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To explore associations between maternal pre-pregnancy exposure to arsenic in diet and non-cardiac birth defects.
This is a population-based, case–control study using maternal responses to a dietary assessment and published arsenic concentration estimates in food items to calculate average daily total and inorganic arsenic exposure during the year before pregnancy. Assigning tertiles of total and inorganic arsenic exposure, logistic regression analysis was used to estimate OR for middle and high tertiles, compared to the low tertile.
US National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997–2011.
Mothers of 10 446 children without birth defects and 14 408 children diagnosed with a non-cardiac birth defect.
Maternal exposure to total dietary arsenic in the middle and high tertiles was associated with a threefold increase in cloacal exstrophy, with weak positive associations (1·2–1·5) observed either in both tertiles (intercalary limb deficiency) or the high tertile only (encephalocele, glaucoma/anterior chamber defects and bladder exstrophy). Maternal exposure to inorganic arsenic showed mostly weak, positive associations in both tertiles (colonic atresia/stenosis, oesophageal atresia, bilateral renal agenesis/hypoplasia, hypospadias, cloacal exstrophy and gastroschisis), or the high (glaucoma/anterior chamber defects, choanal atresia and intestinal atresia stenosis) or middle (encephalocele, intercalary limb deficiency and transverse limb deficiency) tertiles only. The remaining associations estimated were near the null or inverse.
This exploration of arsenic in diet and non-cardiac birth defects produced several positive, but mostly weak associations. Limitations in exposure assessment may have resulted in exposure misclassification. Continued research with improved exposure assessment is recommended to identify if these associations are true signals or chance findings.
In the December 2021 issue of Cardiology in the Young, Hubrechts and colleagues, from Brussels and Leuven in Belgium, describe their experience in which the pulmonary veins were normally connected to the morphologically left atrium. By virtue of the presence of a shelf dividing the morphologically left atrium, however, the venous return was to the morphologically right atrium, with no evidence of formation of the superior interatrial fold, meaning that there was no obstruction of flow into the systemic venous circulation. The question posed by the Belgian authors is whether the shelf dividing the morphologically left atrium is a deviated primary atrial septum, as the arrangement has previously been interpreted. As they discuss, it is currently impossible to arbitrate this conundrum. In our commentary, we discuss the background to the dilemma. We point out that, as yet, it is not possible to code accurately this congenital cardiac malformation within The International Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Code (IPCCC), nor within the newly produced 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).
We honour a great man and a true giant. Lodewyk H.S. van Mierop (March 31, 1927 – October 17, 2021), known as Bob, was not only a Paediatric Cardiologist but also a dedicated Scientist. He made many significant and ground-breaking contributions to the fields of cardiac anatomy and embryology. He was devoted as a teacher, spending many hours with medical students, Residents, and Fellows, all of whom appreciated his regularly scheduled educational sessions. Those of us who were fortunate to know and spend time with him will always remember his great mind, his willingness to share his knowledge, and his ability to encourage spirited and fruitful discussions. His life was most productive, and he will long be remembered by many through his awesome and exemplary scientific contributions.
His legacy continues to influence the current and future generations of surgeons and all providers of paediatric and congenital cardiac care through the invaluable archive he established at University of Florida in Gainesville: The University of Florida van Mierop Heart Archive. Undoubtedly, with these extraordinary contributions to the fields of cardiac anatomy and embryology, which were way ahead of his time, Professor van Mierop was a true giant in Paediatric Cardiology. The invaluable archive he established at University of Florida in Gainesville, The University of Florida van Mierop Heart Archive, has been instrumental in teaching medical students, Residents, Medical Fellows, and Surgical Fellows. Only a handful of similar archives exist across the globe, and these archives are the true legacy of giants such as Dr. van Mierop. We have an important obligation to leave no stone unturned to continue to preserve these archives for the future generations of surgeons, physicians, all providers of paediatric and congenital cardiac care, and, most importantly, our patients.
