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Many decisions in everyday life involve a choice between exploring options that are currently unknown and exploiting options that are already known to be rewarding. Previous work has suggested that humans solve such “explore-exploit” dilemmas using a mixture of two strategies: directed exploration, in which information seeking drives exploration by choice, and random exploration, in which behavioral variability drives exploration by chance. One limitation of this previous work was that, like most studies on explore-exploit decision making, it focused exclusively on the domain of gains, where the goal was to maximize reward. In many real-world decisions, however, the goal is to minimize losses and it is well known from Prospect Theory that behavior can be quite different in this domain. In this study, we compared explore-exploit behavior of human subjects under conditions of gain and loss. We found that people use both directed and random exploration regardless of whether they are exploring to maximize gains or minimize losses and that there is quantitative agreement between the exploration parameters across domains. Our results also revealed an overall bias towards the more uncertain option in the domain of losses. While this bias towards uncertainty was qualitatively consistent with the predictions of Prospect Theory, quantitatively we found that the bias was better described by a Bayesian account, in which subjects had a prior that was optimistic for losses and pessimistic for gains. Taken together, our results suggest that explore-exploit decisions are driven by three independent processes: directed and random exploration, and a baseline uncertainty seeking that is driven by a prior.
COVID-19 has resurfaced health inequalities but also provides new opportunities for remote healthcare. Minority ethnic service users (SUs) are substantially under-represented in secondary mental health services due to gaps in understanding needs of this priority group. We aimed to assess and identify any differences in characteristics and acceptability, with a focus on minority ethnic mental health SUs.
A prospective, online feedback questionnaire was developed with the help of SUs. This was built into video consultations (VCs), using the secure Attend Anywhere platform through a survey link. We present results between July 2020 and January 2022, during which, a total of 2,565 SUs completed the online questionnaire after VCs. SPSS (version 27) was used for descriptive statistical analysis. Chi-squared test, using 5% level of significance, was conducted to test differences between the two (minority Vs majority ethnic) SU groups.
Of 2,565 SUs, 119 (4.6%) were from minority ethnic groups (Asian British, Mixed/multiple, Black British, and Other), 2,398 (93.5%) were White British, and 48 (1.9%) preferred not to disclose. A higher percentage of SUs were females from both minority (55.6%) and White British (66.1%) ethnic groups (ϰ2=5.476, p < 0.05). By age group, almost half (48.7%) of minority ethnic SUs were less than 25 years old, compared with those from White British ethnicity (29.2%). In contrast, only 2.5% minority ethnic SUs were aged ≥65 years with none ≥80 years old (ϰ2 Likelihood Ratio = 27.11, p < 0.001).
No significant differences were found for video technical quality, such as waiting area, joining the video call, sound, and video quality. Similar findings were observed for video care delivery aspects with no significant differences between (minority ethnic and White British) SUs. Overall, both groups felt comfortable during the video call (ϰ2=0.137, p > 0.05), their needs were met (ϰ2=0.384, p > 0.05) and felt supported (ϰ2=0.164, p > 0.05). However, according to care team, a significantly higher percentage of minority ethnic SUs (43%) had remotely consulted Specialist (Eating disorders, Well-being/IAPT) services compared with those of majority ethnicity (29%) (ϰ2 Likelihood Ratio = 21.936, p < 0.05).
Both minority ethnic and White British SUs found video care to be acceptable, with positive experiences. A significantly high proportion of minority ethnic SUs was younger and had remotely consulted Specialist services, with none in the 80-plus age group. These findings highlight priority areas to address among this massively underrepresented group in mental healthcare services.
