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Unsustainable hunting, both illegal and legal, has led to the extirpation of many species. In the last 35 years giraffe Giraffa spp. populations have declined precipitously, with extinctions documented in seven African countries. Amongst the various reasons for these population declines, poaching is believed to play an important role in some areas. Giraffes are primarily hunted for consumption and for the use of their body parts as trophies and in traditional medicine. However, the socio-economic factors that correlate with the use of giraffe body parts are not well understood. We conducted our study in Tsavo Conservation Area, Kenya, which experiences high levels of poaching. We used semi-structured surveys amongst 331 households to document how giraffe body parts are typically acquired and their intended use (i.e. trophy, medicinal or consumptive). We then used logistic regression models to assess the correlations between nine socio-economic factors and the use of giraffe body parts. We found that giraffe body parts had mostly consumptive and trophy uses. One-time suppliers, opportunistic access and widely known markets were the most common means of acquiring giraffe body parts. Results from our models showed that three variables (gender: men, occupation: tourism worker, and land ownership) were correlated significantly and positively with the use of giraffe body parts. We describe the complex links between socio-economic factors and the use of giraffe body parts and highlight the importance of implementing mitigation measures adapted to local contexts to combat a challenge that many species of conservation concern are facing.
In the summer of 1986 a mass grave was discovered along the bank of the river Tryggevælde Å where it empties into Køge Bugt, the bay south of modern Copenhagen, Denmark. The human remains, dating to the late Mesolithic Ertebølle culture, consisted of eight individuals of multiple ages, ranging c. 35–45 years old to newborn children. Four were arranged on one side of the grave, with four on the other, placed head to foot. How they were related and what befell them is a mystery. Herein, we present a bioarchaeological assessment of these individuals for the first time and apply an acid etch-based analysis of dimorphic sex chromosome-linked tooth enamel peptides to confirm their biological sex. Our results allow a direct connection between engendered grave treatment and biological sex in non-adult individuals as young as c. 4 years of age. We conclude with a discussion of the possible circumstances of their deaths and their possible relationships to one another.
Although numerous effective antidepressant (AD) strategies are available for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), many patients do not achieve satisfactory treatment response.
The aims of the present European, cross-sectional, multicenter, naturalistic study were (1) to determine the proportion of patients suffering from primary MDD who received additional psychotherapy to their ongoing psychopharmacotherapy and (2) to identify the associated socio-demographic and clinical patterns.
Patients receiving both treatments were compared to those lacking concomitant additional psychotherapy that was manual-driven psychotherapy (MDP) in all cases.
While 68.8% of a total of 1279 MDD patients received exclusively psychopharmacotherapy, 31.2% underwent a psychopharmacotherapy-MDP combination. The latter patient population was rather younger, higher educated, employed, exhibited an earlier mean age of MDD onset, lower severity of current depressive symptoms with lower odds of suicidality and higher rates of melancholic features, and comorbid asthma and migraine, and was generally treated with lower daily doses of their first-line ADs. Whereas agomelatine was more commonly dispensed in these patients, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors were more often prescribed in MDD patients lacking additional MDP. No significant between-group differences were detected in terms of treatment outcome.
The fact that the employment of additional MDP was not related to better treatment outcome in MDD represents our major and clinically most relevant finding. Generally, MDP was employed in a minority of our patients who experienced rather beneficial socio-demographic and clinical characteristics. This might reflect an inferior accessibility of these psychotherapeutic techniques for patients who are more severely ill and less socio-economically privileged.
