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Prospectively acquired Canadian cerebrospinal fluid samples were used to assess the performance characteristics of three ante-mortem tests commonly used to support diagnoses of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. The utility of the end-point quaking-induced conversion assay as a test for Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease diagnoses was compared to that of immunoassays designed to detect increased amounts of the surrogate markers 14-3-3γ and hTau. The positive predictive values of the end-point quaking-induced conversion, 14-3-3γ, and hTau tests conducted at the Prion Diseases Section of the Public Health Agency of Canada were 96%, 68%, and 66%, respectively.
Coronavirus disease 2019 personal protective equipment has been reported to affect communication in healthcare settings. This study sought to identify those challenges experimentally.
Bamford–Kowal–Bench speech discrimination in noise performance of healthcare workers was tested under simulated background noise conditions from a variety of hospital environments. Candidates were assessed for ability to interpret speech with and without personal protective equipment, with both normal speech and raised voice.
There was a significant difference in speech discrimination scores between normal and personal protective equipment wearing subjects in operating theatre simulated background noise levels (70 dB).
Wearing personal protective equipment can impact communication in healthcare environments. Efforts should be made to remind staff about this burden and to seek alternative communication paradigms, particularly in operating theatre environments.
Introduction: CAEP recently developed the acute atrial fibrillation (AF) and flutter (AFL) [AAFF] Best Practices Checklist to promote optimal care and guidance on cardioversion and rapid discharge of patients with AAFF. We sought to assess the impact of implementing the Checklist into large Canadian EDs. Methods: We conducted a pragmatic stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial in 11 large Canadian ED sites in five provinces, over 14 months. All hospitals started in the control period (usual care), and then crossed over to the intervention period in random sequence, one hospital per month. We enrolled consecutive, stable patients presenting with AAFF, where symptoms required ED management. Our intervention was informed by qualitative stakeholder interviews to identify perceived barriers and enablers for rapid discharge of AAFF patients. The many interventions included local champions, presentation of the Checklist to physicians in group sessions, an online training module, a smartphone app, and targeted audit and feedback. The primary outcome was length of stay in ED in minutes from time of arrival to time of disposition, and this was analyzed at the individual patient-level using linear mixed effects regression accounting for the stepped-wedge design. We estimated a sample size of 800 patients. Results: We enrolled 844 patients with none lost to follow-up. Those in the control (N = 316) and intervention periods (N = 528) were similar for all characteristics including mean age (61.2 vs 64.2 yrs), duration of AAFF (8.1 vs 7.7 hrs), AF (88.6% vs 82.9%), AFL (11.4% vs 17.1%), and mean initial heart rate (119.6 vs 119.9 bpm). Median lengths of stay for the control and intervention periods respectively were 413.0 vs. 354.0 minutes (P < 0.001). Comparing control to intervention, there was an increase in: use of antiarrhythmic drugs (37.4% vs 47.4%; P < 0.01), electrical cardioversion (45.1% vs 56.8%; P < 0.01), and discharge in sinus rhythm (75.3% vs. 86.7%; P < 0.001). There was a decrease in ED consultations to cardiology and medicine (49.7% vs 41.1%; P < 0.01), but a small but insignificant increase in anticoagulant prescriptions (39.6% vs 46.5%; P = 0.21). Conclusion: This multicenter implementation of the CAEP Best Practices Checklist led to a significant decrease in ED length of stay along with more ED cardioversions, fewer ED consultations, and more discharges in sinus rhythm. Widespread and rigorous adoption of the CAEP Checklist should lead to improved care of AAFF patients in all Canadian EDs.
