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Official counts of deaths attributed to disasters are often under-reported, thus adversely affecting public health messaging designed to prevent further mortality. During the Oklahoma (USA) May 2013 tornadoes, Oklahoma State Health Department Division of Vital Records (VR; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA) piloted a flagging procedure to track tornado-attributed deaths within its Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS). To determine if the EDRS was capturing all tornado-attributed deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; Atlanta, Georgia USA) evaluated three event fatality markers (EFM), which are used to collate information about deaths for immediate response and retrospective research efforts.
Oklahoma identified 48 tornado-attributed deaths through a retrospective review of hospital morbidity and mortality records. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; Atlanta, Georgia USA) analyzed the sensitivity, timeliness, and validity for three EFMs, which included: (1) a tornado-specific flag on the death record; (2) a tornado-related term in the death certificate; and (3) X37, the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) code in the death record for Victim of a Cataclysmic Storm, which includes tornadoes.
The flag was the most sensitive EFM (89.6%; 43/48), followed by the tornado term (75.0%; 36/48), and the X37 code (56.2%; 27/48). The most-timely EFM was the flag, which took 2.0 median days to report (range 0-10 days), followed by the tornado term (median 3.5 days; range 1-21), and the X37 code (median >10 days; range 2-122). Over one-half (52.1%; 25/48) of the tornado-attributed deaths were missing at least one EFM. Twenty-six percent (11/43) of flagged records had no tornado term, and 44.1% (19/43) had no X37 code. Eleven percent (4/36) of records with a tornado term did not have a flag.
The tornado-specific flag was the most sensitive and timely EFM. Using the flag to collate death records and identify additional deaths without the tornado term and X37 code may improve immediate response and retrospective investigations. Moreover, each of the EFMs can serve as quality controls for the others to maximize capture of all disaster-attributed deaths from vital statistics records in the EDRS.
Issa AN, Baker K, Pate D, Law R, Bayleyegn T, Noe RS. Evaluation of Oklahoma’s Electronic Death Registration System and event fatality markers for disaster-related mortality surveillance – Oklahoma USA, May 2013. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(2):125–131
The Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) measures three aspects of catastrophic cognitions about pain—rumination, magnification, and helplessness. To facilitate assessment and clinical application, we aimed to (a) develop a short version on the basis of its factorial structure and the items’ correlations with key pain-related outcomes, and (b) identify the threshold on the short form indicative of risk for depression.
Social centers for older people.
664 Chinese older adults with chronic pain.
Besides the PCS, pain intensity, pain disability, and depressive symptoms were assessed.
For the full scale, confirmatory factor analysis showed that the hypothesized 3-factor model fit the data moderately well. On the basis of the factor loadings, two items were selected from each of the three dimensions. An additional item significantly associated with pain disability and depressive symptoms, over and above these six items, was identified through regression analyses. A short-PCS composed of seven items was formed, which correlated at r=0.97 with the full scale. Subsequently, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were plotted against clinically significant depressive symptoms, defined as a score of ≥12 on a 10-item version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale. This analysis showed a score of ≥7 to be the optimal cutoff for the short-PCS, with sensitivity = 81.6% and specificity = 78.3% when predicting clinically significant depressive symptoms.
The short-PCS may be used in lieu of the full scale and as a brief screen to identify individuals with serious catastrophizing.
This study investigated the characteristics of subjective memory complaints (SMCs) and their association with current and future cognitive functions.
A cohort of 209 community-dwelling individuals without dementia aged 47–90 years old was recruited for this 3-year study. Participants underwent neuropsychological and clinical assessments annually. Participants were divided into SMCs and non-memory complainers (NMCs) using a single question at baseline and a memory complaints questionnaire following baseline, to evaluate differential patterns of complaints. In addition, comprehensive assessment of memory complaints was undertaken to evaluate whether severity and consistency of complaints differentially predicted cognitive function.
