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Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) for the detection of foetal aneuploidy through analysis of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in maternal blood is offered routinely by many healthcare providers across the developed world. This testing has recently been recommended for evaluative implementation in the UK National Health Service (NHS) foetal anomaly screening pathway as a contingent screen following an increased risk of trisomy 21, 18 or 13. In preparation for delivering a national service, we have implemented cfDNA-based NIPT in our Regional Genetics Laboratory. Here, we describe our validation and verification processes and initial experiences of the technology prior to rollout of a national screening service.
Data are presented from more than 1000 patients (215 retrospective and 840 prospective) from ‘high- and low-risk pregnancies’ with outcome data following birth or confirmatory invasive prenatal sampling. NIPT was by the Illumina Verifi® test.
Our data confirm a high-fidelity service with a failure rate of ~0.24% and a high sensitivity and specificity for the detection of foetal trisomy 13, 18 and 21. Secondly, the data show that a significant proportion of patients continue their pregnancies without prenatal invasive testing or intervention after receiving a high-risk cfDNA-based result. A total of 46.5% of patients referred to date were referred for reasons other than high screen risk. Ten percent (76/840 clinical service referrals) of patients were referred with ultrasonographic finding of a foetal structural anomaly, and data analysis indicates high- and low-risk scan indications for NIPT.
NIPT can be successfully implemented into NHS regional genetics laboratories to provide high-quality services. NHS provision of NIPT in patients with high-risk screen results will allow for a reduction of invasive testing and partially improve equality of access to cfDNA-based NIPT in the pregnant population. Patients at low risk for a classic trisomy or with other clinical indications are likely to continue to access cfDNA-based NIPT as a private test.
To assess the impact of a newly developed Central-Line Insertion Site Assessment (CLISA) score on the incidence of local inflammation or infection for CLABSI prevention.
A pre- and postintervention, quasi-experimental quality improvement study.
Setting and participants:
Adult inpatients with central venous catheters (CVCs) hospitalized in an intensive care unit or oncology ward at a large academic medical center.
We evaluated CLISA score impact on insertion site inflammation and infection (CLISA score of 2 or 3) incidence in the baseline period (June 2014–January 2015) and the intervention period (April 2015–October 2017) using interrupted times series and generalized linear mixed-effects multivariable analyses. These were run separately for days-to-line removal from identification of a CLISA score of 2 or 3. CLISA score interrater reliability and photo quiz results were evaluated.
Among 6,957 CVCs assessed 40,846 times, percentage of lines with CLISA score of 2 or 3 in the baseline and intervention periods decreased by 78.2% (from 22.0% to 4.7%), with a significant immediate decrease in the time-series analysis (P < .001). According to the multivariable regression, the intervention was associated with lower percentage of lines with a CLISA score of 2 or 3, after adjusting for age, gender, CVC body location, and hospital unit (odds ratio, 0.15; 95% confidence interval, 0.06–0.34; P < .001). According to the multivariate regression, days to removal of lines with CLISA score of 2 or 3 was 3.19 days faster after the intervention (P < .001). Also, line dwell time decreased 37.1% from a mean of 14 days (standard deviation [SD], 10.6) to 8.8 days (SD, 9.0) (P < .001). Device utilization ratios decreased 9% from 0.64 (SD, 0.08) to 0.58 (SD, 0.06) (P = .039).
The CLISA score creates a common language for assessing line infection risk and successfully promotes high compliance with best practices in timely line removal.