The uncertainty surrounding high intakes of folic acid and associations with cognitive decline in older adults with low vitamin B12 status has been an obstacle to mandatory folic acid fortification for many years. We estimated the prevalence of combinations of low/normal/high vitamin B12 and folate status and compared associations with global cognitive function using two approaches, of individuals in a population-based study of those aged ≥50 years in the Republic of Ireland. Cross-sectional data from 3781 men and women from Wave 1 of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing were analysed. Global cognitive function was assessed by the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Prevalence estimates for combinations of vitamin B12 (plasma vitamin B12 < or ≥258 pmol/l) and folate (plasma folate ≤ or >45·3 nmol/l) concentrations were generated. Negative binomial regression models were used to investigate the associations of vitamin B12 and folate status with global cognitive function. Of the participants, 1·5 % (n 51) had low vitamin B12 (<258 pmol/l) and high folate (>45·3 nmol/l) status. Global cognitive performance was not significantly reduced in these individuals when compared with those with normal status for both B-vitamins (n 2433). Those with normal vitamin B12/high folate status (7·6 %) had better cognitive performance (MMSE: incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0·82, 95 % CI 0·68, 0·99; P = 0·043, MoCA: IRR 0·89, 95 % CI 0·80, 0·99; P = 0·025). We demonstrated that high folate status was not associated with lower cognitive scores in older adults with low vitamin B12 status. These findings provide important safety information that could guide fortification policy recommendations in Europe.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is associated with impaired psychosocial behaviours. Little is known about deficits in neurocognitive functions like decision-making possibly related both to these behaviours and to the nature of the disorder.
To determine whether decision-making impairments exist in manic (M), depressed (D) and euthymic (E) bipolar patients (BP) and to determine whether illness and course-of-illness characteristics can predict participants’ performance
A power analysis was conducted. A total of 315 subjects, including 45 M and 32 D inpatients and 90 E outpatients with BD I, medicated, and 150 Healthy Controls (HC), age, IQ and gender-matched, were included. Decision-making ability and sensitivity to punishment frequency were assessed with the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT).
On the IGT, MBP (p< 0.001), DBP (p< 0.01) and EBP (p< 0.05) selected significantly more cards from the risky decks than HC with no significant differences between BP groups. Unlike HC, MBP (p< 0.001), DBP (p< 0.05) and EBP (p< 0.05) showed little capacity to learn from incurred losses with no significant differences between BP groups, but, like HC, BP preferred decks that yielded infrequent penalties over those decks that yielded frequent penalties. In a multivariate analysis, decision-making impairment in the BP was significantly (p=0.001) predicted by low level of education, high total number of admissions and family history of BD.
BP clearly show defects in decision-making predicted by course-of-illness illness characteristics. Impaired decision-making might be a trait-related neurocognitive deficit in BD and partly explain impaired psychosocial behaviours of BP.
Previous research in clinical, community, and school settings has demonstrated positive outcomes for the Secret Agent Society (SAS) social skills training program. This is designed to help children on the autism spectrum become more aware of emotions in themselves and others and to ‘problem-solve’ complex social scenarios. Parents play a key role in the implementation of the SAS program, attending information and support sessions with other parents and providing supervision, rewards, and feedback as their children complete weekly ‘home mission’ assignments. Drawing on data from a school-based evaluation of the SAS program, we examined whether parents’ engagement with these elements of the intervention was linked to the quality of their children’s participation and performance. Sixty-eight 8–14-year-olds (M age = 10.7) with a diagnosis of autism participated in the program. The findings indicated that ratings of parental engagement were positively correlated with children’s competence in completing home missions and with the quality of their contribution during group teaching sessions. However, there was a less consistent relationship between parental engagement and measures of children’s social and emotional skill gains over the course of the program.
Cognitive impairment associated with lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD) is well-supported by meta-analytic studies, but population-based estimates remain scarce. Previous UK Biobank studies have only shown limited evidence of cognitive differences related to probable MDD. Using updated cognitive and clinical assessments in UK Biobank, this study investigated population-level differences in cognitive functioning associated with lifetime MDD.
Associations between lifetime MDD and cognition (performance on six tasks and general cognitive functioning [g-factor]) were investigated in UK Biobank (N-range 7,457–14,836, age 45–81 years, 52% female), adjusting for demographics, education, and lifestyle. Lifetime MDD classifications were based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Within the lifetime MDD group, we additionally investigated relationships between cognition and (a) recurrence, (b) current symptoms, (c) severity of psychosocial impairment (while symptomatic), and (d) concurrent psychotropic medication use.
