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To determine the utility of the Sofia® SARS rapid antigen fluorescent immunoassay (FIA) to guide hospital bed placement of patients being admitted through the emergency department (ED).
Cross-sectional analysis of a clinical quality improvement study.
Two community hospitals in Maryland. From 9/21/2020 to 12/3/2020, 2887 patients simultaneously received the Sofia® SARS rapid antigen FIA and SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assays on admission through the ED.
Rapid antigen results and symptom assessment guided initial patient placement while confirmatory RT-PCR was pending. The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of the rapid antigen assay were calculated relative to RT-PCR, overall and separately for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Assay sensitivity was compared to RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values. Assay turnaround times were compared. Clinical characteristics of RT-PCR positive patients and potential exposures from false-negative antigen assays were evaluated.
Overall agreement, sensitivity, and specificity for all patients was 97.9%, 76.6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 71%, 82%), and 99.7% (95% CI: 99%, 100%), respectively. No differences in performance were seen between asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals. As RT-PCR Ct increased, sensitivity of the antigen assay decreased. Mean turnaround time for the antigen assay and RT-PCR was 1.2 (95% CI: 1.0, 1.3) and 20.1 (95% CI: 18.9, 40.3) hours, respectively (p<0.001). No transmission from antigen-negative/RT-PCR-positive patients was identified.
While not a replacement for RT-PCR for detection of all SARS-CoV-2 infections, the Sofia® SARS antigen FIA has clinical utility for potential initial timely patient placement.
Ethnohistoric accounts indicate that the people of Australia's Channel Country engaged in activities rarely recorded elsewhere on the continent, including food storage, aquaculture and possible cultivation, yet there has been little archaeological fieldwork to verify these accounts. Here, the authors report on a collaborative research project initiated by the Mithaka people addressing this lack of archaeological investigation. The results show that Mithaka Country has a substantial and diverse archaeological record, including numerous large stone quarries, multiple ritual structures and substantial dwellings. Our archaeological research revealed unknown aspects, such as the scale of Mithaka quarrying, which could stimulate re-evaluation of Aboriginal socio-economic systems in parts of ancient Australia.
Hazardous material (HAZMAT) protocols require health care providers to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for contaminated patients. Multiple levels of PPE exist (level D - level A), providing progressively more protection. Emergent endotracheal intubation (ETI) of victims can become complicated by the cumbersome nature of PPE.
The null hypothesis was tested that there would be no difference in time to successful ETI between providers in different types of PPE.
This randomized controlled trial assessed time to ETI with differing levels of PPE. Participants included 18 senior US Emergency Medicine (EM) residents and attendings, and nine US senior Anesthesiology residents. Each individual performed ETI on a mannequin (Laerdal SimMan Essential; Stavanger, Sweden) wearing the following levels of PPE: universal precautions (UP) controls (nitrile gloves and facemask with shield); partial level C (PC; rubber gloves and a passive air-purifying respirator [APR]); and complete level C (CC; passive APR with an anti-chemical suit). Primary outcome measures were the time in seconds (s) to successful intubation: Time 1 (T1) = inflation of the endotracheal tube (ETT) balloon; Time 2 (T2) = first ventilation. Data were reported as medians with Interquartile Ranges (IQR, 25%-75%) or percentages with 95% Confidence Intervals (95%, CI). Group comparisons were analyzed by Fisher’s Exact Test or Kruskal-Wallis, as appropriate (alpha = 0.017 [three groups], two-tails). Sample size analysis was based upon the power of 80% to detect a difference of 10 seconds between groups at a P = .017; 27 subjects per group would be needed.
All 27 participants completed the study. At T1, there was no statistically significant difference (P = .27) among UP 18.0s (11.5s-19.0s), PC 21.0s (14.0s-23.5s), or CC 17.0s (13.5s-27.5s). For T2, there was also no significant (P = .25) differences among UP 24.0s (17.5s-27.0s), PC 26.0s (21.0s-32.0s), or CC 24.0s (19.5s-33.5s).
There were no statistically significant differences in time to balloon inflation or ventilation. Higher levels of PPE do not appear to increase time to ETI.
The current study argues that population prevalence estimates for mental health disorders, or changes in mean scores over time, may not adequately reflect the heterogeneity in mental health response to the COVID-19 pandemic within the population.
The COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium (C19PRC) Study is a longitudinal, nationally representative, online survey of UK adults. The current study analysed data from its first three waves of data collection: Wave 1 (March 2020, N = 2025), Wave 2 (April 2020, N = 1406) and Wave 3 (July 2020, N = 1166). Anxiety-depression was measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire Anxiety and Depression Scale (a composite measure of the PHQ-9 and GAD-7) and COVID-19-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with the International Trauma Questionnaire. Changes in mental health outcomes were modelled across the three waves. Latent class growth analysis was used to identify subgroups of individuals with different trajectories of change in anxiety-depression and COVID-19 PTSD. Latent class membership was regressed on baseline characteristics.
Overall prevalence of anxiety-depression remained stable, while COVID-19 PTSD reduced between Waves 2 and 3. Heterogeneity in mental health response was found, and hypothesised classes reflecting (i) stability, (ii) improvement and (iii) deterioration in mental health were identified. Psychological factors were most likely to differentiate the improving, deteriorating and high-stable classes from the low-stable mental health trajectories.
A low-stable profile characterised by little-to-no psychological distress (‘resilient’ class) was the most common trajectory for both anxiety-depression and COVID-19 PTSD. Monitoring these trajectories is necessary moving forward, in particular for the ~30% of individuals with increasing anxiety-depression levels.
The patient experience of radiotherapy magnetic resonance (MR) simulation is unknown. This study aims to evaluate the patient experience of MR simulation in comparison to computed tomography (CT) simulation, identifying the quality of patient experience and pathway changes which could improve patient experience outcomes.
Materials and Methods:
MR simulation was acquired for 46 anal and rectal cancer patients. Patient experience questionnaires were provided directly after MR simulation. Questionnaire responses were assessed after 33 patients (cohort one). Changes to the scanning pathway were identified and implemented. The impact of changes was assessed by cohort two (13 patients).
Response rates were 85% (cohort one) and 54% (cohort two). 75% of cohort one respondents found the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) experience to be better or similar to their CT experience. Implemented changes included routine use of blankets, earplugs and headphones, music and feet-first positioning and further MRI protocol optimisation. All cohort two respondents found the MRI experience to be better or similar to the CT experience.
MR simulation can be a comfortable and positive experience that is comparable to that of standard radiotherapy CT simulation. Special attention is required due to the fundamental differences between CT and MRI scanning.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency has led to numerous attempts to assess the impact of the pandemic on population mental health. The findings indicate an increase in depression and anxiety but have been limited by the lack of specificity about which aspects of the pandemic (e.g. viral exposure or economic threats) have led to adverse mental health outcomes.
Network analyses were conducted on data from wave 1 (N = 2025, recruited 23 March–28 March 2020) and wave 2 (N = 1406, recontacts 22 April–1 May 2020) of the COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium Study, an online longitudinal survey of a representative sample of the UK adult population. Our models included depression (PHQ-9), generalized anxiety (GAD-7) and trauma symptoms (ITQ); and measures of COVID-specific anxiety, exposure to the virus in self and close others, as well as economic loss due to the pandemic.
A mixed graphical model at wave 1 identified a potential pathway from economic adversity to anxiety symptoms via COVID-specific anxiety. There was no association between viral exposure and symptoms. Ising network models using clinical cut-offs for symptom scores at each wave yielded similar findings, with the exception of a modest effect of viral exposure on trauma symptoms at wave 1 only. Anxiety and depression symptoms formed separate clusters at wave 1 but not wave 2.
The psychological impact of the pandemic evolved in the early phase of lockdown. COVID-related anxiety may represent the mechanism through which economic consequences of the pandemic are associated with psychiatric symptoms.
In April 2018, Public Health England was notified of cases of Shigella sonnei who had eaten food from three different catering outlets in England. The outbreaks were initially investigated as separate events, but whole-genome sequencing (WGS) showed they were caused by the same strain. The investigation included analyses of epidemiological data, the food chain and microbiological examination of food samples. WGS was used to determine the phylogenetic relatedness and antimicrobial resistance profile of the outbreak strain. Ultimately, 33 cases were linked to this outbreak; the majority had eaten food from seven outlets specialising in Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine. Five outlets were linked to two or more cases, all of which used fresh coriander although a shared supplier was not identified. An investigation at one of the venues recorded that 86% of cases reported eating dishes with coriander as an ingredient or garnish. Four cases were admitted to hospital and one had evidence of treatment failure with ciprofloxacin. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the outbreak strain was part of a wider multidrug-resistant clade associated with travel to Pakistan. Poor hygiene practices during cultivation, distribution or preparation of fresh produce are likely contributing factors.
