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Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
Seasonal influenza virus epidemics have a major impact on healthcare systems. Data on population susceptibility to emerging influenza virus strains during the interepidemic period can guide planning for resource allocation of an upcoming influenza season. This study sought to assess the population susceptibility to representative emerging influenza virus strains collected during the interepidemic period. The microneutralisation antibody titers (MN titers) of a human serum panel against representative emerging influenza strains collected during the interepidemic period before the 2018/2019 winter influenza season (H1N1-inter and H3N2-inter) were compared with those against influenza strains representative of previous epidemics (H1N1-pre and H3N2-pre). A multifaceted approach, incorporating both genetic and antigenic data, was used in selecting these representative influenza virus strains for the MN assay. A significantly higher proportion of individuals had a ⩾four-fold reduction in MN titers between H1N1-inter and H1N1-pre than that between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre (28.5% (127/445) vs. 4.9% (22/445), P < 0.001). The geometric mean titer (GMT) of H1N1-inter was significantly lower than that of H1N1-pre (381 (95% CI 339–428) vs. 713 (95% CI 641–792), P < 0.001), while there was no significant difference in the GMT between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre. Since A(H1N1) predominated the 2018–2019 winter influenza epidemic, our results corroborated the epidemic subtype.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) account for substantial attendances at emergency departments (EDs). There is a need to elucidate determinants of antibiotic prescribing in time-strapped EDs – popular choices for primary care despite highly accessible primary care clinics. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with purposively sampled physicians (n = 9) in an adult ED in Singapore. All interviews were analysed using thematic analysis and further interpreted using the Social Ecological Model to explain prescribing determinants. Themes included: (1) reliance on clinical knowledge and judgement, (2) patient-related factors, (3) patient–physician relationship factors, (4) perceived practice norms, (5) policies and treatment guidelines and (6) patient education and awareness. The physicians relied strongly on their clinical knowledge and judgement in managing URTI cases and seldom interfered with their peers’ clinical decisions. Despite departmental norms of not prescribing antibiotics for URTIs, physicians would prescribe antibiotics when faced with uncertainty in patients’ diagnoses, treating immunocompromised or older patients with comorbidities, and for patients demanding antibiotics, especially under time constraints. Participants had a preference for antibiotic prescribing guidelines based on local epidemiology, but viewed hospital policies on prescribing as a hindrance to clinical judgement. Participants highlighted the need for more public education and awareness on the appropriate use of antibiotics and management of URTIs. Organisational practice norms strongly influenced antibiotic prescribing decisions by physicians, who can be swayed by time pressures and patient demands. Clinical decision support tools, hospital guidelines and patient education targeting at individual, interpersonal and community levels could reduce unnecessary antibiotic use.
We evaluated the utility of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) surveillance by varying 2 parameters: admission versus weekly surveillance and perirectal swabbing versus stool sampling.
Prospective, patient-level surveillance program of incident VRE colonization.
Liver transplant surgical intensive care unit (SICU) of a tertiary-care referral medical center with a high prevalence of VRE.
All patients admitted to the SICU from June to August 2015.
We conducted a point-prevalence estimate followed by admission and weekly surveillance by perirectal swabbing and/or stool sampling. Incident colonization was defined as a negative screen followed by positive surveillance. VRE was detected by culture on Remel Spectra VRE chromogenic agar. Microbiologically-confirmed VRE bloodstream infections (BSIs) were tracked for 2 months. Statistical analyses were calculated using the McNemar test, the Fisher exact test, the t test, and the χ2 test.
In total, 91 patients underwent VRE surveillance testing. The point prevalence of VRE colonization was 60.9%; VRE prevalence on admission was 30.1%. Weekly surveillance identified an additional 7 of 28 patients (25.0%) with incident colonization. VRE BSIs were more common in VRE-colonized patients than in noncolonized patients (8 of 43 vs 2 of 48; P=.028). In a direct comparison, perirectal swabs were more sensitive than stool samples in detecting VRE (64 of 67 vs 56 of 67; P=.023). Compliance with perirectal swabbing was 89% (201 of 226) compared to 56% (127 of 226) for stool collection (P≤0.001).
We recommend weekly VRE surveillance over admission-only screening in high-burden units such as liver transplant SICUs. Perirectal swabs had greater collection compliance and sensitivity than stool samples, making them the preferred methodology. Further work may have implications for antimicrobial stewardship and infection control.
