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New Zealand has a strategy of eliminating SARS-CoV-2 that has resulted in a low incidence of reported coronavirus-19 disease (COVID-19). The aim of this study was to describe the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in New Zealand via a nationwide serosurvey of blood donors. Samples (n = 9806) were collected over a month-long period (3 December 2020–6 January 2021) from donors aged 16–88 years. The sample population was geographically spread, covering 16 of 20 district health board regions. A series of Spike-based immunoassays were utilised, and the serological testing algorithm was optimised for specificity given New Zealand is a low prevalence setting. Eighteen samples were seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, six of which were retrospectively matched to previously confirmed COVID-19 cases. A further four were from donors that travelled to settings with a high risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure, suggesting likely infection outside New Zealand. The remaining eight seropositive samples were from seven different district health regions for a true seroprevalence estimate, adjusted for test sensitivity and specificity, of 0.103% (95% confidence interval, 0.09–0.12%). The very low seroprevalence is consistent with limited undetected community transmission and provides robust, serological evidence to support New Zealand's successful elimination strategy for COVID-19.
Recent cannabis exposure has been associated with lower rates of neurocognitive impairment in people with HIV (PWH). Cannabis’s anti-inflammatory properties may underlie this relationship by reducing chronic neuroinflammation in PWH. This study examined relations between cannabis use and inflammatory biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma, and cognitive correlates of these biomarkers within a community-based sample of PWH.
263 individuals were categorized into four groups: HIV− non-cannabis users (n = 65), HIV+ non-cannabis users (n = 105), HIV+ moderate cannabis users (n = 62), and HIV+ daily cannabis users (n = 31). Differences in pro-inflammatory biomarkers (IL-6, MCP-1/CCL2, IP-10/CXCL10, sCD14, sTNFR-II, TNF-α) by study group were determined by Kruskal–Wallis tests. Multivariable linear regressions examined relationships between biomarkers and seven cognitive domains, adjusting for age, sex/gender, race, education, and current CD4 count.
HIV+ daily cannabis users showed lower MCP-1 and IP-10 levels in CSF compared to HIV+ non-cannabis users (p = .015; p = .039) and were similar to HIV− non-cannabis users. Plasma biomarkers showed no differences by cannabis use. Among PWH, lower CSF MCP-1 and lower CSF IP-10 were associated with better learning performance (all ps < .05).
Current daily cannabis use was associated with lower levels of pro-inflammatory chemokines implicated in HIV pathogenesis and these chemokines were linked to the cognitive domain of learning which is commonly impaired in PWH. Cannabinoid-related reductions of MCP-1 and IP-10, if confirmed, suggest a role for medicinal cannabis in the mitigation of persistent inflammation and cognitive impacts of HIV.
Our objective was to compare patterns of dental antibiotic prescribing in Australia, England, and North America (United States and British Columbia, Canada).
Population-level analysis of antibiotic prescription.
Outpatient prescribing by dentists in 2017.
Patients receiving an antibiotic dispensed by an outpatient pharmacy.
Prescription-based rates adjusted by population were compared overall and by antibiotic class. Contingency tables assessed differences in the proportion of antibiotic class by country.
In 2017, dentists in the United States had the highest antibiotic prescribing rate per 1,000 population and Australia had the lowest rate. The penicillin class, particularly amoxicillin, was the most frequently prescribed for all countries. The second most common agents prescribed were clindamycin in the United States and British Columbia (Canada) and metronidazole in Australia and England. Broad-spectrum agents, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, and azithromycin were the highest in Australia and the United States, respectively.
Extreme differences exist in antibiotics prescribed by dentists in Australia, England, the United States, and British Columbia. The United States had twice the antibiotic prescription rate of Australia and the most frequently prescribed antibiotic in the US was clindamycin. Significant opportunities exist for the global dental community to update their prescribing behavior relating to second-line agents for penicillin allergic patients and to contribute to international efforts addressing antibiotic resistance. Patient safety improvements will result from optimizing dental antibiotic prescribing, especially for antibiotics associated with resistance (broad-spectrum agents) or C. difficile (clindamycin). Dental antibiotic stewardship programs are urgently needed worldwide.
