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Asymptomatic COVID-19 has been reported as a significant driver of COVID-19 outbreaks. Our hospital ward outbreak analysis suggests that comprehensive symptoms and signs assessment, in combination with adequate follow-up, allows for a more precise determination of COVID-19 symptoms and revealed asymptomatic infection was quite uncommon amongst adults in this setting.
News on the state of the environment does not seem to be improving. Despite some holding on to “conservation optimism,”1 the general conclusion in the academic and policy literature is that global biodiversity, the global climate and the state of other environmental indicators are bad, and getting worse (CBD, 2020; European Environment Agency, 2019; IPBES, 2019; Lenton et al., 2019; Newbold et al., 2016; Tucker et al., 2018; Watson et al., 2016; WWF, 2018).
Consistent evidence from retrospective reports and case registry studies indicates that a history of depression is a major risk factor for depression in the peripartum period. However, longitudinal studies with racially and socioeconomically diverse samples of young mothers are lacking, and little is known about developmental patterns of depression across the lifespan that can inform preventive interventions.
Young primiparous mothers (n = 399, 13–25 years, 81% Black) were recruited from a population-based prospective study that began in childhood. Women reported on depression symptoms for at least 3 years prior to their pregnancy, during pregnancy, and at 4 months postpartum. Linear regression models were used to estimate change in pre-pregnancy depression severity and to evaluate associations between patterns of lifetime history and postpartum depression symptoms.
Results revealed high levels of continuity in depression from pregnancy to postpartum, and across multiple years pre-pregnancy to postpartum. Overall, depression severity leading up to pregnancy decreased over time, but patterns of worsening or improving symptoms were not associated with depression severity in the postpartum period. Instead, area under the pre-pregnancy trajectory curve, representing cumulative lifetime depression burden, was uniquely associated with postpartum depression after adjusting for prenatal depression severity.
Depression in the postpartum period should be considered within a lifespan perspective of risk that accumulates before conception. Clinical screening and early interventions are needed in adolescence and young adulthood to prevent the onset and persistence of depressive symptoms that could have long-term implications for peripartum health.
Automated virtual reality therapies are being developed to increase access to psychological interventions. We assessed the experience with one such therapy of patients diagnosed with psychosis, including satisfaction, side effects, and positive experiences of access to the technology. We tested whether side effects affected therapy.
In a clinical trial 122 patients diagnosed with psychosis completed baseline measures of psychiatric symptoms, received gameChange VR therapy, and then completed a satisfaction questionnaire, the Oxford-VR Side Effects Checklist, and outcome measures.
79 (65.8%) patients were very satisfied with VR therapy, 37 (30.8%) were mostly satisfied, 3 (2.5%) were indifferent/mildly dissatisfied, and 1 (0.8%) person was quite dissatisfied. The most common side effects were: difficulties concentrating because of thinking about what might be happening in the room (n = 17, 14.2%); lasting headache (n = 10, 8.3%); and the headset causing feelings of panic (n = 9, 7.4%). Side effects formed three factors: difficulties concentrating when wearing a headset, feelings of panic using VR, and worries following VR. The occurrence of side effects was not associated with number of VR sessions, therapy outcomes, or psychiatric symptoms. Difficulties concentrating in VR were associated with slightly lower satisfaction. VR therapy provision and engagement made patients feel: proud (n = 99, 81.8%); valued (n = 97, 80.2%); and optimistic (n = 96, 79.3%).
Patients with psychosis were generally very positive towards the VR therapy, valued having the opportunity to try the technology, and experienced few adverse effects. Side effects did not significantly impact VR therapy. Patient experience of VR is likely to facilitate widespread adoption.
Many patients with mental health disorders become increasingly isolated at home due to anxiety about going outside. A cognitive perspective on this difficulty is that threat cognitions lead to the safety-seeking behavioural response of agoraphobic avoidance.
We sought to develop a brief questionnaire, suitable for research and clinical practice, to assess a wide range of cognitions likely to lead to agoraphobic avoidance. We also included two additional subscales assessing two types of safety-seeking defensive responses: anxious avoidance and within-situation safety behaviours.
