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Older adults with a chronic health condition (e.g. hypertension) use various self-management methods. Healthcare technologies have the potential to support health self-management. However, it is necessary to understand the acceptance of these technologies as a precursor to older adults’ adoption and integration into their health plan. Our focus was on the factors older adults with hypertension initially consider when introduced to three new healthcare technologies that might support their health self-management. We compared their considerations for a blood pressure monitor, an electronic pillbox and a multifunction robot to simulate incrementally more complex technologies. Twenty-three participants (aged 65–84) completed four questionnaires and a semi-structured interview. The interview transcripts were analysed using a thematic analysis approach. We identified the factors that were frequently mentioned among the participants for each of the three healthcare technologies. The factors that older adults initially considered were familiarity, perceived benefits, perceived ease of use, perceived need for oneself, relative advantage, complexity and perceived need for others. Upon further reflection, participants considered advice acceptance, compatibility, convenience, facilitating conditions, perceived usefulness, privacy, subjective norm, and trust. We integrated the factors that older adults considered into the Healthcare Technology Acceptance Model (H-TAM), which elucidates the complexity of healthcare technology acceptance and provides guidance for future explorations.
The objectives of this study were to develop and refine EMPOWER (Enhancing and Mobilizing the POtential for Wellness and Resilience), a brief manualized cognitive-behavioral, acceptance-based intervention for surrogate decision-makers of critically ill patients and to evaluate its preliminary feasibility, acceptability, and promise in improving surrogates’ mental health and patient outcomes.
Part 1 involved obtaining qualitative stakeholder feedback from 5 bereaved surrogates and 10 critical care and mental health clinicians. Stakeholders were provided with the manual and prompted for feedback on its content, format, and language. Feedback was organized and incorporated into the manual, which was then re-circulated until consensus. In Part 2, surrogates of critically ill patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) reporting moderate anxiety or close attachment were enrolled in an open trial of EMPOWER. Surrogates completed six, 15–20 min modules, totaling 1.5–2 h. Surrogates were administered measures of peritraumatic distress, experiential avoidance, prolonged grief, distress tolerance, anxiety, and depression at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and at 1-month and 3-month follow-up assessments.
Part 1 resulted in changes to the EMPOWER manual, including reducing jargon, improving navigability, making EMPOWER applicable for a range of illness scenarios, rearranging the modules, and adding further instructions and psychoeducation. Part 2 findings suggested that EMPOWER is feasible, with 100% of participants completing all modules. The acceptability of EMPOWER appeared strong, with high ratings of effectiveness and helpfulness (M = 8/10). Results showed immediate post-intervention improvements in anxiety (d = −0.41), peritraumatic distress (d = −0.24), and experiential avoidance (d = −0.23). At the 3-month follow-up assessments, surrogates exhibited improvements in prolonged grief symptoms (d = −0.94), depression (d = −0.23), anxiety (d = −0.29), and experiential avoidance (d = −0.30).
Significance of results
Preliminary data suggest that EMPOWER is feasible, acceptable, and associated with notable improvements in psychological symptoms among surrogates. Future research should examine EMPOWER with a larger sample in a randomized controlled trial.
Vulnerability is widely accepted as a relevant concept in human research regulation. Reflecting this, influential international research ethics guidelines require identification of, and protections for, participants who are deemed vulnerable. Nonetheless, vulnerability is challenging to conceptualise and define, with ongoing disputes about the nature and extent of moral obligations to the vulnerable. This chapter maps the history of vulnerability in human research ethics guidelines and explores current debates regarding the role of vulnerability in guiding ethical deliberations about research participation.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an increasing cause of chronic liver disease that accompanies obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Excess fructose consumption can initiate or exacerbate NAFLD in part due to a consequence of impaired hepatic fructose metabolism. Preclinical data emphasized that fructose-induced altered gut microbiome, increased gut permeability, and endotoxemia play an important role in NAFLD, but human studies are sparse. The present study aimed to determine if two weeks of excess fructose consumption significantly alters gut microbiota or permeability in humans.
