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We analyzed the δ2H composition of n-alkanes isolated from Laguna Zoncho, a small lake in southern Pacific Costa Rica, to reconstruct paleohydrology. Using a core that spans the past 3600 years, we found evidence of dry periods, most notably during the Terminal Classic Drought (TCD; ~1200 cal yr BP) and the Little Ice Age (~400 cal yr BP). Previous work at Laguna Zoncho, using bulk sedimentary δ13C and geochemical analysis, found that agriculture began to decline during the TCD. Our δ2H records confirm the occurrence of arid conditions coincident with the TCD at Laguna Zoncho and show that, despite receiving more than 3000 mm of precipitation per year, this region is susceptible to multidecadal droughts.
Introduction: The quick Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) score was developed to provide clinicians with a quick assessment for patients with latent organ failure possibly consistent with sepsis at high-risk for mortality. With the clinical heterogeneity of patients presenting with sepsis, a Bayesian validation approach may provide a better understanding of its clinical utility. This study used a Bayesian analysis to assess the prediction of hospital mortality by the qSOFA score among patients with infection transported by paramedics. Methods: A one-year cohort of adult patients transported by paramedics in a large, provincial EMS system was linked to Emergency Department (ED) and hospital administrative databases, then restricted to those patients with an ED diagnosed infection. A Bayesian binomial regression model was constructed using Hamiltonian Markov-Chain Monte-Carlo sampling, normal priors for each parameter, the calculated score, age and sex as the predictors, and hospital mortality as the outcome. Discrimination was assessed using posterior predictions to calculate a “Bayesian” C statistic, and calibration was assessed with calibration plots of the observed and predicted probability distributions. The independent predictive ability of each measure was tested by including each component measure (respiratory rate, Glasgow Coma Scale, and systolic blood pressure) as continuous predictors in a second model. Results: A total of 9,920 patients with ED diagnosed infection were included. 264 (2.7%) patients were admitted directly to the ICU, and 955 (9.6%) patients died in-hospital. As independent predictors, the probability of mortality increased as each measure became more extreme, with the Glasgow Coma Scale predicting the greatest change in mortality risk from a high to low score; however, no dramatic change in the probability supporting a single decision threshold was seen for any measure. For the calculated score, the C statistic for predicting mortality was 0.728. The calibration curve had no overlap of predictions, with a probability of 0.5 (50% credible interval 0.47-0.53) for patients with a qSOFA score of 3. Conclusion: Although no single decision threshold was identified for each component measure, a calculated qSOFA score provides good prediction of mortality for patients with ED diagnosed infection. When validating clinical prediction scores, a Bayesian approach may be used to assess probabilities of interest for clinicians to support better clinical decision making. Character count 2494
Introduction: Despite their widespread use, measures of classification accuracy (i.e. sensitivity and specificity) have several limitations that conceals relevant information and may bias decision-making. Assessing the predictive ability of clinical tools instead may provide more useful prognostic information to support decision-making, particularly in an Emergency setting. We sought to contrast classification accuracy versus predictive ability of the Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) and quick Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) Sepsis scores for determining mortality risk among patients with infection transported by paramedics. Methods: A one-year cohort of patients with infections transported to the Emergency Department by paramedics was linked to in-hospital administrative databases. Hospital mortality was determined for each patient at the time of discharge. We calculated sensitivity and specificity of SIRS and qSOFA for classifying hospital mortality across different score thresholds, and estimated discrimination (assessed using the C statistic) and calibration (assessed visually) of prediction. Prediction models for hospital mortality were constructed using the aggregated SIRS or qSOFA scores for each patient as a predictor, while accounting for clustering by institution and adjusting for differences in patient age and sex. Predicted and observed risk were plotted to assess calibration and change in risk across levels of each score. Results: A total of 10,409 patients with infection who were transported by paramedics were successfully linked, with an overall mortality rate of 9.2%. The median SIRS score among non-survivors was 2, while the median qSOFA score was 1. SIRS score had higher sensitivity estimates than qSOFA for classifying hospital mortality at all thresholds (0.11 – 0.83 vs. 0.08 – 0.80), but the qSOFA score had better discrimination (C statistic 0.76 vs. 0.71) and calibration. The risk of hospital mortality predicted by the SIRS score ranged from 6.6-24% across score values, whereas the risk predicted by the qSOFA score ranged from 8.6-53%. Conclusion: Assessing the SIRS and qSOFA scores predictive ability reveals that the qSOFA score provides more information to clinicians about a patient's mortality risk despite having worse sensitivity. This study highlights important limitations of classification accuracy for diagnostic test studies and supports a shift toward assessing predictive ability instead. Character count 2490
