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Automated virtual reality therapies are being developed to increase access to psychological interventions. We assessed the experience with one such therapy of patients diagnosed with psychosis, including satisfaction, side effects, and positive experiences of access to the technology. We tested whether side effects affected therapy.
In a clinical trial 122 patients diagnosed with psychosis completed baseline measures of psychiatric symptoms, received gameChange VR therapy, and then completed a satisfaction questionnaire, the Oxford-VR Side Effects Checklist, and outcome measures.
79 (65.8%) patients were very satisfied with VR therapy, 37 (30.8%) were mostly satisfied, 3 (2.5%) were indifferent/mildly dissatisfied, and 1 (0.8%) person was quite dissatisfied. The most common side effects were: difficulties concentrating because of thinking about what might be happening in the room (n = 17, 14.2%); lasting headache (n = 10, 8.3%); and the headset causing feelings of panic (n = 9, 7.4%). Side effects formed three factors: difficulties concentrating when wearing a headset, feelings of panic using VR, and worries following VR. The occurrence of side effects was not associated with number of VR sessions, therapy outcomes, or psychiatric symptoms. Difficulties concentrating in VR were associated with slightly lower satisfaction. VR therapy provision and engagement made patients feel: proud (n = 99, 81.8%); valued (n = 97, 80.2%); and optimistic (n = 96, 79.3%).
Patients with psychosis were generally very positive towards the VR therapy, valued having the opportunity to try the technology, and experienced few adverse effects. Side effects did not significantly impact VR therapy. Patient experience of VR is likely to facilitate widespread adoption.
Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and resource utilization. Drug interactions (DDIs) are among the most common causes of ADRs, and estimates have cited that up to 22% of patients take interacting medications. DDIs are often due to the propensity for agents to induce or inhibit enzymes responsible for the metabolism of concomitantly administered drugs. However, this phenomenon is further complicated by genetic variants of such enzymes. The aim of this study is to quantify and describe potential drug-drug, drug-gene, and drug-drug-gene interactions in a community-based patient population.
A regional pharmacy with retail outlets in Arkansas provided deidentified prescription data from March 2020 for 4761 individuals. Drug-drug and drug-drug-gene interactions were assessed utilizing the logic incorporated into GenMedPro, a commercially available digital gene-drug interaction software program that incorporates variants of 9 pharmacokinetic (PK) and 2 pharmacodynamic (PD) genes to evaluate DDIs and drug-gene interactions. The data were first assessed for composite drug-drug interaction risk, and each individual was stratified to a risk category using the logic incorporated in GenMedPro. To calculate the frequency of potential drug-gene interactions, genotypes were imputed and allocated to the cohort according to each gene’s frequency in the general population. Potential genotypes were randomly allocated to the population 100 times in a Monte Carlo simulation. Potential drug-drug, gene-drug, or gene-drug-drug interaction risk was characterized as minor, moderate, or major.
Based on prescription data only, the probability of a DDI of any impact (mild, moderate, or major) was 26% [95% CI: 0.248-0.272] in the population. This probability increased to 49.6% [95% CI: 0.484-0.507] when simulated genetic polymorphisms were additionally assessed. When assessing only major impact interactions, there was a 7.8% [95% CI: 0.070-0.085] probability of drug-drug interactions and 10.1% [95% CI: 0.095-0.108] probability with the addition of genetic contributions. The probability of drug-drug-gene interactions of any impact was correlated with the number of prescribed medications, with an approximate probability of 77%, 85%, and 94% in patients prescribed 5, 6, or 7+ medications, respectively. When stratified by specific drug class, antidepressants (19.5%), antiemetics (21.4%), analgesics (16%), antipsychotics (15.6%), and antiparasitics (49.7%) had the highest probability of major drug-drug-gene interaction.
In a community-based population of outpatients, the probability of drug-drug interaction risk increases when genetic polymorphisms are attributed to the population. These data suggest that pharmacogenetic testing may be useful in predicting drug interactions, drug-gene interactions, and severity of interactions when proactively evaluating patient medication profiles.
