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Delirium, which is associated with adverse health outcomes, is poorly detected in hospital settings. This study aimed to determine delirium occurrence among older medical inpatients and to capture associated risk factors.
This prospective cohort study was performed at an Irish University Hospital. Medical inpatients 70 years and over were included. Baseline assessments within 72 hours of admission included delirium status and severity as determined by the Revised Delirium Rating Scale (DRS-R-98), cognition, physical illness severity and physical functioning. Pre-existing cognitive impairment was determined with Short Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline (IQCODE). Serial assessment of delirium status, cognition and the physical illness severity were undertaken every 3 (±1) days during participants’ hospital admission.
Of 198 study participants, 92 (46.5%) were women and mean age was 80.6 years (s.d. 6.81; range 70–97). Using DRS-R-98, 17.7% (n = 35) had delirium on admission and 11.6% (n = 23) had new-onset delirium during admission. In regression analysis, older age, impaired cognition and lower functional ability at admission were associated with a significant likelihood of delirium.
In this study, almost one-third of older medical inpatients in an acute hospital had delirium during admission. Findings that increasing age, impaired cognition and lower functional ability at admission were associated with increased delirium risk suggest target groups for enhanced delirium detection and prevention strategies. This may improve clinical outcomes.
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has accounted for more than 25 000 cases in Ireland with approximately 28% of the clusters in nursing homes as of June 2020. The older population is the most vulnerable to serious complications from this illness and over 90% of deaths due to COVID-19 to date have been in patients over the age of 65. Continuing to provide routine care within nursing homes in these challenging times is an essential part of ensuring that presentations to hospitals for non-essential reasons are minimized. In this article, we describe a project being undertaken by a rural Psychiatry of Old Age Service in the northwest of Ireland. We aim to provide ordinary care in extraordinary times by using mobile tablets within the nursing homes and long-stay facilities in our region for remote video consultations during the COVID-19 crisis.
Diabetes mellitus is reaching epidemic proportions globally and is associated with a number of long-term central nervous system complications in older diabetic adults which are potentially modifiable. Improving diabetic brain health literacy among the public, diabetic individuals and healthcare staff has the potential to reduce the incidence of such complications as depression, cognitive impairment and dementia, leading to healthier ageing.
To establish diabetic brain health literacy levels among the general public, healthcare professionals and diabetic outpatient attendees using a knowledge questionnaire.
A self-administered questionnaire was made available to the public for completion via an Irish website. An adapted questionnaire was disseminated among medicine for the elderly nursing staff and diabetes outpatient attendees in a large urban teaching hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Questions assessed knowledge of potential brain health diabetic complications and garnered pertinent demographic information.
Graph 1- Knowledge of potential brain health complications of diabetes.
Graph 2 – Knowledge of potential non-central nervous system complications of diabetes
This study demonstrates poor knowledge among the public of the increased risk of brain health complications in older diabetic adults. Nursing staff members had greater knowledge and diabetic patients had the greatest, but less than satisfactory knowledge. This contrasts with greater awareness of non-brain diabetic complications such as eye disease and neuropathy among all three groups. Results suggest a need for expansion of health literacy campaigns to promote awareness, and to highlight potentially modifiable risk factors to aid in disease prevention, control and prevention of brain health complications.
Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) has a multifactorial aetiology, and wide-ranging potential health complications, including brain health associations.
A number of diabetes risk factors and complications have a strong evidence base. This study will address ambiguity in the literature regarding others.
Results will inform development of a questionnaire for use among the public and individuals with diabetes, assessing knowledge of diabetes and brain health associations and the role of modifiable risk factors. Aiming to ultimately inform effective preventative strategies for both dementia and depression.
A systematic literature review preceded this two-round modified Delphi study. Respondents rated their agreement with risk factors for T2DM, and potential complications of diabetes on an e-questionnaire.
Of 46 international experts invited to participate in round-one; 14 responded (30.4%). Thirteen respondents (92.9%) completed round-two questionnaire. Consensus was pre-defined as 70% or more agreement between respondents on questionnaire items. On completion, 11/18 risk factor items for T2DM met consensus criteria however ‘depression’ did not. Of diabetes complication items, 13/16 met consensus criteria (see Table 1).