As rates of obesity, diabetes, and related comorbidities have increased, the consumption of artificial sweeteners (ASs) as sugar substitutes has also risen in popularity as they are perceived as a healthier alternative to sugar sweetened products. However, there is conflicting evidence regarding the impact of AS intake on metabolic and reproductive health. Glucose intolerance during pregnancy due to intake of sugar sweetened foods can result in an increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes post-pregnancy. However, limited information exists on the impact of AS intake during pregnancy and lactation on the mother’s health in later life. We hypothesised both AS and fructose would impair metabolic health post-partum (PP) following maternal consumption during pregnancy and lactation. Female C57Bl/6 mice received a standard control diet ad libitum with either water (CD), fructose (Fr; 34.7 mm intake), or AS (AS;12.5 mm Acesulfame-K) throughout pregnancy and lactation. Post-weaning, AS and Fr dams were fed the CD diet for the remainder of the experiment. Oral glucose tolerance tests were undertaken 8 weeks PP and dams were humanely killed at 9 weeks PP, with adipose tissue and ovaries collected for analysis. Experimental diets did not influence maternal bodyweight. At 8 weeks PP, increased glucose intolerance was evident in both AS and Fr dams. Adipocyte size was significantly increased in both the AS and Fr groups PP. Further, in the ovary, AS increased expression of genes associated with follicular development and ovulation. Therefore, ASs may not represent beneficial substitutes to fructose during pregnancy, with the potential to increase the risk of T2DM in later life in mothers.
What explains the treatment of ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia? This Element conceptually disaggregates ethnicity into multiple constituent markers – specifically language, religion, and phenotype. By focusing on the interaction between these three ethnic markers, Liu and Ricks explore how overlap between these markers can affect whether a minority integrates within a broader ethnic identity; successfully extracts accommodation as unique group; or engages in a contentious and potentially violent relationship with the hegemon. The argument is tested through six case studies: (1) ethnic Lao in Thailand: integration; (2) ethnic Chinese in Thailand: integration; (3) ethnic Chinese in Malaysia: accommodation; (4) ethnic Malays in Singapore: accommodation; (5) ethnic Malays in Thailand: contention; and (6) ethnic Chinese in Indonesia: contention.
To determine the incidence of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among healthcare personnel (HCP) and to assess occupational risks for SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Prospective cohort of healthcare personnel (HCP) followed for 6 months from May through December 2020.
Large academic healthcare system including 4 hospitals and affiliated clinics in Atlanta, Georgia.
HCP, including those with and without direct patient-care activities, working during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Incident SARS-CoV-2 infections were determined through serologic testing for SARS-CoV-2 IgG at enrollment, at 3 months, and at 6 months. HCP completed monthly surveys regarding occupational activities. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify occupational factors that increased the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Of the 304 evaluable HCP that were seronegative at enrollment, 26 (9%) seroconverted for SARS-CoV-2 IgG by 6 months. Overall, 219 participants (73%) self-identified as White race, 119 (40%) were nurses, and 121 (40%) worked on inpatient medical-surgical floors. In a multivariable analysis, HCP who identified as Black race were more likely to seroconvert than HCP who identified as White (odds ratio, 4.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.3–14.2). Increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection was not identified for any occupational activity, including spending >50% of a typical shift at a patient’s bedside, working in a COVID-19 unit, or performing or being present for aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs).
In our study cohort of HCP working in an academic healthcare system, <10% had evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection over 6 months. No specific occupational activities were identified as increasing risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection.
This paper presents a new kind of problem in the ethics of distribution. The problem takes the form of several ‘calibration dilemmas’, in which intuitively reasonable aversion to small-stakes inequalities requires leading theories of distribution to recommend intuitively unreasonable aversion to large-stakes inequalities. We first lay out a series of such dilemmas for prioritarian theories. We then consider a widely endorsed family of egalitarian views and show that they are subject to even more forceful calibration dilemmas than prioritarian theories. Finally, we show that our results challenge common utilitarian accounts of the badness of inequalities in resources.