The adult population of repaired tetralogy of Fallot is increasing and at risk of pre-mature death and arrhythmia. This study evaluates risk factors for adverse outcome and the effect of pulmonary valve replacement within a national cohort.
A retrospective cohort study of 341 adult repaired tetralogy of Fallot (16–72 years) managed through a single national service was undertaken incorporating over 1200 patient-years of follow-up. Demographics, cardiopulmonary exercise testing, cardiac magnetic resonance, reintervention (including pulmonary valve replacement), and clinical events were analysed. The influence of these parameters on a primary outcome (death or arrhythmia) was evaluated.
Compared with an age-/gender-matched population, patients experienced a reduced survival, particularly males over 55 years (standardised mortality ratio : 6.12, 95% CI: 1.64–15.66, p = 0.004). Cox proportional hazards modelling identified increased indexed right ventricle (RV) end-diastolic volume (hazard ratio (HR): 2.86, 95% CI: 1.4–5.85, p = 0.004) and female gender (HR (male): 0.37, 95% CI: 0.14–0.98, p = 0.045) to be predictors significantly associated with the primary outcome. Pulmonary valve replacement undertaken at indexed RV end-diastolic volume = 145 ml/m2 reduced RV volumes and QRS duration but did not improve cardiopulmonary exercise testing nor NYHA class. Pulmonary valve replacement during cohort period was associated with increased risk of primary outcome (HR: 2.82, 95% CI: 1.36–5.86, p = 0.005).
Although the majority of adult tetralogy of Fallot were asymptomatic in NYHA 1, cardiopulmonary exercise testing revealed important deficits. Tetralogy of Fallot survival was reduced compared to the general population. Female gender and increasing RV end-diastolic volume predicted adverse events. Pulmonary valve replacement reduced RV volumes and QRS duration but did not improve primary outcome.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to global shortages of N95 respirators. Reprocessing of used N95 respirators may provide a higher filtration crisis alternative, but whether effective sterilization can be achieved for a virus without impairing respirator function remains unknown. We evaluated the viricidal efficacy of Bioquell vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) on contaminated N95 respirators and tested the particulate particle penetration and inhalation and exhalation resistance of respirators after multiple cycles of VHP.
For this study, 3M 1870 N95 respirators were contaminated with 3 aerosolized bacteriophages: T1, T7, and Pseudomonas phage phi-6 followed by 1 cycle of VHP decontamination using a BQ-50 system. Additionally, new and unused respirators were sent to an independent laboratory for particulate filter penetration testing and inhalation and exhalation resistance after 3 and 5 cycles of VHP.
A single VHP cycle resulted in complete eradication of bacteriophage from respirators (limit of detection 10 PFU). Respirators showed acceptable limits for inhalation/exhalation resistance after 3 and 5 cycles of VHP. Respirators demonstrated a filtration efficiency >99 % after 3 cycles, but filtration efficiency fell below 95% after 5 cycles of HPV.
Bioquell VHP demonstrated high viricidal activity for N95 respirators inoculated with aerosolized bacteriophages. Bioquell technology can be scaled for simultaneous decontamination of a large number of used but otherwise intact respirators. Reprocessing should be limited to 3 cycles due to concerns both about impact of clinical wear and tear on fit, and to decrement in filtration after 3 cycles.
Mass asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid amplified testing of healthcare personnel (HCP) was performed at a large tertiary health system. A low period-prevalence of positive HCP was observed. Of those who tested positive, half had mild symptoms in retrospect. HCP with even mild symptoms should be isolated and tested.
This reflection article presents insights on conducting fieldwork during and after COVID-19 from a diverse collection of political scientists—from department heads to graduate students based at public and private universities in the United States and abroad. Many of them contributed to a newly published volume, Stories from the Field: A Guide to Navigating Fieldwork in Political Science (Krause and Szekely 2020). As in the book, these contributors draw on their years of experience in the field to identify the unique ethical and logistical challenges posed by COVID-19 and offer suggestions for how to adjust and continue research in the face of the pandemic’s disruptions. Key themes include how contingency planning must now be a central part of our research designs; how cyberspace has increasingly become “the field” for the time being; and how scholars can build lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships with “field citizens,” now and in the future.
