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Snake soup continues to be an iconic tradition in Cantonese culture. Yet little is known about the relationship between snake soup consumption in Hong Kong, wild snake populations, and the communities depending on this tradition for their livelihoods. We applied an interdisciplinary approach including interviews with shopkeepers and genetic analyses of snake meat samples to determine the species consumed in Hong Kong, their source locations, and shopkeepers’ views on the future of the industry. We genetically identified the common rat snake Ptyas mucosa, widely distributed throughout East and Southeast Asia, and the Javan spitting cobra Naja sputatrix, endemic to Indonesia, as the species most commonly consumed, which was consistent with interview responses. According to interviews, snakes had mostly been imported from mainland China in the past, but now tend to be sourced from Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia. Interviews also revealed a pessimistic outlook on the continuation of this tradition because of various factors, including a lasting yet misinformed association of snakes with the 2002–2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Given the COVID-19 pandemic and China's ensuing ban on the consumption of terrestrial wildlife, Hong Kong's snake soup industry will probably continue to rely on Southeast Asian sources to persist. Given the cultural and conservation issues surrounding this tradition, further research on the economic, ecological and social consequences of snake consumption is needed to examine the broader implications of snake soup and similar industries in the region.
The objective was to describe a feasible, multidisciplinary pediatric mass casualty event (MCE) simulation format that was less than 2 h within emergency department space and equipment constraints.
This was a prospective cohort study of an MCE in situ simulation program from June-October 2019. Participants rotated through 3 modules: (1) triage, (2) caring for a critical patient in an MCE setting, and (3) being in a disaster leadership role. Triage accuracy, knowledge, self-evaluation of preparedness, and MCE skills by means of pre- and post-test surveys were measured. Wilcoxon matched pairs signed rank test scores and McNemar’s matched pair chi-squared test were performed to evaluate for statistically significant differences.
Forty-six physicians (MD), 1 physician’s assistant (PA), and 22 nurses participated over 4 simulation d. Among the MD/PA group, there was a statistically significant 7% knowledge increase (95% confidence interval [CI], 3%-11%). Nurses did not show a statistically significant knowledge difference (0.04, 95% CI, 0.04%, 14%). There was a statistically significant increase in triage and resource use preparedness (P < 0.01) for all participants.
This efficient, feasible model for a multidisciplinary ED disaster drill provides a multi-modular exposure while improving both MD and PA knowledge and all staff preparedness for MCE.
Antibiotics are frequently prescribed inappropriately for acute respiratory infections in the outpatient setting. We report the implementation of a multifaceted outpatient antimicrobial stewardship initiative resulting in a 12.3% absolute reduction of antibiotic prescribing for acute bronchitis in primary care clinics receiving active interventions.
This SHEA white paper identifies knowledge gaps and challenges in healthcare epidemiology research related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with a focus on core principles of healthcare epidemiology. These gaps, revealed during the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, are described in 10 sections: epidemiology, outbreak investigation, surveillance, isolation precaution practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), environmental contamination and disinfection, drug and supply shortages, antimicrobial stewardship, healthcare personnel (HCP) occupational safety, and return to work policies. Each section highlights three critical healthcare epidemiology research questions with detailed description provided in supplementary materials. This research agenda calls for translational studies from laboratory-based basic science research to well-designed, large-scale studies and health outcomes research. Research gaps and challenges related to nursing homes and social disparities are included. Collaborations across various disciplines, expertise and across diverse geographic locations will be critical.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has caused the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) where improvised manufacturing in particular 3D printing has addressed many needs. This prospective discusses the current global crisis, then follows the wide interest in addressing the shortage of medical devices and PPEs used for treatment and protection against pathogens. An overview of the 3D printing process with polymer materials is given followed by the different 3D printing projects of PPEs and medical devices that emerged for the pandemic (including validation/testing). The potential for rapid prototyping with different polymer materials and eventual high-throughput production is emphasized.
Antimicrobial misuse is still a significant problem, and most inappropriate use occurs in the outpatient setting. In this article, we provide a review of available literature on outpatient antimicrobial stewardship in primary care settings, and we propose a novel implementation framework.