We performed a pilot double-blind, cross-over, metabolic unit study in 10 subjects with obesity (body mass index [BMI] 30–40 mg/kg/m2). Each arm provided 75 grams of either fructose or glucose added to subjects’ individual diets for 14 days, substituted isocalorically for complex carbohydrates, with a 19-day wash-out period between arms. Total fructose intake provided in the fructose arm of the study totaled a mean of 20.1% of calories. Outcome measures included fecal microbiota distribution, fecal metabolites, intestinal permeability, markers of endotoxemia, and plasma metabolites.
Routine blood, uric acid, liver function, and lipid measurements were unaffected by the fructose intervention. The fecal microbiome (including Akkermansia muciniphilia), fecal metabolites, gut permeability, indices of endotoxemia, gut damage or inflammation, and plasma metabolites were essentially unchanged by either intervention.
In contrast to rodent preclinical findings, excess fructose did not cause changes in the gut microbiome, metabolome, and permeability as well as endotoxemia in humans with obesity fed fructose for 14 days in amounts known to enhance NAFLD.
Successful aging can be generally defined as minimizing disabilities, maintaining functional capacity, and supporting an engaged lifestyle. Given world population changes, this concept is of increasing importance. Technologies have become an integral part of daily life across a range of domains and have potential to support older adults. However, for that potential to be met, the technology must be designed with consideration for older adults’ capabilities, limitations, motivations to use technological support, and opinions regarding the role of technology in their lives. In this context, we review the theoretical background relevant to successful aging and technology support. Moreover, the technology should not impose cognitive demands but should augment or enhance cognitive function. We present older adult personas to highlight how current and emerging technologies can assist aging individuals in meeting their diverse needs and reaching their goals. We provide considerations and future research directions to guide technology design and promote successful aging.
A consensus workshop on low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) was held in November 2018 where seventeen experts (the panel) discussed three themes identified as key to the science and policy of LCS: (1) weight management and glucose control; (2) consumption, safety and perception; (3) nutrition policy. The aims were to identify the reliable facts on LCS, suggest research gaps and propose future actions. The panel agreed that the safety of LCS is demonstrated by a substantial body of evidence reviewed by regulatory experts and current levels of consumption, even for high users, are within agreed safety margins. However, better risk communication is needed. More emphasis is required on the role of LCS in helping individuals reduce their sugar and energy intake, which is a public health priority. Based on reviews of clinical evidence to date, the panel concluded that LCS can be beneficial for weight management when they are used to replace sugar in products consumed in the diet (without energy substitution). The available evidence suggests no grounds for concerns about adverse effects of LCS on sweet preference, appetite or glucose control; indeed, LCS may improve diabetic control and dietary compliance. Regarding effects on the human gut microbiota, data are limited and do not provide adequate evidence that LCS affect gut health at doses relevant to human use. The panel identified research priorities, including collation of the totality of evidence on LCS and body weight control, monitoring and modelling of LCS intakes, impacts on sugar reduction and diet quality and developing effective communication strategies to foster informed choice. There is also a need to reconcile policy discrepancies between organisations and reduce regulatory hurdles that impede low-energy product development and reformulation.
Clinical medicine is heavily reliant upon the results of high-quality research, conducted to exacting ethical standards. Efforts to ensure such standards include the development of national and international research ethics guidelines together with the establishment of review systems such as research ethics committees (RECs, also known as institutional review boards or IRBs). A major focus of these efforts has been on protecting the autonomy of participants, primarily through the process of detailed informed consent. Gaining well-informed consent from prospective participants limits the potential for individuals to be subjected unknowingly or unwillingly to experimentation and, when well done, supports individuals to make free choices about their research participation. However, informed consent is not a universal panacea as there are various ethical breaches in research against which informed consent is relatively powerless. My focus is on one such breach – that of data misuse.
