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Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a highly contagious viral respiratory illness associated with hypoxia and dyspnea. Many of those who contracted and recovered from SARS during the 2002–2003 outbreak reported persistent physical, psychological, and cognitive difficulties. Here, we investigated the residual influences of SARS on cognition for a subset of healthcare professionals who recovered and were referred for neuropsychological evaluation through their workplace insurance.
Twenty-eight healthcare professionals were evaluated on neuropsychological and mood functioning approximately 1.5 years post-recovery from a severe respiratory illness. Test scores were compared with age-matched normative data, and correlations were examined between mood, self-report memory scales, subjective complaints (e.g., poor concentration, pain, fatigue), illness severity (i.e., length of hospitalization, oxygen use during hospital stay), and cognitive performance.
Participants performed within age expectations on the majority of cognitive measures including overall memory ability. Although processing speed was generally within normal limits, 43% showed significant speed–accuracy trade-offs favoring accuracy over maintaining speed. Deficits were observed on measures of complex attention, such as working memory and the ability to sustain attention under conditions of distraction. Participants endorsed poorer memory ability than same-age peers on a meta-memory measure and mild to moderate depression and anxiety symptoms. Objective test performance was largely uncorrelated with self-reports, mood, or illness severity, except for moderate correlations between complex attention and participants’ subjective ratings of Everyday Task-Oriented Memory.
These findings demonstrate specific long-term cognitive deficits associated with SARS and provide further evidence of the cognitive effects of hypoxic illnesses.
This study explored family caregivers’ use of technology to care for people with dementia living at home. Three questions were pursued: (1) what are the important, unmet needs of family caregivers, (2) how do they use technologies to assist in care tasks, and (3) what do health care providers know about caregivers’ needs and technology use? Two comprehensive surveys were developed to answer these questions: one for family caregivers (n = 33), and one for health care providers (n = 60). Descriptive and quantitative analyses showed that caregivers’ important, unmet needs were in the domains of information, formal services, and emotional support. Caregivers make limited use of technology but believe in its potential usefulness. Health care providers agree that technology is useful in dementia care; however, they underestimate caregivers’ willingness to adopt technologies to communicate with providers. Findings prove caregiver willingness to use technology to support their care role and provide guidance regarding the caregiver needs that these technologies should address.
Forgetting names is a common memory concern for people with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) and is related to explicit memory deficits and pathological changes in the medial temporal lobes at the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In the current experiment, we tested a unique method to improve memory for face–name associations in people with aMCI involving incidental rehearsal of face–name pairs.
Older adults with aMCI and age- and education-matched controls learned 24 face–name pairs and were tested via immediate cued recall with faces as cues for associated names. During a 25- to 30-min retention interval, 10 of the face–name pairs reappeared as a quarter of the items on a seemingly unrelated 1-back task on faces, with the superimposed names irrelevant to the task. After the delay, surprise delayed cued recall and forced-choice associative recognition tests were administered for the face–name pairs.
Both groups showed reduced forgetting of the names that repeated as distraction and enhanced recollection of these pairs.
The results demonstrate that passive methods to prompt automatic retrieval of associations may hold promise as interventions for people with early signs of AD.
Schizophrenia is associated with altered neural development. We assessed neurological soft signs (NSS) and dermatoglyphic anomalies (total a–b ridge count (TABRC) and total finger ridge count) in 15 pairs of twins concordant and discordant for schizophrenia. Within-pair differences in both NSS and TABRC scores were significantly greater in discordant compared to concordant monozygotic pairs. There was no significant difference in NSS and TABRC scores between subjects with schizophrenia and their co-twins without the illness. However, monozygotic discordant twins with schizophrenia had higher ABRCs on their right hands compared to their co-twins without the illness. These findings suggest that an unidentified environmental event acting between weeks 6 and 15 of gestation affects the development of monozygotic twins who go on to develop schizophrenia but does not have a corresponding effect on their co-twins who do not develop the illness. The effect of such an event on dermatoglyphic profiles appears lateralised to the right hand in affected twins.
Capacity legislation in Ireland is evolving. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 has been passed into law, but its main provisions are yet to be commenced. This paper compares the law and its practical implications currently and under the new legislation. Quick reference algorithms for frontline clinicians are proposed.
Epilepsy and mental illness have a bidirectional association. Psychiatrists are likely to encounter epilepsy as comorbidity. Seizures may present as mental illness. Equally, the management of psychiatric conditions has the potential to destabilise epilepsy. There is a need for structured epilepsy awareness and training amongst psychiatrists. This paper outlines key considerations around diagnosis, treatment and risk while suggesting practical recommendations.
