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As wildfires and air pollution become more common across the United States, it is increasingly important to understand the burden they place on public health. Previous studies have noted relationships between air quality and use of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), but until now, these studies have focused on day-to-day air quality. The goal of this study is to investigate the effect of sustained periods of poor air quality on EMS call characteristics and volume.
Using a time-stratified case-crossover design, the effect of exposure to periods of poor air quality on number and type of EMS calls in California, USA from 2014-2019 was observed. Poor air quality periods greater than three days were identified at the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Air Quality Index (AQI) levels of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (AQI 100) and Unhealthy (AQI 150). Periods less than three days apart were combined. Each poor air quality period was matched with two one-week controls, the first being the closest preceding week that did not intersect a different case. The second control was the closest week at least three days after the case and not intersecting with a different case. Due to seasonal variation in EMS usage, from the initial cases, cases were used only if it was possible to identify controls within 28 days of the case. A conditional Poisson regression calculated risk ratios for EMS call volume.
Comparing the case periods to the controls, significant increases were found at AQI >100 for total number of calls, and the primary impressions categories of emotional state or behavior, level of consciousness, no patient complaint, other, respiratory, and abdominal. At an AQI >150, significance was found for the primary impressions categories of other, pain, respiratory, and digestive.
These data demonstrate increased EMS calls during sustained poor air quality, and that several EMS primary impression categories are disproportionately affected. This study is limited by the imprecision of the primary impression’s classification provided by the EMS clinician responding to the EMS call. More research is needed to understand the effects of periods of poor air quality on the EMS system for more efficient deployment of resources.
Despite a high prevalence of problematic substance use among people living with HIV in South Africa, there remains limited access to substance use services within the HIV care system. To address this gap, our team previously developed and adapted a six-session, peer-delivered problem-solving and behavioral activation-based intervention (Khanya) to improve HIV medication adherence and reduce substance use in Cape Town. This study evaluated patient and provider perspectives on the intervention to inform implementation and future adaptation.
Following intervention completion, we conducted semi-structured individual interviews with patients (n = 23) and providers (n = 9) to understand perspectives on the feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of Khanya and its implementation by a peer. Patients also quantitatively ranked the usefulness of individual intervention components (problem solving for medication adherence ‘Life-Steps’, behavioral activation, mindfulness training, and relapse prevention) at post-treatment and six months follow-up, which we triangulated with qualitative feedback to examine convergence and divergence across methods.
Patients and providers reported high overall acceptability, feasibility, and appropriateness of Khanya, although there were several feasibility challenges. Mindfulness and Life-Steps were identified as particularly acceptable, feasible, and appropriate components by patients across methods, whereas relapse prevention strategies were less salient. Behavioral activation results were less consistent across methods.
Findings underscore the importance of examining patients’ perspectives on specific intervention components within intervention packages. While mindfulness training and peer delivery models were positively perceived by consumers, they are rarely used within task-shared behavioral interventions in low- and middle-income countries.
Studies have demonstrated the efficacy of mechanical devices at delivering high-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (HQ-CPR) in various transport settings. Herein, this study investigates the efficacy of manual and mechanical HQ-CPR delivery on a fire rescue boat.
A total of 15 active firefighter-paramedics were recruited for a prospective manikin-based trial. Each paramedic performed two minutes manual compression-only CPR while navigating on a river-based fire rescue boat. The boat was piloted in either a stable linear manner or dynamic S-turn manner to simulate obstacle avoidance. For each session of manual HQ-CPR, a session of mechanical HQ-CPR was also performed with a LUCAS 3 (Stryker; Kalamazoo, Michigan USA). A total of 60 sessions were completed. Parameters recorded included compression fraction (CF) and the percentage of compressions with correct depth >5cm (D%), correct rate 100-120 (R%), full release (FR%), and correct hand position (HP%). A composite HQ-CPR score was calculated as follows: ((D% + R% + FR% + HP%)/4) * CF%). Differences in magnitude of change seen in stable versus dynamic navigation within study conditions were evaluated with a Z-score calculation. Difficulty of HQ-CPR delivery was assessed utilizing the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale.
Participants were mostly male and had a median experience of 20 years. Manual HQ-CPR delivered during stable navigation out-performed manual HQ-CPR delivered during dynamic navigation for composite score and trended towards superiority for FR% and R%. There was no difference seen for any measured variable when comparing mechanical HQ-CPR delivered during stable navigation versus dynamic navigation. Mechanical HQ-CPR out-performed manual HQ-CPR during both stable and dynamic navigation in terms of composite score, FR%, and R%. Z-score calculation demonstrated that manual HQ-CPR delivery was significantly more affected by drive style than mechanical HQ-CPR delivery in terms of composite HQ-CPR score and trended towards significance for FR% and R%. Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion was higher for manual CPR delivered during dynamic sessions than for stable sessions.
Mechanical HQ-CPR delivery is superior to manual HQ-CPR delivery during both stable and dynamic riverine navigation. Whereas manual HQ-CPR delivery was worse during dynamic transportation conditions compared to stable transport conditions, mechanical HQ-CPR delivery was unaffected by drive style. This suggests the utility of routine use of mechanical HQ-CPR devices in the riverine patient transport setting.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has killed nearly 800,000 Americans since early 2020. The disease has disproportionately affected older Americans, men, persons of color, and those living in congregate living facilities. Sacramento County (California USA) has used a novel Mobile Integrated Health Unit (MIH) to test hundreds of patients who dwell in congregate living facilities, including skilled nursing facilities (SNF), residential care facilities (ie, assisted living facilities [ALF] and board and care facilities [BCF]), and inpatient psychiatric facilities (PSY), for SARS-CoV-2.