Surgery is an important part of contemporary health care, but currently much of surgery lacks a strong evidence base. Uptake of evidence‐based medicine (EBM) methods within surgical research and among practitioners has been slow compared with other areas of medicine. Although this is often viewed as arising from practical and cultural barriers, it also reflects a lack of epistemic fit between EBM research methods and surgical practice. In this paper we discuss some epistemic challenges in surgery relating to this lack of fit, and investigate how resources from feminist epistemology can help to characterize them. We point to ways in which these epistemic challenges may be addressed by gathering and disseminating evidence about what works in surgery using methods that are contextual, pluralistic, and sensitive to hierarchies.
To examine the use of vitamin D supplements during infancy among the participants in an international infant feeding trial.
Information about vitamin D supplementation was collected through a validated FFQ at the age of 2 weeks and monthly between the ages of 1 month and 6 months.
Infants (n 2159) with a biological family member affected by type 1 diabetes and with increased human leucocyte antigen-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes from twelve European countries, the USA, Canada and Australia.
Daily use of vitamin D supplements was common during the first 6 months of life in Northern and Central Europe (>80 % of the infants), with somewhat lower rates observed in Southern Europe (>60 %). In Canada, vitamin D supplementation was more common among exclusively breast-fed than other infants (e.g. 71 % v. 44 % at 6 months of age). Less than 2 % of infants in the USA and Australia received any vitamin D supplementation. Higher gestational age, older maternal age and longer maternal education were study-wide associated with greater use of vitamin D supplements.
Most of the infants received vitamin D supplements during the first 6 months of life in the European countries, whereas in Canada only half and in the USA and Australia very few were given supplementation.
The UK Mental Capacity Act provides an important legislative framework for protecting persons who are vulnerable, by virtue of partial or total lack of capacity, from abuse, coercion, exploitation, disrespect or unwarranted intrusions on their privacy and liberty. In this article we argue, however, that in order to effectively implement the Act's governing principles and promote the autonomy of persons whose capacities are impaired, health and social welfare professionals must go beyond a primarily cognitive approach to capacity assessment and refer to a range of more demanding autonomy conditions relating to authenticity, diachronic coherence and consistency, accountability to others, and affective attitudes towards oneself. We suggest that these conditions are in fact implicit in the guidelines, scenarios and practical advice contained in the Act's accompanying Code of Practice. To ground our analysis, we discuss two cases of end-of-life decision-making, and consider how these cases might have been assessed had the Mental Capacity Act been applied. We also address the question of whether the conditions for autonomy we identify raise the bar too high to be met by persons who are vulnerable because their capacity is partially compromised.
Charcoal-burning has become a common method of attempted suicide in Asia and survivors are often intoxicated with carbon monoxide (CO). Reports of the neuropsychiatric aspects of CO poisoning date back to 1914. This article outlines the neuropsychiatric sequelae that have been described secondary to CO poisoning. The underlying pathophysiology and management strategies, including acute management and cognitive rehabilitation, are discussed as these topics are of relevance to psychiatrists.
Objectives: Many innovative health technologies do not have a sufficient evidence-base to allow for adequate assessment of their benefits. Funders in several countries have been exploring arrangements that allow for temporary or partial coverage of these technologies, but only as part of a further evaluation. The public's support of arrangements that restrict access to innovative technology until sufficient evidence is available is crucial if these arrangements are going to remain viable. The project's other objective is to examine the lay public's views on a case in which patients’ publicly funded access to an innovative health technology is being delayed until there is sufficient evidence to justify a coverage decision. The case considered is the Ontario (Canada) government's decision to restrict access to positron emission tomography (PET) scans until further evidence becomes available.
Methods: The case was deliberated on by twenty-six members of the Toronto Health Policy Citizens' Council, with a follow-up survey administered to individual council members.
Results: The majority of council members agreed that the approach taken by the government was reasonable and in the best interests of its citizens. The council did express concerns regarding certain aspects of the case, including about the length of time it is taking to obtain further evidence.
Conclusions: Public support for arrangements that limit access to new technologies will likely vary depending on the details of the specific arrangement being proposed. Deliberative public dialogue can be effectively used to identify cases the general public is most likely to support.