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Neurobiological models of auditory verbal hallucination (AVH) have been advanced by symptom capture functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), where participants self-report hallucinations during scanning. To date, regions implicated are those involved with language, memory and emotion. However, previous studies focus on chronic schizophrenia, thus are limited by factors, such as medication use and illness duration. Studies also lack detailed phenomenological descriptions of AVHs. This study investigated the neural correlates of AVHs in patients with first episode psychosis (FEP) using symptom capture fMRI with a rich description of AVHs. We hypothesised that intrusive AVHs would be associated with dysfunctional salience network activity.
Sixteen FEP patients with frequent AVH completed four psychometrically validated tools to provide an objective measure of the nature of their AVHs. They then underwent fMRI symptom capture, utilising general linear models analysis to compare activity during AVH to the resting brain.
Symptom capture of AVH was achieved in nine patients who reported intrusive, malevolent and uncontrollable AVHs. Significant activity in the right insula and superior temporal gyrus (cluster size 141 mm3), and the left parahippocampal and lingual gyri (cluster size 121 mm3), P < 0.05 FDR corrected, were recorded during the experience of AVHs.
These results suggest salience network dysfunction (in the right insula) together with memory and language processing area activation in intrusive, malevolent AVHs in FEP. This finding concurs with others from chronic schizophrenia, suggesting these processes are intrinsic to psychosis itself and not related to length of illness or prolonged exposure to antipsychotic medication.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Unlike for many other respiratory infections, the seasonality of pertussis is not well understood. While evidence of seasonal fluctuations in pertussis incidence has been noted in some countries, there have been conflicting findings including in the context of Australia. We investigated this issue by analysing the seasonality of pertussis notifications in Australia using monthly data from January 1991 to December 2016. Data were made available for all states and territories in Australia except for the Australian Capital Territory and were stratified into age groups. Using a time-series decomposition approach, we formulated a generalised additive model where seasonality is expressed using cosinor terms to estimate the amplitude and peak timing of pertussis notifications in Australia. We also compared these characteristics across different jurisdictions and age groups. We found evidence that pertussis notifications exhibit seasonality, with peaks observed during the spring and summer months (November–January) in Australia and across different states and territories. During peak months, notifications are expected to increase by about 15% compared with the yearly average. Peak notifications for children <5 years occurred 1–2 months later than the general population, which provides support to the theory that older household members remain an important source of pertussis infection for younger children. In addition, our results provide a more comprehensive spatial picture of seasonality in Australia, a feature lacking in previous studies. Finally, our findings suggest that seasonal forcing may be useful to consider in future population transmission models of pertussis.
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) results in substantial numbers of hospitalisations and deaths in older adults. There are known lifestyle and medical risk factors for pneumococcal disease but the magnitude of the additional risk is not well quantified in Australia. We used a large population-based prospective cohort study of older adults in the state of New South Wales (45 and Up Study) linked to cause-specific hospitalisations, disease notifications and death registrations from 2006 to 2015. We estimated the age-specific incidence of CAP hospitalisation (ICD-10 J12-18), invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) notification and presumptive non-invasive pneumococcal CAP hospitalisation (J13 + J18.1, excluding IPD), comparing those with at least one risk factor to those with no risk factors. The hospitalised case-fatality rate (CFR) included deaths in a 30-day window after hospitalisation. Among 266 951 participants followed for 1 850 000 person-years there were 8747 first hospitalisations for CAP, 157 IPD notifications and 305 non-invasive pneumococcal CAP hospitalisations. In persons 65–84 years, 54.7% had at least one identified risk factor, increasing to 57.0% in those ⩾85 years. The incidence of CAP hospitalisation in those ⩾65 years with at least one risk factor was twofold higher than in those without risk factors, 1091/100 000 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1060–1122) compared with 522/100 000 (95% CI 501–545) and IPD in equivalent groups was almost threefold higher (18.40/100 000 (95% CI 14.61–22.87) vs. 6.82/100 000 (95% CI 4.56–9.79)). The CFR increased with age but there were limited difference by risk status, except in those aged 45 to 64 years. Adults ⩾65 years with at least one risk factor have much higher rates of CAP and IPD suggesting that additional risk factor-based vaccination strategies may be cost-effective.
