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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), underscoring the urgent need for simple, efficient, and inexpensive methods to decontaminate masks and respirators exposed to severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We hypothesized that methylene blue (MB) photochemical treatment, which has various clinical applications, could decontaminate PPE contaminated with coronavirus.
The 2 arms of the study included (1) PPE inoculation with coronaviruses followed by MB with light (MBL) decontamination treatment and (2) PPE treatment with MBL for 5 cycles of decontamination to determine maintenance of PPE performance.
MBL treatment was used to inactivate coronaviruses on 3 N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) and 2 medical mask models. We inoculated FFR and medical mask materials with 3 coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and we treated them with 10 µM MB and exposed them to 50,000 lux of white light or 12,500 lux of red light for 30 minutes. In parallel, integrity was assessed after 5 cycles of decontamination using multiple US and international test methods, and the process was compared with the FDA-authorized vaporized hydrogen peroxide plus ozone (VHP+O3) decontamination method.
Overall, MBL robustly and consistently inactivated all 3 coronaviruses with 99.8% to >99.9% virus inactivation across all FFRs and medical masks tested. FFR and medical mask integrity was maintained after 5 cycles of MBL treatment, whereas 1 FFR model failed after 5 cycles of VHP+O3.
MBL treatment decontaminated respirators and masks by inactivating 3 tested coronaviruses without compromising integrity through 5 cycles of decontamination. MBL decontamination is effective, is low cost, and does not require specialized equipment, making it applicable in low- to high-resource settings.
Overconsumption of free sugars, particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), has potential negative health impacts. Implementation of a range of public health strategies is needed to reduce intakes of free sugars, including reducing portion sizes, promoting healthier dietary choices and reformulating foods and beverages. Although low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) are a useful tool for reducing energy intake and control glucose response when consuming sweet foods and drinks, several opinions persist about the adverse health effects of LCS, many of which are based on poor, little or no scientific evidence. This symposium report summarises key messages of the presentations and related discussions delivered at a scientific symposium at the 13th European Nutrition Conference (FENS 2019). These presentations considered the scientific evidence and current recommendations about the use and potential benefits of LCS for human health, with a particular focus on current evidence in relation to body weight and glycaemic control. Many of the studies to date on LCS have focused on low-calorie sweetened beverages (LCSB); however, the psychological and behavioural factors influencing consumer beliefs and consumption of LCSB need to be further explored. Current recommendations for LCS use are described, including the conclusions from a recent expert consensus report identifying the challenges that remain with LCS research. Finally, existing knowledge gaps and future actions are described, as well as two large ongoing research projects: SWITCH and SWEET.
Sleep has been shown to impact on both physical and mental health, and sleep problems present a considerable burden for individuals and society. There appears to be a complex bidirectional relationship between sleep disturbance and psychiatric symptoms, each potentially influencing the other. In particular, sleep disorders have been associated with more severe symptoms and are predictive of relapse in those with psychotic disorders. This article discusses the relationship between psychosis and insomnia, sleep apnoea, nightmares, circadian rhythm abnormalities and the impact of medications on these relationships. We also discuss the clinical implications of the relationship between sleep disturbance and psychotic disorders along with potential targets for intervention.
