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Introduction: Emergency department (ED) crowding is a major problem across Canada. We studied the ability of artificial intelligence methods to improve patient flow through the ED by predicting patient disposition using information available at triage and shortly after patients’ arrival in the ED. Methods: This retrospective study included all visits to an urban, academic, adult ED between May 2012 and June 2019. For each visit, 489 variables were extracted including triage data that had been collected for use in the Canadian Triage Assessment Scale (CTAS) and information regarding laboratory tests, radiological tests, consultations and admissions. A training set consisting of all visits from April 2012 up to December 2018 was used to train 5 classes of machine learning models to predict admission to the hospital from the ED. The models were trained to predict admission at the time of the patient's arrival in the ED and every 30 minutes after arrival until 6 hours into their ED stay. The performance of models was compared using the area under the ROC curve (AUC) on a test set consisting of all visits from January 2019 to June 2019. Results: The study included 536,332 visits and the admission rate was 15.0%. Gradient boosting models generally outperformed other machine learning models. A gradient boosting model using all available data at 2 hours after patient arrival in the ED yielded a test set AUC 0.92 [95% CI 0.91-0.93], while a model using only data available at triage yielded an AUC 0.90 [95% CI 0.89-0.91]. The quality of predictions generally improved as predictions were made later in the patient's ED stay leading to an AUC 0.95 [95% CI 0.93-0.96] at 6 hours after arrival. A gradient boosting model with 20 variables available at 2 hours after patient arrival in the ED yielded an AUC 0.91 [95% CI 0.89-0.93]. A gradient boosting model that makes predictions at 2 hours after arrival in ED using only variables that are available at all EDs in the province of Quebec yielded an AUC 0.91 [95% 0.89-0.92]. Conclusion: Machine learning can predict admission to a hospital from the ED using variables that area collected as part of routine ED care. Machine learning tools may potentially be used to help ED physicians to make faster and more appropriate disposition decisions, to decrease unnecessary testing and alleviate ED crowding.
Acute change in mental status (ACMS), defined by the Confusion Assessment Method, is used to identify infections in nursing home residents. A medical record review revealed that none of 15,276 residents had an ACMS documented. Using the revised McGeer criteria with a possible ACMS definition, we identified 296 residents and 21 additional infections. The use of a possible ACMS definition should be considered for retrospective nursing home infection surveillance.
We summarise processes determining large-scale patterns of distribution and abundance of macroinfauna from Florida to Newfoundland, ~25°N to 52°N, focussing on intertidal and shallow subtidal (~ 5 m depth) muddy sands and sandy muds, habitats with abundant experimental data. Within the theme of geographic distribution of processes, mechanisms and patterns we suggest latitudinal patterns will likely change most as climate changes intensify. Published studies support the following major biogeographic patterns: (1) reduced importance of large disturbance predators north of Cape Cod, driven by latitudinal shifts in thermal regimes; (2) large digging predators from Delaware Bay (39.25°N) southwards dramatically reduce infaunal densities, restricting competitive interactions; (3) disturbance refugia, e.g., Zostera, drive southern spatial patterns; (4) rising seawater temperatures and reduced water clarity limit the extent and diversity of rooted plants in the south and mid-Atlantic; (5) latitudinal changes in tidal regimes result in greater aerial exposure in the north, magnifying latitudinal sea surface temperature changes; (6) ice cover intensifies to the north and (7) the Boston−Washington, DC megalopolis accentuates human signatures through eutrophication between 36.5°N and 42.6°N. Finally, we discuss potential shifts with climate change in these latitudinal patterns and processes.
Prompted by a recurring skull base multidisciplinary team debate on the necessity of securing a definitive tissue diagnosis before initiating treatment for lesions of the orbital apex, a review of anterior skull base procedures over an 11-year period was undertaken.
Data collected prospectively on cases from 2006 to 2017 were analysed. Presenting symptoms, imaging and histology findings, outcomes, complications, and impact on treatment were evaluated. All surgery was carried out endoscopically with the aid of image guidance.