198 patients with psychosis and agoraphobic avoidance and 1947 non-clinical individuals completed the item pool and measures of agoraphobic avoidance, generalised anxiety, social anxiety, depression and paranoia. Factor analyses were used to derive the Oxford Cognitions and Defences Questionnaire (O-CDQ).
The O-CDQ consists of three subscales: threat cognitions (14 items), anxious avoidance (11 items), and within-situation safety behaviours (8 items). Separate confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated a good model fit for all subscales. The cognitions subscale was significantly associated with agoraphobic avoidance (r = .672, p < .001), social anxiety (r = .617, p < .001), generalized anxiety (r = .746, p < .001), depression (r = .619, p < .001) and paranoia (r = .655, p < .001). Additionally, both the O-CDQ avoidance (r = .867, p < .001) and within-situation safety behaviours (r = .757, p < .001) subscales were highly correlated with agoraphobic avoidance. The O-CDQ demonstrated excellent internal consistency (cognitions Cronbach’s alpha = .93, avoidance Cronbach’s alpha = .94, within-situation Cronbach’s alpha = .93) and test–re-test reliability (cognitions ICC = 0.88, avoidance ICC = 0.92, within-situation ICC = 0.89).
The O-CDQ, consisting of three separate scales, has excellent psychometric properties and may prove a helpful tool for understanding agoraphobic avoidance across mental health disorders.
Patients presenting to hospital with suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), based on clinical symptoms, are routinely placed in a cohort together until polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results are available. This procedure leads to delays in transfers to definitive areas and high nosocomial transmission rates. FebriDx is a finger-prick point-of-care test (PoCT) that detects an antiviral host response and has a high negative predictive value for COVID-19. We sought to determine the clinical impact of using FebriDx for COVID-19 triage in the emergency department (ED).
We undertook a retrospective observational study evaluating the real-world clinical impact of FebriDx as part of an ED COVID-19 triage algorithm.
Emergency department of a university teaching hospital.
Patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, placed in a cohort in a ‘high-risk’ area, were tested using FebriDx. Patients without a detectable antiviral host response were then moved to a lower-risk area.
Between September 22, 2020, and January 7, 2021, 1,321 patients were tested using FebriDx, and 1,104 (84%) did not have a detectable antiviral host response. Among 1,104 patients, 865 (78%) were moved to a lower-risk area within the ED. The median times spent in a high-risk area were 52 minutes (interquartile range [IQR], 34–92) for FebriDx-negative patients and 203 minutes (IQR, 142–255) for FebriDx-positive patients (difference of −134 minutes; 95% CI, −144 to −122; P < .0001). The negative predictive value of FebriDx for the identification of COVID-19 was 96% (661 of 690; 95% CI, 94%–97%).
FebriDx improved the triage of patients with suspected COVID-19 and reduced the time that severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) PCR-negative patients spent in a high-risk area alongside SARS-CoV-2–positive patients.
Agoraphobic avoidance of everyday situations is a common feature in many mental health disorders. Avoidance can be due to a variety of fears, including concerns about negative social evaluation, panicking, and harm from others. The result is inactivity and isolation. Behavioural avoidance tasks (BATs) provide an objective assessment of avoidance and in situ anxiety but are challenging to administer and lack standardisation. Our aim was to draw on the principles of BATs to develop a self-report measure of agoraphobia symptoms.
The scale was developed with 194 patients with agoraphobia in the context of psychosis, 427 individuals in the general population with high levels of agoraphobia, and 1094 individuals with low levels of agoraphobia. Factor analysis, item response theory, and receiver operating characteristic analyses were used. Validity was assessed against a BAT, actigraphy data, and an existing agoraphobia measure. Test–retest reliability was assessed with 264 participants.
An eight-item questionnaire with avoidance and distress response scales was developed. The avoidance and distress scales each had an excellent model fit and reliably assessed agoraphobic symptoms across the severity spectrum. All items were highly discriminative (avoidance: a = 1.24–5.43; distress: a = 1.60–5.48), indicating that small increases in agoraphobic symptoms led to a high probability of item endorsement. The scale demonstrated good internal reliability, test–retest reliability, and validity.