Lifetime MDD was robustly associated with a lower g-factor (β = −0.10, PFDR = 4.7 × 10−5), with impairments in attention, processing speed, and executive functioning (β ≥ 0.06). Clinical characteristics revealed differential profiles of cognitive impairment among case individuals; those who reported severe psychosocial impairment and use of psychotropic medication performed worse on cognitive tests. Severe psychosocial impairment and reasoning showed the strongest association (β = −0.18, PFDR = 7.5 × 10−5).
Findings describe small but robust associations between lifetime MDD and lower cognitive performance within a population-based sample. Overall effects were of modest effect size, suggesting limited clinical relevance. However, deficits within specific cognitive domains were more pronounced in relation to clinical characteristics, particularly severe psychosocial impairment.
Remote delivery of evidence-based psychological therapies via video conference has become particularly relevant following the COVID-19 pandemic, and is likely to be an on-going method of treatment delivery post-COVID. Remotely delivered therapy could be of particular benefit for people with social anxiety disorder (SAD), who tend to avoid or delay seeking face-to-face therapy, often due to anxiety about travelling to appointments and meeting mental health professionals in person. Individual cognitive therapy for SAD (CT-SAD), based on the Clark and Wells (1995) model, is a highly effective treatment that is recommended as a first-line intervention in NICE guidance (NICE, 2013). All of the key features of face-to-face CT-SAD (including video feedback, attention training, behavioural experiments and memory-focused techniques) can be adapted for remote delivery. In this paper, we provide guidance for clinicians on how to deliver CT-SAD remotely, and suggest novel ways for therapists and patients to overcome the challenges of carrying out a range of behavioural experiments during remote treatment delivery.
Key learning aims
(1) To learn how to deliver all of the core interventions of CT-SAD remotely.
(2) To learn novel ways of carrying out behavioural experiments remotely when some in-person social situations might not be possible.
A developing application of laser-driven currents is the generation of magnetic fields of picosecond–nanosecond duration with magnitudes exceeding
. Single-loop and helical coil targets can direct laser-driven discharge currents along wires to generate spatially uniform, quasi-static magnetic fields on the millimetre scale. Here, we present proton deflectometry across two axes of a single-loop coil ranging from 1 to 2 mm in diameter. Comparison with proton tracking simulations shows that measured magnetic fields are the result of kiloampere currents in the coil and electric charges distributed around the coil target. Using this dual-axis platform for proton deflectometry, robust measurements can be made of the evolution of magnetic fields in a capacitor coil target.
Additional crystallographic data are given for the recently reported mineral middlebackite, which has been described for discoveries at Iron Knob in South Australia and Passo di San Lugano near Trento, Italy. The material examined in the present study was from a third finding of the mineral, viz. from a quartz outcrop at Mooloo Downs Station in Western Australia within which it was co-located with the chemically- and structurally-related mineral moolooite, CuIIC2O4·nH2O, reported by Clarke and Williams (1986). In this study, the crystal structure was elucidated independently of the other studies using a combination of the a priori charge flipping and simulated annealing methods with synchrotron radiation diffraction (SRD) powder data. The principal crystal data for the Mooloo Downs material are: space group P21/c with lattice parameters a = 7.2659(18) Å, b = 5.7460(11) Å, c = 5.6806(11) Å, β = 104.588(3)°; Vc = 229.46(18) Å3; empirical formula CuII2C2O4(OH)2 with 2 formula units per unit cell; and calculated density = 3.605 g cm−3. The lattice parameters agree approximately with values given for the other studies, but not within the reported error estimates. The atom coordinates, interatomic distances, and angles for the Mooloo Downs material are compared with those from the other studies using single crystal data, with the values from all three studies agreeing approximately, but again not within the reported uncertainties. The crystal chemistry found for middlebackite received strong confirmation through the synthesis for the first time of di-copper oxalate di-hydroxide. Laboratory X-ray diffraction powder data for the synthetic form of the mineral from this study agree closely with the SRD data for the natural mineral.
Substantial clinical heterogeneity of major depressive disorder (MDD) suggests it may group together individuals with diverse aetiologies. Identifying distinct subtypes should lead to more effective diagnosis and treatment, while providing more useful targets for further research. Genetic and clinical overlap between MDD and schizophrenia (SCZ) suggests an MDD subtype may share underlying mechanisms with SCZ.