Treatment for hoarding disorder is typically performed by mental health professionals, potentially limiting access to care in underserved areas.
We aimed to conduct a non-inferiority trial of group peer-facilitated therapy (G-PFT) and group psychologist-led cognitive–behavioural therapy (G-CBT).
We randomised 323 adults with hording disorder 15 weeks of G-PFT or 16 weeks of G-CBT and assessed at baseline, post-treatment and longitudinally (≥3 months post-treatment: mean 14.4 months, range 3–25). Predictors of treatment response were examined.
G-PFT (effect size 1.20) was as effective as G-CBT (effect size 1.21; between-group difference 1.82 points, t = −1.71, d.f. = 245, P = 0.04). More homework completion and ongoing help from family and friends resulted in lower severity scores at longitudinal follow-up (t = 2.79, d.f. = 175, P = 0.006; t = 2.89, d.f. = 175, P = 0.004).
Peer-led groups were as effective as psychologist-led groups, providing a novel treatment avenue for individuals without access to mental health professionals.
Declaration of interest
C.A.M. has received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and travel reimbursement and speakers’ honoraria from the Tourette Association of America (TAA), as well as honoraria and travel reimbursement from the NIH for serving as an NIH Study Section reviewer. K.D. receives research support from the NIH and honoraria and travel reimbursement from the NIH for serving as an NIH Study Section reviewer. R.S.M. receives research support from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Aging, the Hillblom Foundation, Janssen Pharmaceuticals (research grant) and the Alzheimer's Association. R.S.M. has also received travel support from the National Institute of Mental Health for Workshop participation. J.Y.T. receives research support from the NIH, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the California Tobacco Related Research Program, and honoraria and travel reimbursement from the NIH for serving as an NIH Study Section reviewer. All other authors report no conflicts of interest.
Background: Epileptic encephalopathy (EE) is a severe neurological disorder characterized by treatment-resistant seizures and poor neurodevelopmental outcomes. EE is associated with mutant genes, including those that encode for γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor subunits. We identified a novel de novo GABRA1 mutation in a patient with EE, characterized its impact on GABAA receptor function, and sought potential therapeutic options. Methods: We described the clinical and electrophysiological features of a patient with a novel de novo GABRA1 (R214C) mutation; performed functional studies; and determined the effect of diazepam and insulin on wild type and mutant GABAA receptors. Results: The patient is a 10-year-old girl with EE, treatment-resistant seizures, intellectual disability and autism. Her GABRA1 (R214C) mutation dramatically decreased whole-cell GABA-evoked currents by reducing GABAA surface receptors, decreasing single channel open time, and altering channel kinetic properties. The combination of diazepam and insulin partially repaired these effects by enhancing channel activity and increasing the number of surface receptors, respectively. Conclusions: Diazepam and insulin partially mitigated a de novo GABRA1 (R214C) mutation’s effects on GABAA receptor number and function. Given the risks of insulin use, pharmacological agents with similar mechanisms of action but fewer side effects, such as IGF-1, should be studied and considered for clinical application.
Background: Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem cells (hiPS-NSCs) represent an exciting therapeutic approach for traumatically spinal cord injury (SCI). Unfortunately, most patients are the in chronic injury phase where a dense perilesional chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) scar significantly hinders regeneration. CSPG-degrading enzymes can enhance NSC-mediated recovery, however, nonspecific intrathecal administration causes off-target effects. We aimed to genetically engineer hiPS-NSCs to express a scar-degrading ENZYME into their local environment to enhance functional recovery. Methods: A bicistronic scar-degrading ENZYME and RFP reporter vector was non-virally integrated into hiPS-NSCs and monoclonalized. ENZYME activity was assessed by WST-1 and DMMB biochemical assays and an in vitro CSPG spot assay with hiPS-NSC-derived neurons. To assess in vivo efficacy, T-cell deficient rats (N=60) with chronic (8wk) C6-7 SCIs were randomized to receive (1)SMaRT cells, (2)hiPS-NSCs, (3)vehicle, or (4)sham surgery. Results: SMaRT cells retained key hiPS-NSC characteristics while stably expressing ENZYME. The expressed ENZYME could appropriately degrade in vitro and ex vivo CSPGs. While blinded neurobehavioural and immunohistochemical assessments are ongoing at 40wks post-injury, an interim analysis demonstrated human cells extending remarkably long (≥20,000µm) axons along host white matter tracts. Conclusions: This work provides exciting proof-of-concept data that genetically-engineered SMaRT cells can degrade CSPGs and human NSCs can extend long-distance processes in chronic SCI.