We analyze the evolution of homicide rates in Chile, as a proxy of interpersonal violence, from the 1880s to the 2010s. Homicides rates are the best measure of a country’s personal security, and a key variable of well-being. We found that the homicides rates were high during the late nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century. From the 1930s homicide rates started to decline initially gradually, but then sharply during the 1950s–1960s. During the 1960s–1990s, the country’s homicide rates were low by international standards. However, they have increased during the last two decades. Our regression suggests that increased social spending in the past is associated with reduced homicides in the present, that past and concurrent economic growth also correlates with a reduction in the rate of homicides, and that increased police presence is correlated with a reduction in the rate of homicides. The 1930s–1960s are a key period in the evolution of interpersonal violence. It coincides with the emergence of a welfare state (and increasing social expenditure), declining poverty rates, improvements in health and education, and an increase in suffrage.
Many patients with mental health disorders become increasingly isolated at home due to anxiety about going outside. A cognitive perspective on this difficulty is that threat cognitions lead to the safety-seeking behavioural response of agoraphobic avoidance.
We sought to develop a brief questionnaire, suitable for research and clinical practice, to assess a wide range of cognitions likely to lead to agoraphobic avoidance. We also included two additional subscales assessing two types of safety-seeking defensive responses: anxious avoidance and within-situation safety behaviours.
198 patients with psychosis and agoraphobic avoidance and 1947 non-clinical individuals completed the item pool and measures of agoraphobic avoidance, generalised anxiety, social anxiety, depression and paranoia. Factor analyses were used to derive the Oxford Cognitions and Defences Questionnaire (O-CDQ).
The O-CDQ consists of three subscales: threat cognitions (14 items), anxious avoidance (11 items), and within-situation safety behaviours (8 items). Separate confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated a good model fit for all subscales. The cognitions subscale was significantly associated with agoraphobic avoidance (r = .672, p < .001), social anxiety (r = .617, p < .001), generalized anxiety (r = .746, p < .001), depression (r = .619, p < .001) and paranoia (r = .655, p < .001). Additionally, both the O-CDQ avoidance (r = .867, p < .001) and within-situation safety behaviours (r = .757, p < .001) subscales were highly correlated with agoraphobic avoidance. The O-CDQ demonstrated excellent internal consistency (cognitions Cronbach’s alpha = .93, avoidance Cronbach’s alpha = .94, within-situation Cronbach’s alpha = .93) and test–re-test reliability (cognitions ICC = 0.88, avoidance ICC = 0.92, within-situation ICC = 0.89).
The O-CDQ, consisting of three separate scales, has excellent psychometric properties and may prove a helpful tool for understanding agoraphobic avoidance across mental health disorders.
In 2019, we launched the Northern Arizona Paleoindian Project to expand on findings from the Rock Art Ranch (RAR) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU; NSF#1262184). The REU recovered 24 Paleoindian artifacts in association with drainages. Expansion of the research required mitigation of the patchwork landownership in the area, which encouraged a collector-collaboration model following Pitblado (2014) and Douglass et alia (2017). We held public events in collaboration with a network of agencies, avocational groups, collectors, and landowners to assess potential for Paleoindian archaeology in the area. In March 2020, however, the COVID-19 pandemic halted our efforts, allowing us to evaluate our project and practice. We find that tapping into existing local networks of responsible resource stewards (RRS) can greatly accelerate project development. We also find that private collections are endangered, and preserving this portion of the archaeological record requires documentation and long-term curation. Most importantly, we find that archaeologists working with collectors are uniquely positioned to build bridges between Indigenous communities, RRS, and professional archaeologists to help stabilize legacy collections and that this focus should drive collector-collaboration research design. Ultimately, the project must move toward a community-based participatory research design to seek equitable and culturally appropriate curation plans for local legacy collections.
Patients presenting to hospital with suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), based on clinical symptoms, are routinely placed in a cohort together until polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results are available. This procedure leads to delays in transfers to definitive areas and high nosocomial transmission rates. FebriDx is a finger-prick point-of-care test (PoCT) that detects an antiviral host response and has a high negative predictive value for COVID-19. We sought to determine the clinical impact of using FebriDx for COVID-19 triage in the emergency department (ED).
We undertook a retrospective observational study evaluating the real-world clinical impact of FebriDx as part of an ED COVID-19 triage algorithm.
Emergency department of a university teaching hospital.
Patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, placed in a cohort in a ‘high-risk’ area, were tested using FebriDx. Patients without a detectable antiviral host response were then moved to a lower-risk area.