Background: Nearly one-third of patients on hemodialysis receive intravenous (IV) antibiotics annually, but national data characterizing antibiotic use in this population are limited. Using NHSN surveillance data for outpatient dialysis facilities, we estimated temporal changes in the rate of IV antibiotic starts (IVAS) among hemodialysis patients as well as the proportion of IVAS that were not supported by a reported clinical indication. Methods: IVAS events were obtained from the NHSN Dialysis Event module between 2016 and 2020, excluding patients who were out of network, receiving peritoneal or home dialysis, or with unspecified vascular access. IVAS unsupported by documentation were defined as new IVAS without a collected or positive blood culture, pus, redness or swelling event, or an associated clinical symptom. Pooled mean rates of total and unsupported IVAS were estimated per 100 patient months yearly and stratified by vascular access type. Differences in IVAS rates by year were estimated with negative binomial regression. Results: Between 2016 and 2020, 7,278 facilities reported 648,410 IVAS events; 161,317 (25%) were unsupported by documentation (Table 1). In 2016, 3,340 (54%) facilities with ≥1 IVAS event reported an IVAS unsupported by documentation, which increased to 4,994 (73%) in 2020. Total IVAS rates decreased by an average of 8.2% annually (95% CI, 7.1%–9.3%; P < .001). The average annual percentage decrease did not differ significantly by vascular access site. The total IVAS rate was lowest in 2020 (2.17 per 100 patient months; 95% CI, 2.18–2.17). IVAS rates in 2020 were greatest for patients with catheter access (4.79 per 100 patient months; 95% CI, 4.75–4.83), followed by graft (1.71 per 100 patient months; 95% CI, 1.68–1.73), and lowest for patients with fistulas (1.30 per 100 patient months; 95% CI, 1.29–1.31). The overall pooled mean rate of unsupported IVAS was 0.64 per 100 patient months (95% CI, 0.63–0.64), which did not significantly change by year (Fig. 1). Conclusions: Total IVAS rates among outpatient hemodialysis patients have decreased since 2016, and rates among catheter patients remain highest compared to patients with fistulas or grafts. However, unsupported IVAS rates did not change, and the proportion of facilities reporting an unsupported IVAS increased annually. Targeted efforts to engage facilities with unsupported IVAS may help improve accurate reporting and prescribing practices.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization stressed the importance of daily clinical assessments of infected patients, yet current approaches frequently consider cross-sectional timepoints, cumulative summary measures, or time-to-event analyses. Statistical methods are available that make use of the rich information content of longitudinal assessments. We demonstrate the use of a multistate transition model to assess the dynamic nature of COVID-19-associated critical illness using daily evaluations of COVID-19 patients from 9 academic hospitals. We describe the accessibility and utility of methods that consider the clinical trajectory of critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Recent well-powered genome-wide association studies have enhanced prediction of substance use outcomes via polygenic scores (PGSs). Here, we test (1) whether these scores contribute to prediction over-and-above family history, (2) the extent to which PGS prediction reflects inherited genetic variation v. demography (population stratification and assortative mating) and indirect genetic effects of parents (genetic nurture), and (3) whether PGS prediction is mediated by behavioral disinhibition prior to substance use onset.
PGSs for alcohol, cannabis, and nicotine use/use disorder were calculated for Minnesota Twin Family Study participants (N = 2483, 1565 monozygotic/918 dizygotic). Twins' parents were assessed for histories of substance use disorder. Twins were assessed for behavioral disinhibition at age 11 and substance use from ages 14 to 24. PGS prediction of substance use was examined using linear mixed-effects, within-twin pair, and structural equation models.
Nearly all PGS measures were associated with multiple types of substance use independently of family history. However, most within-pair PGS prediction estimates were substantially smaller than the corresponding between-pair estimates, suggesting that prediction is driven in part by demography and indirect genetic effects of parents. Path analyses indicated the effects of both PGSs and family history on substance use were mediated via disinhibition in preadolescence.
PGSs capturing risk of substance use and use disorder can be combined with family history measures to augment prediction of substance use outcomes. Results highlight indirect sources of genetic associations and preadolescent elevations in behavioral disinhibition as two routes through which these scores may relate to substance use.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) and chronic pain are highly comorbid, and pain symptoms are associated with a poorer response to antidepressant medication treatment. It is unclear whether comorbid pain also is associated with a poorer response to treatment with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).
162 MDD subjects received 30 sessions of 10 Hz rTMS treatment administered to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) with depression and pain symptoms measured before and after treatment. For a subset of 96 patients, a resting-state electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded at baseline. Clinical outcome was compared between subjects with and without comorbid pain, and the relationships among outcome, pain severity, individual peak alpha frequency (PAF), and PAF phase-coherence in the EEG were examined.
