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Background: Aphasia is a life alerting deficit that affects up to 40% of people living with stroke. Barriers to communication ultimately impacts the care aphasic patients receive, as well as functional recovery. The Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations suggest early and frequent language interventions to improve patients with aphasia quality of life, mood, and social outcomes. Methods: A supported conversation (SC) program (colloquially named The Aphasia Club) was implemented on the Acute Stroke Unit (ASU). The program included aphasia awareness and assessment training, as well as creation of an aphasia tool kit and discipline specific aphasia-friendly resources. Staff were encouraged to complete a 1-hour independent course on SC through the Aphasia Institute. Speech and language pathologists (SLP) offered an additional 30-minute in-person teaching session with interdisciplinary practice professionals. Following SLP assessment, personalized communication profiles were created for patients with aphasia to help staff understand the most useful strategies for communication. Results: More then 50 interprofessional staff members took SC training. Staff reported increased levels of knowledge and confidence when communicating with aphasic patients. Conclusions: A supported communication program was successfully implemented on an ASU. Planning appropriate communication interventions can assist interdisciplinary professionals in their ability to support patients through their stroke journey.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), underscoring the urgent need for simple, efficient, and inexpensive methods to decontaminate masks and respirators exposed to severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We hypothesized that methylene blue (MB) photochemical treatment, which has various clinical applications, could decontaminate PPE contaminated with coronavirus.
The 2 arms of the study included (1) PPE inoculation with coronaviruses followed by MB with light (MBL) decontamination treatment and (2) PPE treatment with MBL for 5 cycles of decontamination to determine maintenance of PPE performance.
MBL treatment was used to inactivate coronaviruses on 3 N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) and 2 medical mask models. We inoculated FFR and medical mask materials with 3 coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and we treated them with 10 µM MB and exposed them to 50,000 lux of white light or 12,500 lux of red light for 30 minutes. In parallel, integrity was assessed after 5 cycles of decontamination using multiple US and international test methods, and the process was compared with the FDA-authorized vaporized hydrogen peroxide plus ozone (VHP+O3) decontamination method.
Overall, MBL robustly and consistently inactivated all 3 coronaviruses with 99.8% to >99.9% virus inactivation across all FFRs and medical masks tested. FFR and medical mask integrity was maintained after 5 cycles of MBL treatment, whereas 1 FFR model failed after 5 cycles of VHP+O3.
MBL treatment decontaminated respirators and masks by inactivating 3 tested coronaviruses without compromising integrity through 5 cycles of decontamination. MBL decontamination is effective, is low cost, and does not require specialized equipment, making it applicable in low- to high-resource settings.
Conflicting results have been obtained through meta-analyses for the role of obesity as a risk factor for adverse outcomes in patients with coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), possibly due to the inclusion of predominantly multimorbid patients with severe COVID-19. Here, we aimed to study obesity alone or in combination with other comorbidities as a risk factor for short-term all-cause mortality and other adverse outcomes in Mexican patients evaluated for suspected COVID-19 in ambulatory units and hospitals in Mexico. We performed a retrospective observational analysis in a national cohort of 71 103 patients from all 32 states of Mexico from the National COVID-19 Epidemiological Surveillance Study. Two statistical models were applied through Cox regression to create survival models and logistic regression models to determine risk of death, hospitalisation, invasive mechanical ventilation, pneumonia and admission to an intensive care unit, conferred by obesity and other comorbidities (diabetes mellitus (DM), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, immunosuppression, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease). Models were adjusted for other risk factors. From 24 February to 26 April 2020, 71 103 patients were evaluated for suspected COVID-19; 15 529 (21.8%) had a positive test for SARS-CoV-2; 46 960 (66.1%), negative and 8614 (12.1%), pending results. Obesity alone increased adjusted mortality risk in positive patients (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.04–2.98), but not in negative and pending-result patients. Obesity combined with other comorbidities further increased risk of death (DM: HR = 2.79, 95% CI 2.04–3.80; immunosuppression: HR = 5.06, 95% CI 2.26–11.41; hypertension: HR = 2.30, 95% CI 1.77–3.01) and other adverse outcomes. In conclusion, obesity is a strong risk factor for short-term mortality and critical illness in Mexican patients with COVID-19; risk increases when obesity is present with other comorbidities.
