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Advancements in computer technology have enabled three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction, data-stitching, and manipulation of 3D data obtained on X-ray imaging systems such as micro-computed tomography (μ-CT). Likewise, intuitive evaluation of these 3D datasets can be enhanced by recent advances in virtual reality (VR) hardware and software. Additionally, the generation, viewing, and manipulation of 3D X-ray diffraction datasets, such as pole figures employed for texture analysis, can also benefit from these advanced visualization techniques. We present newly-developed protocols for porting 3D data (as TIFF-stacks) into a Unity gaming software platform so that data may be toured, manipulated, and evaluated within a more-intuitive VR environment through the use of game-like controls and 3D headsets. We demonstrate this capability by rendering μ-CT data of a polymer dogbone test bar at various stages of in situ mechanical strain. An additional experiment is presented showing 3D XRD data collected on an aluminum test block with vias. These 3D XRD data for texture analysis (χ, ϕ, 2θ dimensions) enables the viewer to visually inspect 3D pole figures and detect the presence or absence of in-plane residual macrostrain. These two examples serve to illustrate the benefits of this new methodology for multidimensional analysis.
Percutaneous tunneled drainage catheter (PTDC) placement is a palliative alternative to serial paracenteses in patients with end-stage cancer and refractory ascites. The impact of PTDC on quality of life (QoL) and long-term outcomes has not been prospectively described. The objective was to evaluate changes in QoL after PTDC.
Eligible adult patients with end-stage cancer undergoing PTDC placement for refractory ascites completed the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire and McGill Quality of Life instruments before PTDC placement and at 2 to 7 days and 2 to 4 weeks after PTDC. Catheter function, complications, and laboratory values were assessed. Analysis of QoL data was evaluated with a stratified Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
Fifty patients enrolled. Survey completion ranged from 65% to 100% (median 88%) across timepoints. All patients had a Tenckhoff catheter, with 98% technical success. Median survival after PTDC was 38 days (95% confidence interval = 32, 57 days). European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer scores showed improvement in global QoL (p = 0.03) at 1 week postprocedure (PP). Significant symptom improvement was reported for fatigue, nausea/vomiting, pain, dyspnea, insomnia, and appetite at 1 week PP and was sustained at 3 weeks PP for dyspnea (p < 0.01), insomnia (p < 0.01), and appetite loss (p = 0.03). McGill Quality of Life demonstrated overall QoL improvement at 1 (p = 0.03) and 3 weeks (p = 0.04) PP. Decline in sodium and albumin values pre- and post-PTDC slowed significantly (albumin slope –0.43 to –0.26, p = 0.055; sodium slope –2.50 to 1.31, p = 0.04). Creatinine values increased at an accelerated pace post-PTDC (0.040 to 0.21, p < 0.01). Thirty-eight catheter-related complications occurred in 24 of 45 patients (53%).
Significance of results
QoL and symptoms improved after PTDC placement for refractory ascites in patients with end-stage malignancy. Decline in sodium and albumin values slowed postplacement. This study supports the use of a PTDC for palliation of refractory ascites in cancer patients.
Laboratory identification of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is a key step in controlling its spread. Our survey showed that most Veterans Affairs laboratories follow VA guidelines for initial CRE identification, whereas 55.0% use PCR to confirm carbapenemase production. Most respondents were knowledgeable about CRE guidelines. Barriers included staffing, training, and financial resources.
The capture of volatile radioactive iodine-129 is an important process for nuclear fission. Biphenyl-bridged wrinkled mesoporous silica shows similar performance for iodine sequestration to commercial Ag-mordenite and avoids the use of expensive silver. The biphenyl-wrinkled mesoporous silica nanoparticles function as a scaffold for biphenyl groups and also as a fluorescent indicator for the loading of iodine. The nanoparticles have a surface area of 973 m2/g and the biphenyl molecules form an electron charge-transfer complex with iodine. Iodine was loaded into the biphenyl-bridged wrinkled mesoporous silica (BWMS) at 19 ± 0.2 % loading by mass.
We propose a method for precision control of the temporal pulse shape in 808 nm emission from Er-doped fluoroindate glasses. Previously, authors have reported the model based controller design, in which the controller varies and controls the pump rate in real time through the pump power. In model-based design, the performance of the resultant controller depends on the accuracy of the mathematical model used to represent the device in the design process. In this paper a more robust control scheme using model-free approach is presented. Specifically, the controller design is independent of the mathematical model and hence any modeling error has no effect on the device performance. This robustness against modeling error is critical for control purposes in optical materials where various up-conversion parameters are unknown or hard to determine with certainty.