64.8% of all subjects reported pain, and both depressive and pain symptoms were significantly reduced after rTMS treatment, irrespective of age or gender. Patients with severe pain were 27% less likely to respond to MDD treatment than pain-free individuals. PAF was positively associated with pain severity. PAF phase-coherence in the somatosensory and default mode networks was significantly lower for MDD subjects with pain who failed to respond to MDD treatment.
Pain symptoms improved after rTMS to left DLPFC in MDD irrespective of age or gender, although the presence of chronic pain symptoms reduced the likelihood of treatment response. Individual PAF and baseline phase-coherence in the sensorimotor and midline regions may represent predictors of rTMS treatment outcome in comorbid pain and MDD.
Video-delivered care is a rapidly emerging area with potential to transform assessment and treatment strategies. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has accelerated these changes. Limited evidence exists for experiences of video care in secondary mental health services. We aimed to assess the acceptability of video care in mental health clinical practice during COVID-19.
Structured questionnaires were developed with the help of patients and clinicians. The patient experience questionnaire was built into video sessions and completed online, using the Attend Anywhere (AA) platform from July 2020 to March 2021. A Trust-wide clinician views and experiences survey was conducted from July 2020 to October 2020. Descriptive analysis was performed using SPSS (version 27.0).
Of 1,296 patients who completed the online feedback, the majority provided positive feedback for all aspects of video care. Most patients felt their needs were met (90%) and were supported (93%) during the video call. Positive experiences were informed by clinicians’ communication skills. For future appointments, just over half (51.7%) of patients preferred using video calls, followed by face-to-face (33%). Future video preference was informed by reasons reducing social anxiety and practical aspects such as child/carer needs, physical disability and travel.
Of 252 clinicians completing the survey, 161 (64.7%) had used video for remote care delivery. Clinicians also provided positive feedback, with Microsoft-teams as the preferred platform. Most clinicians felt the therapeutic relationship (76.4%) and privacy (78.7%) were maintained using video. While 73% felt there were no safeguarding issues that impacted adversely, 30% felt that care quality was affected, and (69.9%) reported limited visual cues for video calls. Most clinicians (73%) felt confident about clinical decision-making remotely, though there were areas where clinicians felt less confident, such as assessing patients’ appearance and behaviour. Additionally, compared with face-to-face, video consultations seemed to be effective for social anxiety, but less so for Autism spectrum disorders, and with no perceived difference for depression or self harm. For future, more clinicians preferred face-to-face (40.1%) than video care (36.1%).
Mental health care delivered remotely via video is experienced positively by patients and clinicians alike. However, clinicians felt that quality of care is impacted, and additional remote clinical skills training may be beneficial. Going forward, there is acceptability for the use of video care in routine mental health practice for certain mental health presentations.
Around 40% of people with bipolar disorder (BD) are non-adherent to medication leading to relapse, hospitalisation and increased suicide risk. Limited progress in addressing non-adherence may be partly attributable to insufficient understanding of the modifiable determinants of adherence that require targeting in interventions. We synthesised the modifiable determinants of adherence in BD and map them to the theoretical domains framework (TDF).
We searched CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Embase, LILACS, Medline, PsychINFO and PubMed until February 2020. We included studies reporting modifiable determinants of adherence in BD. Two reviewers independently screened studies, assessed quality, extracted modifiable determinants and mapped them to TDF.
We included 57 studies involving 32 894 participants. Determinants reported by patients spanned 11 of the 14 TDF domains compared to six domains represented by clinician/researcher. The TDF domains most commonly represented (% and example) in studies were: ‘Environmental context and resources’ (63%, e.g. experiencing side effects), ‘Beliefs about consequences’ (63%, e.g. beliefs about medication effects), ‘Knowledge’ (40%, e.g. knowledge about disorder), ‘Social influences’ (33%, e.g. support from family/clinicians), ‘Memory, attention and decision processes’ (33%, e.g. forgetfulness), ‘Emotion’ (21%, e.g. fear of addiction) and ‘Intentions’ (21%, e.g. wanting alternative treatment). ‘Intentions’, ‘Memory, attention and decision processes’ and ‘Emotion’ domains were only reported by patients but not clinicians.
