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Hong Kong is an intermediate tuberculosis (TB) burden city in Asia Pacific with slow decline of case notification in the last decade. By 24-loci mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units – variable number of tandem repeats genotyping, we examined 534 Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates collected from culture-positive hospitalised TB patients in a 1.7 million population geographic region in the city. Overall, 286 (75%) were classified as Beijing genotype, of which 216 (76%) and 59 (21%) belonged to modern and ancient sub-lineage, respectively. Only two cases were genetically clustered while spatial clustering was absent. Male gender, permanent residency in Hong Kong and born in Hong Kong or Mainland China were associated with Beijing genotype. The high prevalence of Beijing modern lineage was similar to that in East Asia, which reflected the pattern resulting from population migration. The paucity of clustering suggested that reactivation accounted for most of the TB disease cases, which was and echoed by observation that half were 60 years old or above, and the presence of co-morbid medical conditions. The predominance of reactivation TB cases in intermediate burden localities implies that the detection and control of latent TB infection would be the major challenge in achieving TB elimination.
Cognitive impairment is common in bipolar disorder and is emerging as a therapeutic target to enhance quality of life and function. A systematic search was conducted on PubMed, PsycInfo, Cochrane, clinicaltrials.gov, and Embase databases for blinded or open-label randomized controlled trials evaluating the pro-cognitive effects of pharmacological, neurostimulation, or psychological interventions for bipolar disorder. Twenty-two trials were identified, evaluating a total of 16 different pro-cognitive interventions. The methodological quality of the identified trials were assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Currently, no intervention (i.e., pharmacologic, neurostimulation, cognitive remediation) has demonstrated robust and independent pro-cognitive effects in adults with bipolar disorder. Findings are preliminary and methodological limitations limit the interpretation of results. Methodological considerations including, but not limited to, the enrichment with populations with pre-treatment cognitive impairment, as well as the inclusion of individuals who are in remission are encouraged. Future trials may also consider targeting interventions to specific cognitive subgroups and the use of biomarkers of cognitive function.
Benzodiazepine (BZD) prescription rates have increased over the past decade in the United States. Available literature indicates that sociodemographic factors may influence diagnostic patterns and/or prescription behaviour. Herein, the aim of this study is to determine whether the gender of the prescriber and/or patient influences BZD prescription.
Cross-sectional study using data from the Florida Medicaid Managed Medical Assistance Program from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. Eligible recipients ages 18 to 64, inclusive, enrolled in the Florida Medicaid plan for at least 1 day, and were dually eligible. Recipients either had a serious mental illness (SMI), or non-SMI and anxiety.
Total 125 463 cases were identified (i.e., received BZD or non-BZD prescription). Main effect of patient and prescriber gender was significant F(1, 125 459) = 0.105, P = 0 .745, partial η2 < 0.001. Relative risk (RR) of male prescribers prescribing a BZD compared to female prescribers was 1.540, 95% confidence intervals (CI) [1.513, 1.567], whereas the RR of male patients being prescribed a BZD compared to female patients was 1.16, 95% CI [1.14, 1.18]. Main effects of patient and prescriber gender were statistically significant F(1, 125 459) = 188.232, P < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.001 and F(1, 125 459) = 349.704, P < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.013, respectively.
Male prescribers are more likely to prescribe BZDs, and male patients are more likely to receive BZDs. Further studies are required to characterize factors that influence this gender-by-gender interaction.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic represents an unprecedented threat to mental health. Herein, we assessed the impact of COVID-19 on subthreshold depressive symptoms and identified potential mitigating factors.