The present study investigated whether a neurobiologically distinct subtype of MDD could be identified by SCZ polygenic risk score (PRS). We explored interactive effects between SCZ PRS and MDD case/control status on a range of cortical, subcortical and white matter metrics among 2370 male and 2574 female UK Biobank participants.
There was a significant SCZ PRS by MDD interaction for rostral anterior cingulate cortex (RACC) thickness (β = 0.191, q = 0.043). This was driven by a positive association between SCZ PRS and RACC thickness among MDD cases (β = 0.098, p = 0.026), compared to a negative association among controls (β = −0.087, p = 0.002). MDD cases with low SCZ PRS showed thinner RACC, although the opposite difference for high-SCZ-PRS cases was not significant. There were nominal interactions for other brain metrics, but none remained significant after correcting for multiple comparisons.
Our significant results indicate that MDD case-control differences in RACC thickness vary as a function of SCZ PRS. Although this was not the case for most other brain measures assessed, our specific findings still provide some further evidence that MDD in the presence of high genetic risk for SCZ is subtly neurobiologically distinct from MDD in general.
The diurnal feeding patterns of dairy cows affects the 24 h robot utilisation of pasture-based automatic milking systems (AMS). A decline in robot utilisation between 2400 and 0600 h currently occurs in pasture-based AMS, as cow feeding activity is greatly reduced during this time. Here, we investigate the effect of a temporal variation in feed quality and quantity on cow feeding behaviour between 2400 and 0600 h as a potential tool to increase voluntary cow trafficking in an AMS at night. The day was allocated into four equal feeding periods (0600 to 1200, 1200 to 1800, 1800 to 2400 and 2400 to 0600 h). Lucerne hay cubes (CP = 19.1%, water soluble carbohydrate = 3.8%) and oat, ryegrass and clover hay cubes with 20% molasses (CP = 11.8%, water soluble carbohydrate = 10.7%) were offered as the ‘standard’ and ‘preferred’ (preference determined previously) feed types, respectively. The four treatments were (1) standard feed offered ad libitum (AL) throughout 24 h; (2) as per AL, with preferred feed replacing standard feed between 2400 and 0600 h (AL + P); (3) standard feed offered at a restricted rate, with quantity varying between each feeding period (20:10:30:60%, respectively) as a proportion of the (previously) measured daily ad libitum intake (VA); (4) as per VA, with preferred feed replacing standard feed between 2400 and 0600 h (VA + P). Eight non-lactating dairy cows were used in a 4 × 4 Latin square design. During each experimental period, treatment cows were fed for 7 days, including 3 days habituation and 4 days data collection. Total daily intake was approximately 8% greater (P < 0.001) for the AL and AL + P treatments (23.1 and 22.9 kg DM/cow) as compared with the VA and VA + P treatments (21.6 and 20.9 kg DM/cow). The AL + P and VA treatments had 21% and 90% greater (P < 0.001) dry matter intake (DMI) between 2400 and 0600 h, respectively, compared with the AL treatment. In contrast, the VA + P treatment had similar DMI to the VA treatment. Our experiment shows ability to increase cow feeding activity at night by varying feed type and quantity, though it is possible that a penalty to total DMI may occur using VA. Further research is required to determine if the implementation of variable feed allocation on pasture-based AMS farms is likely to improve milking robot utilisation by increasing cow feeding activity at night.
Observation of the ion source generated background has been an area of focus during our routine analytical work. It is noted that the results of very-low-ratio samples are dependent upon the particular procedures for measurement using the present-day Cs+ sputter ion sources. When measured without excessive Cs+ fluxes and without interleafing with other higher-ratio samples and references, the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) sensitivity can be somewhat improved. In some cases, it appears possible to assess old radiocarbon (14C) samples to beyond the long-standing 60 kyr limit. A number of observational studies are made for the sole purpose of minimizing the final contamination to the rare isotopes that is generated within the ion source.
