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In recent years, a variety of efforts have been made in political science to enable, encourage, or require scholars to be more open and explicit about the bases of their empirical claims and, in turn, make those claims more readily evaluable by others. While qualitative scholars have long taken an interest in making their research open, reflexive, and systematic, the recent push for overarching transparency norms and requirements has provoked serious concern within qualitative research communities and raised fundamental questions about the meaning, value, costs, and intellectual relevance of transparency for qualitative inquiry. In this Perspectives Reflection, we crystallize the central findings of a three-year deliberative process—the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD)—involving hundreds of political scientists in a broad discussion of these issues. Following an overview of the process and the key insights that emerged, we present summaries of the QTD Working Groups’ final reports. Drawing on a series of public, online conversations that unfolded at www.qualtd.net, the reports unpack transparency’s promise, practicalities, risks, and limitations in relation to different qualitative methodologies, forms of evidence, and research contexts. Taken as a whole, these reports—the full versions of which can be found in the Supplementary Materials—offer practical guidance to scholars designing and implementing qualitative research, and to editors, reviewers, and funders seeking to develop criteria of evaluation that are appropriate—as understood by relevant research communities—to the forms of inquiry being assessed. We dedicate this Reflection to the memory of our coauthor and QTD working group leader Kendra Koivu.1
Three holes were drilled to the bed of Rutford Ice Stream, through ice up to 2154 m thick, to investigate the basal processes and conditions associated with fast ice flow and the glacial history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. A narrative of the drilling, measuring and sampling activities, as well as some preliminary results and initial interpretations of subglacial conditions, is given. These were the deepest subglacial access holes ever drilled using the hot-water drilling method. Samples of bed and englacial sediments were recovered, and a number of instruments were installed in the ice column and the bed. The ice–bed interface was found to be unfrozen, with an existing, well-developed subglacial hydrological system at high pressure, within ~1% of the ice overburden. The bed itself comprises soft, water-saturated sediments, consistent with previous geophysical interpretations. Englacial sediment quantity varies significantly between two locations ~2 km apart, and possibly over even shorter (~20 m) distances. Difficulties and unusual observations encountered while connecting to the subglacial hydrological system in one hole possibly resulted from the presence of a large clast embedded in the bottom of the ice.
Sleep quantity and quality are associated with executive function (EF) in experimental studies, and in individuals with sleep disorders. With advancing age, sleep quantity and quality decline, as does the ability to perform EF tasks, suggesting that sleep disruption may contribute to age-related EF declines. This cross-sectional cohort study tested the hypothesis that poorer sleep quality (i.e., the frequency and duration of awakenings) and/or quantity may partly account for age-related EF deficits.
Community-dwelling older adults (N = 184) completed actigraphic sleep monitoring then a range of EF tasks. Two EF factors were extracted using exploratory structural equation modeling. Sleep variables did not mediate the relationship between age and EF factors. Post hoc moderated mediation analyses were conducted to test whether cognitive reserve compensates for sleep-related EF deficits, using years of education as a proxy measure of cognitive reserve.
We found a significant interaction between cognitive reserve and the number and frequency of awakenings, explaining a small (approximately 3%), but significant amount of variance in EF. Specifically, in individuals with fewer than 11 years of education, greater sleep disturbance was associated with poorer EF, but sleep did not impact EF in those with more education. There was no association between age and sleep quantity.
This study highlights the role of cognitive reserve in the sleep–EF relationship, suggesting individuals with greater cognitive reserve may be able to counter the impact of disturbed sleep on EF. Therefore, improving sleep may confer some protection against EF deficits in vulnerable older adults.
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.
