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This paper introduces a new julia package, LRMoE, a statistical software tailor-made for actuarial applications, which allows actuarial researchers and practitioners to model and analyse insurance loss frequencies and severities using the Logit-weighted Reduced Mixture-of-Experts (LRMoE) model. LRMoE offers several new distinctive features which are motivated by various actuarial applications and mostly cannot be achieved using existing packages for mixture models. Key features include a wider coverage on frequency and severity distributions and their zero inflation, the flexibility to vary classes of distributions across components, parameter estimation under data censoring and truncation and a collection of insurance ratemaking and reserving functions. The package also provides several model evaluation and visualisation functions to help users easily analyse the performance of the fitted model and interpret the model in insurance contexts.
Introduction: Overcrowding in the Emergency Department (ED) results in delays in care, and increased patient morbidity and mortality. Innovative departmental approaches have the potential to make patient flow through the ED more efficient and reduce overcrowding by improving patient throughput. The Calgary zone ED recently piloted a new physician role, the Emergency Physician Lead (EPL), a senior physician working closely with the charge nurse and consulting services to provide physician leadership, and to troubleshoot flow issues and safety breeches such as EMS offload delays and long emergency inpatient (EIP) stays. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the EPL by determining its effect on key metrics of patient flow, and by identifying which specific EPL interventions were most effective at improving patient throughput. Methods: A retrospective cohort design was used to compare Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) ED patients seen by the EPL from March-June 2019 (n = 1343 patients) with a control group from the same period in 2018 (n = 5530). An EMR search was used to collect patient data and generate descriptive statistics, which were compared between groups by Mann-Whitney U-test. Patient handover notes left by the EPL were also collected and analyzed by two independent assessors to develop a list of actions taken by the EPL. Each patient was then coded based on the actions in the handover note, and means for each coded group were compared to control to find correlations between action and changes in key flow metrics. Results: Patients whose care involved the EPL had a 40% shorter average ED length of stay (ELOS) compared to control (515 vs 865 min, p < 0.001). The EPL was especially effective for patients with ELOS above the 90th percentile, with a 58% relative reduction. EPL patients also had lower average times from first contact with the department to first order being placed (79 vs 143 min, p < 0.001), and spent less time as EIPs after being admitted (390 vs 515 mins, p < 0.001). EPL actions aimed at early ordering of investigations or early management showed the largest relative reductions in ELOS, followed by actions related to resolving issues with consulting services (56% and 48% respectively, p < 0.001). Conclusion: The EPL role appears to be associated with improvements in several key metrics of patient flow. Specific EPL actions were correlated with marked decreases in length of stay. The EPL may be an effective strategy to improve patient throughput and combat ED overcrowding.
Social media research during natural disasters has been presented as a tool to guide response and relief efforts in the disciplines of geography and computer sciences. This systematic review highlights the public health implications of social media use in the response phase of the emergency, assessing (1) how social media can improve the dissemination of emergency warning and response information during and after a natural disaster, and (2) how social media can help identify physical, medical, functional, and emotional needs after a natural disaster. We surveyed the literature using 3 databases and included 44 research articles. We found that analyses of social media data were performed using a wide range of spatiotemporal scales. Social media platforms were identified as broadcasting tools presenting an opportunity for public health agencies to share emergency warnings. Social media was used as a tool to identify areas in need of relief operations or medical assistance by using self-reported location, with map development as a common method to visualize data. In retrospective analyses, social media analysis showed promise as an opportunity to reduce the time of response and to identify the individuals’ location. Further research for misinformation and rumor control using social media is needed.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
Background: Biallelic variants in POLR1C are associated with POLR3-related leukodystrophy (POLR3-HLD), or 4H leukodystrophy (Hypomyelination, Hypodontia, Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism), and Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS). The clinical spectrum of POLR3-HLD caused by variants in this gene has not been described. Methods: A cross-sectional observational study involving 25 centers worldwide was conducted between 2016 and 2018. The clinical, radiologic and molecular features of 23 unreported and previously reported cases of POLR3-HLD caused by POLR1C variants were reviewed. Results: Most participants presented between birth and age 6 years with motor difficulties. Neurological deterioration was seen during childhood, suggesting a more severe phenotype than previously described. The dental, ocular and endocrine features often seen in POLR3-HLD were not invariably present. Five patients (22%) had a combination of hypomyelinating leukodystrophy and abnormal craniofacial development, including one individual with clear TCS features. Several cases did not exhibit all the typical radiologic characteristics of POLR3-HLD. A total of 29 different pathogenic variants in POLR1C were identified, including 13 new disease-causing variants. Conclusions: Based on the largest cohort of patients to date, these results suggest novel characteristics of POLR1C-related disorder, with a spectrum of clinical involvement characterized by hypomyelinating leukodystrophy with or without abnormal craniofacial development reminiscent of TCS.