Imprinting, characterized by unequal expression of the offspring's genes in a parent-of-origin dependent manner, has been functionally implicated in brain development and in psychiatric disorders. In this study, unambiguous distortion in paternal but not maternal transmission of the disease-associated single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs6556547 (T/G) clearly indicated the presence of parent-of-origin effect (POE) in the GABAA receptor β2 subunit gene (GABRB2). ‘Flipping’ of allelic mRNA expression in heterozygotes of SNP rs2229944 (C/T) and the observed two-tiered distribution of mRNA expression levels in heterozygotes of the disease-associated SNP rs1816071 (G/A) furnished important support for the occurrence of imprinting at GABRB2. Imprinting in effect introduced heterozygotes from different parents-of-origin endowed with dissimilar mRNA expression capabilities. The deficit of upper-tiered expressions accounted for the lowered mRNA expression levels in the schizophrenic heterozygotes. This pointed to the necessity of differentiating between two kinds of heterozygotes of different parental origins in disease association studies on GABRB2. Bisulfite sequencing revealed hypermethylation in the neighborhood of SNP rs1816071, and methylation differences between controls and schizophrenia patients. Notably, allele-specific methylation was observed at the disease-associated SNPs rs6556547 and rs1816071. These findings raised the possibility that CpG methylation status of these sites could have an impact on the expression of GABRB2 and the risk of schizophrenia. Furthermore, the occurrence of imprinting and allele-specific methylation in the schizophrenia candidate gene GABRB2 was compatible with the epigenetic hypothesis for schizophrenia pathophysiology, thereby calling for the need to explore the role of epigenetic factors in mediating susceptibility to schizophrenia.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects nearly 1.5 million individuals in the United States each year. During peacetime, over 7,000 Americans with a diagnosis of TBI are admitted to military and veterans hospitals every year; this number increases significantly during combat, during which TBI may comprise up to 20% of survivor casualties. Pain and discomfort relating to injuries are frequent causes of sleep disturbance in TBI patients. Sleep disturbances can manifest as difficulty falling or staying asleep, early morning wakening and non-restorative sleep, and affects up to 30% of individuals with TBI. Because there are few studies on pharmacotherapy for sleep disturbances in TBI, many physicians base their intervention on experience with the general population. in this poster, we will consider the unique features of the patient with TBI and make recommendations for psychoactive medications that are appropriate to treat insomnia in this population.
A literature review was performed and recommendations for treatment of sleep disturbances in patients with TBI are summarized here based on published findings.
Non-pharmacological means should be the first-line treatment for sleep disturbances in patients with TBI. These include sleep hygiene and cognitive behavioral therapy. Physicians and other clinicians should pay attention to the specific sleep complaint, adverse effect profile of the medication as well as the anticipated duration of treatment before deciding upon a sleep agent for patients with TBI.
We describe a 15-year-old African American female with a family history positive for Bipolar I disorder and schizophrenia who presented with symptoms consistent with an affective disorder. The patient was diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder with catatonic features and required multiple hospitalizations for mood disturbance. Two years after her initial presentation, the patient was noted to have a malar rash and subsequently underwent a full rheumatologic workup, which revealed cerebral vasculitis. Neuropsychiatric lupus (NPSLE) was diagnosed and, following treatment with steroids, the patient improved substantially and no longer required further psychiatric medication or therapy.
Neuropsychiatric manifestations of lupus (NPSLE) have been shown to occur in 80-91% of adults and up to 95% of pediatric patients with SLE. In the case we described, diagnosis was hindered by the patient's presentation of what appeared to be isolated psychiatric symptoms and her strong family history of psychiatric disease. Thus, given the especially high prevalence of NPSLE in pediatric patients with lupus, it is important for clinicians to recognize that neuropsychiatric symptoms in an adolescent may indeed be the initial manifestations of SLE.
We report a case of a 27-year-old Iraq War veteran with no previous psychiatric history who sustained severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) following a blast injury from an improvised explosive device. The patient subsequently suffered severe anxiety symptoms controlled only with combined therapy with benzodiazepines and venlafaxine. Even more disabling, the patient also experienced intractable headache and shoulder pain unresponsive to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, tramadol, gabapentin, or NMDA-receptor antagonists. Given the risk of respiratory depression with his current medications, opioid analgesics were not favored for the management of his pain. The patient was started on sublingual buprenorphine at a dose of 8mg three times daily with significant improvement. This dose was maintained and the patient was able to function relatively pain-free.
Chronic pain is a significant complication in patients with TBI and is reported by a majority of patients with TBI, regardless of the severity of the injury. The treatment of chronic pain among individuals can be challenging. Patients with TBI may be on other medications for impulse control, such as anticonvulsants and benzodiazepines. Further treatment with narcotic analgesics may therefore increase the risk of respiratory depression. Buprenorphine is a partial mu agonist whose effects plateau at higher doses, at which time it begins to act like an antagonist. It is this property at higher doses that limits its dose-dependent respiratory depression. Buprenorphine thus has the advantage of effective analgesia with minimal sedation and may be useful to treat chronic pain among TBI patients already taking benzodiazepines.
