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As the pathophysiology of Covid-19 emerges, this paper describes dysphagia as a sequela of the disease, including its diagnosis and management, hypothesised causes, symptomatology in relation to viral progression, and concurrent variables such as intubation, tracheostomy and delirium, at a tertiary UK hospital.
During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, 208 out of 736 patients (28.9 per cent) admitted to our institution with SARS-CoV-2 were referred for swallow assessment. Of the 208 patients, 102 were admitted to the intensive treatment unit for mechanical ventilation support, of which 82 were tracheostomised. The majority of patients regained near normal swallow function prior to discharge, regardless of intubation duration or tracheostomy status.
Dysphagia is prevalent in patients admitted either to the intensive treatment unit or the ward with Covid-19 related respiratory issues. This paper describes the crucial role of intensive swallow rehabilitation to manage dysphagia associated with this disease, including therapeutic respiratory weaning for those with a tracheostomy.
We examined whether intraindividual variability (IIV) across tests of executive functions (EF-IIV) is elevated in Veterans with a history of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) relative to military controls (MCs) without a history of mTBI. We also explored relationships among EF-IIV, white matter microstructure, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
A total of 77 Veterans (mTBI = 43, MCs = 34) completed neuropsychological testing, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and PTSD symptom ratings. EF-IIV was calculated as the standard deviation across six tests of EF, along with an EF-Mean composite. DSI Studio connectometry analysis identified white matter tracts significantly associated with EF-IIV according to generalized fractional anisotropy (GFA).
After adjusting for EF-Mean and PTSD symptoms, the mTBI group showed significantly higher EF-IIV than MCs. Groups did not differ on EF-Mean after adjusting for PTSD symptoms. Across groups, PTSD symptoms significantly negatively correlated with EF-Mean, but not with EF-IIV. EF-IIV significantly negatively correlated with GFA in multiple white matter pathways connecting frontal and more posterior regions.
Veterans with mTBI demonstrated significantly greater IIV across EF tests compared to MCs, even after adjusting for mean group differences on those measures as well as PTSD severity. Findings suggest that, in contrast to analyses that explore effects of mean performance across tests, discrepancy analyses may capture unique variance in neuropsychological performance and more sensitively capture cognitive disruption in Veterans with mTBI histories. Importantly, findings show that EF-IIV is negatively associated with the microstructure of white matter pathways interconnecting cortical regions that mediate executive function and attentional processes.
To test the functional implications of impaired white matter (WM) connectivity among patients with schizophrenia and their relatives, we examined the heritability of fractional anisotropy (FA) measured on diffusion tensor imaging data acquired in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and its association with cognitive performance in a unique sample of 175 multigenerational non-psychotic relatives of 23 multiplex schizophrenia families and 240 unrelated controls (total = 438).
We examined polygenic inheritance (h2r) of FA in 24 WM tracts bilaterally, and also pleiotropy to test whether heritability of FA in multiple WM tracts is secondary to genetic correlation among tracts using the Sequential Oligogenic Linkage Analysis Routines. Partial correlation tests examined the correlation of FA with performance on eight cognitive domains on the Penn Computerized Neurocognitive Battery, controlling for age, sex, site and mother's education, followed by multiple comparison corrections.
Significant total additive genetic heritability of FA was observed in all three-categories of WM tracts (association, commissural and projection fibers), in total 33/48 tracts. There were significant genetic correlations in 40% of tracts. Diagnostic group main effects were observed only in tracts with significantly heritable FA. Correlation of FA with neurocognitive impairments was observed mainly in heritable tracts.
Our data show significant heritability of all three-types of tracts among relatives of schizophrenia. Significant heritability of FA of multiple tracts was not entirely due to genetic correlations among the tracts. Diagnostic group main effect and correlation with neurocognitive performance were mainly restricted to tracts with heritable FA suggesting shared genetic effects on these traits.