Between September 22, 2020, and January 7, 2021, 1,321 patients were tested using FebriDx, and 1,104 (84%) did not have a detectable antiviral host response. Among 1,104 patients, 865 (78%) were moved to a lower-risk area within the ED. The median times spent in a high-risk area were 52 minutes (interquartile range [IQR], 34–92) for FebriDx-negative patients and 203 minutes (IQR, 142–255) for FebriDx-positive patients (difference of −134 minutes; 95% CI, −144 to −122; P < .0001). The negative predictive value of FebriDx for the identification of COVID-19 was 96% (661 of 690; 95% CI, 94%–97%).
FebriDx improved the triage of patients with suspected COVID-19 and reduced the time that severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) PCR-negative patients spent in a high-risk area alongside SARS-CoV-2–positive patients.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization stressed the importance of daily clinical assessments of infected patients, yet current approaches frequently consider cross-sectional timepoints, cumulative summary measures, or time-to-event analyses. Statistical methods are available that make use of the rich information content of longitudinal assessments. We demonstrate the use of a multistate transition model to assess the dynamic nature of COVID-19-associated critical illness using daily evaluations of COVID-19 patients from 9 academic hospitals. We describe the accessibility and utility of methods that consider the clinical trajectory of critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Infectious disease outbreaks on the scale of the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are a new phenomenon in many parts of the world. Many isolation unit designs with corresponding workflow dynamics and personal protective equipment postures have been proposed for each emerging disease at the health facility level, depending on the mode of transmission. However, personnel and resource management at the isolation units for a resilient response will vary by human resource capacity, reporting requirements, and practice setting. This study describes an approach to isolation unit management at a rural Uganda Hospital and shares lessons from the Uganda experience for isolation unit managers in low- and middle-income settings.
We study the properties of homogeneous and isotropic turbulence in higher spatial dimensions through the lens of chaos and predictability using numerical simulations. We employ both direct numerical simulations and numerical calculations of the eddy damped quasi-normal Markovian closure approximation. Our closure results show a remarkable transition to a non-chaotic regime above the critical dimension, $d_c$, which is found to be approximately 5.88. We relate these results to the properties of the energy cascade as a function of spatial dimension in the context of the idea of a critical dimension for turbulence where Kolmogorov's 1941 theory becomes exact.
Although Jonathan Zimmerman's The Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching in America and Scott M. Gelber's Grading the College: A History of Evaluating Teaching and Learning cover much of the same historical terrain, the focus of each book proves quite distinct and yet highly complementary. Zimmerman best articulates the stark paradox at the center of both studies. As the United States developed the most elaborate system of higher education and the scholarly endeavors of faculty members evolved into a “highly professionalized enterprise, marked by elaborate codes of credentialing and practice” (p. 10), college teaching in contrast remained a game of chance, conducted by “amateurs, working according to folkloric traditions rather than codified ones” (p. 226). Zimmerman's work attempts a simple and yet daunting task: to supply a history of college teaching in America. Zimmerman excels in discussing the stories of great lecturers and efforts for reform, but often leaves more questions than answers when it comes to the myriad attempts (usually dismissed by faculty) to systematically assess college teaching, exactly where Gelber's work fills in the gaps. As Gelber notes in his conclusion, the evaluation of collegiate teaching and learning “ranks among the greatest unsolved problems of academia—a basic scholarly dilemma” (p. 156). Taken together, these two books may help academicians begin to work toward solutions, simply by finally offering accessible historical overviews of their related areas, though Gelber seems the more optimistic of the two with regard to the possibility (or necessity) of positive change.
Agoraphobic avoidance of everyday situations is a common feature in many mental health disorders. Avoidance can be due to a variety of fears, including concerns about negative social evaluation, panicking, and harm from others. The result is inactivity and isolation. Behavioural avoidance tasks (BATs) provide an objective assessment of avoidance and in situ anxiety but are challenging to administer and lack standardisation. Our aim was to draw on the principles of BATs to develop a self-report measure of agoraphobia symptoms.
The scale was developed with 194 patients with agoraphobia in the context of psychosis, 427 individuals in the general population with high levels of agoraphobia, and 1094 individuals with low levels of agoraphobia. Factor analysis, item response theory, and receiver operating characteristic analyses were used. Validity was assessed against a BAT, actigraphy data, and an existing agoraphobia measure. Test–retest reliability was assessed with 264 participants.