Hearing loss is highly prevalent in older adults and can pose challenges for neuropsychologists, as assessment and intervention procedures often involve orally presented information which must be accurately heard. This project examined the hearing status of 20 clients (mean age = 71 years) in a hospital-based outpatient neuropsychology clinic, and explored whether information about hearing loss informed neuropsychologists’ clinical practice. A research assistant administered a brief hearing screening test to each participant. Four treating neuropsychologists were asked to comment on their client’s hearing status before and after being shown their client’s hearing screen test results. Screening revealed that the majority of participants had at least mild hearing loss, and that the neuropsychologists were relatively accurate (60%) at estimating their clients’ hearing status. Neuropsychologists used information about a client’s hearing status to make recommendations that clients pursue audiologic services, and to educate clients and family members about hearing loss and communication.
Objectives: Down syndrome (DS) is a population with known hippocampal impairment, with studies showing that individuals with DS display difficulties in spatial navigation and remembering arbitrary bindings. Recent research has also demonstrated the importance of the hippocampus for novel word-learning. Based on these data, we aimed to determine whether individuals with DS show deficits in learning new labels and if they may benefit from encoding conditions thought to be less reliant on hippocampal function (i.e., through fast mapping). Methods: In the current study, we examined immediate, 5-min, and 1-week delayed word-learning across two learning conditions (e.g., explicit encoding vs. fast mapping). These conditions were examined across groups (twenty-six 3- to 5-year-old typically developing children and twenty-six 11- to 28-year-old individuals with DS with comparable verbal and nonverbal scores on the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test – second edition) and in reference to sleep quality. Results: Both individuals with and without DS showed retention after a 1-week delay, and the current study found no benefit of the fast mapping condition in either group contrary to our expectations. Eye tracking data showed that preferential eye movements to target words were not present immediately but emerged after 1-week in both groups. Furthermore, sleep measures collected via actigraphy did not relate to retention in either group. Conclusions: This study presents novel data on long-term knowledge retention in reference to sleep patterns in DS and adds to a body of knowledge helping us to understand the processes of word-learning in typical and atypically developing populations. (JINS, 2018, 24, 955–965)
Objectives: The self-reference effect (SRE), enhanced memory for self-related information, has been studied in healthy young and older adults but has had little investigation in people with age-related memory disorders, such as amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). Self-referential encoding may help to improve episodic memory in aMCI. Additionally, self-referential processing has been shown to benefit recollection, the vivid re-experiencing of past events, a phenomenon that has been termed the self-reference recollection effect (SRRE; Conway & Dewhurst, 1995). Furthermore, it remains unclear whether the valence of stimuli influences the appearance of the SRE and SRRE. Methods: The current study investigated the SRE and SRRE for trait adjective words in 20 individuals with aMCI and 30 healthy older adult controls. Ninety trait adjective words were allocated to self-reference, semantic, or structural encoding conditions; memory was later tested using a recognition test. Results: While healthy older adults showed a SRE, individuals with aMCI did not benefit from self-referential encoding over and above that of semantic encoding (an effect of “deep encoding”). A similar pattern was apparent for the SRRE; healthy controls showed enhanced recollection for words encoded in the self-reference condition, while the aMCI group did not show specific benefit to recollection for self-referenced over semantically encoded items. No effects of valence were found. Conclusions: These results indicate that while memory for trait adjective words can be improved in aMCI with deep encoding strategies (whether self-reference or semantic), self-referencing does not provide an additional benefit. (JINS, 2018, 24, 821–832)
Modifying finishing strategies within established production systems has the potential to increase beef output and farm profit while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Thus, the objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of finishing duration on animal performance of Holstein-Friesian (HF) bulls and steers and evaluate the profitability and GHG emissions of these finishing strategies. A total of 90 HF calves were assigned to a complete randomised block design; three bull and three steer finishing strategies. Calves were rotationally grazed in a paddock system for the first season at pasture, housed and offered grass silage ad libitum plus 1.5 kg DM of concentrate per head daily for the first winter and returned to pasture for a second season. Bulls were slaughtered at 19 months of age and either finished indoors on concentrates ad libitum for 100 days (19AL), finished at pasture supplemented with 5 kg DM of concentrate per head daily for 100 (19SP) or 150 days (19LP). Steers were slaughtered at 21 months of age and finished at pasture, supplemented with 5 kg DM of concentrate per head daily for 60 (21SP) and 110 days (21LP) or slaughtered at 24 months of age and finished indoors over the second winter on grass silage ad libitum plus 5 kg DM of concentrate per head daily (24MO). The Grange Dairy Beef Systems Model and the Beef Systems Greenhouse Gas Emissions Model were used to evaluate profitability and GHG emissions, respectively. Average daily gain during the finishing period (P<0.001), live weight at slaughter (P<0.01), carcass weight (P<0.05) and fat score (P<0.001) were greater for 19AL than 19SP and 19LP, respectively. Similarly, concentrate dry matter intake was greater for 19AL than 19SP; 19LP was intermediate (P<0.001). Live weight at slaughter (P<0.001), carcass weight (P<0.001), conformation score (P<0.05) and fat score (P<0.001) were greater for 24MO than 21SP and 21LP, respectively. During the finishing period concentrate dry matter intake was greater for 21LP than 21SP with 24MO intermediate; 542, 283 and 436 kg DM, respectively. Although pasture-based finishing strategies had lower gross output values, concentrate feed costs were also reduced thus net margin was greater than indoor finishing strategies. Reducing concentrate input increased GHG emissions for bulls and steers slaughtered at the same age, respectively. Although prolonging the finishing duration reduced GHG emissions for bull and steer production systems, finishing bulls and steers over a longer period at pasture did not enhance animal performance and profit.