The Oxford Agoraphobic Avoidance Scale has excellent psychometric properties. Clinical cut-offs and score ranges are provided. This precise assessment tool may help focus attention on the clinically important problem of agoraphobic avoidance.
Inadequate nutrient intakes have been linked with poor dentition in older adults. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between the composition of functional tooth units (FTU) and nutrient intakes in older men.
A cross-sectional study with a standardised validated diet history assessment and comprehensive oral health assessments. FTU were categorised by dentition type: (i) Group A (Natural FTU Only), (ii) Group B (Natural and Replaced FTU) and (iii) Group C (No Natural FTU). Attainment of nutrient reference values (NRV) for sixteen micronutrients was incorporated into a micronutrient risk variable, dichotomised ‘good’ (≥ 12) or ‘poor’ (≤ 11), and for seven macronutrients into a macronutrient risk variable, dichotomised ‘good’ (≥ 5) or ‘poor’ (≤ 4).
Subjects selected from the local Sydney geographical areas.
Community-dwelling older men (n 608).
32 % (n 197) of participants were categorised as Group A, 27 % (n 167) as Group B and 40 % (n 244) as Group C. In adjusted logistic regression analysis, being in Group C, compared with Group A, was associated with intakes below NRV recommendations for fibre (OR: 2·30, 95 % CI 1·30, 4·05). Adjusted analysis also showed that men in Group C, compared with Group A, were more likely to have poor intake of macronutrients (OR: 2·00, 95 % CI 1·01, 3·94).
Our study shows statistically significant associations between the composition of FTU and poor macronutrient intakes. Maintaining natural pairs of occluding FTU may be important for attaining adequate nutrient intakes in older men.
The inaugural data from the first systematic program of sea-ice observations in Kotzebue Sound, Alaska, in 2018 coincided with the first winter in living memory when the Sound was not choked with ice. The following winter of 2018–19 was even warmer and characterized by even less ice. Here we discuss the mass balance of landfast ice near Kotzebue (Qikiqtaġruk) during these two anomalously warm winters. We use in situ observations and a 1-D thermodynamic model to address three research questions developed in partnership with an Indigenous Advisory Council. In doing so, we improve our understanding of connections between landfast ice mass balance, marine mammals and subsistence hunting. Specifically, we show: (i) ice growth stopped unusually early due to strong vertical ocean heat flux, which also likely contributed to early start to bearded seal hunting; (ii) unusually thin ice contributed to widespread surface flooding. The associated snow ice formation partly offset the reduced ice growth, but the flooding likely had a negative impact on ringed seal habitat; (iii) sea ice near Kotzebue during the winters of 2017–18 and 2018–19 was likely the thinnest since at least 1945, driven by a combination of warm air temperatures and a persistent ocean heat flux.
Microstructures, including crystallographic fabric, within the margin of streaming ice can exert strong control on flow dynamics. To characterize a natural setting, we retrieved three cores, two of which reached bed, from the flank of Jarvis Glacier, eastern Alaska Range, Alaska. The core sites lie ~1 km downstream of the source, with abundant water present in the extracted cores and at the base of the glacier. All cores exhibit dipping layers, a combination of debris bands and bubble-free domains. Grain sizes coarsen on average approaching the lateral margin. Crystallographic orientations are more clustered and with c-axes closer to horizontal nearer the lateral margin. The measured fabric is sufficiently weak to induce little mechanical anisotropy, but the data suggest that despite the challenging conditions of warm ice, abundant water and a short flow distance, many aspects of the microstructure, including measurable crystallographic fabric, evolved in systematic ways.
New protocols related to Internet-of-things applications may introduce previously unnoticed measurement effects in reverberation chambers (RCs) due to the narrowband nature of these protocols. Such technologies also require less loading to meet the coherence-bandwidth conditions, which may lead to higher variations, hence uncertainties, across the channel. In this work, we extend a previous study of uncertainty in NB-IoT and CAT-M1 device measurements in RCs by providing, for the first time, a comprehensive uncertainty analysis of the components related to the reference and DUT measurements. By use of a significance test, we show that certain components of uncertainty become more dominant for such narrowband protocols, and cannot be considered as negligible, as in current standardized test methods. We show that the uncertainty, if not accounted for by using the extended formulation, will be greatly overestimated and could lead to non-compliance to standards.
