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This analysis was conducted to evaluate the evidence of the efficacy of iron biofortification interventions on iron status and functional outcomes. Iron deficiency is a major public health problem worldwide, with a disproportionate impact on women and young children, particularly those living in resource-limited settings. Biofortification, or the enhancing of micronutrient content in staple crops, is a promising and sustainable agriculture-based approach to improve nutritional status. Previous randomised efficacy trials and meta-analyses have demonstrated that iron-biofortification interventions improved iron biomarkers; however, no systematic reviews to date have examined the efficacy of biofortification interventions on health outcomes. We conducted a systematic review of the efficacy of iron-biofortified staple crops on iron status and functional outcomes: cognitive function (e.g. attention, memory) and physical performance. Five studies from three randomised efficacy trials (i.e. rice, pearl millet, beans) conducted in the Philippines, India and Rwanda were identified for inclusion in this review. Iron status (Hb, serum ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor, total body iron, α-1-acid glycoprotein) was measured at baseline and endline in each trial; two studies reported cognitive outcomes, and no studies reported other functional outcomes. Meta-analyses were conducted using DerSimonian and Laird random-effects methods. Iron-biofortified crop interventions significantly improved cognitive performance in attention and memory domains, compared with conventional crops. There were no significant effects on categorical outcomes such as iron deficiency or anaemia. Further studies are needed to determine the efficacy of iron-biofortified staple crops on human health, including additional functional outcomes and other high-risk populations.
Aberrations in reward and penalty processing are implicated in depression and putatively reflect altered dopamine signalling. This study exploits the advantages of a placebo-controlled design to examine how a novel D2 antagonist with adjunctive antidepressant properties modifies activity in the brain's reward network in depression.
We recruited 43 medication-naïve subjects across the range of depression severity (Beck's Depression Inventory-II score range: 0–43), including healthy volunteers, as well as people meeting full-criteria for major depressive disorder. In a double-blind placebo-controlled cross-over design, all subjects received either placebo or lurasidone (20 mg) across two visits separated by 1 week. Functional magnetic resonance imaging with the Monetary Incentive Delay (MID) task assessed reward functions via neural responses during anticipation and receipt of gains and losses. Arterial spin labelling measured cerebral blood flow (CBF) at rest.
Lurasidone altered fronto-striatal activity during anticipation and outcome phases of the MID task. A significant three-way Medication-by-Depression severity-by-Outcome interaction emerged in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) after correction for multiple comparisons. Follow-up analyses revealed significantly higher ACC activation to losses in high- v. low depression participants in the placebo condition, with a normalisation by lurasidone. This effect could not be accounted for by shifts in resting CBF.
Lurasidone acutely normalises reward processing signals in individuals with depressive symptoms. Lurasidone's antidepressant effects may arise from reducing responses to penalty outcomes in individuals with depressive symptoms.
Mixing matrices quantify how people with similar or different characteristics make contact with each other, creating potential for disease transmission. Little empirical data on mixing patterns among persons who inject drugs (PWID) are available to inform models of blood-borne disease such as HIV and hepatitis C virus. Egocentric drug network data provided by PWID in Baltimore, Maryland between 2005 and 2007 were used to characterise drug equipment-sharing patterns according to age, race and gender. Black PWID and PWID who were single (i.e. no stable sexual partner) self-reported larger equipment-sharing networks than their white and non-single counterparts. We also found evidence of assortative mixing according to age, gender and race, though to a slightly lesser degree in the case of gender. Highly assortative mixing according to race and gender highlights the existence of demographically isolated clusters, for whom generalised treatment interventions may have limited benefits unless targeted directly. These findings provide novel insights into mixing patterns of PWID for which little empirical data are available. The age-specific assortativity we observed is also significant in light of its role as a key driver of transmission for other pathogens such as influenza and tuberculosis.
Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) is an intervention that strives to end the practice of open defaecation. This study measured the effectiveness of CLTS in Nyando District by examining the association between community open defaecation-free (ODF) status and childhood diarrhoeal illness. A cross-sectional study design was used among households with children ⩽5 years old to ascertain information on acute diarrhoea in the past year (outcome), sanitation and health behaviours. Water testing was conducted to determine Escherichia coli and turbidity levels for 55 water sources. Data were obtained from 210 parents or caregivers from an ODF community and 216 parents or caregivers in a non-ODF community. The non-ODF participants reported a non-significant 16% increased risk of diarrhoea compared with the participants from the ODF community. Children's HIV positivity (adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR) = 2.29; 95% CI 2.07–2.53), unsafe child stool disposal (aPR = 1.92; 95% CI 1.74–2.12) and low household income (aPR = 1.93; 95% CI 1.46–2.56) were associated with diarrhoea, in the non-ODF community. The ODF location had a higher percentage of E. coli in the drinking water compared with the non-ODF location (76.7% vs. 60%). Diarrhoeal disease rates in children ⩽5 years old did not differ by whether a latrine intervention was implemented. Water sampling findings suggest water safety may have decreased the effectiveness of the CLTS’ improvement of childhood diarrhoea. Improved water treatment practices, safe stool disposal and education may improve the CLTS intervention in ODF communities and therefore reduced the risk of childhood diarrhoea.