References Bartova L, Fugger G, Dold M, Swoboda MMM, Zohar J, Mendlewicz J, Souery D, Montgomery S, Fabbri C, Serretti A, Kasper S. Combining psychopharmacotherapy and psychotherapy is not associated with better treatment outcome in major depressive disor
Biomarkers may be useful endophenotypes for genetic studies if they share genetic sources of variation with the outcome, for example, with all-cause mortality. Australian adult study participants who had reported their parental survival information were included in the study: 14,169 participants had polygenic risk scores (PRS) from genotyping and up to 13,365 had biomarker results. We assessed associations between participants’ biomarker results and parental survival, and between biomarker results and eight parental survival PRS at varying p-value cut-offs. Survival in parents was associated with participants’ serum bilirubin, C-reactive protein, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and uric acid, and with LDL cholesterol for participants’ fathers but not for their mothers. PRS for all-cause mortality were associated with liver function tests (alkaline phosphatase, butyrylcholinesterase, gamma-glutamyl transferase), metabolic tests (LDL and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, uric acid), and acute-phase reactants (C-reactive protein, globulins). Association between offspring biomarker results and parental survival demonstrates the existence of familial effects common to both, while associations between biomarker results and PRS for mortality favor at least a partial genetic cause of this covariation. Identification of genetic loci affecting mortality-associated biomarkers offers a route to the identification of additional loci affecting mortality.
Delay in the diagnosis of head and neck cancer can result in significant excess morbidity and mortality. How the pandemic has affected patient presentation in Scotland is unknown.
This retrospective cohort study compared all presentations of head and neck cancer between June and October of 2019 with the same period following the peak of the pandemic in 2020 in West Scotland, a region populated by 2.5 million people.
A total of 528 patients met our inclusion criteria. Compared with 2019, patients in 2020 were more likely to present with a higher American Joint Committee on Cancer stage (odds ratio, 1.67 (95 per cent confidence interval = 1.20 to 2.31); p = 0.002), a longer preceding symptom duration (odds ratio, 2.03 (95 per cent confidence interval = 1.44 to 2.87; p < 0.001) and to have an emergency presentation (odds ratio, 2.53, (95 per cent confidence interval = 1.15 to 5.55; p = 0.017).
Patients are presenting later with more advanced head and neck cancer following the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Adverse swallowing outcomes following head and neck squamous cell carcinoma treatment in the context of late-onset post-radiotherapy changes can occur more than five years post-treatment.
A retrospective study was conducted utilising patient records from March 2013 to April 2015. Patients were categorised into ‘swallow dysfunction’ and ‘normal swallow’ groups. Quality of life was investigated using the MD Anderson Dysphagia Inventory and EuroQol questionnaires.
Swallow dysfunction was seen in 77 (51 per cent) of 152 patients. Twenty-eight patients (36 per cent) in the swallow dysfunction group reported symptoms in year five. Swallow dysfunction was associated with stage IV head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (p < 0.001) and radiotherapy (p < 0.001). MD Anderson Dysphagia Inventory global scores showed significant differences between swallow dysfunction and normal swallow groups (p = 0.01), and radiotherapy and surgery groups (p = 0.03), but there were no significant differences between these groups in terms of MD Anderson Dysphagia Inventory composite or EuroQol five-dimensions instrument scores.
One-third of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma survivors with swallow dysfunction still show symptoms at more than five years post-surgery, a point at which they are typically discharged.
The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has greatly disrupted head and neck cancer services in the West of Scotland. This study aimed to assess the impact of the first wave of the pandemic on cancer waiting times.
A retrospective review of multidisciplinary team records was undertaken between March and May in 2019 and the same months in 2020. Time-to-diagnosis and time-to-treatment for new cancers treated with curative intent were compared between the study periods, and subclassified by referral pathway.
A total of 236 new cancer patients were included. During the pandemic, pathways benefitted from reduced diagnostic and treatment times resulting from the restructuring of service provisions. A 75 per cent reduction in secondary care referrals and a 33 per cent increase in urgent suspicion of cancer referrals were observed in 2020.
Head and neck cancer pathway times did not suffer because of the coronavirus pandemic. Innovations introduced to mitigate issues brought about by coronavirus benefitted patients, led to a more streamlined service, and improved diagnostic and treatment target compliance.
This study aimed to assess the current literature on the safety and impact of in-office biopsy on cancer waiting times as well as review evidence regarding cost-efficacy and patient satisfaction.