SMC and NMC individuals were significantly different on various features of SMCs. Greater overall severity (but not consistency) of complaints was significantly associated with current and future cognitive functioning.
SMC individuals present distinctive features of memory complaints as compared to NMCs. Further, the severity of complaints was a significant predictor of future cognition. However, SMC did not significantly predict change over time in this sample. These findings warrant further research into the specific features of SMCs that may portend subsequent neuropathological and cognitive changes when screening individuals at increased future risk of dementia.
We review progress studying unique plasmonics in topological insulators (TIs). First, we describe exfoliation and deposition synthesis approaches. TI materials have substantially improved: it is now possible to grow samples with few trivial electrons and controllable doping. We then describe the theory behind the unique behavior of the coupled, 2D Dirac plasmons. While reviewing experimental efforts, we note that Dirac plasmons have been conclusively demonstrated in TIs and they show remarkable properties including long lifetimes, large mode indices, and huge modulation depths. Finally, we describe the opportunities that are present now that high-quality materials can be obtained, including spin and nanoparticle plasmons.
Introduction: Prior research has shown that audit and feedback (A &F) can be an effective tool for practice change. However, questions remain about how to optimize A&F. The objectives of this project were to determine if: 1) there are differences in practice between physicians who do, and do not, consent to receive a confidential report on their practice and; 2) if there is a relationship between consenting physicians self-predicted and actual practice. Methods: This was a prospective, cross-sectional study embedded in a larger quality improvement (QI) initiative to align physician practice with best evidence in the emergency department (ED) care of infants with bronchiolitis. All physicians practicing in the ED of a tertiary care pediatric hospital were offered the opportunity to consent to receive an individual, confidential data report on their practice. Prior to receiving their data, consenting physicians completed a survey which asked them to predict the proportion of bronchiolitic patients for whom they ordered diagnostic tests or treatments. We used chi-squared testing to compare the proportion of consenting and non-consenting physicians whose diagnostic test (Chest X-ray (CXR), viral study) and treatment (steroid, Ventolin) ordering was above the median for all ED physicians. We used Pearsons correlation to assess the relationship between consenting physicians self -predicted and actual practice. Results: 56% (37/66) of physicians consented to receive a data report. The median proportion of patients with an x-ray ordered was 20%, 63% of non-consenters were above the median, compared to 36% of consenters (X2 (1, N=66)=4.91 p=0.03). For viral testing, 31% of patients had a test ordered, with 50% of non-consenters and 50% consenters above the median (( X2 (1, N=66) =0 p=1); 11% of patients had steroids ordered, with 53% of non-consenters and 47% of consenters above the median ( X2 (1, N=66)=0.24 p-0.621); and 18% of patients had Ventolin ordered, with 60% of non-consenters and 42% of consenters above the median ( X2 (1, N=66) =2.2 p=0.138). There was a moderate correlation between physicians predicted and actual practice with respect to viral testing (r=0.67), but minimal correlation for CXR (0.05), steroids (r=0.17) or Ventolin (r=0.33) ordering. Conclusion: The finding that physicians have a limited ability to accurately predict their own performance emphasizes the importance of providing physicians with feedback. However, our results suggest that the consent process may be a potential barrier to effective A &F.
