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Case reports are commonly used to report the health outcomes of mass gatherings (MGs), and many published reports of MGs demonstrate substantial heterogeneity of included descriptors. As such, it is challenging to perform rigorous comparisons of health services and outcomes between similar and dissimilar events. The degree of variation in published reports has not yet been investigated.
Examine patterns of post-event medical reporting in the existing literature and identify inconsistencies in reporting.
A systematic review of case reports was conducted. Included were English studies, published between January 2009 and December 2018, in Prehospital and Disaster Medicine (PDM) or Current Sports Medicine Reports (CSMR). Analysis of each paper was used to develop a list of 27 categories of data.
Seventy-five studies were initially reviewed with 54 publications meeting the inclusion criteria. Forty-two were full case reports (78%) and 12 were conference proceedings (22%). Of the 27 categories of data studied, only 13 were consistently reported in more than 50% of publications. Reporting patterns included inconsistent use of terminology/language and variable retrievability of reports. Reporting on event descriptors, hazard and risk analysis, and clinical outcomes were also inconsistent.
Case reports are essential tools for researchers and event team members such as medical directors and event producers. The authors found that current case reports, in addition to being inconsistent in content, were generally descriptive rather than explanatory; that is, focused on describing the outcomes as opposed to exploring possible connections between context and health outcomes.
This paper quantifies and demonstrates the current state of heterogeneity in MG event reporting. This heterogeneity is a significant impediment to the functional use of published reports to further the science of MG planning and to improve health outcomes. Future work based on the insights gained from this analysis will aim to align and standardize reporting to improve the quality and value of event reporting.
People with NCDs are particularly vulnerable to disasters. This research systematically reviewed reports describing studies on the status of patients with NCDs before, during and after disasters.
Relevant articles published from 1997 to 2019 were collected by searching the Scopus, PubMed, and Science Direct databases. We specifically examined reports describing NCDs and including the key words ‘Non-Communicable Disease and Disasters.’ NCDs include cardiovascular, respiratory, diabetes and cancer diseases.
The review identified 42 relevant articles. Most of the included studies were found to have described the conditions of patients with NCDs after disasters - 14 (13.3%), during disasters – 11 (26.2%), before disasters – 6 (14.3%), within all stages of disasters: before, during and after – 6 (14.3%), only during and after disasters – 4 (9.5%), and includes before and during disasters – 1 (2.4%).
NCDs pose major health issues in disasters. Development of strong counter measures against the interruption of treatment, as well as surveillance systems to ascertain medical needs for NCDs are necessary as preparation for future disasters.
Policy making increasingly needs cost-effectiveness evidence to inform resource allocation. The objective of this review is to identify and to investigate evidence evaluating the cost-effectiveness of interventions aimed to support adult carers, drawing on the National Institute for Health and Care guideline on Supporting Adult Carers.
The protocol of the review was aimed to identify the economic studies published from 2003 onwards on all types of interventions for supporting adult carers. The applicability to the review and methodological quality of included economic evaluations were assessed using pre-established checklists specified in the National Institute for Health and Care (NICE) manual for developing guidelines.
Our search yielded 10 economic evaluations. The main types of strategies evaluated were psychological and emotional support, training, and education support interventions. We found that the interventions more likely to be cost-effective were usually tailored to the specific carers’ circumstances and delivered face-to-face and were multi-component in nature, including elements of psycho-education, training, psychological and practical support. The narrative synthesis of results indicated a wide variation in cost-effectiveness findings and methodological quality.
This article indicates that systematic reviews of economic evaluations can be considered as an appropriate means to support decision makers in allocating health and social care resources. Given the high economic and social impact of unpaid caring, and based on the research gaps identified, we recommend that future economics research should be targeted on interventions for identifying carers; and programs for providing carers with support and advice to help them to enter, remain in or return to paid work.
In most trials and systematic reviews that evaluate exercise-based interventions in reducing depressive symptoms, it is difficult to separate treatment from prevention.
To evaluate the effectiveness of exercise-based interventions in reducing depressive symptoms in people without clinical depression.