Ecosystem modeling, a pillar of the systems ecology paradigm (SEP), addresses questions such as, how much carbon and nitrogen are cycled within ecological sites, landscapes, or indeed the earth system? Or how are human activities modifying these flows? Modeling, when coupled with field and laboratory studies, represents the essence of the SEP in that they embody accumulated knowledge and generate hypotheses to test understanding of ecosystem processes and behavior. Initially, ecosystem models were primarily used to improve our understanding about how biophysical aspects of ecosystems operate. However, current ecosystem models are widely used to make accurate predictions about how large-scale phenomena such as climate change and management practices impact ecosystem dynamics and assess potential effects of these changes on economic activity and policy making. In sum, ecosystem models embedded in the SEP remain our best mechanism to integrate diverse types of knowledge regarding how the earth system functions and to make quantitative predictions that can be confronted with observations of reality. Modeling efforts discussed are the Century ecosystem model, DayCent ecosystem model, Grassland Ecosystem Model ELM, food web models, Savanna model, agent-based and coupled systems modeling, and Bayesian modeling.
Milrinone is a phosphodiesterase type 3 inhibitor that results in a positive inotropic effect in the heart through an increase in cyclic adenosine monophosphate. The purpose of this study was to evaluate circulating cyclic adenosine monophosphate and milrinone concentrations in milrinone treated paediatric patients undergoing congenital heart surgery.
Single-centre prospective observational pilot study from January 2015 to December 2017 including children aged birth to 18 years. Milrinone and circulating cyclic adenosine monophosphate concentrations were measured at four time points through the first post-operative day and compared between patients with and without low cardiac output syndrome, defined using clinical and laboratory criteria.
Fifty patients were included. Nine (18%) developed low cardiac output syndrome. For all patients, 22% had single ventricle heart disease. The density and distribution of cyclic adenosine monophosphate concentrations varied between those with and without low cardiac output syndrome but were not significantly different. Milrinone concentrations increased in all patients. Paired t-tests demonstrated an increase in circulating cyclic adenosine monophosphate concentrations during the post-operative period among patients without low cardiac output syndrome.
In this prospective observational study, circulating cyclic adenosine monophosphate concentrations increased in those without low cardiac output syndrome during the first 24 post-operative hours and milrinone concentrations increased in all patients. Further study of the utility of cyclic adenosine monophosphate concentrations in milrinone treated patients is necessary.
The COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures are likely to have a marked effect on mental health. It is important to use longitudinal data to improve inferences.
To quantify the prevalence of depression, anxiety and mental well-being before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, to identify groups at risk of depression and/or anxiety during the pandemic.
Data were from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) index generation (n = 2850, mean age 28 years) and parent generation (n = 3720, mean age 59 years), and Generation Scotland (n = 4233, mean age 59 years). Depression was measured with the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire in ALSPAC and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 in Generation Scotland. Anxiety and mental well-being were measured with the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment-7 and the Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale.
Depression during the pandemic was similar to pre-pandemic levels in the ALSPAC index generation, but those experiencing anxiety had almost doubled, at 24% (95% CI 23–26%) compared with a pre-pandemic level of 13% (95% CI 12–14%). In both studies, anxiety and depression during the pandemic was greater in younger members, women, those with pre-existing mental/physical health conditions and individuals in socioeconomic adversity, even when controlling for pre-pandemic anxiety and depression.
These results provide evidence for increased anxiety in young people that is coincident with the pandemic. Specific groups are at elevated risk of depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is important for planning current mental health provisions and for long-term impact beyond this pandemic.
Annual grass weeds reduce profits of wheat farmers in the Pacific Northwest. The very-long-chain fatty acid elongase (VLCFA)-inhibiting herbicides S-metolachlor and dimethenamid-P could expand options for control of annual grasses but are not registered in wheat, because of crop injury. We evaluated a safener, fluxofenim, applied to wheat seed for protection of 19 soft white winter wheat varieties from S-metolachlor, dimethenamid-P, and pyroxasulfone herbicides; investigated the response of six varieties (UI Sparrow, LWW 15-72223, UI Magic CL+, Brundage 96, UI Castle CL+, and UI Palouse CL+) to incremental doses of fluxofenim; established the fluxofenim dose required to optimally protect the varieties from VLCFA-inhibiting herbicides; and assessed the impact of fluxofenim dose on glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity in three wheat varieties (UI Sparrow, Brundage 96, and UI Castle CL+). Fluxofenim increased the biomass of four varieties treated with S-metolachlor or dimethenamid-P herbicides and one variety treated with pyroxasulfone. Three varieties showed tolerance to the herbicides regardless of the fluxofenim treatment. Estimated fluxofenim doses resulting in 10% biomass reduction of wheat ranged from 0.55 to 1.23 g ai kg−1 seed. Fluxofenim doses resulting in 90% increased biomass after treatment with S-metolachlor, dimethenamid-P, and pyroxasulfone ranged from 0.07 to 0.55, 0.09 to 0.73, and 0.30 to 1.03 g ai kg−1 seed, respectively. Fluxofenim at 0.36 g ai kg−1 seed increased GST activity in UI Castle CL+, UI Sparrow, and Brundage 96 by 58%, 30%, and 38%, respectively. These results suggest fluxofenim would not damage wheat seedlings up to three times the rate labeled for sorghum, and fluxofenim protects soft white winter wheat varieties from S-metolachlor, dimethenamid-P, or pyroxasulfone injury at the herbicide rates evaluated.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is effective for most patients with a social anxiety disorder (SAD) but a substantial proportion fails to remit. Experimental and clinical research suggests that enhancing CBT using imagery-based techniques could improve outcomes. It was hypothesized that imagery-enhanced CBT (IE-CBT) would be superior to verbally-based CBT (VB-CBT) on pre-registered outcomes.