An eight-item questionnaire with avoidance and distress response scales was developed. The avoidance and distress scales each had an excellent model fit and reliably assessed agoraphobic symptoms across the severity spectrum. All items were highly discriminative (avoidance: a = 1.24–5.43; distress: a = 1.60–5.48), indicating that small increases in agoraphobic symptoms led to a high probability of item endorsement. The scale demonstrated good internal reliability, test–retest reliability, and validity.
The Oxford Agoraphobic Avoidance Scale has excellent psychometric properties. Clinical cut-offs and score ranges are provided. This precise assessment tool may help focus attention on the clinically important problem of agoraphobic avoidance.
Although insomnia disorder and social anxiety disorder are among the most prevalent psychiatric disorders, no studies have yet evaluated the use of sequential evidence-based treatment protocols in the population with co-morbid social anxiety disorder and insomnia disorder.
This study aimed to investigate the effects of sequential treatments on co-morbid insomnia disorder and social anxiety disorder. As depression is a common co-morbid syndrome for both insomnia and social anxiety, a secondary aim was to examine depressive symptoms.
A single-case repeated crossover AB design was used. Ten participants between 18 and 59 years of age with co-morbid DSM-5 diagnoses of insomnia disorder and social anxiety disorder received sequential treatments with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Seven participants completed the treatment course. The primary outcomes were symptoms of insomnia and social anxiety, and the secondary outcome was symptoms of depression.
The effects of CBT on people with co-morbid social anxiety disorder and insomnia disorder were mixed. The majority of participants improved their sleep quality and lessened symptoms of social anxiety and depression. However, participants differed in their degree of improvement concerning all three disorders.
Sequential CBT treatments are potentially effective at decreasing symptoms of social anxiety and insomnia for people with co-morbid social anxiety disorder and insomnia disorder. The variation in outcome across participants makes firm conclusions about the treatment efficacy difficult to draw.
This essay surveys the small but compelling body of poetry written by women in Ireland, in English and Irish, in the seventeenth century. The Irish bardic tradition generally excluded women, but exceptions do occur, as when a bardic poem addressed to the teenaged Brighid Nic Gearailt elicits a response from its subject. The bardic poems of Caitlín Dubh are another exception again, memorialising an Irish-speaking Protestant loyalist, the Earl of Thomond. Women did, however, occupy a central role in the caoine/caoineadh traditions (the rituals of verse and oral lament). In the Anglophone tradition, poets such as Mary Sidney Herbert, Anne Southwell, and Katherine Philips explore their marginality from their positions as colonial Protestant writers, while still engaging sympathetically with Ireland as setting and subject matter. The network of connections between writers and readers is often complex, but the picture that emerges comprehensively deepens our understanding of Irish poetry from this period.
After decades of study, much remains unknown about the foraging practices of the earliest inhabitants of Puerto Rico. Here, we present an analysis of the malacological assemblages of two neighboring and (partially) contemporary early sites from the island's southwest, finding intriguing intersite differences in shellfish collection practices. We attribute this diversity to differences in site type, chronology, or changes in local coastal configuration. This work not only provides insights into prehistoric Puerto Rican foraging dynamics but also demonstrates the importance of considering factors including intra-age chronology, site type, and changes in paleoenvironmental conditions when considering ancient foraging practices.
Sleep and circadian timing shifts later during adolescence, conflicting with early school start times, and resulting in circadian misalignment. Although circadian misalignment has been linked to depression, substance use, and altered reward function, a paucity of experimental studies precludes the determination of causality. Here we tested, for the first time, whether experimentally-imposed circadian misalignment alters the neural response to monetary reward and/or response inhibition.
Healthy adolescents (n = 25, ages 13–17) completed two in-lab sleep schedules in counterbalanced order: An ‘aligned’ condition based on typical summer sleep-wake times (0000–0930) and a ‘misaligned’ condition mimicking earlier school year sleep-wake times (2000–0530). Participants completed morning and afternoon functional magnetic resonance imaging scans during each condition, including monetary reward (morning only) and response inhibition (morning and afternoon) tasks. Total sleep time and circadian phase were assessed via actigraphy and salivary melatonin, respectively.
Bilateral ventral striatal (VS) activation during reward outcome was lower during the Misaligned condition after accounting for the prior night's total sleep time. Bilateral VS activation during reward anticipation was lower during the Misaligned condition, including after accounting for covariates, but did not survive correction for multiple comparisons. Right inferior frontal gyrus activation during response inhibition was lower during the Misaligned condition, before and after accounting for total sleep time and vigilant attention, but only during the morning scan.