Maintaining nutritional adequacy contributes to successful ageing. B vitamins involved in one-carbon metabolism regulation (folate, riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12) are critical nutrients contributing to homocysteine and epigenetic regulation. Although cross-sectional B vitamin intake in ageing populations is characterised, longitudinal changes are infrequently reported. This systematic review explores age-related changes in dietary adequacy of folate, riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12 in community-dwelling older adults (≥65 years at follow-up). Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, databases (MEDLINE, Embase, BIOSIS, CINAHL) were systematically screened, yielding 1579 records; eight studies were included (n 3119 participants, 2–25 years of follow-up). Quality assessment (modified Newcastle–Ottawa quality scale) rated all of moderate–high quality. The estimated average requirement cut-point method estimated the baseline and follow-up population prevalence of dietary inadequacy. Riboflavin (seven studies, n 1953) inadequacy progressively increased with age; the prevalence of inadequacy increased from baseline by up to 22·6 and 9·3 % in males and females, respectively. Dietary folate adequacy (three studies, n 2321) improved in two studies (by up to 22·4 %), but the third showed increasing (8·1 %) inadequacy. Evidence was similarly limited (two studies, respectively) and inconsistent for vitamins B6 (n 559; −9·9 to 47·9 %) and B12 (n 1410; −4·6 to 7·2 %). This review emphasises the scarcity of evidence regarding micronutrient intake changes with age, highlighting the demand for improved reporting of longitudinal changes in nutrient intake that can better direct micronutrient recommendations for older adults. This review was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42018104364).
Background: Surgical site infections (SSIs) among cardiothoracic (CT) patients are associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Data are limited regarding SSI incidence among pediatric patients undergoing primary reparative procedures for congenital cardiac disease. Published evidence on targeted interventions to prevent pediatric CT-surgery SSI is lacking. We aimed to establish standard metrics for measuring CT-surgery SSI incidence and to implement bundled interventions for SSI prevention. Methods: A dedicated CT-surgery SSI prevention workgroup was established, consisting of hospital leadership, CT surgeons, cardiac critical care unit staff, anesthesia, perfusion, environmental services, instrument sterile processing, risk management, infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship. We created a standard definition for CT-surgery SSI and calculated retrospective SSI rates over a 24-month period (2017–2019). The outcome measured was incidence of CT-surgery SSI per 100 primary cardiac procedures with delayed ( 3 days after primary surgery) or non-delayed chest closure. The difference in proportion of SSI was reported separately for delayed closure and non-delayed closure; statistical significance was tested using a Fisher’s Exact test. We identified many potential improvement opportunities, including gaps in SSI surveillance, poor compliance with daily bathing, inconsistent perioperative antimicrobial prophylaxis, lack of controlled environment for bedside chest closures, and lapses in environmental cleaning. These issues informed the enhanced SSI prevention bundle, which included education on sterility with the operating room (OR) staff. Protocols for care of cardiac patients with delayed chest closures focused on universal daily and preoperative chlorhexidine baths. In addition, the bundle incorporated stringent environmental cleaning interventions including scheduled decluttering of patient rooms and clinical spaces, terminal cleaning of patient rooms prior to returning from the OR, and use of adjunctive ultraviolet light for the daily cleaning of operating rooms and patient rooms at discharge. Results: Surveillance definition of microbiological growth from a clinical sample obtained within 30 days of primary cardiac procedure sufficiently captured all CT-surgery SSIs. Of 551 CT-surgery procedures prior to intervention, 91 (17%) had delayed final operative closures. Prior to the intervention, 16 SSIs were identified from July 2017 – May 2019 for a rate of 2.90 per /100 procedures, and was higher among patients with delayed chest closure 6.59 per /100 procedures (6 SSIs/91 procedures) versus those with primary chest closure 2.17 per /100 procedures (10 SSIs/460 procedures; P = 0.034). Gram-positive organisms, including coagulase coagulase-negative Staphylococci, were most frequently identified as the causative organisms for SSIs. Compliance with bundled intervention, rolled out over a 2-month period, was associated with an immediate decrease in the number of SSIs for primary and delayed chest closures 6SSIs /185 procedures in the initial quarters (August – December 2019) of the post-intervention period. However, this decrease was not reflected in the overall rate (3.24 per /100 procedures) due to fewer procedures performed. Data collection to measure sustainability is ongoing. Conclusions: Bundled interventions targeting skin antisepsis and environmental cleaning may be associated with a decrease in SSIs among pediatric CT-surgery patients. Ongoing surveillance is required to determine sustainability of these interventions.
