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Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) are increasingly reported in residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs). We assessed whether implementation of directly observed hand hygiene (DOHH) by hand hygiene ambassadors can reduce environmental contamination with MDROs.
From July to August 2017, a cluster-randomized controlled study was conducted at 10 RCHEs (5 intervention versus 5 nonintervention controls), where DOHH was performed at two-hourly intervals during daytime, before meals and medication rounds by a one trained nurse in each intervention RCHE. Environmental contamination by MRDOs, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter species (CRA), and extended-spectrum β-lactamse (ESBL)–producing Enterobacteriaceae, was evaluated using specimens collected from communal areas at baseline, then twice weekly. The volume of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) consumed per resident per week was measured.
The overall environmental contamination of communal areas was culture-positive for MRSA in 33 of 100 specimens (33%), CRA in 26 of 100 specimens (26%), and ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in 3 of 100 specimens (3%) in intervention and nonintervention RCHEs at baseline. Serial monitoring of environmental specimens revealed a significant reduction in MRSA (79 of 600 [13.2%] vs 197 of 600 [32.8%]; P<.001) and CRA (56 of 600 [9.3%] vs 94 of 600 [15.7%]; P=.001) contamination in the intervention arm compared with the nonintervention arm during the study period. The volume of ABHR consumed per resident per week was 3 times higher in the intervention arm compared with the baseline (59.3±12.9 mL vs 19.7±12.6 mL; P<.001) and was significantly higher than the nonintervention arm (59.3±12.9 mL vs 23.3±17.2 mL; P=.006).
The direct observation of hand hygiene of residents could reduce environmental contamination by MDROs in RCHEs.
Background: Recruiting family physicians into primary care research studies requires researchers to continually manage information coming in, going out, and coming in again. In many research groups, Microsoft Excel and Access are the usual data management tools, but they are very basic and do not support any automation, linking, or reminder systems to manage and integrate recruitment information and processes. Objective: We explored whether a commercial customer relationship management (CRM) software program – designed for sales people in businesses to improve customer relations and communications – could be used to make the research recruitment system faster, more effective, and more efficient. Findings: We found that while there was potential for long-term studies, it simply did not adapt effectively enough for our shorter study and recruitment budget. The amount of training required to master the software and our need for ongoing flexible and timely support were greater than the benefit of using CRM software for our study.
Evidence suggests that autism and schizophrenia share similarities in genetic, neuropsychological and behavioural aspects. Although both disorders are associated with theory of mind (ToM) impairments, a few studies have directly compared ToM between autism patients and schizophrenia patients. This study aimed to investigate to what extent high-functioning autism patients and schizophrenia patients share and differ in ToM performance.
Thirty high-functioning autism patients, 30 schizophrenia patients and 30 healthy individuals were recruited. Participants were matched in age, gender and estimated intelligence quotient. The verbal-based Faux Pas Task and the visual-based Yoni Task were utilised to examine first- and higher-order, affective and cognitive ToM. The task/item difficulty of two paradigms was examined using mixed model analyses of variance (ANOVAs). Multiple ANOVAs and mixed model ANOVAs were used to examine group differences in ToM.
The Faux Pas Task was more difficult than the Yoni Task. High-functioning autism patients showed more severely impaired verbal-based ToM in the Faux Pas Task, but shared similar visual-based ToM impairments in the Yoni Task with schizophrenia patients.
The findings that individuals with high-functioning autism shared similar but more severe impairments in verbal ToM than individuals with schizophrenia support the autism–schizophrenia continuum. The finding that verbal-based but not visual-based ToM was more impaired in high-functioning autism patients than schizophrenia patients could be attributable to the varied task/item difficulty between the two paradigms.
The purpose of this study was to dosimetrically compare TomoDirect, TomoHelical and linear accelerator-based 3D-conformal radiotherapy (Linac-3DCRT) for craniospinal irradiation (CSI) in the treatment of medulloblastoma.