To assess antimicrobial prescriber knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) regarding antimicrobial stewardship (AS) and associated barriers to optimal prescribing.
A convenience sample of 2,900 US antimicrobial prescribers at 5 acute-care hospitals within a hospital network.
The following characteristics were assessed with an anonymous, online survey in February 2015: attitudes and practices related to antimicrobial resistance, AS programs, and institutional AS resources; antimicrobial prescribing and AS knowledge; and practices and confidence related to antimicrobial prescribing.
In total, 402 respondents completed the survey. Knowledge gaps were identified through case-based questions. Some respondents sometimes selected overly broad therapy for the susceptibilities given (29%) and some “usually” or “always” preferred using the most broad-spectrum empiric antimicrobials possible (32%). Nearly all (99%) reported reviewing antimicrobial appropriateness at 48–72 hours, but only 55% reported “always” doing so. Furthermore, 45% of respondents felt that they had not received adequate training regarding antimicrobial prescribing. Some respondents lacked confidence selecting empiric therapy using antibiograms (30%), interpreting susceptibility results (24%), de-escalating therapy (18%), and determining duration of therapy (31%). Postprescription review and feedback (PPRF) was the most commonly cited AS intervention (79%) with potential to improve patient care.
Barriers to appropriate antimicrobial selection and de-escalation of antimicrobial therapy were identified among front-line prescribers in acute-care hospitals. Prescribers desired more AS-related education and identified PPRF as the most helpful AS intervention to improve patient care. Educational interventions should be preceded by and tailored to local assessment of educational needs.
Propagation of a strong incident shock through a bed of particles results in complex wave dynamics such as a reflected shock, a transmitted shock, and highly unsteady flow inside the particle bed. In this paper we present three-dimensional numerical simulations of shock propagation in air over a random bed of particles. We assume the flow is inviscid and governed by the Euler equations of gas dynamics. Simulations are carried out by varying the volume fraction of the particle bed at a fixed shock Mach number. We compute the unsteady inviscid streamwise and transverse drag coefficients as a function of time for each particle in the random bed for different volume fractions. We show that (i) there are significant variations in the peak drag for the particles in the bed, (ii) the mean peak drag as a function of streamwise distance through the bed decreases with a slope that increases as the volume fraction increases, and (iii) the deviation from the mean peak drag does not correlate with local volume fraction. We also present the local Mach number and pressure contours for the different volume fractions to explain the various observed complex physical mechanisms occurring during the shock–particle interactions. Since the shock interaction with the random bed of particles leads to transmitted and reflected waves, we compute the average flow properties to characterize the strength of the transmitted and reflected shock waves and quantify the energy dissipation inside the particle bed. Finally, to better understand the complex wave dynamics in a random bed, we consider a simpler approximation of a planar shock propagating in a duct with a sudden area change. We obtain Riemann solutions to this problem, which are used to compare with fully resolved numerical simulations.
This paper considers applications where a human agent is navigating a semi-autonomous mobile robot in an environment with obstacles. The human input to the robot can be based on a desired navigation objective, which may not be known to the robot. Additionally, the semi-autonomous robot can be programmed to ensure obstacle avoidance as it navigates the environment. A shared control architecture can be used to appropriately fuse the human and the autonomy inputs to obtain a net control input that drives the robot. In this paper, an adaptive, near-continuous control allocation function is included in the shared controller, which continuously varies the control effort exerted by the human and the autonomy based on the position of the robot relative to obstacles. The developed control allocation function facilitates the human to freely navigate the robot when away from obstacles, and it causes the autonomy control input to progressively dominate as the robot approaches obstacles. A harmonic potential field-based non-linear sliding mode controller is developed to obtain the autonomy control input for obstacle avoidance. In addition, a robust feed-forward term is included in the autonomy control input to maintain stability in the presence of adverse human inputs, which can be critical in applications such as to prevent collision or roll-over of smart wheelchairs due to erroneous human inputs. Lyapunov-based stability analysis is presented to guarantee finite-time stability of the developed shared controller, i.e., the autonomy guarantees obstacle avoidance as the human navigates the robot. Experimental results are provided to validate the performance of the developed shared controller.