To assess preventability of hospital-onset bacteremia and fungemia (HOB), we developed and evaluated a structured rating guide accounting for intrinsic patient and extrinsic healthcare-related risks.
HOB preventability rating guide was compared against a reference standard expert panel.
A 10-member panel of clinical experts was assembled as the standard of preventability assessment, and 2 physician reviewers applied the rating guide for comparison.
The expert panel independently rated 82 hypothetical HOB scenarios using a 6-point Likert scale collapsed into 3 categories: preventable, uncertain, or not preventable. Consensus was defined as concurrence on the same category among ≥70% experts. Scenarios without consensus were deliberated and followed by a second round of rating.
Two reviewers independently applied the rating guide to adjudicate the same 82 scenarios in 2 rounds, with interim revisions. Interrater reliability was evaluated using the κ (kappa) statistic.
Expert panel consensus criteria were met for 52 scenarios (63%) after 2 rounds.
After 2 rounds, guide-based rating matched expert panel consensus in 40 of 52 (77%) and 39 of 52 (75%) cases for reviewers 1 and 2, respectively. Agreement rates between the 2 reviewers were 84% overall (κ, 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.64–0.88]) and 87% (κ, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.65–0.94) for the 52 scenarios with expert consensus.
Preventability ratings of HOB scenarios by 2 reviewers using a rating guide matched expert consensus in most cases with moderately high interreviewer reliability. Although diversity of expert opinions and uncertainty of preventability merit further exploration, this is a step toward standardized assessment of HOB preventability.
Theories of early cooperation in human society often draw from a small sample of ethnographic studies of surviving populations of hunter–gatherers, most of which are now sedentary. Borneo hunter–gatherers (Punan, Penan) have seldom figured in comparative research because of a decades-old controversy about whether they are the descendants of farmers who adopted a hunting and gathering way of life. In 2018 we began an ethnographic study of a group of still-nomadic hunter–gatherers who call themselves Punan Batu (Cave Punan). Our genetic analysis clearly indicates that they are very unlikely to be the descendants of neighbouring agriculturalists. They also preserve a song language that is unrelated to other languages of Borneo. Dispersed travelling groups of Punan Batu with fluid membership use message sticks to stay in contact, co-operate and share resources as they journey between rock shelters and forest camps. Message sticks were once widespread among nomadic Punan in Borneo, but have largely disappeared in sedentary Punan villages. Thus the small community of Punan Batu offers a rare glimpse of a hunting and gathering way of life that was once widespread in the forests of Borneo, where prosocial behaviour extended beyond the face-to-face community, facilitating successful collective adaptation to the diverse resources of Borneo's forests.
We performed an epidemiological investigation and genome sequencing of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to define the source and scope of an outbreak in a cluster of hospitalized patients. Lack of appropriate respiratory hygiene led to SARS-CoV-2 transmission to patients and healthcare workers during a single hemodialysis session, highlighting the importance of infection prevention precautions.
To determine the impact of an inpatient stewardship intervention targeting fluoroquinolone use on inpatient and postdischarge Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI).
We used an interrupted time series study design to evaluate the rate of hospital-onset CDI (HO-CDI), postdischarge CDI (PD-CDI) within 12 weeks, and inpatient fluoroquinolone use from 2 years prior to 1 year after a stewardship intervention.
An academic healthcare system with 4 hospitals.
All inpatients hospitalized between January 2017 and September 2020, excluding those discharged from locations caring for oncology, bone marrow transplant, or solid-organ transplant patients.
Introduction of electronic order sets designed to reduce inpatient fluoroquinolone prescribing.
Among 163,117 admissions, there were 683 cases of HO-CDI and 1,104 cases of PD-CDI. In the context of a 2% month-to-month decline starting in the preintervention period (P < .01), we observed a reduction in fluoroquinolone days of therapy per 1,000 patient days of 21% after the intervention (level change, P < .05). HO-CDI rates were stable throughout the study period. In contrast, we also detected a change in the trend of PD-CDI rates from a stable monthly rate in the preintervention period to a monthly decrease of 2.5% in the postintervention period (P < .01).