Participants were from Depression Cohort in China (ChiCTR registry number 1900022145). Adults (n = 1722) with subthreshold depressive symptoms were enrolled between March and October 2019 in a 6-month, community-based interventional study that aimed to prevent clinical depression using psychoeducation. A total of 1506 participants completed the study in Shenzhen, China: 726 participants, who completed the study between March 2019 and January 2020 (i.e. before COVID-19), comprised the ‘wave 1’ group; 780 participants, who were enrolled before COVID-19 and completed the 6-month endpoint assessment during COVID-19, comprised ‘wave 2’. Symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia were assessed at baseline and endpoint (i.e. 6-month follow-up) using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) and Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), respectively. Measures of resilience and regular exercise were assessed at baseline. We compared the mental health outcomes between wave 1 and wave 2 groups. We additionally investigated how mental health outcomes changed across disparate stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, i.e. peak (7–13 February), post-peak (14–27 February), remission plateau (28 February−present).
COVID-19 increased the risk for three mental outcomes: (1) depression (odds ratio [OR] = 1.30, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04–1.62); (2) anxiety (OR = 1.47, 95% CI: 1.16–1.88) and (3) insomnia (OR = 1.37, 95% CI: 1.07–1.77). The highest proportion of probable depression and anxiety was observed post-peak, with 52.9% and 41.4%, respectively. Greater baseline resilience scores had a protective effect on the three main outcomes (depression: OR = 0.26, 95% CI: 0.19–0.37; anxiety: OR = 1.22, 95% CI: 0.14–0.33 and insomnia: OR = 0.18, 95% CI: 0.11–0.28). Furthermore, regular physical activity mitigated the risk for depression (OR = 0.79, 95% CI: 0.79–0.99).
The COVID-19 pandemic exerted a highly significant and negative impact on symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia. Mental health outcomes fluctuated as a function of the duration of the pandemic and were alleviated to some extent with the observed decline in community-based transmission. Augmenting resiliency and regular exercise provide an opportunity to mitigate the risk for mental health symptoms during this severe public health crisis.
Brief measurements of the subjective experience of stress with good predictive capability are important in a range of community mental health and research settings. The potential for large-scale implementation of such a measure for screening may facilitate early risk detection and intervention opportunities. Few such measures however have been developed and validated in epidemiological and longitudinal community samples. We designed a new single-item measure of the subjective level of stress (SLS-1) and tested its validity and ability to predict long-term mental health outcomes of up to 12 months through two separate studies.
We first examined the content and face validity of the SLS-1 with a panel consisting of mental health experts and laypersons. Two studies were conducted to examine its validity and predictive utility. In study 1, we tested the convergent and divergent validity as well as incremental validity of the SLS-1 in a large epidemiological sample of young people in Hong Kong (n = 1445). In study 2, in a consecutively recruited longitudinal community sample of young people (n = 258), we first performed the same procedures as in study 1 to ensure replicability of the findings. We then examined in this longitudinal sample the utility of the SLS-1 in predicting long-term depressive, anxiety and stress outcomes assessed at 3 months and 6 months (n = 182) and at 12 months (n = 84).
The SLS-1 demonstrated good content and face validity. Findings from the two studies showed that SLS-1 was moderately to strongly correlated with a range of mental health outcomes, including depressive, anxiety, stress and distress symptoms. We also demonstrated its ability to explain the variance explained in symptoms beyond other known personal and psychological factors. Using the longitudinal sample in study 2, we further showed the significant predictive capability of the SLS-1 for long-term symptom outcomes for up to 12 months even when accounting for demographic characteristics.
The findings altogether support the validity and predictive utility of the SLS-1 as a brief measure of stress with strong indications of both concurrent and long-term mental health outcomes. Given the value of brief measures of mental health risks at a population level, the SLS-1 may have potential for use as an early screening tool to inform early preventative intervention work.
Families facing end-stage nonmalignant chronic diseases (NMCDs) are presented with similar symptom burdens and need for psycho-social–spiritual support as their counterparts with advanced cancers. However, NMCD patients tend to face more variable disease trajectories, and thus may require different anticipatory supports, delivered in familiar environments. The Life Rainbow Programme (LRP) provides holistic, transdisciplinary, community-based end-of-life care for patients with NMCDs and their caregivers. This paper reports on the 3-month outcomes using a single-group, pre–post comparison.