Introduction: Bronchiolitis is a viral respiratory infection and the most common reason for hospitalization of infants. Despite evidence that few interventions are beneficial in patients with bronchiolitis, other studies would have shown that a significant proportion of patients undergo various forms of low value care. This objective of this project was to 1. establish baseline management of bronchiolitis in the Calgary Zone, and 2. deliver audit and feedback (A&F) reports to pediatric emergency physicians (PEP) to identify opportunities and strategies for practice improvement. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included all patients 12 months old that presented to a Calgary emergency department or urgent care center with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2017. Using data from various electronic health data sources, we captured age, vital signs, CTAS, common therapeutic interventions (bronchodilators, steroids, antibiotics) and investigations (chest x-ray (CXR), viral studies, antibiotics). Results were stratified by site and by admission status. Descriptive statistics were used to report baseline characteristics and interventions. Interhospital ranges (IHR) were provided to compare different hospitals in the zone. For the A&F component of the project, consenting PEP received a report of both their individual and peer comparator data and an in-person multi-disciplinary facilitated feedback session. Results: We included 4023 patients from all 6 sites (range from 28 to 3316 patients). Admission rates were 21.7% (IHR 0-29%). Mean age was 5.4 months old. Bronchodilator use was 27.0% (IHR 21-41%). 22.0% of patients received a CXR (IHR 0-57%) and 30.3% had viral studies done (IHR range 0.8-33%). PEP had higher usage of viral studies (30% vs 5.7%), whereas non-PEP had higher CXR usage (46.2% vs 23.4%). 41 of 66 PEP consented to receive their individual A&F reports (62%). In the facilitated feedback session PEP 1. identified two areas (bronchodilators and viral studies) where improvements could be made and 2. discussed specific strategies to decrease practice variation and minimize low value care including development of a multi-disciplinary care pathway, alignment with in-patient management, education and repeated A&F reports. Conclusion: Significant variability exists in management of patients with bronchiolitis across different hospitals in our zone. A facilitated feedback session identified areas for improvement and multi-disciplinary strategies to reduced low value care for patients with bronchiolitis. Future phases of this project include repeated data in 6 months and implementation of a provincial care pathway for the management of bronchiolitis.
Characterisation of genetic diversity in a large number of European pig populations has been undertaken with EC support. The populations sampled included local (rare) breeds, national varieties of the major international breeds, commercial lines and the Chinese Meishan breed. A second phase of the project will sample a further 50 Chinese breeds. Neutral genetic markers (AFLP and microsatellites), with individual or bulk typing, were used and compared.
DNA from 59 European pig populations was extracted on samples of about 50 individuals per population. Individuals were typed for 50 microsatellites and for 148 AFLP bands. A subset of 25 populations was typed for 20 microsatellites on pools of DNA. Allele frequencies were estimated by direct allele counting for the co-dominant markers. Frequencies of AFLP negative alleles (absent bands) were obtained by taking the square root of absent band frequencies. Within-breed variability was summarised using standard statistics: expected and observed heterozygosity, mean observed and effective numbers of alleles, and F statistics. Between-breed diversity analysis was based on a bootstrapped Neighbor-Joining (NJ) tree derived from Reynolds distances (DR). The standard distance of Nei (DS) was also calculated.
Early nutrition of the neonatal pig has a major impact on its survival and subsequent development (Cieslak et al., 1983). The success of maternal nutrition trials has been limited in improving the survival and growth performance of piglets. Milk yield and composition has been altered (Jackson et al., 1995; Averette et al., 1999), which subsequently enhanced piglet health and growth performance but feeding supplemental fat had little or no effect on the birth weight of piglets. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of supplementing palm and/or soya oil directly to the piglet on its subsequent growth performance.
A substantial and continual economic loss within the pig industry is the 5-20% pre-weaning mortality rate that occurs during the neonatal period (MLC, 2002). The principal causes of piglet death are low birth weight in conjunction with insufficient amounts of body fat reserves (Herpin et al., 1993; Varley, 1995). Studies by Rooke et al. (2000) have demonstrated that the fatty acid profiles of the sows diet during late pregnancy and lactation is an important factor influencing piglet performance. The benefits of dietary manipulations aimed at improving piglet survival, however, remain controversial. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of supplementing the maternal diet with palm and/or soya oil during late gestation on piglet growth performance.