Introduction: Hypotension is known to be associated with increased mortality in severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) of <90 mmHg is the threshold for hypotension in consensus TBI treatment guidelines; however, evidence suggests hypotension should be defined at higher levels for these patients. Our objective was to determine the influence of hypotension on mortality in TBI patients requiring ICU admission using different thresholds of SBP on arrival at the emergency department (ED). Methods: Retrospective cohort study of patients with severe TBI (Abbreviated Injury Scale Head score ≥3) admitted to ICU at the QEII Health Sciences Centre (Halifax, Canada) between 2002 and 2013. Patients were grouped by SBP on ED arrival ( <90 mmHg, <100 mmHg, <110 mmHg). We performed multiple logistic regression analysis with mortality as the dependent variable. Models were adjusted for confounders including age, gender, Injury Severity Score (ISS), injury mechanism, and trauma team activation (TTA). Results: A total of 1233 patients sustained a severe TBI and were admitted to the ICU during the study period. The mean age was 43.4 ± 23.9 years and most patients were male (919/1233; 74.5%). The most common mechanism of injury was motor vehicle collision (491/1233; 41.2%) followed by falls (427/1233; 35.8%). Mean length of stay in the ICU was 6.1 ± 6.4 days, and the overall mortality rate was 22.7%. SBP on arrival was available for 1182 patients. The <90 mmHg group had 4.6% (54/1182) of these patients; mean ISS was 20.6 ± 7.8 and mortality was 40.7% (22/54). The <100 mmHg had 9.3% (110/1182) of patients; mean ISS was 19.3 ± 7.9 and mortality was 34.5% (38/110). The <110 mmHg group had 16.8% (198/1182) of patients; mean ISS was 17.9 ± 8.0 and mortality was 28.8% (57/198). After adjusting for confounders, the association between hypotension and mortality was 2.22 (95% CI 1.19-4.16) using a <90 mmHg cutoff, 1.79 (95% CI 1.12-2.86) using a <100 mmHg cutoff, and 1.50 (95% CI 1.02-2.21) using a <110 mmHg cutoff. Conclusion: While we found that TBI patients with a SBP <90 mmHg were over 2 times more likely to die, patients with an SBP <110 mmHg on ED arrival were still 1.5 times more likely to die from their injuries compared to patients without hypotension. These results suggest that establishing a higher threshold for clinically meaningful hypotension in TBI patients is warranted.
Despite established clinical associations among major depression (MD), alcohol dependence (AD), and alcohol consumption (AC), the nature of the causal relationship between them is not completely understood. We leveraged genome-wide data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and UK Biobank to test for the presence of shared genetic mechanisms and causal relationships among MD, AD, and AC.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression and Mendelian randomization (MR) were performed using genome-wide data from the PGC (MD: 135 458 cases and 344 901 controls; AD: 10 206 cases and 28 480 controls) and UK Biobank (AC-frequency: 438 308 individuals; AC-quantity: 307 098 individuals).
Positive genetic correlation was observed between MD and AD (rgMD−AD = + 0.47, P = 6.6 × 10−10). AC-quantity showed positive genetic correlation with both AD (rgAD−AC quantity = + 0.75, P = 1.8 × 10−14) and MD (rgMD−AC quantity = + 0.14, P = 2.9 × 10−7), while there was negative correlation of AC-frequency with MD (rgMD−AC frequency = −0.17, P = 1.5 × 10−10) and a non-significant result with AD. MR analyses confirmed the presence of pleiotropy among these four traits. However, the MD-AD results reflect a mediated-pleiotropy mechanism (i.e. causal relationship) with an effect of MD on AD (beta = 0.28, P = 1.29 × 10−6). There was no evidence for reverse causation.
This study supports a causal role for genetic liability of MD on AD based on genetic datasets including thousands of individuals. Understanding mechanisms underlying MD-AD comorbidity addresses important public health concerns and has the potential to facilitate prevention and intervention efforts.
There is international interest in the training of psychological therapists to deliver evidence-based treatment for common mental health problems. The UK Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, one of the largest training initiatives, relies on competent therapists to successfully deliver cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and promote good patient outcome.
To evaluate an IAPT CBT training course by assessing if trainees’ clinical skills improve during training and reach competency standards, and to report patient outcome for submitted training cases. To investigate a possible relationship between trainee competence and patient outcome. To explore professional differences during training.