We searched PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase, WOS, SPORTDiscus, CENTRAL, OpenGrey and other sources up to 25 May 2020. We selected randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared exclusively exercise-based interventions with control groups, enrolling participants without clinical depression, as measured using validated instruments, and whose outcome was reduction of depressive symptoms and/or incidence of new cases of people with depression. Pooled standardised mean differences (SMDs) were calculated using random-effect models (registration at PROSPERO: CRD42017055726).
A total of 14 RCTs (18 comparisons) evaluated 1737 adults without clinical depression from eight countries and four continents. The pooled SMD was −0.34 (95% CI −0.51 to −0.17; P < 0.001) and sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of this result. We found no statistical evidence of publication bias and heterogeneity was moderate (I2 = 54%; 95% CI 22–73%). Only two RCTs had an overall low risk of bias and three had long-term follow-up. Multivariate meta-regression found that a larger sample size, country (Asia) and selective prevention (i.e. people exposed to risk factors for depression) were associated with lower effectiveness, although only sample size remained significant when adjustment for multiple tests was considered. According to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation tool, the quality of evidence was low.
Exercise-based interventions have a small effect on the reduction of depressive symptoms in people without clinical depression. It could be an alternative to or complement psychological programmes, although further higher-quality trials with larger samples and long-term follow-up are needed.
To determine the impact of palliative care (PC) on end-of-life (EoL) care and the place of death (PoD) in children, adolescents, and young adults with life-limiting conditions.
Eight online databases (PubMed, Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Airiti, GARUDA Garba Rujukan Digital, and OpenGrey) from 2010 to February 5, 2020 were searched for studies investigating EoL care and the PoD for pediatric patients receiving and not receiving PC.
Of the 6,468 citations identified, 14 cohort studies and one case series were included. An evidence base of mainly adequate- and strong-quality studies shows that inpatient hospital PC, either with or without the provision of home and community PC, was found to be associated with a decrease in intensive care use and high-intensity EoL care. Conflicting evidence was found for the association between PC and hospital admissions, length of stay in hospital, resuscitation at the time of death, and the proportion of hospital and home deaths.
Significance of results
Current evidence suggests that specialist, multidisciplinary involvement, and continuity of PC are required to reduce the intensity of EoL care. Careful attention should be paid to the need for a longer length of stay in a medical setting late in life, and earlier EoL care discussion should take place with patients/caregivers, especially in regard to attempting resuscitation in toddlers, adolescents, and the young adult population. A lack of robust evidence has identified a gap in rigorous multisite prospective studies utilizing data collection.
Chronic inflammation has been considered as the main cause of chronic diseases. Zn has anti-inflammatory effects by decreasing the expression of inflammatory markers. The present systematic review and meta-analysis study aims to evaluate the impact of Zn supplementation on inflammation. Pubmed (Medline), Scopus, Web of Science, and Embase databases were searched up to December 10th, 2020. Randomized placebo-controlled trials have investigated the effects of Zn supplementation on serum/plasma levels of inflammatory cytokines in >15 years’ subjects were included. A pooled meta-analysis was performed using a random-effect model. Sensitivity analysis was performed to determine the robustness of the observed effect sizes. Potential causes of heterogeneity were determined using subgroup analyses. The relationship between effect size and co-variables was explored using meta-regression. In the cases of the presence of publication bias, trim and fill analysis was carried out. Cochrane Collaboration’s tool was used for assessing the quality of the included studies. A total of 12 studies was included in meta-analysis. Zn could decrease IL-6 levels (SMD= -0.76 pg/ml; 95% CI: -1.28, -0.24; P= 0.004). There was no significant change in TNF-α (SMD= 0.42 pg/ml; 95% CI: -0.31, 1.16; P= 0.257) and IL-2 levels (SMD= 1.64 pg/ml; 95% CI: -1.31, 4.59; P= 0.277) following Zn supplementation. However, Zn could increase IL-2 significantly after deletion of one arm in sensitivity analysis (SMD= 2.96 pg/ml; 95% CI: 2.03, 3.88; P< 0.05). Conclusively, Zn supplementation can decrease the IL-6 level. Zn increased IL-2 level after sensitivity analysis. Zn supplementation has not ameliorative effects on TNF-α.