Most of the existing prediction models for COVID-19 lack validation, are inadequately reported or are at high risk of bias, a reason which has led to discourage their use. Few existing models have the potential to be extensively used by healthcare providers in low-resource settings since many require laboratory and imaging predictors. Therefore, we sought to develop and validate a multivariable prediction model of death in Mexican patients with COVID-19, by using demographic and patient history predictors. We conducted a national retrospective cohort study in two different sets of patients from the Mexican COVID-19 Epidemiologic Surveillance Study. Patients with a positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for SARS-CoV-2 and complete unduplicated data were eligible. In total, 83 779 patients were included to develop the scoring system through a multivariable Cox regression model; 100 000, to validate the model. Eight predictors (age, sex, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, immunosuppression, hypertension, obesity and chronic kidney disease) were included in the scoring system called PH-Covid19 (range of values: −2 to 25 points). The predictive model has a discrimination of death of 0.8 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.796–0.804). The PH-Covid19 scoring system was developed and validated in Mexican patients to aid clinicians to stratify patients with COVID-19 at risk of fatal outcomes, allowing for better and efficient use of resources.
Patients with dual pathology have worse clinical evolution and worse therapeutic response. Drugs modify the functioning of certain neurocerebral transmission systems, producing cognitive, emotional and behavioral changes. Vortioxetine (Brintellix®) is used as a treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) and it is considered a new multimodal antidepressant. Preclinical data suggest that the effects on numerous serotonin receptors result in regional increases in noradrenaline and dopamine as well as glutamatergic transmission.
This analysis assessed the efficacy of vortioxetine (Brintellix®) in patients with affective disorders and abuse drugs (dual pathology).
Efficacy was assessed with a study of patients who were recruited in a qualitative and observational study. They were treated with vortioxetine (Brintellix®). Outcome measures included changes from baseline to endpoint in Hamilton Depresion Rating Scale (HDRS). They were also interviewed weekly about craving and substance use. Urine test controls were done to corroborate results.
A total of 11 vortioxetine-treated patients improved their depressive and anxiety symptomatology. Seven of them (64%) were males and four of them (36%) were women. Cocaine was the main drug of abuse (n = 9, 82%). The doses were between 5 and 20 mg/day. After the clinical evaluation and 12 weeks of treatment, they achieved to reduce significantly the drug use and verbalized a decrease in craving. Two patients dropped out of the study.
Vortioxetine (Brintellix®) was shown as efficacious in reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms in patients with dual pathology.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Studies describe patients with dual pathology as subjects with worse clinical evolution and worse therapeutic response. These subjects have high percentages of worse therapeutic compliance and low adherence to psychopharmacological treatment. The conventional antipsychotics can induce dysphoria and worse craving and drug use. The long duration-injectable antipsychotics could serve as a good therapeutic alternative because they combine efficacy and tolerability.
We analyzed subjects treated with aripiprazole injectable to demonstrate its effectiveness on symptomatology, the reduction of craving and consumption of substances.
Materials and methods
We studied subjects with dual disorders at a Center for Attention to drug addicts treated with aripiprazole extended-release injectable. All of them met criteria for the diagnosis of disorders for cannabis and cocaine use. All of them had been previously treated with oral antipsychotics and/or injectable of long duration. Evolution of craving and consumption were evaluated through clinical interviews and urine analysis.
Cannabis was the main substance for all the patients. Three of them also often abused of cocaine. All of them were taking other treatments previously. The main causes of the change were: side effects and/or poor compliance. Only one patient discontinued follow-up. The rest of them showed good therapeutic adherence and better tolerability with aripiprazole injectable. The monthly dose was 400 mg.