We investigated risk factors for severe acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) among hospitalised children <2 years, with a focus on the interactions between virus and age. Statistical interactions between age and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, adenovirus (ADV) and rhinovirus on the risk of ALRI outcomes were investigated. Of 1780 hospitalisations, 228 (12.8%) were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). The median (range) length of stay (LOS) in hospital was 3 (1–27) days. An increase of 1 month of age was associated with a decreased risk of ICU admission (rate ratio (RR) 0.94; 95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.91–0.98) and with a decrease in LOS (RR 0.96; 95% CI 0.95–0.97). Associations between RSV, influenza, ADV positivity and ICU admission and LOS were significantly modified by age. Children <5 months old were at the highest risk from RSV-associated severe outcomes, while children >8 months were at greater risk from influenza-associated ICU admissions and long hospital stay. Children with ADV had increased LOS across all ages. In the first 2 years of life, the effects of different viruses on ALRI severity varies with age. Our findings help to identify specific ages that would most benefit from virus-specific interventions such as vaccines and antivirals.
A legionellosis outbreak at an industrial site was investigated to identify and control the source. Cases were identified from disease notifications, workplace illness records, and from clinicians. Cases were interviewed for symptoms and risk factors and tested for legionellosis. Implicated environmental sources were sampled and tested for legionella. We identified six cases with Legionnaires’ disease and seven with Pontiac fever; all had been exposed to aerosols from the cooling towers on the site. Nine cases had evidence of infection with either Legionella pneumophila serogroup (sg) 1 or Legionella longbeachae sg1; these organisms were also isolated from the cooling towers. There was 100% DNA sequence homology between cooling tower and clinical isolates of L. pneumophila sg1 using sequence-based typing analysis; no clinical L. longbeachae isolates were available to compare with environmental isolates. Routine monitoring of the towers prior to the outbreak failed to detect any legionella. Data from this outbreak indicate that L. pneumophila sg1 transmission occurred from the cooling towers; in addition, L. longbeachae transmission was suggested but remains unproven. L. longbeachae detection in cooling towers has not been previously reported in association with legionellosis outbreaks. Waterborne transmission should not be discounted in investigations for the source of L. longbeachae infection.
Cognitive reserve (CR) has been associated with better cognitive function and lower risk of depression in older people, yet it remains unclear whether CR moderates the association between mood and cognition. This study aimed to investigate whether a comprehensive indicator of CR, including education, occupation and engagement in cognitive and social activities, acts as a moderator of this association.
This was a cross-sectional study utilising baseline data from the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study II (CFAS II), a large population-based cohort of people aged 65+ in England. Complete data on the measures of CR, mood and cognition were available for 6565 dementia-free individuals. Linear regression models were used to investigate the potential modifying effect of CR on the association between cognition and mood with adjustment for age, sex and missing data.
Levels of CR did moderate the negative association between mood and cognition; the difference in cognition between those with and without a clinical level mood disorder was significantly smaller in the middle (−2.28; 95% confidence interval (CI) −3.65 to −0.90) and higher (−1.30; 95% CI −2.46 to −0.15) CR groups compared with the lower CR group (−4.01; 95% CI −5.53 to −2.49). The individual components of CR did not significantly moderate the negative association between mood and cognition.
These results demonstrate that CR, indexed by a composite score based on multiple indicators, can moderate the negative association between lowered mood and cognition, emphasising the importance of continuing to build CR across the lifespan in order to maintain cognitive health.
The Antarctic Roadmap Challenges (ARC) project identified critical requirements to deliver high priority Antarctic research in the 21st century. The ARC project addressed the challenges of enabling technologies, facilitating access, providing logistics and infrastructure, and capitalizing on international co-operation. Technological requirements include: i) innovative automated in situ observing systems, sensors and interoperable platforms (including power demands), ii) realistic and holistic numerical models, iii) enhanced remote sensing and sensors, iv) expanded sample collection and retrieval technologies, and v) greater cyber-infrastructure to process ‘big data’ collection, transmission and analyses while promoting data accessibility. These technologies must be widely available, performance and reliability must be improved and technologies used elsewhere must be applied to the Antarctic. Considerable Antarctic research is field-based, making access to vital geographical targets essential. Future research will require continent- and ocean-wide environmentally responsible access to coastal and interior Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Year-round access is indispensable. The cost of future Antarctic science is great but there are opportunities for all to participate commensurate with national resources, expertise and interests. The scope of future Antarctic research will necessitate enhanced and inventive interdisciplinary and international collaborations. The full promise of Antarctic science will only be realized if nations act together.