Respiratory viral infections are a leading cause of disease worldwide. A variety of respiratory viruses produce infections in humans with effects ranging from asymptomatic to life-treathening. Standard surveillance systems typically only target severe infections (ED outpatients, hospitalisations, deaths) and fail to track asymptomatic or mild infections. Here we performed a large-scale community study across multiple age groups to assess the pathogenicity of 18 respiratory viruses. We enrolled 214 individuals at multiple New York City locations and tested weekly for respiratory viral pathogens, irrespective of symptom status, from fall 2016 to spring 2018. We combined these test results with participant-provided daily records of cold and flu symptoms and used this information to characterise symptom severity by virus and age category. Asymptomatic infection rates exceeded 70% for most viruses, excepting influenza and human metapneumovirus, which produced significantly more severe outcomes. Symptoms were negatively associated with infection frequency, with children displaying the lowest score among age groups. Upper respiratory manifestations were most common for all viruses, whereas systemic effects were less typical. These findings indicate a high burden of asymptomatic respiratory virus infection exists in the general population.
Transoral laser microsurgery is an increasingly common treatment modality for glottic carcinoma. This study aimed to determine the effect of age, gender, stage and time on voice-related quality of life using the Voice Handicap Index-10.
Primary early glottic carcinoma patients treated with transoral laser microsurgery were included in the study. Self-reported Voice Handicap Index testing was completed pre-operatively, three months post-operatively, and yearly at follow-up appointments.
Voice Handicap Index improvement was found to be dependent on age and tumour stage, while no significant differences were found in Voice Handicap Index for gender. Voice Handicap Index score was significantly improved at 12 months and 24 months. Time versus Voice Handicap Index modelling revealed a preference for non-linear over linear regression.
Age and stage are important factors, as younger patients with more advanced tumours show greater voice improvement post-operatively. Patient's Voice Handicap Index is predicted to have 95 per cent of maximal improvement by 5.5 months post-operatively.
Detecting gastrointestinal (GI) infection transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM) in England is complicated by a lack of routine sexual behavioural data. We investigated whether gender distributions might generate signals for increased transmission of GI pathogens among MSM. We examined the percentage male of laboratory-confirmed patient-episodes for patients with no known travel history for 10 GI infections of public health interest in England between 2003 and 2013, stratified by age and region. An adult male excess was observed for Shigella spp. (annual maximum 71% male); most pronounced for those aged 25–49 years and living in London, Brighton and Manchester. An adult male excess was observed every year for Entamoeba histolytica (range 59.8–76.1% male), Giardia (53.1–57.6%) and Campylobacter (52.1–53.5%) and for a minority of years for hepatitis A (max. 69.8%) and typhoidal salmonella (max. 65.7%). This approach generated a signal for excess male episodes for six GI pathogens, including a characterised outbreak of Shigella among MSM. Stratified analyses by geography and age group were consistent with MSM transmission for Shigella. Optimisation and routine application of this technique by public health authorities elsewhere might help identify potential GI infection outbreaks due to sexual transmission among MSM, for further investigation.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is beneficial in depression. Symptom scores can be translated into Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale scores to indicate clinical relevance. We aimed to assess the clinical relevance of findings of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of CBT in depression. We identified RCTs of CBT that used the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD). HAMD scores were translated into Clinical Global Impression – Change scale (CGI-I) scores to measure clinical relevance. One hundred and seventy datasets from 82 studies were included. The mean percentage HAMD change for treatment arms was 53.66%, and 29.81% for control arms, a statistically significant difference. Combined active therapies showed the biggest improvement on CGI-I score, followed by CBT alone. All active treatments had better than expected HAMD percentage reduction and CGI-I scores. CBT has a clinically relevant effect in depression, with a notional CGI-I score of 2.2, indicating a significant clinical response. The non-specific or placebo effect of being in a psychotherapy trial was a 29% reduction of HAMD.