Introduction: Patients from all population groups visit the emergency department (ED), with increasing visits by elderly patients. Patient falls in the ED are a significant safety concern, and they can lead to serious injuries and worse outcomes. Toronto Western Hospital’s ED Quality Improvement (QI) team identified as a problem our assessment and management of patients at risk for falls. The aim of this project was to develop a comprehensive and standardized approach to patients at risk of falls in the ED, including implementing timely interventions for fall prevention. Methods: A literature review of existing tools was completed to develop our own reliable and valid fall risk screening tool for ED patients. QI methods were used to devise a comprehensive strategy starting with detection at triage and implementation of action-driven steps at the bedside, through multiple PDSA cycles, randomized audits, surveys, and education. Repeated measurements were undergone throughout the project, as were staff satisfaction surveys. Results: The chart audits showed a five-fold increase in the completion rate of the fall risk screening tool in the ED by the end of the QI initiative (from 10% to 50%). Constructive feedback by an engaged team of nurses was used to iteratively improve the tool, and there was mostly positive feedback on it after various PDSA cycles were completed. The various component of this novel and useful ED-based falls screening tool and bundle will be presented in tables and figures for other leaders to replicate in their EDs. Conclusion: We developed a completely new ED-specific fall risk screening tool through literature review, front-line provider feedback, and iterative PDSA cycles. It was used for the identification, prevention, and management of ED patients with fall risk. We also contributed to a positive change in the culture of a busy ED environment towards the promotion of patient safety. Education and feedback continue to be provided to the ED nurses for reflective practice, and we hope to continue to improve our tool and to share it with other EDs.
To investigate the feasibility of a national audit of epistaxis management led and delivered by a multi-region trainee collaborative using a web-based interface to capture patient data.
Six trainee collaboratives across England nominated one site each and worked together to carry out this pilot. An encrypted data capture tool was adapted and installed within the infrastructure of a university secure server. Site-lead feedback was assessed through questionnaires.
Sixty-three patients with epistaxis were admitted over a two-week period. Site leads reported an average of 5 minutes to complete questionnaires and described the tool as easy to use. Data quality was high, with little missing data. Site-lead feedback showed high satisfaction ratings for the project (mean, 4.83 out of 5).
This pilot showed that trainee collaboratives can work together to deliver an audit using an encrypted data capture tool cost-effectively, whilst maintaining the highest levels of data quality.
To examine self-reported practices and policies to reduce infection and transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO) in healthcare settings outside the United States.
International members of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) Research Network.
Electronic survey of infection control and prevention practices, capabilities, and barriers outside the United States and Canada. Participants were stratified according to their country’s economic development status as defined by the World Bank as low-income, lower-middle-income, upper-middle-income, and high-income.
A total of 76 respondents (33%) of 229 SHEA members outside the United States and Canada completed the survey questionnaire, representing 30 countries. Forty (53%) were high-, 33 (43%) were middle-, and 1 (1%) was a low-income country. Country data were missing for 2 respondents (3%). Of the 76 respondents, 64 (84%) reported having a formal or informal antibiotic stewardship program at their institution. High-income countries were more likely than middle-income countries to have existing MDRO policies (39/64 [61%] vs 25/64 [39%], P=.003) and to place patients with MDRO in contact precautions (40/72 [56%] vs 31/72 [44%], P=.05). Major barriers to preventing MDRO transmission included constrained resources (infrastructure, supplies, and trained staff) and challenges in changing provider behavior.
In this survey, a substantial proportion of institutions reported encountering barriers to implementing key MDRO prevention strategies. Interventions to address capacity building internationally are urgently needed. Data on the infection prevention practices of low income countries are needed.