Dietary quality (DQ), as assessed by the Alternative Healthy Eating Index for Pregnancy (AHEI-P), and conception and pregnancy outcomes were evaluated.
In this prospective cohort study on couples planning their first pregnancy. Cox proportional hazards regression assessed the relationship between AHEI-P score and clinical pregnancy, live birth and pregnancy loss.
Participants were recruited from the Northeast region of the USA.
Participants: Healthy, nulliparous couples (females, n 132; males, n 131; one male did not enrol).
There were eighty clinical pregnancies, of which sixty-nine resulted in live births and eleven were pregnancy losses. Mean (sd) female AHEI-P was 71·0 (13·7). Of those who achieved pregnancy, those in the highest tertile of AHEI-P had the greatest proportion of clinical pregnancies; however, this association was not statistically significant (P = 0·41). When the time it took to conceive was considered, females with the highest AHEI-P scores were 20 % and 14 % more likely to achieve clinical pregnancy (model 1: hazard ratio (HR) = 1·20; 95 % CI 0·66, 2·17) and live birth (model 1: HR = 1·14; 95 % CI 0·59, 2·20), respectively. Likelihood of achieving clinical pregnancy and live birth increased when the fully adjusted model, including male AHEI-P score, was examined (clinical pregnancy model 4: HR = 1·55; 95 % CI 0·71, 3·39; live birth model 4: HR = 1·36; 95 % CI 0·59, 3·13).
The present study is the first to examine AHEI-P score and achievement of clinical pregnancy. DQ was not significantly related to pregnancy outcomes, even after adjustments for covariates.
Loneliness and social networks have been extensively studied in relation to cognitive impairments, but how they interact with each other in relation to cognition is still unclear. This study aimed at exploring the interaction of loneliness and various types of social networks in relation to cognition in older adults.
a cross-sectional study.
497 older adults with normal global cognition were interviewed.
Loneliness was assessed with Chinese 6-item De Jong Gierverg’s Loneliness Scale. Confiding network was defined as people who could share inner feelings with, whereas non-confiding network was computed by subtracting the confiding network from the total network size. Cognitive performance was expressed as a global composite z-score of Cantonese version of mini mental state examination (CMMSE), Categorical verbal fluency test (CVFT) and delayed recall. Linear regression was used to test the main effects of loneliness and the size of various networks, and their interaction on cognitive performance with the adjustment of sociodemographic, physical and psychological confounders.
Significant interaction was found between loneliness and non-confiding network on cognitive performance (B = .002, β = .092, t = 2.099, p = .036). Further analysis showed a significant interaction between loneliness and the number of family members in non-confiding network on cognition (B = .021, β = .119, t = 2.775, p = .006).
Results suggested that a non-confiding relationship with family members might put lonely older adults at risk of cognitive impairment. Our study might have implications on designing psychosocial intervention for those who are vulnerable to loneliness as an early prevention of neurocognitive impairments.
While studies suggest that nutritional supplementation may reduce aggressive behavior in children, few have examined their effects on specific forms of aggression. This study tests the primary hypothesis that omega-3 (ω-3), both alone and in conjunction with social skills training, will have particular post-treatment efficacy for reducing childhood reactive aggression relative to baseline.
In this randomized, double-blind, stratified, placebo-controlled, factorial trial, a clinical sample of 282 children with externalizing behavior aged 7–16 years was randomized into ω-3 only, social skills only, ω-3 + social skills, and placebo control groups. Treatment duration was 6 months. The primary outcome measure was reactive aggression collected at 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, with antisocial behavior as a secondary outcome.
Children in the ω-3-only group showed a short-term reduction (at 3 and 6 months) in self-report reactive aggression, and also a short-term reduction in overall antisocial behavior. Sensitivity analyses and a robustness check replicated significant interaction effects. Effect sizes (d) were small, ranging from 0.17 to 0.31.
Findings provide some initial support for the efficacy of ω-3 in reducing reactive aggression over and above standard care (medication and parent training), but yield only preliminary and limited support for the efficacy of ω-3 in reducing overall externalizing behavior in children. Future studies could test further whether ω-3 shows promise in reducing more reactive, impulsive forms of aggression.
