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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.
We derive the surface and basal radar reflectance and backscatter coefficients of the southern McMurdo Ice Shelf (SMIS) and part of the nearby Ross Ice Shelf (RIS), Antarctica, from radar statistical reconnaissance using a 60-MHZ airborne survey. The surface coefficients are further inverted in terms of snow density and roughness, providing a spatial distribution of the processes contributing to the surface boundary conditions. We disentangle the basal coefficients from surface transmission losses, and we provide the basal coherent content, an indicator of the boundary geometric disorder that is also self-corrected from englacial attenuation. The basal radar properties exhibit sharp gradients along specific iso-depths, suggesting an abrupt modification of the ice composition and geometric structure. We interpret this behavior as locations where the pressure-melting point is reached, outlining fields of freezing and melting ice. Basal steps are observed at both SMIS and RIS, suggesting a common geometric expression of widespread basal processes. This technique offers a simultaneous view of both the surface and basal boundary conditions to help investigate the ice-shelf stability, while its application to airborne data significantly improves coverage of the difficult-to-observe ice–ocean boundary. It also provides constraints on thermohaline circulation in ice shelves cavities, which are analogs for ice-covered ocean worlds.
Despite emerging evidence regarding the reversibility of stunting at older ages, most stunting research continues to focus on children below 5 years of age. We aimed to assess stunting prevalence and examine the sociodemographic distribution of stunting risk among older children and adolescents in a Malaysian population.
We used cross-sectional data on 6759 children and adolescents aged 6–19 years living in Segamat, Malaysia. We compared prevalence estimates for stunting defined using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) references, using Cohen's κ coefficient. Associations between sociodemographic indices and stunting risk were examined using mixed-effects Poisson regression with robust standard errors.
The classification of children and adolescents as stunted or normal height differed considerably between the two references (CDC v. WHO; κ for agreement: 0.73), but prevalence of stunting was high regardless of reference (crude prevalence: CDC 29.2%; WHO: 19.1%). Stunting risk was approximately 19% higher among underweight v. normal weight children and adolescents (p = 0.030) and 21% lower among overweight children and adolescents (p = 0.001), and decreased strongly with improved household drinking water sources [risk ratio (RR) for water piped into house: 0.35, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.30–0.41, p < 0.001). Protective effects were also observed for improved sanitation facilities (RR for flush toilet: 0.41, 95% CI 0.19–0.88, p = 0.023). Associations were not materially affected in multiple sensitivity analyses.
Our findings justify a framework for strategies addressing stunting across childhood, and highlight the need for consensus on a single definition of stunting in older children and adolescents to streamline monitoring efforts.
During the past two decades, it has been amply documented that neuropsychiatric disorders (NPDs) disproportionately account for burden of illness attributable to chronic non-communicable medical disorders globally. It is also likely that human capital costs attributable to NPDs will disproportionately increase as a consequence of population aging and beneficial risk factor modification of other common and chronic medical disorders (e.g., cardiovascular disease). Notwithstanding the availability of multiple modalities of antidepressant treatment, relatively few studies in psychiatry have primarily sought to determine whether improving cognitive function in MDD improves patient reported outcomes (PROs) and/or is cost effective. The mediational relevance of cognition in MDD potentially extrapolates to all NPDs, indicating that screening for, measuring, preventing, and treating cognitive deficits in psychiatry is not only a primary therapeutic target, but also should be conceptualized as a transdiagnostic domain to be considered regardless of patient age and/or differential diagnosis.
Few studies have investigated the patterns of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom change in prolonged exposure (PE) therapy. In this study, we aimed to understand the patterns of PTSD symptom change in both PE and present-centered therapy (PCT).
Participants were active duty military personnel (N = 326, 89.3% male, 61.2% white, 32.5 years old) randomized to spaced-PE (S-PE; 10 sessions over 8 weeks), PCT (10 sessions over 8 weeks), or massed-PE (M-PE; 10 sessions over 2 weeks). Using latent profile analysis, we determined the optimal number of PTSD symptom change classes over time and analyzed whether baseline and follow-up variables were associated with class membership.
