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This SHEA white paper identifies knowledge gaps and challenges in healthcare epidemiology research related to COVID-19 with a focus on core principles of healthcare epidemiology. These gaps, revealed during the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, are described in 10 sections: epidemiology, outbreak investigation, surveillance, isolation precaution practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), environmental contamination and disinfection, drug and supply shortages, antimicrobial stewardship, healthcare personnel (HCP) occupational safety, and return to work policies. Each section highlights three critical healthcare epidemiology research questions with detailed description provided in supplemental materials. This research agenda calls for translational studies from laboratory-based basic science research to well-designed, large-scale studies and health outcomes research. Research gaps and challenges related to nursing homes and social disparities are included. Collaborations across various disciplines, expertise and across diverse geographic locations will be critical.
To assess potential transmission of antibiotic-resistant organisms (AROs) using surrogate markers and bacterial cultures.
A 1,260-bed tertiary-care academic medical center.
The study included 25 patients (17 of whom were on contact precautions for AROs) and 77 healthcare personnel (HCP).
Fluorescent powder (FP) and MS2 bacteriophage were applied in patient rooms. HCP visits to each room were observed for 2–4 hours; hand hygiene (HH) compliance was recorded. Surfaces inside and outside the room and HCP skin and clothing were assessed for fluorescence, and swabs were collected for MS2 detection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and selective bacterial cultures.
Transfer of FP was observed for 20 rooms (80%) and 26 HCP (34%). Transfer of MS2 was detected for 10 rooms (40%) and 15 HCP (19%). Bacterial cultures were positive for 1 room and 8 HCP (10%). Interactions with patients on contact precautions resulted in fewer FP detections than interactions with patients not on precautions (P < .001); MS2 detections did not differ by patient isolation status. Fluorescent powder detections did not differ by HCP type, but MS2 was recovered more frequently from physicians than from nurses (P = .03). Overall, HH compliance was better among HCP caring for patients on contact precautions than among HCP caring for patients not on precautions (P = .003), among nurses than among other nonphysician HCP at room entry (P = .002), and among nurses than among physicians at room exit (P = .03). Moreover, HCP who performed HH prior to assessment had fewer fluorescence detections (P = .008).
Contact precautions were associated with greater HCP HH compliance and reduced detection of FP and MS2.
Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
Measurements in the infrared wavelength domain allow direct assessment of the physical state and energy balance of cool matter in space, enabling the detailed study of the processes that govern the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems in galaxies over cosmic time. Previous infrared missions revealed a great deal about the obscured Universe, but were hampered by limited sensitivity.
SPICA takes the next step in infrared observational capability by combining a large 2.5-meter diameter telescope, cooled to below 8 K, with instruments employing ultra-sensitive detectors. A combination of passive cooling and mechanical coolers will be used to cool both the telescope and the instruments. With mechanical coolers the mission lifetime is not limited by the supply of cryogen. With the combination of low telescope background and instruments with state-of-the-art detectors SPICA provides a huge advance on the capabilities of previous missions.
SPICA instruments offer spectral resolving power ranging from R ~50 through 11 000 in the 17–230 μm domain and R ~28.000 spectroscopy between 12 and 18 μm. SPICA will provide efficient 30–37 μm broad band mapping, and small field spectroscopic and polarimetric imaging at 100, 200 and 350 μm. SPICA will provide infrared spectroscopy with an unprecedented sensitivity of ~5 × 10−20 W m−2 (5σ/1 h)—over two orders of magnitude improvement over what earlier missions. This exceptional performance leap, will open entirely new domains in infrared astronomy; galaxy evolution and metal production over cosmic time, dust formation and evolution from very early epochs onwards, the formation history of planetary systems.
IR spectroscopy in the range 12–230 μm with the SPace IR telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA) will reveal the physical processes governing the formation and evolution of galaxies and black holes through cosmic time, bridging the gap between the James Webb Space Telescope and the upcoming Extremely Large Telescopes at shorter wavelengths and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array at longer wavelengths. The SPICA, with its 2.5-m telescope actively cooled to below 8 K, will obtain the first spectroscopic determination, in the mid-IR rest-frame, of both the star-formation rate and black hole accretion rate histories of galaxies, reaching lookback times of 12 Gyr, for large statistically significant samples. Densities, temperatures, radiation fields, and gas-phase metallicities will be measured in dust-obscured galaxies and active galactic nuclei, sampling a large range in mass and luminosity, from faint local dwarf galaxies to luminous quasars in the distant Universe. Active galactic nuclei and starburst feedback and feeding mechanisms in distant galaxies will be uncovered through detailed measurements of molecular and atomic line profiles. The SPICA’s large-area deep spectrophotometric surveys will provide mid-IR spectra and continuum fluxes for unbiased samples of tens of thousands of galaxies, out to redshifts of z ~ 6.