The north-western Himalaya is one of the rich repositories of wheat genetic resources because of the preponderance of locally developed traditional crop varieties owing to high agro-climatic heterogeneity and local socio-cultural diversity. In the present study, 100 wheat landraces of this diversity rich region were evaluated for variability in physical parameters of seed to understand the basis of resistance against rice weevil, Sitophilus oryzae. The evaluation was based on the parameter of growth index (GI) of S. oryzae in different landraces. GI was correlated with different quantitative physical seed parameters, viz. hardness, length, width, length × width, test weight and qualitative parameter seed colour were studied to work out if these were related to resistance/susceptibility. Based on the parameter of GI, the six landraces viz. IC266831, IC266872, IC393109, IC392578, IC444217 and IC589276 were identified as resistant. Correlation coefficients between GI of S. oryzae and physical parameters of wheat landraces indicated that GI had significant positive relation with length × width (r = +0.573) and test weight (r = +0.549) indicated that small seeds confer resistance to S. oryzae. Also significant negative relation (r = −0.457) with GI of S. oryzae and seed hardness, indicated that hard seeds were relatively more resistant to S. oryzae.
To report the International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium surveillance data from 40 hospitals (20 cities) in India 2004–2013.
Surveillance using US National Healthcare Safety Network’s criteria and definitions, and International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium methodology.
We collected data from 236,700 ICU patients for 970,713 bed-days
Pooled device-associated healthcare-associated infection rates for adult and pediatric ICUs were 5.1 central line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs)/1,000 central line–days, 9.4 cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAPs)/1,000 mechanical ventilator–days, and 2.1 catheter-associated urinary tract infections/1,000 urinary catheter–days
In neonatal ICUs (NICUs) pooled rates were 36.2 CLABSIs/1,000 central line–days and 1.9 VAPs/1,000 mechanical ventilator–days
Extra length of stay in adult and pediatric ICUs was 9.5 for CLABSI, 9.1 for VAP, and 10.0 for catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Extra length of stay in NICUs was 14.7 for CLABSI and 38.7 for VAP
Crude extra mortality was 16.3% for CLABSI, 22.7% for VAP, and 6.6% for catheter-associated urinary tract infections in adult and pediatric ICUs, and 1.2% for CLABSI and 8.3% for VAP in NICUs
Pooled device use ratios were 0.21 for mechanical ventilator, 0.39 for central line, and 0.53 for urinary catheter in adult and pediatric ICUs; and 0.07 for mechanical ventilator and 0.06 for central line in NICUs.
Despite a lower device use ratio in our ICUs, our device-associated healthcare-associated infection rates are higher than National Healthcare Safety Network, but lower than International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium Report.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2016;37(2):172–181
Regenerative medicine using patient's own stem cells (SCs) to repair dysfunctional tissues is an attractive approach to complement surgical and pharmacological treatments for aging and degenerative disorders. Recently, dental SCs have drawn much attention owing to their accessibility, plasticity and applicability for regenerative use not only for dental, but also other body tissues. In ophthalmology, there has been increasing interest to differentiate dental pulp SC and periodontal ligament SC (PDLSC) towards ocular lineage. Both can commit to retinal fate expressing eye field transcription factors and generate rhodopsin-positive photoreceptor-like cells. This proposes a novel therapeutic alternative for retinal degeneration diseases. Moreover, as PDLSC shares similar cranial neural crest origin and proteoglycan secretion with corneal stromal keratoctyes and corneal endothelial cells, this offers the possibility of differentiating PDLSC to these corneal cell types. The advance could lead to a shift in the medical management of corneal opacities and endothelial disorders from highly invasive corneal transplantation using limited donor tissue to cell therapy utilizing autologous cells. This article provides an overview of dental SC research and the perspective of utilizing dental SCs for ocular regenerative medicine.
Most research on interventions to counter stigma and discrimination has
focused on short-term outcomes and has been conducted in high-income
To synthesise what is known globally about effective interventions to
reduce mental illness-based stigma and discrimination, in relation first
to effectiveness in the medium and long term (minimum 4 weeks), and
second to interventions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
We searched six databases from 1980 to 2013 and conducted a
multi-language Google search for quantitative studies addressing the
research questions. Effect sizes were calculated from eligible studies
where possible, and narrative syntheses conducted. Subgroup analysis
compared interventions with and without social contact.
Eighty studies (n = 422 653) were included in the
review. For studies with medium or long-term follow-up (72, of which 21
had calculable effect sizes) median standardised mean differences were
0.54 for knowledge and −0.26 for stigmatising attitudes. Those containing
social contact (direct or indirect) were not more effective than those
without. The 11 LMIC studies were all from middle-income countries.
Effect sizes were rarely calculable for behavioural outcomes or in LMIC
There is modest evidence for the effectiveness of anti-stigma
interventions beyond 4 weeks follow-up in terms of increasing knowledge
and reducing stigmatising attitudes. Evidence does not support the view
that social contact is the more effective type of intervention for
improving attitudes in the medium to long term. Methodologically strong
research is needed on which to base decisions on investment in