Study results indicate that international experts consider a number of brain health complications to be associated with diabetes. Results will be incorporated in a diabetes and brain health knowledge questionnaire for use among vulnerable populations.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Evidence from the literature suggests that group mindfulness interventions result in improved quality of life, less depressive symptoms and improved subjective sleep quality among patients with memory problems .
To design and pilot a brief mindfulness intervention for Memory Clinic attendees.
To develop a non-pharmacological low-resource intervention for Memory Clinic attendees.
An introduction to mindfulness pack, designed by author CD, includes a booklet introducing the concept of mindfulness, instructions for meditation exercises with an accompanying CD. Memory clinic attendees diagnosed with subjective memory complaints or mild cognitive impairment were invited to take part. Participants completed standardised questionnaires pre- and post-intervention, which examined subjective memory, depression and anxiety symptoms, subjective sleep quality, worry and mindfulness levels. Qualitative information was also gathered.
Of twenty-four participants (66.6% female, mean age 60.8 years), 14 (58.3%) completed the 6-week study. There was no statistical difference in anxiety and depressive symptoms, quality of life, sleep quality and worry levels pre- and post-intervention among participants. However, 100% of participants found the mindfulness intervention beneficial, with 64.3% (n = 9) reporting a subjective improvement in both memory and concentration.
In this small pilot study, a brief self-guided mindfulness intervention was found to be acceptable to a heterogenous group of Memory Clinic attendees.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
We compared antibiotic prescribing to older people in different settings to inform antibiotic stewardship interventions. We used data linkage to stratify individuals aged 65 years and over in Northern Ireland, 1st January 2012–31st December 2013, by residence: community dwelling, care home dwelling or ‘transitioned’ if admitted to a care home. The odds of being prescribed an antibiotic by residence were analysed using logistic regression, adjusting for patient demographics and selected medication use (proxy for co-morbidities). Trends in monthly antibiotic prescribing were examined in the 6 months pre- and post-admission to the care home. The odds of being prescribed at least one antibiotic were twofold higher in care homes compared with community dwellers (adjusted odds ratio 2.05, 95% CI 1.93–2.17). There was a proportionate increase of 51.5% in the percentage prescribed an antibiotic on admission, with a monthly average of 23% receiving an antibiotic in the 6 months post admission. While clinical need likely accounts for some of the observed antibiotic prescribing in care homes we cannot rule out more liberal prescribing, given the twofold difference between care home residents and their community dwelling peers having accounted for co-morbidities. The appropriateness of antibiotic prescribing in the care home setting should be examined.
Objective: The human gut microbiota has been demonstrated to be associated with a number of host phenotypes, including obesity and a number of obesity-associated phenotypes. This study is aimed at further understanding and describing the relationship between the gut microbiota and obesity-associated measurements obtained from human participants. Subjects/Methods: Here, we utilize genetically informative study designs, including a four-corners design (extremes of genetic risk for BMI and of observed BMI; N = 50) and the BMI monozygotic (MZ) discordant twin pair design (N = 30), in order to help delineate the role of host genetics and the gut microbiota in the development of obesity. Results: Our results highlight a negative association between BMI and alpha diversity of the gut microbiota. The low genetic risk/high BMI group of individuals had a lower gut microbiota alpha diversity when compared to the other three groups. Although the difference in alpha diversity between the lean and heavy groups of the BMI-discordant MZ twin design did not achieve significance, this difference was observed to be in the expected direction, with the heavier participants having a lower average alpha diversity. We have also identified nine OTUs observed to be associated with either a leaner or heavier phenotype, with enrichment for OTUs classified to the Ruminococcaceae and Oxalobacteraceae taxonomic families. Conclusion: Our study presents evidence of a relationship between BMI and alpha diversity of the gut microbiota. In addition to these findings, a number of OTUs were found to be significantly associated with host BMI. These findings may highlight separate subtypes of obesity, one driven by genetic factors, the other more heavily influenced by environmental factors.