Clinicians may be underappreciating the full range of modifiable determinants of adherence and thus not providing adherence support reflective of patients' needs. Reporting of modifiable determinants in behavioural terms facilitates developing theory-based interventions to address non-adherence in BD.
Background: Carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPA) is a frequent cause of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The CDC Emerging Infections Program (EIP) conducted population and laboratory-based surveillance of CRPA in selected areas in 8 states from August 1, 2016, through July 31, 2018. We aimed to describe the molecular epidemiology and mechanisms of resistance of CRPA isolates collected through this surveillance. Methods: We defined a case as the first isolate of P. aeruginosa resistant to imipenem, meropenem, or doripenem from the lower respiratory tract, urine, wounds, or normally sterile sites identified from a resident of the EIP catchment area in a 30-day period; EIP sites submitted a systematic random sample of isolates to CDC for further characterization. Of 1,021 CRPA clinical isolates submitted, 707 have been sequenced to date using an Illumina MiSeq. Sequenced genomes were classified using the 7-gene multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme, and a core genome MLST (cgMLST) scheme was used to determine phylogeny. Antimicrobial resistance genes were identified using publicly available databases, and chromosomal mechanisms of carbapenem resistance were determined using previously validated genetic markers. Results: There were 189 sequence types (STs) among the 707 sequenced genomes (Fig. 1). The most frequently occurring were high-risk clones ST235 (8.5%) and ST298 (4.7%), which were found across all EIP sites. Carbapenemase genes were identified in 5 (<1%) isolates. Overall, 95.6% of the isolates had chromosomal mutations associated with carbapenem resistance: 93.2% had porinD-associated mutations that decrease membrane permeability to the drugs; 24.8% had mutations associated with overexpression of the multidrug efflux pump MexAB-OprM; and 22.9% had mutations associated with overexpression of the endogenous β-lactamase ampC. More than 1 such chromosomal resistance mutation type was present in 37.8% of the isolates. Conclusions: The diversity of the sequence types demonstrates that HAIs caused by CRPA can arise from a variety of strains and that high-risk clones are broadly disseminated across the EIP sites but are a minority of CRPA strains overall. Carbapenem resistance in P. aeruginosa was predominantly driven by chromosomal mutations rather than acquired mechanisms (ie, carbapenemases). The diversity of the CRPA isolates and the lack of carbapenemase genes suggest that this ubiquitous pathogen can readily evolve chromosomal resistance mechanisms, but unlike carbapenemases, these cannot be easily spread through horizontal transfer.
Background: As of July 1, 2019, ~18% of all cases in the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were healthcare-associated (ie, nosocomial) infections (HAIs) and healthcare worker (HCW) infections. Although progress has been achieved, gaps remained in infection prevention and control (IPC), specifically, a need to reinforce standardized, evidence-based IPC practices to effectively address HAIs. The Ministry of Health (MOH), in collaboration with partners, developed an IPC tool kit consisting of >70 documents (ie, terms of reference, standard operating procedures, training modules, etc) to improve HCW IPC knowledge and practices at healthcare facilities among staff. The tool kit incorporated international IPC standards, DRC-specific experiences, and best practices. Thus, it serves as a technical and operational package, covering general guidance (standard precautions) and EVD specific issues. Methods: A decentralized rollout approach was used to disseminate the tool kit content at the various health-system levels over several months. Initially, national-level training of trainers was held, followed by subnational-level training of IPC supervisors and key IPC implementers, and lastly, training of healthcare facility (HCF) IPC focal persons. The 5-day training adhered to the MOH standard of 60% theory and 40% practice. Participants completed evaluations before and after training; changes in knowledge between the pre- and posttraining tests were analyzed and the results of the statistical tests were reported (P < .05 was considered statistically significant). Results: In total, 294 IPC supervisors were trained across 7 subnational commissions. Data were analyzed for 138 participants. Participants were 60.9% IPC supervisors, 8% WASH supervisors, and 31% others. MOH representation was 52.9% The average results before the test were 66% (19.8 of 30), the average posttest results were 72% (21.6 of 30)—a significant improvement. The worst-performing pretest IPC domain was IPC approach, and facility closure was the worst performing for posttest. As of November 11, 15.7% of all cases were HAIs. Conclusions: The IPC training program initiated during an outbreak can increase knowledge and potentially improve practices and confidence. An association with the downward HAI trend is yet to be validated. The MOH anticipates that this tool kit will be the go-to resource for future Ebola outbreaks and that it will be incorporated into the preservice medical curriculum to ensure a resilient heath system.