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is endemic in 70 countries and has been reported in 12 countries of Latin America, with over 90% of the cases reported in Brazil, where epidemics have occurred since 1980. The objective of this review is to describe the factors associated with the occurrence of VL epidemics in humans in urban areas. A systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA-P guidelines. The databases PubMed (by Medline), Cochrane Library, Embase, Amed, LILACS and grey literature [Google Scholar and handsearch of the database of the Information System for Notifiable Diseases (SINAN) of Brazil's Unified Health System] were used. The protocol was registered under PROSPERO (CRD42019128998). Climatic, environmental factors and indicators of urban social structure were described as influencing the outbreaks in the North and Northeast regions. Gender and age characteristics were related to a greater chance of developing VL in the Central-West, Northeast and Southeast regions. Vector indicators showed a positive correlation with the incidence of VL in studies in the Northeast region. In the Southeast and Northeast regions, studies revealed the presence of dogs with positive correlation with VL. Knowledge gaps remain regarding the contribution to the increase in the risk factors described in ecological approaches, as no analysis was performed at the individual level, and it is still necessary to discuss the influence of other associated elements in epidemic episodes in the spread of VL.
To summarize current evidence on patient and public involvement (PPI) in health technology assessment (HTA) in order to synthesize the barriers and facilitators, and to propose a framework to assess its impact.
We conducted an update of a systematic review published in 2011 considering the recent scientific literature (qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods studies). We searched papers published between March 2009 (end of the initial search) and December 2019 in five databases using specific search strategies. We identified other publications through citation tracking and contacting authors of previous related studies. Reviewers independently selected relevant studies based on prespecified inclusion and exclusion criteria. We extracted information using a pre-established grid.
We identified a total of 7872 publications from the main search strategy. Ultimately, thirty-one distinct new studies met the inclusion criteria, whereas seventeen studies were included in the previous systematic review. PPI is realized through two main strategies: (i) patients and public members participate directly in decision-making processes (participation) and (ii) patients or public perspectives are solicited to inform decisions (consultation or indirect participation). This review synthesizes the barriers and facilitators to PPI in HTA, and a framework to assess its impact is proposed.
The number of studies on patients or public involvement in HTA has dramatically increased in recent years. Findings from this updated systematic review show that PPI is done mostly through consultation and that direct involvement is less frequent. Several barriers to PPI in HTA exist, notably the lack of information to patients and public about HTA and the lack of guidance and policies to support PPI in HTA.
Excessive worry can negatively influence one’s developmental trajectories. In the past 70 years, there have been studies aimed towards documenting and analysing concerns or ‘worries’ of teen and preteen individuals. There have been many quantitative and qualitative approaches established, suggesting different themes of contextual adolescent worry. With the hopes of future clinical utility, it is important to parse through these studies and gather what is currently known about what teens and preteens worry about and what is the state of methods used to gather that knowledge. Studies were searched for using Web of Science, PubMed, PsycINFO, Scopus and ScienceDirect databases and selected on systematic criteria. Data regarding the country in which the study took place, participants, methods of collection, worry themes and conclusions and limitations were extracted. Data were synthesised in a narrative fashion. It was concluded that currently available methods of measuring themes of adolescent worry face certain problems. Themes of worry differ substantially between the studies, with the exception of school performance seeing stable high endorsement across cultures and ages. Issues with ordering worry themes and implications for future understanding of adolescent and preadolescent worry are discussed.
Comorbid physical conditions may be more common in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than other people.
To identify what is and what is not known about comorbid physical conditions in people with ASD.
We undertook an umbrella systematic review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses on comorbid physical conditions in people with ASD. Five databases were searched. There were strict inclusion/exclusion criteria. We undertook double reviewing for eligibility, systematic data extraction and quality assessment. Prospective PROSPERO registration: CRD42015020896.