Our systemwide intervention reduced inpatient fluoroquinolone use immediately, but not HO-CDI. However, a downward trend in PD-CDI occurred. Relying on outcome measures limited to the inpatient setting may not reflect the full impact of inpatient stewardship efforts.
Understanding the cognitive determinants of healthcare worker (HCW) behavior is important for improving the use of infection prevention and control (IPC) practices. Given a patient requiring only standard precautions, we examined the dimensions along which different populations of HCWs cognitively organize patient care tasks (ie, their mental models).
HCWs read a description of a patient and then rated the similarities of 25 patient care tasks from an infection prevention perspective. Using multidimensional scaling, we identified the dimensions (ie, characteristics of tasks) underlying these ratings and the salience of each dimension to HCWs.
Adult inpatient hospitals across an academic hospital network.
In total, 40 HCWs, comprising infection preventionists and nurses from intensive care units, emergency departments, and medical-surgical floors rated the similarity of tasks. To identify the meaning of each dimension, another 6 nurses rated each task in terms of specific characteristics of tasks.
Each HCW population perceived patient care tasks to vary along 3 common dimensions; most salient was the perceived magnitude of infection risk to the patient in a task, followed by the perceived dirtiness and risk of HCW exposure to body fluids, and lastly, the relative importance of a task for preventing versus controlling an infection in a patient.
For a patient requiring only standard precautions, different populations of HCWs have similar mental models of how various patient care tasks relate to IPC. Techniques for eliciting mental models open new avenues for understanding and ultimately modifying the cognitive determinants of IPC behaviors.
Manuscripts pertaining to paediatric cardiology and CHD have been published in a variety of different journals. Some of these journals are journals dedicated to paediatric cardiology, while others are focused on adult cardiology. Historically, it has been considered that manuscripts published in journals devoted to adult cardiology have greater citation potential. Our objective was to compare citation performance between manuscripts related to paediatric cardiology and CHD published in paediatric as opposed to adult cardiology journals.
We identified manuscripts related to paediatric cardiology and CHD published in five journals of interest during 2014. Of these journals, two were primarily concerned with adult cardiology, while the other three focused on paediatric cardiology. The number of citations for these identified manuscripts was gathered from Google Scholar. We compared the number of citations (median, mean, and 25th, 75th, 90th, and 95th percentiles), the potential for citation, and the h-index for the identified manuscripts.
We identified a total of 828 manuscripts related to paediatric cardiology and congenital heart as published in the 5 journals during 2014. Of these, 783 (95%) were published in journals focused on paediatric cardiology, and the remaining 45 (5%) were published in journals focused on adult cardiology. The median number of citations was 41 in the manuscripts published in the journals focused on adult cardiology, as opposed to 7 in journals focused on paediatric cardiology (p < 0.001). The h-index, however, was greater for the journals dedicated to paediatric cardiology (36 versus 27).
Approximately one-twentieth of the work relating to paediatric cardiology and CHD is published in journals that focus predominantly on adult cardiology. The median number of citations is greater when manuscripts concerning paediatric cardiology and CHD are published in these journals focused on adult cardiology. The h-index, however, is higher when the manuscripts are published in journals dedicated to paediatric cardiology. While such publications in journals that focus on adult cardiology tend to generate a greater number of citations than those achieved for works published in specialised paediatric cardiology journals, the potential for citation is no different between the journals. Due to the drastically lower number of manuscripts published in journals dedicated to adult cardiology, however, median performance is different.
Among 353 healthcare personnel in a longitudinal cohort in 4 hospitals in Atlanta, Georgia (May–June 2020), 23 (6.5%) had severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies. Spending >50% of a typical shift at the bedside (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.2–10.5) and black race (OR, 8.4; 95% CI, 2.7–27.4) were associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity.