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is a well-established cause of traveller's diarrhoea and occasional domestic foodborne illness outbreaks in the USA. Although ETEC are not detected by conventional stool culture methods used in clinical laboratories, syndromic culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs) capable of detecting ETEC have become increasingly prevalent in the last decade. This study describes the epidemiology of ETEC infections reported to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) during 2016–2017. ETEC-positive stool specimens were submitted to MDH to confirm the presence of ETEC DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Cases were interviewed to ascertain illness and exposures. Contemporaneous Salmonella cases were used as a comparison group in a case-case comparison analysis of risk factors. Of 222 ETEC-positive specimens received by MDH, 108 (49%) were concordant by PCR. ETEC was the sixth most frequently reported bacterial enteric pathogen among a subset of CIDT-positive specimens. Sixty-nine (64%) laboratory-confirmed cases had an additional pathogen codetected with ETEC, including enteroaggregative E. coli (n = 40) and enteropathogenic E. coli (n = 39). Although travel is a risk factor for ETEC infection, only 43% of cases travelled internationally, providing evidence for ETEC as an underestimated source of domestically acquired enteric illness in the USA.
A new high time resolution observing mode for the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is described, enabling full polarimetric observations with up to
MHz of bandwidth and a time resolution of
s. This mode makes use of a polyphase synthesis filter to ‘undo’ the polyphase analysis filter stage of the standard MWA’s Voltage Capture System observing mode. Sources of potential error in the reconstruction of the high time resolution data are identified and quantified, with the
loss induced by the back-to-back system not exceeding
dB for typical noise-dominated samples. The system is further verified by observing three pulsars with known structure on microsecond timescales.
To examine patterns of taxed and untaxed food and beverage shopping across store types after Mexico’s sugary drink and non-essential food taxes, the nutritional quality of these patterns and the socio-economic characteristics associated with them.
We performed k-means cluster analyses using households’ percentage of food and beverage purchases from each store type (i.e. convenience stores, traditional shops (e.g. bodegas, tiendas, mom-and-pop shops), supermarkets, wholesalers and others). We calculated adjusted mean proportions of taxed and untaxed products (ml or g/capita per d) purchased in each pattern. We studied the associations between households’ SES and shopping patterns using multinomial logistic regressions. Within shopping patterns, we obtained mean volumes and proportions of taxed and untaxed food and beverage subgroups and calculated the proportion of products purchased at each store type.
Urban Mexican households (n 5493) from the Nielsen Mexico Consumer Panel Survey 2015.
We found four beverage shopping patterns and three food shopping patterns, driven by the store type where most purchases were made. For beverages, 48 % of households were clustered in the Traditional pattern and purchased the highest proportion of taxed beverages. Low-SES households had the highest probability of clustering in the Traditional beverage shopping pattern. For foods, 35 % of households were clustered into the Supermarket pattern. High-SES households had the highest probability of clustering in the Supermarket food shopping pattern.
The combination of store types where Mexican households purchase packaged foods and beverages varies. However, households in all shopping patterns and SES purchase taxed beverages mainly at traditional stores. Store-level strategies should be developed to intervene on traditional stores to improve the healthfulness of purchases.
We implemented universal severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing of patients undergoing surgical procedures as a means to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE). The rate of asymptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was <0.5%, which suggests that early local public health interventions were successful. Although our protocol was resource intensive, it prevented exposures to healthcare team members.
Diet has a major influence on the composition and metabolic output of the gut microbiome. Higher-protein diets are often recommended for older consumers; however, the effect of high-protein diets on the gut microbiota and faecal volatile organic compounds (VOC) of elderly participants is unknown. The purpose of the study was to establish if the faecal microbiota composition and VOC in older men are different after a diet containing the recommended dietary intake (RDA) of protein compared with a diet containing twice the RDA (2RDA). Healthy males (74⋅2 (sd 3⋅6) years; n 28) were randomised to consume the RDA of protein (0⋅8 g protein/kg body weight per d) or 2RDA, for 10 weeks. Dietary protein was provided via whole foods rather than supplementation or fortification. The diets were matched for dietary fibre from fruit and vegetables. Faecal samples were collected pre- and post-intervention for microbiota profiling by 16S ribosomal RNA amplicon sequencing and VOC analysis by head space/solid-phase microextraction/GC-MS. After correcting for multiple comparisons, no significant differences in the abundance of faecal microbiota or VOC associated with protein fermentation were evident between the RDA and 2RDA diets. Therefore, in the present study, a twofold difference in dietary protein intake did not alter gut microbiota or VOC indicative of altered protein fermentation.
