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The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is a low-frequency aperture array capable of high-time and frequency resolution astronomy applications such as pulsar studies. The large field-of-view of the MWA (hundreds of square degrees) can also be exploited to attain fast survey speeds for all-sky pulsar search applications, but to maximise sensitivity requires forming thousands of tied-array beams from each voltage-capture observation. The necessity of using calibration solutions that are separated from the target observation both temporally and spatially makes pulsar observations vulnerable to uncorrected, frequency-dependent positional offsets due to the ionosphere. These offsets may be large enough to move the source away from the centre of the tied-array beam, incurring sensitivity drops of
in Phase II extended array configuration. We analyse these offsets in pulsar observations and develop a method for mitigating them, improving both the source position accuracy and the sensitivity. This analysis prompted the development of a multi-pixel beamforming functionality that can generate dozens of tied-array beams simultaneously, which runs a factor of ten times faster compared to the original single-pixel version. This enhancement makes it feasible to observe multiple pulsars within the vast field of view of the MWA and supports the ongoing large-scale pulsar survey efforts with the MWA. We explore the extent to which ionospheric offset correction will be necessary for the MWA Phase III and the low-frequency square kilometre array (SKA-low).
Background: Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) may benefit many inflammatory central nervous system (CNS) disorders based on multiple immunomodulatory effects. IVIG is being used in inflammatory CNS conditions however robust evidence and guidelines are lacking in many disorders. Over the last 5 years, the percentage of IVIG used for CNS indications within neurology almost doubled in British Columbia (BC), Canada. Clear local guidelines may guide rational use. Methods: Consensus guidelines for IVIG use for CNS indications were developed by a panel of subspecialty neurologists and the Provincial Blood Coordinating Office, informed by focused literature review. Guidelines were structured similarly to existing BC peripheral nervous system guidelines and Australian Consensus Guidelines. Utilization and efficacy will be monitored provincewide on an ongoing basis. Results: Categories of conditions for Possible Indication (N=11) and Exceptional Circumstance Use (N=4) were created based on level of evidence for efficacy. Dosing and monitoring recommendations were made and outcomes measures defined. Rationale for Not Indicated conditions (N=3) was included. Guidelines will be distributed to BC neurologists for feedback and re-evaluated after 1 year. Conclusions: IVIG use in CNS inflammatory conditions has an emerging role. Guidelines for use and monitoring of outcomes will help improve resource utilization and provide further evidence regarding effectiveness.
We present a second-personal account of corporate moral agency. This approach is in contrast to the first-personal approach adopted in much of the existing literature, which concentrates on the corporation’s ability to identify moral reasons for itself. Our account treats relationships and communications as the fundamental building blocks of moral agency. The second-personal account rests on a framework developed by Darwall. Its central requirement is that corporations be capable of recognizing the authority relations that they have with other moral agents. We discuss the relevance of corporate affect, corporate communications, and corporate culture to the second-personal account. The second-personal account yields a new way to specify first-personal criteria for moral agency, and it generates fresh insights into the reasons those criteria matter. In addition, a second-personal analysis implies that moral agency is partly a matter of policy, and it provides a fresh perspective on corporate punishment.
Diet is a modifiable risk factor for chronic disease and a potential modulator of telomere length (TL). The study aim was to investigate associations between diet quality and TL in Australian adults after a 12-week dietary intervention with an almond-enriched diet (AED). Participants (overweight/obese, 50–80 years) were randomised to an AED (n 62) or isoenergetic nut-free diet (NFD, n 62) for 12 weeks. Diet quality was assessed using a Dietary Guideline Index (DGI), applied to weighed food records, that consists of ten components reflecting adequacy, variety and quality of core food components and discretionary choices within the diet. TL was measured by quantitative PCR in samples of lymphocytes, neutrophils, and whole blood. There were no significant associations between DGI scores and TL at baseline. Diet quality improved with AED and decreased with NFD after 12 weeks (change from baseline AED + 9·8 %, NFD − 14·3 %; P < 0·001). TL increased in neutrophils (+9·6 bp, P = 0·009) and decreased in whole blood, to a trivial extent (–12·1 bp, P = 0·001), and was unchanged in lymphocytes. Changes did not differ between intervention groups. There were no significant relationships between changes in diet quality scores and changes in lymphocyte, neutrophil or whole blood TL. The inclusion of almonds in the diet improved diet quality scores but had no impact on TL mid-age to older Australian adults. Future studies should investigate the impact of more substantial dietary changes over longer periods of time.
