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The objectives of this study were to develop and refine EMPOWER (Enhancing and Mobilizing the POtential for Wellness and Resilience), a brief manualized cognitive-behavioral, acceptance-based intervention for surrogate decision-makers of critically ill patients and to evaluate its preliminary feasibility, acceptability, and promise in improving surrogates’ mental health and patient outcomes.
Part 1 involved obtaining qualitative stakeholder feedback from 5 bereaved surrogates and 10 critical care and mental health clinicians. Stakeholders were provided with the manual and prompted for feedback on its content, format, and language. Feedback was organized and incorporated into the manual, which was then re-circulated until consensus. In Part 2, surrogates of critically ill patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) reporting moderate anxiety or close attachment were enrolled in an open trial of EMPOWER. Surrogates completed six, 15–20 min modules, totaling 1.5–2 h. Surrogates were administered measures of peritraumatic distress, experiential avoidance, prolonged grief, distress tolerance, anxiety, and depression at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and at 1-month and 3-month follow-up assessments.
Part 1 resulted in changes to the EMPOWER manual, including reducing jargon, improving navigability, making EMPOWER applicable for a range of illness scenarios, rearranging the modules, and adding further instructions and psychoeducation. Part 2 findings suggested that EMPOWER is feasible, with 100% of participants completing all modules. The acceptability of EMPOWER appeared strong, with high ratings of effectiveness and helpfulness (M = 8/10). Results showed immediate post-intervention improvements in anxiety (d = −0.41), peritraumatic distress (d = −0.24), and experiential avoidance (d = −0.23). At the 3-month follow-up assessments, surrogates exhibited improvements in prolonged grief symptoms (d = −0.94), depression (d = −0.23), anxiety (d = −0.29), and experiential avoidance (d = −0.30).
Significance of results
Preliminary data suggest that EMPOWER is feasible, acceptable, and associated with notable improvements in psychological symptoms among surrogates. Future research should examine EMPOWER with a larger sample in a randomized controlled trial.
To prioritise and refine a set of evidence-informed statements into advice messages to promote vegetable liking in early childhood, and to determine applicability for dissemination of advice to relevant audiences.
A nominal group technique (NGT) workshop and a Delphi survey were conducted to prioritise and achieve consensus (≥70% agreement) on 30 evidence-informed maternal (perinatal and lactation stage), infant (complementary feeding stage) and early years (family diet stage) vegetable-related advice messages. Messages were validated via triangulation analysis against the strength of evidence from an Umbrella review of strategies to increase children’s vegetable liking, and gaps in advice from a Desktop review of vegetable feeding advice.
A purposeful sample of key stakeholders (NGT workshop, n=8 experts; Delphi survey, n=23 end-users).
Participant consensus identified the most highly ranked priority messages associated with the strategies of: ‘in-utero exposure’ (perinatal and lactation, n=56 points); and ‘vegetable variety’ (complementary feeding, n=97 points; family diet, n=139 points). Triangulation revealed two strategies (‘repeated exposure’ and ‘variety’) and their associated advice messages suitable for policy and practice, 12 for research and four for food industry.
Supported by national and state feeding guideline documents and resources, the advice messages relating to ‘repeated exposure’ and ‘variety’ to increase vegetable liking can be communicated to families and caregivers by healthcare practitioners. The food industry provides a vehicle for advice promotion and product development. Further research, where stronger evidence is needed, could further inform strategies for policy and practice, and food industry application.
Due to shortages of N95 respirators during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is necessary to estimate the number of N95s required for healthcare workers (HCWs) to inform manufacturing targets and resource allocation.
We developed a model to determine the number of N95 respirators needed for HCWs both in a single acute-care hospital and the United States.
For an acute-care hospital with 400 all-cause monthly admissions, the number of N95 respirators needed to manage COVID-19 patients admitted during a month ranges from 113 (95% interpercentile range [IPR], 50–229) if 0.5% of admissions are COVID-19 patients to 22,101 (95% IPR, 5,904–25,881) if 100% of admissions are COVID-19 patients (assuming single use per respirator, and 10 encounters between HCWs and each COVID-19 patient per day). The number of N95s needed decreases to a range of 22 (95% IPR, 10–43) to 4,445 (95% IPR, 1,975–8,684) if each N95 is used for 5 patient encounters. Varying monthly all-cause admissions to 2,000 requires 6,645–13,404 respirators with a 60% COVID-19 admission prevalence, 10 HCW–patient encounters, and reusing N95s 5–10 times. Nationally, the number of N95 respirators needed over the course of the pandemic ranges from 86 million (95% IPR, 37.1–200.6 million) to 1.6 billion (95% IPR, 0.7–3.6 billion) as 5%–90% of the population is exposed (single-use). This number ranges from 17.4 million (95% IPR, 7.3–41 million) to 312.3 million (95% IPR, 131.5–737.3 million) using each respirator for 5 encounters.