A randomized controlled trial of IE-CBT v. VB-CBT for social anxiety was completed in a community mental health clinic setting. Participants were randomized to IE (n = 53) or VB (n = 54) CBT, with 1-month (primary end point) and 6-month follow-up assessments. Participants completed 12, 2-hour, weekly sessions of IE-CBT or VB-CBT plus 1-month follow-up.
Intention to treat analyses showed very large within-treatment effect sizes on the social interaction anxiety at all time points (ds = 2.09–2.62), with no between-treatment differences on this outcome or clinician-rated severity [1-month OR = 1.45 (0.45, 4.62), p = 0.53; 6-month OR = 1.31 (0.42, 4.08), p = 0.65], SAD remission (1-month: IE = 61.04%, VB = 55.09%, p = 0.59); 6-month: IE = 58.73%, VB = 61.89%, p = 0.77), or secondary outcomes. Three adverse events were noted (substance abuse, n = 1 in IE-CBT; temporary increase in suicide risk, n = 1 in each condition, with one being withdrawn at 1-month follow-up).
Group IE-CBT and VB-CBT were safe and there were no significant differences in outcomes. Both treatments were associated with very large within-group effect sizes and the majority of patients remitted following treatment.
In response to advancing clinical practice guidelines regarding concussion management, service members, like athletes, complete a baseline assessment prior to participating in high-risk activities. While several studies have established test stability in athletes, no investigation to date has examined the stability of baseline assessment scores in military cadets. The objective of this study was to assess the test–retest reliability of a baseline concussion test battery in cadets at U.S. Service Academies.
All cadets participating in the Concussion Assessment, Research, and Education (CARE) Consortium investigation completed a standard baseline battery that included memory, balance, symptom, and neurocognitive assessments. Annual baseline testing was completed during the first 3 years of the study. A two-way mixed-model analysis of variance (intraclass correlation coefficent (ICC)3,1) and Kappa statistics were used to assess the stability of the metrics at 1-year and 2-year time intervals.
ICC values for the 1-year test interval ranged from 0.28 to 0.67 and from 0.15 to 0.57 for the 2-year interval. Kappa values ranged from 0.16 to 0.21 for the 1-year interval and from 0.29 to 0.31 for the 2-year test interval. Across all measures, the observed effects were small, ranging from 0.01 to 0.44.
This investigation noted less than optimal reliability for the most common concussion baseline assessments. While none of the assessments met or exceeded the accepted clinical threshold, the effect sizes were relatively small suggesting an overlap in performance from year-to-year. As such, baseline assessments beyond the initial evaluation in cadets are not essential but could aid concussion diagnosis.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a devastating rare disease that affects individuals regardless of ethnicity, gender, and age. The first-approved disease-modifying therapy for SMA, nusinursen, was approved by Health Canada, as well as by American and European regulatory agencies following positive clinical trial outcomes. The trials were conducted in a narrow pediatric population defined by age, severity, and genotype. Broad approval of therapy necessitates close follow-up of potential rare adverse events and effectiveness in the larger real-world population.
The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) undertook an iterative multi-stakeholder process to expand the existing SMA dataset to capture items relevant to patient outcomes in a post-marketing environment. The CNDR SMA expanded registry is a longitudinal, prospective, observational study of patients with SMA in Canada designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of novel therapies and provide practical information unattainable in trials.
The consensus expanded dataset includes items that address therapy effectiveness and safety and is collected in a multicenter, prospective, observational study, including SMA patients regardless of therapeutic status. The expanded dataset is aligned with global datasets to facilitate collaboration. Additionally, consensus dataset development aimed to standardize appropriate outcome measures across the network and broader Canadian community. Prospective outcome studies, data use, and analyses are independent of the funding partner.