Different diagnostic interviews are used as reference standards for major depression classification in research. Semi-structured interviews involve clinical judgement, whereas fully structured interviews are completely scripted. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), a brief fully structured interview, is also sometimes used. It is not known whether interview method is associated with probability of major depression classification.
To evaluate the association between interview method and odds of major depression classification, controlling for depressive symptom scores and participant characteristics.
Data collected for an individual participant data meta-analysis of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) diagnostic accuracy were analysed and binomial generalised linear mixed models were fit.
A total of 17 158 participants (2287 with major depression) from 57 primary studies were analysed. Among fully structured interviews, odds of major depression were higher for the MINI compared with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) (odds ratio (OR) = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.15–3.87). Compared with semi-structured interviews, fully structured interviews (MINI excluded) were non-significantly more likely to classify participants with low-level depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≤6) as having major depression (OR = 3.13; 95% CI = 0.98–10.00), similarly likely for moderate-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores 7–15) (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.56–1.66) and significantly less likely for high-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≥16) (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.26–0.97).
The MINI may identify more people as depressed than the CIDI, and semi-structured and fully structured interviews may not be interchangeable methods, but these results should be replicated.
Declaration of interest
Drs Jetté and Patten declare that they received a grant, outside the submitted work, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, which was jointly funded by the Institute and Pfizer. Pfizer was the original sponsor of the development of the PHQ-9, which is now in the public domain. Dr Chan is a steering committee member or consultant of Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Lilly, MSD and Pfizer. She has received sponsorships and honorarium for giving lectures and providing consultancy and her affiliated institution has received research grants from these companies. Dr Hegerl declares that within the past 3 years, he was an advisory board member for Lundbeck, Servier and Otsuka Pharma; a consultant for Bayer Pharma; and a speaker for Medice Arzneimittel, Novartis, and Roche Pharma, all outside the submitted work. Dr Inagaki declares that he has received grants from Novartis Pharma, lecture fees from Pfizer, Mochida, Shionogi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Daiichi-Sankyo, Meiji Seika and Takeda, and royalties from Nippon Hyoron Sha, Nanzando, Seiwa Shoten, Igaku-shoin and Technomics, all outside of the submitted work. Dr Yamada reports personal fees from Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., MSD K.K., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, Seishin Shobo, Seiwa Shoten Co., Ltd., Igaku-shoin Ltd., Chugai Igakusha and Sentan Igakusha, all outside the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests. No funder had any role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
To determine whether probiotic prophylaxes reduce the odds of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in adults and children.
Individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), adjusting for risk factors.
We searched 6 databases and 11 grey literature sources from inception to April 2016. We identified 32 RCTs (n=8,713); among them, 18 RCTs provided IPD (n=6,851 participants) comparing probiotic prophylaxis to placebo or no treatment (standard care). One reviewer prepared the IPD, and 2 reviewers extracted data, rated study quality, and graded evidence quality.
Probiotics reduced CDI odds in the unadjusted model (n=6,645; odds ratio [OR] 0.37; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.25–0.55) and the adjusted model (n=5,074; OR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.23–0.55). Using 2 or more antibiotics increased the odds of CDI (OR, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.11–4.37), whereas age, sex, hospitalization status, and high-risk antibiotic exposure did not. Adjusted subgroup analyses suggested that, compared to no probiotics, multispecies probiotics were more beneficial than single-species probiotics, as was using probiotics in clinical settings where the CDI risk is ≥5%. Of 18 studies, 14 reported adverse events. In 11 of these 14 studies, the adverse events were retained in the adjusted model. Odds for serious adverse events were similar for both groups in the unadjusted analyses (n=4,990; OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.89–1.26) and adjusted analyses (n=4,718; OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.89–1.28). Missing outcome data for CDI ranged from 0% to 25.8%. Our analyses were robust to a sensitivity analysis for missingness.
Moderate quality (ie, certainty) evidence suggests that probiotic prophylaxis may be a useful and safe CDI prevention strategy, particularly among participants taking 2 or more antibiotics and in hospital settings where the risk of CDI is ≥5%.
To identify predominant dietary patterns in four African populations and examine their association with obesity.
We used data from the Africa/Harvard School of Public Health Partnership for Cohort Research and Training (PaCT) pilot study established to investigate the feasibility of a multi-country longitudinal study of non-communicable chronic disease in sub-Saharan Africa. We applied principal component analysis to dietary intake data collected from an FFQ developed for PaCT to ascertain dietary patterns in Tanzania, South Africa, and peri-urban and rural Uganda. The sample consisted of 444 women and 294 men.