In total, 24 of 5552 retrieved articles were included, 15 on children, 1 on adults, and 8 both on children and adults. Although the quality of included reviews was good, most reported several limitations in the studies they included and considerable heterogeneity. Comorbid physical conditions are common, and some are more prevalent than in the general population: sleep problems, epilepsy, sensory impairments, atopy, autoimmune disorders and obesity. Asthma is not. However, there are substantial gaps in the evidence base. Fewer studies have been undertaken on other conditions and some findings are inconsistent.
Comorbid physical conditions occur more commonly in people with ASD, but the evidence base is slim and more research is needed. Some comorbidities compound care if clinicians are unaware, for example sensory impairments, given the communication needs of people with ASD. Others, such as obesity, can lead to an array of other conditions, disadvantages and early mortality. It is essential that potentially modifiable physical conditions are identified to ensure people with ASD achieve their best outcomes. Heightening clinicians’ awareness is important to aid in assessments and differential diagnoses, and to improve healthcare.
Disasters can cause long-lasting damage to survivors and rescue workers. Some rescue workers suffer negative physical and psychological consequences, while others do not. Thus, it is of value to fully understand the characteristics of rescuers who have not been affected by rescue activities. Resilience refers to the ability or capacity to cope with adversity. The aim of this review is to explore and identify the characteristics of resilience among rescue workers. A systematic literature search was conducted of seven electronic databases from inception to May 2019, using keywords and medical subject heading terms related to the resilience of rescuers. Hand searches and searches of leading authors were also performed. A total of 31 articles were eligible for review. Six domains were identified to characterize the resilience of rescuers namely, demographic and physical characteristics, personality traits, coping strategies, perceived resources, being equipped with special skills for disaster rescue, and having less adverse consequences from exposure to disaster. Researchers and disaster managers can take note of these characteristics to comprehensively understand the ‘positive concept’ of resilience. This enhanced understanding of ‘positive resilience’ can in turn be used to develop a framework to assess and establish interventions, and consequently to improve the psychological wellbeing of rescuers after disaster rescue efforts.
The exact incidence of neurological complications from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection remains unknown. Neurological symptoms are more common with severe form of the disease. Through neuro-invasion, the virus can affect both neurons and glial cells and induce wide range of neurological pathologies.
To systematically assess the neurological manifestations in patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
A systematic literature search of the PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane databases was performed. Randomized controlled trials, nonrandomized controlled trials, observational studies of neurological manifestations in patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
All three-database search identified 89 publications. A total of 22 full-text articles assessed for eligibility with 12 articles excluded. Altogether, the included studies reported 290 patients with neurological manifestations. Neurological manifestations were subdivided into central causes (CNS) and peripheral causes (PNS). CNS symptoms is commoner representing 91% of all neurological patients with 9% only with PNS. Headache represented the commonest neurological symptoms in regard to number of patients, meanwhile dizziness has the highest incidence with 11.9%. Neurological manifestations were divided according to COVID-19 severity into: (1) nonsevere and (2) severe; with all CNS manifestations were more in severe patients except headache were more in nonsevere patients. All included studies were on adult patients except one study in pediatric patients with limited number of participants.
From the descriptive analyses and available data of relatively small sample-sized studies, it can be concluded that in spite of the aforementioned limitations, that a wide spectrum of neurological manifestations including CNS and PNS can occur in COVID-19 patients.
Norway is interested in implementing remote patient monitoring (RPM) within primary health services. This systematic review will first identify the types of RPM that are of interest to Norwegian health authorities, then synthesize the effects of RPM on clinical health and health service utilization outcomes among adults with chronic diseases.
We will perform systematic literature searches in multiple databases, using RPM-related searches, such as telemedicine, telemonitoring, and eHealth. Based on what research exists, the review will be selected from a cascading menu of review types. Methodological quality will be assessed through appropriate checklists, while the quality of the evidence will be assessed through Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation.