This study aimed to examine the epidemiology and treatment outcomes of community-onset purulent staphylococcal skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI) in Central Australia. We performed a prospective observational study of patients hospitalised with community-onset purulent staphylococcal SSTI (n = 160). Indigenous patients accounted for 78% of cases. Patients were predominantly young adults; however, there were high rates of co-morbid disease. Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) was the dominant phenotype, accounting for 60% of cases. Hospitalisation during the preceding 6 months, and haemodialysis dependence were significant predictors of CA-MRSA infection on univariate analysis. Clinical presentation and treatment outcomes were found to be comparable for methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant cases. All MRSA isolates were characterised as non-multi-resistant, with this term used interchangeably with CA-MRSA in this analysis. We did not find an association between receipt of an active antimicrobial agent within the first 48 h, and progression of infection; need for further surgical debridement; unplanned General Practitioner or hospital re-presentation; or need for further antibiotics. At least one adverse outcome was experienced by 39% of patients. Clindamycin resistance was common, while rates of trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole resistance were low. This study suggested the possibility of healthcare-associated transmission of CA-MRSA. This is the first Australian report of CA-MRSA superseding MSSA as the cause of community onset staphylococcal SSTI.
The aim of this study was to quantify the correlation between adenosine triphosphate (ATP) measurements and bacterial cultures from duodenoscopes for evaluation of contamination following high-level disinfection.
Duodenoscopes used for any intended endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedure were included. Microbiologic and ATP data were collected concomitantly and in the same manner from ERCP duodenoscopes.
A high-volume endoscopy unit at a tertiary referral acute-care facility.
Duodenoscopes were sampled for ATP and bacterial contamination in a contemporaneous and highly standardized fashion using a “flush-brush-flush” method for the working channel (WC) and a dry flocked swab for the elevator mechanism (EM). Specimens were processed for any aerobic bacterial growth (colony-forming units, CFU). Growth of CFU>0 and ATP relative light unit (RLU)>0 was considered a contaminated result. Frequency of discord between among WC and EM measurements were calculated using 2×2 contingency tables. The Spearman correlation coefficient was used to calculate the relatedness of bacterial contamination and ATP as continuous measurements.
The Spearman correlation coefficient did not demonstrate significant relatedness between ATP and CFU for either a WC or EM site. Among 390 duodenoscope sampling events, ATP and CFU assessments of contamination were discordant in 82 of 390 WC measurements (21%) and 331 of 390 of EM measurements (84.9%). The EM was frequently and markedly positive by ATP measurement.
ATP measurements correlate poorly with a microbiologic standard assessing duodenoscope contamination, particularly for EM sampling. ATP may reflect biological material other than nonviable aerobic bacteria and may not serve as an adequate marker of bacterial contamination.
We present the first description of an antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP) used to successfully manage a multi-antimicrobial drug shortage. Without resorting to formulary restriction, meropenem utilization decreased by 69% and piperacillin-tazobactam by 73%. During the shortage period, hospital mortality decreased (P=.03), while hospital length of stay remained unchanged.