The MIH was authorized and rapidly created at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as a joint venture between the Sacramento County Department of Public Health (SCDPH) and several fire-based Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies within the county to perform SARS-CoV-2 testing and surveillance in a prehospital setting at a number of congregate living facilities. All adult patients (≥18 years) who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection by the MIH from March 31, 2020 through April 30, 2020 and lived in congregate living facilities were included in this retrospective descriptive cohort. Demographic and laboratory data were collected to describe the cohort of patients tested by the MIH.
During the study period, the MIH tested a total of 323 patients from 15 facilities in Sacramento County. The median age of patients tested was 66 years and the majority were female (72%). Overall, 72 patients (22%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in congregate living settings, a higher rate of positivity than was measured across the county during the same time period.
The MIH was a novel method of epidemic surveillance that succeeded in delivering effective and efficient testing to patients who reside in congregate living facilities and was able to accurately identify pockets of infection within otherwise low prevalence areas. Cooperative prehospital models are an effective model to deliver out-of-hospital testing and disease surveillance that may serve as a blueprint for community-based care delivery for a number of disease states and future epidemics or pandemics.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants including genetics, environmental data and imaging. An online mental health questionnaire was designed for UK Biobank participants to expand its potential.
Describe the development, implementation and results of this questionnaire.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting a patient group. Operational criteria were agreed for defining likely disorder and risk states, including lifetime depression, mania/hypomania, generalised anxiety disorder, unusual experiences and self-harm, and current post-traumatic stress and hazardous/harmful alcohol use.
A total of 157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Participants were aged 45–82 (53% were ≥65 years) and 57% women. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status. Lifetime depression was a common finding, with 24% (37 434) of participants meeting criteria and current hazardous/harmful alcohol use criteria were met by 21% (32 602), whereas other criteria were met by less than 8% of the participants. There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with a high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The UK Biobank questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed because of selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants that offers unique opportunities to investigate multiple diseases and risk factors.
An online mental health questionnaire completed by UK Biobank participants was expected to expand the potential for research into mental disorders.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting with a patient group regarding acceptability. Case definitions were defined using operational criteria for lifetime depression, mania, anxiety disorder, psychotic-like experiences and self-harm, as well as current post-traumatic stress and alcohol use disorders.
157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status than the general population across a range of indicators. Thirty-five per cent (55 750) of participants had at least one defined syndrome, of which lifetime depression was the most common at 24% (37 434). There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed owing to selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Declaration of interest
G.B. received grants from the National Institute for Health Research during the study; and support from Illumina Ltd. and the European Commission outside the submitted work. B.C. received grants from the Scottish Executive Chief Scientist Office and from The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation during the study. C.S. received grants from the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust during the study, and is the Chief Scientist for UK Biobank. M.H. received grants from the Innovative Medicines Initiative via the RADAR-CNS programme and personal fees as an expert witness outside the submitted work.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
The Los Chocoyos Ash, having erupted from vents near the Lake Atitlán caldera, Guatemala, is perhaps the largest Quaternary silicic pyroclastic unit in Central America. It consists of an underlying H-tephra member and an overlying ash-flow member. One-hundred-and-five samples of ash from the Guatemalan Highlands and deep-sea cores in the equatorial Pacific and Gulf of Mexico were analyzed by neutron activation and/or electron microprobe. Glass shard chemistry, determined by microprobe, is useful for distinguishing several very widespread, distinct, deep-sea ash layers, but needs support from trace-element data when applied on land to distinguish between many individual eruptions from the same province. Data from this study support the correlation of the Worzel ‘D’ layer and the Los Chocoyos Ash proposed by Hahn et al. (1979) and Bowles et al. (1973). Chemical data from this study are used to correlate the Y-8 ash layer of the Gulf of Mexico with the Los Chocoyos Ash. The recognition of the Los Chocoyos Ash in the Gulf of Mexico and equatorial Pacific increases the known areal extent of the unit to more than 6 × 106 km2 and allows an age of 84,000 yr B.P. to be assigned to the formation on the basis of oxygen-isotope stratigraphy, biostratigraphy, and Pa-Th-isotope data. Trace-element data obtained from seven other ash layers in the Gulf of Mexico and the equatorial Pacific, when combined with new land-based data, should allow further correlation and dating of ash units in Central America.
The final effort of the CLIMAP project was a study of the last interglaciation, a time of minimum ice volume some 122,000 yr ago coincident with the Substage 5e oxygen isotopic minimum. Based on detailed oxygen isotope analyses and biotic census counts in 52 cores across the world ocean, last interglacial sea-surface temperatures (SST) were compared with those today. There are small SST departures in the mid-latitude North Atlantic (warmer) and the Gulf of Mexico (cooler). The eastern boundary currents of the South Atlantic and Pacific oceans are marked by large SST anomalies in individual cores, but their interpretations are precluded by no-analog problems and by discordancies among estimates from different biotic groups. In general, the last interglacial ocean was not significantly different from the modern ocean. The relative sequencing of ice decay versus oceanic warming on the Stage 6/5 oxygen isotopic transition and of ice growth versus oceanic cooling on the Stage 5e/5d transition was also studied. In most of the Southern Hemisphere, the oceanic response marked by the biotic census counts preceded (led) the global ice-volume response marked by the oxygen-isotope signal by several thousand years. The reverse pattern is evident in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, where the oceanic response lagged that of global ice volume by several thousand years. As a result, the very warm temperatures associated with the last interglaciation were regionally diachronous by several thousand years. These regional lead-lag relationships agree with those observed on other transitions and in long-term phase relationships; they cannot be explained simply as artifacts of bioturbational translations of the original signals.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.