Twenty-one patients undergoing endoscopic orbital apex and/or optic canal biopsy were included. The mean patient age was 49 years. Five malignant tumours were identified, five benign tumours, seven infective cases (two tuberculosis and five fungal) and two cases of immunoglobulin G4 related disease. Two patients had non-diagnostic biopsies (one lesional) and were treated successfully as Tolosa–Hunt syndrome cases.
A successful diagnosis was achieved in nearly all cases without adverse impact, other than one cerebrospinal fluid leakage case. Management was directly influenced by the outcome in all cases.
The second year of life is a period of nutritional vulnerability. We aimed to investigate the dietary patterns and nutrient intakes from 1 to 2 years of age during the 12-month follow-up period of the Growing Up Milk – Lite (GUMLi) trial. The GUMLi trial was a multi-centre, double-blinded, randomised controlled trial of 160 healthy 1-year-old children in Auckland, New Zealand and Brisbane, Australia. Dietary intakes were collected at baseline, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months post-randomisation, using a validated FFQ. Dietary patterns were identified using principal component analysis of the frequency of food item consumption per d. The effect of the intervention on dietary patterns and intake of eleven nutrients over the duration of the trial were investigated using random effects mixed models. A total of three dietary patterns were identified at baseline: ‘junk/snack foods’, ‘healthy/guideline foods’ and ‘breast milk/formula’. A significant group difference was observed in ‘breast milk/formula’ dietary pattern z scores at 12 months post-randomisation, where those in the GUMLi group loaded more positively on this pattern, suggesting more frequent consumption of breast milk. No difference was seen in the other two dietary patterns. Significant intervention effects were seen on nutrient intake between the GUMLi (intervention) and cows’ milk (control) groups, with lower protein and vitamin B12, and higher Fe, vitamin D, vitamin C and Zn intake in the GUMLi (intervention) group. The consumption of GUMLi did not affect dietary patterns, however, GUMLi participants had lower protein intake and higher Fe, vitamins D and C and Zn intake at 2 years of age.
A computational study was performed both of a single agglomerate and of the collision of two agglomerates in a shear flow. The agglomerates were extracted from a direct numerical simulation of a turbulent agglomeration process, and had the loosely packed fractal structure typical of agglomerate structures formed in turbulent agglomeration processes. The computation was performed using a discrete-element method for adhesive particles with four-way coupling, accounting both for forces between the fluid and the particles (and vice versa) as well as force transmission directly between particles via particle collisions. In addition to understanding and characterizing the particle dynamics, the study focused on illuminating the fluid flow field induced by the agglomerate in the presence of a background shear and the effect of collisions on this particle-induced flow. Perhaps the most interesting result of the current work was the observation that the flow field induced by a particle agglomerate rotating in a shear flow has the form of two tilted vortex rings with opposite-sign circulation. These rings are surrounded by a sea of stretched vorticity from the background shear flow. The agglomerate rotates in the shear flow, but at a slower rate than the ambient fluid elements. In the computations with two colliding agglomerates, we observed cases resulting in agglomerate merger, bouncing and fragmentation. However, the bouncing cases were all observed to also result in an exchange of particles between the two colliding agglomerates, so that they were influenced both by elastic rebound of the agglomerate structures as well as by tearing away of particulate matter between the agglomerates. Overall, the problems of agglomerate–flow interaction and of the collision of two agglomerates in a shear flow are considerably richer in physical phenomena and more complex than can be described by the common approximation that represents each agglomerate by an ‘equivalent sphere’.