Introduction: Between 1980 and 2008, survival rates following an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) have remained unchanged, averaging 7.6%. Despite the use of new and emerging technologies, new medications, and automated external defibrillators, survival remains low. Recently, a new focus in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has shown dramatic improvements in survival post OHCA. This new model, called pit-crew CPR, focuses on minimizing interruptions in chest compressions and has each team member playing a specific role in the resuscitation, akin to the pit-crew of a car race. Certain districts in the United States and Canada have adopted the pit-crew, or a similar, high quality, maximum time-on-chest CPR model, with much success. We aim to determine whether the pit-crew model of CPR improves survival following OHCA in Saskatoon, SK. Methods: In Saskatoon, EMS and Fire crews respond to OHCAs and have been exclusively using the pit-crew model of CPR since Jan 1st, 2015. This study is a before and after retrospective chart analysis, comparing two groups - pre and post implementation of the pit-crew CPR model. The primary outcome is survival to hospital discharge post OHCA. Secondary outcomes include survival to admission and any return of spontaneous circulation (as per the Utstein definition). The inclusion criteria are patients >18 years old with a witnessed OHCA of presumed cardiac origin who receive CPR by EMS/Fire within the Saskatoon Ambulance service (MD Ambulance) catchment area. Patients were excluded if the OHCA was unwitnessed, or if there was a presumed non-cardiac cause for the arrest, e.g. trauma. Results: In the pre-pit-crew model cohort, between Jan 1st, 2011 and Sept 31st, 2014, 455 OHCAs were analyzed. In this cohort 10.5% survived to discharge, 31.9% survived to admission and ROSC was achieved in 39% of cases. The percentage of patients with initial rhythms of VF/VT, asystole or PEA were 28.5% (26%), 41.5% (1%) and 23.6% (10%) respectively, with survival to discharge shown in parentheses. The post-pit-crew cohort is still in the data collection phase. Conclusion: Our pre-pit crew cohort data has been collected and analyzed. With ongoing data acquisition for the post-pit crew cohort, we hope to have the full data set complete by the end of 2018. It will be at that time when we are able to determine whether the pit-crew model of CPR improves survival to discharge following OHCA in Saskatoon.
Introduction: Health promotion and disease prevention have been increasingly recognized as activities within the scope of emergency medicine. Exercise prescription by physicians has been shown to improve outcomes in obesity, cardiovascular disease, and many other diseases. An estimated 600,000 Canadians receive the majority of their care from emergency departments (ED), representing a substantial opportunity for health promotion. Our study examined the frequency of exercise prescription by emergency physicians (EPs) and determined factors that influence decisions to prescribe exercise. Methods: A national, confidential 22-item survey was distributed to Canadian EPs via email by the CAEP survey distribution protocol in November/December 2015. Demographics, exercise prescription rates and self-reported exercise habits were collected. Results: A total of 332 EPs responded. 92.4% of EPs reported being at least moderately active. 62.7% of EPs often or always council their patients about preventative medicine (smoking cessation, drug and alcohol use, diet and safe sex). However, only 23.8% often or always ask about their exercise habits. Even fewer (12.7%) often or always prescribe exercise. Training background significantly predicted level of comfort prescribing exercise. CCFP trained EPs were 5.1 (p = 0.001) times more likely than trained EPs to respond 'yes' they feel comfortable prescribing exercise, and 3.7 (p = .009) times more likely to respond 'sometimes'. CCFP (EM) trained EPs were 3.5 (p < 0.001) times more likely than trained EPs to respond 'yes' they feel comfortable prescribing exercise, and 2.0 (p = .031) times more likely to respond 'sometimes'. 76.1% of respondents believe that other EPs rarely or never prescribe exercise. Of respondents, only 36% feel comfortable prescribing exercise. The majority of EPs (73.4%) believe that the ED environment did not allow adequate time for exercise prescription. Conclusion: The majority of EPs council their patients regarding other forms of preventative medicine but few prescribe exercise to their patients. Available time in the ED was cited as a significant barrier to exercise prescription. CCFP trained EPs are more comfortable prescribing exercise, suggesting that their training may better educate and prepare them to council patients on exercise compared to trained EPs. Further education may be required to standardize an approach to prescribing exercise in the ED.
To validate and evaluate a short answer question paper and objective structured clinical examination. Validity and effect on overall performance were considered.
Students completed a voluntary short answer question paper during their otolaryngology attachment. Short answer question paper results were collated and compared to the essay examination and new end of year objective structured clinical examination.