Consanguineous marriages potentially play an important role in the transmission of β-thalassaemia in many communities. This study aimed to determine the rate and socio-demographic associations of consanguineous marriages and to assess the influence on the prevalence of β-thalassaemia in Sri Lanka. Three marriage registrars from each district of Sri Lanka were randomly selected to prospectively collect data on all couples who registered their marriage during a 6-month period starting 1st July 2009. Separately, the parents of patients with β-thalassaemia were interviewed to identify consanguinity. A total of 5255 marriages were recorded from 22 districts. The average age at marriage was 27.3 (±6.1) years for males and 24.1 (±5.7) years for females. A majority (71%) of marriages were ‘love’ marriages, except in the Moor community where 84% were ‘arranged’ marriages. Overall, the national consanguinity rate was 7.4%. It was significantly higher among ethnic Tamils (22.4%) compared with Sinhalese (3.8%) and Moors (3.2%) (p < 0.001). Consanguinity rates were also higher in ‘arranged’ as opposed to ‘love’ marriages (11.7% vs 5.6%, p < 0.001). In patients with β-thalassaemia, the overall consanguinity rate was 14.5%; it was highest among Tamils (44%) and lowest among Sinhalese (12%). Parental consanguinity among patients with β-thalassaemia was double the national average. Although consanguinity is not the major factor in the transmission of the disease in the country, emphasis should be given to this significant practice when conducting β-thalassaemia prevention and awareness campaigns, especially in high-prevalence communities.
Our ability to reliably use radiocarbon (14C) dates of mollusk shells to estimate calendar ages may depend on the feeding preference and habitat of a particular species and the geology of the region. Gastropods that feed by scraping are prone to incorporation of carbon from the substrate into their shells as evidenced by studies comparing the radiocarbon dates of shells and flesh from different species on different substrates (Dye 1994; Hogg et al. 1998). Limpet shells (Patella sp.) are commonly found in prehistoric midden deposits in the British Isles and elsewhere, however these shells have largely been avoided for radiocarbon dating in regions of limestone outcrops. Results from limpets (Patella vulgata) collected alive on limestone and volcanic substrates on the coasts of Ireland indicate that the shells were formed in equilibrium with the seawater, with no significant 14C offsets. Limpets collected from the east coast of Northern Ireland have elevated 14C due to the output of Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant. In all locations, the flesh was depleted in 14C compared to the shells. The results will have an important consequence for radiocarbon dating of midden deposits as well as the bone of humans and animals who fed on the limpets.
Adolescent association with deviant and delinquent friends was examined for its roots in coercive parent–teen interactions and its links to functional difficulties extending beyond delinquent behavior and into adulthood. A community sample of 184 adolescents was followed from age 13 to age 27, with collateral data obtained from close friends, classmates, and parents. Even after accounting for adolescent levels of delinquent and deviant behavior, association with deviant friends was predicted by coercive parent–teen interactions and then linked to declining functioning with peers during adolescence and greater internalizing and externalizing symptoms and poorer overall adjustment in adulthood. Results are interpreted as suggesting that association with deviant friends may disrupt a core developmental task—establishing positive relationships with peers—with implications that extend well beyond deviancy-training effects.
Shunt-related adverse events are frequent in infants after modified Blalock–Taussig despite use of acetylsalicylic acid prophylaxis. A higher incidence of acetylsalicylic acid-resistance and sub-therapeutic acetylsalicylic acid levels has been reported in infants. We evaluated whether using high-dose acetylsalicylic acid can decrease shunt-related adverse events in infants after modified Blalock–Taussig.
In this single-centre retrospective cohort study, we included infants ⩽1-year-old who underwent modified Blalock–Taussig placement and received acetylsalicylic acid in the ICU. We defined acetylsalicylic acid treatment groups as standard dose (⩽7 mg/kg/day) and high dose (⩾8 mg/kg/day) based on the initiating dose.
There were 34 infants in each group. Both groups were similar in age, gender, cardiac defect type, ICU length of stay, and time interval to second stage or definitive repair. Shunt interventions (18 versus 32%, p=0.16), shunt thrombosis (14 versus 17%, p=0.74), and mortality (9 versus 12%, p=0.65) were not significantly different between groups. On multiple logistic regression analysis, single-ventricle morphology (odds ratio 5.2, 95% confidence interval of 1.2–23, p=0.03) and post-operative red blood cells transfusion ⩾24 hours [odds ratio 15, confidence interval of (3–71), p<0.01] were associated with shunt-related adverse events. High-dose acetylsalicylic acid treatment [odds ratio 2.6, confidence interval of (0.7–10), p=0.16] was not associated with decrease in these events.