Five CSI patients were replanned with Linac-3DCRT, TomoHelical, TomoDirect-3DCRT and TomoDirect-intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). Dose of 36 Gy in 20 fractions was prescribed to the planning target volume (PTV). Homogeneity index (HI), non-target integral dose (NTID), dose–volume histograms, organs-at-risk (OARs) Dmax, Dmean and treatment times were compared.
TomoHelical achieved the best PTV homogeneity compared with Linac-3DCRT, TomoDirect-3DCRT and TomoDirect-IMRT (HI of 3·6 versus 20·9, 8·7 and 9·4%, respectively). TomoDirect-IMRT achieved the lowest NTID compared with TomoDirect-3DCRT, TomoHelical and Linac-3DCRT (141 J versus 151 J, 181 J and 250 J), indicating least biological damage to normal tissues. TomoHelical plans achieved the lowest Dmax in all organs except the breasts, and lowest Dmean for most OARs, except in laterally situated OARs, where TomoDirect triumphed. Beam-on time was longest for TomoHelical, followed by TomoDirect and Linac-3DCRT.
TomoDirect has the potential to lower NTID and shorten treatment times compared with TomoHelical. It reduces PTV inhomogeneity and better spares OARs compared with Linac-3DCRT. Therefore, TomoDirect may be a CSI treatment alternative to TomoHelical and in place of Linac-3DCRT.
The aim of this study was to compare the dosimetric parameters and effects of simultaneous integrated boost (SIB) and traditional sequential electron boost, after helical tomotherapy, because of the lack of studies in this field in the current literature.
Computed tomographic data of 14 patients who received SIB in 2012–2015 were collected from Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital. New tomotherapy with SIB plans and tomotherapy with sequential boost plans were generated for each patient, and results were compared.
Conformation number, mean dose, dose received by 95% volume (both sides), ipsilateral lung volume receiving 20 Gy (V20) and skin dose (right side) were found to be significantly better for SIB (p<0·05), however coverage index and gross target volume dose showed no significant difference, and heart dose was significantly higher for SIB on the right side.
Tomotherapy with SIB may be able to offer less organ at risk dose (except for the heart), while maintaining the ability to deliver adequate dose coverage.
Improving neurocognitive outcomes following treatment for brain metastases have become increasingly important. We propose that a brief telephone-based neurocognitive assessment may improve follow-up cognitive assessments in this palliative population. Aim: To prospectively assess the feasibility and reliability of a telephone based brief neurocognitive assessment compared to the same tests delivered face-to-face. Methods: Brain metastases patients to be treated with whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) were assessed using a brief validated neurocognitive battery at baseline, at 1 month and 3 months following WBRT (in person and over the phone). The primary outcome was feasibility and inter-procedural (in person versus telephone) reliability. The secondary objective was to evaluate the change in neurocognitive function before and after WBRT. Results: Out of 39 patients enrolled, 82% of patients completed the baseline in-person and telephone neurocognitive assessments. However, at 1 month, only 41% of enrolled patients completed the in-person and telephone cognitive assessments and at 3 months, only 10% of patients completed them. Results pertaining to reliability and change in neurocognitive function will be updated. Conclusion: The pre-defined definition of feasibility (at least 80% completion for face to face and telephone neurocognitive assessments) was met at baseline. However, a large proportion of participants did not complete either telephone or in person neurocognitive follow-up at 1 month and at 3 months post-WBRT. Attrition remained a challenge for neurocognitive testing in this population even when a telephone-based brief assessment was used.