This study aimed to evaluate hearing outcomes and device safety in a large, single-surgeon experience with the totally implantable active middle-ear implants.
This was a retrospective case series review of 116 patients with moderate-to-severe sensorineural hearing loss undergoing implantation of active middle-ear implants.
Mean baseline unaided pure tone average improved from 57.6 dB before surgery to 34.1 dB post-operatively, signifying a mean gain in pure tone average of 23.5 dB (p = 0.0002). Phonetically balanced maximum word recognition score improved slightly from 70.5 per cent to 75.8 per cent (p = 0.416), and word recognition score at a hearing level of 50 dB values increased substantially from 14.4 per cent to 70.4 per cent (p < 0.0001). Both revision and explant rates were low and dropped with increasing surgeon experience over time.
This study showed excellent post-operative hearing results with active middle-ear implants with regard to pure tone average and word recognition score at a hearing level of 50 db. Complication rates in this case series were significantly lower with increasing experience of the surgeon. Active middle-ear implants should be considered in appropriate patients with moderate-to-severe sensorineural hearing loss who have struggled with conventional amplification and are good surgical candidates.
Medical care is predicated on ‘do no harm’, yet the urgency to find drugs and vaccines to treat or prevent COVID-19 has led to an extraordinary effort to develop and test new therapies. Whilst this is an essential cornerstone of a united global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the absolute requirements for meticulous efficacy and safety data remain. This is especially pertinent to the needs of pregnant women; a group traditionally poorly represented in drug trials, yet a group at heightened risk of unintended adverse materno-fetal consequences due to the unique physiology of pregnancy and the life course implications of fetal or neonatal drug exposure. However, due to the complexities of drug trial participation when pregnant (be they vaccines or therapeutics for acute disease), many clinical drug trials will exclude them. Clinicians must determine the best course of drug treatment with a dearth of evidence from either clinical or preclinical studies, where at least in the short term they may be more focused on the outcome of the mother than of her offspring.
The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.
Advanced imaging techniques are enhancing research capacity focussed on the developmental origins of adult health and disease (DOHaD) hypothesis, and consequently increasing awareness of future health risks across various subareas of DOHaD research themes. Understanding how these advanced imaging techniques in animal models and human population studies can be both additively and synergistically used alongside traditional techniques in DOHaD-focussed laboratories is therefore of great interest. Global experts in advanced imaging techniques congregated at the advanced imaging workshop at the 2019 DOHaD World Congress in Melbourne, Australia. This review summarizes the presentations of new imaging modalities and novel applications to DOHaD research and discussions had by DOHaD researchers that are currently utilizing advanced imaging techniques including MRI, hyperpolarized MRI, ultrasound, and synchrotron-based techniques to aid their DOHaD research focus.
Our study objective was to describe the Canadian emergency medicine (EM) research community landscape prior to the initiation of a nationwide network.
A two-phase electronic survey was sent to 17 Canadian medical schools. The Phase 1 Environmental Scan was administered to department chairs/hospital EM chiefs, to identify EM physicians conducting clinical or educational research. The Phase 2 Survey was sent to the identified EM researchers to assess four themes: 1) geographic distribution, 2) training/career satisfaction, 3) time/financial compensation, and 4) research facilitators/barriers. Descriptive analyses were conducted, and results were stratified by Canadian regions.
A total of 92 EM researchers were identified in Phase 1; 67 (73%) responded to the Phase 2 Survey. Of those, 42 (63%) reported being clinical researchers, and 19 (45%) had a graduate degree. Three provinces encompassed most of the researchers (n = 35). Of the respondents, 61% had a research degree, 66% felt adequately trained for their research career, 73% had financial support, 83% had access to office spaces, 52% had no mentor during their first years of their career, 69% felt satisfied with their research career, and 82% suggested that they will still be conducting research in 5 years.