Prospective outcome data collected will provide results on safety and effectiveness in a post-therapy approval era. These data are essential to inform improvements in care and access to therapy for all SMA patients.
Guidelines recommend empowering patients and families to remind healthcare workers (HCWs) to perform hand hygiene (HH). The effectiveness of empowerment tools for patients and their families in Southeast Asia is unknown.
We performed a prospective study in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) of a Vietnamese pediatric referral hospital. With family and HCW input, we developed a visual tool for families to prompt HCW HH. We used direct observation to collect baseline HH data. We then enrolled families to receive the visual tool and education on its use while continuing prospective collection of HH data. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify independent predictors of HH in baseline and implementation periods.
In total, 2,014 baseline and 2,498 implementation-period HH opportunities were observed. During the implementation period, 73 families were enrolled. Overall, HCW HH was 46% preimplementation, which increased to 73% in the implementation period (P < .001). The lowest HH adherence in both periods occurred after HCW contact with patient surroundings: 16% at baseline increased to 24% after implementation. In multivariable analyses, the odds of HCW HH during the implementation period were significantly higher than baseline (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.54–3.41; P < .001) after adjusting for observation room, HCW type, time of observation (weekday business hours vs evening or weekend), and HH moment.
The introduction of a visual empowerment tool was associated with significant improvement in HH adherence among HCWs in a Vietnamese PICU. Future research should explore acceptability and barriers to use of similar tools in low- and middle-income settings.
Frascati international research criteria for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) are controversial; some investigators have argued that Frascati criteria are too liberal, resulting in a high false positive rate. Meyer et al. recommended more conservative revisions to HAND criteria, including exploring other commonly used methodologies for neurocognitive impairment (NCI) in HIV including the global deficit score (GDS). This study compares NCI classifications by Frascati, Meyer, and GDS methods, in relation to neuroimaging markers of brain integrity in HIV.
Two hundred forty-one people living with HIV (PLWH) without current substance use disorder or severe (confounding) comorbid conditions underwent comprehensive neurocognitive testing and brain structural magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Participants were classified using Frascati criteria versus Meyer criteria: concordant unimpaired [Frascati(Un)/Meyer(Un)], concordant impaired [Frascati(Imp)/Meyer(Imp)], or discordant [Frascati(Imp)/Meyer(Un)] which were impaired via Frascati criteria but unimpaired via Meyer criteria. To investigate the GDS versus Meyer criteria, the same groupings were utilized using GDS criteria instead of Frascati criteria.
When examining Frascati versus Meyer criteria, discordant Frascati(Imp)/Meyer(Un) individuals had less cortical gray matter, greater sulcal cerebrospinal fluid volume, and greater evidence of neuroinflammation (i.e., choline) than concordant Frascati(Un)/Meyer(Un) individuals. GDS versus Meyer comparisons indicated that discordant GDS(Imp)/Meyer(Un) individuals had less cortical gray matter and lower levels of energy metabolism (i.e., creatine) than concordant GDS(Un)/Meyer(Un) individuals. In both sets of analyses, the discordant group did not differ from the concordant impaired group on any neuroimaging measure.
The Meyer criteria failed to capture a substantial portion of PLWH with brain abnormalities. These findings support continued use of Frascati or GDS criteria to detect HIV-associated CNS dysfunction.
Drug Safety Communications (DSCs) are used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to inform health care providers, patients, caregivers, and the general public about safety issues related to FDA-approved drugs. To assess patient knowledge of the messaging contained in DSCs related to the sleep aids zolpidem and eszopiclone, we conducted a large, cross-sectional patient survey of 1,982 commercially insured patients selected by stratified random sampling from the Optum Research Database who had filled at least two prescriptions for either zolpidem or eszopiclone between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013. Among the 594 respondents (32.7% response rate), two-thirds reported hearing generally about drug safety information prior to starting a new drug, with the remaining one-third “rarely” or “never” hearing such information. Providers and pharmacists were primary sources of drug safety information. Two-thirds of zolpidem users and half of eszopiclone users reported having heard about the related DSC messages, ability to accurately identify the major factual messages was limited (overall median 2 correct out of 5, with men and those reporting higher educational level scoring higher [2/5 vs. 1/5, p=0.001]). Respondents reacted to new drug safety information about their sleep aids by reporting that they would want to learn about alternative ways to help them sleep (70%) and seek out more information about the safety of their specific sleeping pill (59-78%). Opportunities may exist for the FDA to work with providers and pharmacies to help ensure the DSC information is more widely received and is more fully understood by those taking the affected medications.