Speculation exists that bone pain crises among sickle cell disease (SCD) patients are not adequately treated. We counter this assertion with the case of a 17 year-old African American woman receiving narcotics while malingering SCD.
There are various complications of SCD with the most common resulting from ischemia of the bone marrow. While depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder have been described, psychiatric complications are not well documented in SCD.
A 17 year old African American female entered the emergency room (ER) with right tibia and fibula fractures. She admitted to having SCD with bone pain crises previously treated with Ketorolac and Meperidine.
On this occasion, radiological studies did not confirm sickle cell changes. A subsequent immunoglobulin electrophoresis came back hemoglobin AA. After the patient received notification she did not have SCD, she attempted to leave against medical advice. Her fractures were treated and she was discharged.
DSM IV defines malingering as “the intentional production of false or grossly exaggerated physical or psychological symptoms”. One previous report of malingering sickle cell crises exists.1 This case demonstrates that the motivation to gain narcotic analgesics is a determining factor for malingering vis-à-vis factitious disorder, in which the primary goal is to assume the sick role.1
Clinicians may assume the validity of a self-reported SCD history. In this case, ER physicians prescribed narcotics without objective evidence of SCD pathology. We suggest verification of SCD diagnosis in order to prevent unnecessary prescription of narcotics.
Depression is a common mental disorder that substantially impairs a client's functioning. the aim of this study is to examine the predictive factors of quality of life (QOL) for depression from longitudinal perspectives. 237 outpatients with depression were recruited in the study. They were from a psychiatric outpatient clinic in northern Taiwan. All subjects were tested on the baseline and followed up twice during 3-year period. the average age of subjects was 47.1 years. Most subjects were female, married and lived with their spouses.Seventy subjects participated in both follow ups (T2 and T3). there were no significant differences on the demographic characteristics at T1 between the respondents (N = 70) and non-respondents (N = 167) except for gender. the subjects were tested on the WHOQOL-BREF-Taiwan version, occupational self assessment, mastery, social support and Center of Epidemiology Study-Depression Scale (CESD). the data were analyzed by mixed effect model using SAS computer program.The severity of depression could predict overall QOL, overall health and 13 items of QOL. the type of antidepressants had significant impact on the subjects’ QOL in 10 items. the occupational competence and sense of mastery predicted 13 items (50%) and 14 items (53.8%), respectively.In order to advance the treatment outcomes, the professionals should pay more attention on the enhancement of the sense of competence and mastery. We suggested that treatments should target at improving adaptive skills, lifestyle, and occupational competence.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) remains irreplaceable in the treatment of several psychiatric conditions. However, evidence derived using data from a national database to support its safety is limited. The aim of this study was to investigate in-hospital mortality among patients with psychiatric conditions treated with and without ECT.
Using data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database from 1997 to 2013, we identified 828,899 inpatients with psychiatric conditions, among whom 0.19% (n = 1571) were treated with ECT.
We found that ECT recipients were more frequently women, were younger and physically healthier, lived in more urbanized areas, were treated in medical centers, and had longer hospital stays. ECT recipients had lower odds of in-hospital mortality than did those who did not receive ECT. Moreover, no factor was identified as being able to predict mortality in patients who underwent ECT. Among all patients, ECT was not associated with in-hospital mortality after controlling for potential confounders.
ECT was indicated to be safe and did not increase the odds of in-hospital mortality. However, ECT appeared to be administered only on physically healthy but psychiatrically compromised patients, a pattern that is in opposition with the scientific evidence supporting its safety. Moreover, our data suggest that ECT is still used as a treatment of last resort in the era of modern psychiatry.
Sleep disturbances are common among cancer patients. Especially during hospitalization, not only adverse medical conditions but also ward environments can affect sleep. We have developed a program of sleep-hygiene education and sleeping pill reduction for inpatients (the i-sleep program) and applied it to cancer patients. This study aimed to explore the effect of the program.
In a general hospital with 2,715 beds, we estimated the proportion of inpatients prescribed hypnotics at admission to and discharge from the department of oncology before (2014) and after (2015) the program. In addition, we estimated the proportion of inpatients prescribed hypnotics among all inpatients in the department of oncology on the first day of each month of 2014 and 2015.