Complications from systemic inflammation are reported in neonates following exposure to cardiopulmonary bypass. Although the use of asanguinous primes can reduce these complications, in neonates, this can result in significant haemodilution, requiring addition of blood. This study investigates whether the addition of blood after institution of bypass alters the inflammatory response compared with a blood prime. Neonatal swine were randomised into four groups: blood prime, blood after bypass but before cooling, blood after cooling but before low flow, and blood after re-warming. All groups were placed on central bypass, cooled, underwent low flow, and then re-warmed for a total bypass time of 2 hours. Although haematocrit values between groups varied throughout bypass, all groups ended with a similar value. Although they spent time with a lower haematocrit, asanguinous prime groups did not have elevated lactate levels at the end of bypass compared with blood prime. Asanguinous primes released less tumour necrosis factor α than blood primes (p=0.023). Asanguinous primes with blood added on bypass produced less interleukin 10 and tumour necrosis factor α (p=0.006, 0.019). Animals receiving blood while cool also showed less interleukin 10 and tumour necrosis factor α production than those that received blood warm (p=0.026, 0.033). Asanguinous primes exhibited less oedema than blood primes, with the least body weight gain noted in the end cool group (p=0.011). This study suggests that using an asanguinous prime for neonates being cooled to deep hypothermia is practical, and the later addition of blood reduces inflammation.
This is the official guideline endorsed by the specialty associations involved in the care of head and neck cancer patients in the UK. It discusses the role of the clinical nurse specialist in the head and neck cancer patient journey and provides recommendations on the clinical nurse specialist led assessments and interventions for this group of patients receiving cancer care.
• All cancer patients should meet a clinical nurse specialist at the point of diagnosis. (R)
• Clinical nurse specialists must act as gate keeper to the patients' cancer pathway to provide a seamless journey. (R)
• Holistic needs assessment should be completed at different stages of the patient's pathway to reflect the changes of the patients' needs. (R)
• Clinical nurse specialists to be part of local and national initiatives for health promotion and raising awareness in the public domain. (G)
• Clinical nurse specialists should lead in redesigning of services and policies to ensure they are responsive to patient's needs for the future. (G)
• Treatment summaries should become part of practice to provide good communication between primary and secondary care to enable continuity of care for the patient. (G)
Item response theory (IRT) analyses of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and other psychological disorders are a predominant method for assessing overall and individual criterion severity for psychiatric diagnosis. However, no investigation has established the consistency of the relative criteria severities across different samples.
PubMed/Medline, PsycINFO, Web of Science and ProQuest databases were queried for entries relating to alcohol use and IRT. Study data were extracted using a standardized data entry sheet. Consistency of reported criteria severities across studies was analysed using generalizability theory to estimate generalized intraclass correlations (ICCs).
A total of 451 citations were screened and 34 papers (30 unique samples) included in the research synthesis. The AUD criteria set exhibited low consistency in the ordering of criteria using both traditional [ICC = 0.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.06–0.56] and generalized (ICC = 0.18, 95% CI 0.15–0.21) approaches. These results were partially accounted for by previously studied factors such as age and type of sample (e.g. clinical v. community), but the largest source of unreliability was the diagnostic instrument employed.
Despite the robust finding of unidimensional structure of AUDs, inconsistency in the relative severities across studies suggests low replicability, challenging the generalizability of findings from any given study. Explicit modeling of well-studied factors like age and sample type is essential and increases the generalizability of findings. Moreover, while the development of structured diagnostic interviews is considered a landmark contribution toward improving psychiatric research, variability across instruments has not been fully appreciated and is substantial.
The early intervention service (EIS) approach is based on therapeutic interactions, which promote service user recovery from first episode psychosis. Collaborative therapeutic work between the service user and case manager depends on good communication. This can be a challenge for people with psychosis as the process of thought can be disrupted or stimulus misinterpreted leading to communication errors.
The objective is to develop an interactive tool that can assist service user's communication of distress, whilst employing a psychoeducational approach to the use of an informal therapeutic measurement scale; subjective units of distress (SUDs) and early warning signs (EWS). The ApTiC mobile intervention will include ten numerically graded emoticons from low to extreme distress. Each emoticon is associated with specific individualised service user descriptors and linked to an individually agreed action plan and level of response to be offered by a staff member.