Evidence from high-income countries suggests that childhood trauma is associated with schizophrenia. Studies of childhood trauma and schizophrenia in low and middle income (LMIC) countries are limited. This study examined the prevalence of childhood traumatic experiences among cases and controls and the relationship between specific and cumulative childhood traumatic experiences and schizophrenia in a sample in South Africa.
Data were from the Genomics of Schizophrenia in the South African Xhosa people study. Cases with schizophrenia and matched controls were recruited from provincial hospitals and clinics in the Western and Eastern Cape regions in South Africa. Childhood traumatic experiences were measured using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). Adjusted logistic regression models estimated associations between individual and cumulative childhood traumatic experiences and schizophrenia.
Traumatic experiences were more prevalent among cases than controls. The odds of schizophrenia were 2.44 times higher among those who experienced any trauma than those who reported no traumatic experiences (95% CI 1.77–3.37). The odds of schizophrenia were elevated among those who experienced physical/emotional abuse (OR 1.59, CI 1.28–1.97), neglect (OR 1.39, CI 1.16–1.68), and sexual abuse (OR 1.22, CI 1.03–1.45) compared to those who did not. Cumulative physical/emotional abuse and neglect experiences increased the odds of schizophrenia as a dose–response relationship.
Childhood trauma is common in this population. Among many other benefits, interventions to prevent childhood trauma may contribute to a decreasing occurrence of schizophrenia.
Background: SMA is characterized by reduced levels of survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein from deletions and/or mutations of the SMN1 gene. While SMN1 produces full-length SMN protein, a second gene, SMN2, produces low levels of functional SMN protein. Risdiplam (RG7916/RO7034067) is an investigational, orally administered, centrally and peripherally distributed small molecule that modulates pre-mRNA splicing of SMN2 to increase SMN protein levels. Methods: SUNFISH (NCT02908685) is an ongoing multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, operationally seamless study (randomized 2:1, risdiplam:placebo) in patients aged 2–25 years, with Type 2/3 SMA. Part 1 (n=51) assesses safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of different risdiplam dose levels. Pivotal Part 2 (n=180) assesses safety and efficacy of the risdiplam dose level selected based on Part 1 results. Results: Part 1 results showed a sustained, >2-fold increase in median SMN protein versus baseline following 1 year of treatment. Adverse events were mostly mild, resolved despite ongoing treatment and reflected underlying disease. No drug-related safety findings have led to withdrawal (data-cut 06/17/18). SUNFISH Part 1 exploratory endpoint results and Part 2 study design will also be presented. Conclusions: To date, no drug-related safety findings have led to withdrawal. Risdiplam led to sustained increases in SMN protein levels.
Objectives: Studies of neurocognitively elite older adults, termed SuperAgers, have identified clinical predictors and neurobiological indicators of resilience against age-related neurocognitive decline. Despite rising rates of older persons living with HIV (PLWH), SuperAging (SA) in PLWH remains undefined. We aimed to establish neuropsychological criteria for SA in PLWH and examined clinically relevant correlates of SA. Methods: 734 PLWH and 123 HIV-uninfected participants between 50 and 64 years of age underwent neuropsychological and neuromedical evaluations. SA was defined as demographically corrected (i.e., sex, race/ethnicity, education) global neurocognitive performance within normal range for 25-year-olds. Remaining participants were labeled cognitively normal (CN) or impaired (CI) based on actual age. Chi-square and analysis of variance tests examined HIV group differences on neurocognitive status and demographics. Within PLWH, neurocognitive status differences were tested on HIV disease characteristics, medical comorbidities, and everyday functioning. Multinomial logistic regression explored independent predictors of neurocognitive status. Results: Neurocognitive status rates and demographic characteristics differed between PLWH (SA=17%; CN=38%; CI=45%) and HIV-uninfected participants (SA=35%; CN=55%; CI=11%). In PLWH, neurocognitive groups were comparable on demographic and HIV disease characteristics. Younger age, higher verbal IQ, absence of diabetes, fewer depressive symptoms, and lifetime cannabis use disorder increased likelihood of SA. SA reported increased independence in everyday functioning, employment, and health-related quality of life than non-SA. Conclusions: Despite combined neurological risk of aging and HIV, youthful neurocognitive performance is possible for older PLWH. SA relates to improved real-world functioning and may be better explained by cognitive reserve and maintenance of cardiometabolic and mental health than HIV disease severity. Future research investigating biomarker and lifestyle (e.g., physical activity) correlates of SA may help identify modifiable neuroprotective factors against HIV-related neurobiological aging. (JINS, 2019, 25, 507–519)