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When Hurricane Harvey struck the coastline of Texas in 2017, it caused 88 fatalities and over US $125 billion in damage, along with increased emergency department visits in Houston and in cities receiving hurricane evacuees, such as the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex (DFW).
This study explored demographic indicators of vulnerability for patients from the Hurricane Harvey impact area who sought medical care in Houston and in DFW. The objectives were to characterize the vulnerability of affected populations presenting locally, as well as those presenting away from home, and to determine whether more vulnerable communities were more likely to seek medical care locally or elsewhere.
We used syndromic surveillance data alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Social Vulnerability Index to calculate the percentage of patients seeking care locally by zip code tabulation area. We used this variable to fit a spatial lag regression model, controlling for population density and flood extent.
Communities with more patients presenting for medical care locally were significantly clustered and tended to have greater socioeconomic vulnerability, lower household composition vulnerability, and more extensive flooding.
These findings suggest that populations remaining in place during a natural disaster event may have needs related to income, education, and employment, while evacuees may have more needs related to age, disability, and single-parent household status.
Introduction: Blood transfusions continue to be a critical intervention in patients presenting to emergency departments (ED). Improved understanding of the adverse events associated with transfusions has led to new research to inform and delineate transfusion guidelines. The Nova Scotia Guideline for Blood Component Utilization in Adults and Pediatrics was implemented in June 2017 to reflect current best practice in transfusion medicine. The guideline includes a lowering of the hemoglobin threshold from 80 g/L to 70 g/L for transfusion initiation, to be used in conjunction with the patient's hemodynamic assessment before and after transfusions. Our study aims to augment understanding of transfusion guideline adherence and ED physician transfusing practices at the Halifax Infirmary Emergency Department in Nova Scotia. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted on one third of all ED visits involving red-cell transfusions for one year prior to and one year following the guideline implementation. A total of 350 charts were reviewed. The primary data abstracted for the initial transfusion, and subsequent transfusion if applicable, from each reviewed chart included clinical and laboratory data reflective of the transfusion guideline. Based on these data, the transfusion event was classified one of three ways: indicated based on hemoglobin level, indicated based on patient's symptomatic presentation, or unable to determine if transfusion indicated based on charting. Results: The year before guideline implementation, the total number of transfusions initiated at a hemoglobin of between 71-80 was 31 of 146 total transfusions. This number dropped by 23.6% to 22 of 136 in the year following guideline implementation. The number of single-unit transfusions increased by 28.0% from 47 of 146 in the year prior to 56 of 136 in the year after guideline implementation. The initial indication for transfusion being unable to be determined based on charting provided increased by 120%. The indication for subsequent transfusions being unable to be determined based on charting increased by 1500% (P < 0.05). Conclusion: These data suggest that implementing transfusion guidelines effectively reduced the number of transfusions given in the ED setting and increased the number of single-unit transfusions administered. However, the data also suggest the need for better education around transfusion indications and proper documentation clearly outlining the rationale behind the decision to transfuse.
Background: In Canada, injuries represent 21% of Emergency Department (ED) visits. Faced with occupational injuries, physicians may feel pressured to provide urgent imaging to facilitate expedited return to work. There is not a body of literature to support this practice. Twenty percent of adult ED injuries involve workers compensation. Aim Statement: Tacit pressures were felt to impact imaging rates for patients with workplace injuries, and our aim was to determine if this hypothesis was accurate. We conducted a quality review to assess imaging rates among injuries suffered at work and outside work. A secondary aim was to reduce the harm resulting from non-value-added testing. Measures & Design: Information was collected from the Emergency Department Information System on patients with acute injuries over the age of 16-years including upper limb, lower limb, neck, back and head injuries. Data included both workplace and non-work-related presentations, Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) levels and age at presentation. Imaging included any of X-ray, CT, MRI, or Ultrasound ordered in EDs across the central zone of Nova Scotia from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2019. A total of 282,860 patient-encounters were included for analysis. Comparison was made between patients presenting under the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB) and those covered by the Department of Health and Wellness (DOHW). Imaging rates for all injuries were also trended over this ten-year period. Evaluation/Results: In patients between 16 and 65-years, the WCB group underwent more imaging (55.3% of visits) than did the DOHW group (43.1% of visits). In the same cohort, there was an overall decrease of over 10% in mean imaging rates for both WBC and DOHW between the first five-year period (2009-2013) and the second five-year study period (2013-2018). Imaging rates for WCB and DOHW converged with each decade beyond 35 years of age. No comparison was possible beyond 85-years, due to the absence of WCB presentations. Discussion/Impact: Patients presenting to the ED with workplace injuries are imaged at a higher rate than those covered by the DOHW. Campaigns promoting value-added care may have impacted imaging rates during the ten-year study period, explaining the decline in ED imaging for all injuries. While this 10% decrease in overall imaging is encouraging, these preliminary data indicate the need for further education on resource stewardship, especially for patients presenting to the ED with workplace injuries.