Both obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus have been associated with excessive free sugar consumption. Increasingly, LCS are used to replace free sugar to reduce the energy density of the diet, whilst maintaining diet palatability. However, while experimental data suggest a beneficial effect of LCS on weight management and glycaemic control, data from free-living populations are contradictory and primarily use reported intakes of low-calorie sweetened beverages as a marker of overall LCS consumption. Therefore, a dietary assessment tool that reliably assesses overall LCS consumption and is applicable in large-scale epidemiological studies is desirable. This study aimed to validate an LCS-focused food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) for assessing habitual dietary intake of the LCS using the method of triads. Healthy adults were recruited at Ulster University, Coleraine (n = 120). A 65-item FFQ and a 4-day food diary (FD) were used to assess dietary intake of LCS with amounts based on maximum permitted levels for foods and beverages as per EU legislation. A novel urinary biomarker approach, developed by this research group, was used to objectively assess consumption of 5 commonly used LCS(1). The method of triads was used to validate the FFQ by evaluating the correlations between the FFQ, FD and the urinary biomarkers (reference method). A total of 110 participants (51 males, 59 females) completed all analyses. Median (IQR) total LCS consumption estimated from the FFQ, FD and urinary biomarker was 116.8 (24.9–303.3) mg/d, 27.8 (0.0–247.3) mg/d and 5.0 (0.6–34.9) mg/d respectively. Moderate correlations were observed between the FD and urinary biomarker (r = 0.471; P < 0.001) and between the FFQ and FD (r = 0.471; P < 0.001). There was a low correlation between the FFQ and urinary biomarker (r = 0.291; P < 0.001). Using the method of triads, the overall validity co-efficient for the FFQ was moderate (0.54). These preliminary results indicate potential for this LCS-focused FFQ as a method of assessing LCS consumption in free-living populations. However, as maximum permitted levels of LCS in foods and beverages were used to estimate LCS consumption from the FFQ and FD, they are likely to significantly overestimate actual LCS intakes as compared to the more reliable biomarker approach. Therefore, the FFQ ability to categorise individuals into low-, medium- and high LCS consumers will be tested. Further analysis is ongoing to assess the completeness of urine collections using PABA analysis and will also focus on individual LCS intake.
Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) exhibit multi-wavelength properties that are representative of the underlying physical processes taking place in the vicinity of the accreting supermassive black hole. The black hole mass and the accretion rate are fundamental for understanding the growth of black holes, their evolution, and the impact on the host galaxies. Recent results on reverberation-mapped AGNs show that the highest accretion rate objects have systematic shorter time-lags. These super-Eddington accreting massive black holes (SEAMBHs) show BLR size 3-8 times smaller than predicted by the Radius-Luminosity (R-L) relationship. Hence, the single-epoch virial black hole mass estimates of highly accreting AGNs have an overestimation of a factor of 3-8 times. SEAMBHs likely have a slim accretion disk rather than a thin disk that is diagnostic in X-ray. I will present the extreme X-ray properties of a sample of dozen of SEAMBHs. They indeed have a steep hard X-ray photon index, Γ, and demonstrate a steeper power-law slope, ασx.
We assessed whether implementation of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry without antimicrobial stewardship support would impact antimicrobial utilization and clinical outcomes in inpatient pneumonia. Implementation significantly reduced time to organism identification and time to optimal therapy but did not have a detectable impact on clinical outcomes.
The association between dietary patterns (DP) and prevalence of hearing loss in men enrolled in the Caerphilly Prospective Study was investigated. During 1979–1983, the study recruited 2512 men aged 45–59 years. At baseline, dietary data were collected using a semi-quantitative FFQ, and a 7-d weighed food intake (WI) in a 30 % subsample. Five years later, pure-tone unaided audiometric threshold was assessed at 0·5, 1, 2 and 4 kHz. Principal component analysis (PCA) identified three DP and multiple logistic and ordinal logistic regression models examined the association with hearing loss (defined as pure-tone average of frequencies 0·5, 1, 2 and 4 kHz >25 dB). Traditional, healthy and high-sugar/low-alcohol DP were found with both FFQ and WI data. With the FFQ data, fully adjusted models demonstrated significant inverse association between the healthy DP and hearing loss both as a dichotomous variable (OR=0·83; 95 % CI 0·77, 0·90; P<0·001) and as an ordinal variable (OR=0·87; 95 % CI 0·81, 0·94; P<0·001). With the WI data, fully adjusted models showed a significant and inverse association between the healthy DP and hearing loss (OR=0·85; 95 % CI 0·73, 0·99; P<0·03), and a significant association between the traditional DP (per fifth increase) and hearing loss both as a dichotomous variable (OR=1·18; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·35; P=0·02) and as an ordinal variable (OR=1·17; 95 % CI 1·03, 1·33; P=0·02). A healthy DP was significantly and inversely associated with hearing loss in older men. The role of diet in age-related hearing loss warrants further investigation.
Testosterone influences well-being, mood and cognition and may play a role in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder.
To examine testosterone levels in patients with bipolar disorder compared with healthy controls.
We examined baseline total testosterone levels and current depression scores in male and female patients with bipolar disorder and mild to moderate depression and healthy controls.