With >3,000 cases and 2,000 deaths, the current outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the second-largest reported EVD outbreak in history. Healthcare-associated transmission of EVD has been a persistent amplifier of transmission due, in part, to fragility of the healthcare system, lack of basic infection prevention and control (IPC) infrastructure, and large number of healthcare facilities (HCFs). A central component of the strategy to rapidly strengthen IPC in HCFs is the provision of IPC supervisors to oversee standardized risk assessments and improvements and provide mentorship to HCF staff. To support these activities, we designed skills based training for IPC supervisors. Methods: Staff recruited by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to strengthen IPC are part of an outbreak-specific cadre known as IPC supervisors. IPC supervisors, who originally lacked technical knowledge and mentoring experience, were trained to provide technical support and mentorship to staff at HCFs, with the objective of improving IPC-related processes and behaviors. A competency-based training course was designed by conducting informal assessments of IPC supervisors during daily tasks to identify areas for performance improvement. We developed competencies based on activities designated for IPC supervisors according to MoH guidelines. We planned an iterative training rollout to allow for continuous, real-time modifications based on lessons learned throughout the implementation phase. Results: Although IPC supervisors displayed technical knowledge of IPC recommendations, we observed large gaps in implementation. IPC supervisors frequently failed to recognize behaviors that are high-risk for infection transmission. In addition, IPC supervisors lacked the ability to develop prioritized action plans and to implement interventions aimed at rapidly improving IPC practices. The course, designed as an interactive, skills-based training, is rooted in instructional design principles and addresses 4 key competencies: risk recognition and prioritization, IPC assessment completion, action plan development, and effective leadership and communication. The course will be pilot tested in the DRC to an audience of 25 IPC supervisors. Conclusions: In an outbreak setting, strong mentorship and problem-solving skills are needed to support effective implementation of IPC quality improvement. Trainings that are informed by field experiences and teach problem-solving, coaching, and communication skills are critical and can be developed rapidly. The strategy employed by the Ministry of Health to rapidly achieve IPC capacitation at HCFs might be adapted for use in future outbreaks.
There is increasing evidence of a strong association between sleep and mental health in both adolescents and adults. CBT for insomnia is being applied to good effect with adults with mental health difficulties but there are few studies examining its applicability to adolescents within mental health services.
We carried out a case series analysis (n = 15) looking at the feasibility, accessibility and impact of a low-intensity sleep intervention for young people (14–25 years) being seen by a secondary care Youth Mental Health team in the UK. The intervention was based on cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBTi) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) approaches and involved six individual sessions delivered on a weekly basis by a graduate psychologist. Routine outcome measures were used to monitor insomnia, psychological distress and functioning with assessments at baseline, session 3, session 6 and at 4 weeks after end of intervention. All participants scored in the clinical range for insomnia at the start of the study.
High uptake, attendance and measure completion rates were observed. Large effect sizes were observed for insomnia, psychological distress and functioning. Twelve of the fifteen participants (80%) no longer scored above threshold for insomnia at follow-up. All seven under-18s no longer met threshold for clinical ‘caseness’ on the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) at follow-up.
The findings suggest that the intervention was well accepted by young people and feasible to apply within a secondary care setting. Strong effect sizes are encouraging but are probably inflated by the small sample size, uncontrolled design and unblinded assessments.