Due to continuing pressures on the UK National Health Service’s mental health services, there has been increased interest in the development of brief psychological interventions (BPIs). These interventions are usually defined as including selected components of established psychological interventions, delivered over fewer sessions, and by staff with less specialised training (paraprofessionals). Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)-based BPIs for anxiety and depression have been found to be helpful for clients with mild to moderate mental health problems. This project evaluates the introduction of BPIs for anxiety and depression in a secondary care adult mental health service, with clients experiencing moderate to severe mental health difficulties. The service developed CBT-based manuals for anxiety (anxiety management) and depression (behavioural activation) BPIs. The BPIs were delivered by mental health workers without core therapeutic training, who were offered training and group supervision by psychologists in the team. Measures of anxiety (GAD-7), depression (PHQ-9), wellbeing (SWEMWBS) and functioning (WSAS) were completed at the start and end of treatment. The data reported from a 2-year period suggest that BPIs are associated with reductions in symptoms of anxiety and low mood, and improvements in wellbeing and functioning. Whilst this is a small-scale initial evaluation, the results are promising for the potential benefit of BPIs for clients in secondary care settings. Given that this new way of working has possible additional benefits such as improving access to psychological treatment and cost-effectiveness, further research in the area is warranted and encouraged.
Key learning aims
(1) To overview the current evidence for BPIs.
(2) To outline a possible model for offering BPIs in secondary care.
(3) To illustrate the potential positive effects of BPIs within a secondary care population.
(4) To consider the need for future research and development of BPIs.
Perinatal mental illnesses are a major public health issue, which untreated can have devastating impacts on women and their families. Problems with emotion regulation are a common feature across perinatal mental illnesses.
This study sought to evaluate the impacts of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) skills groups for mothers and babies in a community perinatal service. We hypothesised that community perinatal DBT skills groups that included babies would reduce distress and improve emotional regulation.
A mixed-methods within-subjects design was utilised with outcome measures collected pre- and post-intervention. Qualitative interviews exploring mothers’ experiences of bringing their baby to group were also conducted.
Results indicated that DBT skills groups significantly improved levels of psychological distress and emotional regulation.
Community perinatal DBT skills groups are effective when babies are present. Moreover, benefits of including babies were identified, under the themes of Self as Mother, Shared Experience, and Impact of Babies.
Streaming ice accounts for a major fraction of global ice flux, yet we cannot yet fully explain the dominant controls on its kinematics. In this contribution, we use an anisotropic full-Stokes thermomechanical flow solver to characterize how mechanical anisotropy and temperature distribution affect ice flux. For the ice stream and glacier geometries we explored, we found that the ice flux increases 1–3% per °C temperature increase in the margin. Glaciers and ice streams with crystallographic fabric oriented approximately normal to the shear plane increase by comparable amounts: an otherwise isotropic ice stream containing a concentrated transverse single maximum fabric in the margin flows 15% faster than the reference case. Fabric and temperature variations independently impact ice flux, with slightly nonlinear interactions. We find that realistic variations in temperature and crystallographic fabric both affect ice flux to similar degrees, with the exact effect a function of the local fabric and temperature distributions. Given this sensitivity, direct field-based measurements and models incorporating additional factors, such as water content and temporal evolution, are essential for explaining and predicting streaming ice dynamics.
Previous research in clinical, community, and school settings has demonstrated positive outcomes for the Secret Agent Society (SAS) social skills training program. This is designed to help children on the autism spectrum become more aware of emotions in themselves and others and to ‘problem-solve’ complex social scenarios. Parents play a key role in the implementation of the SAS program, attending information and support sessions with other parents and providing supervision, rewards, and feedback as their children complete weekly ‘home mission’ assignments. Drawing on data from a school-based evaluation of the SAS program, we examined whether parents’ engagement with these elements of the intervention was linked to the quality of their children’s participation and performance. Sixty-eight 8–14-year-olds (M age = 10.7) with a diagnosis of autism participated in the program. The findings indicated that ratings of parental engagement were positively correlated with children’s competence in completing home missions and with the quality of their contribution during group teaching sessions. However, there was a less consistent relationship between parental engagement and measures of children’s social and emotional skill gains over the course of the program.
