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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.
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.
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.
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.
Introduction: High fidelity in-situ simulation has been found to detect system deficiencies, equipment failures, and conditions predisposing to medical errors, also known as latent safety threats (LST). What is not well reported is whether these LSTs are effectively managed. As a part of an ongoing quality improvement project, multidisciplinary, in-situ simulations were conducted across emergency departments (ED) in the Edmonton zone with the aim to identify LST and subsequently manage them to improve patient care. Methods: In 2017 simulations were conducted at EDs in the Edmonton Zone (N=10). Following each simulation, a cross sectional, survey based assessment tool, was completed by participants to identify LST. These LST were shared with the site clinical nurse educator and/or site manager and a management plan made. Two to six months follow-up was made to track progress. For reporting, LST were grouped into themes, progress on LST were coded as either resolved, ongoing, or not managed. Results: A total of 112 LST were identified through 18 separate simulations. The most commonly identified LTS were: resuscitation resource required (n 23), lack of staff training (21), equipment not immediately available (20), IT resource required (8), medication not immediately available (6), staff requiring familiarization (5), medication resource required (5), IT issue (4), large equipment needed (4), small equipment needed (4), lack of staff resource (3), medication needed, (3), equipment malfunction (2), Environment cluttered (2), non-appropriate resource removed (2). Site follow-up identified a total of 52 LST that where resolved, and 60 LST that had ongoing work to manage them. No occurrences of LST not being managed were identified. Conclusion: Simulation was used to effectively identify LST. Creating a structured plan and follow up allowed many LST to be resolved and effectively managed. In 2018 simulation will reassess if LST remain.
To determine the effect of mandatory and nonmandatory influenza vaccination policies on vaccination rates and symptomatic absenteeism among healthcare personnel (HCP).
Retrospective observational cohort study.
This study took place at 3 university medical centers with mandatory influenza vaccination policies and 4 Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare systems with nonmandatory influenza vaccination policies.
The study included 2,304 outpatient HCP at mandatory vaccination sites and 1,759 outpatient HCP at nonmandatory vaccination sites.
To determine the incidence and duration of absenteeism in outpatient settings, HCP participating in the Respiratory Protection Effectiveness Clinical Trial at both mandatory and nonmandatory vaccination sites over 3 viral respiratory illness (VRI) seasons (2012–2015) reported their influenza vaccination status and symptomatic days absent from work weekly throughout a 12-week period during the peak VRI season each year. The adjusted effects of vaccination and other modulating factors on absenteeism rates were estimated using multivariable regression models.
The proportion of participants who received influenza vaccination was lower each year at nonmandatory than at mandatory vaccination sites (odds ratio [OR], 0.09; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.07–0.11). Among HCP who reported at least 1 sick day, vaccinated HCP had lower symptomatic days absent compared to unvaccinated HCP (OR for 2012–2013 and 2013–2014, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.72–0.93; OR for 2014–2015, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.69–0.95).
These data suggest that mandatory HCP influenza vaccination policies increase influenza vaccination rates and that HCP symptomatic absenteeism diminishes as rates of influenza vaccination increase. These findings should be considered in formulating HCP influenza vaccination policies.
We have explored the thermodynamics of compressed magnetized plasmas in laboratory experiments and we call these studies ‘magnetothermodynamics’. The experiments are carried out in the Swarthmore Spheromak eXperiment device. In this device, a magnetized plasma source is located at one end and at the other end, a closed conducting can is installed. We generate parcels of magnetized plasma and observe their compression against the end wall of the conducting cylinder. The plasma parameters such as plasma density, temperature and magnetic field are measured during compression using HeNe laser interferometry, ion Doppler spectroscopy and a linear
probe array, respectively. To identify the instances of ion heating during compression, a PV diagram is constructed using measured density, temperature and a proxy for the volume of the magnetized plasma. Different equations of state are analysed to evaluate the adiabatic nature of the compressed plasma. A three-dimensional resistive magnetohydrodynamic code (NIMROD) is employed to simulate the twisted Taylor states and shows stagnation against the end wall of the closed conducting can. The simulation results are consistent to what we observe in our experiments.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
We describe the investigation of two temporally coincident illness clusters involving salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus in two states. Cases were defined as gastrointestinal illness following two meal events. Investigators interviewed ill persons. Stool, food and environmental samples underwent pathogen testing. Alabama: Eighty cases were identified. Median time from meal to illness was 5·8 h. Salmonella Heidelberg was identified from 27 of 28 stool specimens tested, and coagulase-positive S. aureus was isolated from three of 16 ill persons. Environmental investigation indicated that food handling deficiencies occurred. Colorado: Seven cases were identified. Median time from meal to illness was 4·5 h. Five persons were hospitalised, four of whom were admitted to the intensive care unit. Salmonella Heidelberg was identified in six of seven stool specimens and coagulase-positive S. aureus in three of six tested. No single food item was implicated in either outbreak. These two outbreaks were linked to infection with Salmonella Heidelberg, but additional factors, such as dual aetiology that included S. aureus or the dose of salmonella ingested may have contributed to the short incubation periods and high illness severity. The outbreaks underscore the importance of measures to prevent foodborne illness through appropriate washing, handling, preparation and storage of food.