There are no estimates of the heritability of phenotypic udder traits in suckler sheep, which produce meat lambs, and whether these are associated with resilience to mastitis. Mastitis is a common disease which damages the mammary gland and reduces productivity. The aims of this study were to investigate the feasibility of collecting udder phenotypes, their heritability and their association with mastitis in suckler ewes. Udder and teat conformation, teat lesions, intramammary masses (IMM) and litter size were recorded from 10 Texel flocks in Great Britain between 2012 and 2014; 968 records were collected. Pedigree data were obtained from an online pedigree recording system. Univariate quantitative genetic parameters were estimated using animal and sire models. Linear mixed models were used to analyse continuous traits and generalised linear mixed models were used to analyse binary traits. Continuous traits had higher heritabilities than binary with teat placement and teat length heritability (h2) highest at 0.35 (SD 0.04) and 0.42 (SD 0.04), respectively. Udder width, drop and separation heritabilities were lower and varied with udder volume. The heritabilities of IMM and teat lesions (sire model) were 0.18 (SD 0.12) and 0.17 (SD 0.11), respectively. All heritabilities were sufficiently high to be in a selection programme to increase resilience to mastitis in the population of Texel sheep. Further studies are required to investigate genetic relationships between traits and to determine whether udder traits predict IMM, and the potential benefits from including traits in a selection programme to increase resilience to chronic mastitis.
Background: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive motor neuron disease resulting in muscle weakness, dysarthria and dysphagia, and ultimately respiratory failure leading to death. Half of the ALS patients survive less than 3 years, and 80% of the patients survive less than 5 years. Riluzole is the only approved medication in Canada with randomized controlled clinical trial evidence to slow the progression of ALS, albeit only to a modest degree. The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) collects data on over 140 different neuromuscular diseases including ALS across ten academic institutions and 28 clinics including ten multidisciplinary ALS clinics. Methods: In this study, CNDR registry data were analyzed to examine potential differences in ALS care among provinces in time to diagnosis, riluzole and feeding tube use. Results: Significant differences were found among provinces, in time to diagnosis from symptom onset, in the use of riluzole and in feeding tube use. Conclusions: Future investigations should be undertaken to identify factors contributing to such differences, and to propose potential interventions to address the provincial differences reported.
Racial/ethnic minorities are more vulnerable to mental and physical health problems, but we know little about the psychobiological underpinnings of these disparities. In this study, we examined racial/ethnic differences in cortisol diurnal patterns and affect as initial steps toward elucidating long-term health disparities. A racially/ethnically diverse (39.5% White, 60.5% minority) sample of 370 adolescents (57.3% female) between the ages of 11.9 and 18 years (M = 14.65 years, SD = 1.39) participated in this study. These adolescents provided 16 cortisol samples (4 samples per day across 4 days), allowing the computation of diurnal cortisol slopes, the cortisol awakening response, and diurnal cortisol output (area under the curve), as well as daily diary ratings of high-arousal and low-arousal positive and negative affect. Consistent with prior research, we found that racial/ethnic minorities (particularly African American and Latino youth) exhibited flatter diurnal cortisol slopes compared to White youth, F (1, 344.7) = 5.26, p = .02, effect size g = 0.25. Furthermore, African American and Asian American youth reported lower levels of positive affect (both high arousal and low arousal) compared to White youth. Racial/ethnic differences in affect did not explain differences in cortisol patterns, suggesting a need to refine our models of relations between affect and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical activity. We conclude by proposing that a deeper understanding of cultural development may help elucidate the complex associations between affect and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical functioning and how they explain racial/ethnic differences in both affect and stress biology.
Diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is a global issue. The challenging issues facing the world relating to STEM diversity cross national borders and require leveraging the talents of diverse constituents.1 Active international efforts at inclusive talent development are being undertaken to empower persons from groups historically underrepresented in STEM communities.2,3 The US National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) reports that in the United States, African Americans are one of the most underrepresented minority groups in engineering relative to their population. This is in spite of a great deal of progress in “growing African American scientists, engineers, and technologists since the Howard University School of Engineering opened in 1910.”4 The number of African Americans in engineering at all degree levels is not representative of their percentage in the US population. Table I shows a sampling of 2016 data from a National Science Foundation (NSF) survey of doctoral recipients in engineering.5 Figure 1 illustrates a snapshot of African American representation in US colleges of engineering. These statistics show that African Americans remain underrepresented relative to US demographics.6–8
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.
D-dimer testing is an important component of the workup for pulmonary embolism (PE). However, age-related increases in D-dimer concentrations result in false positives in older adults, leading to potentially unnecessary imaging utilization. The objective of this study was to quantify the test characteristics of an age-adjusted D-dimer cut-off for ruling out PE in older patients investigated in actual clinical practice.
