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Randomized prospective studies represent the gold standard for experimental design. In this paper, we present a randomized prospective study to validate the benefits of combining rule-based and data-driven natural language understanding methods in a virtual patient dialogue system. The system uses a rule-based pattern matching approach together with a machine learning (ML) approach in the form of a text-based convolutional neural network, combining the two methods with a simple logistic regression model to choose between their predictions for each dialogue turn. In an earlier, retrospective study, the hybrid system yielded a nearly 50% error reduction on our initial data, in part due to the differential performance between the two methods as a function of label frequency. Given these gains, and considering that our hybrid approach is unique among virtual patient systems, we compare the hybrid system to the rule-based system by itself in a randomized prospective study. We evaluate 110 unique medical student subjects interacting with the system over 5,296 conversation turns, to verify whether similar gains are observed in a deployed system. This prospective study broadly confirms the findings from the earlier one but also highlights important deficits in our training data. The hybrid approach still improves over either rule-based or ML approaches individually, even handling unseen classes with some success. However, we observe that live subjects ask more out-of-scope questions than expected. To better handle such questions, we investigate several modifications to the system combination component. These show significant overall accuracy improvements and modest F1 improvements on out-of-scope queries in an offline evaluation. We provide further analysis to characterize the difficulty of the out-of-scope problem that we have identified, as well as to suggest future improvements over the baseline we establish here.
Children with chronic illness often experience difficulties at school, yet little is known about the impact of the child's illness on siblings’ school experiences. This study investigated parents’ perceptions of siblings’ school experiences and school support. We conducted semi-structured telephone interviews with 27 parents of children with a chronic illness who had a sibling or siblings (4–25 years), representing the experiences of 31 siblings. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed using content analysis. Parents believed that 14 of 31 (45.2%) siblings had school difficulties related to the ill child, such as increased anxiety or stress at school, lack of attention from teachers, and changes in behaviour as a result of increased carer responsibilities. Parents identified increased absenteeism due to the ill child's hospitalisation and the impact of parent absences on sibling school functioning. Parents described general and psychological support from the school, and the importance of monitoring the sibling at school and focusing on their unique needs. Overall, our findings suggest the need for a school-based sibling support model that combines psycho-education for siblings and school personnel, individualised sibling psychological support, and shared school and parent responsibility in normalising the sibling experience and providing consistent support.
Anxiety disorders occur at an increased rate in children with asthma; however, there is only a small evidence base to support specific psychological treatments for these children. The current study evaluated the efficacy of a pilot cognitive behavioural treatment (CBT) group intervention for children with asthma and a comorbid anxiety disorder in a case series design. Five children (aged 8–11 years old) with asthma and a comorbid anxiety disorder and their mothers took part in eight 1-hour group treatment sessions. Primary outcomes measures were anxiety diagnosis and asthma-related quality of life. Secondary outcome measures were asthma symptom control and parent quality of life associated with caring for a child with asthma. Three of the participants no longer met diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder following treatment and three different participants reported a reliable improvement in asthma-related quality of life. Two participants reported a reliable improvement in asthma symptom control. Three mothers reported an improvement in caregiver quality of life. The findings provide preliminary proof of concept evidence for the efficacy of a CBT intervention for children with asthma and clinical anxiety.
Over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, the United States evolved from a colonial backwater to become the preeminent economic and technological power of the world. The foundation of this evolution was the systematic exploitation and application of technology to economic problems: initially agriculture, transportation, communication and the manufacture of goods, and then later health care, information technology, and virtually every aspect of modern life.
From the beginning of the republic, the patent system has played a key role in this evolution. It provided economic rewards as an incentive to invention, creating a somewhat protected economic environment in which innovators can nurture and develop their creations into commercially viable products. Based in the U.S. Constitution itself, and codified in roughly its modern form in 1836, the patent system was an essential aspect of the legal framework in which inventions from Edison's light bulb and the Wright brothers’ airplane to the cell phone and Prozac were developed.
Congenital cystic adenomatoid malformations of the lung (CCAMs) were originally described by Ch'In and Tang in 1949 as rare lung lesions occurring in premature or stillborn infants with anasarca. In 1977 Stocker et al divided CCAM into three types based on their clinical and pathological features. The nomenclature has since changed to congenital pulmonary airway malformations (CPAMs) to reflect the possible absence of cystic changes and the probable underlying pathogenesis of different types. CPAMs are relatively rare congenital abnormalities with a reported incidence varying from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 35,000. There is a slight male predominance, but no racial predilection has been noted. This review will outline the current nomenclature and features of different types of CPAMs, highlight possible mechanisms underlying the development of CPAMs, review current antenatal imaging modalities and interventions, address the debate surrounding the postnatal management of CPAMs, and suggest areas for future research.