We identified two dietary patterns: the Mixed Diet pattern characterized by high intakes of unprocessed foods such as vegetables and fresh fish, but also cold cuts and refined grains; and the Processed Diet pattern characterized by high intakes of salad dressing, cold cuts and sweets. Women in the highest tertile of the Processed Diet pattern score were 3·00 times more likely to be overweight (95 % CI 1·66, 5·45; prevalence=74 %) and 4·24 times more likely to be obese (95 % CI 2·23, 8·05; prevalence=44 %) than women in this pattern’s lowest tertile (both P<0·0001; prevalence=47 and 14 %, respectively). We found similarly strong associations in men. There was no association between the Mixed Diet pattern and overweight or obesity.
We identified two major dietary patterns in several African populations, a Mixed Diet pattern and a Processed Diet pattern. The Processed Diet pattern was associated with obesity.
To determine the length and position of a thyroidectomy scar that is cosmetically most appealing to naïve raters.
Images of thyroidectomy scars were reproduced on male and female necks using digital imaging software. Surgical variables studied were scar position and length. Fifteen raters were presented with 56 scar pairings and asked to identify which was preferred cosmetically. Twenty duplicate pairings were included to assess rater reliability. Analysis of variance was used to determine preference.
Raters preferred low, short scars, followed by high, short scars, with long scars in either position being less desirable (p < 0.05). Twelve of 15 raters had acceptable intra-rater and inter-rater reliability.
Naïve raters preferred low, short scars over the alternatives. High, short scars were the next most favourably rated. If other factors influencing incision choice are considered equal, surgeons should consider these preferences in scar position and length when planning their thyroidectomy approach.
The glycaemic and insulin indices assess postprandial glycaemic and insulin response to foods, respectively, which may not reflect the long-term effects of diet on insulin response. We developed and evaluated the validity of four empirical indices to assess the insulinaemic potential of usual diets and lifestyles, using dietary, lifestyle and biomarker data from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS, n 5812 for hyperinsulinaemia, n 3929 for insulin resistance). The four indices were as follows: the empirical dietary index for hyperinsulinaemia (EDIH) and the empirical lifestyle index for hyperinsulinaemia (ELIH); the empirical dietary index for insulin resistance (EDIR) and the empirical lifestyle index for insulin resistance (ELIR). We entered thirty-nine FFQ-derived food groups in stepwise linear regression models, and defined indices as patterns most predictive of fasting plasma C-peptide, for the hyperinsulinaemia pathway (EDIH and ELIH), and of theTAG:HDL-cholesterol ratio, for the insulin-resistance pathway (EDIR and ELIR). We evaluated the validity of indices in two independent samples from NHS-II and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) using multivariable-adjusted linear regression analyses to calculate relative concentrations of biomarkers. The EDIH is comprised of eighteen food groups; thirteen were positively associated with C-peptide and five were inversely associated. The EDIR is comprised of eighteen food groups; ten were positively associated with TAG:HDL-cholesterol and eight were inversely associated. Lifestyle indices had fewer dietary components, and included BMI and physical activity as components. In the validation samples, all indices significantly predicted biomarker concentrations – for example, the relative concentrations of the corresponding biomarkers comparing extreme index quintiles in the HPFS were EDIH, 1·29 (95 % CI 1·22, 1·37); ELIH, 1·78 (95 % CI 1·68, 1·88); EDIR, 1·44 (95 % CI 1·34, 1·55); and ELIR, 2·03 (95 % CI 1·89, 2·19); all Ptrend<0·0001. The robust associations of these novel hypothesis-driven indices with insulin response biomarker concentrations suggest their usefulness in assessing the ability of whole diets and lifestyles to stimulate and/or sustain insulin secretion.
In otolaryngology, surgical emergencies can occur at any time. An annual surgical training camp (or ‘boot camp’) offers junior residents from across North America the opportunity to learn and practice these skills in a safe environment. The goals of this study were to describe the set-up and execution of a simulation-based otolaryngology boot camp and to determine participants' confidence in performing routine and emergency on-call procedures in stressful situations before and after the boot camp.
There were three main components of the boot camp: task trainers, simulations and an interactive panel discussion. Surveys were given to participants before and after the boot camp, and their confidence in performing the different tasks was assessed via multiple t-tests.