Introduction: With the increasing volume of medical literature published each year, it is difficult for clinicians to translate the latest research into practice. Awareness is the first step of knowledge translation and journals have begun using social media to increase the dissemination and awareness of their publications. Infographics can describe research findings visually, are shared broadly on social media, and may be a more effective way to convey information. We hypothesized that infographic abstracts would increase the social media dissemination and online readership of research articles relative to traditional abstracts. Methods: In this randomized controlled trial, 24 original research articles were chosen from the six issues of the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine (CJEM) published between July 2016 and May 2017 (4 articles per issue). Half were randomized to the infographic and control groups within each issue. Infographic articles were promoted using a visual infographic outlining the findings of the article. Control articles were promoted using a screen capture image of each articles abstract. Both were disseminated through the journals social media accounts (Twitter and Facebook) along with the link to the selected article. Infographics were also published on CanadiEM.org. Abstract views, full text views, and the change in Altmetric score were tracked for 30 days and compared between groups. Unpaired two-tailed t-tests were used to detect significant differences. Results: Abstract views (mean, SD) were significantly higher for infographic articles (378.9, 162.0) than control articles (175.5, 69.2, p<0.001). Mean Altmetric scores were significantly higher for infographic articles (26.4, 13.8) than control articles (3.4, 1.7, p<0.0001). There was no statistically significant difference in full-text views between infographic (49.7, 90.4) and control articles (25.3, 12.3). Conclusion: CJEM articles promoted on social media using infographics had higher abstract viewership and Altmetric scores than those promoted with traditional abstracts. Although there was no difference in full-text readership, our results suggest that infographic abstracts may have a role in increasing the dissemination of medical literature.
Introduction: The GridlockED game is a serious game aimed at teaching junior learners about flow and organization in the emergency department(ED). With serious games, the mechanism of learning is thought to be via the gameplay experience. Objectives built into gameplay are aimed at teaching players about a specific concept; in this case, we hoped to teach players about interprofessional collaboration and basic mechanics that drive flow in the ED. However, before a player can be taught, he or she must be engaged and have a positive gameplay experience. From the GridlockED gameplay, we aim to explore how a players gameplay experience related to observed actions while playing the game, including participating in decision making and keeping the team organized. Methods: From April-August 2017, participants were invited to play 4 turns of a GridlockED game session. They were video recorded during gameplay. After playing the game, they were surveyed using the previously derived Game Experience Questionnaire (GEQ) to measure their gameplay experience. The videos were reviewed by two research team members (SH, EJ), tallying various observed game actions. We conducted Pearson correlation between players GEQ total score and their observed actions. Results: A total of 32 participants (13 attendings, 5 senior residents, 10 junior residents, and 4 nurses) played the game. The average total GEQ was 67.2/132 (SD=10.7), suggesting most players had a moderately good gameplay experience. The total GEQ score correlated with component subscores within the questionnaire. Overall observed activity correlated well with each observed action subtype. However, the GEQ total score did not correlate significantly with the total observed action (Pearsons r=0.18,p=0.32). GEQ total score was found to be moderately correlated to an observation that a player participated in determining strategy during gameplay (r=0.36,p=0.04). There was a moderate negative correlation between determining strategy during gameplay and teaching about the game (r=-0.37,p=0.04) or emergency medicine concepts (r=-0.47,p<0.01). Conclusion: The GEQ is internally consistent, but does not have a strong relationship to observed actions, suggesting that game experience does not necessarily correlate with observable actions. This suggests that players may be intellectually stimulated or engaged without necessarily completing any observable actions during gameplay.