EM researchers reported being adequately trained, even though only a little over half had a graduate degree. Only two-thirds had financial support, and mentorship was lacking in one-third of the participants. Not all respondents had a form of infrastructure, but most felt optimistic about their careers. The Canadian EM research environment could be improved to ensure better research capacity.
This retrospective, case series audit assessed the clinical and health-economic impact of long-term treatment with quetiapine (‘Seroquel’), a new atypical antipsychotic, in patients with chronic schizophrenia.
The study design was of a case series format, comprising patients entered from one centre into the open-label extension of a multicentre 6-week efficacy study. Twenty-one patients (15 male, six female; mean age 39 years) were studied, of whom 17 (81%) had been rated as ‘partially responsive’ to previous antipsychotics. Data on hospitalisations and information on symptoms were collected retrospectively for the 12 months before quetiapine treatment was initiated and for the 12 months after.
Quetiapine was effective in reducing psychotic symptoms with mean BPRS scores reducing significantly, from 38 to 21 (P < 0.005). Motor function was also significantly improved with mean Simpson scale scores reducing from 15 to 12 (P < 0.005). Average inpatient days were reduced by 11% in year two (97 compared with 109 days) while the overall costs of treatment, including drug costs, fell by 5% (I£20,843 to I£19,827).
Four patients had been hospitalised for longer than 5 years before starting quetiapine; these chronically institutionalised patients remained in hospital, despite improved clinical outcomes (mean BPRS scores after treatment of 34, compared with 43 before), for the full 12 months of quetiapine treatment. Were the data from this audit to be re-analysed excluding these four patients then average inpatient days would have been reduced by 33% (45 to 30 days) and overall cost of treatment by 19% (I£8617 to I£7011).
This audit suggests that treatment with quetiapine over this 1-year period was associated with both clinical improvements and a decreased usage of inpatient services. The reduction in hospitalisation costs would appear to compensate for the increased cost of drug treatment. Significantly, potential savings appear to be greatest for those patients with a ‘revolving door’ pattern of repeated readmission.
Antidepressant use has risen x3-5 in Western countries since the early 1990s, outstripping changes in depression incidence or prevalence. This represents a major public health challenge.
Nationally-collected antidepressant data were used to assess the impact of "Doing Well", (DW) a novel depression care programme operating in Renfrewshire, Scotland. "Doing Well" implemented a model of “stepped collaborative care”, practitioner education and significant service redesign. Prescribing was compared for three groups: "DW" (76,000 population; clinical and educational intervention), "DW neighbours” (101,000 population; educational interventions only), and Scotland (no specific intervention).
A national rise in antidepressant prescriptions was stabilised for the "DW" group (graph). Antidepressant cost/item fell by 42% and 40% in both “DW” and “DW neighbours” groups but rose by 8% nationally.
Access to clinical interventions are required to reduce antidepressant prescriptions, but cost savings may be made with educational interventions alone.
A main objective of EPOS is to provide a valid multifactorial model for the prediction of psychosis. One major element of such a model should be the clinical state.
In a European multicentre study, persons fulfilling clinical criteria thought to indicate an increased risk for psychosis (PAR) were assessed amongst others with different psychopathological instruments covering the whole spectrum from basic symptoms to frank psychotic symptoms. Inclusion criteria comprised attenuated positive symptoms (APS), brief limited intermittent psychotic symptoms (BLIPS), cognitive basic symptoms (CogDis) and a combination of family risk and reduced functioning (S&T).
246 PAR were included into the study, mostly by APS or CogDis. Analysis of demographical data showed a high amount of functional impairment, resulting e.g. in low mean GAF scores (51.0 ± 11.8 SD), and of non-psychotic axis-I disorders. In September 2006, the hazard rate for a conversion to psychosis was 15.3 at 12 and 20.0 at 18 months after baseline assessment. According to the inclusion criteria, the highest rate of conversion was observed among PAR with BLIPS. On a dimensional level, a low GAF score was among the best predictors of conversion.
The transition rates of EPOS were in line with recent studies. A first analysis of clinical data supports the notion that the functional state should be an inherent part of any set of clinical risk criteria. Further analysis will consider the contribution of single symptoms or symptom combinations and the impact of symptom duration.