Patients with end-stage NMCDs were screened for eligibility by a medical team before being referred to the LRP. Patients were assessed at baseline (T0), 1 month (T1), and 3 months (T2) using the Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale (IPOS). Their hospital use in the previous month was also measured by presentations at accident and emergency services, admissions to intensive care units, and number of hospital bed-days. Caregivers were assessed at T0 and T2 using the Chinese version of the Modified Caregiver Strain Index, and self-reported health, psychological, spiritual, and overall well-being. Over-time changes in outcomes for patients, and caregivers, were tested using paired-sample t-tests, Wilcoxon-signed rank tests, and chi-square tests.
Seventy-four patients and 36 caregivers participated in this research study. Patients reported significant improvements in all IPOS domains at both 1 and 3 months [ranging from Cohen's d = 0.495 (nausea) to 1.793 (depression and information needs fulfilled)]. Average hospital bed-days in the previous month fell from 3.50 to 1.68, comparing baseline and 1 month (p < 0.05). At 3 months, caregiver strain was significantly reduced (r = 0.332), while spiritual well-being was enhanced (r = 0.333).
After receiving 3 month's LRP services, patients with end-stage NMCDs and their caregivers experienced significant improvements in the quality of life and well-being, and their hospital bed-days were reduced.
Although relapse in psychosis is common, a small proportion of patients will not relapse in the long term. We examined the proportion and predictors of patients who never relapsed in the 10 years following complete resolution of positive symptoms from their first psychotic episode.
Patients who previously enrolled in a 12-month randomized controlled trial on medication discontinuation and relapse following first-episode psychosis (FEP) were followed up after 10 years. Relapse of positive symptoms was operationalized as a change from a Clinical Global Impression scale positive score of <3 for at least 3 consecutive months to a score of ⩾3 (mild or more severe). Baseline predictors included basic demographics, premorbid functioning, symptoms, functioning, and neurocognitive functioning.
Out of 178 first-episode patients, 37 (21%) never relapsed during the 10-year period. Univariate predictors (p ⩽ 0.1) of patients who never relapsed included a duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) ⩽30 days, diagnosed with non-schizophrenia spectrum disorders, having less severe negative symptoms, and performing better in logical memory immediate recall and verbal fluency tests. A multivariate logistic regression analysis further suggested that the absence of any relapsing episodes was significantly related to better short-term verbal memory, shorter DUP, and non-schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
Treatment delay and neurocognitive function are potentially modifiable predictors of good long-term prognosis in FEP. These predictors are informative as they can be incorporated into an optimum risk prediction model in the future, which would help with clinical decision making regarding maintenance treatment in FEP.
In 2013, New York State mandated that, during influenza season, unvaccinated healthcare personnel (HCP) wear a surgical mask in areas where patients are typically present. We found that this mandate was associated with increased HCP vaccination and decreased HCP visits to the hospital Workforce Health and Safety Department with respiratory illnesses and laboratory-confirmed influenza.
Patterns of practice for management of cerebral venous thrombosis in Canada are unknown. We surveyed Canadian neurologists and hematologists regarding anticoagulation in cerebral venous thrombosis. The response rate was 28%, with 27 neurologists and 20 hematologists responding. We found that choice of first-line initial anticoagulation differed significantly between neurologists and hematologists, with 89% of neurologists favouring unfractionated heparin and hematologists’ preference split between unfractionated heparin (50%) and low-molecular-weight heparin (50%). Differences in patterns of practice likely reflect clinical equipoise.
Perovskite-based solar cells, typically CH3NH3PbI3, have reached power conversion efficiencies on par with single crystal silicon solar cells. Perovskite cells prepared with the most common perovskite solvent N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) by different research groups exhibit disparate efficiencies and stability for nominally identical perovskite films. Although the differences can be related to processing conditions, a consistent physical cause for the differences has been lacking. Highly-sensitive time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) reveals significant dimethylamine (DMA) included in perovskite films. TOF-SIMS and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy results suggest DMA levels ranging from roughly 10–50%. Only the highest levels register as perovskite peak shifts in x-ray diffraction; lower levels are invisible. We propose that methylamine (MA) can react with DMF solvent by transamidation to produce dimethylamine (DMA), which then displaces some MA in perovskite crystals, see Fig. 1. Transamidation of DMF can be catalyzed by TiO2, Al2O3, water, or acid, but in perovskite films transamidation is inhibited by water.