Sequence-based association studies are at a critical inflexion point with the increasing availability of exome-sequencing data. A popular test of association is the sequence kernel association test (SKAT). Weights are embedded within SKAT to reflect the hypothesized contribution of the variants to the trait variance. Because the true weights are generally unknown, and so are subject to misspecification, we examined the efficiency of a data-driven weighting scheme. We propose the use of a set of theoretically defensible weighting schemes, of which, we assume, the one that gives the largest test statistic is likely to capture best the allele frequency–functional effect relationship. We show that the use of alternative weights obviates the need to impose arbitrary frequency thresholds. As both the score test and the likelihood ratio test (LRT) may be used in this context, and may differ in power, we characterize the behavior of both tests. The two tests have equal power, if the weights in the set included weights resembling the correct ones. However, if the weights are badly specified, the LRT shows superior power (due to its robustness to misspecification). With this data-driven weighting procedure the LRT detected significant signal in genes located in regions already confirmed as associated with schizophrenia — the PRRC2A (p = 1.020e-06) and the VARS2 (p = 2.383e-06) — in the Swedish schizophrenia case-control cohort of 11,040 individuals with exome-sequencing data. The score test is currently preferred for its computational efficiency and power. Indeed, assuming correct specification, in some circumstances, the score test is the most powerful test. However, LRT has the advantageous properties of being generally more robust and more powerful under weight misspecification. This is an important result given that, arguably, misspecified models are likely to be the rule rather than the exception in weighting-based approaches.
Genetic–epidemiological studies that estimate the contributions of genetic factors to variation in tic symptoms are scarce. We estimated the extent to which genetic and environmental influences contribute to tics, employing various phenotypic definitions ranging between mild and severe symptomatology, in a large population-based adult twin-family sample.
In an extended twin-family design, we analysed lifetime tic data reported by adult mono- and dizygotic twins (n = 8323) and their family members (n = 7164; parents and siblings) from 7311 families in the Netherlands Twin Register. We measured tics by the abbreviated version of the Schedule for Tourette and Other Behavioral Syndromes. Heritability was estimated by genetic structural equation modeling for four tic disorder definitions: three dichotomous and one trichotomous phenotype, characterized by increasingly strictly defined criteria.
Prevalence rates of the different tic disorders in our sample varied between 0.3 and 4.5% depending on tic disorder definition. Tic frequencies decreased with increasing age. Heritability estimates varied between 0.25 and 0.37, depending on phenotypic definitions. None of the phenotypes showed evidence of assortative mating, effects of shared environment or non-additive genetic effects.
Heritabilities of mild and severe tic phenotypes were estimated to be moderate. Overlapping confidence intervals of the heritability estimates suggest overlapping genetic liabilities between the various tic phenotypes. The most lenient phenotype (defined only by tic characteristics, excluding criteria B, C and D of DSM-IV) rendered sufficiently reliable heritability estimates. These findings have implications in phenotypic definitions for future genetic studies.
The question of whether psychopathology constructs are discrete kinds or continuous dimensions represents an important issue in clinical psychology and psychiatry. The present paper reviews psychometric modelling approaches that can be used to investigate this question through the application of statistical models. The relation between constructs and indicator variables in models with categorical and continuous latent variables is discussed, as are techniques specifically designed to address the distinction between latent categories as opposed to continua (taxometrics). In addition, we examine latent variable models that allow latent structures to have both continuous and categorical characteristics, such as factor mixture models and grade-of-membership models. Finally, we discuss recent alternative approaches based on network analysis and dynamical systems theory, which entail that the structure of constructs may be continuous for some individuals but categorical for others. Our evaluation of the psychometric literature shows that the kinds–continua distinction is considerably more subtle than is often presupposed in research; in particular, the hypotheses of kinds and continua are not mutually exclusive or exhaustive. We discuss opportunities to go beyond current research on the issue by using dynamical systems models, intra-individual time series and experimental manipulations.
One thousand hospitals were surveyed on a new measure of healthcare personnel influenza vaccination for the 2012–2013 influenza season. Facilities found it easier to collect data on employees than nonemployees; larger facilities reported more challenges than smaller facilities. Barriers may decrease over time as facilities become accustomed to the measure.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2016;37(2):222–225
An anecdotal increase in C. perfringens outbreaks was observed in the North East of England during 2012–2014. We describe findings of investigations in order to further understanding of the epidemiology of these outbreaks and inform control measures. All culture-positive (>105 c.f.u./g) outbreaks reported to the North East Health Protection Team from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2014 were included. Epidemiological (attack rate, symptom profile and positive associations with a suspected vehicle of infection), environmental (deficiencies in food preparation or hygiene practices and suspected vehicle of infection) and microbiological investigations are described. Forty-six outbreaks were included (83% reported from care homes). Enterotoxin (cpe) gene-bearer C. perfringens were detected by PCR in 20/46 (43%) and enterotoxin (by ELISA) and/or enterotoxigenic faecal/food isolates with indistinguishable molecular profiles in 12/46 (26%) outbreaks. Concerns about temperature control of foods were documented in 20/46 (43%) outbreaks. A suspected vehicle of infection was documented in 21/46 (46%) of outbreaks (meat-containing vehicle in 20/21). In 15/21 (71%) identification of the suspected vehicle was based on descriptive evidence alone, in 5/21 (24%) with supporting evidence from an epidemiological study and in 2/21 (10%) with supporting microbiological evidence. C. perfringens-associated illness is preventable and although identification of foodborne outbreaks is challenging, a risk mitigation approach should be taken, particularly in vulnerable populations such as care homes for the elderly.