One aim of the European prediction of psychosis study (EPOS) has been to evaluate the clinical course of putatively prodromal patients in terms of psychopathology.
245 patients at risk for psychosis defined by attenuated positive symptoms, brief limited psychotic symptoms, a state/ trait combination or cognitive-perceptive basic symptoms was recruited in six centres in four countries. The Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes (SIPS) and the Bonn Scale for the Assessment of Basic Symptoms – Prediction List (BSABS-P) were employed. Follow-up was scheduled after 9 months (t1) and 18 months.
In total, 40 patients developed a psychosis (P). Compared to those without a transition (NP), P showed significantly higher SIPS scores at baseline. The same applied to the BSABS-P sub-scores 'cognitive perception disturbances' and 'cognitive motor disturbances'. The P sub-group developing psychosis after t1 showed no significant change of the SIPS positive (SIPS-P) sub-score or of any BSABS-P score from baseline to t1, whereas all scores improved in the NP group. At t1, SIPS-P and BSABS-P sub-score 'cognitive thought disturbances' were significantly lower in those later becoming psychotic.
Patients at risk showing a transition to psychosis during exhibited a pronounced psychopathology at baseline. Also, the positive symptom scores did not significantly improve during 1st follow-up, whereas those patients with no transition during the complete follow-up showed an improvement of all scores. As EPOS is a naturalistic study, different treatments have been performed in a considerable portion of the patients and association with course awaits further analysis.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia (SCZ) are separate neurodevelopmental disorders that are both characterized by difficulties in social cognition and social functioning. Due to methodological confounds, the degree of similarity in social cognitive impairments across these two disorders is currently unknown. This study therefore conducted a comprehensive comparison of social cognitive ability in ASD and SCZ to aid efforts to develop optimized treatment programs.
In total, 101 individuals with ASD, 92 individuals with SCZ or schizoaffective disorder, and 101 typically developing (TD) controls, all with measured intelligence in the normal range and a mean age of 25.47 years, completed a large battery of psychometrically validated social cognitive assessments spanning the domains of emotion recognition, social perception, mental state attribution, and attributional style.
Both ASD and SCZ performed worse than TD controls, and very few differences were evident between the two clinical groups, with effect sizes (Cohen's d) ranging from 0.01 to 0.34. For those effects that did reach statistical significance, such as greater hostility in the SCZ group, controlling for symptom severity rendered them non-significant, suggesting that clinical distinctions may underlie these social cognitive differences. Additionally, the strength of the relationship between neurocognitive and social cognitive performance was of similar, moderate size for ASD and SCZ.
Findings largely suggest comparable levels of social cognitive impairment in ASD and SCZ, which may support the use of existing social cognitive interventions across disorders. However, future work is needed to determine whether the mechanisms underlying these shared impairments are also similar or if these common behavioral profiles may emerge via different pathways.
Introduction: 9-1-1 telecommunicators receive minimal education on agonal breathing, often resulting in unrecognized out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). We successfully piloted an educational intervention that significantly improved telecommunicators’ OHCA recognition and bystander CPR rates in Ottawa. We sought to better understand the operations of Canadian 9-1-1 communications centers (CC) in preparation for a multi-centre study of this intervention. Methods: We conducted a National survey of all Canadian CCs. Survey domains included information on organizational structure, dispatch system used, education curriculum, and performance monitoring. It was peer-reviewed, translated in French, pilot-tested, and distributed electronically using a modified Dillman method. We designated respondents in each CC before distribution and used targeted follow-up and small incentives to increase response rate. Respondents also described functioning of neighboring CCs if known. Results: We received information from 51/51 provincial and 1/25 territorial CCs, representing 99.7% of the Canadian population. CCs largely utilize the Medical Dispatch Priority System (MPDS) platform (93%), many are Province/Ministry regulated (50%) and most require a High School diploma as minimum entry level education (78%). Telecommunicators receive initial in-class training (median 1.3 months, IQR 0.3-1.9; range 0.1-2.2), often followed by a preceptorship (84.4%) (median 1.0 months, IQR 0.7-1.7; range 0.4-6.0). Educational curriculum includes information on agonal breathing in 41% of CC, without audio examples in 34%. Among responding CCs, over 39,000 suspected OHCA 9-1-1 calls are received annually. Few CCs maintain local performance statistics on OHCA recognition (25%), bystander CPR rates (25%) or survival rates (50%). Most (97%) expressed interest in future research collaborations. Conclusion: Most Canadian telecommunicators receive no or minimal education in recognizing agonal breathing. Further training and improved OHCA monitoring may assist recognition and enhance outcomes.