Five classes, namely rapid responder (7–17%), steep linear responder (14–22%), gradual responder (30–34%), non-responder (27–33%), and symptom exacerbation (7–13%) classes, characterized each treatment. No baseline clinical characteristics predicted class membership for S-PE and M-PE; in PCT, more negative baseline trauma cognitions predicted membership in the non-responder v. gradual responder class. Class membership was robustly associated with PTSD, trauma cognitions, and depression up to 6 months after treatment for both S-PE and M-PE but not for PCT.
Distinct profiles of treatment response emerged that were similar across interventions. By and large, no baseline variables predicted responder class. Responder status was a strong predictor of future symptom severity for PE, whereas response to PCT was not as strongly associated with future symptoms.
Integration of biomarker data with information on health and lifestyle provides a powerful tool to enhance the scientific value of health research. Existing health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSSs) present an opportunity to create novel biodata resources for this purpose, but data and biological sample collection often presents challenges. We outline some of the challenges in developing these resources and present the outcomes of a biomarker feasibility study embedded within the South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO) HDSS.
We assessed study-related records to determine the pace of data collection, response from potential participants, and feedback following data and sample collection. Overall and stratified measures of data and sample availability were summarised. Crude prevalence of key risk factors was examined.
Approximately half (49.5%) of invited individuals consented to participate in this study, for a final sample size of 203 (161 adults and 42 children). Women were more likely to consent to participate compared with men, whereas children, young adults and individuals of Malay ethnicity were less likely to consent compared with older individuals or those of any other ethnicity. At least one biological sample (blood from all participants – finger-prick and venous [for serum, plasma and whole blood samples], hair or urine for adults only) was successfully collected from all participants, with blood test data available from over 90% of individuals. Among adults, urine samples were most commonly collected (97.5%), followed by any blood samples (91.9%) and hair samples (83.2%). Cardiometabolic risk factor burden was high (prevalence of elevated HbA1c among adults: 23.8%; of elevated triglycerides among adults: 38.1%; of elevated total cholesterol among children: 19.5%).
In this study, we show that it is feasible to create biodata resources using existing HDSS frameworks, and identify a potentially high burden of cardiometabolic risk factors that requires further evaluation in this population.
Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) regimes for HIV are associated with raised levels of circulating triglycerides (TGs) in western populations. However, there are limited data on the impact of ART on cardiometabolic risk in sub-Saharan African (SSA) populations.
Pooled analyses of 14 studies comprising 21 023 individuals, on whom relevant cardiometabolic risk factors (including TG), HIV and ART status were assessed between 2003 and 2014, in SSA. The association between ART and raised TG (>2.3 mmol/L) was analysed using regression models.
Among 10 615 individuals, ART was associated with a two-fold higher probability of raised TG (RR 2.05, 95% CI 1.51–2.77, I2 = 45.2%). The associations between ART and raised blood pressure, glucose, HbA1c, and other lipids were inconsistent across studies.
Evidence from this study confirms the association of ART with raised TG in SSA populations. Given the possible causal effect of raised TG on cardiovascular disease (CVD), the evidence highlights the need for prospective studies to clarify the impact of long term ART on CVD outcomes in SSA.
Many novel therapeutic options for depression exist that are either not mentioned in clinical guidelines or recommended only for use in highly specialist services. The challenge faced by clinicians is when it might be appropriate to consider such ‘non-standard’ interventions. This analysis proposes a framework to aid this decision.
Declaration of interest
In the past 3 years R.H.M.W. has received support for research, expenses to attend conferences and fees for lecturing and consultancy work (including attending advisory boards) from various pharmaceutical companies including Astra Zeneca, Cyberonics, Eli Lilly, Janssen, LivaNova, Lundbeck, MyTomorrows, Otsuka, Pfizer, Roche, Servier, SPIMACO and Sunovion. D.M.B.C. has received fees from LivaNova for attending an advisory board. In the past 3 years A.J.C. has received fees for lecturing from Astra Zeneca and Lundbeck; fees for consulting from LivaNova, Janssen and Allergan; and research grant support from Lundbeck.