To evaluate healthcare worker (HCW) risk of self-contamination when donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) using fluorescence and MS2 bacteriophage.
Prospective pilot study.
A total of 36 HCWs were included in this study: 18 donned/doffed contact precaution (CP) PPE and 18 donned/doffed Ebola virus disease (EVD) PPE.
HCWs donned PPE according to standard protocols. Fluorescent liquid and MS2 bacteriophage were applied to HCWs. HCWs then doffed their PPE. After doffing, HCWs were scanned for fluorescence and swabbed for MS2. MS2 detection was performed using reverse transcriptase PCR. The donning and doffing processes were videotaped, and protocol deviations were recorded.
Overall, 27% of EVD PPE HCWs and 50% of CP PPE HCWs made ≥1 protocol deviation while donning, and 100% of EVD PPE HCWs and 67% of CP PPE HCWs made ≥1 protocol deviation while doffing (P=.02). The median number of doffing protocol deviations among EVD PPE HCWs was 4, versus 1 among CP PPE HCWs. Also, 15 EVD PPE protocol deviations were committed by doffing assistants and/or trained observers. Fluorescence was detected on 8 EVD PPE HCWs (44%) and 5 CP PPE HCWs (28%), most commonly on hands. MS2 was recovered from 2 EVD PPE HCWs (11%) and 3 CP PPE HCWs (17%).
Protocol deviations were common during both EVD and CP PPE doffing, and some deviations during EVD PPE doffing were committed by the HCW doffing assistant and/or the trained observer. Self-contamination was common. PPE donning/doffing are complex and deserve additional study.
Two experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of dietary supplementation of bacteriophage cocktail, probiotics and a combination of these two supplements on performance and gut health of weanling pigs. In Experiment 1, 150 weaned piglets were randomly allotted to three treatments on the basis of BW. The dietary treatments included a basal diet supplemented with 0 (control), 1.0 and 1.5 g/kg bacteriophage cocktail. Pigs fed 1.0 and 1.5 g/kg bacteriophage product had greater (P<0.05) average daily gain (ADG), apparent total tract digestibility of dry matter from day 22 to 35, ileal Lactobacillus spp., villus height (duodenum and jejunum), and fewer coliforms (ileum) and Clostridium spp. (ileum). In Experiment 2, 200 weaned piglets were randomly allotted to four treatments. Dietary treatments included basal diet, basal diet supplemented with 3.0 g/kg fermented probiotic product (P), 1.0 g/kg bacteriophage cocktail (B) and combination of 1.0 g/kg bacteriophage cocktail and 3.0 g/kg fermented probiotic product. Pigs fed bacteriophage cocktail diets had greater (P<0.05) overall ADG, gain to feed ratio (G : F), fecal score from day 8 to day 21, and pigs fed bacteriophage cocktail diets had fewer coliforms (ileum) Clostridium spp. (ileum and cecum). Probiotics significantly increased G : F, colonization of Lactobacillus spp. in ileum. At day 35, bacteriophage treatment group showed greater (P<0.05) villus height of the duodenum, but a deeper crypt in duodenum. The present results indicate that the bacteriophage cocktail had a potential to enhance the performance and gut health of weanling pigs, however their combination with probiotics did not show an interaction.
Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) has been associated with abnormal cognitive and emotional functions and these dysfunctions may be dependent on the disruption of dynamic interactions within neuronal circuits associated with emotion regulation. Although several studies have shown the aberrant cognitive–affective processing in OCD patients, little is known about how to characterize effective connectivity of the disrupted neural interactions. In the present study, we applied effective connectivity analysis using dynamic causal modeling to explore the disturbed neural interactions in OCD patients.
A total of 20 patients and 21 matched healthy controls performed a delayed-response working memory task under emotional or non-emotional distraction while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging.
During the delay interval under negative emotional distraction, both groups showed similar patterns of activations in the amygdala. However, under negative emotional distraction, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) exhibited significant differences between groups. Bayesian model averaging indicated that the connection from the DLPFC to the OFC was negatively modulated by negative emotional distraction in patients, when compared with healthy controls (p < 0.05, Bonferroni-corrected).