Dr Abdullahi was a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Medical Training Initiative (MTI) scheme at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, East Anglia, between 2015 and 2017. He has adopted a comparative approach to share some salient observations and anecdotes from that time.
An improved understanding of diagnostic and treatment practices for patients with rare primary mitochondrial disorders can support benchmarking against guidelines and establish priorities for evaluative research. We aimed to describe physician care for patients with mitochondrial diseases in Canada, including variation in care.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey of Canadian physicians involved in the diagnosis and/or ongoing care of patients with mitochondrial diseases. We used snowball sampling to identify potentially eligible participants, who were contacted by mail up to five times and invited to complete a questionnaire by mail or internet. The questionnaire addressed: personal experience in providing care for mitochondrial disorders; diagnostic and treatment practices; challenges in accessing tests or treatments; and views regarding research priorities.
We received 58 survey responses (52% response rate). Most respondents (83%) reported spending 20% or less of their clinical practice time caring for patients with mitochondrial disorders. We identified important variation in diagnostic care, although assessments frequently reported as diagnostically helpful (e.g., brain magnetic resonance imaging, MRI/MR spectroscopy) were also recommended in published guidelines. Approximately half (49%) of participants would recommend “mitochondrial cocktails” for all or most patients, but we identified variation in responses regarding specific vitamins and cofactors. A majority of physicians recommended studies on the development of effective therapies as the top research priority.
While Canadian physicians’ views about diagnostic care and disease management are aligned with published recommendations, important variations in care reflect persistent areas of uncertainty and a need for empirical evidence to support and update standard protocols.
First-degree heart block is a minor manifestation of acute rheumatic fever. Second and third degree heart block and junctional rhythms occur less commonly. We report patients presenting with these latter three electrocardiographic abnormalities and investigate their diagnostic utility.
Patients admitted to our centre meeting the 2014 New Zealand Rheumatic Fever Guideline Diagnostic Criteria for rheumatic fever over a 5-year period from January 2010 to December 2014 were identified. Clinical, haematologic, electrocardiographic, and echocardiographic records were reviewed. Electrocardiograms (ECG) were considered abnormal if there was second- or third-degree atrioventricular block or junctional rhythms. Comparative data from patients with advanced conduction abnormalities without a diagnosis of rheumatic fever during the same time period were reviewed.
A total of 201 patients met inclusion criteria for rheumatic fever. Of these, 17 (8.5%) had transient abnormalities of atrioventricular conduction, 5 (2.5%) with second or third-degree atrioventricular block, and 12 (6%) junctional rhythms. The remaining 173 (86%) patients had evidence of rheumatic valvulitis at presentation. Only one patient without rheumatic fever was found to have advanced conduction abnormalities over the study period, from a total of 3702 ECG.
This large contemporary cohort of acute rheumatic fever shows that 8.5% of cases had either advanced atrioventricular block or junctional rhythms both highly suggestive of the diagnosis in our population.
In the interest of promoting open and reproducible science, the Journal of Experimental Political Science editorial team will pilot the pre-acceptance of preregistered reports. We note that the launch of this new submission option is a complement to, and does not replace, the option to submit other types of manuscripts. JEPS remains open to receiving and reviewing high quality manuscripts regardless of whether they are based on preregistered studies.
The Norfolk Youth Service was created in 2012 in response to calls to redesign mental health services to better meet the needs of young people. The new service model transcends traditional boundaries by creating a single, ‘youth friendly’ service for young people aged 14–25 years. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the transition to this new model on patterns of referral, acceptance and service use. We analysed routinely collected data on young people aged 14–25 years referred for secondary mental healthcare in Norfolk before and after implementation of the youth mental health service. The number of referrals, their age and gender, proportion of referrals accepted and average number of service contacts per referral by age pre- and post-implementation were compared.
Referrals increased by 68% following implementation of the new service model, but the proportion of referrals accepted fell by 27 percentage points. Before implementation of the youth service, there was a clear discrepancy between the peak age of referral and the age of those seen by services. Following implementation, service contacts were more equitable across ages, with no marked discontinuity at age 18 years.