Prior research has shown that sipping of alcohol begins to emerge during childhood and is potentially etiologically significant for later substance use problems. Using a large, community sample of 9- and 10-year-olds (N = 11,872; 53% female), we examined individual differences in precocious alcohol use in the form of alcohol sipping. We focused explicitly on features that are robust and well-demonstrated correlates of, and antecedents to, alcohol excess and related problems later in the lifespan, including youth- and parent-reported externalizing traits (i.e., impulsivity, behavioral inhibition and activation) and psychopathology. Seventeen percent of the sample reported sipping alcohol outside of a religiously sanctioned activity by age 9 or 10. Several aspects of psychopathology and personality emerged as small but reliable correlates of sipping. Nonreligious sipping was related to youth-reported impulsigenic traits, aspects of behavioral activation, prodromal psychotic-like symptoms, and mood disorder diagnoses, as well as parent-reported externalizing disorder diagnoses. Religious sipping was unexpectedly associated with certain aspects of impulsivity. Together, our findings point to the potential importance of impulsivity and other transdiagnostic indicators of psychopathology (e.g., emotion dysregulation, novelty seeking) in the earliest forms of drinking behavior.
The Living Life to the Full college and free online courses are based on the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) approach and is offered at Further Education Colleges and free of charge online (www.livinglifetothefull.com). The classes teaches key skills such as identifying and challenging unhelpful thoughts, problem solving etc.
In the college course, total mean scores at baseline for knowledge questions was 8.20 increasing to 11.07 gain 2.87 p=.042). Self assessed skills were 24.00 at baseline, increasing to 34.20 at session 8 (mean difference = 10.20 p=.001). The Training Acceptability Rating scale showed content scores at session 1 of 77% rising to 91% at session 8. Process scores were 73% at session 1 rising to 89%, showing training acceptability throughout the course. The online course has over 15,000 registered users. 70% are clinical cases of anxiety (HAD scale), and 55% depression. 24% of users are clinical cases and are not receiving any support from a practitioner. The site has had over 4 million hits in 10 months and an average of 1000 hits/hour.
Delivering CBT in this way seems to lead to gains in mental health literacy. Such courses may provide another useful option for helping people access CBT for mild to moderate problems of distress. A RCT of the core course materials has just been completed.
In the context of untimely access to community formal services, unmet needs of persons with dementia (PwD) and their carers may compromise their quality of life.
The Actifcare EU-JPND project (www.actifcare.eu) focuses on access to and (non) utilization of dementia formal care in eight countries (The Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Italy, Portugal), as related to unmet needs and quality of life. Evaluations included systematic reviews, qualitative explorations, and a European cohort study (PwD in early/intermediate phases and their primary carers; n = 453 days; 1 year follow-up). Preliminary Portuguese results are presented here (FCT-JPND-HC/0001/2012).
(1) extensive systematic searches on access to/utilization of services; (2) focus groups of PwD, carers and health/social professionals; (3) prospective study (n = 66 days from e.g., primary care, hospital outpatient services, Alzheimer Portugal).
In Portugal, nationally representative data is scarce regarding health/social services utilization in dementia. There are important barriers to access to community services, according to users, carers and professionals, whose views not always coincide. The Portuguese cohort participants were 66 PwD (62.1% female, 77.3 ± 6.2 years, 55.5% Alzheimer's/mixed subtypes, MMSE 17.8 ± 4.8, CDR1 89.4%) and 66 carers (66.7% female, 64.9 ± 15.0 years, 56.1% spouses), with considerable unmet needs in some domains.
All Actifcare milestones are being reached. The consortium is now analyzing international differences in (un) timely access to services and its impact on quality of life and needs for care (e.g., formal community support is weaker in Portugal than in many European countries). National best-practice recommendations in dementia are also in preparation.
Abstract submitted on behalf of the Actifcare Eu-JPND consortium.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Competence committees play a key role in a competency-based system of assessment. These committees are tasked with reviewing and synthesizing clinical performance data to make judgments regarding residents’ competence. Canadian emergency medicine (EM) postgraduate training programs recently implemented competence committees; however, a paucity of literature guides their work.
The objective of this study was to develop consensus-based recommendations to optimize the function and decisions of competence committees in Canadian EM training programs.
Semi-structured interviews of EM competence committee chairs were conducted and analyzed. The interview guide was informed by a literature review of competence committee structure, processes, and best practices. Inductive thematic analysis of interview transcripts was conducted to identify emerging themes. Preliminary recommendations, based on themes, were drafted and presented at the 2019 CAEP Academic Symposium on Education. Through a live presentation and survey poll, symposium attendees representing the national EM community participated in a facilitated discussion of the recommendations. The authors incorporated this feedback and identified consensus among symposium attendees on a final set of nine high-yield recommendations.
The Canadian EM community used a structured process to develop nine best practice recommendations for competence committees addressing: committee membership, meeting processes, decision outcomes, use of high-quality performance data, and ongoing quality improvement. These recommendations can inform the structure and processes of competence committees in Canadian EM training programs.