Exaggerated recruitment of the DLPFC may induce the reduction of top-down prefrontal control input over the OFC, leading to abnormal cortico-cortical interaction. This disrupted cortico-cortical interaction under negative emotional distraction may be responsible for dysfunctions of cognitive and emotional processing in OCD patients and may be a component of the pathophysiology associated with OCD.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic, relapsing mental illness. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors block serotonin transporters (SERTs) and are the mainstay of treatment for OCD. SERT abnormalities are reported in drug-free patients with OCD, but it is not known what happens to SERT levels during treatment. This is important as alterations in SERT levels in patients under treatment could underlie poor response, or relapse during or after treatment. The aim of the present study was first to validate a novel approach to measuring SERT levels in people taking treatment and then to investigate SERT binding potential (BP) using [11C]DASB PET in patients with OCD currently treated with escitalopram in comparison with healthy controls.
Twelve patients and age- and sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled. The patients and healthy controls underwent serial PET scans after administration of escitalopram and blood samples for drug concentrations were collected simultaneously with the scans. Drug-free BPs were obtained by using an inhibitory Emax model we developed previously.
The inhibitory Emax model was able to accurately predict drug-free SERT BP in people taking drug treatment. The drug-free BP in patients with OCD currently treated with escitalopram was significantly different from those in healthy volunteers [Cohen's d = 0.03 (caudate), 1.16 (putamen), 1.46 (thalamus), −5.67 (dorsal raphe nucleus)].
This result extends previous findings showing SERT abnormalities in drug-free patients with OCD by indicating that altered SERT availability is seen in OCD despite treatment. This could account for poor response and the high risk of relapse in OCD.
This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of post-operative voice therapy after phonomicrosurgery for vocal polyp removal.
The study retrospectively enrolled 55 consecutive patients who had undergone voice therapy after phonomicrosurgery for vocal polyp removal occurring between June 2010 and June 2011. A historical group of 63 similar patients not receiving voice therapy was used as an external control. We compared voice analysis parameters and Voice Handicap Index scores for the two groups.
Most objective and subjective voice outcome parameters were significantly improved after surgical treatment. Although the study and control groups showed no significant difference regarding objective parameters (using acoustic and aerodynamic analysis) or the subjective parameters assessed using the grade-roughness-breathiness-asthenia-strain scale, the study group had significantly better final Voice Handicap Index scores.
Following surgery for vocal polyps, post-operative voice therapy can improve patients' vocal discomfort, emotional responses and everyday self-perception.
X-ray diffraction patterns, scanning electron microscopy images, and transmission electron microscopy images showed that one-dimensional GaN nanorods with -oriented single-crystalline wurtzite structures were grown on Al2O3 (0001) substrates by hydride vapor-phase epitaxy without a catalyst. The tip morphology of the GaN nanorods became flat with increasing temperature difference between the gas mixing and the substrate zones. The gas mixing temperature significantly affected the formation of the nanorods, and the substrate temperature influenced the morphology and the strain of the GaN nanorods near the GaN/Al2O3 heterointerface. The strain and the stress existing in the GaN layer near the heterointerface were decreased with increasing growth rate. The formation mechanisms of the GaN nanorods grown on the Al2O3 (0001) substrates are described on the basis of the experimental results.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the acceptability and therapeutic efficacy of a preoperative single administration of long-acting 5-hydroxytryptamine type 3 (5-HT3) receptor antagonist in an orally disintegrating tablet formulation, ramosetron, in breast cancer patients.
Two hundred and forty women, ASA I-II, aged 24–60 yr, undergoing elective breast cancer surgery, were randomized. A standardized anaesthetic technique was used. Patients were assigned to receive one of three treatment regimens (n = 80 in each group): no prophylactic antiemetics (Group A), single prophylactic intravenous injection of ramosetron 0.1 mg at the completion of surgery (Group B) or preoperatively oral administration of 0.1 mg of ramosetron (Group C). Episodes of nausea and vomiting, the use of rescue antiemetic treatment, degree of pain, adverse events and level of satisfaction were recorded.
The overall incidence of nausea and vomiting during the first 24 h after the recovery in Groups B (27.8%) and C (25%) was decreased significantly compared with Group A (75.3%). The frequency of the use of rescue antiemetics was significantly lower in Group C (5.0%) compared with Groups A (53.2%) and B (15.2%). The patients in Group C were more satisfied with control of postoperative nausea and vomiting than others.
Preoperative oral administration of ramosetron at a dose of 0.1 mg is an acceptable and effective way of reducing the incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting in breast cancer patients.
Surveillance is an important component of influenza control. This report describes the establishment and first results of the Korean Influenza Surveillance Scheme (KISS), an integrated clinical and laboratory surveillance network involving 622 public health centres (PHCs) and private clinics. Sentinel physicians reported cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) weekly and forwarded specimens for virus isolation and characterization. Influenza activity during the opening 2000–2001 season was milder and delayed compared with previous years. The ILI consultation rate corresponded well with the number of influenza virus isolates, both peaking in week 10 of 2001. Influenza A(H3N2) was the dominant isolate. The peak ILI consultation rate was higher in private clinics than in PHCs (5·04 vs 1·79 cases/1000 visits). An evaluation questionnaire generated potential enhancements to the scheme. KISS appears to represent the pattern of influenza activity accurately and will have a valuable role in monitoring and preventing epidemics in Korea.