Introduction: Choosing Wisely Nova Scotia (CWNS), an affiliate of Choosing Wisely Canada™ (CWC), aims to address unnecessary care and testing through literature-informed lists developed by various disciplines. CWC has identified unnecessary head CTs among the top five interventions to question in the Emergency Department (ED). Zyluk (2015) determined the Canadian CT Head Rule (CCHR) as the most effective clinical decision rule in adults with minor head injuries. To better understand the current status of CCHR use in Nova Scotia, we conducted a retrospective audit of patient charts at the Charles V. Keating Emergency and Trauma Center, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Methods: Our mixed methods design included a literature review, retrospective chart audit, and a qualitative audit-feedback component with participating physicians. The chart audit applied the guidelines for adherence to the CCHR and reported on the level of compliance within the ED. Analysis of qualitative data is included here, in parallel with in-depth to contextualize findings from the audit. Results: 302 charts of patients having presented to the surveyed site were retrospectively reviewed. Of the 37 cases where a CT head was indicated as per the CCHR, a CT was ordered 32 (86.5%) times. Of the 176 cases where a CT head was not indicated, a CT was not ordered 155 (88.1%) times. Therefore, the CCHR was followed in 187 (87.8%) of the total 213 cases where the CCHR should be applied. Conclusion: Our study reveals adherence to the CCHR in 87.8% of cases at this ED. Identifying contextual factors that facilitate or hinder the application of CCHR in practice is critical for reducing unnecessary CTs. This work has been presented to the physician group to gain physician engagement and to elucidate enablers and barriers to guideline adherence. In light of the frequency of CT heads ordered EDs, even a small reduction would be impactful.
Aspects of neutrophil function are diminished or dysregulated in dairy cows in the weeks just before and after calving, which appears to be an important contributor to the occurrence of retained placenta, mastitis, metritis and endometritis. The timing and mechanisms by which specific elements of neutrophil function are impaired are only partially understood. Oxidative burst capacity is the element of neutrophil function most consistently shown to be impaired in the week after calving, but that observation may partially be biased because oxidative burst has been studied more than other functions. There is sufficient evidence to conclude that the availability of calcium and glucose, and exposure to elevated concentrations of non-esterified fatty acids or β-hydroxybutyrate affect some aspects of neutrophil function. However, these factors have mostly been studied in isolation and their effects are not consistent. Social stressors such as a competitive environment for feeding or lying space should plausibly impair innate immune function, but when studied under controlled conditions such effects have generally not been produced. Similarly, treatment with recombinant bovine granulocyte colony-stimulating factor consistently produces large increases in circulating neutrophil count with modest improvements in function, but this does not consistently reduce the incidence of clinical diseases thought to be importantly attributable to impaired innate immunity. Research is now needed that considers the interactions among known and putative risk factors for impaired neutrophil function in dairy cows in the transition period.