Aripiprazole extended-release injectable is a good choice for dual disorders. A good therapeutic adherence involves not only a psychopathological improvement but also respect to craving and consumption, which makes aripiprazole injectable a suitable therapeutic option.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Alcohol abuse causes dopamine release in the mesolimbic system, which activates the reward circuit. This is linked to an interdependent opioid, serotonergic and endocannabinoid system. Nalmefene is a modulator of the endogenous opioid system, with antagonistic effect on mu and delta receptors, and a partial agonist activity kappa. This means that reduces the reinforcing effects of alcohol consumption through the cortical-mesolimbic system. Therefore, when a patient takes nalmefene, the satisfaction obtained when he drinks is lower, which increases the possibility to have more control over drinking.
The efficacy of nalmefene was evaluated in two profiles of patients: 1. No abstinence in alcohol dependence disorder and continuous relapses, 2. Cocaine dependence disorder associated to alcohol abuse.
Improving the quality of life and compliance rates due to the difficulties of following a strict treatment to achieve the abstinence. Furthermore, in cases of patients with cocaine dependence disorder and alcohol abuse, the objective is to avoid cocaine use by reducing previous alcohol consumption.
nalmefene offers the possibility of treating the addiction from a new perspective. Our current clinical experience has been able to treat subjects with conventional treatments failures and those who need to achieve the necessary control to reduce cocaine use.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Very few practical frameworks exist to guide the formulation of recommendations at hospital-based health technology assessment (HTA) units. The objectives of our study were: (i) to identify decision criteria specific to the context of hospital-based health technologies and interventions, (ii) to estimate the extent to which the expert community agrees on the importance of the identified criteria, (iii) to incorporate the identified criteria into a decision-aid tool, and (iv) to illustrate the application of a prototype decision-aid tool.
Relevant decision criteria were identified using existing frameworks for HTA recommendations, our past experience, a literature search, and feedback from a survey of diverse stakeholders.
Based on the survey results, twenty-three decision criteria were incorporated into the final framework. We defined an approach that eschewed a scoring system, but instead relied on a visual means for arriving at a final recommendation, by juxtaposing the importance rating for each criterion against the results of the health technology assessment. For a technology to be approved, a majority of criteria considered important should also have received favorable findings.
We created a simple and practical decision-aid tool that incorporates all decision criteria relevant to a hospital-based HTA unit. With its ease of use and accessibility, our tool renders the subjective decision-making process more structured and transparent.
Hookworms of the genus Uncinaria parasitize pinniped pups in various locations worldwide. Four species have been described, two of which parasitize pinniped pups in the southern hemisphere: Uncinaria hamiltoni parasitizes Otaria flavescens and Arctocephalus australis from the South American coast, and Uncinaria sanguinis parasitizes Neophoca cinerea from the Australian coast. However, their geographical ranges and host specificity are unknown. Uncinaria spp. are morphologically similar, but molecular analyses have allowed the recognition of new species in the genus Uncinaria. We used nuclear genetic markers (internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and large subunit (LSU) rDNA) and a mitochondrial genetic marker (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI)) to evaluate the phylogenetic relationships of Uncinaria spp. parasitizing A. australis and O. flavescens from South American coasts (Atlantic and Pacific coasts). We compared our sequences with published Uncinaria sequences. A Generalized Mixed Yule Coalescent (GMYC) analysis was also used to delimit species, and principal component analysis was used to compare morphometry among Uncinaria specimens. Parasites were sampled from A. australis from Peru (12°S), southern Chile (42°S), and the Uruguayan coast, and from O. flavescens from northern Chile (24°S) and the Uruguayan coast. Morphometric differences were observed between Uncinaria specimens from both South American coasts and between Uncinaria specimens from A. australis in Peru and southern Chile. Phylogenetic and GMYC analyses suggest that south-eastern Pacific otariid species harbour U. hamiltoni and an undescribed putative species of Uncinaria. However, more samples from A. australis and O. flavescens are necessary to understand the phylogenetic patterns of Uncinaria spp. across the South Pacific.
It is increasingly essential for medical researchers to be literate in statistics, but the requisite degree of literacy is not the same for every statistical competency in translational research. Statistical competency can range from ‘fundamental’ (necessary for all) to ‘specialized’ (necessary for only some). In this study, we determine the degree to which each competency is fundamental or specialized.