A search of Cinahl, Cochrane Library, Embase, Medline, Prospero, PubMed and Web of Science was conducted for papers relevant to this study. Included articles were quality assessed and critically appraised.
Of 19 741 identified studies, 22 articles were included. Lower costs were consistently reported for in-office biopsy compared with operating room biopsy. Four complications requiring intervention were documented. In-office biopsy is highly tolerated, with a procedure abandonment rate of less than 1 per cent. When compared with operating room biopsy, it is associated with significantly reduced time-to-diagnosis and time-to-treatment initiation. It is linked to improved overall three-year survival.
In-office biopsy is a safe procedure that may help certain patients avoid general anaesthetic. It was shown to significantly reduce time-to-diagnosis and time-to-treatment initiation when compared with operating room biopsy. This may have important implications for oncological outcomes. In-office biopsy requires fewer resources and is likely to be cost-saving five-years following introduction. With high rates of sensitivity and specificity, in-office biopsy should be considered as the first-line procedure to achieve tissue diagnosis.
Pharmaceutical treatment and psychotherapy constitute the most common treatment methods for depression and anxiety. Physical training has been shown to have comparable effect to cognitive behavioral therapy in treatment of mild to moderate depression and anxiety. Physically active individuals also show lower risks to develop depression and relapse in depression.
The objectives are to evaluate how physical activity can affect depressive and anxiety symptoms, by examining biomarkers in the blood and from the gut and also by measuring cognitive functions. Hopefully, this can lead to new treatment strategies for patients with depression and anxiety.
102 patients are randomized to two groups and undergo 12 weeks intervention as add-on to standard outpatient psychiatric treatment. The first group will participate in physical training three times per week and the other group will receive relaxation therapy on a weekly basis. Daily activity intensity will be measured before and at the last week of intervention with an accelerometer. Blood and faeces sample collection, symptom grading by clinician together with self-rating scales and cognitive screening will be performed at baseline, week 12 and one year of follow-up. The cognitive screenings are performed digitally in cooperation with Mindmore.
The RCT is currently recruiting patients at the Department of Psychiatry of Örebro University Hospital.
The project aims to be holistic in its approach, combining the defining clinical psychiatric symptoms in patients who have both depression and anxiety with the finding and evaluation of new biomarkers from blood and gut to improve cognitive functions.
Mortality risk is known to be associated with many physiological or biochemical risk factors, and polygenic risk scores (PRSs) may offer an additional or alternative approach to risk stratification. We have compared the predictive value of common biochemical tests, PRSs and information on parental survival in a cohort of twins and their families. Common biochemical test results were available for up to 13,365 apparently healthy men and women, aged 17−93 years (mean 49.0, standard deviation [SD] 13.7) at blood collection. PRSs for longevity were available for 14,169 study participants and reported parental survival for 25,784 participants. A search for information on date and cause of death was conducted through the Australian National Death Index, with median follow-up of 11.3 years. Cox regression was used to evaluate associations with mortality from all causes, cancers, cardiovascular diseases and other causes. Linear relationships with all-cause mortality were strongest for C-reactive protein, gamma-glutamyl transferase, glucose and alkaline phosphatase, with hazard ratios (HRs) of 1.16 (95% CI [1.07, 1.24]), 1.15 (95% CI 1.04–1.21), 1.13 (95% CI [1.08, 1.19]) and 1.11 (95% CI [1.05, 1.88]) per SD difference, respectively. Significant nonlinear effects were found for urea, uric acid and butyrylcholinesterase. Lipid risk factors were not statistically significant for mortality in our cohort. Family history and PRS showed weaker but significant associations with survival, with HR in the range 1.05 to 1.09 per SD difference. In conclusion, biochemical tests currently predict long-term mortality more strongly than genetic scores based on genotyping or on reported parental survival.