A systematic review and network meta-analysis were conducted to assess the relative efficacy of internal or external teat sealants given at dry-off in dairy cattle. Controlled trials were eligible if they assessed the use of internal or external teat sealants, with or without concurrent antimicrobial therapy, compared to no treatment or an alternative treatment, and measured one or more of the following outcomes: incidence of intramammary infection (IMI) at calving, IMI during the first 30 days in milk (DIM), or clinical mastitis during the first 30 DIM. Risk of bias was based on the Cochrane Risk of Bias 2.0 tool with modified signaling questions. From 2280 initially identified records, 32 trials had data extracted for one or more outcomes. Network meta-analysis was conducted for IMI at calving. Use of an internal teat sealant (bismuth subnitrate) significantly reduced the risk of new IMI at calving compared to non-treated controls (RR = 0.36, 95% CI 0.25–0.72). For comparisons between antimicrobial and teat sealant groups, concerns regarding precision were seen. Synthesis of the primary research identified important challenges related to the comparability of outcomes, replication and connection of interventions, and quality of reporting of study conduct.
A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted to determine the efficacy of selective dry-cow antimicrobial therapy compared to blanket therapy (all quarters/all cows). Controlled trials were eligible if any of the following were assessed: incidence of clinical mastitis during the first 30 DIM, frequency of intramammary infection (IMI) at calving, or frequency of IMI during the first 30 DIM. From 3480 identified records, nine trials were data extracted for IMI at calving. There was an insufficient number of trials to conduct meta-analysis for the other outcomes. Risk of IMI at calving in selectively treated cows was higher than blanket therapy (RR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.13, 1.16), but substantial heterogeneity was present (I2 = 58%). Subgroup analysis showed that, for trials using internal teat sealants, there was no difference in IMI risk at calving between groups, and no heterogeneity was present. For trials not using internal teat sealants, there was an increased risk in cows assigned to a selective dry-cow therapy protocol, compared to blanket treatment, with substantial heterogeneity in this subgroup. However, the small number of trials and heterogeneity in the subgroup without internal teat sealants suggests that the relative risk between treatments may differ from the determined point estimates based on other unmeasured factors.
A systematic review and network meta-analysis were conducted to assess the relative efficacy of antimicrobial therapy given to dairy cows at dry-off. Eligible studies were controlled trials assessing the use of antimicrobials compared to no treatment or an alternative treatment, and assessed one or more of the following outcomes: incidence of intramammary infection (IMI) at calving, incidence of IMI during the first 30 days in milk (DIM), or incidence of clinical mastitis during the first 30 DIM. Databases and conference proceedings were searched for relevant articles. The potential for bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias 2.0 algorithm. From 3480 initially identified records, 45 trials had data extracted for one or more outcomes. Network meta-analysis was conducted for IMI at calving. The use of cephalosporins, cloxacillin, or penicillin with aminoglycoside significantly reduced the risk of new IMI at calving compared to non-treated controls (cephalosporins, RR = 0.37, 95% CI 0.23–0.65; cloxacillin, RR = 0.55, 95% CI 0.38–0.79; penicillin with aminoglycoside, RR = 0.42, 95% CI 0.26–0.72). Synthesis revealed challenges with a comparability of outcomes, replication of interventions, definitions of outcomes, and quality of reporting. The use of reporting guidelines, replication among interventions, and standardization of outcome definitions would increase the utility of primary research in this area.
Traditional manufacturing methods restrict the expansion of thermoelectric technology. Here, we demonstrate a new manufacturing approach for thermoelectric materials. Selective laser melting, an additive manufacturing technique, is performed on loose thermoelectric powders for the first time. Layer-by-layer construction is realized with bismuth telluride, Bi2Te3, and an 88% relative density was achieved. Scanning electron microscopy results suggest good fusion between each layer although multiple pores exist within the melted region. X-ray diffraction results confirm that the Bi2Te3 crystal structure is preserved after laser melting. Temperature-dependent absolute Seebeck coefficient, electrical conductivity, specific heat, thermal diffusivity, thermal conductivity, and dimensionless thermoelectric figure of merit ZT are characterized up to 500 °C, and the bulk thermoelectric material produced by this technique has comparable thermoelectric and electrical properties to those fabricated from traditional methods. The method shown here may be applicable to other thermoelectric materials and offers a novel manufacturing approach for thermoelectric devices.