We quantified the number of N95 respirators needed for a given acute-care hospital and nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic under varying conditions.
Optical tracking systems typically trade off between astrometric precision and field of view. In this work, we showcase a networked approach to optical tracking using very wide field-of-view imagers that have relatively low astrometric precision on the scheduled OSIRIS-REx slingshot manoeuvre around Earth on 22 Sep 2017. As part of a trajectory designed to get OSIRIS-REx to NEO 101955 Bennu, this flyby event was viewed from 13 remote sensors spread across Australia and New Zealand to promote triangulatable observations. Each observatory in this portable network was constructed to be as lightweight and portable as possible, with hardware based off the successful design of the Desert Fireball Network. Over a 4-h collection window, we gathered 15 439 images of the night sky in the predicted direction of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Using a specially developed streak detection and orbit determination data pipeline, we detected 2 090 line-of-sight observations. Our fitted orbit was determined to be within about 10 km of orbital telemetry along the observed 109 262 km length of OSIRIS-REx trajectory, and thus demonstrating the impressive capability of a networked approach to Space Surveillance and Tracking.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is associated with adverse health outcomes and is found in many canned foods. It is not understood if some BPA contamination can be washed away by rinsing. The objective of this single-blinded crossover experiment was to determine whether BPA exposure, as measured by urinary concentrations, could be decreased by rinsing canned beans prior to consumption. Three types of hummus were prepared from dried beans, rinsed, and unrinsed canned beans. Fourteen healthy participants ate two samples of each hummus over six experimental days and collected spot urine specimens for BPA measurement. The geometric mean BPA levels for dried beans BPA (GM = 0.97 ng/ml, 95%CI = 0.74,1.26) was significantly lower than rinsed (GM = 1.89 ng/ml, 1.37,2.59) and unrinsed (GM = 2.46 ng/ml, 1.44,4.19). Difference-in-difference estimates showed an increase in GM BPA from pre- to post-hummus between unrinsed and rinsed canned beans of 1.39 ng/ml, p-value = 0.0400. Rinsing canned beans was an effective method to reduce BPA exposure.
We critically review potential involvement of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) as a link between diet, the gut microbiota and CVD. Generated primarily from dietary choline and carnitine by gut bacteria and hepatic flavin-containing mono-oxygenase (FMO) activity, TMAO could promote cardiometabolic disease when chronically elevated. However, control of circulating TMAO is poorly understood, and diet, age, body mass, sex hormones, renal clearance, FMO3 expression and genetic background may explain as little as 25 % of TMAO variance. The basis of elevations with obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis or CHD is similarly ill-defined, although gut microbiota profiles/remodelling appear critical. Elevated TMAO could promote CVD via inflammation, oxidative stress, scavenger receptor up-regulation, reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) inhibition, and cardiovascular dysfunction. However, concentrations influencing inflammation, scavenger receptors and RCT (≥100 µm) are only achieved in advanced heart failure or chronic kidney disease (CKD), and greatly exceed pathogenicity of <1–5 µm levels implied in some TMAO–CVD associations. There is also evidence that CVD risk is insensitive to TMAO variance beyond these levels in omnivores and vegetarians, and that major TMAO sources are cardioprotective. Assessing available evidence suggests that modest elevations in TMAO (≤10 µm) are a non-pathogenic consequence of diverse risk factors (ageing, obesity, dyslipidaemia, insulin resistance/diabetes, renal dysfunction), indirectly reflecting CVD risk without participating mechanistically. Nonetheless, TMAO may surpass a pathogenic threshold as a consequence of CVD/CKD, secondarily promoting disease progression. TMAO might thus reflect early CVD risk while providing a prognostic biomarker or secondary target in established disease, although mechanistic contributions to CVD await confirmation.