This flexible protocol specifies the production of different possible types of reviews of RPM. It is anticipated that the results of the review will inform the development of effective RPM programs to the most appropriate chronic disease groups.
To critically review the literature regarding workplace breast-feeding interventions and to assess their impact on breast-feeding indicators.
A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted. Electronic searches for workplace intervention studies to support breast-feeding, without restriction on language or study design, were performed in PubMed, CENTRAL, CINAHL, Embase, Web of Science, Business Source Complete, ProQuest-Sociology and ProQuest-Social Science to 13 April 2020. A meta-analysis of the pooled effect of the programmes on breast-feeding indicators was conducted.
The search identified 10 215 articles; fourteen studies across eighteen publications met eligibility criteria. Programmes were delivered in the USA (n 10), Turkey (n 2), Thailand (n 1) or Taiwan (n 1). There were no randomised controlled trials. The pooled OR for exclusive breast-feeding at 3 or 6 months for participants v. non-participants of three non-randomised controlled studies was 3·21 (95 % CI 1·70, 6·06, I2 = 22 %). Despite high heterogeneity, other pooled outcomes were consistently in a positive direction with acceptable CI. Pooled mean duration of breast-feeding for five single-arm studies was 9·16 months (95 % CI 8·25, 10·07). Pooled proportion of breast-feeding at 6 months for six single-arm studies was 0·76 (95 % CI 0·66, 0·84) and breast-feeding at 12 months for three single-arm studies was 0·41 (95 % CI 0·22, 0·62). Most programmes were targeted at mothers; two were targeted at expectant fathers.
Workplace programmes may be effective in promoting breast-feeding among employed mothers and partners of employed fathers. However, no randomised controlled trials were identified, and better-quality research on workplace interventions to improve breast-feeding is needed.
Healthcare decision makers are increasingly demanding that health technology assessment (HTA) is patient focused, and considers data about patients' perspectives on and experiences with health technologies in their everyday lives. Related data are typically generated through qualitative research, and in HTA the typical approach is to synthesize primary qualitative research through the conduct of qualitative evidence synthesis (QES). Abbreviated HTA timelines often do not allow for the full 6–12 months it may take to complete a QES, which has prompted the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) to explore the concept of “rapid qualitative evidence synthesis” (rQES). In this paper, we describe our experiences conducting three rQES at CADTH, and reflect on challenges faced, successes, and lessons learned. Given limited methodological guidance to guide this work, our aim is to provide insight for researchers who may contemplate rQES. We suggest several lessons, including strategies to iteratively develop research questions and search for eligible studies, use search of filters and limits, and use of a single reviewer experienced in qualitative research throughout the review process. We acknowledge that there is room for debate, though believe rQES is a laudable goal and that it is possible to produce a quality, relevant, and useful product, even under restricted timelines. That said, it is vital to recognize what is lost in the name of rapidity. We intend our paper to advance the necessary debate about when rQES may be appropriate, and not, and enable productive discussions around methodological development.
Emerging evidence demonstrates a link between preterm birth (PTB) and later life cardiovascular disease (CVD). We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare conventional CVD risk factors between those born preterm and at term. PubMed, CINAHL, SCOPUS, and EMBASE databases were searched. The review protocol is registered in PROSPERO (CRD42018095005). CVD risk factors including systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), body mass index, lipid profile, blood glucose, and fasting insulin among those born preterm (<37 weeks’ gestation) were compared with those born at term (≥37 weeks’ gestation). Subgroup analyses based on gender, age, gestational at birth (<32 weeks’ gestation and <28 weeks’ gestation), and PTB associated with small for gestational age or average for gestational age were also performed. Fifty-six studies provided data on 308,987 individuals. Being born preterm was associated with 3.26 mmHg (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.08 to 4.44) higher mean SBP and 1.32 mmHg (95% CI: 0.61 to 2.04) higher mean DBP compared to being born at term. Subgroup analyses demonstrated that SBP was higher among (a) preterm compared to term groups from early adolescence until adulthood; (b) females born preterm but not among males born preterm compared to term controls; and (c) those born at <32 weeks or <28 weeks compared to term. Our meta-analyses demonstrate higher SBP and DBP among those born preterm compared to term. The difference in SBP is evident from early adolescence until adulthood.