CBT trainee (n = 252) competence was assessed via audio recordings of therapy sessions at the beginning, middle and end of training. Patient pre- to post-treatment outcomes were extracted from submitted training cases (n = 1927). Differences in professional background were examined across competence, academic final grade and tutorial support.
CBT trainees attained competence by the end of the course with 77% (anxiety recordings) and 72% (depression recordings) improving reliably. Training cases reported pre- to post-treatment effect sizes of 1.08–2.26 across disorders. CBT competence predicted a small variance in clinical outcome for depression cases. Differences in professional background emerged, with clinical psychologists demonstrating greater competence and higher academic grades. Trainees without a core professional background required more additional support to achieve competence.
Part of a new CBT therapist workforce was successfully trained to deliver relatively brief treatment effectively. Trainees without a core profession can be successfully trained to competence, but may need additional support. This has implications for workforce training.
The orthorhombic mineral moolooite, CuC2O4. nH2O, described by Clarke and Williams (1986) using Debye-Scherrer photographic data, has a fully-disordered stacking fault (FDSF) structure. Related monoclinic models have been reported for various synthesised samples based on Schmittler (1968). In the present study, synchrotron radiation diffraction data for moolooite and synthesised specimens have been examined with particular reference to crystallographic disorder. The moolooite data correspond to space group Pnnm, with a = 5.3064(2), b = 5.6804(2), c = 2.5630(1) Å; Vc = 77.26(1) Å3; and Z = 1; and the FDSF structure along the b-direction has been confirmed. The synthetic specimen data from the study indicate partial ordering, with space group P21/n; and the cell parameters for one specimen being a = 5.957(7), b = 5.611(5), c = 5.133(7) Å; β = 115.16(2)°; Vc = 155.27 Å3 and Z = 2. The level of zeolitic water in the materials has been considered using the approach of Schmittler based on thermogravimetry and pycnometry. The new data for natural topotype material correspond to CuC2O4.1.0H2O. It is postulated that the level of water for natural and synthetic specimens may be attributed to the conditions under which the material forms.
Laser–solid interactions are highly suited as a potential source of high energy X-rays for nondestructive imaging. A bright, energetic X-ray pulse can be driven from a small source, making it ideal for high resolution X-ray radiography. By limiting the lateral dimensions of the target we are able to confine the region over which X-rays are produced, enabling imaging with enhanced resolution and contrast. Using constrained targets we demonstrate experimentally a
X-ray source, improving the image quality compared to unconstrained foil targets. Modelling demonstrates that a larger sheath field envelope around the perimeter of the constrained targets increases the proportion of electron current that recirculates through the target, driving a brighter source of X-rays.
Culture-based studies, which focus on individual organisms, have implicated stethoscopes as potential vectors of nosocomial bacterial transmission. However, the full bacterial communities that contaminate in-use stethoscopes have not been investigated.
We used bacterial 16S rRNA gene deep-sequencing, analysis, and quantification to profile entire bacterial populations on stethoscopes in use in an intensive care unit (ICU), including practitioner stethoscopes, individual-use patient-room stethoscopes, and clean unused individual-use stethoscopes. Two additional sets of practitioner stethoscopes were sampled before and after cleaning using standardized or practitioner-preferred methods.
Bacterial contamination levels were highest on practitioner stethoscopes, followed by patient-room stethoscopes, whereas clean stethoscopes were indistinguishable from background controls. Bacterial communities on stethoscopes were complex, and community analysis by weighted UniFrac showed that physician and patient-room stethoscopes were indistinguishable and significantly different from clean stethoscopes and background controls. Genera relevant to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) were common on practitioner stethoscopes, among which Staphylococcus was ubiquitous and had the highest relative abundance (6.8%–14% of contaminating bacterial sequences). Other HAI-related genera were also widespread although lower in abundance. Cleaning of practitioner stethoscopes resulted in a significant reduction in bacterial contamination levels, but these levels reached those of clean stethoscopes in only a few cases with either standardized or practitioner-preferred methods, and bacterial community composition did not significantly change.
Stethoscopes used in an ICU carry bacterial DNA reflecting complex microbial communities that include nosocomially important taxa. Commonly used cleaning practices reduce contamination but are only partially successful at modifying or eliminating these communities.