Implementation of genome-scale sequencing in clinical care has significant challenges: the technology is highly dimensional with many kinds of potential results, results interpretation and delivery require expertise and coordination across multiple medical specialties, clinical utility may be uncertain, and there may be broader familial or societal implications beyond the individual participant. Transdisciplinary consortia and collaborative team science are well poised to address these challenges. However, understanding the complex web of organizational, institutional, physical, environmental, technologic, and other political and societal factors that influence the effectiveness of consortia is understudied. We describe our experience working in the Clinical Sequencing Evidence-Generating Research (CSER) consortium, a multi-institutional translational genomics consortium.
A key aspect of the CSER consortium was the juxtaposition of site-specific measures with the need to identify consensus measures related to clinical utility and to create a core set of harmonized measures. During this harmonization process, we sought to minimize participant burden, accommodate project-specific choices, and use validated measures that allow data sharing.
Identifying platforms to ensure swift communication between teams and management of materials and data were essential to our harmonization efforts. Funding agencies can help consortia by clarifying key study design elements across projects during the proposal preparation phase and by providing a framework for data sharing data across participating projects.
In summary, time and resources must be devoted to developing and implementing collaborative practices as preparatory work at the beginning of project timelines to improve the effectiveness of research consortia.
IMPaCT is a five-year project funded by the Department of Health, UK. Running in the UK and now Sweden, the IMPACT Project aims to target the poor physical health and excessive substance use seen in people with SMI. There is evidence that behavioural interventions may be associated with an improvement in physical health and substance use in this population.
IMPaCT is a randomised controlled trial of a health promotion intervention which consists of a manualised modular approach to working with people with severe mental illness to empower them to improve their physical health and substance use habits. It consists of The Manual, The Reference Guide and The Better Health Handbook which make up a therapy package to support clients to become healthier.
The therapy is provided by care coordinators (mental health practitioners) over a 6–9 month period and combines Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with Motivational Interviewing (MI) principles. The aim is to work with clients to help them identify their own problem health behaviours, e.g. smoking, diet, exercise, drug and alcohol use. Realistic goals are set and revised with the client, and individual and group sessions are used to develop personal motivation to change. Information, workbooks and diaries are provided to record progress and give helpful hints, while meaningful alternative activities are introduced to replace problem health behaviours.
Against a backdrop of poor mental health education in UK schools a group of students from Norwich Medical School have formed a student society called ‘Headucate’ in order to create, deliver and evaluate an educational intervention for adolescents, initially to be delivered in Norfolk schools.
To create an educational intervention that:
Is the length of a standard lesson
Is age appropriate and acceptable
Contains appropriate signposting
Contains content that challenges common myths and replaces them with knowledge
Contains content that encourages empathy and understanding towards those with mental illnesses
Is easily delivered in the same way each time so that its effectiveness can be evaluated
To create an intervention effective at tackling stigma and empowering adolescents to recognise signs of poor mental health and access services appropriately.
Lesson plan created after consultation with psychiatrists, a psychologist, a GP, a university outreach professional, a teacher and secondary school age children, then trialled and revised.
Interactive workshop produced with 5 sections.
1) Myth vs Fact activity that dispels prevalent myths
2) Scenario based activity to demonstrate that mental health is a spectrum
3) An interactive presentation covering the most common mental illnesses and their symptoms
4) An activity focusing on talking to those with mental illnesses, furthering the scenario from the previous activity
5) A question and answer session. Every student leaves with a leaflet containing appropriate signposting.
We have created an educational intervention ready to be delivered and evaluated.
The increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome in people with severe mental illness (SMI) is well documented. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria for metabolic syndrome are three or more of the following: waist circumference ( 80 cm (females), (94 cm (males) OR BMI (30, triglycerides >1.7 mmol/l or on treatment, raised blood pressure (systolic >130 mg Hg or diastolic >85 mm Hg, OR on treatment for hypertension), raised fasting blood glucose (.5.6 mmol/l) OR diagnosed type II diabetes) and reduced HDL cholesterol (< 1.03 mmol/l) OR on treatment.
The IMPACT RCT is a Department of Health funded trial of a health promotion intervention (HPI) delivered by care co-ordinators to people with SMI across South London, Kent and Sussex. The intervention is focussed on improving health by addressing modifiable lifestyle factors such as diet, physical activity, obesity, cigarette smoking, alcohol and substance use.