During the 2017 to 2019 growing seasons, samples of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth that had reportedly survived field-rate applications of protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO)–inhibiting herbicides were collected from the American Midwest and tested for target-site mutations known at the time to confer resistance. Target-site resistance was identified in nearly all (135 of 145) tested common waterhemp populations but in only 8 of 13 Palmer amaranth populations. Follow-up research on one population of Palmer amaranth (W-8), which tested negative for all such mutations, confirmed it was resistant to lactofen, with a magnitude of resistance comparable to that conferred by the ΔG210 PPO2 mutation. Gene sequences from both isoforms of PPO (PPO1 and PPO2) were compared between W-8 and known PPO inhibitor–sensitive sequence. A glycine-to-alanine substitution at the 399th amino acid position (G399A) of PPO2, recently identified to reduce target-site herbicide sensitivity, was observed in a subset of resistant W-8 plants. Because no missense mutation completely delimited resistant and sensitive sequences, we initially suspected the presence of a secondary, non-target-site resistance mechanism in this population. To isolate G399A, a segregating F2 population was produced and screened with a delimiting rate of lactofen. χ2 goodness-of-fit analysis of dead/alive ratings indicated single-locus inheritance of resistance in the F2 population, and molecular markers for the W-8 parental PPO2 coding region co-segregated tightly, but not perfectly, with resistance. More research is needed to fully characterize Palmer amaranth PPO inhibitor–resistance mechanisms, which appear to be more diverse than those found in common waterhemp.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are associated with increased mortality and healthcare costs. In 2007, a Veterans’ Affairs (VA) hospital implemented a MRSA nasal screening program, following a nationwide VA mandate, in an effort to reduce healthcare-associated MRSA infections.
To evaluate the correlation between the nasal screening results for MRSA and culture results of wound and tissue sites.
This retrospective study was conducted on inpatients at our VA hospital. Patients were included if they had undergone nasal screening for MRSA plus culture of a wound or tissue site within 30 days of hospital admission.
In total, 337 patients underwent nasal screening and wound culture and 211 underwent nasal screening and wound and tissue cultures. The prevalence of MRSA nasal colonization was 14.2% for wound samples and 15.2% for tissue samples. The sensitivities of MRSA nasal screening for detecting MRSA were 64.6% for wound cultures and 65.5% for tissue cultures. Specificities were 86.2% and 88.8% for wound and tissue cultures, respectively. The positive predictive values (PPVs) were 43.7% and 51.2% for wound and tissue cultures, respectively, and the negative predictive values (NPVs) were high at 93.6% and 93.5%, respectively.
In cases of wound or tissue samples for which culture results are pending, a negative MRSA nasal swab may be a component of the decision to withhold or discontinue MRSA-active agents.
Patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia are at an elevated risk of further malignancy. Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma often presents with cervical lymph node metastasis, and can pose a diagnostic challenge in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukaemia who may have pre-existing palpable neck nodes.
A retrospective case review of a health board was conducted to identify patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma with a previous diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
Four patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma that developed after non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukaemia were identified. Two patients had a background of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma treated with chemotherapy. The remaining two patients had a background of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia under active surveillance. Three out of the four patients died within 30 months of diagnosis.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma following non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is aggressive. A heightened clinical suspicion is essential to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in patients with dual pathology.
Compare quetiapine+antidepressant (AD) with lithium+AD, and quetiapine monotherapy with lithium+AD in open, rater-blinded treatment.
Patients with treatment resistant depression (Thase et al 1997 stage 1 and 2) with severity of MADRS ≥25 received: quetiapine XR 300mg/day plus AD (SSRIs or venlafaxine) (n=229), lithium (monitored to between 0.6 to 1.0 meq/l) plus AD (n=221) or quetiapine XR alone (300mg/day) (n=225) for 6 weeks. Primary efficacy measure was change from baseline in MADRS total score. The pre-specified non-inferiority limit was 3 points on the MADRS.
Fewer patients discontinued on quetiapine+AD (15.2%) than lithium+AD (20.5%) and quetiapine monotherapy (21.5%). Quetiapine+AD and quetiapine monotherapy, were not inferior to lithium+AD in the primary (per protocol) analysis with a mean difference (97.5%CI) on the MADRS of -2.32 (-4.6 to -0.05) favouring add-on quetiapine and -0.97 (-3.24 to 1.31) favouring quetiapine monotherapy. This mandated superiority testing on the modified ITT population showing no significant difference at endpoint.