We surveyed members of 4 professional organizations, targeting doctorally trained biostatisticians and epidemiologists who taught statistics to medical research learners in the past 5 years. Respondents rated 24 educational competencies on a 5-point Likert scale anchored by ‘fundamental’ and ‘specialized.’
There were 112 responses. Nineteen of 24 competencies were fundamental. The competencies considered most fundamental were assessing sources of bias and variation (95%), recognizing one’s own limits with regard to statistics (93%), identifying the strengths, and limitations of study designs (93%). The least endorsed items were meta-analysis (34%) and stopping rules (18%).
We have identified the statistical competencies needed by all medical researchers. These competencies should be considered when designing statistical curricula for medical researchers and should inform which topics are taught in graduate programs and evidence-based medicine courses where learners need to read and understand the medical research literature.
The Darwin region in northern Australia has experienced rapid population growth in recent years, and with it, an increased incidence of melioidosis. Previous studies in Darwin have associated the environmental presence of Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, with anthropogenic land usage and proximity to animals. In our study, we estimated the occurrence of B. pseudomallei and Burkholderia spp. relatives in faecal matter of wildlife, livestock and domestic animals in the Darwin region. A total of 357 faecal samples were collected and bacteria isolated through culture and direct DNA extraction after enrichment in selective media. Identification of B. pseudomallei, B. ubonensis, and other Burkholderia spp. was carried out using TTS1, Bu550, and recA BUR3–BUR4 quantitative PCR assays, respectively. B. pseudomallei was detected in seven faecal samples from wallabies and a chicken. B. cepacia complex spp. and Pandoraea spp. were cultured from wallaby faecal samples, and B. cenocepacia and B. cepacia were also isolated from livestock animals. Various bacteria isolated in this study represent opportunistic human pathogens, raising the possibility that faecal shedding contributes to the expanding geographical distribution of not just B. pseudomallei but other Burkholderiaceae that can cause human disease.
Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, a bacterium endemic in Southeast Asia and northern Australia. In New Caledonia, sporadic cases were first described in 2005; since then, more cases have been identified. To improve our understanding of melioidosis epidemiology in New Caledonia, we compared the local cases and B. pseudomallei isolates with those from endemic areas. Nineteen melioidosis cases have been diagnosed in New Caledonia since 1999, mostly severe and with frequent bacteraemia, leading to three (16%) fatalities. All but one occurred in the North Province. Besides sporadic cases caused by non-clonal strains, we also identified a hotspot of transmission related to a clonal group of B. pseudomallei that is phylogenetically related to Australian strains.
Many people experience an ongoing relationship with a deceased loved one. This is called a “continued bond.” However, little is known about the adolescent experience with continued bonds once a parent has died. This study describes three ways that adolescents continue their relationship with a parent after that parent's death.
Individual semistructured interviews were conducted with nine adolescent children of deceased hospice patients from a large hospice in northeastern Ohio as part of a larger grounded-theory study. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a conventional content analysis approach.
Adolescents continued their bonds with deceased parents in one of three ways: experiencing encounters with the deceased parent, listening to the inner guide of the parent, and keeping mementos to remind them of the parent.
Significance of results:
The ways that the adolescents continued their bond with a deceased parent assisted them in creating meaning out of their loss and adjusting to life without that parent. Our results can be used by health professionals and parents to help adolescents after a parent has died.
This study aimed to generate an explanatory model of the coping strategies that adolescents employ to manage the stressors they experience in the final months of their ill parent's life and shortly after their death.
The sample included 26 families of adolescents with a parent receiving care in a large hospice program in northeastern Ohio. A semistructured interview was conducted with 14 ill parents, 17 well parents/guardians, and 30 of their adolescent children before the parent's death and, additionally, with 6 of these families after the death. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a grounded-theory approach.
The participants described two worlds that constituted the lives of the adolescents: the well world of normal adolescence and the ill world of having a parent near the end of life. The adolescents experienced a common challenge of living in two worlds and responded to the challenge with a process we labeled “managing two worlds.” Five stages through which adolescents manage their worlds were identified: keeping the ill world and the well world separate; having the ill world intrude into the well world; moving between the ill world and the well world; being immersed in the ill world; and returning to the well world having been changed by the ill world.