Our findings provide novel experimental evidence that circadian misalignment analogous to that resulting from school schedules may have measurable impacts on healthy adolescents' reward processing and inhibition of prepotent responses.
A numerical study of the $d$-dimensional eddy damped quasi-normal Markovian equations is performed to investigate the dependence on spatial dimension of homogeneous isotropic fluid turbulence. Relationships between structure functions and energy and transfer spectra are derived for the $d$-dimensional case. Additionally, an equation for the $d$-dimensional enstrophy analogue is derived and related to the velocity derivative skewness. Comparisons are made to recent four-dimensional direct numerical simulation results. Measured energy spectra show a magnified bottleneck effect which grows with dimension whilst transfer spectra show a varying peak in the nonlinear energy transfer as the dimension is increased. These results are consistent with an increased forward energy transfer at higher dimensions, further evidenced by measurements of a larger asymptotic dissipation rate with growing dimension. The enstrophy production term, related to the velocity derivative skewness, is seen to reach a maximum at around five dimensions and may reach zero in the limit of infinite dimensions, raising interesting questions about the nature of turbulence in this limit.
Cognitive therapies are developed on the principle that specific cognitive appraisals are key determinants in the development and maintenance of mental health disorders. It is likely that particular appraisals of the coronavirus pandemic will have explanatory power for subsequent mental health outcomes in the general public. To enable testing of this hypothesis we developed a questionnaire assessing coronavirus-related cognitions.
12 285 participants completed online a 46-item pool of cognitions about coronavirus and six measures of different mental health problems. The sample was randomly split into derivation and validation samples. Exploratory factor analyses determined the factor structure, selection of items, and model fit in the derivation sample. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) then tested this model in the validation sample. Associations of the questionnaire with mental health outcomes were examined.
The 26-item, seven-factor, Oxford Psychological Investigation of Coronavirus Questionnaire [TOPIC-Q] was developed. CFA demonstrated a good model fit (χ2 = 2108.43, df = 278, p < 0.001, comparative fit index (CFI) = 0.950, Tucker−Lewis index (TLI) = 0.942, root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = 0.033, standardized root mean square residual (SRMR) = 0.038). The factors were: cognitions about (1) safety and vulnerability, (2) negative long-term impact, (3) having the virus, (4) spreading the virus, (5) social judgment, (6) negative self, and (7) being targeted. The questionnaire explained significant variance in depression (45.8%), social anxiety (37.3%), agoraphobia (23.2%), paranoia (27.3%), post-traumatic stress disorder (57.1%), and panic disorder (31.4%). Cognitions about negative long-term impact had the greatest explanatory power across disorders.
TOPIC-Q provides a method to assess appraisals of the pandemic, which is likely to prove helpful both in longitudinal studies assessing mental health outcomes and in delivery of psychological therapy.
The uncertainty surrounding high intakes of folic acid and associations with cognitive decline in older adults with low vitamin B12 status has been an obstacle to mandatory folic acid fortification for many years. We estimated the prevalence of combinations of low/normal/high vitamin B12 and folate status and compared associations with global cognitive function using two approaches, of individuals in a population-based study of those aged ≥50 years in the Republic of Ireland. Cross-sectional data from 3781 men and women from Wave 1 of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing were analysed. Global cognitive function was assessed by the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Prevalence estimates for combinations of vitamin B12 (plasma vitamin B12 < or ≥258 pmol/l) and folate (plasma folate ≤ or >45·3 nmol/l) concentrations were generated. Negative binomial regression models were used to investigate the associations of vitamin B12 and folate status with global cognitive function. Of the participants, 1·5 % (n 51) had low vitamin B12 (<258 pmol/l) and high folate (>45·3 nmol/l) status. Global cognitive performance was not significantly reduced in these individuals when compared with those with normal status for both B-vitamins (n 2433). Those with normal vitamin B12/high folate status (7·6 %) had better cognitive performance (MMSE: incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0·82, 95 % CI 0·68, 0·99; P = 0·043, MoCA: IRR 0·89, 95 % CI 0·80, 0·99; P = 0·025). We demonstrated that high folate status was not associated with lower cognitive scores in older adults with low vitamin B12 status. These findings provide important safety information that could guide fortification policy recommendations in Europe.