Social media presents an important means for social interaction, especially among adolescents, with Instagram being the most popular platform in this age-group. Pictures and communication about non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) can frequently be found on the internet.
During 4 weeks in April 2016, n = 2826 (from n = 1154 accounts) pictures which directly depicted wounds on Instagram were investigated. Those pictures, associated comments, and user accounts were independently rated for content. Associations between characteristics of pictures and comments as well as weekly and daily trends of posting behavior were analyzed.
Most commonly, pictures depicted wounds caused by cutting on arms or legs and were rated as mild or moderate injuries. Pictures with increasing wound grades and those depicting multiple methods of NSSI generated elevated amounts of comments. While most comments were neutral or empathic with some offering help, few comments were hostile. Pictures were mainly posted in the evening hours, with a small peak in the early morning. While there was a slight peak of pictures being posted on Sundays, postings were rather evenly spread across the week.
Pictures of NSSI are frequently posted on Instagram. Social reinforcement might play a role in the posting of more severe NSSI pictures. Social media platforms need to take appropriate measures for preventing online social contagion.
We present a model to map the 3D distribution of dust in the Milky Way. Although dust is just a tiny fraction of what comprises the Galaxy, it plays an important role in various processes. In recent years various maps of dust extinction have been produced, but we still lack a good knowledge of the dust distribution. Our presented approach leverages line-of-sight extinctions towards stars in the Galaxy at measured distances. Since extinction is proportional to the integral of the dust density towards a given star, it is possible to reconstruct the 3D distribution of dust by combining many lines-of-sight in a model accounting for the spatial correlation of the dust. Such a technique can be used to infer the most probable 3D distribution of dust in the Galaxy even in regions which have not been observed. This contribution provides one of the first maps which does not show the “fingers of God” effect. Furthermore, we show that expected high precision measurements of distances and extinctions offer the possibility of mapping the spiral arms in the Galaxy.
One of the ways to obtain a detailed 3D ISM map is by gathering interstellar (IS) absorption data toward widely distributed background target stars at known distances (line-of-sight/LOS data). The radial and angular evolution of the LOS measurements allow the inference of the ISM spatial distribution. For a better spatial resolution, one needs a large number of the LOS data. It requires building fast tools to measure IS absorption. One of the tools is a global analysis that fit two different diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) simultaneously. We derived the equivalent width (EW) ratio of the two DIBs recorded in each spectrum of target stars. The ratio variability can be used to study IS environmental conditions or to detect DIB family.
The nature and origin of the Galactic warp represent one of the open questions posed by Galactic evolution. Thanks to Gaia high precision absolute astrometry, steps towards the understanding of the warp's dynamical nature can be made. Indeed, proper motions for long-lived stable warp are expected to show measurable trends in the component vertical to the galactic plane. Within this context, we search for the kinematic warp signal in the first Gaia data release (DR1). By analyzing distant spectroscopically-identified OB stars in the Hipparcos subset in Gaia DR1, we find that the kinematic trends cannot be explained by a simple model of a long-lived warp. We therefore discuss possible scenarios for the interpretation of the obtained results. We also present current work in progress to select a larger sample of OB star candidates from the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (TGAS) subsample in DR1, and delineate the points that we will be addressing in the near future.
We present new empirical Colour-Colour and Effective Temperature-Colour Gaia Red Clump calibrations. The selected sample takes into account high photometric quality, good spectrometric metallicity, homogeneous effective temperatures and low interstellar extinctions. From those calibrations we developed a method to derive the absolute magnitude, temperature and extinction of the Gaia RC. We tested our colour and extinction estimates on stars with measured spectroscopic effective temperatures and Diffuse Interstellar Band (DIB) constraints. Within the Gaia Validation team these calibrations are also being used, together with asteroseismic constraints, to check the parallax zero-point with Red Clump stars.
The Bulge Asymmetries and Dynamical Evolution (BAaDE) survey will provide positions and line-of-sight velocities of ~20, 000 evolved, maser bearing stars in the Galactic plane. Although this Galactic region is affected by optical extinction, BAaDE targets may have Gaia cross-matches, eventually providing additional stellar information. In an initial attempt to cross-match BAaDE targets with Gaia, we have found more than 5,000 candidates. Of these, we may expect half to show SiO emission, which will allow us to obtain velocity information. The cross-match is being refined to avoid false positives using different criteria based on distance analysis, flux variability, and color assessment in the mid- and near-IR. Once the cross-matches can be confirmed, we will have a unique sample to characterize the stellar population of evolved stars in the Galactic bulge, which can be considered fossils of the Milky Way formation.