Adverse pregnancy outcomes including prematurity and low birth weight (LBW) have been associated with life-long chronic disease risk for the infant. Stress during pregnancy increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Many studies have reported the incidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes in Indigenous populations and a smaller number of studies have measured rates of stress and depression in these populations. This study sought to examine the potential association between stress during pregnancy and the rate of adverse pregnancy outcomes in Australian Indigenous women residing in rural and remote communities in New South Wales. This study found a higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety symptoms during pregnancy than the general population. There was also a higher incidence of prematurity and LBW deliveries. Unfortunately, missing post-traumatic stress disorder and depressive symptomatology data impeded the examination of associations of interest. This was largely due to the highly sensitive nature of the issues under investigation, and the need to ensure adequate levels of trust between Indigenous women and research staff before disclosure and recording of sensitive research data. We were unable to demonstrate a significant association between the level of stress and the incidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes at this stage. We recommend this longitudinal study continue until complete data sets are available. Future research in this area should ensure prioritization of building trust in participants and overestimating sample size to ensure no undue pressure is placed upon an already stressed participant.
Suicide is a major global health concern. Bhutanese refugees resettled in the USA are disproportionately affected by suicide, yet little research has been conducted to identify factors contributing to this vulnerability. This study aims to investigate the issue of suicide of Bhutanese refugee communities via an in-depth qualitative, social-ecological approach.
Focus groups were conducted with 83 Bhutanese refugees (adults and children), to explore the perceived causes, and risk and protective factors for suicide, at individual, family, community, and societal levels. Audio recordings were translated and transcribed, and inductive thematic analysis conducted.
Themes identified can be situated across all levels of the social-ecological model. Individual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are only fully understood when considering past experiences, and stressors at other levels of an individual's social ecology. Shifting dynamics and conflict within the family are pervasive and challenging. Within the community, there is a high prevalence of suicide, yet major barriers to communicating with others about distress and suicidality. At the societal level, difficulties relating to acculturation, citizenship, employment and finances, language, and literacy are influential. Two themes cut across several levels of the ecosystem: loss; and isolation, exclusion, and loneliness.
This study extends on existing research and highlights the necessity for future intervention models of suicide to move beyond an individual focus, and consider factors at all levels of refugees’ social-ecology. Simply focusing treatment at the individual level is not sufficient. Researchers and practitioners should strive for community-driven, culturally relevant, socio-ecological approaches for prevention and treatment.
To date, there are no recent studies identifying the prevalence of parasites of human and veterinary importance in dogs and cats in Ireland. The interaction between pets and wildlife species in the environment is an important source of parasite exposure to canids and felines, and one likely to be heightened in the stray animal population. This study aimed to establish the prevalence of endoparasites in unowned dogs and cats in County Dublin, Ireland. Feces from stray dogs (n = 627) and cats (n = 289) entering a rehoming centre were collected immediately after defecation. The main parasitic agents detected were ascarids (15.52 and 30.26%), Cystoisospora (3.27 and 3.69%), Giardia spp. (6.02 and 1.84%) and lungworms (0.64 and 2.08%), in dogs and cats respectively. Animals younger than 3 months of age were more likely to be infected with ascarids (P < 0.001) and Cystoisospora spp. (P = 0.008 and P = 0.014) than older animals. All lungworms were morphologically identified and dogs were infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum (0.48%) and Crenosoma vulpis (0.16%) whereas cats were only infected with Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (2.08%). This represents the first prevalence study of stray animals in Ireland. Data collected will inform the treatment and in addition, the future monitoring and control studies of parasite populations.
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.
Each year, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel respond to over 30 million calls for assistance in the United States alone. These EMS personnel have a rate of occupational fatality comparable to firefighters and police, and a rate of non-fatal injuries that is higher than the rates for police and firefighters and much higher than the national average for all workers. In Australia, no occupational group has a higher injury or fatality rate than EMS personnel. Emergency Medical Services personnel in the US have a rate of occupational violence injuries that is about 22-times higher than the average for all workers. On average, more than one EMS provider in the US is killed every year in an act of violence.
The objective of this epidemiological study was to identify the risks and factors associated with work-related physical violence against EMS personnel internationally.
An online survey, based on a tool developed by the World Health Organization (WHO; Geneva, Switzerland), collected responses from April through November 2016.
There were 1,778 EMS personnel respondents from 13 countries; 69% were male and 54% were married. Around 55% described their primary EMS work location as “urban.” Approximately 68% described their employer as a “public provider.” The majority of respondents were from the US.
When asked “Have you ever been physically attacked while on-duty?” 761 (65%) of the 1,172 who answered the question answered “Yes.” In almost 10% (67) of those incidents, the perpetrator used a weapon. Approximately 90% of the perpetrators were patients and around five percent were patient family members. The influence of alcohol and drugs was prevalent. Overall, men experienced more assaults than women, and younger workers experienced more assaults than older workers.
In order to develop and implement measures to increase safety, EMS personnel must be involved with the research and implementation process. Furthermore, EMS agencies must work with university researchers to quantify agency-level risks and to develop, test, and implement interventions in such a way that they can be reliably evaluated and the results published in peer-reviewed journals.
MaguireBJ, BrowneM, O’NeillBJ, DealyMT, ClareD, O’MearaP. International Survey of Violence Against EMS Personnel: Physical Violence Report. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(5):526–531.
Few studies have investigated the patterns of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom change in prolonged exposure (PE) therapy. In this study, we aimed to understand the patterns of PTSD symptom change in both PE and present-centered therapy (PCT).
