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Background: Emergency Department (ED) communication between patients and clinicians is fraught with challenges. A local survey of 65 ED patients revealed low patient satisfaction with ED communication and resultant patient anxiety. Aim Statement: To increase patient satisfaction with ED communication and to decrease patient anxiety related to lack of ED visit information (primary aims), and to decrease clinician-perceived patient interruptions (secondary aim), each by one point on a 5-point Likert scale over a six-month period. Measures & Design: We performed wide stakeholder engagement, surveyed patients and clinicians, and conducted a patient focus group. An inductive analysis followed by a yield-feasibility-effort grid led to three interventions, introduced through sequential and additive Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles. PDSA 1: clinician communication tool (Acknowledge-Empathize-Inform [AEI] tool), based on survey themes and a literature review, and introduced through a multi-modal education approach. PDSA 2: patient information pamphlets developed with stakeholder input. PDSA 3: new waiting room TV screen with various informational ED-specific videos. Measures were conducted through anonymous surveys: Primary aims towards the end of the patient ED stay, and the secondary aim at the end of the clinician shift. We used Statistical Process Control (SPC) charts with usual special cause variation rules. Two-tailed Mann-Whitney tests were used to assess for statistical significance between means (significance: p < 0.05). Evaluation/Results: Over five months, 232 patient and 104 clinician surveys were collected. Wait times, ED processes, timing of typical steps, and directions were reported as the most important communication gaps, they and were included in the interventions. Patient satisfaction improved from 3.28 (5 being best, all means; n = 65) to 4.15 (n = 59, p < 0.0001). Patient anxiety improved from 2.96 (1 being best; n = 65) to 2.31 (n = 59, p < 0.01). Clinician-perceived interruptions went from 4.33 (1 being best; n = 30) to 4.18 (n = 11, p = 0.98). SPC charts using Likert scales did not show special cause variation. Discussion/Impact: A sequential, additive approach undertaken with pragmatic and low-cost interventions based on both clinician and patient input led to increased patient satisfaction with communication and decreased patient anxiety due to lack of ED visit information after PDSA cycles. These approaches could easily be replicated in other EDs to improve the patient experience.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common occurrence globally, and particularly so in pregnancy. There is conflicting evidence regarding the role of vitamin D during pregnancy in non-skeletal health outcomes for both the mother and the neonate. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations of maternal total 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25OHD) with neonatal anthropometrics and markers of neonatal glycaemia in the Belfast centre of the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome (HAPO) study. Serological samples (n 1585) were obtained from pregnant women in the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland, between 24 and 32 weeks’ gestation as part of the HAPO study. 25OHD concentrations were measured by liquid chromatography tandem-MS. Cord blood and neonatal anthropometric measurements were obtained within 72 h of birth. Statistical analysis was performed. After adjustment for confounders, birth weight standard deviation scores (SDS) and birth length SDS were significantly associated with maternal total 25OHD. A doubling of maternal 25OHD at 28 weeks’ gestation was associated with mean birth weight SDS and mean birth length SDS higher by 0·05 and 0·07, respectively (both, P=0·03). There were no significant associations with maternal 25OHD and other measures of neonatal anthropometrics or markers of neonatal glycaemia. In conclusion, maternal total 25OHD during pregnancy was independently associated with several neonatal anthropometric measurements; however, this association was relatively weak.
Type 2 diabetes plays a major role in racial/ethnic health disparities. We conducted the first study to examine whether multifaceted interventions targeting patients with poorly controlled diabetes (HgbA1c >9%) can reduce racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes control. Among 4595 patients with diabetes at a Federally Qualified Health Center in New York, a higher percentage of blacks (32%) and Hispanics/Latinos (32%) had poorly controlled diabetes than whites (25%) at baseline (prevalence ratio, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.14–1.43; P<0.001). After four years, this percentage was reduced in all groups (blacks, 21%; Hispanics/Latinos, 20%; whites, 20%; P<0.001 for each relative to baseline). Disparities in diabetes control also were significantly reduced (change in disparity relative to whites: blacks, P=0.03; Hispanics/Latinos, P=0.008). In this diverse population, interventions targeting patients with poorly controlled diabetes not only improved diabetes control in all racial/ethnic groups, but significantly reduced disparities. This approach warrants further testing and may help reduce disparities in other populations.
Deriving glacier outlines from satellite data has become increasingly popular in the past decade. In particular when glacier outlines are used as a base for change assessment, it is important to know how accurate they are. Calculating the accuracy correctly is challenging, as appropriate reference data (e.g. from higher-resolution sensors) are seldom available. Moreover, after the required manual correction of the raw outlines (e.g. for debris cover), such a comparison would only reveal the accuracy of the analyst rather than of the algorithm applied. Here we compare outlines for clean and debris-covered glaciers, as derived from single and multiple digitizing by different or the same analysts on very high- (1 m) and medium-resolution (30 m) remote-sensing data, against each other and to glacier outlines derived from automated classification of Landsat Thematic Mapper data. Results show a high variability in the interpretation of debris-covered glacier parts, largely independent of the spatial resolution (area differences were up to 30%), and an overall good agreement for clean ice with sufficient contrast to the surrounding terrain (differences ∼5%). The differences of the automatically derived outlines from a reference value are as small as the standard deviation of the manual digitizations from several analysts. Based on these results, we conclude that automated mapping of clean ice is preferable to manual digitization and recommend using the latter method only for required corrections of incorrectly mapped glacier parts (e.g. debris cover, shadow).