High-intensity laser–plasma interactions produce a wide array of energetic particles and beams with promising applications. Unfortunately, the high repetition rate and high average power requirements for many applications are not satisfied by the lasers, optics, targets, and diagnostics currently employed. Here, we aim to address the need for high-repetition-rate targets and optics through the use of liquids. A novel nozzle assembly is used to generate high-velocity, laminar-flowing liquid microjets which are compatible with a low-vacuum environment, generate little to no debris, and exhibit precise positional and dimensional tolerances. Jets, droplets, submicron-thick sheets, and other exotic configurations are characterized with pump–probe shadowgraphy to evaluate their use as targets. To demonstrate a high-repetition-rate, consumable, liquid optical element, we present a plasma mirror created by a submicron-thick liquid sheet. This plasma mirror provides etalon-like anti-reflection properties in the low field of 0.1% and high reflectivity as a plasma, 69%, at a repetition rate of 1 kHz. Practical considerations of fluid compatibility, in-vacuum operation, and estimates of maximum repetition rate are addressed. The targets and optics presented here demonstrate a potential technique for enabling the operation of laser–plasma interactions at high repetition rates.
Emergency physicians are using bolus-dose vasopressors to temporize hypotensive patients until more definitive blood pressure support can be established. Despite a paucity of clinical outcome data, emergency department applications are expanding into the prehospital setting. This series presents two cases of field expedient vasopressor use by emergency medicine providers for preflight stabilization during aeromedical evacuation to a hospital ship as part of the United States Navy disaster response in Puerto Rico. A critical approach and review of the literature are discussed.
Two critically ill patients were managed in an austere environment as a result of the devastation from Hurricane Maria (Yabucoa, Puerto Rico; 2017). They both exhibited signs of respiratory distress, hemodynamic instability, and distributive shock requiring definitive airway management and hemodynamic support prior to aeromedical evacuation.
The novel use of field expedient vasopressors prior to induction for rapid sequence intubation was successfully and safely employed in both cases. Both patients had multiple risk factors for peri-induction cardiac arrest given their presenting hemodynamics. Despite their illness severity, both patients were induced, transported, and ultimately admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) in stable condition following administration of the field expedient vasopressors.
Field expedient vasopressors were safely and effectively employed in an austere field environment during a disaster response. This case series contributes to the growing body of literature of safe bolus-dose vasopressor use by emergency physicians to temporize hypotensive patients in resource-constrained situations.
HardwickJM, MurnanSD, Morrison-PonceDP, DevlinJJ. Field Expedient Vasopressors During Aeromedical Evacuation: A Case Series from the Puerto Rico Disaster Response. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(6):668–672.
The extensive heterogeneity both between and within the medulloblastoma (MB) subgroups underscores a critical need for variant-specific biomarkers and therapeutic strategies. We previously identified a role for the CD271/p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) in regulating stem/progenitor cells in the SHH MB subgroup. Here, we demonstrate the utility of CD271 as a novel diagnostic and prognostic marker for SHH MB using immunohistochemical analysis as well as transcriptome data across 763 primary tumors. Characterization of CD271+ and CD271- cells by RNA sequencing revealed that these two subpopulations are molecularly distinct, co-existing cellular subsets both in vitro and in vivo. MAPK/ERK signaling is upregulated in the CD271+ population and inhibiting this pathway reduced CD271 levels, stem/progenitor cell proliferation and cell survival as well as cell migration in vitro. Importantly, the MEK inhibitor selumetinib extends survival and reduces CD271 levels in vivo. Our study demonstrates the clinical utility of CD271 as both a diagnostic and prognostic tool for SHH MB tumors and reveals a novel role for MEK inhibitors in targeting CD271+ SHH MB cells.