A significant interaction between diagnosis and gender was observed (F(2,97)=9.791, P=0.002). Testosterone levels were significantly lower for male patients with bipolar disorder compared with male controls (P=0.001). Women with bipolar disorder had significantly higher testosterone levels than female controls (P=0.03).
Disturbances in testosterone levels may represent an important neurobiological abnormality in bipolar disorder and may differ by gender. If these findings are confirmed, the use of gender appropriate treatment strategies for the normalisation of testosterone levels in bipolar disorder depression should be further explored.
The aims of this study were (a) to examine the effectiveness of an inpatient treatment programme for alcohol dependence based on the ‘Minnesota Model’ and (b) to examine potential predictors of outcomes from such treatment.
Demographics and data relating to psychosocial functioning of a group of individuals who commenced treatment for alcohol dependence were gathered at the point of treatment entry. These individuals were then followed up 6 months after they were to complete their inpatient treatment to establish their alcohol-related outcomes. Outcomes from treatment were identified as an index of treatment effectiveness and the outcome data were analysed to determine whether any of the baseline variables could be used to predict outcomes from treatment.
Of those who were contacted at 6-month follow-up, 81.5% had a ‘good outcome’. This represented 66.7% of the total group who participated in the study. The only variable that was found to predict outcomes at 6-month follow-up was severity of alcohol dependence at treatment entry, with more severe alcohol problems associated with poorer outcomes.
This study provides evidence of the potential for a Minnesota-based treatment programme to be effective in helping people with alcohol dependence to reduce the amount of alcohol they consume and sustain this reduction beyond the treatment period.
There are conflicting reports on the levels of anxiety and depression in individuals with alcohol problems and whether these conditions are substance-related or independent of the alcohol problem. The aim of this study was to characterise rates of co-morbid psychiatric symptoms among a group of individuals commencing treatment for alcohol dependence, and to examine the stability of these symptoms following treatment of the alcohol problem.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression were examined in a group of individuals (n=93) undergoing residential treatment for alcohol dependence. Symptoms were measured at treatment entry and again at treatment completion using the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory – II.
High levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms were reported at treatment entry, but on completion of treatment (28 days later) the majority of participants were no longer reporting symptoms suggestive of a possible co-morbid condition.
The significant change in rates of reported symptoms following completion of treatment suggests that a large proportion of symptoms reported at treatment entry were substance related. Diagnosing co-morbid conditions is best left until after a period of abstinence during which the alcohol problem has been treated. Assessing for co-morbidity at time of treatment seeking is likely to result in inappropriate co-morbid diagnoses being made and inappropriate or unnecessary treatments being prescribed for such individuals.
We experimentally study the excitation and propagation of acoustic solitary waves in a one-dimensional dusty plasma (i.e. a Yukawa chain) with
particles interacting through a screened Coulomb potential. The lattice constant
mm. Waves are launched by applying a 100 mW laser pulse to one end of the chain for laser pulse durations from 0.10 to 2.0 s. We observe damped solitary waves which propagate for distances
with an acoustic speed
. The maximum velocity perturbation increases with laser pulse duration for durations
s and then saturates at
. The wave speed is found to be independent of the maximum amplitude, indicating that the formation of nonlinear solitons is prevented by neutral-gas damping.
Late-life depression (LLD) is associated with a decline in physical activity. Typically this is assessed by self-report questionnaires and, more recently, with actigraphy. We sought to explore the utility of a bespoke activity monitor to characterize activity profiles in LLD more precisely.
The activity monitor was worn for 7 days by 29 adults with LLD and 30 healthy controls. Subjects underwent neuropsychological assessment and quality of life (QoL) (36-item Short-Form Health Survey) and activities of daily living (ADL) scales (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Scale) were administered.
Physical activity was significantly reduced in LLD compared with controls (t = 3.63, p < 0.001), primarily in the morning. LLD subjects showed slower fine motor movements (t = 3.49, p < 0.001). In LLD patients, activity reductions were related to reduced ADL (r = 0.61, p < 0.001), lower QoL (r = 0.65, p < 0.001), associative learning (r = 0.40, p = 0.036), and higher Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale score (r = −0.37, p < 0.05).