Rodent models of schizophrenia (SCZ) are indispensable when screening for novel treatments, but quantifying their translational relevance with the underlying human pathophysiology has proved difficult. A novel systems methodology (shown in Figure 1) was developed integrating and comparing proteomic data of anterior prefrontal cortex tissue from SCZ post-mortem brains and matched controls with data obtained from four established glutamatergic rodent models, with the aim of evaluating which of these models represent SCZ most closely. Liquid chromatography coupled tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MSE) proteomic profiling was applied comparing healthy and “disease state” in human post-mortem samples and rodent brain tissue samples. Protein-protein interaction networks were constructed from significant abundance changes and enrichment analyses enabled the identification of pathophysiological characteristics of the disorder, which were represented across all four rodent models. Subsequently, these functional domains were used for cross-species comparisons. Five functional domains such as “development and differentiation” represented across all four rodent models, were identified. It was quantified that the chronic phencyclidine (cPCP) model represented SCZ brain changes most closely for four of these functional domains, by using machine-learning techniques. This is the first study aiming to quantify which rodent model recapitulates the neuropathological features of SCZ most closely. The methodology and findings presented here support recent efforts to overcome translational hurdles of preclinical psychiatric research by associating behavioural endophenotypes with distinct biological processes.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Our knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of complex host-associated communities has grown exponentially in the last decade through improvements in sequencing technologies. Despite this, there are still many outstanding research questions, which will undoubtably lead to many more. Concerted effort is required to elucidate the composition and function of taxonomic groups other than bacteria that constitute host microbiomes, and to extend our current cataloguing efforts to non-model and field-based host organisms. Further to this, we need to continue to move beyond the 'who?' question provided by relatively cheap amplicon sequencing to gain a better understanding of 'what?' the microbiome is doing, using metatranscriptomics approaches. Critically, we need to understand how members of the microbiome interact to confer function. Given the current unprecedented environmental change, microbiome plasticity may prove vital to host resilience and fitness. Furthermore, there is considerable potential for microbial biotechnology to improve numerous aspects of humanity, although care must be taken to ensure environmental and social justice prevail.
A classic example of microbiome function is its role in nutrient assimilation in both plants and animals, but other less obvious roles are becoming more apparent, particularly in terms of driving infectious and non-infectious disease outcomes and influencing host behaviour. However, numerous biotic and abiotic factors influence the composition of these communities, and host microbiomes can be susceptible to environmental change. How microbial communities will be altered by, and mitigate, the rapid environmental change we can expect in the next few decades remain to be seen. That said, given the enormous range of functional diversity conferred by microbes, there is currently something of a revolution in microbial bioengineering and biotechnology in order to address real-world problems including human and wildlife disease and crop and biofuel production. All of these concepts are explored in further detail throughout the book.
Through a long history of co-evolution, multicellular organisms form a complex of host cells plus many associated microorganism species. Consisting of algae, bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists and viruses, and collectively referred to as the microbiome, these microorganisms contribute to a range of important functions in their hosts, from nutrition, to behaviour and disease susceptibility. In this book, a diverse and international group of active researchers outline how multicellular organisms have become reliant on their microbiomes to function, and explore this vital interdependence across the breadth of soil, plant, animal and human hosts. They draw parallels and contrasts across hosts in different environments, and discuss how this invisible microbial ecosystem influences everything from the food we eat, to our health, to the correct functioning of ecosystems we depend on. This insightful read also pertinently encourages students and researchers in microbial ecology, ecology, and microbiology to consider how this interdependence may be key to mitigating environmental changes and developing microbial biotechnology to improve life on Earth.
Cognitive impairment associated with lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD) is well-supported by meta-analytic studies, but population-based estimates remain scarce. Previous UK Biobank studies have only shown limited evidence of cognitive differences related to probable MDD. Using updated cognitive and clinical assessments in UK Biobank, this study investigated population-level differences in cognitive functioning associated with lifetime MDD.
Associations between lifetime MDD and cognition (performance on six tasks and general cognitive functioning [g-factor]) were investigated in UK Biobank (N-range 7,457–14,836, age 45–81 years, 52% female), adjusting for demographics, education, and lifestyle. Lifetime MDD classifications were based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Within the lifetime MDD group, we additionally investigated relationships between cognition and (a) recurrence, (b) current symptoms, (c) severity of psychosocial impairment (while symptomatic), and (d) concurrent psychotropic medication use.
Lifetime MDD was robustly associated with a lower g-factor (β = −0.10, PFDR = 4.7 × 10−5), with impairments in attention, processing speed, and executive functioning (β ≥ 0.06). Clinical characteristics revealed differential profiles of cognitive impairment among case individuals; those who reported severe psychosocial impairment and use of psychotropic medication performed worse on cognitive tests. Severe psychosocial impairment and reasoning showed the strongest association (β = −0.18, PFDR = 7.5 × 10−5).
Findings describe small but robust associations between lifetime MDD and lower cognitive performance within a population-based sample. Overall effects were of modest effect size, suggesting limited clinical relevance. However, deficits within specific cognitive domains were more pronounced in relation to clinical characteristics, particularly severe psychosocial impairment.