It is widely accepted that people with mental illness have increased risk of cardiometabolic complications such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. What is less well known is that individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of brain health complications including depression, cognitive impairment and dementia. These conditions can adversely influence disease self-management and further increase risk of other diabetes complications.
The aim of this paper is to highlight the increased risk of brain health complications in populations with diabetes in order to promote awareness of such complications among healthcare professionals and encourage timely intervention.
An overview of the prevalence and potential mechanisms linking depression and cognitive impairment with diabetes as well as implications for detection, management and brain health protection, based on a narrative review of the literature.
Early detection and effective management of depression and cognitive impairment among individuals with diabetes has the potential to minimise adverse health outcomes. In order to promote screening healthcare professionals caring for individuals with diabetes in all settings must be aware of the increased risk of brain health complications in this vulnerable population.
To characterize health professional schools by their vaccination policies for acceptable forms of evidence of immunity and exemptions permitted.
Data were collected between September 2011 and April 2012 using an Internet-based survey e-mailed to selected types of accredited health professional programs. Schools were identified through accrediting associations for each type of health professional program. Analysis was limited to schools requiring ≥1 vaccine recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP): measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, varicella, pertussis, and influenza. Weighted bivariate frequencies were generated using SAS 9.3.
Of 2,775 schools surveyed, 75% (n=2,077) responded; of responding schools, 93% (1947) required ≥1 ACIP-recommended vaccination. The proportion of schools accepting ≥1 non–ACIP-recommended form of evidence of immunity varied by vaccine: 42% for pertussis, 37% for influenza, 30% for rubella, 22% for hepatitis B, 18% for varicella, and 9% for measles and mumps. Among schools with ≥1 vaccination requirement, medical exemptions were permitted for ≥1 vaccine by 75% of schools; 54% permitted religious exemptions; 35% permitted personal belief exemptions; 58% permitted any nonmedical exemption.
Many schools accept non–ACIP-recommended forms of evidence of immunity which could lead some students to believe they are protected from vaccine preventable diseases when they may be susceptible. Additional efforts are needed to better educate school officials about current ACIP recommendations for acceptable forms of evidence of immunity so school policies can be revised as needed.
This study investigates the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors to the stability of obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms in an adult population-based sample. We collected data from twin pairs and their siblings, using the Padua Inventory Revised Abbreviated, from the population-based Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) in 2002 (n = 10.134) and 2008 (n = 15.720). Multivariate twin analyses were used to estimate the stability of OC symptoms as a function of genetic and environmental components. OC symptoms were found to be highly stable, with a longitudinal phenotypic correlation of 0.63. Longitudinal broad sense heritability was found to be 56.0%. Longitudinal correlations for genetic (r = 0.58 for additive, r = 1 for non-additive genetic factors) and non-shared environment (r = 0.46) reflected stable effects, indicating that both genes and environment are influencing the stability of OC symptoms in adults. For the first time, evidence is reported for non-additive genetic effects on the stability of OC symptoms. In conclusion, this study showed that OC symptoms are highly stable across time in adults, and that genetic effects contribute mostly to this stability, both in an additive and non-additive way, besides non-shared environmental factors. These data are informative with respect to adult sample selection for future genetic studies, and suggest that gene–gene interaction studies are needed to further understand the dominance effect found in this study.
The influence of genetic factors on major depressive disorder is lower than on other psychiatric disorders. Heritability estimates mainly derive from cross-sectional studies, and knowledge on the longitudinal aetiology of symptoms of anxiety and depression (SxAnxDep) across the lifespan is limited. We aimed to assess phenotypic, genetic and environmental stability in SxAnxDep between ages 3 and 63 years.