Research suggests that an 8-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
(MBCT) course may be effective for generalised anxiety disorder
To compare changes in anxiety levels among participants with GAD randomly
assigned to MBCT, cognitive–behavioural therapy-based psychoeducation and
In total, 182 participants with GAD were recruited (trial registration
number: CUHK_CCT00267) and assigned to the three groups and followed for
5 months after baseline assessment with the two intervention groups
followed for an additional 6 months. Primary outcomes were anxiety and
Linear mixed models demonstrated significant group × time interaction
(F(4,148) = 5.10, P = 0.001) effects
for decreased anxiety for both the intervention groups relative to usual
care. Significant group × time interaction effects were observed for
worry and depressive symptoms and mental health-related quality of life
for the psychoeducation group only.
These results suggest that both of the interventions appear to be
superior to usual care for the reduction of anxiety symptoms.
Faint dwarf galaxies such as those found around the Milky Way (MW) display the largest known dynamical mass-to-light ratios (up to several 100s M⊙/L⊙). However, tidal interaction with the MW may impact the dynamical equilibrium in the outer parts of some of these objects, and partly affect the derived dynamical M/L. Assessing this is crucial for the study of the dark matter content of these galaxies. A clear sign of ongoing tidal disturbance would be the presence of tidal tails. These are expected to be low surface brightness features, hence difficult to detect from star counts in systems where contamination is also present, e.g. from foreground MW stars. At present we have searched for these sorts of tidal features in the Sextans dwarf spheroidal galaxy (dSph), by adopting the Matched Filter Method (e.g. Rockosi et al. 2002), a very efficient technique to decontaminate stellar density maps with a high ratio of contamination versus source density (dwarf galaxies outer regions or ultra faint dwarf galaxies). We also calculate structural parameters from the position of stars without requiring spatial binning (Richardson et al. 2011), through a Bayesian MCMC (Foreman-Mackey et al. 2013).
We have developed a new technique using a novel approach to analyze unresolved stellar populations of spatially-resolved galaxies based on large sky multi-filter surveys. We have successfully applied this technique to 42 early-type galaxies in the ALHAMBRA survey. In agreement with some previous work, we find the gradients of early-type galaxies to be on average slightly positive in age and negative in metallicity at large radii (R > Reff). These mildly negative metallicity gradients support a merging scenario. The positive/flat age gradients could support a more uniformly distributed star formation or even secondary burst triggered by mergers.
There is little research on factors associated with alcohol consumption among Puerto Ricans living in the USA; thus the aim of the present study was to examine alcohol intake patterns, and factors associated with drinking categories, in a cohort of Puerto Rican adults in Massachusetts.
Cross-sectional study. Descriptive and polytomous logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with drinking patterns, stratified by gender.
Greater Boston area, MA, USA.
Puerto Rican adults (n 1292), aged 45–75 years.
Eight per cent of men and 39 % of women were lifetime abstainers; 40 % of men and 25 % of women were former drinkers; 31 % of men and 27 % of women were moderate drinkers; and 21 % of men and 8 % of women were heavy drinkers. Thirty-five per cent of participants reported drinking alcohol while taking medications with alcohol contraindications. After multivariable adjustment, young men were less likely than older men to be moderate drinkers. Among women, higher BMI, age, lower income and lower psychological acculturation were associated with abstention; age and lower perceived emotional support were associated with increased likelihood of former drinking; and women without v. with diabetes were more likely to be heavy drinkers.
High prevalence of chronic disease, heavy drinking and alcohol use while taking medications with alcohol contraindications suggest an urgent need for better screening and interventions tailored to this rapidly growing Hispanic national subgroup. As heavy drinking appears to increase with acculturation for women, public health initiatives are needed to support appropriate alcohol use.