A few studies have examined the association between vitamin D and telomere length, and fewer still have examined the relationship in black or male populations. We investigated the cross-sectional association between the vitamin D metabolite 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration in plasma and relative leucocyte telomere length (LTL) in 1154 US radiologic technologists who were 48–93 years old (373 white females, 278 white males, 338 black females, 165 black males). Plasma 25(OH)D concentration was measured by the chemiluminescence immunoassay, and relative LTL was measured by quantitative PCR. Logistic regression was used to obtain OR and 95 % CI for long v. short (based on median) LTL in relation to continuous 25(OH)D, quartiles of 25(OH)D and 25(OH)D deficiency. We found no significant association between continuous 25(OH)D and long LTL in all participants (Ptrend=0·440), nor in white females (Ptrend=0·845), white males (Ptrend=0·636), black females (Ptrend=0·967) or black males (Ptrend=0·484). Vitamin D deficiency (defined as 25(OH)D<30 nmol/l), however, was significantly associated with short LTL in whites (P=0·024), but not in other groups. In this population, we found little evidence to support associations between 25(OH)D and long LTL over the entire range of 25(OH)D in the overall study population or by sex and race.
We report 36 to 50 μm observations of Arp 220 by the Goddard Cryogenic Grating Spectrometer on the Kuiper Airborne Observatory in May 1994. In this measurement, we find the galaxy to be four times brighter than in the measurements of Joy et al. (1986). If both of the observations are correct, this large far infrared luminosity increasing in a short time scale between the two observations suggests that the infrared emission in Arp 220 consists mostly of nonthermal synchrotron radiation which originates from the active nucleus.
Spectra at 16 - 45 μm of several regions within the central 80″ of the Galaxy have been obtained at 20″ resolution using the Goddard Cryogenic Grating Spectrometer No. 2 on the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. A broad band of excess emission extending from 24 to 45 μm is present in the spectra at positions covering the “tongue” and the inner edge of the circumnuclear disk. A similar dust emission feature has been observed in some carbon-rich evolved stars and in a nitrogen-rich evolved massive star. The observations reported here are the first detection of this dust emission feature in the interstellar medium. After considering several possible candidates of the carrier for this 30 μm dust feature, we find that MgS is the best owing to its good fit to the observed spectra. The origin of this ~ 30 μm feature in the Galactic center is unknown. Based on the theoretical results of dust condensation and elemental abundances in a supernova, we find that the supernovae in the central 500 pc could provide the amount of MgS dust, which we proposed as the carrier of the 30 μm dust feature, observed in the central 3 pc.
Timely morbidity surveillance of sheltered populations is crucial for identifying and addressing their immediate needs, and accurate surveillance allows us to better prepare for future disasters. However, disasters often create travel and communication challenges that complicate the collection and transmission of surveillance data. We describe a surveillance project conducted in New Jersey shelters after Hurricane Sandy, which occurred in November 2012, that successfully used cellular phones for remote real-time reporting. This project demonstrated that, when supported with just-in-time morbidity surveillance training, cellular phone reporting was a successful, sustainable, and less labor-intensive methodology than in-person shelter visits to capture morbidity data from multiple locations and opened a two-way communication channel with shelters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;10:525–528)
There is evidence for health benefits from ‘Palaeolithic’ diets; however, there are a few data on the acute effects of rationally designed Palaeolithic-type meals. In the present study, we used Palaeolithic diet principles to construct meals comprising readily available ingredients: fish and a variety of plants, selected to be rich in fibre and phyto-nutrients. We investigated the acute effects of two Palaeolithic-type meals (PAL 1 and PAL 2) and a reference meal based on WHO guidelines (REF), on blood glucose control, gut hormone responses and appetite regulation. Using a randomised cross-over trial design, healthy subjects were given three meals on separate occasions. PAL2 and REF were matched for energy, protein, fat and carbohydrates; PAL1 contained more protein and energy. Plasma glucose, insulin, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) and peptide YY (PYY) concentrations were measured over a period of 180 min. Satiation was assessed using electronic visual analogue scale (EVAS) scores. GLP-1 and PYY concentrations were significantly increased across 180 min for both PAL1 (P= 0·001 and P< 0·001) and PAL2 (P= 0·011 and P= 0·003) compared with the REF. Concomitant EVAS scores showed increased satiety. By contrast, GIP concentration was significantly suppressed. Positive incremental AUC over 120 min for glucose and insulin did not differ between the meals. Consumption of meals based on Palaeolithic diet principles resulted in significant increases in incretin and anorectic gut hormones and increased perceived satiety. Surprisingly, this was independent of the energy or protein content of the meal and therefore suggests potential benefits for reduced risk of obesity.
