts. Some evidence was found that sensitivity of care in infancy was also associated with cortisol reactivity, but in this case, insensitivity was associated with heightened cortisol reactivity, and only for girls. The discussion focuses on the potentially important role of caregiving in the long-term calibration of the stress system and the need to better understand the social and biological mechanisms shaping the stress response across development in low- and middle-income countries.
Introduction / Innovation Concept: With aging, increasing complexity, and prolonged emergency department (ED) stays, patient falls are an increasing problem. Accreditation Canada recently listed falls risk management (FRM) as a required operational practice (ROP). The University of Alberta ED had no screening tool or education program specific to falls. Gaps in identifying patients with altered consciousness, intoxication, or are undergoing procedural sedation were noted in the Alberta Health Services (AHS) recommended tool. This gap led to the development piloting of an ED specific FRM screening tool. Methods: A literature review was completed to assess current fall assessment tools and their applicability to the ED. No ED specific tools were identified leading to the development of the FRM tool. Prior to the FRM tool being piloted, nursing staff were asked to respond to a voluntary survey on their perceived knowledge of falls management followed by a survey testing their actual knowledge. They were then educated on the FRM and protocol through in-services, power point presentations, and fact sheets. A post education knowledge survey was then sent out. Multidisciplinary working groups provided feedback throughout the pilot, resulting in modifications prior to final implementation. Curriculum, Tool, or Material: The FRM tool consists of 10 variables with a maximum score of 20. Variables included are: falls in the last 12 months? Mechanical (1), Physiological (2), Multiple (3); age ≥70 or frail (2); mobility assist device (1) confusion or disorientation (5); impaired gait (1); incontinence (1); intoxicated (3); procedural sedation (3); and unconscious (5). All except for the last 3 variables were adapted from inpatient risk tools. Patients were categorized as low (1-2 points), moderate (3-4 points), or high risk (5+ points) and those scoring ≥3 had a safety protocol implemented. The survey regarding perceived knowledge for management of falls led to an average score of 86.6% (n=46). When tested on their actual knowledge they scored 48.8% (n=29). Following training on the FRM tool and protocol, the actual knowledge of 18 respondents averaged 83%. Conclusion: The FRM screening tool has been implemented and a comparative study looking at ED risk predictability matched to existing falls risk scores. Based on research findings the FRM will be considered for a provincial implementation.
Introduction: Emergency Department (ED) fall risk screening has been newly implemented in Alberta based on Accreditation Canada requirements. Two existing inpatient tools failed to include certain ED risk conditions. One tool graded unconsciousness as no risk for falling, and neither considered intoxication or sedation. This led to the development of a new fall risk management screening tool, the FRM (Tool1). This study compared Tool1 with inpatient utilized Schmid Fall Risk Assessment Tool (Tool2) and the validated Hendrich II Fall Risk Model (Tool3). Methods: Patients (≥17 years old) in a tertiary care adult ED with any of the following; history of falling in the last 12 months, elderly/frail, incontinence, impaired gait, mobility assist device, confusion/disorientation, procedural sedation, intoxication/sedated, or unconscious were included. Forms were randomized to score patients using different paired screening tools: Tool1 paired with either Tool2 or Tool3. Percent agreement (PA) between the tools based on identification of a patient at either risk/no risk for falling; higher PA indicating more tool homogeneity. Results: A total of 928 screening forms were completed within our 8-week study period; 452 and 443 comparing Tool1 to Tool2 and Tool1 to Tool3, respectively. Thirty-two forms included only Tool1 scores, excluding them from comparative analysis. The average patient age (n=895) was 64.8±21.4 years. Tool1 identified 66.4% of patients at risk, whereas Tool2 and Tool3 identified only 19.2% and 31.4%, respectively. Tool1 and 2 had a PA of 50.2%, whereas Tool1 and Tool3 had a PA of 65.9%. Conclusion: The FRM tool had higher agreement with the validated assessment tool, identifying patients at risk for falling but better identified patients presenting with intoxication, need for procedural sedation and unconsciousness. The other tools generally miss these common ED conditions, putting these patients at risk. Validation and reliability assessments of the FRM tool are warranted.
There is limited evidence on the acceptability, feasibility and cost-effectiveness of task-sharing interventions to narrow the treatment gap for mental disorders in sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this article is to describe the rationale, aims and methods of the Africa Focus on Intervention Research for Mental health (AFFIRM) collaborative research hub. AFFIRM is investigating strategies for narrowing the treatment gap for mental disorders in sub-Saharan Africa in four areas. First, it is assessing the feasibility, acceptability and cost-effectiveness of task-sharing interventions by conducting randomised controlled trials in Ethiopia and South Africa. The AFFIRM Task-sharing for the Care of Severe mental disorders (TaSCS) trial in Ethiopia aims to determine the acceptability, affordability, effectiveness and sustainability of mental health care for people with severe mental disorder delivered by trained and supervised non-specialist, primary health care workers compared with an existing psychiatric nurse-led service. The AFFIRM trial in South Africa aims to determine the cost-effectiveness of a task-sharing counselling intervention for maternal depression, delivered by non-specialist community health workers, and to examine factors influencing the implementation of the intervention and future scale up. Second, AFFIRM is building individual and institutional capacity for intervention research in sub-Saharan Africa by providing fellowship and mentorship programmes for candidates in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Each year five Fellowships are awarded (one to each country) to attend the MPhil in Public Mental Health, a joint postgraduate programme at the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University. AFFIRM also offers short courses in intervention research, and supports PhD students attached to the trials in Ethiopia and South Africa. Third, AFFIRM is collaborating with other regional National Institute of Mental Health funded hubs in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, by designing and executing shared research projects related to task-sharing and narrowing the treatment gap. Finally, it is establishing a network of collaboration between researchers, non-governmental organisations and government agencies that facilitates the translation of research knowledge into policy and practice. This article describes the developmental process of this multi-site approach, and provides a narrative of challenges and opportunities that have arisen during the early phases. Crucial to the long-term sustainability of this work is the nurturing and sustaining of partnerships between African mental health researchers, policy makers, practitioners and international collaborators.