Participants comprised 22 residents from 12 different universities; 10 of these completed both boot camp surveys. Of the nine tasks, the residents reported a significant improvement in confidence levels for six, including surgical airway and orbital haematoma management.
An otolaryngology boot camp gives residents the chance to learn and practice emergency skills before encountering the emergencies in everyday practice. Their confidence in multiple skillsets was significantly improved after the boot camp. Given the shift towards competency-based learning in medical training, this study has implications for all surgical and procedural specialties.
Intra-individual variability (IIV) and the change of attentional functions have been reported to be susceptible to both healthy ageing and pathological ageing. The current study aimed to evaluate the IIV of attention and the age-related effect on alerting, orienting, and executive control in cognitively healthy older adults.
We evaluated 145 Chinese older adults (age range of 65–80 years, mean age of 72.41 years) with a comprehensive neuropsychological battery and the Attention network test (ANT). A two-step strategy of analytical methods was used: Firstly, the IIV of older adults was evaluated by the intraindividual coefficient of variation of reaction time (ICV-RT). The correlation between ICV-RT and age was used to evaluate the necessity of subgrouping. Further, the comparisons of ANT performance among three age groups were performed with processing speed adjusted.
Person's correlation revealed significant positive correlations between age and IIV (r = 0.185, p = 0.032), age and executive control (r = 0.253, p = 0.003). Furthermore, one-way ANOVA comparisons among three age groups revealed a significant age-related disturbance on executive control (F = 4.55, p = 0.01), in which oldest group (group with age >75 years) showed less efficient executive control than young-old (group with age 65–70 years) (Conventional score, p = 0.012; Ratio score, p = 0.020).
Advancing age has an effect on both IIV and executive attention in cognitively healthy older adults, suggesting that the disturbance of executive attention is a sensitive indicator to reflect healthy ageing. Its significance to predict further deterioration should be carefully evaluated with prospective studies.
Genetic testing in psychiatry promises to improve patient care through
advances in personalised medicine. However, there are few clinically
To determine whether patients with a well-established genetic subtype of
schizophrenia show a different response profile to the antipsychotic
clozapine than those with idiopathic schizophrenia.
We retrospectively studied the long-term safety and efficacy of clozapine
in 40 adults with schizophrenia, half with a 22q11.2 deletion (22q11.2DS
group) and half matched for age and clinical severity but molecularly
confirmed to have no pathogenic copy number variant (idiopathic
Both groups showed similar clinical improvement and significant
reductions in hospitalisations, achieved at a lower median dose for those
in the 22q11.2DS group. Most common side-effects were similarly prevalent
between the two groups, however, half of the 22q11.2DS group experienced
at least one rare serious adverse event compared with none of the
idiopathic group. Many were successfully retried on clozapine.
Individuals with 22q11.2DS-schizophrenia respond as well to clozapine
treatment as those with other forms of schizophrenia, but may represent a
disproportionate number of those with serious adverse events, primarily
seizures. Lower doses and prophylactic (for example anticonvulsant)
management strategies can help ameliorate side-effect risks. This first
systematic evaluation of antipsychotic response in a genetic subtype of
schizophrenia provides a proof-of-principle for personalised medicine and
supports the utility of clinical genetic testing in schizophrenia.
The aims of the study were to determine the prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors and establish the proportion of people with psychosis meeting criteria for the metabolic syndrome (MetS). The study also aimed to identify the key lifestyle behaviours associated with increased risk of the MetS and to investigate whether the MetS is associated with illness severity and degree of functional impairment.
Baseline data were collected as part of a large randomized controlled trial (IMPaCT RCT). The study took place within community mental health teams in five Mental Health NHS Trusts in urban and rural locations across England. A total of 450 randomly selected out-patients, aged 18–65 years, with an established psychotic illness were recruited. We ascertained the prevalence rates of cardiometabolic risk factors, illness severity and functional impairment and calculated rates of the MetS, using International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and National Cholesterol Education Program Third Adult Treatment Panel criteria.
High rates of cardiometabolic risk factors were found. Nearly all women and most men had waist circumference exceeding the IDF threshold for central obesity. Half the sample was obese (body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2) and a fifth met the criteria for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Females were more likely to be obese than males (61% v. 42%, p < 0.001). Of the 308 patients with complete laboratory measures, 57% (n = 175) met the IDF criteria for the MetS.
In the UK, the prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors in individuals with psychotic illnesses is much higher than that observed in national general population studies as well as in most international studies of patients with psychosis.