In this paper, a control approach called Artificial Neural Tissue (ANT) is applied to multirobot excavation for lunar base preparation tasks including clearing landing pads and burying of habitat modules. We show for the first time, a team of autonomous robots excavating a terrain to match a given three-dimensional (3D) blueprint. Constructing mounds around landing pads will provide physical shielding from debris during launch/landing. Burying a human habitat modules under 0.5 m of lunar regolith is expected to provide both radiation shielding and maintain temperatures of −25 °C. This minimizes base life-support complexity and reduces launch mass. ANT is compelling for a lunar mission because it does not require a team of astronauts for excavation and it requires minimal supervision. The robot teams are shown to autonomously interpret blueprints, excavate and prepare sites for a lunar base. Because little pre-programmed knowledge is provided, the controllers discover creative techniques. ANT evolves techniques such as slot-dozing that would otherwise require excavation experts. This is critical in making an excavation mission feasible when it is prohibitively expensive to send astronauts. The controllers evolve elaborate negotiation behaviors to work in close quarters. These and other techniques such as concurrent evolution of the controller and team size are shown to tackle problem of antagonism, when too many robots interfere reducing the overall efficiency or worse, resulting in gridlock. Although many challenges remain with this technology, our work shows a compelling pathway for field testing this approach.
We describe here the parallels in astronomy and earth science datasets, their analyses, and the opportunities for methodology transfer from astroinformatics to geoinformatics. Using example of hydrology, we emphasize how meta-data and ontologies are crucial in such an undertaking. Using the infrastructure being designed for EarthCube - the Virtual Observatory for the earth sciences - we discuss essential steps for better transfer of tools and techniques in the future e.g. domain adaptation. Finally we point out that it is never a one-way process and there is enough for astroinformatics to learn from geoinformatics as well.
Repeat rectal chlamydia infection is common in men who have sex with men (MSM) following treatment with 1 g azithromycin. This study describes the association between organism load and repeat rectal chlamydia infection, genovar distribution, and efficacy of azithromycin in asymptomatic MSM. Stored rectal chlamydia-positive samples from MSM were analysed for organism load and genotyped to assist differentiation between reinfection and treatment failure. Included men had follow-up tests within 100 days of index infection. Lymphogranuloma venereum and proctitis diagnosed symptomatically were excluded. Factors associated with repeat infection, treatment failure and reinfection were investigated. In total, 227 MSM were included – 64 with repeat infections [28·2%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 22·4–34·5]. Repeat positivity was associated with increased pre-treatment organism load [odds ratio (OR) 1·7, 95% CI 1·4–2·2]. Of 64 repeat infections, 29 (12·8%, 95% CI 8·7–17·8) were treatment failures and 35 (15·4%, 95% CI 11·0–20·8) were reinfections, 11 (17·2%, 95% CI 8·9–28·7) of which were definite reinfections. Treatment failure and reinfection were both associated with increased load (OR 2·0, 95% CI 1·4–2·7 and 1·6, 95% CI 1·2–2·2, respectively). The most prevalent genovars were G, D and J. Treatment efficacy for 1 g azithromycin was 83·6% (95% CI 77·2–88·8). Repeat positivity was associated with high pre-treatment organism load. Randomized controlled trials are urgently needed to evaluate azithromycin's efficacy and whether extended doses can overcome rectal infections with high organism load.
Despite appropriate antiepileptic drug treatment, approximately one-third of humans and dogs with epilepsy continue experiencing seizures, emphasising the importance for new treatment strategies to improve the quality of life of people or dogs with epilepsy. A 6-month prospective, randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled cross-over dietary trial was designed to compare a ketogenic medium-chain TAG diet (MCTD) with a standardised placebo diet in chronically antiepileptic drug-treated dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. Dogs were fed either MCTD or placebo diet for 3 months followed by a subsequent respective switch of diet for a further 3 months. Seizure frequency, clinical and laboratory data were collected and evaluated for twenty-one dogs completing the study. Seizure frequency was significantly lower when dogs were fed the MCTD (2·31/month, 0–9·89/month) in comparison with the placebo diet (2·67/month, 0·33–22·92/month, P=0·020); three dogs achieved seizure freedom, seven additional dogs had ≥50 % reduction in seizure frequency, five had an overall <50 % reduction in seizures (38·87 %, 35·68–43·27 %) and six showed no response. Seizure day frequency were also significantly lower when dogs were fed the MCTD (1·63/month, 0–7·58/month) in comparison with the placebo diet (1·69/month, 0·33–13·82/month, P=0·022). Consumption of the MCTD also resulted in significant elevation of blood β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations in comparison with placebo diet (0·041 (sd 0·004) v. 0·031 (sd 0·016) mmol/l, P=0·028). There were no significant changes in serum concentrations of glucose (P=0·903), phenobarbital (P=0·422), potassium bromide (P=0·404) and weight (P=0·300) between diet groups. In conclusion, the data show antiepileptic properties associated with ketogenic diets and provide evidence for the efficacy of the MCTD used in this study as a therapeutic option for epilepsy treatment.