Introduction: Screening for organ and tissue donation is an essential skill for emergency physicians. In 2015, 4564 individuals were on a waiting list for organ transplant and 242 died while waiting. As Canadas donation rates are less than half that of other comparable countries, it is crucial to ensure we are identifying all potential donors. Patients deceased from poisoning are a source that may not be considered for referral as often as those who die from other causes. This study aims to identify if patients dying from poisoning represent an under-referred group and determine what physician characteristics influence referral decisions. Methods: In this cross-sectional unidirectional survey study, physician members of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians were invited to participate. Participants were presented with 20 organ donation scenarios that included poisoned and non-poisoned deaths, as well as one ideal scenario for organ or tissue donation used for comparison. Participants were unaware of the objective to explore donation in the context of poisoning deaths. Following the organ donation scenarios, a range of follow-up questions and demographics were included to explore factors influencing the decision to refer or not refer for organ or tissue donation. Results were reported descriptively and associations between physician characteristics and decisions to refer were assessed using odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Results: 208/2058 (10.1%) physicians participated. 25% did not refer in scenarios involving a drug overdose (n=71). Specific poisonings commonly triggering the decision to not refer included palliative care medications (n=34, 18%), acetaminophen (n=42, 22%), chemical exposure (n=48, 27%) and organophosphates (n=87, 48%). Factors associated with an increased likelihood to refer potential donors following overdose included previous organ and tissue donation training (OR=2.6), having referred in the past (OR=4.3), available donation support (OR=3.9), greater than 10 years of service (OR=2.1), large urban center (OR=3.8), holding emergency medicine certification (OR=3.6), male gender (OR=2.2, CI), and having indicated a desire to be a donor on government identification (OR=5.8). Conclusion: Scenarios involving drug overdoses were associated with under-referral for organ and tissue donation. As poisoning is not a contraindication for referral, this represents a potential source of donors. By examining characteristics that put clinicians at risk for under-referral of organ or tissue donors, becoming aware of potential biases, improving transplant knowledge bases, and implementing support and training programs for the organ and tissue donation processes, we have the opportunity to improve these rates and reduce morbidity and mortality for Canadians requiring organ or tissue donation.
The purpose of the present study was to evaluate locomotor strategies during development in domestic chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus); we were motivated, in part, by current efforts to improve the design of housing systems for laying hens which aim to reduce injury and over-exertion. Using four strains of laying hens (Lohmann Brown, Lohmann LSL lite, Dekalb White and Hyline Brown) throughout this longitudinal study, we investigated their locomotor style and climbing capacity in relation to the degree (0 to 70°) of incline, age (2 to 36 weeks) and the surface substrate (sandpaper or wire grid). Chicks and adult fowl performed only walking behavior to climb inclines ⩽40° and performed a combination of wing-assisted incline running (WAIR) or aerial ascent on steeper inclines. Fewer birds used their wings to aid their hind limbs when climbing 50° inclines on wire grid surface compared with sandpaper. The steepness of angle achieved during WAIR and the tendency to fly instead of using WAIR increased with increasing age and experience. White-feathered strains performed more wing-associated locomotor behavior compared with brown-feathered strains. A subset of birds was never able to climb incline angles >40° even when using WAIR. Therefore, we suggest that inclines of up to 40° should be provided for hens in three-dimensional housing systems, which are easily negotiated (without wing use) by chicks and adult fowl.