High-dose acetylsalicylic acid may not be sufficient in reducing shunt-related adverse events in infants after modified Blalock–Taussig. Post-operative red blood cells transfusion may be a modifiable risk factor for these events. A randomised trial is needed to determine appropriate acetylsalicylic acid dosing in infants with modified Blalock–Taussig.
Loneliness and social networks have been extensively studied in relation to cognitive impairments, but how they interact with each other in relation to cognition is still unclear. This study aimed at exploring the interaction of loneliness and various types of social networks in relation to cognition in older adults.
a cross-sectional study.
497 older adults with normal global cognition were interviewed.
Loneliness was assessed with Chinese 6-item De Jong Gierverg’s Loneliness Scale. Confiding network was defined as people who could share inner feelings with, whereas non-confiding network was computed by subtracting the confiding network from the total network size. Cognitive performance was expressed as a global composite z-score of Cantonese version of mini mental state examination (CMMSE), Categorical verbal fluency test (CVFT) and delayed recall. Linear regression was used to test the main effects of loneliness and the size of various networks, and their interaction on cognitive performance with the adjustment of sociodemographic, physical and psychological confounders.
Significant interaction was found between loneliness and non-confiding network on cognitive performance (B = .002, β = .092, t = 2.099, p = .036). Further analysis showed a significant interaction between loneliness and the number of family members in non-confiding network on cognition (B = .021, β = .119, t = 2.775, p = .006).
Results suggested that a non-confiding relationship with family members might put lonely older adults at risk of cognitive impairment. Our study might have implications on designing psychosocial intervention for those who are vulnerable to loneliness as an early prevention of neurocognitive impairments.
The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) is an important legacy of the International Polar Year (IPY). APECS continues to foster engagement in education, outreach and communication (EOC) activities relating to the polar regions and provide training for early career researchers (ECRs). We highlight opportunities for training, leadership and skills development, such as the annual Polar Weeks and Antarctica Day celebrations. Participation and engagement in EOC activities actively contributes to career development by enabling ECRs to develop valuable soft skills such as networking, communication and interdisciplinary knowledge. A pilot survey on EOC engagement highlighted that those who organise events also gain leadership skills such as team management. We discuss several factors contributing to the success of APECS in training the next generation of polar leaders. These include the geographical rather than discipline-specific focus of the organisation, utilisation of online resources, including social media, and the strong links with partner organisations. These examples demonstrate how the EOC legacy of IPY has continued due to APECS’ targeted efforts to create EOC opportunities and provide skills and leadership training for ECRs.
Background: Most people with common mental health problems do not seek evidence-based psychological interventions. Aims: The aim of this study was to investigate whether monitoring symptoms of depression and anxiety using an app increased treatment-seeking. Method: Three hundred and six people with significant levels of anxiety and depression, none of whom were currently receiving treatment, were randomly allocated to receive either (a) information about local psychological services only, (b) information plus regular symptom monitoring (every 6 days), or (c) information plus open symptom monitoring (monitoring when they felt like it). An app was used to provide information and monitor mood. Results: The proportion of participants who reported receiving treatment after starting the study was 7.2% (10/138) in the information only group, 8.1% (9/111) in the information plus regular monitoring group and 15.8% (9/57) in the information plus open monitoring group. There was a trend for participants who were able to monitor whenever they wished to be more likely to report receiving treatment than people who were only given information about their local treatment services. The impact of the intervention was greatest among participants who intended to seek treatment before taking part. Limitations were that only a small minority of those who downloaded the app completed the study and that the study relied on self-reported measures of treatment-seeking. Conclusions: Symptom monitoring can increase actual treatment-seeking in those with an intention to seek treatment.