Thyroid hemiagenesis is a rare abnormality in which one thyroid lobe fails to develop. Most of the patients diagnosed have an associated thyroid disease. We report the case of a 32-year-old woman who presented with a left thyroid mass which had been gradually increasing in size over a period of two years. A thyroid scan revealed the absence of the right thyroid lobe and isthmus, and a hypoactive nodule was evident in the lower pole of the left lobe. Ultrasonography confirmed the right lobe and the isthmus agenesis. The operative findings confirmed hemiagenesis of the right lobe and nodular hyperplasia in the left lobe.
The purpose of this report is to present a patient with hemiagenesis of the thyroid gland who concomitantly had nodular hyperplasia; we also stress the importance of pre-operative differentiation between benign lesions and malignancy in order to aid critical decision making and to facilitate preservation of thyroid function if possible.
The composition of yeast communities in the rumen of cattle was investigated using comparative DNA sequence analysis of yeast 26S rDNA genes. 26S rDNA libraries were constructed from rumen fluid (FF), rumen solid (FS) and rumen epithelium (FE). A total of 97 clones, containing a partial 26S rDNA sequence of 0·6 kb length, were sequenced and subjected to an on-line similarity search.
The 41 FF clones could be divided into five classes. The largest class was affiliated with Pezizomycotina class (85·4% of clones), and the remaining classes were related with the Urediniomycotina (2·4%), Hymenomycetes (4·9%), Ustilaginomycetes (4·9%) and Saccharomycotina (2·4%) classes. The 26 FE clones could be divided into three classes and the Saccharomycetes class (92·4% of clones) was the largest group. The remaining classes were related with either Pezizomycotina (3·8%) or Ustilaginomycetes (3·8%). The 30 FS clones were all affiliated with Saccharomycotina. Saccharomycotina were predominant in rumen epithelium and rumen solid while Pezizomycotina were predominant in rumen fluid. Yeast belonging to the Saccharomycotina class was predominant in the rumen as a whole (57%). One clone (FF34) had less than 90% similarity to any sequence in the database and was thus apparently unrelated to any previously described yeast.
In this study, we successfully produced PbZr0.4Ti0.6O3 (PZT (40/60)) thin films with high crystallinity and high remnant polarization (Pr) at low process temperatures using pulsed excimer (XeCl) laser irradiation. In our experiments, amorphous PZT films were prepared on Pt/Ti/SiO2/Si substrates by a sol-gel method. A two-step process was used to crystallize the amorphous thin films: the films were annealed at 550°C for 10 min to initiate the nucleation of the PZT perovskite phase, and then annealed with an excimer laser heating at 400°C in a 120 Torr nitrogen gas atmosphere. Laser energy density was varied from 150 to 750 mJ/cm2 per pulse. x-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns show that 150–200 mJ/cm2 range multi-shot excimer laser irradiation drastically improved the crystallinity of the PZT perovskite phase, and FESEM photographs show that the PZT thin film has uniform-sized crystal grains. The ferroelectric properties were found to depend on the laser energy density and shot number. Before the laser annealing, the films show hysteresis loops with low Pr and the loops do not saturate. After laser annealing, the films show highly saturated hysteresis loops, with the Pr increasing from 2.2 μC/cm2 to 23.0 μC/cm2. We also propose a new technology for fabrication of thin film transistor (TFT)-driven FeRAM devices on arbitrary insulator substrate such as on glass.
The structure and composition of Cr-nitrides formed on an electroplated hard Cr layer during an ion-nitriding process were analyzed, and its growth kinetics was examined as a function of the ion-nitriding temperature and time to establish a computer simulation model for the prediction of growth behavior of the Cr-nitride layer. The Cr-nitrides formed during the ion-nitriding at 550–770 °C were composed of outer CrN and inner Cr2N layers. A nitrogen diffusion model in the multilayer, based on fixed-grid finite difference method, was applied to simulate the growth kinetics of Cr-nitride layers. By measuring the thickness of Cr-nitride layers as a function of ion-nitriding temperature and time, the activation energy (Q) and nitrogen diffusion constant (Do) were determined for growth of CrN and Cr2N; the result was applied to simulate the growth kinetics of Cr-nitride layers, and reasonable good agreement was obtained with the experimental results.