This observational study used administrative data from four emergency departments from July 2013 to January 2015. Eligible patients were ages 50 and older with symptoms of PE who underwent D-dimer testing. The primary outcome was 30-day diagnosis of PE, confirmed by imaging reports. Test characteristics of the D-dimer assay were calculated using the standard reference value (500 ng/ml), the local reference value (470 ng/ml), and an age-adjusted threshold (10 ng/ml × patient’s age).
This cohort includes 6,655 patients ages 50 and older undergoing D-dimer testing for a possible PE. Of these, 246 (3.7%) were diagnosed with PE. Age-adjusted D-dimer cut-offs were more specific than standard cut-offs (75.4% v. 63.8%) but less sensitive (90.3% v. 97.2%). The false-negative risk in this population was 0.49% using age-adjusted D-dimer cut-offs compared with 0.15% with traditional cut-offs.
Age-adjusted D-dimer cut-offs are substantially more specific than traditional cut-offs and may reduce CT utilization among older patients with suspected PE. We observed a loss of sensitivity, with an increased risk of false-negatives, using age-adjusted cut-offs. We encourage further evaluation of the safety and accuracy of age-adjusted D-dimer cut-offs in actual clinical practice.
Introduction: The purpose of this study is to determine if the introduction of a pre-arrival and pre-departure Trauma Checklist as a cognitive aid, coupled with an educational session, will improve clinical performance in a simulated environment. The Trauma Checklist was developed in response to a quality assurance review of high-acuity trauma activations. It focuses on pre-arrival preparation and a pre-departure review prior to patient transfer to diagnostic imaging or the operating room. We conducted a pilot, randomized control trial assessing the impact of the Trauma Checklist on time to critical interventions on a simulated pediatric patient by multidisciplinary teams. Methods: Emergency department teams composed of 2 physicians, 2 nurses and 2 confederate actors were enrolled in our study. In the intervention arm, participants watched a 10-minute educational video modelling the use of the trauma checklist prior to their simulation scenario and were provided a copy of the checklist. Teams participated in a standardized simulation scenario caring for a severely injured adolescent patient with hemorrhagic shock, respiratory failure and increased intracranial pressure. Our primary outcome of interest was time measurement to initiation of key clinical interventions, including intubation, first blood product administration, massive transfusion protocol activation, initiation of hyperosmolar therapy and others. Secondary outcome measures included a Trauma Task Performance score and checklist completion scores. Results: We enrolled 14 multidisciplinary teams (n=56 participants) into our study. There was a statistically significant decrease in median time to initiation of hyperosmolar therapy by teams in the intervention arm compared to the control arm (581 seconds, [509-680] vs. 884 seconds, [588-1144], p=0.03). Time to initiation of other clinical interventions was not statistically significant. There was a trend to higher Trauma Task Performance scores in the intervention group however this did not reach statistical significant (p=0.09). Pre-arrival and pre-departure checklist scores were higher in the intervention group (9.0 [9.0-10.0] vs. 7.0 [6.0-8.0], p=0.17 and 12.0 [11.5-12.0] vs. 7.5 [6.0-8.5], p=0.01). Conclusion: Teams using the Trauma Checklist did not have decreased time to initiation of key clinical interventions except in initiating hyperosmolar therapy. Teams in the intervention arm had statistically significantly higher pre-arrival and pre-departure scores, with a trend to higher Trauma Task Performance scores. Our study was a pilot and recruitment did not achieve the anticipated sample size, thus underpowered. The impact of this checklist should be studied outside tertiary trauma centres, particularly in trainees and community emergency providers, to assess for benefit and further generalizability.
Whole-breast external beam radiotherapy results in significant reduction in the risk for breast cancer-related death, but this may be offset by an increase in deaths from other causes and toxicity to surrounding organs. Partial breast irradiation techniques are approaches that treat only the lumpectomy area rather than the whole breast. Quality assurance in the radiation therapy treatment planning process is essential to ensure accurate dose delivery to the patient. For this purpose, this article compares the results from an anthropomorphic PRESAGE® dosimeter, radiation treatment planning system and from the GAFCHROMIC® EBT2 film.