Evidence suggests that early trauma may have a negative effect on cognitive functioning in individuals with psychosis, yet the relationship between childhood trauma and cognition among those at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis remains unexplored. Our sample consisted of 626 CHR children and 279 healthy controls who were recruited as part of the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study 2. Childhood trauma up to the age of 16 (psychological, physical, and sexual abuse, emotional neglect, and bullying) was assessed by using the Childhood Trauma and Abuse Scale. Multiple domains of cognition were measured at baseline and at the time of psychosis conversion, using standardized assessments. In the CHR group, there was a trend for better performance in individuals who reported a history of multiple types of childhood trauma compared with those with no/one type of trauma (Cohen d = 0.16). A history of multiple trauma types was not associated with greater cognitive change in CHR converters over time. Our findings tentatively suggest there may be different mechanisms that lead to CHR states. Individuals who are at clinical high risk who have experienced multiple types of childhood trauma may have more typically developing premorbid cognitive functioning than those who reported minimal trauma do. Further research is needed to unravel the complexity of factors underlying the development of at-risk states.
A point-prevalence study of antimicrobial use among inpatients at 5 public hospitals in Sri Lanka revealed that 54.6% were receiving antimicrobials: 43.1% in medical wards, 68.0% in surgical wards, and 97.6% in intensive care wards. Amoxicillin-clavulanate was most commonly used for major indications. Among patients receiving antimicrobials, 31.0% received potentially inappropriate therapy.
The north-west European population of Bewick’s Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii declined by 38% between 1995 and 2010 and is listed as ‘Endangered’ on the European Red List of birds. Here, we combined information on food resources within the landscape with long-term data on swan numbers, habitat use, behaviour and two complementary measures of body condition, to examine whether changes in food type and availability have influenced the Bewick’s Swan’s use of their main wintering site in the UK, the Ouse Washes and surrounding fens. Maximum number of Bewick’s Swans rose from 620 in winter 1958/59 to a high of 7,491 in winter 2004/05, before falling to 1,073 birds in winter 2013/14. Between winters 1958/59 and 2014/15 the Ouse Washes supported between 0.5 and 37.9 % of the total population wintering in north-west Europe (mean ± 95 % CI = 18.1 ± 2.4 %). Swans fed on agricultural crops, shifting from post-harvest remains of root crops (e.g. sugar beet and potatoes) in November and December to winter-sown cereals (e.g. wheat) in January and February. Inter-annual variation in the area cultivated for these crops did not result in changes in the peak numbers of swans occurring on the Ouse Washes. Behavioural and body condition data indicated that food supplies on the Ouse Washes and surrounding fens remain adequate to allow the birds to gain and maintain good body condition throughout winter with no increase in foraging effort. Our findings suggest that the recent decline in numbers of Bewick’s Swans at this internationally important site was not linked to inadequate food resources.
Psychosocial disability affects a number of individuals with psychosis and often begins years before the formal onset of disorder. This suggests that for many, their psychosocial disability is enduring, and targeted interventions are therefore needed earlier in their developmental trajectories to ensure that psychosocial disability does not become entrenched. Poor psychosocial functioning also affects individuals with a range of different emerging mental health problems, putting these young people at risk of long-term social marginalisation and economic disadvantage; all of which are known risk factors for the development of psychosis. Identification of the markers of poor psychosocial functioning will help to inform effective treatments. This editorial will discern the early trajectories and markers of poor psychosocial outcome in psychosis, and highlight which individuals are most at risk of having a poor outcome. This editorial will also discuss whether early interventions are currently being targeted appropriately and will propose how intervention and preventative strategies can be implemented, to restore psychosocial trajectories in a way that enables young people to maximise their life chances.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
Adolescence is a critical time point in the lifecourse. LifeLab is an educational intervention engaging adolescents in understanding Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) concepts and the impact of the early life environment on future health, benefitting both their long-term health and that of the next generation. We aimed to assess whether engaging adolescents with DOHaD concepts improves scientific literacy and whether engagement alone improves health behaviours.
Six schools were randomized, three to intervention and three to control. Outcome measures were changed in knowledge, and intended and actual behaviour in relation to diet and lifestyle. A total of 333 students completed baseline and follow-up questionnaires. At 12 months, intervention students showed greater understanding of DOHaD concepts. No sustained changes in behaviours were identified.