A fully three-dimensional boundary-integral method (BIM) is developed for the interaction of drops, suspended in a uniform far-field flow at small Reynolds number, with arbitrary Lyapunov surfaces. The close approach of fluid interfaces to solid surfaces poses significant challenges for numerical BIM implementations, due to the highly singular behaviour of single- and double-layer boundary integrals. Two new methods are described that generalize the accurate calculation of the highly singular surface integrals used by high-order desingularization techniques. The first method is semi-analytical, and applies to axisymmetric solid obstacles (in an arbitrary three-dimensional configuration). An axisymmetric particle can be divided into a series of characteristic disks along its axis, for which closed-form expressions for single and double layers are derived in terms of elliptic integrals. To accommodate arbitrary smooth surfaces, a multimesh desingularization method is introduced that calculates surface integrals utilizing a hierarchy of embedded mesh resolutions, together with distance-activated mesh interactions. Several particle shapes, including spherocylinders (capsules) and flat plates, are used to represent major classes characteristic of porous media. A droplet approaching a capsule will break up after forming two lobes, connected by a thin filament, on either side of the capsule. The cross-sectional shape of the filament affects lubrication behaviour. A constriction made of two parallel capsules, even of low aspect ratio, significantly retards drop passage compared to two spheres. Trends in drop squeezing between two capsules are summarized over a range of capillary number, viscosity ratio, drop size and capsule length. A constriction of two coplanar plates results in notably different lubrication and squeezing behaviour. Flow rectification is demonstrated for constrictions that are non-symmetrical with respect to flow reversal, for several non-axisymmetric particles.
Precise instrumental calibration is of crucial importance to 21-cm cosmology experiments. The Murchison Widefield Array’s (MWA) Phase II compact configuration offers us opportunities for both redundant calibration and sky-based calibration algorithms; using the two in tandem is a potential approach to mitigate calibration errors caused by inaccurate sky models. The MWA Epoch of Reionization (EoR) experiment targets three patches of the sky (dubbed EoR0, EoR1, and EoR2) with deep observations. Previous work in Li et al. (2018) and (2019) studied the effect of tandem calibration on the EoR0 field and found that it yielded no significant improvement in the power spectrum (PS) over sky-based calibration alone. In this work, we apply similar techniques to the EoR1 field and find a distinct result: the improvements in the PS from tandem calibration are significant. To understand this result, we analyse both the calibration solutions themselves and the effects on the PS over three nights of EoR1 observations. We conclude that the presence of the bright radio galaxy Fornax A in EoR1 degrades the performance of sky-based calibration, which in turn enables redundant calibration to have a larger impact. These results suggest that redundant calibration can indeed mitigate some level of model incompleteness error.
Background: Automated testing instruments (ATIs) are commonly used by clinical microbiology laboratories to perform antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST), whereas public health laboratories may use established reference methods such as broth microdilution (BMD). We investigated discrepancies in carbapenem minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) among Enterobacteriaceae tested by clinical laboratory ATIs and by reference BMD at the CDC. Methods: During 2016–2018, we conducted laboratory- and population-based surveillance for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) through the CDC Emerging Infections Program (EIP) sites (10 sites by 2018). We defined an incident case as the first isolation of Enterobacter spp (E. cloacae complex or E. aerogenes), Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, K. oxytoca, or K. variicola resistant to doripenem, ertapenem, imipenem, or meropenem from normally sterile sites or urine identified from a resident of the EIP catchment area in a 30-day period. Cases had isolates that were determined to be carbapenem-resistant by clinical laboratory ATI MICs (MicroScan, BD Phoenix, or VITEK 2) or by other methods, using current Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) criteria. A convenience sample of these isolates was tested by reference BMD at the CDC according to CLSI guidelines. Results: Overall, 1,787 isolates from 112 clinical laboratories were tested by BMD at the CDC. Of these, clinical laboratory ATI MIC results were available for 1,638 (91.7%); 855 (52.2%) from 71 clinical laboratories did not confirm as CRE at the CDC. Nonconfirming isolates were tested on either a MicroScan (235 of 462; 50.9%), BD Phoenix (249 of 411; 60.6%), or VITEK 2 (371 of 765; 48.5%). Lack of confirmation was most common among E. coli (62.2% of E. coli isolates tested) and Enterobacter spp (61.4% of Enterobacter isolates tested) (Fig. 1A), and among isolates testing resistant to ertapenem by the clinical laboratory ATI (52.1%, Fig. 1B). Of the 1,388 isolates resistant to ertapenem in the clinical laboratory, 1,006 (72.5%) were resistant only to ertapenem. Of the 855 nonconfirming isolates, 638 (74.6%) were resistant only to ertapenem based on clinical laboratory ATI MICs. Conclusions: Nonconfirming isolates were widespread across laboratories and ATIs. Lack of confirmation was most common among E. coli and Enterobacter spp. Among nonconfirming isolates, most were resistant only to ertapenem. These findings may suggest that ATIs overcall resistance to ertapenem or that isolate transport and storage conditions affect ertapenem resistance. Further investigation into this lack of confirmation is needed, and CRE case identification in public health surveillance may need to account for this phenomenon.