We developed a tilt sensor for studying ice deformation and installed our tilt sensor systems in two boreholes drilled close to the shear margin of Jarvis Glacier, Alaska to obtain kinematic measurements of streaming ice. We used the collected tilt data to calculate borehole deformation by tracking the orientation of the sensors over time. The sensors' tilts generally trended down-glacier, with an element of cross-glacier flow in the borehole closer to the shear margin. We also evaluated our results against flow dynamic parameters derived from Glen's exponential flow law and explored the parameter space of the stress exponent n and enhancement factor E. Comparison with values from ice deformation experiments shows that the ice on Jarvis is characterized by higher n values than that is expected in regions of low stress, particularly at the shear margin (~3.4). The higher n values could be attributed to the observed high total strains coupled with potential dynamic recrystallization, causing anisotropic development and consequently sped up ice flow. Jarvis' n values place the creep regime of the ice between basal slip and dislocation creep. Tuning E towards a theoretical upper limit of 10 for anisotropic ice with single-maximum fabric reduces the n values by 0.2.
Poor physical health in severe mental illness (SMI) remains a major issue for clinical practice.
To use electronic health records of routinely collected clinical data to determine levels of screening for cardiometabolic disease and adverse health outcomes in a large sample (n = 7718) of patients with SMI, predominantly schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
We linked data from the Glasgow Psychosis Clinical Information System (PsyCIS) to morbidity records, routine blood results and prescribing data.
There was no record of routine blood monitoring during the preceding 2 years for 16.9% of the cohort. However, monitoring was poorer for male patients, younger patients aged 16–44, those with schizophrenia, and for tests of cholesterol, triglyceride and glycosylated haemoglobin. We estimated that 8.0% of participants had diabetes and that lipids levels, and use of lipid-lowering medication, was generally high.
Electronic record linkage identified poor health screening and adverse health outcomes in this vulnerable patient group. This approach can inform the design of future interventions and health policy.
We demonstrate an application evaluating carbon sequestration benefits from federal policy alternatives. Using detailed forest inventory data, we projected carbon sequestration outcomes in the coterminous 48 states for a baseline scenario and three policy scenarios through 2050. Alternatives included (1) reducing deforestation from development, (2) afforestation in the eastern United States and reforestation in the western United States, and (3) reducing stand-replacing wildfires. We used social cost of carbon estimates to evaluate the present value of carbon sequestration benefits gained with each policy. Results suggest that afforestation and reforestation would provide the greatest marginal increase in carbon benefit, far exceeding policy cost.
Food insecurity, or self-reports of inadequate food access due to limited financial resources, remains prevalent among people living with HIV (PLHIV). We examined the impact of food insecurity on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) adherence within an integrated care programme that provides services to PLHIV, including two meals per day.
Adjusted OR (aOR) were estimated by generalized estimating equations, quantifying the relationship between food insecurity (exposure) and cART adherence (outcome) with multivariable logistic regression.
We drew on survey data collected between February 2014 and March 2016 from the Dr. Peter Centre Study based in Vancouver, Canada.
The study included 116 PLHIV at baseline, with ninety-nine participants completing a 12-month follow-up interview. The median (quartile 1–quartile 3) age was 46 (39–52) years at baseline and 87 % (n 101) were biologically male at birth.
At baseline, 74 % (n 86) of participants were food insecure (≥2 affirmative responses on Health Canada’s Household Food Security Survey Module) and 67 % (n 78) were adherent to cART ≥95 % of the time. In the adjusted regression analysis, food insecurity was associated with suboptimal cART adherence (aOR = 0·47, 95 % CI 0·24, 0·93).
While food provision may reduce some health-related harms, there remains a relationship between this prevalent experience and suboptimal cART adherence in this integrated care programme. Future studies that elucidate strategies to mitigate food insecurity and its effects on cART adherence among PLHIV in this setting and in other similar environments are necessary.