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South Africa has embarked on major health policy reform to deliver universal health coverage through the establishment of National Health Insurance (NHI). The aim is to improve access, remove financial barriers to care, and enhance care quality. Health technology assessment (HTA) is explicitly identified in the proposed NHI legislation and will have a prominent role in informing decisions about adoption and access to health interventions and technologies. The specific arrangements and approach to HTA in support of this legislation are yet to be determined. Although there is currently no formal national HTA institution in South Africa, there are several processes in both the public and private healthcare sectors that use elements of HTA to varying extents to inform access and resource allocation decisions. Institutions performing HTAs or related activities in South Africa include the National and Provincial Departments of Health, National Treasury, National Health Laboratory Service, Council for Medical Schemes, medical scheme administrators, managed care organizations, academic or research institutions, clinical societies and associations, pharmaceutical and devices companies, private consultancies, and private sector hospital groups. Existing fragmented HTA processes should coordinate and conform to a standardized, fit-for-purpose process and structure that can usefully inform priority setting under NHI and for other decision makers. This transformation will require comprehensive and inclusive planning with dedicated funding and regulation, and provision of strong oversight mechanisms and leadership.
Antarctic krill are the dominant metazoan in the Southern Ocean in terms of biomass; however, their wide and patchy distribution means that estimates of their biomass are still uncertain. Most currently employed methods do not sample the upper surface layers, yet historical records indicate that large surface swarms can change the water colour. Ocean colour satellites are able to measure the surface ocean synoptically and should theoretically provide a means for detecting and measuring surface krill swarms. Before we can assess the feasibility of remote detection, more must be known about the reflectance spectra of krill. Here, we measure the reflectance spectral signature of Antarctic krill collected in situ from the Scotia Sea and compare it to that of in situ water. Using a spectroradiometer, we measure a strong absorption feature between 500 and 550 nm, which corresponds to the pigment astaxanthin, and high reflectance in the 600–700 nm range due to the krill's red colouration. We find that the spectra of seawater containing krill is significantly different from seawater only. We conclude that it is tractable to detect high-density swarms of krill remotely using platforms such as optical satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles, and further steps to carry out ground-truthing campaigns are now warranted.
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HANDs) are prevalent in older people living with HIV (PLWH) worldwide. HAND prevalence and incidence studies of the newly emergent population of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART)-treated older PLWH in sub-Saharan Africa are currently lacking. We aimed to estimate HAND prevalence and incidence using robust measures in stable, cART-treated older adults under long-term follow-up in Tanzania and report cognitive comorbidities.
A systematic sample of consenting HIV-positive adults aged ≥50 years attending routine clinical care at an HIV Care and Treatment Centre during March–May 2016 and followed up March–May 2017.
HAND by consensus panel Frascati criteria based on detailed locally normed low-literacy neuropsychological battery, structured neuropsychiatric clinical assessment, and collateral history. Demographic and etiological factors by self-report and clinical records.
In this cohort (n = 253, 72.3% female, median age 57), HAND prevalence was 47.0% (95% CI 40.9–53.2, n = 119) despite well-managed HIV disease (Mn CD4 516 (98-1719), 95.5% on cART). Of these, 64 (25.3%) were asymptomatic neurocognitive impairment, 46 (18.2%) mild neurocognitive disorder, and 9 (3.6%) HIV-associated dementia. One-year incidence was high (37.2%, 95% CI 25.9 to 51.8), but some reversibility (17.6%, 95% CI 10.0–28.6 n = 16) was observed.
HAND appear highly prevalent in older PLWH in this setting, where demographic profile differs markedly to high-income cohorts, and comorbidities are frequent. Incidence and reversibility also appear high. Future studies should focus on etiologies and potentially reversible factors in this setting.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) informs us that the first-line treatments for behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are non-pharmacological. Although psychotropics used to be the main strategy in the management of behaviours that challenge, there has been an increase in the use of biopsychosocial formulations since 2010, and there are now over a dozen to choose from. However, many are overly focused on obtaining information about the agitation, and less specific about providing details of the actions required to manage the behaviours. The NICE guidelines too fail to provide specific guidance on which non-pharmacological approaches to use. This article argues for giving equal weight to both the collection of meaningful information and the development of ‘informed actions’, because it is the actions that lead to change. The article outlines a management programme providing a framework for the assessment, formulation and treatment of agitation in dementia. The work draws on theory, evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence to provide a model with sufficient structure and flexibility to be useful for clinicians across a range of settings and professional groups.