Premutation and full-mutation hyperexpansion of CGG-triplets in the X-linked Fragile X Mental Retardation 1 (FMR1) gene have been implicated in fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome, fragile X-associated primary ovarian insufficiency, and fragile X syndrome (FXS), respectively. The currently available molecular diagnostic tests are either costly or labour-intensive, which prohibits their application as a first-line FMR1 test in large-scale population-based screening programs. In this study, we demonstrate the utility of a simplified closed-tube strategy for rapid first-line screening of FXS based on melt peak temperature (Tm) analysis of direct triplet-primed polymerase chain reaction amplicons (dTP-PCR MCA). In addition, we also evaluated the correlation between Tm and CGG-repeat size based on capillary electrophoresis (CE) of dTP-PCR amplicons. The assays were initially tested on 29 FMR1 reference DNA samples, followed by a blinded validation on 107 previously characterised patient DNA samples. The dTP-PCR MCA produced distinct melt profiles of higher Tm for samples carrying an expanded allele. Among the samples tested, we also observed a good correlation between Tm and CGG-repeat size. In the blinded validation study, dTP-PCR MCA accurately classified all normal and expansion carriers, and the FMR1 genotypic classification of all samples was completely concordant with the previously determined genotypes as well as the dTP-PCR CE results. This simple and cost-effective MCA-based assay may be useful as a first-line FXS screening tool that could rapidly screen out the large majority of unaffected individuals, thus minimising the number of samples that need to be analysed by Southern blot analysis.
The utility of biological control for weed management in agroecosystems will
increase with a greater understanding of the relationships between common
weed and granivore species. Giant foxtail is an introduced, summer annual
grass weed that is common throughout the United States and problematic in
numerous crops. Harpalus pensylvanicus (DeGeer)
(Coleoptera: Carabidae) is a common, native, omnivorous carabid beetle with
a range that overlaps giant foxtail. In 2004 and 2005, H.
pensylvanicus was captured from farm fields in Centre County,
PA, and subjected to laboratory feeding trials to test the preference of
giant foxtail and other species on predation by H.
pensylvanicus. Weed species seed preference experiments that
included “Choice” and “No Choice” treatments were conducted using giant
foxtail, common lambsquarters, and velvetleaf. When given a choice amongst
the three weed species, H. pensylvanicus preferred giant
foxtail and common lambsquarters seeds equally compared to velvetleaf seeds.
When given the choice, H. pensylvanicus preferred newly
dispersed giant foxtail seeds over field-aged seeds. Phenology of giant
foxtail seed shed relative to H. pensylvanicus activity
density was also quantified in field experiments in 2005 and 2006. Giant
foxtail seed rain was determined by collecting shed seeds from August
through October using pan traps. Activity density of H.
pensylvanicus was monitored for 72-h periods using pitfall traps
from June to October. Peak activity density of H.
pensylvanicus occurred at the onset of giant foxtail seed shed
in both years; however, giant foxtail seed shed peaked approximately 30 to
50 d after H. pensylvanicus activity density. Future
research should focus on management practices that enhance and support
H. pensylvanicus populations later in the growing season
to maximize suppression of giant foxtail and other weeds that shed palatable
seeds later in the season.