Background: Oligodendroglioma (ODG), a molecularly defined subtype of glioma, is a treatment responsive, slow growing tumour strongly associated with IDH mutation and 1p19q co-deletion. Mutations in Capicua (CIC), located on chromosome 19q, have been found in up to 70% of IDH mutated, 1p19q co-deleted ODGs; suggesting that loss or altered function of CIC may be crucially associated with ODG’s unique biology. CIC and ATXN1L have previously been implicated in neurodegeneration, however, this interaction has not been studied in cancer. Methods: Transcriptome profiling of CIC knockout HEK293 cell lines generated using CRISPR was performed using microarray. CIC and ATXN1L interaction was confirmed using immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence. Transcript and protein changes of CIC targets were tested using RT-qPCR and Western blot following ATXN1L siRNA knockdown. Results: Transcriptomic profiling of CIC knockout cell lines resulted in a list of candidate CIC target genes validated against clinical samples. Immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence confirmed CIC and ATXN1L interaction. Derepression of candidate CIC targets at transcript and protein levels was seen upon siRNA knockdown of ATXN1L. Conclusions: The interaction between CIC and ATXN1L is necessary for the repression of CIC target genes, including known oncogenes. Further research into the relationship between CIC and ATXN1L may lead potentially novel avenues of therapeutic approaches for less favorable gliomas.
Much can be learned from terrestrial planets that appear to have had the potential to be habitable, but failed to realize that potential. Mars shows evidence of a once hospitable surface environment. The reasons for its current state, and in particular its thin atmosphere and dry surface, are of great interest for what they can tell us about habitable zone planet outcomes. A main goal of the MAVEN mission is to observe Mars’ atmosphere responses to solar and space weather influences, and in particular atmosphere escape related to space weather ‘storms’ caused by interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs). Numerical experiments with a data-validated MHD model suggest how the effects of an observed moderately strong ICME compare to what happens during a more extreme event. The results suggest the kinds of solar and space weather conditions that can have evolutionary importance at a planet like Mars.
Somatic mutations in the Capicua (CIC) gene were first identified in Type I low-grade gliomas (LGGs), which are characterized by 1p/19q co-deletions and IDH mutations. They are found at frequencies of ~50-70% in this glioma subtype, and have since been identified in ~40% of stomach adenocarcinomas (STADs) of the microsatellite instability (MSI) subtype; however, the role of these somatic mutations in malignancy has yet to be established. In Drosophila, CIC functions as a transcriptional repressor whose activity is inhibited upon activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling pathway. Though mammalian CIC appears to retain these functions, only three of its target genes have been established in human cells: ETV1, ETV4, and ETV5 (ETV1/4/5). To further probe CIC’s transcriptional network, we developed CIC knockout cell lines and performed transcriptomic and proteiomic analyses in these and in control cell lines expressing wild type CIC, identifying a total of 582 differentially expressed genes. We also used RNA-seq data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) for Type I LGGs and STADs to perform additional differential expression analyses between CIC-deficient and CIC-expressing samples. Though gene-level overlap was limited between the three contexts, we found that CIC appears to regulate the expression of genes involved in cell-cell adhesion, metabolism, and developmental processes in all three contexts. These results shed light on the pathological role of CIC mutations and may help explain why these have been associated with poorer outcome within Type I LGGs.
Introduction: Despite strong evidence that antithrombotic drugs in atrial fibrillation/flutter (AF) patients reduce stroke risk, previous emergency department (ED) pre-novel anticoagulant (NOAC) studies have shown that most discharged patients are not optimally treated. This study sought to determine baseline antithrombotic management in AF patients, and appropriate antithrombotic prescription upon ED discharge since the introduction of NOACs. Methods: Consecutive AF patients discharged by the ED physician from three academic EDs in Toronto, Canada were retrospectively identified using ECG data. Primary AF was defined as AF in patients ≥18 years without congenital heart disease or other acute medical conditions. All management and disposition decisions were left to the discretion of the emergency doctor. Results: From July 2012 to October 2014, 691 patients with primary AF were identified. Of these, 34.4% (n=238) had new onset AF and 66.4% (n=459) were discharged home directly from the ED. Of those with previously known AF (n= 453), 44.2% (n=200) were on anticoagulation at ED arrival (warfarin 59.5%, dabigatran 23.0%, rivaroxaban 11.5%); 25.6% (n=116) on antiplatelets, and 29 (6.4%) on both. Based on 2012 Canadian AF guidelines, 60.1% of those who should have received anticoagulation were receiving it. In discharged patients meeting de novo criteria for anticoagulation (n=130), 20.0% (n=26) were started on anticoagulation and 23.1% (n=30) on antiplatelets. In patients with CHADS2 score ≥ 2 (n=61), 26.2% (n=16) were started on anticoagulation. Warfarin (73.1%) was most commonly prescribed followed by dabigatran (15.4%) and rivaroxaban (11.5%). Age was the only inverse independent predictor for appropriate anticoagulation (OR 0.92 per 5 year of age 95% CI 0.89-0.95, p <0.0001) i.e. older patients were less likely to be anticoagulated. The CHADS2 score was not an independent predictor of appropriate anticoagulation. Conclusion: Our study shows a persistent gap in the antithrombotic treatment of ED AF patients irrespective of their risk.
Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen that can cause bacteraemia, meningitis, and complications during pregnancy. In July 2012, molecular subtyping identified indistinguishable L. monocytogenes isolates from six patients and two samples of different cut and repackaged cheeses. A multistate outbreak investigation was initiated. Initial analyses identified an association between eating soft cheese and outbreak-related illness (odds ratio 17·3, 95% confidence interval 2·0–825·7) but no common brand. Cheese inventory data from locations where patients bought cheese and an additional location where repackaged cheese yielded the outbreak strain were compared to identify cheeses for microbiological sampling. Intact packages of imported ricotta salata yielded the outbreak strain. Fourteen jurisdictions reported 22 cases from March–October 2012, including four deaths and a fetal loss. Six patients ultimately reported eating ricotta salata; another reported eating cheese likely cut with equipment also used for contaminated ricotta salata, and nine more reported eating other cheeses that might also have been cross-contaminated. An FDA import alert and US and international recalls followed. Epidemiology-directed microbiological testing of suspect cheeses helped identify the outbreak source. Cross-contamination of cheese highlights the importance of using validated disinfectant protocols and routine cleaning and sanitizing after cutting each block or wheel.
The magnetized dusty plasma experiment (MDPX) is a newly commissioned plasma device that started operations in late spring, 2014. The research activities of this device are focused on the study of the physics, highly magnetized plasmas, and magnetized dusty plasmas. The design of the MDPX device is centered on two main components: an open bore, superconducting magnet that is designed to produce, in a steady state, both uniform magnetic fields up to 4 Tesla and non-uniform magnetic fields with gradients of 1–2 T m−1 and a flexible, removable, octagonal vacuum chamber that provides substantial probe and optical access to the plasma. This paper will provide a review of the design criteria for the MDPX device, a description of the research objectives, and brief discussion of the research opportunities offered by this multi-institution, multi-user project.
It is unclear if children of different weight status differ in their nutritional habits while watching television. The objective of the present paper was to determine if children who are overweight or obese differ in their frequency of consumption of six food items while watching television compared with their normal-weight counterparts. A cross-sectional study of 550 children (57·1 % female; mean age = 10 years) from Ottawa, Canada was conducted. Children's weight status was categorised using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cut-points. Questionnaires were used to determine the number of hours of television watching per day and the frequency of consumption of six types of foods while watching television. Overweight/obese children watched more television per day than normal-weight children (3·3 v. 2·7 h, respectively; P = 0·001). Obese children consumed fast food and fruits/vegetables more frequently while watching television than normal-weight or overweight children (P < 0·05). Children who watched more than 4 h of television per d had higher odds (OR 3·21; 95% CI 1·14, 9·03; P = 0·03) of being obese, independent of several covariates, but not independent of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The finding that both television watching and the frequency of consumption of some food items during television watching are higher in children who are obese is concerning. While the nature of the present study does not allow for the determination of causal pathways, future research should investigate these weight-status differences to identify potential areas of intervention.
The Magnetized Dusty Plasma Experiment (MDPX) device is a newly constructed research instrument for the study of dusty (complex) plasmas. The MDPX device is envisioned as an experimental platform in which the dynamical behavior of all three charged plasma components, the electrons, ions, and charged microparticles (i.e., the ‘dust’) will be significantly influenced by the magnetic force. This brief paper will provide a short overview of the design, magnetic performance, and initial plasma measurements in the MDPX device.