Conservation tillage adoption continues to be threatened by glyphosate and acetolactate synthase–resistant Palmer amaranth and other troublesome weeds. Field experiments were conducted from autumn 2010 through crop harvest in 2013 at two locations in Alabama to evaluate the effect of integrated management practices on weed control and seed cotton yield in glyphosate-resistant cotton. The effects of a cereal rye cover crop using high- or low-biomass residue, followed by wide or narrow within-row strip tillage and three PRE herbicide regimens were evaluated. The three PRE regimens were (1) pendimethalin at 0.84 kg ae ha−1 plus fomesafen at 0.28 kg ai ha−1 applied broadcast, (2) pendimethalin plus fomesafen applied banded on the row, or (3) no PRE. Each PRE treatment was followed by (fb) glyphosate (1.12 kg ae ha−1) applied POST fb layby applications of diuron (1.12 kg ai ha−1) plus monosodium methanearsonate (2.24 kg ai ha−1). Low-residue plots ranged in biomass from 85 to 464 kg ha−1, and high-biomass residue plots ranged from 3,119 to 6,929 kg ha−1. In most comparisons, surface disturbance width, residue amount, and soil-applied herbicide placement did not influence within-row weed control; however, broadcast PRE resulted in increased carpetweed, large crabgrass, Palmer amaranth, tall morning-glory, and yellow nutsedge weed control in row middles compared with plots receiving banded PRE. In addition, high-residue plots had increased carpetweed, common purslane, large crabgrass, Palmer amaranth, sicklepod, and tall morning-glory weed control between rows. Use of banded PRE herbicides resulted in equivalent yield and revenue in four of six comparisons compared with those with broadcast PRE herbicide application; however, this would likely result in many between-row weed escapes. Thus, conservation tillage cotton would benefit from broadcast soil-applied herbicide applications regardless of residue amount and tillage width when infested with Palmer amaranth and other troublesome weed species.
Hospital shootings (Code Silver) are events that pose extreme risk to staff, patients, and visitors. Hospitals are faced with unique challenges to train staff and develop protocols to manage these high-risk events. In situ simulation is an innovative technique that can evaluate institutional responses to emergent situations. This study highlights the design of an active shooter in situ simulation conducted at a Canadian level-1 trauma center to test a Code Silver active shooter protocol response. We further apply a modified framework analysis to extract latent safety threats (LSTs) from the simulation using ethnographic observation of the response by law enforcement, hospital security, logistics, and medical personnel.
The video-based framework analysis identified 110 LSTs, which were assigned hazard scores, highlighting 3 high-risk LSTs that did not have effective control measures or were not easily discoverable. These included lack of security during patient transport, inadequate situational awareness outside the clinical area, and poor coordination of critical tasks among interprofessional team members. In situ simulation is a novel approach to support the design and implementation of similar events at other institutions. Findings from ethnographic observations and a video-based analysis form a structured framework to address safety, logistical, and medical response considerations.