The aim of the present study will be to examine the feasibility and acceptability of the ApTic mobile intervention in preparation for a larger randomised controlled trial.
Phase one: qualitative research to inform the development of the complimentary tool and mobile app (qualitative). Phase two: a 12-week rater-blinded randomized control trial of ApTiC compared to routine EIS case management (quantitative).
The qualitative data will be presented.
It is expected that once validated, the SUDs based ApTiC will enhance rapport and understanding thus improving the recovery approach to well-being and hopefully preventing relapse or the involvement of the crisis team or hospital admissions.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
A symptom of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease
(AD) is a flat learning profile. Learning slope calculation methods vary, and
the optimal method for capturing neuroanatomical changes associated with MCI and
early AD pathology is unclear. This study cross-sectionally compared four
different learning slope measures from the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test
(simple slope, regression-based slope, two-slope method, peak slope) to
structural neuroimaging markers of early AD neurodegeneration (hippocampal
volume, cortical thickness in parahippocampal gyrus, precuneus, and lateral
prefrontal cortex) across the cognitive aging spectrum [normal
control (NC); (n=198;
age=76±5), MCI (n=370;
age=75±7), and AD (n=171;
age=76±7)] in ADNI. Within diagnostic group,
general linear models related slope methods individually to neuroimaging
variables, adjusting for age, sex, education, and APOE4 status. Among MCI,
better learning performance on simple slope, regression-based slope, and late
slope (Trial 2–5) from the two-slope method related to larger
parahippocampal thickness (all p-values<.01) and
hippocampal volume (p<.01). Better regression-based
slope (p<.01) and late slope
(p<.01) were related to larger ventrolateral
prefrontal cortex in MCI. No significant associations emerged between any slope
and neuroimaging variables for NC (p-values ≥.05) or
AD (p-values ≥.02). Better learning performances
related to larger medial temporal lobe (i.e., hippocampal volume,
parahippocampal gyrus thickness) and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex in MCI
only. Regression-based and late slope were most highly correlated with
neuroimaging markers and explained more variance above and beyond other common
memory indices, such as total learning. Simple slope may offer an acceptable
alternative given its ease of calculation. (JINS, 2015,
A wetland deposit from the southern Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, USA, has been radiocarbon dated and shows continuous deposition from the early Holocene to the present. Non-coastal records of Holocene paleoenvironments are rare from the southeastern USA. Increased stable carbon isotope ratios (?13C) of sedimentary organic matter and pollen percentages indicate warm, dry early- to mid-Holocene conditions. This interpretation is also supported by n-alkane biomarker data and bulk sedimentary C/N ratios. These warm, dry conditions coincide with a mid-Holocene hypsithermal, or altithermal, documented elsewhere in North America. Our data indicate that the southeastern USA warmed concurrently with much of the rest of the continent during the mid-Holocene. If the current "warming hole" in the southeastern USA persists, during a time of greenhouse gas-induced warming elsewhere, it will be anomalous both in space and time.
A lingual thyroid is a known cause of oropharyngeal obstruction in the neonate. It can be asymptomatic, or present as stridor, dysphonia, dysphagia or dyspnoea with faltering growth. The therapeutic options include surgical resection.
A 6-day-old female neonate, born at 36 weeks gestation, presented with stridulous breathing and poor feeding. Although the cause was initially thought to be laryngomalacia, nasendoscopy revealed a lingual thyroid. The baby had deranged thyroid function, as detected on neonatal screening, but this result was not available until a later date. Despite being symptomatic, the patient was managed medically; thyroxine therapy was associated with resolution of the respiratory symptoms.
Nasendoscopy provides valuable information about an ectopic thyroid gland. Thyroid replacement therapy may help to suppress the size of the ectopic gland and ultimately prevent an unnecessary surgical procedure.