We briefly describe 2 systems that provided disaster-related mortality surveillance during and after Hurricane Sandy in New York City, namely, the New York City Health Department Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) and the American Red Cross paper-based tracking system.
Red Cross fatality data were linked with New York City EDRS records by using decedent name and date of birth. We analyzed cases identified by both systems for completeness and agreement across selected variables and the time interval between death and reporting in the system.
Red Cross captured 93% (41/44) of all Sandy-related deaths; the completeness and quality varied by item, and timeliness was difficult to determine. The circumstances leading to death captured by Red Cross were particularly useful for identifying reasons individuals stayed in evacuation zones. EDRS variables were nearly 100% complete, and the median interval between date of death and reporting was 6 days (range: 0-43 days).
Our findings indicate that a number of steps have the potential to improve disaster-related mortality surveillance, including updating Red Cross surveillance forms and electronic databases to enhance timeliness assessments, greater collaboration across agencies to share and use data for public health preparedness, and continued expansion of electronic death registration systems. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;8:489-491)
Individual differences in sleep patterns of children may have developmental origins. In the present study, two factors known to influence behavioural development, monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotype and prenatal Fe-deficient (ID) diet, were examined for their influences on sleep patterns in juvenile rhesus monkeys. Sleep patterns were assessed based on a threshold for inactivity as recorded by activity monitors. Pregnant monkeys were fed diets containing either 100 parts per million (ppm) Fe (Fe sufficient, IS) or 10 ppm Fe (ID). At 3–4 months of age, male offspring were genotyped for polymorphisms of the MAOA gene that lead to high or low transcription. At 1 and 2 years of age, sleep patterns were assessed. Several parameters of sleep architecture changed with age. At 1 year of age, monkeys with the low-MAOA genotype demonstrated a trend towards more sleep episodes at night compared with those with the high-MAOA genotype. When monkeys reached 2 years of age, prenatal ID reversed this trend; ID in the low-MAOA group resulted in sleep fragmentation, more awakenings at night and more sleep episodes during the day when compared with prenatal IS in this genotype. The ability to consolidate sleep during the dark cycle was disrupted by prenatal ID, specifically in monkeys with the low-MAOA genotype.
A computational algorithm has been developed to simulate the transport properties of oriented and un-oriented thin film nanocomposites of isotactic Polypropylene (iPP) and carbon nanotubes (CNT) with increasing CNT concentration. Our goal is to be able to design materials with optimal properties using these simulations. We use a cellular automata approach in a Matlab 3-D array environment. The percolation threshold is reproduced in the simulations, matching experimental data. Upon percolation, the thermal transport in the films increases sharply, due to the large difference in the thermal conductivities of the CNTs and the polymer. To verify the simulation, the thin-film samples were sheared in the melt at 200C at 1 Hz in a Linkan microscope shearing hot stage. The thermal conductivity measurements were performed on the same cell arrangement with the transport perpendicular to the thin-film plane using a DC method. The thermal conductivity is higher for the un-sheared as compared to the sheared samples. Our cellular automata simulations provide information about the microstructuremacroscopic property relation in the thin film nanocomposites and can be extended to simulations of other important materials.
Anti-black prejudice affects how some citizens evaluate black candidates. What does it take to reduce the role of prejudice in these evaluations? Using logical implications of relevant psychological phenomena, this article shows that repeated exposure to counter-stereotypical information is insufficient to reduce evaluative prejudice. Instead, citizens must associate this prejudice with adverse effects for themselves in contexts that induce them to rethink their existing racial beliefs. These findings explain important disagreements in empirical prejudice research, as only some empirical research designs supply the conditions for prejudice reduction predicted here. This study also clarifies why similarly situated citizens react so differently to counter-stereotypical information. In sum, we find that prejudice change is possible, but in a far narrower set of circumstances than many scholars claim.
On Earth, microorganisms living under intense ultraviolet (UV) radiation stress can adopt endolithic lifestyles, growing within cracks and pore spaces in rocks. Intense UV irradiation encountered by microbes leads to death and significant damage to biomolecules, which also severely diminishes the likelihood of detecting signatures of life. Here we show that porous rocks shocked by asteroid or comet impacts provide protection for phototrophs and their biomolecules during 22 months of UV radiation exposure outside the International Space Station. The UV spectrum used approximated the high-UV flux on the surface of planets lacking ozone shields such as the early Earth. These data provide a demonstration that endolithic habitats can provide a refugium from the worst-case UV radiation environments on young planets and an empirical refutation of the idea that early intense UV radiation fluxes would have prevented phototrophs without the ability to form microbial mats or produce UV protective pigments from colonizing the surface of early landmasses.