Introduction: The management of patient flow in the emergency department (ED) is crucial for the practice of emergency medicine (EM). However, this skill is difficult to teach didactically and is learned implicitly in the latter half of residency training. To help expedite the learning process, we developed the GridlockED board game as an educational tool to simulate ED patient flow. By having junior medical trainees play this game, we believe that they will develop a greater understanding of patient flow and resource management in the ED. Additionally, since GridlockED is a cooperative game, players may also benefit by improving their communication and teamwork skills. Methods: GridlockED was developed over twenty months of iterative gameplay and review. Feedback from attending emergency physicians, residents, and medical students was integrated into the game through a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) model. Emergency medicine nurses, physicians and residents at McMaster University were recruited to play GridlockED. Each player completed a pre-survey to collect demographic data and to assess their prior experience with playing board games. All play sessions were recorded for data collection purposes. Following each game session, a member of the research team conducted an exit interview with the players to gather information about their play experience and the educational value of the game. A post-survey was also sent to each participant for further feedback. Results: Eighteen gameplay sessions were conducted from June to August 2017. A total of thirty-two participants played the game (13 emergency physicians, 15 residents, and four nurses). Overall responses to the post-gameplay survey showed that players endorsed GridlockED as a useful potential teaching tool (75%, n=24/32) and the majority felt that it had the potential to improve patient flow in the ED (56%, n=18/32). Most participants found that the game was easy to play (91%, n=27/29), and that the instructions were clear (87.5%, n=28/32). Respondents also felt that the game reflected real life scenarios (56%, n=18) and that cases reflected the types of patients that they saw in the ED (78%, n=25). Conclusion: Our results have shown an overall positive response to GridlockED, with most participants supporting it as both an engaging board game and potential teaching tool. We believe that future studies with larger sample sizes and medical students will further validate the use of serious games in medical education.
In Hong Kong, universal varicella vaccination started in July 2014. Before this, children could receive varicella vaccine via the private market. We analysed the epidemiology of varicella and zoster before universal vaccination. We estimated varicella vaccination coverage through surveys in preschool children. We estimated the burden of varicella and zoster with varicella notifications from 1999/00 to 2013/14, Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) attendance and inpatient admissions to public hospitals from 2004/05 to 2013/14. We fitted a catalytic model to serological data on antibodies against varicella-zoster virus to estimate the force of infection. We found that varicella vaccination coverage gradually increased to about 50% before programme inception. In children younger than 5 years, the annual rate of varicella notifications, varicella admission and zoster A&E attendance generally declined. The annual notification, A&E attendance and hospitalisation rate of varicella and zoster generally increased for individuals between 10 and 59 years old. Varicella serology indicated an age shift during the study period towards a higher proportion of infections in slightly older individuals, but the change was most notable before vaccine licensure. In conclusion, we observed a shift in the burden of varicella to slightly older age groups with a corresponding increase in incidence but it cannot necessarily be attributed to private market vaccine coverage alone. Increasing varicella vaccination uptake in the private market might affect varicella transmission and epidemiology, but not to the level of interrupting transmission.
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.
Polygenic risk scores (PRS) for depression correlate with depression status and chronicity, and provide causal anchors to identify depressive mechanisms. Neuroticism is phenotypically and genetically positively associated with depression, whereas psychological resilience demonstrates negative phenotypic associations. Whether increased neuroticism and reduced resilience are downstream mediators of genetic risk for depression, and whether they contribute independently to risk remains unknown.
Moderating and mediating relationships between depression PRS, neuroticism, resilience and both clinical and self-reported depression were examined in a large, population-based cohort, Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study (N = 4166), using linear regression and structural equation modelling. Neuroticism and resilience were measured by the Eysenck Personality Scale Short Form Revised and the Brief Resilience Scale, respectively.
PRS for depression was associated with increased likelihood of self-reported and clinical depression. No interaction was found between PRS and neuroticism, or between PRS and resilience. Neuroticism was associated with increased likelihood of self-reported and clinical depression, whereas resilience was associated with reduced risk. Structural equation modelling suggested the association between PRS and self-reported and clinical depression was mediated by neuroticism (43–57%), while resilience mediated the association in the opposite direction (37–40%). For both self-reported and clinical diagnoses, the genetic risk for depression was independently mediated by neuroticism and resilience.
Findings suggest polygenic risk for depression increases vulnerability for self-reported and clinical depression through independent effects on increased neuroticism and reduced psychological resilience. In addition, two partially independent mechanisms – neuroticism and resilience – may form part of the pathway of vulnerability to depression.
Myanmar is a country in political and economic transition. Facing a wide-variety of natural hazards and ongoing conflict, the country’s under-developed infrastructure has resulted in high disaster risk. Following the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in 2008 and increased global focus on disaster management and risk reduction, Myanmar has begun development of national disaster policies. Myanmar’s Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction addressed multiple stages of disaster development and has made progress towards national projects, however, has struggled to implement community-based preparedness and response initiatives. This article analyses Myanmar’s disaster strategy, though the use of a disaster development framework and suggests areas for possible improvement. In particular, the article aims to generate discussion regarding methods of supporting objective evaluation of risk reduction initiatives in developing countries. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:422–426)