Gut microbiota data obtained by DNA sequencing are not only complex because of the number of taxa that may be detected within human cohorts, but also compositional because characteristics of the microbiota are described in relative terms (e.g., “relative abundance” of particular bacterial taxa expressed as a proportion of the total abundance of taxa). Nutrition researchers often use standard principal component analysis (PCA) to derive dietary patterns from complex food data, enabling each participant's diet to be described in terms of the extent to which it fits their cohort's dietary patterns. However, compositional PCA methods are not commonly used to describe patterns of microbiota in the way that dietary patterns are used to describe diets. This approach would be useful for identifying microbiota patterns that are associated with diet and body composition. The aim of this study is to use compositional PCA to describe gut microbiota profiles in 5 year old children and explore associations between microbiota profiles, diet, body mass index (BMI) z-score, and fat mass index (FMI) z-score. This study uses a cross-sectional data for 319 children who provided a faecal sample at 5 year of age. Their primary caregiver completed a 123-item quantitative food frequency questionnaire validated for foods of relevance to the gut microbiota. Body composition was determined using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, and BMI and FMI z-scores calculated. Compositional PCA identified and described gut microbiota profiles at the genus level, and profiles were examined in relation to diet and body size. Three gut microbiota profiles were found. Profile 1 (positive loadings on Blautia and Bifidobacterium; negative loadings on Bacteroides) was not related to diet or body size. Profile 2 (positive loadings on Bacteroides; negative loadings on uncultured Christensenellaceae and Ruminococcaceae) was associated with a lower BMI z-score (r = -0.16, P = 0.003). Profile 3 (positive loadings on Faecalibacterium, Eubacterium and Roseburia) was associated with higher intakes of fibre (r = 0.15, P = 0.007); total (r = 0.15, P = 0.009), and insoluble (r = 0.13, P = 0.021) non-starch polysaccharides; protein (r = 0.12, P = 0.036); meat (r = 0.15, P = 0.010); and nuts, seeds and legumes (r = 0.11, P = 0.047). Further regression analyses found that profile 2 and profile 3 were independently associated with BMI z-score and diet respectively. We encourage fellow researchers to use compositional PCA as a method for identifying further links between the gut, diet and obesity, and for developing the next generation of research in which the impact on body composition of dietary interventions that modify the gut microbiota is determined.
The USA and UK governmental and academic agencies suggest that up to 35% of dementia cases are preventable. We canvassed dementia risk and protective factor awareness among New Zealand older adults to inform the design of a larger survey.
The modified Lifestyle for Brain Health scale quantifying dementia risk was introduced to a sample of 304 eligible self-selected participants.
Two hundred and sixteen older adults (≥50 years), with mean ± standard deviation age 65.5 ± 11.4 years (50–93 years), completed the survey (71% response rate). Respondents were mostly women (n = 172, 80%), European (n = 207, 96%), and well educated (n = 100, 46%, with a tertiary qualification; including n = 17, 8%, with a postgraduate qualification). Around half of the participants felt that they were at a future risk of living with dementia (n = 101, 47%), and the majority felt that this would change their lives significantly (n = 205, 95%), that lifestyle changes would reduce their risk (n = 197, 91%), and that they could make the necessary changes (n = 189, 88%) and wished to start changes soon (n = 160, 74%). Only 4 of 14 modifiable risk or protective factors for dementia were adequately identified by the participants: physical exercise (81%), depression (76%), brain exercises (75%), and social isolation (83%). Social isolation was the commonly cited risk factor for dementia, while physical exercise was the commonly cited protective factor. Three clusters of brain health literacy were identified: psychosocial, medical, and modifiable.
The older adults in our study are not adequately knowledgeable about dementia risk and protective factors. However, they report optimism about modifying risks through lifestyle interventions.
A cricothyroidotomy is a life-saving procedure, performed as a final option to emergency airway algorithms, and is essential for all clinicians who perform emergency airway management. The bougie-assisted cricothyroidotomy (BAC) is a novel technique that may be performed faster and with fewer complications than other traditional approaches. There is no established standard set of steps to guide the instruction of BAC performance. This study sought to systematically develop a BAC checklist for novice instruction using a modified Delphi methodology and international airway experts.
A literature review informed the creation of a preliminary BAC checklist. A three round, modified Delphi method was used to establish a BAC checklist intended for novice-level instruction. The consensus level for each step and the final checklist were predefined at 80%. Participants were international airway experts identified by study personnel and snowball sampling.
Fourteen international airway experts across six acute care specialities participated in the study. The checklist was refined using a seven-point rating scale for each item and participant comments. A 17-item checklist was developed with expert consensus achieved after three rounds. Internal consistency, measured with Cronbach’s α, was 0.855 (95% confidence interval 0.73-0.94).
This modified Delphi-derived checklist is the first systematically developed list of essential steps for guiding BAC instruction for novice learners. This tool serves to standardize BAC skill instruction and provide learners with a structured and consistent set of steps for deliberate practice.