Our findings suggest that the transformation of services may have succeeded in reducing the ‘cliff edge’ in access to mental health services at the transition to adulthood. However, the sharp rise in referrals and reduction in the proportion of referrals accepted highlights the importance of considering possible unintended consequences of new service models.
The central executive in Canada consists of the “collective political and non-political elements of the executive who are engaged in generating and coordinating central policy” (Dunn, 2010, p. 85). While this includes a broad network of formal and informal relationships across a range of institutions exercising some measure of coordination within the core executive (Dunleavy & Rhodes, 1990, p. 3), we focus on the select group of elite and influential political and public service organizations traditionally considered central agencies, namely the Privy Council Office (PCO), the Prime Minister's office (PMO), the Department of Finance, and the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS). The PMO is often considered a central agency (for example see Campbell and Szablowski, 1979), but it in fact has no formal authority to act as the prime minister's agent; rather, it is a political office consisting mostly (and at times entirely) of ministerial exempt staff who provide service and advisory support from a political perspective to the prime minister in his or her various roles (Lalonde, 1971, p. 519). PMO's analysis is necessarily different than that offered by the non-partisan professional public service, but complements it in providing an additional perspective from outside of the public service, and one that considers the partisan-political aspects of policymaking (Savoie, 1999; Craft, 2016; Wilson, 2016a). Further, PMO has an important political coordinating role with other ministerial offices across government (Wilson, 2016b). The three formal public service central agencies—PCO, TBS, and Finance—have unique whole-of-government or enterprise-wide policy analysis roles. As part of their fundamental roles these central agencies contest, direct and coordinate policy analysis originating elsewhere in government.
In an interview, a senior Treasury Board official succinctly summed up the respective central agency roles as PCO setting policy, TBS setting rules, and Finance setting budgets. This shorthand is useful, although the characterization masks the overlapping analytical functions of central agencies and the significance of budgets and rules as forms of policymaking. However, it usefully draws attention to the distinct roles (see Table 7.1) and corresponding policy analysis functions of Canada's central agencies. The central executive enjoys significant resources and policy analysis expertise in, for example, economic and fiscal matters, organization of government machinery, implementation and risk management and, in the case of the PMO, insight into the partisan-political considerations that must be factored into policymaking.
We are excited and honored to be the editorial team for JEPS. We are indebted to Eric Dickson for his efforts as the journal's previous editor. He set a high bar for JEPS as an outlet for high quality experimental research. Lucky for us, the healthy state of experimental research means that we will continue to have a deep pool of well-crafted and important work. We also thank Nick Haas, who deftly guided us through the transition as Editorial Assistant. Without his help, it would have been a near impossible task to get up to speed.
The effect of the ingestion of diets containing either myo-inositol or exogenous phytase on plasma metabolites was examined using 29 kg barrows. The diets were: control (maize, soya, rapeseed, rice bran), control plus 2 g/kg myo-inositol, control plus 1000 phytase units (FYT)/kg or 3000 FYT/kg exogenous phytase. Pigs were housed in a PigTurn device and blood was collected, from jugular catheters, via an automated system at −30, (30 min before feeding), 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 240, 300 and 360 min post-feeding. The addition of 2 g/kg myo-inositol to the basal diet resulted in an increase in plasma myo-inositol concentration that was evident 45–60 min after diet introduction and persisted to 360 min post-feeding. Similarly, supplementation of the basal diet with either 1000 or 3000 FYT/kg exogenous phytase resulted in an increase in plasma myo-inositol concentration that was still rising 360 min post-feeding. Plasma P concentration was increased over time by the addition of 1000 and 3000 FYT/kg phytase, but not by the addition of myo-inositol. Other plasma metabolites examined were not affected by dietary treatment. It can be concluded that oral delivery of myo-inositol results in rapid increase in plasma myo-inositol concentrations that peak approximately 45–60 min after feeding. Use of supplemental phytase achieves similar increases in myo-inositol concentration in plasma but the appearance is more gradual. Furthermore, supplementation of pig diets with exogenous phytase results in rapid appearance of P in plasma that may be sustained over time relative to diets with no added phytase.