In the past 3 years A.C. has received fees for lecturing from pharmaceutical companies namely Lundbeck and Sunovion. In the past 3 years A.L.M. has received support for attending seminars and fees for consultancy work (including advisory board) from Medtronic Inc and LivaNova. R.M. holds joint research grants with a number of digital companies that investigate devices for depression including Alpha-stim, Big White Wall, P1vital, Intel, Johnson and Johnson and Lundbeck through his mindTech and CLAHRC EM roles. M.S. is an associate at Blueriver Consulting providing intelligence to NHS organisations, pharmaceutical and devices companies. He has received honoraria for presentations and advisory boards with Lundbeck, Eli Lilly, URGO, AstraZeneca, Phillips and Sanofi and holds shares in Johnson and Johnson. In the past 3 years P.R.A.S. has received support for research, expenses to attend conferences and fees for lecturing and consultancy work (including attending an advisory board) from life sciences companies including Corcept Therapeutics, Indivior and LivaNova. In the past 3 years P.S.T. has received consultancy fees as an advisory board member from the following companies: Galen Limited, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Europe Ltd, myTomorrows and LivaNova. A.H.Y. has undertaken paid lectures and advisory boards for all major pharmaceutical companies with drugs used in affective and related disorders and LivaNova. He has received funding for investigator initiated studies from AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Lundbeck and Wyeth.
This report describes the effective public health response to a measles outbreak involving a university campus in Brisbane, Australia. Eleven cases in total were notified, mostly university students. The public health response included targeted measles vaccination clinics which were established on campus and focused on student groups most likely to have been exposed. The size of the university population, social interaction between students on and off campus, as well as limited vaccination records for the university community presented challenges for the control of this extremely infectious illness. We recommend domestic students ensure vaccinations are current prior to matriculation. Immunisation information should be included in university student enrolment packs. Incoming international students should ensure routine vaccinations are up-to-date prior to arrival in Australia, thereby reducing the risk of importation of measles and other infectious diseases.
Epstein Barr virus (EBV) infects 95% of the global population and is associated with up to 2% of cancers globally. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody levels to EBV have been shown to be heritable and associated with developing malignancies. We, therefore, performed a pilot genome-wide association analysis of anti-EBV IgG traits in an African population, using a combined approach including array genotyping, whole-genome sequencing and imputation to a panel with African sequence data. In 1562 Ugandans, we identify a variant in human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DQA1, rs9272371 (p = 2.6 × 10−17) associated with anti-EBV nuclear antigen-1 responses. Trans-ancestry meta-analysis and fine-mapping with European-ancestry individuals suggest the presence of distinct HLA class II variants driving associations in Uganda. In addition, we identify four putative, novel, very rare African-specific loci with preliminary evidence for association with anti-viral capsid antigen IgG responses which will require replication for validation. These findings reinforce the need for the expansion of such studies in African populations with relevant datasets to capture genetic diversity.
Satellite altimetric time series allow high-precision monitoring of ice-sheet mass balance. Understanding elevation changes in these regions is important because outlet glaciers along ice-sheet margins are critical in controlling flow of inland ice. Here we discuss a new airborne altimetry dataset collected as part of the ICECAP (International Collaborative Exploration of the Cryosphere by Airborne Profiling) project over East Antarctica. Using the ALAMO (Airborne Laser Altimeter with Mapping Optics) system of a scanning photon-counting lidar combined with a laser altimeter, we extend the 2003–09 surface elevation record of NASA’s ICESat satellite, by determining cross-track slope and thus independently correcting for ICESat’s cross-track pointing errors. In areas of high slope, cross-track errors result in measured elevation change that combines surface slope and the actual Δz/Δt signal. Slope corrections are particularly important in coastal ice streams, which often exhibit both rapidly changing elevations and high surface slopes. As a test case (assuming that surface slopes do not change significantly) we observe a lack of ice dynamic change at Cook Ice Shelf, while significant thinning occurred at Totten and Denman Glaciers during 2003–09.