Significance of results:
The explanatory model of “managing two worlds” outlines a complex and nuanced process that changes over time. The model can be used by health professionals who seek to help adolescents navigate this critical time when their parents are dying or have recently died. These results can also be used to inform the development of interventions that assist families with strategies tailored to an adolescent's specific needs. Future research should investigate associations among the process of “managing two worlds” and outcomes related to adolescent bereavement.
Data-constrained modeling is a method that enables three-dimensional distribution of mineral phases and porosity in a sample to be modeled based on micro-computed tomography scans acquired at different X-ray energies. Here we describe an alternative method for measuring porosity, synchrotron K-edge subtraction using xenon gas as a contrast agent. Results from both methods applied to the same Darai limestone sample are compared. Reasonable agreement between the two methods and with other porosity measurements is obtained. The possibility of a combination of data-constrained modeling and K-edge subtraction methods for more accurate sample characterization is discussed.
This study analyzes gender assignment in Spanish–Basque mixed nominal constructions with nouns in Basque (a language that lacks gender) and determiners in Spanish (a language that marks gender) by using a multi-task approach: (i) naturalistic data, (ii) an elicitation task, and (iii) an auditory judgment task. Naturalistic data suggest cross-language effects under which a morphological marker of Basque (-a determiner) is interpreted as a morphophonological expression of gender marking in Spanish. A preference for feminine determiners was observed in the judgment task, which differs from the masculine default trend observed in Spanish–English bilinguals (Jake, Myers-Scotton & Gross, 2002). Our results point to feminine gender as default in Spanish–Basque mixed DPs, indicating that the resources that bilinguals use for gender assignment can be different from those of monolinguals. We argue that this is an outcome of interacting processes which take place at the interfaces (lexicon, phonology, morphosyntax) of both languages, resulting in cross-language effects.
Research at the end of life tends to focus on the dying patient's symptoms, often overlooking issues associated with family interactions. However, many families struggle just to maintain or initiate these valuable connections. The purpose of our pilot study was to explore family relationships at the end of life and investigate associations among perceived comfort, relatedness states, and life closure.
This descriptive study used a cross-sectional design, and a convenience sample (n = 30; 18 women; mean age = 71 years) was recruited from patients admitted to a large not-for-profit hospice in northeastern Ohio. In-person interviews using the Hospice Comfort Questionnaire, Relatedness States Visual Analog Scales, and the Life-Closure Scale provided data for analyses.
Family interactions that were not associated with the physical tasks of caregiving were related to life closure (r = 0.36, p = 0.001), and life closure and comfort were highly correlated (r = 0.69, p < 0.001). Participants residing in an inpatient setting had higher levels of involvement (t = –2.07, p = 0.05) and comfort in relationships (t = –2.06, p = 0.05) than those in the home setting.
Significance of Results:
This is the first known study investigating the associations among comfort, relatedness, and life closure at the end of life. The majority of participants had high levels of involvement and comfort in their relationships, and they preferred interactions that required minimal effort. Studies that focus on both patients' and family members' perceptions of relationships are needed as well as outcome studies that test simple interventions.
Introduction: Despite smoking fewer cigarettes per day, African American smokers have greater difficulty quitting compared to Caucasian smokers. Further elucidating the impact of smoking motivations on smoking behaviour would contribute to understanding the factors that maintain smoking.
Aims: This study examined the factor structure of a brief assessment examining smoking dependence motives among a sample of African American light smokers.
Methods: Data from a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised smoking cessation trial involving 540 participants. Results were analysed using an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and a randomly split EFA.
Results/Findings: Findings from the initial EFA analysis produced an eight-factor model, explaining 69% of the variation in responses. The overall Measure of Sampling Adequacy (MSA) was 0.88 with item level MSA ranging 0.68–0.94 across the 30 items. Results from the randomly split EFA replicated the findings of the original EFA; with the exception of the item ‘I smoke within the first 30 minutes of awakening in the morning’.
Conclusions: These findings support the hypothesis of a multidimensional approach to conceptualising nicotine dependence, and provide information regarding characteristics of nicotine dependence in African American light smokers which may be helpful in identifying targets for cessation treatment in this population of smokers.