In a post hoc analysis discounting multiplicity, quetiapine+AD was significantly more effective than lithium+AD on the MADRS change from baseline, p=0.046. The advantage was observed at day 4 (p=0.007) and persisted throughout. Efficacy was supported by CGI-I (p=0.07). Quetiapine+AD showed a numerically greater advantage over lithium+AD in those with two failed treatments (Stage 2) rather than one (Stage 1).
Quetiapine+AD and quetiapine monotherapy, were non-inferior to lithium+AD in treatment resistant depression. There was an early significant and persistent efficacy advantage on MADRS for quetiapine augmentation compared with lithium augmentation of SSRI or venlafaxine treatment.
To study the association between school bonding dimensions (school commitment and school attachment) and current adolescent smoking in Chile, controlling for confounding variables using the Fifth Chilean School Population National Substance Use Survey, 2003 (CHSS-2003) dataset.
The CHSS-2003 is a stratified cross-sectional survey which gathers information about personal, familial, peer, school factors and cigarette use using a self-reported questionnaire. Complete data from 21,956 adolescent students for all the variables of interest were used in the analyses. An Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was performed in order to test the construct validity of the questionnaire and create the main exposure and potential confounding variables. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were undertaken to study the association between school bonding and smoking.
The construct validity of the school attachment and school commitment scales was supported by the EFA. Multivariable analyses showed strong evidence that, after adjusting for factors from different domains, school commitment (student's good grades and school attendance) appears to have a clear inverse association with current smoking (OR=0.46; 95%CI: 0.38-0.56). On the other hand, school attachment (their feelings towards their school and their teachers) was not associated with adolescent smoking (OR=1.16; 95%CI: 0.88-1.53)
School commitment was strongly associated with current smoking. It is important to study further this variable with the aim of ascertaining whether or not interventions that improve school commitment may prevent or reduce smoking amongst adolescent students.
To evaluate once-daily extended release quetiapine fumarate (quetiapine XR) as monotherapy (50, 150 and 300mg/day) (acute and maintenance treatment) or adjunct treatment (150 and 300mg/day) in patients with MDD.
Eight (7 acute, 1 maintenance) placebo-controlled studies were analysed. Primary endpoints: change from randomisation in Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) scores (acute); time from randomisation to depressed event (maintenance). Statistical analyses: ANCOVA for difference between quetiapine XR and placebo in LSM change in MADRS total score from randomisation to study end (LOCF; acute); hazard ratio (HR) for time to recurrence of a depressed event (maintenance).
Figure 1 shows treatment differences (95% CIs) for primary efficacy variable for the seven acute studies. Four monotherapy studies (D1448C00001, D1448C00002, D1448C00003, D1448C00014) were significant in favour of quetiapine XR; Study D1448C00004 (monotherapy) was not. Studies D1448C00006 and D1448C00007 were significant in favour of adjunct quetiapine XR. Time from randomisation to depressed event (Study D1448C00005) significantly increased with quetiapine XR; HR (95% CI): 0.34(0.25, 0.46); p< 0.001; number of depressed events: 55, quetiapine XR; 132, placebo. Safety findings were consistent with the known tolerability profile of quetiapine.
Quetiapine XR consistently demonstrated antidepressant efficacy, with 6/7 acute studies positive in favour of quetiapine XR (monotherapy or adjunct). Quetiapine XR maintenance therapy significantly reduced risk of a depressed event, demonstrating relapse prevention. AstraZeneca funded
Few studies have been conducted looking at clinical features associated to treatment resistant depression (TRD) defined as failure to at least two consecutive antidepressant trials. The objective of this study was to identify clinical and demographic factors associated to TRD in a large sample of depressed patients who failed to reach response or remission after at least two consecutive adequate treatments.