Fruit and vegetable (FV) intake is associated with reduced risk of a number of non-communicable diseases. Research tends to focus on antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols contained in FV as the main beneficial components to health; however, increasing FV may also alter overall diet profile. Extra FV may be substituted for foods thought to be less healthy, therefore altering the overall macronutrient and/or micronutrient content in the diet. This analysis merged dietary data from four intervention studies in participants with varying health conditions and examined the effect of increased FV consumption on diet profile. Dietary intake was assessed by either diet diaries or diet histories used in four FV randomised intervention studies. All food and drink intake recorded was analysed using WISP version 3.0, and FV portions were manually counted using household measures. Regression analysis revealed significant increases in intakes of energy (172 kJ (+41 kcal)), carbohydrate (+3·9 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), total sugars (+6·0 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) and fibre (+0·8 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) and significant decreases in intakes of total fat (−1·4 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), SFA (−0·6 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), MUFA (−0·6 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), PUFA (−0·1 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) and starch (−2·1 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) per one portion increase in FV. Significant percentage increases were also observed in vitamin C (+24 %) and -carotene (+20 %) intake, per one portion increase in FV. In conclusion, pooled analysis of four FV intervention studies, that used similar approaches to achieving dietary change, in participants with varying health conditions, demonstrated an increase in energy, total carbohydrate, sugars and fibre intake, and a decrease in fat intake alongside an expected increase in micronutrient intake.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global public health threat. Emergence of AMR occurs naturally, but can also be selected for by antimicrobial exposure in clinical and veterinary medicine. Despite growing worldwide attention to AMR, there are substantial limitations in our understanding of the burden, distribution and determinants of AMR at the population level. We highlight the importance of population-based approaches to assess the association between antimicrobial use and AMR in humans and animals. Such approaches are needed to improve our understanding of the development and spread of AMR in order to inform strategies for the prevention, detection and management of AMR, and to support the sustainable use of antimicrobials in healthcare.
A significant minority of people presenting with a major depressive episode (MDE) experience co-occurring subsyndromal hypo/manic symptoms. As this presentation may have important prognostic and treatment implications, the DSM–5 codified a new nosological entity, the “mixed features specifier,” referring to individuals meeting threshold criteria for an MDE and subthreshold symptoms of (hypo)mania or to individuals with syndromal mania and subthreshold depressive symptoms. The mixed features specifier adds to a growing list of monikers that have been put forward to describe phenotypes characterized by the admixture of depressive and hypomanic symptoms (e.g., mixed depression, depression with mixed features, or depressive mixed states [DMX]). Current treatment guidelines, regulatory approvals, as well the current evidentiary base provide insufficient decision support to practitioners who provide care to individuals presenting with an MDE with mixed features. In addition, all existing psychotropic agents evaluated in mixed patients have largely been confined to patient populations meeting the DSM–IV definition of “mixed states” wherein the co-occurrence of threshold-level mania and threshold-level MDE was required. Toward the aim of assisting clinicians providing care to adults with MDE and mixed features, we have assembled a panel of experts on mood disorders to develop these guidelines on the recognition and treatment of mixed depression, based on the few studies that have focused specifically on DMX as well as decades of cumulated clinical experience.
Personality may predispose family caregivers to experience caregiving differently in similar situations and influence the outcomes of caregiving. A limited body of research has examined the role of some personality traits for health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among family caregivers of persons with dementia (PWD) in relation to burden and depression.
Data from a large clinic-based national study in South Korea, the Caregivers of Alzheimer's Disease Research (CARE), were analyzed (N = 476). Path analysis was performed to explore the association between family caregivers’ personality traits and HRQoL. With depression and burden as mediating factors, direct and indirect associations between five personality traits and HRQoL of family caregivers were examined.
Results demonstrated the mediating role of caregiver burden and depression in linking two personality traits (neuroticism and extraversion) and HRQoL. Neuroticism and extraversion directly and indirectly influenced the mental HRQoL of caregivers. Neuroticism and extraversion only indirectly influenced their physical HRQoL. Neuroticism increased the caregiver's depression, whereas extraversion decreased it. Neuroticism only was mediated by burden to influence depression and mental and physical HRQoL.
Personality traits can influence caregiving outcomes and be viewed as an individual resource of the caregiver. A family caregiver's personality characteristics need to be assessed for tailoring support programs to get the optimal benefits from caregiver interventions.
In this paper it is shown that the ability to directly detect a daughter atom, using resonance ionization spectroscopy, in delayed time coincidence with the decay of a parent species promises to drastically reduce the background in low-level counting experiments. In addition, resonance ionization can also be used as an ion source for a mass spectrometer system that is capable of discriminating between isobars.