A total of 12,382 patients (2014, before) and 12,313 patients (2015, after) were admitted to oncology department of Asan Medical Center. The proportion of inpatients prescribed hypnotics as discharge medication among inpatients who had been prescribed them at the time of admission decreased significantly, from 76.0% (2014) to 69.8% (2015), after the program (RR = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.87–0.98). The proportion of inpatients newly prescribed sleeping pills after admission to the hospital did not significantly decrease (4.03% to 3.98%; RR = 0.99, 95% CI: 0.87–1.12). The mean prescription rate of sleeping pills per day was 10.02% in 2014 and 7.99% in 2015 (P = 0.03).
Although the i-sleep program did not reduce the prescription rate of sleeping pills per day, it effectively reduced the proportion of cancer patients who continued to take sleeping pills from admission until discharge.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Negative affect (NA) has been suggested to be both an antecedent and a consequence of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH). Furthermore, negative appraisals of voices have been theorized to contribute to the maintenance of AVH. Using the experience sampling method (ESM), this study examined the bi-directional relationship between NA and AVH, and the moderating effect of negative beliefs about voices.
Forty-seven patients diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders with frequent AVH completed a clinical interview, followed by ESM for 10 times a day over 6 days on an electronic device. Time-lagged analyses were conducted using multilevel regression modeling. Beliefs about voices were assessed at baseline.
A total of 1654 data points were obtained. NA predicted an increase in AVH in the subsequent moment, and AVH predicted an increase in NA in the subsequent moment. Baseline beliefs about voices as malevolent and omnipotent significantly strengthened the association between NA and AVH within the same moment. In addition, the belief of omnipotence was associated with more hallucinatory experiences in the moment following NA. However, beliefs about voices were not associated directly with momentary levels of NA or AVH.
Experiences of NA and AVH drove each other, forming a feedback loop that maintained the voices. The associations between NA and AVH, either within the same moment or across moments, were exacerbated by negative beliefs about voices. Our results suggest that affect-improving interventions may stop the feedback loop and reduce AVH frequency.
There is increasing evidence that both black and green tea are beneficial for prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the effects of tea flavonoids on cardiovascular (CVD) and all-cause mortality outcomes.Searches across five databases including PubMed and Embase were conducted through November 2018 to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective cohort studies reporting cardiovascular and all-cause mortality outcomes. Two investigators independently conducted abstract and full-text screenings, data extractions, and risk of bias (ROB) assessments using the Nutrition Evidence Library Bias Assessment Tool (NEL BAT). Mixed-effects dose-response meta-regression and standard random-effects meta-analyses for outcomes with ≥ 4 studies were performed. 0 RCTs and 38 prospective cohort studies were included in the systematic review. NEL BAT scores ranged from 0–15 (0 being the lowest risk). Our linear meta-regression model showed that each cup increase in daily tea consumption (about 280 mg and 338 mg of total flavonoids for black and green tea, respectively) was associated with 3–4% lower risk of CVD mortality (predicted adjusted RR = 0.96; CI 0.93–0.99 for green tea and RR = 0.97; CI 0.94–0.99 for black tea). Furthermore, eachcup increase in daily tea consumption was associated a 2% lower risk of all-cause mortality (predicted adjusted relative risk (RR) = 0.98; 95% CI 0.97–0.99 for black tea and RR = 0.98; CI 0.96–0.99 for green tea, respectively). Two studies reported multivariable Cox regression analysis results for the relationship between black tea intake and risks of all-cause mortality outcomes. The results from these two studies were combined with our linear meta-regression result in a random-effects model meta-analysis and showed that each cup increase in daily black tea consumption was associated with an average of 3% lower risk of all-cause mortality (pooled adjusted RR = 0.97; 95% CI 0.87- 1.00) with large heterogeneity (I2 = 81.4%; p = 0.005). Current evidence indicates that increased tea consumption may reduce cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in a dose-response manner. This systematic review was registered on PROSPERO.
We aimed to investigate the heterogeneity of seasonal suicide patterns among multiple geographically, demographically and socioeconomically diverse populations.
Weekly time-series data of suicide counts for 354 communities in 12 countries during 1986–2016 were analysed. Two-stage analysis was performed. In the first stage, a generalised linear model, including cyclic splines, was used to estimate seasonal patterns of suicide for each community. In the second stage, the community-specific seasonal patterns were combined for each country using meta-regression. In addition, the community-specific seasonal patterns were regressed onto community-level socioeconomic, demographic and environmental indicators using meta-regression.