A total of 702 patients with unipolar major depression were included in the analysis. 346 patients were considered as non resistant. The remaining 356 patients were considered as resistant with a HAM-D-17 score remaining ≥ 17 after 2 consecutive adequate trials. Cox regression models were used to examine the association between individual clinical variables and TRD.
Eleven variables were found to be associated with TRD. Anxiety comorbidity (p<0.001, OR=2.6), comorbid panic disorder (p<0.001, OR=2.6) and social phobia (p<0.008, OR=2.1), personality disorder (p<0.049, OR=1.7), suicidal risk (p<0.001, OR=2.2), severity (p<0.001, OR=1.7), melancholia (p<0.018, OR=1.5), a number of hospitalizations > 1 (p<0.003, OR=1.6), recurrent episodes (p<0.009, OR=1.5), early age of onset (p<0.009, OR=2.0) and non response to the first antidepressant received lifetime (p<0.019, OR=1.6).
Our findings provide a set of eleven relevant clinical variables associated to TRD which can be explored at the clinical level. The statistical model used in this analysis allowed for a hierarchy of these variables (based on the OR) showing that comorbid anxiety disorder is the most powerful clinical factor associated to TRD.
Suicidal behaviour runs in families and the existence of genetic vulnerability to suicidality is well-established. Mental disorders, especially depression, are present in more of 90% of suicides. The incidence of treatment emergent suicidal ideation in major depression (MDD) varies from 4% to 20%, depending on the definition of suicidal ideation and sample characteristics.
In the present study, we further elucidated the impact of depression candidate genes in treatment emergent suicidal ideation in MDD. One hundred-seventy MDD patients were collected in the context of a resistant depression study and treated with antidepressants at adequate doses for at least 4 weeks. MDD subjects were genotyped for SNPs within the COMT gene, BDNF, DTNBP1, 5HT1A, 5HT2A, GNB3, GRIK4, PTGS1, PTGS2, CREB, and cytochrome P450 CYP1A2, CYP2C9, CYP2C19 and CYP2D6 gene. Response, remission and treatment resistance, as well as suicidality information derived from Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) and Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) were recorded.
A quantitative and measure of suicidal behaviour was defined using the Hamilton rating scale (score 0 to 4) and the MINI-item (yes/no) on suicidality in a large cohort of depression cases. In addition, we tested for association with ‘serious suicidal attempts’ corresponding to a HAMD score of 4 (discrete trait analyses). Results of this candidate gene approach in treatment emergent suicidal ideation in MDD will be presented and discussed.
To evaluate the safety and efficacy of pregabalin in relieving the symptoms of GAD in patients ≥65 years of age.
This was a multicenter, randomized, flexible-dose, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group trial of pregabalin in the treatment of GAD. Randomization was 2:1, pregabalin:placebo. Patients underwent an 8-week double-blind, flexible-dosage (150-600 mg/d) treatment phase, including a 1-week dose-escalation period (50 mg/d to 150 mg/d). The primary efficacy assessment was change from baseline to endpoint-LOCF in HAM-A total score. Additionally, change from baseline to week 8 (observed cases) in HAM-A psychic and somatic factors was evaluated.
Mean age at GAD onset was 56 years; 77% of patients were women; mean age at enrollment was 72 years; mean duration of GAD was 17 years. Mean change from baseline in HAM-A total score was –12.84 (n=177) for the pregabalin group and –10.7 (n=96) for the placebo group (P=.0437). At week 8, patients treated with pregabalin had significant improvement in both the HAM-A psychic (–7.8 vs –6.3, P=.0111) and somatic (–6.6 vs –5.4, P=.0248) factors. The most common adverse events (AEs) among pregabalin-treated patients were dizziness (20.3%), somnolence (13.0%), headache (10.2%), and nausea (9.0%). Most AEs were mild-to-moderate and self-limiting. Discontinuation rates due to AEs were 10.7% and 9.4% in the pregabalin and placebo groups, respectively.
Pregabalin was effective in reducing the symptoms of GAD in patients aged 65 years and older, and it was safe and well tolerated in this population.