Materials and methods
A breast dosimeter was created and a three-field partial plan was generated in the Pinnacle3 treatment planning system. Dose distribution comparisons were made between Pinnacle3 treatment planning system, GAFCHROMIC® EBT2 film and PRESAGE® dosimeter. Dose–volume histograms (DVHs), gamma maps and line profiles were used to evaluate the comparison.
DVHs of gross tumour volume, clinical tumour volume and planning tumour volume for the PRESAGE® dosimeter and Pinnacle3 treatment planning system shows that both measured and calculated statistics were in agreement, with a value of 97.8% of the prescribed dose. Gamma map comparisons showed that all three distributions passed 95% at the ±3%/±3 mm criteria. Comparisons of isodose line distribution between the PRESAGE® dosimeter, EBT2 film and planning system demonstrated agreement, with an average difference of 1.5%.
This work demonstrated the feasibility of PRESAGE® to function as an anthropomorphic phantom and laid the foundation for research studies in PRESAGE®/optical-computed tomography three-dimensional dosimetry with the most complex anthropomorphic phantoms.
An ambition of depression biomarker research is to augment psychometric and cognitive assessment of clinically relevant phenomena with neural measures. Although such applications have been slow to arrive, we observe a steady evolution of the idea and anticipate emerging technologies with some optimism. To highlight critical themes and innovations in depression biomarker research, we take as our point of reference a specific research narrative. We begin with an early model of frontal-limbic dysfunction, which represents a conceptual shift from localized pathology to understanding symptoms as an emergent property of distributed networks. Over the decades, this model accommodates perspectives from neurology, psychiatry, clinical, and cognitive neuroscience, and preserves past insight as more complex methods become available. We also track the expanding mission of brain biomarker research: from the development of diagnostic tools to treatment selection algorithms, measures of neurocognitive functioning and novel targets for neuromodulation. To conclude, we draw from this particular research narrative future directions for biomarker research. We emphasize integration of measurement modalities to describe dynamic change in domain-general networks, and we speculate that a brain-based framework for psychiatric problems may dissolve classical diagnostic and disciplinary boundaries. (JINS, 2017, 23, 870–880)
Hemispheric asymmetry is commonly viewed as a dual system, unique to humans, with the two sides of the human brain in complementary roles. To the contrary, modern research shows that cerebral and behavioral asymmetries are widespread in the animal kingdom, and that the concept of duality is an oversimplification. The brain has many networks serving different functions; these are differentially lateralized, and involve many genes. Unlike the asymmetries of the internal organs, brain asymmetry is variable, with a significant minority of the population showing reversed asymmetries or the absence of asymmetry. This variability may underlie the divisions of labor and the specializations that sustain social life. (JINS, 2017, 23, 710–718)
The past 50 years have been a period of exciting progress in neuropsychological research on traumatic brain injury (TBI). Neuropsychologists and neuropsychological testing have played a critical role in these advances. This study looks back at three major scientific advances in research on TBI that have been critical in pushing the field forward over the past several decades: The advent of modern neuroimaging; the recognition of the importance of non-injury factors in determining recovery from TBI; and the growth of cognitive rehabilitation. Thanks to these advances, we now have a better understanding of the pathophysiology of TBI and how recovery from the injury is also shaped by pre-injury, comorbid, and contextual factors, and we also have increasing evidence that active interventions, including cognitive rehabilitation, can help to promote better outcomes. The study also peers ahead to discern two important directions that seem destined to influence research on TBI over the next 50 years: the development of large, multi-site observational studies and randomized controlled trials, bolstered by international research consortia and the adoption of common data elements; and attempts to translate research into health care and health policy by the application of rigorous methods drawn from implementation science. Future research shaped by these trends should provide critical evidence regarding the outcomes of TBI and its treatment, and should help to disseminate and implement the knowledge gained from research to the betterment of the quality of life of persons with TBI. (JINS, 2017, 23, 806–817)
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.