Participants were active duty military personnel (N = 326, 89.3% male, 61.2% white, 32.5 years old) randomized to spaced-PE (S-PE; 10 sessions over 8 weeks), PCT (10 sessions over 8 weeks), or massed-PE (M-PE; 10 sessions over 2 weeks). Using latent profile analysis, we determined the optimal number of PTSD symptom change classes over time and analyzed whether baseline and follow-up variables were associated with class membership.
Five classes, namely rapid responder (7–17%), steep linear responder (14–22%), gradual responder (30–34%), non-responder (27–33%), and symptom exacerbation (7–13%) classes, characterized each treatment. No baseline clinical characteristics predicted class membership for S-PE and M-PE; in PCT, more negative baseline trauma cognitions predicted membership in the non-responder v. gradual responder class. Class membership was robustly associated with PTSD, trauma cognitions, and depression up to 6 months after treatment for both S-PE and M-PE but not for PCT.
Distinct profiles of treatment response emerged that were similar across interventions. By and large, no baseline variables predicted responder class. Responder status was a strong predictor of future symptom severity for PE, whereas response to PCT was not as strongly associated with future symptoms.
External auditory canal exostoses are known to occur in patients who engage in cold-water sports. Although the majority of patients with exostosis remain asymptomatic, larger lesions can cause wax impaction, conductive hearing loss and predispose to recurrent otitis externa.
A novel technique is described of using a piezo saw to excise exostoses that are symptomatic. The piezo saw is used to perform various procedures, but its use in removing exostoses has not been described in the literature.
Excision of exostoses of the ear canal using a piezo saw is a safe technique and patients have a speedy recovery. This paper describes a new technique for removing exostoses.
The adenovirus vaccine and benzathine penicillin G (BPG) have been used by the US military to prevent acute respiratory diseases (ARD) in trainees, though these interventions have had documented manufacturing problems. We fit Poisson regression and random forest models (RF) to 26 years of weekly ARD incidence data to explore the impact of the adenovirus vaccine and BPG prophylaxis on respiratory disease burden. Adenovirus vaccine availability was among the most important predictors of ARD in the RF, while BPG was the ninth most important. BPG was a significant protective factor against ARD (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0.68; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.67–0.70), but less so than either the old or new adenovirus vaccine (IRR = 0.39, 95% CI 0.38–0.39 and IRR = 0.11, 95% CI 0.11–0.11), respectively. These results suggest that BPG is moderately predictive of, and significantly protective against ARD, though to a lesser extent than either the old or new adenovirus vaccine.
To be useful for architects and related designers searching for creative, expressive forms, performance-based digital tools must generate a diverse range of design solutions. This gives the designer flexibility to choose from a number of high-performing designs based on aesthetic preferences or other priorities. However, there is no single established method for measuring diversity in the context of computational design, especially in the field of architecture. This paper explores different metrics for quantifying diversity in parametric design, which is an increasingly common digital approach to early-stage exploration, and tests how human users perceive these diversity measurements. It first provides a review of existing methodologies for measuring diversity and describes how they can be adapted for parametrically formulated design spaces. This paper then tests how these different metrics align with human perception of design diversity through an online visual survey. Finally, it offers a quantitative comparison between the different methods and a discussion of their attributes and potential applications. In general, the comparison indicates that at the level of diversity difference that becomes visually meaningful to humans, the measurable difference between metrics is small. This paper informs future researchers, developers, and designers about the measurement of diversity in parametric design, and can stimulate further studies into the perception of diversity within sets of design options, as well as new design methodologies that combine architectural novelty and performance.
Childhood obesity rates are higher among Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous Australian children. It has been hypothesized that early-life influences beginning with the intrauterine environment predict the development of obesity in the offspring. The aim of this paper was to assess, in 227 mother–child dyads from the Gomeroi gaaynggal cohort, associations between prematurity, Gestation Related-Optimal Weight (GROW) centiles, maternal adiposity (percentage body fat, visceral fat area), maternal non-fasting plasma glucose levels (measured at mean gestational age of 23.1 weeks) and offspring BMI and adiposity (abdominal circumference, subscapular skinfold thickness) in early childhood (mean age 23.4 months). Maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations were positively associated with infant birth weight (P=0.005) and GROW customized birth weight centiles (P=0.008). There was a significant association between maternal percentage body fat (P=0.02) and visceral fat area (P=0.00) with infant body weight in early childhood. Body mass index (BMI) in early childhood was significantly higher in offspring born preterm compared with those born at term (P=0.03). GROW customized birth weight centiles was significantly associated with body weight (P=0.01), BMI (P=0.007) and abdominal circumference (P=0.039) at early childhood. Our findings suggest that being born preterm, large for gestational age or exposed to an obesogenic intrauterine environment and higher maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations are associated with increased obesity risk in early childhood. Future strategies should aim to reduce the prevalence of overweight/obesity in women of child-bearing age and emphasize the importance of optimal glycemia during pregnancy, particularly in Indigenous women.