We used a cohort-sequential design combining data from 49 524 twins followed from birth to age ⩾20 years, and from adolescence into adulthood. SxAnxDep were assessed repeatedly with a maximum of eight assessments over a 25-year period. Data were ordered in 30 age groups and analysed with longitudinal genetic models.
Over age, there was a significant increase during adolescence in mean scores with sex differences (women>men) emerging. Heritability was high in childhood and decreased to 30–40% during adulthood. This decrease in heritability was due to an increase in environmental variance. Phenotypic stability was moderate in children (correlations across ages ~0.5) and high in adolescents (r = 0.6), young adults (r = 0.7), and adults (r = 0.8). Longitudinal stability was mostly attributable to genetic factors. During childhood and adolescence there was also significant genetic innovation, which was absent in adults. Environmental effects contributed to short-term stability.
The substantial stability in SxAnxDep is mainly due to genetic effects. The importance of environmental effects increases with age and explains the relatively low heritability of depression in adults. The environmental effects are transient, but the contribution to stability increases with age.
When challenged with information about the future, healthy participants show an optimistically biased updating pattern, taking desirable information more into account than undesirable information. However, it is unknown how patients suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD), who express pervasive pessimistic beliefs, update their beliefs when receiving information about their future. Here we tested whether an optimistically biased information processing pattern found in healthy individuals is absent in MDD patients.
MDD patients (n = 18; 13 medicated; eight with co-morbid anxiety disorder) and healthy controls (n = 19) estimated their personal probability of experiencing 70 adverse life events. After each estimate participants were presented with the average probability of the event occurring to a person living in the same sociocultural environment. This information could be desirable (i.e. average probability better than expected) or undesirable (i.e. average probability worse than expected). To assess how desirable versus undesirable information influenced beliefs, participants estimated their personal probability of experiencing the 70 events a second time.
Healthy controls showed an optimistic bias in updating, that is they changed their beliefs more toward desirable versus undesirable information. Overall, this optimistic bias was absent in MDD patients. Symptom severity correlated with biased updating: more severely depressed individuals showed a more pessimistic updating pattern. Furthermore, MDD patients estimated the probability of experiencing adverse life events as higher than healthy controls.
Our findings raise the intriguing possibility that optimistically biased updating of expectations about one's personal future is associated with mental health.
The aim of this study was to examine the perceived impact of a community mobilisation intervention programme to reduce alcohol consumption among amateur sportsmen aged 16–34 years.
A qualitative focus group format was used to identify potentially important themes or concepts relating to players’ and coaches’ experiences of the intervention. Six focus groups were conducted (five with four to seven players per focus group and one with six coaches) to elicit participants’ experiences of the intervention.
Three major themes emerged from the analyses: patterns of alcohol consumption and associated factors; perceived impact of the intervention; and suggested changes to the community mobilisation intervention. Excessive binge drinking (i.e. the consumption of six or more standard drinks on any one occasion) was common among players. The perceived impact of the intervention programme among players was low; players and coaches believed that if future programmes were to succeed, a ‘bottom-up’ rather than a ‘top-down’ approach should be adopted.
The findings suggest that players perceived the community mobilisation programme to have had only limited success in changing attitudes or behaviour towards alcohol consumption in this amateur sports setting.
An understanding of the exact nature of executive function (EF) deficits in conduct disorder (CD) remains elusive because of issues of co-morbidity with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Seventy-two adolescents with CD, 35 with CD + ADHD and 20 healthy controls (HCs) were assessed on a computerized battery of putative ‘cool’ and ‘hot’ EFs. Participants also completed the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL).
In the cool EF tasks such as planning, the CD + ADHD group in particular showed most notable impairments compared to HCs. This pattern was less evident for set shifting and behavioural inhibition but there were significant correlations between errors scores on these tasks and indices of externalizing behaviours on the CBCL across the sample. For hot EF tasks, all clinical groups performed worse than HCs on delay of gratification and poor performance was correlated with externalizing scores. Although there were no notable group differences on the punishment-based card-playing task, there were significant correlations between ultimate payout and externalizing behaviour across groups.
Overall, our findings highlight the fact that there may be more common than distinguishing neuropsychological underpinnings to these co-morbid disorders and that a dimensional symptom-based approach may be the way forward.