On Hawai‘i Island, an increase in human neuroangiostrongyliasis cases has been primarily associated with the accidental ingestion of Angiostrongylus cantonensis L3 in snails or slugs, or potentially, from larvae left behind in the slug's slime or feces. We evaluated more than 40 different treatments in vitro for their ability to kill A. cantonensis larvae with the goal of identifying a safe and effective fruit and vegetable wash in order to reduce the risk of exposure. Our evaluation of treatment lethality was carried out in two phases; initially using motility as an indicator of larval survival after treatment, followed by the development and application of a propidium iodide staining assay to document larval mortality. Treatments tested included common household products, consumer vegetable washes and agricultural crop washes. We found minimal larvicidal efficacy among consumer-grade fruit and vegetable washes, nor among botanical extracts such as those from ginger or garlic, nor acid solutions such as vinegar. Alkaline solutions, on the other hand, as well as oxidizers such as bleach and chlorine dioxide, did show larvicidal potential. Surfactants, a frequent ingredient in detergents that lowers surface tension, had variable results, but dodecylbenzene sulfonic acid as a 70% w/w solution in 2-propanol was very effective, both in terms of the speed and the thoroughness with which it killed A. cantonensis L3 nematodes. Thus, our results suggest promising directions for future investigation.
Pelagic seabird populations have declined strongly worldwide. In the North Atlantic there was a huge reduction in seabird populations following the European colonization of the Azores, Madeira and Canary archipelagos but information on seabird status and distribution for the subtropical region of Cabo Verde is scarce, unavailable or dispersed in grey literature. We compiled and compared the historical and current distribution of all seabird species breeding in the Cabo Verde archipelago, updated their relative abundance, investigated their inland habitat preferences, and reviewed their threats. Currently, the breeding seabird community in Cabo Verde is composed of Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii, White-faced Storm-petrel Pelagodroma marina aedesorum, Cape Verde Shearwater Calonectris edwardsii, Cape Verde Storm-petrel Hydrobates jabejabe, Cape Verde Petrel Pterodroma feae, Boyd's Shearwater Puffinus lherminieri boydi, Brown Booby Sula leucogaster, and Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus. One breeding species is currently extinct, the Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens. The relative abundance of Cape Verde Shearwater, Boyd’s Shearwater, Cape Verde Petrel, and Cape Verde Storm-petrel was determined from counts of their nocturnal calls in Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, Branco, Raso and São Nicolau. Cape Verde Petrel occurred only on mountainous islands (Santo Antão, São Nicolau, Santiago, and Fogo) from mid-to high elevations. Larger species such as the Cape Verde Shearwater and Boyd’s Shearwater exhibited a wider distribution in the archipelago, occurring close to the coastline but at lower densities on populated islands. Small procellariforms such as the Cape Verde Storm-petrel occurred at high densities only on rat-free islets and in steep areas of main islands where introduced cats and rats are unlikely to occur. The main threats to seabird populations in Cabo Verde range from predation by introduced predators, habitat alteration or destruction, and some residual human persecution.