During the past three years radiocarbon assay has emerged as a primary tool in the quantitative assignment of sources of urban and rural particulate pollution. Its use in several major field studies has come about because of its excellent (fossil/biogenic) discriminating power, because of advances in 14C measurements of small samples, and because of the increased significance of carbonaceous particles in the atmosphere. The problem is especially important in the cities, where increased concentrations of fine particles lead to pollution episodes characterized by poor visibility and changes in the radiation balance (absorption, scattering), and immediate and possibly long-term health effects. Efforts in source apportionment in such affected areas have been based on emissions inventories, dispersion modeling, and receptor modeling – ie, chemical and physical (and statistical) characterization of particles collected at designated receptor sites. It is in the last category that 14C has become quite effective in helping to resolve particle sources. Results are presented for studies carried out in Los Angeles, Denver, and Houston which incorporated 14C measurements, inorganic and organic chemical characterization, and receptor modeling. The 14C data indicated wide ranging contributions of biogenic and fossil carbon sources – eg, <10% to 60% contemporary (biogenic) in Houston – depending on meteorological, biological, and anthropological activity. The combined (chemical, isotopic, statistical) data point to sources such as vehicles, wood combustion, power plants, and vegetation.
Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB) with diverse multilocus sequence typing emerged among our nursing home residents (6.5%) with a high background rate of MRSA (32.2%). Rectal swabs yielded a higher rate of CRAB detection than axillary or nasal swabs. Bed-bound status, use of adult diapers, and nasogastric tube were risk factors for CRAB colonization.
Chromoblastomycosis is a chronic fungal infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue that most commonly affects the feet and lower limbs. It is rare for this infection to occur on the face, and it is exceptionally rare for it to involve the nose and sinuses. This paper reports a rare case of nasal chromoblastomycosis in a 50-year-old Malaysian male.
The patient, who was a rubber plantation worker in the southern state of Johor, presented to the ENT clinic with a history of epistaxis. He did not recall any history of injury to the nose. Nasal endoscopy showed a pale yellowish lesion at the inferior edge of the left middle turbinate. Histology revealed that this was a case of chromoblastomycosis.
Chromoblastomycosis of the nasal cavity is very rare and can be mistaken for other granulomatous conditions in the nose. It progresses very slowly over many years. Our patient was managed conservatively, as he was not keen on undergoing surgical intervention. Lesion size remained the same at five months' follow up, with no recurrence of epistaxis.
For over three decades, bone conduction hearing aids have been changing the lives of patients with impaired hearing. The size, appearance and fitting discomfort of early generations of bone conduction hearing aids made them unpopular. The advent of bone-anchored hearing aids in the 1970s offered patients improved sound quality and fitting comfort, due to the application of osseointegration. However, the issue of post-operative peri-abutment pin tract wound infection persisted. The Bonebridge system incorporates the first active bone conduction device, and aims to resolve peri-abutment issues. Implantation of this system in an Asian patient is presented.
Community-onset methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CO-MRSA) became a prominent cause of infection in North America in 2003, with a peak in the epidemic noted by multiple groups in the USA between 2005 and 2007. We reviewed rates of MRSA in two hospitals in Vancouver, Canada, to observe changes in epidemiology from 2003 to 2011. Episodes of emergency department (ED) MRSA bacteraemia and wounds were extracted from the laboratory database, with rates calculated per 10 000 ED visits. All cases were assumed to be community onset, as they were diagnosed in the ED. A peak in ED MRSA bacteraemias occurred in 2005, at 7·8/10 000 ED visits. By 2011, rates of ED bacteraemia declined significantly to 3·3/10 000 ED visits (P⩽0·03). MRSA wound rates peaked at 82·2 cases/10 000 ED visits in 2007 with a subsequent significant decline to 34·3 cases in 2011 (P = 0·04). We have demonstrated a significant decline in CO-MRSA within our population, consistent with reports from the USA, suggesting a substantial change in the epidemiology of CO-MRSA in certain North American cities.
Background: This study evaluates which cognitive measure is best for predicting incident dementia in a population-based random sample of Chinese older adults without dementia over a five-year period.
Methods: A total of 787 community-dwelling Chinese older adults without dementia in Hong Kong were assessed at baseline (T0), at two years (T1), and at five years (T2).