Patients with LLD had a significant reduction in general physical activity compared with healthy controls. Assessment of specific activity parameters further revealed the correlates of impairments associated with LLD. Our study suggests that novel wearable technology has the potential to provide an objective way of monitoring real-world function.
Background: Postoperative infection is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients who undergo craniotomy and/or craniectomy. Data on the rates of infections associated with these procedures are limited. We present a single-center retrospective study on the rates of infection in post-traumatic craniotomies, craniectomies and cranioplasties. Methods: Data on 100 TBI adult patients who underwent a craniotomy, craniectomy and/or cranioplasty from 2011-2015 will be analyzed. Demographic and perioperative data including open/closed TBI, peri/postoperative infections, duration of procedure, type and mode of bone flap preservation will be retrieved. Results: Following our data collection (to be completed by the end of February), we expect infection rates of 3-20% in our study. Upon instituting a protocol similar to the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network’s (HCRN) ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VP) protocol, we hope to reduce our post-TBI craniotomy/craniectomy/cranioplasty infections rates to less than 10%. Our projection is based on the HCRN protocol’s 3.15% absolute risk reduction of VP shunt infections. Conclusions: The results of this study will emphasize the need for instituting robust perioperative protocols to reduce infections. Further research will be pursued following this study to establish a protocol similar to the VP shunt protocol from the HCRN, in an attempt to reduce perioperative rates of infection.
Low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) are commonly used as sugar substitutes in the diet to provide a desired sweet taste without increased energy intake. The number of LCS available on the market has increased considerably over the years and despite extensive evaluation of their safety prior to approval, debate continues around the effects of consumption on health. In Europe, Member States are obligated to monitor exposure to LCS and methods currently used tend to rely on self-reported dietary intake data alongside LCS concentrations in products. However, the acquisition of accurate data can be costly in terms of resources and time and are inherently imprecise. Although LCS are intensely sweet, they are chemically diverse and a limitation of many studies investigating the health effects of consumption is that they often fail to discern intakes of individual LCS. An approach which objectively assesses intakes of individual LCS would therefore allow robust investigations of their possible effects on health. Biomarker approaches have been utilised for the objective investigation of intakes of a range of dietary components and the feasibility of any such approach depends upon its validity as well as its applicability within the target population. This review aims to provide an overview of current understanding of LCS intake and explore the possibility of implementing a biomarker approach to enhance such understanding. Several commonly used LCS, once absorbed into the body, are excreted via the kidneys; therefore a urinary biomarker approach may be possible for the investigation of short-term exposure to these compounds.
The main question that Firestone & Scholl (F&S) pose is whether “what and how we see is functionally independent from what and how we think, know, desire, act, and so forth” (sect. 2, para. 1). We synthesize a collection of concerns from an interdisciplinary set of coauthors regarding F&S's assumptions and appeals to intuition, resulting in their treatment of visual perception as context-free.
The aim of this study was to examine cross-sectionally whether higher cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) might favorably modify amyloid-β (Aβ)-related decrements in cognition in a cohort of late-middle-aged adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Sixty-nine enrollees in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention participated in this study. They completed a comprehensive neuropsychological exam, underwent 11C Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB)-PET imaging, and performed a graded treadmill exercise test to volitional exhaustion. Peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) during the exercise test was used as the index of CRF. Forty-five participants also underwent lumbar puncture for collection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples, from which Aβ42 was immunoassayed. Covariate-adjusted regression analyses were used to test whether the association between Aβ and cognition was modified by CRF. There were significant VO2peak*PiB-PET interactions for Immediate Memory (p=.041) and Verbal Learning & Memory (p=.025). There were also significant VO2peak*CSF Aβ42 interactions for Immediate Memory (p<.001) and Verbal Learning & Memory (p<.001). Specifically, in the context of high Aβ burden, that is, increased PiB-PET binding or reduced CSF Aβ42, individuals with higher CRF exhibited significantly better cognition compared with individuals with lower CRF. In a late-middle-aged, at-risk cohort, higher CRF is associated with a diminution of Aβ-related effects on cognition. These findings suggest that exercise might play an important role in the prevention of AD. (JINS, 2015, 21, 841–850)