Adolescents’ engagement with DOHaD concepts can be improved and maintained over 12 months. Such engagement does not itself translate into behaviour change. The intervention has consequently been revised to include additional components beyond engagement alone.
Cognitive deficits are a core feature of schizophrenia, and impairments in most domains are thought to be stable over the course of the illness. However, cross-sectional evidence indicates that some areas of cognition, such as visuospatial associative memory, may be preserved in the early stages of psychosis, but become impaired in later established illness stages. This longitudinal study investigated change in visuospatial and verbal associative memory following psychosis onset.
In total 95 first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients and 63 healthy controls (HC) were assessed on neuropsychological tests at baseline, with 38 FEP and 22 HCs returning for follow-up assessment at 5–11 years. Visuospatial associative memory was assessed using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery Visuospatial Paired-Associate Learning task, and verbal associative memory was assessed using Verbal Paired Associates subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale - Revised.
Visuospatial and verbal associative memory at baseline did not differ significantly between FEP patients and HCs. However, over follow-up, visuospatial associative memory deteriorated significantly for the FEP group, relative to healthy individuals. Conversely, verbal associative memory improved to a similar degree observed in HCs. In the FEP cohort, visuospatial (but not verbal) associative memory ability at baseline was associated with functional outcome at follow-up.
Areas of cognition that develop prior to psychosis onset, such as visuospatial and verbal associative memory, may be preserved early in the illness. Later deterioration in visuospatial memory ability may relate to progressive structural and functional brain abnormalities that occurs following psychosis onset.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and feasibility of a passive range of motion exercise programme for infants with CHD.
This non-randomised pilot study enrolled 20 neonates following Stage I palliation for single-ventricle physiology. Trained physical therapists administered standardised 15–20-minute passive range of motion protocol, for up to 21 days or until hospital discharge. Safety assessments included vital signs measured before, during, and after the exercise as well as adverse events recorded through the pre-Stage II follow-up. Feasibility was determined by the percent of days that >75% of the passive range of motion protocol was completed.
A total of 20 infants were enrolled (70% males) for the present study. The median age at enrolment was 8 days (with a range from 5 to 23), with a median start of intervention at postoperative day 4 (with a range from 2 to 12). The median hospital length of stay following surgery was 15 days (with a range from 9 to 131), with an average of 13.4 (with a range from 3 to 21) in-hospital days per patient. Completion of >75% of the protocol was achieved on 88% of eligible days. Of 11 adverse events reported in six patients, 10 were expected with one determined to be possibly related to the study intervention. There were no clinically significant changes in vital signs. At pre-Stage II follow-up, weight-for-age z-score (−0.84±1.20) and length-for-age z-score (−0.83±1.31) were higher compared with historical controls from two earlier trials.
A passive range of motion exercise programme is safe and feasible in infants with single-ventricle physiology. Larger studies are needed to determine the optimal duration of passive range of motion and its effect on somatic growth.
To describe the frequency of urine cultures performed in inpatients without additional testing for pyuria
Retrospective cohort study
A 1,250-bed academic tertiary referral center
This study included urine cultures drawn on 4 medical and 2 surgical wards from 2009 to 2013 and in the medical and surgical intensive care units (ICUs) from 2012 to 2013. Patient and laboratory data were abstracted from the hospital’s medical informatics database. We identified catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) in the ICUs by routine infection prevention surveillance. Cultures without urinalysis or urine microscopy were defined as “isolated.” The primary outcome was the proportion of isolated urine cultures obtained. We used multivariable logistic regression to assess predictors of isolated cultures.
During the study period, 14,743 urine cultures were obtained (63.5 cultures per 1,000 patient days) during 11,820 patient admissions. Of these, 2,973 cultures (20.2%) were isolated cultures. Of the 61 CAUTIs identified, 31 (50.8%) were identified by an isolated culture. Predictors for having an isolated culture included male gender (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.22; 95%; confidence interval [CI], 1.11–1.35], urinary catheterization (aOR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.89–2.46), ICU admission (medical ICU aOR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.47–2.00; surgical ICU aOR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.51–2.19), and obtaining the urine culture ≥1 calendar day after admission (1–7 days aOR, 1.91; 95% CI. 1.71–2.12; >7 days after admission aOR, 2.81; 95% CI, 2.37–3.34).
Isolated urine cultures are common in hospitalized patients, particularly in patients with urinary catheters and those in ICUs. Interventions targeting inpatient culturing practices may improve the diagnosis of urinary tract infections.