The study comprised 160 students. Questions were validated for internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.76). Correlations were determined for: short answer question paper and essay results (r = 0.477), short answer question paper and objective structured clinical examination results (r = 0.355), and objective structured clinical examination and essay results (r = 0.292). On unpaired t-tests comparing the short answer question paper group and non-short answer question paper group, essay results were 1.2 marks higher (p = 0.45) and the objective structured clinical examination results were 0.09 marks lower (p = 0.74) in the short answer question paper group.
Two new valid summative assessments of student ability have been introduced, which contribute to an enhanced programme of assessment to drive student learning.
A series of research reports has indicated that the use of substances such as cannabis, alcohol and tobacco are higher in youth at clinical high risk (CHR) of developing psychosis than in controls. Little is known about the longitudinal trajectory of substance use, and findings on the relationship between substance use and later transition to psychosis in CHR individuals are mixed.
At baseline and 6- and 12-month follow-ups, 735 CHR and 278 control participants completed the Alcohol and Drug Use Scale and a cannabis use questionnaire. The longitudinal trajectory of substance use was evaluated with linear mixed models.
CHR participants endorsed significantly higher cannabis and tobacco use severity, and lower alcohol use severity, at baseline and over a 1-year period compared with controls. CHR youth had higher lifetime prevalence and frequency of cannabis, and were significantly younger upon first use, and were more likely to use alone and during the day. Baseline substance use did not differentiate participants who later transitioned to psychosis (n = 90) from those who did not transition (n = 272). Controls had lower tobacco use than CHR participants with a prodromal progression clinical outcome and lower cannabis use than those with a psychotic clinical outcome at the 2-year assessment.
In CHR individuals cannabis and tobacco use is higher than in controls and this pattern persists across 1 year. Evaluation of clinical outcome may provide additional information on the longitudinal impact of substance use that cannot be detected through evaluation of transition/non-transition to psychosis alone.
In Australia, varicella vaccine was universally funded in late 2005 as a single dose at 18 months. A school-based catch-up programme for children aged 10–13 years without a history of infection or vaccination was funded until 2015, when those eligible for universal infant vaccination would have reached the age of high school entry. This study projects the impact of discontinuing catch-up vaccination on varicella and zoster incidence and morbidity using a transmission dynamic model, in comparison with alternative policy options, including two-dose strategies. At current vaccine coverage (83% at 2 years and 90% at 5 years), ceasing the adolescent catch-up programme in 2015 was projected to increase varicella-associated morbidity between 2035 and 2050 by 39%. Although two-dose infant programmes had the lowest estimated varicella morbidity, the incremental benefit from the second dose fell by 70% if first dose coverage increased from 83% to 95% by age 24 months. Overall zoster morbidity was predicted to rise after vaccination, but differences between strategies were small. Our results suggest that feasibility of one-dose coverage approaching 95% is an important consideration in estimating incremental benefit from a second dose of varicella vaccine.
Whether there are differential effects of first-generation antipsychotics (FGAs) and second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) on the brain is currently debated. Although some studies report that FGAs reduce grey matter more than SGAs, others do not, and research to date is limited by a focus on schizophrenia spectrum disorders. To address this limitation, this study investigated the effects of medication in patients being treated for first-episode schizophrenia or affective psychoses.
Cortical thickness was compared between 52 first-episode psychosis patients separated into diagnostic (i.e. schizophrenia or affective psychosis) and medication (i.e. FGA and SGA) subgroups. Patients in each group were also compared to age- and sex-matched healthy controls (n = 28). A whole-brain cortical thickness interaction analysis of medication and diagnosis was then performed. Correlations between cortical thickness with antipsychotic dose and psychotic symptoms were examined.
The effects of medication and diagnosis did not interact, suggesting independent effects. Compared with controls, diagnostic differences were found in frontal, parietal and temporal regions. Decreased thickness in FGA-treated versus SGA-treated groups was found in a large frontoparietal region (p < 0.001, corrected). Comparisons with healthy controls revealed decreased cortical thickness in the FGA group whereas the SGA group showed increases in addition to decreases. In FGA-treated patients cortical thinning was associated with higher negative symptoms whereas increased cortical thickness in the SGA-treated group was associated with lower positive symptoms.
Our results suggest that FGA and SGA treatments have divergent effects on cortical thickness during the first episode of psychosis that are independent from changes due to illness.