Results: The annual conversion rate to dementia was 1.6% and 6.3% for baseline normal participants and baseline mild cognitive impairment (MCI) participants, respectively. The Cantonese version of Mini-mental State Examination (CMMSE) scores declined significantly over time. In participants who progressed to dementia, Category Verbal Fluency Test (CVFT) scores dropped significantly from T0 to T1. A 1-SD drop of either CMMSE or CVFT in two years predicted dementia at five years with 91.5% sensitivity and 62.0% specificity. A stable CMMSE and CVFT at two years predicted a 91% chance of not progressing to clinical dementia at five years.
Conclusion: In this community sample of Chinese older adults, a decline in cognitive screening tests in short term (two years) offered useful information in predicting dementia conversion over a longer period.
The cold, dry, and stable air above the summits of the Antarctic plateau provides the best ground-based observing conditions from optical to sub-millimetre wavelengths to be found on the Earth. Pathfinder for an International Large Optical Telescope (PILOT) is a proposed 2 m telescope, to be built at Dome C in Antarctica, able to exploit these conditions for conducting astronomy at optical and infrared wavelengths. While PILOT is intended as a pathfinder towards the construction of future grand-design facilities, it will also be able to undertake a range of fundamental science investigations in its own right. This paper provides the performance specifications for PILOT, including its instrumentation. It then describes the kinds of projects that it could best conduct. These range from planetary science to the search for other solar systems, from star formation within the Galaxy to the star formation history of the Universe, and from gravitational lensing caused by exo-planets to that produced by the cosmic web of dark matter. PILOT would be particularly powerful for wide-field imaging at infrared wavelengths, achieving near diffraction-limited performance with simple tip–tilt wavefront correction. PILOT would also be capable of near diffraction-limited performance in the optical wavebands, as well be able to open new wavebands for regular ground-based observation, in the mid-IR from 17 to 40 μm and in the sub-millimetre at 200 μm.
The use of the stapes coupling technique, employed in the Vibrant Soundbridge system, is technically less demanding than the vibroplasty technique, and is more likely to generate a positive outcome without significantly changing residual hearing or resulting in medical or surgical complication.
We report a patient with repeated left ossiculoplasty failure, who was successfully implanted with a Vibrant Soundbridge.
We believe that the stapes coupling technique can provide natural stimulation to the inner ear, resulting in a better perceived sound quality.
The Night Sky Monitoring Network is a project that aims to study the extent, distribution, and properties of the light pollution condition in the populous metropolis of Hong Kong. Continuous measurements of the Night Sky Brightness (NSB) at strategically chosen locations that cover a wide range of population density and land usage were made, with over 2.5 million NSB readings collected in 18 months up to June 2012. Results from the project are presented, with focus on the contrast between the urban and rural night sky profiles, and light pollution contributions from artificial lightings. This project is supported by the Environment and Conservation Fund of the Hong Kong SAR government (ECF 10/2009, ECF 1/2007).
Ceramics of alumina of high density and purity can have a broad application area due to the combination of the excellent properties such as resistance to corrosion, good biocompatibility, and high resistance to wear and moderate mechanical resistance. But its low fracture toughness limits its range of applications. One possibility of improvement in the properties of these materials might be in the use of nanometric inclusions of ZrO2 into the matrix of Al2O3. The aim of this paper was to obtain and characterize the nanocomposites of alumina containing 0, 5, 10, 15 and 30 vol% of nanometric zirconium, seeking improvements in the mechanical properties and its comparison with values found for the matrix without the inclusion. For that, nanometric particles of ZrO2 were added into the matrix of alumina in the different proportions, using mixture of suspensions. The samples of alumina and nanocomposites of alumina-zirconium were physically, microstructurally and mechanically characterized. The results obtained, showed the efficiency of the used process, obtaining a good dispersion of the particles of zirconium in the matrix of alumina. The adding of up to 15vol% nanometric zirconium in the matrix of alumina promoted an increase in the values of the mechanical properties when compared with alumina. For the nanocomposites containing 30vol%, a good dispersion of the zirconium inclusions did not happen, leading to inferior values in the measured properties.