Camera trap surveys are a non-invasive way to monitor wildlife populations. Although most often used to study medium- and large-sized mammals, camera traps also detect non-target species. These detections provide useful ecological information on little-known species, but such data usually remain unanalysed. We used detections from camera-trapping surveys of native carnivores and small mammals to examine distribution patterns and occupancy trends of little-known ground-dwelling rainforest birds at seven sites across the Masoala-Makira protected area complex in north-eastern Madagascar. We obtained 4,083 detections of 28 bird species over 18,056 trap nights from 200 to 2013. We estimated occupancy across the Masoala-Makira protected area complex (hereafter, landscape occupancy) and annual trends in occupancy at three resurveyed sites for five commonly observed species. Landscape occupancy across Masoala-Makira ranged from 0.75 (SE 0.09; Madagascar Magpie-robin Copsychus albospecularis) to 0.25 (SE 0.06; Scaly Ground-roller Geobiastes squamiger). Ground-dwelling forest bird occupancy was similar at forest sites that ranged from intact to fully degraded; however, three species were detected less often at sites with high feral cat trap success. Nearly half of all focal species showed declines in annual occupancy probability at one resurveyed site (S02) from 2008 to 2013. The declines in ground-dwelling bird occupancy could have community-wide consequences as birds provide ecosystem services such as seed dispersal and pest regulation. We suggest immediate conservation measures—such as feral cat removal—be implemented to protect ground-dwelling forest birds and other threatened taxa across this landscape.
Training for the clinical research workforce does not sufficiently prepare workers for today’s scientific complexity; deficiencies may be ameliorated with training. The Enhancing Clinical Research Professionals’ Training and Qualifications developed competency standards for principal investigators and clinical research coordinators.
Clinical and Translational Science Awards representatives refined competency statements. Working groups developed assessments, identified training, and highlighted gaps.
Forty-eight competency statements in 8 domains were developed.
Training is primarily investigator focused with few programs for clinical research coordinators. Lack of training is felt in new technologies and data management. There are no standardized assessments of competence.
The translation of discoveries to drugs, devices, and behavioral interventions requires well-prepared study teams. Execution of clinical trials remains suboptimal due to varied quality in design, execution, analysis, and reporting. A critical impediment is inconsistent, or even absent, competency-based training for clinical trial personnel.
In 2014, the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) funded the project, Enhancing Clinical Research Professionals’ Training and Qualifications (ECRPTQ), aimed at addressing this deficit. The goal was to ensure all personnel are competent to execute clinical trials. A phased structure was utilized.
This paper focuses on training recommendations in Good Clinical Practice (GCP). Leveraging input from all Clinical and Translational Science Award hubs, the following was recommended to NCATS: all investigators and study coordinators executing a clinical trial should understand GCP principles and undergo training every 3 years, with the training method meeting the minimum criteria identified by the International Conference on Harmonisation GCP.
We anticipate that industry sponsors will acknowledge such training, eliminating redundant training requests. We proposed metrics to be tracked that required further study. A separate task force was composed to define recommendations for metrics to be reported to NCATS.
Individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) show minor decrements in their instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). Sensitive measures of IADL performance are needed to capture the mild difficulties observed in aMCI groups. Routine naturalistic actions (NAs) are familiar IADL-type activities that require individuals to enact everyday tasks such as preparing coffee. In the current study we examined the extent to which NAs could be used to help facilitate differential diagnosis of aMCI relative to composite measures of episodic memory, semantic knowledge, and executive function. Healthy older adults (n=24) and individuals with aMCI (n=24) enacted two highly familiar NAs and completed tests of episodic memory, semantic knowledge, and executive function. Binary logistic regression was used to predict group membership (aMCI vs. control participants). The regression analyses indicated that NA performance could reliably predict group membership, over and above measures of cognitive functioning. These findings indicated that NA performance can be used to help facilitate differential diagnosis of healthy aging and aMCI and used as an outcome measure in intervention studies. (JINS, 2015, 21, 419–428)