This study aims to systematically review evidence of the accuracy of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) for evaluating the presence of cognitive impairment in patients with Huntington’s disease (HD) and to outline the quality and quantity of research evidence available about the use of the MoCA in this population.
We conducted a systematic literature review, searching four databases from inception until April 2020.
We identified 26 studies that met the inclusion criteria: two case–control studies comparing the MoCA to a battery of tests, three studies comparing MoCA to Mini-Mental State Examination, two studies estimating the prevalence of cognitive impairment in individuals with HD and 19 studies or clinical trials in which the MoCA was used as an instrument for the cognitive assessment of participants with HD. We found no cross-sectional studies in which participants received the index test (MoCA) and a reference standard diagnostic assessment composed of an extensive neuropsychological battery. The publication period ranged from 2010 to 2020.
In patients with HD, the MoCA provides information about disturbances in general cognitive function. Even if the MoCA demonstrated good sensitivity and specificity when used at the recommended threshold score of 26, further cross-sectional studies are required to examine the optimum cutoff score for detecting cognitive impairments in patients with HD. Moreover, more studies are necessary to determine whether the MoCA adequately assesses cognitive status in individuals with HD.
Previous systematic reviews showed no significant association between epilepsy and challenging behaviours in adults with intellectual disabilities.
To identify whether there is an association between epilepsy and challenging behaviour in adults with intellectual disabilities by carrying out a systematic review of published data. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42020178092.
We searched five databases and hand-searched six journals. Two authors independently screened titles, abstracts and full articles using a standardised eligibility checklist. Several meta-analyses were carried out.
The narrative analysis of data from 34 included articles (14 168 adults with intellectual disabilities, 4781 of whom also had epilepsy) showed no significant association between epilepsy and challenging behaviour. Meta-analysis was possible on data from 16 controlled studies. This showed no significant intergroup difference but after sensitivity analysis meta-analysis of 10 studies showed a significantly higher rate of overall challenging behaviour in the epilepsy group (effect size: 0.16) compared with the non-epilepsy group. Aggression and self-injurious behaviour both showed a statistically significant higher rate in the epilepsy group, with very small effect sizes (0.16 and 0.28 respectively). No significant intergroup difference was observed in the rate of stereotypy.
The findings are contradictory and must be interpreted with caution because of the difficulty in pooling data from varied studies, which is likely to introduce confounding. Where significant differences were found, effect sizes are small and may not be clinically significant, and there are major methodological flaws in the included studies, which should be addressed in future large-scale properly controlled studies.
Ghana is in the process of formally introducing health technology assessment (HTA) for health decision making. Similar to other low- and middle-income countries, evidence suggests that the lack of data and human capacity is a major barrier to the conduct and use of HTA. This study assessed the current human and data capacity available in Ghana to undertake HTA.
As economic evaluation (EE) forms an integral part of HTA, a systematic review of EE studies undertaken in Ghana was conducted to identify the quality and number of studies available, methods and source of data used, and local persons involved. The literature search was undertaken in EMBASE (including MEDLINE), PUBMED, and Google Scholar. The quality of studies was evaluated using the Consolidated Health Economics Evaluation Reporting Standards. The number of local Ghanaians who contributed to authorship were used as a proxy for assessing human capacity for HTA.
Thirty-one studies were included in the final review. Overall, studies were of good quality. Studies derived their effectiveness, resource utilization and cost data mainly from Ghana. The most common source of cost data was from the National Health Insurance Scheme pricing list for medicines and tariffs. Effectiveness data were mostly derived from either single study or intervention programs. Sixty out of 199 authors were Ghanaians (30 percent); these authors were mostly involved in data collection and study conceptualization.
Human capacity for HTA in Ghana is limited. To introduce HTA successfully in Ghana, policy makers would need to develop more local capacity to undertake Ghanaian-specific HTA.