We observed seasonal patterns in suicide, with the counts peaking in spring and declining to a trough in winter in most of the countries. However, the shape of seasonal patterns varied among countries from bimodal to unimodal seasonality. The amplitude of seasonal patterns (i.e. the peak/trough relative risk) also varied from 1.47 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.33–1.62) to 1.05 (95% CI: 1.01–1.1) among 12 countries. The subgroup difference in the seasonal pattern also varied over countries. In some countries, larger amplitude was shown for females and for the elderly population (≥65 years of age) than for males and for younger people, respectively. The subperiod difference also varied; some countries showed increasing seasonality while others showed a decrease or little change. Finally, the amplitude was larger for communities with colder climates, higher proportions of elderly people and lower unemployment rates (p-values < 0.05).
Despite the common features of a spring peak and a winter trough, seasonal suicide patterns were largely heterogeneous in shape, amplitude, subgroup differences and temporal changes among different populations, as influenced by climate, demographic and socioeconomic conditions. Our findings may help elucidate the underlying mechanisms of seasonal suicide patterns and aid in improving the design of population-specific suicide prevention programmes based on these patterns.
To assess independent and joint effects of pairs of vascular and cardiometabolic risk factors (VCMRFs) in relation to risk of all-cause dementia.
Population-based longitudinal cohort study of cognitive impairment. We used an algorithm to select pairs of VCMRFs and tested their joint effects in time-dependent Cox models. We used attributable proportions (AP) to measure the proportion of risk from interactions beyond any additive effect.
Economically depressed small-town population.
Adults age 65+ years with up to 10 yearly study visits (N=1701, median (Q1, Q3) age, 78 (71.0, 83.0), 62.3% female, 94.9% white).
Among 1701 participants free from prevalent dementia with at least one follow-up visit, 109 developed incident all-cause dementia. In pairings of APOE*4 with hypertension (HTN) and congestive heart failure (CHF), the variables contributed independently and additively to all-cause dementia risk. In pairings of APOE*4 with stroke and stroke with CHF, the variables demonstrated independent contributions to all-cause dementia risk; their joint effects showed excess detriment demonstrating synergistic interactions (joint HR [95% CI]: 28.33 [6.74, 119.01] and 50.30 [14.57, 173.57] respectively, fully adjusted models). Physical activity (PA) was independently associated with lower all-cause dementia risk when paired with APOE*4, stroke, and CHF in unadjusted models; these associations did not survive covariate adjustment. The joint effect of low PA and APOE*4 was associated with additively increased all-cause dementia risk (joint HR [95% CI]: 4.61 [2.07, 10.23], fully adjusted model).
Reduction of VCMRFs, including low PA, could be valuable for dementia prevention, especially among APOE*4 carriers.
Background: Previous post-hoc analysis of three 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of adjunctive brivaracetam (BRV) in patients with focal seizures demonstrated similar efficacy over placebo regardless of previous carbamazepine (CBZ), lamotrigine (LTG), levetiracetam (LEV), or topiramate (TPM) failure. This analysis explored long-term retention of adjunctive BRV in patients with previous CBZ/LTG/LEV/TPM. Methods: Post-hoc analysis of double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N01358 [NCT01261325]) and open-label extension (N01379 [NCT01339559]; cut-off 15-March-2017) of adjunctive BRV in patients (≥16 years) with focal seizures. Outcomes were assessed in patients randomized to BRV (100 or 200 mg/day) who had previous CBZ/LTG/LEV/TPM (stopped ≥90 days before BRV initiation). Results: 503 patients were analyzed. Baseline characteristics were generally similar in subgroups with previous CBZ/LTG/LEV/TPM (n=209/162/256/182). Overall, Kaplan-Meier-estimated BRV retention at 1-, 3-, and 5-years was 71.0%, 50.9%, and 32.4%. Across previous antiepileptic drug (AED) subgroups, Kaplan-Meier-estimated BRV retention (1-year: 64.8%–73.2%; 3-year: 41.9%–49.9%; 5-year: 31.5%–35.7%), BRV discontinuations (58.4%–63.0%), and most common reasons for discontinuation (lack of efficacy: 23.0%–25.3%; adverse event: 16.7%–22.2%) were generally similar. Conclusions: Post-hoc analysis demonstrated similar long-term retention rates and discontinuation reasons with adjunctive BRV in adults previously treated with CBZ/LTG/LEV/TPM. Adjunctive BRV provides long-term effectiveness in patients who failed common AED treatments, including LEV.