We investigated the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in a sample of 212 patients for whom we had relevant baseline measures.
Data (weight, BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose levels) were analysed on 212 patients.
45% of the sample met IDF criteria for metabolic syndrome. Mean BMI was 30.6, glucose 6.4 mmol/L, triglycerides 2.0 mmol/L, HDL 1.2 (mmol/L), waist circumference 105.8 cm, and BP 122/82 mm Hg.
Metabolic syndrome was highly prevalent in this sample, significantly increasing the risk of physical morbidity and potentially lowering life expectancy. There is an unmet need for health promotion interventions in order to lower morbidity and mortality risk in these populations.
Mental health education is not compulsory in the UK therefore adolescents have very varied experiences despite half of people with mental health illnesses reporting having experienced symptoms by 14 years old. University students are ideal for delivering a relaxed, educational intervention aimed at this age group, providing an opportunity to for them to learn necessary tools for recognising signs of poor mental health and tackle associated stigma.
To expand Headucate's membership, including other disciplines within the University of East Anglia (UEA) and provide core training enabling members to deliver a school-based educational intervention
Recruitment of members has been a multifaceted approach utilising social media sites such as Facebook and the Headucate website, and oncampus events and ‘awareness campaigns’ including several successful evening talks and lectures.
Three training sessions, which include ‘Introduction to Mental Health’, ‘Workshop run-through’ and ‘Child Protection’, have been developed for all members wishing to partake in the delivery of workshops.
We have recruited approximately 300 members since summer 2012; 70 fully paid members in 2012/13 academic year and currently 45 paid members for 2013/14.
A total of 18 members are fully trained and ready to deliver workshops within schools and 17 other members have just one training session remaining.
We are looking forward to delivering our first workshops in October and building on a successful first year. We are confident we can provide workshops for approximately 600 children per year.
There are no evidence-based treatments for severe and enduring anorexia nervosa.
To evaluate the relative efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM) for adults with severe and enduring anorexia nervosa.
Randomised controlled trial.
Sixty-three participants aged 18 and over (range 20-62) with a DSM-IV diagnosis of anorexia nervosa with at least a seven year illness history.
Thirty outpatient visits over 8 months. Participants were assessed at baseline, end of treatment (EOT), and 6-month and 12-month post-treatment follow-up. At EOP and follow-up, both groups improved significantly on the majority of outcome measures. However, there were no differences between treatment groups at EOT. At 6- and 12-month follow-up, analyses indicate greater improvement for those in CBT compared to SSCM. At 6-month follow-up, CBT participants had higher scores on the social adjustment scale (p = .038), and at 12-month they reported lower eating disorder examination global score (p = .004), and higher readiness for recovery (p = .013) compared to SSCM.
Patients with severe and enduring anorexia nervosa can make significant and meaningful improvements with therapy. CBT shows significant advantage over SSCM in terms of social adjustment, core eating pathology, and readiness for change over time.
Social interactions dysfunctions make up core symptoms of many mental disorders and have been extensively studied through cognitive paradigms gathered under the concept of social cognition. Nevertheless, a growing body of literature have demonstrated that motor coordination is an important feature of these human social interactions but has been little studied in the context of mental diseases.
In this study, we propose to compare the processes of inter-agent coordination in healthy and socially impaired clinical populations (e.g. schizophrenia and social phobia patients).
20 schizophrenia and 20 social phobia patients were compared to 20 healthy subjects using an hand-held pendulum paradigm in intentional and unintentional interpersonal motor coordination, with different leadership conditions. All participants had psychopathological and neuropsychological evaluations.
Our results demonstrated that each group of subject was characterised by specific signature concerning interpersonal motor coordination. More specifically, instability of the coordination and temporal delay between patient and controls revealed that schizophrenia impaired intentional coordination but not spontaneous non-intentional coordination whereas social phobia only affected leader conditions.
Taken altogether, these preliminary results give evidence that motor control through motor coordination behaviours is a fundamental part of social interactions deficits in schizophrenia and social phobia. These results lead us to examine if the evaluation of motor coordination during a social interactions could help to discriminate the deficits in social interactions and to propose specific therapy for their rehabilitation.
This research was supported by an Agence Nationale de la Recherche grant (Project SCAD # ANR-09- BLAN-0405-03).