Clarifying the relationship between depression symptoms and cardiometabolic and related health could clarify risk factors and treatment targets. The objective of this study was to assess whether depression symptoms in midlife are associated with the subsequent onset of cardiometabolic health problems.
The study sample comprised 787 male twin veterans with polygenic risk score data who participated in the Harvard Twin Study of Substance Abuse (‘baseline’) and the longitudinal Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (‘follow-up’). Depression symptoms were assessed at baseline [mean age 41.42 years (s.d. = 2.34)] using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule, Version III, Revised. The onset of eight cardiometabolic conditions (atrial fibrillation, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, myocardial infarction, sleep apnea, and stroke) was assessed via self-reported doctor diagnosis at follow-up [mean age 67.59 years (s.d. = 2.41)].
Total depression symptoms were longitudinally associated with incident diabetes (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.07–1.57), erectile dysfunction (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.10–1.59), hypercholesterolemia (OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.04–1.53), and sleep apnea (OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.13–1.74) over 27 years after controlling for age, alcohol consumption, smoking, body mass index, C-reactive protein, and polygenic risk for specific health conditions. In sensitivity analyses that excluded somatic depression symptoms, only the association with sleep apnea remained significant (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.09–1.60).
A history of depression symptoms by early midlife is associated with an elevated risk for subsequent development of several self-reported health conditions. When isolated, non-somatic depression symptoms are associated with incident self-reported sleep apnea. Depression symptom history may be a predictor or marker of cardiometabolic risk over decades.
A recent suicidal drive hypothesis posits that psychotic experiences (PEs) may serve to externalize internally generated and self-directed threat (i.e., self-injurious/suicidal behavior [SIB]) in order to optimize survival; however, it must first be demonstrated that such internal threat can both precede and inform PEs. The current study conducted the first known bidirectional analysis of SIB and PEs to test whether SIB could be considered as a plausible antecedent for PEs. Prospective data were utilized from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative birth cohort of 2232 twins, that captured SIB (any self-harm or suicidal attempt) and PEs at ages 12 and 18 years. Cross-lagged panel models demonstrated that the association between SIB at age 12 and PEs at age 18 was as strong as the association between PEs at age 12 and SIB at age 18. Indeed, the best representation of the data was a model where these paths were constrained to be equal (OR = 2.48, 95% CI = 1.63–3.79). Clinical interview case notes for those who reported both SIB and PEs at age 18, revealed that PEs were explicitly characterized by SIB/threat/death-related content for 39% of cases. These findings justify further investigation of the suicidal drive hypothesis.
The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.
An intermediate-depth (1751 m) ice core was drilled at the South Pole between 2014 and 2016 using the newly designed US Intermediate Depth Drill. The South Pole ice core is the highest-resolution interior East Antarctic ice core record that extends into the glacial period. The methods used at the South Pole to handle and log the drilled ice, the procedures used to safely retrograde the ice back to the National Science Foundation Ice Core Facility (NSF-ICF), and the methods used to process and sample the ice at the NSF-ICF are described. The South Pole ice core exhibited minimal brittle ice, which was likely due to site characteristics and, to a lesser extent, to drill technology and core handling procedures.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented global crisis, necessitating drastic changes to living conditions, social life, personal freedom and economic activity. No study has yet examined the presence of psychiatric symptoms in the UK population under similar conditions.
We investigated the prevalence of COVID-19-related anxiety, generalised anxiety, depression and trauma symptoms in the UK population during an early phase of the pandemic, and estimated associations with variables likely to influence these symptoms.
Between 23 and 28 March 2020, a quota sample of 2025 UK adults aged 18 years and older, stratified by age, gender and household income, was recruited by online survey company Qualtrics. Participants completed standardised measures of depression, generalised anxiety and trauma symptoms relating to the pandemic. Bivariate and multivariate associations were calculated for demographic and health-related variables.
Higher levels of anxiety, depression and trauma symptoms were reported compared with previous population studies, but not dramatically so. Anxiety or depression and trauma symptoms were predicted by young age, presence of children in the home, and high estimates of personal risk. Anxiety and depression were also predicted by low income, loss of income and pre-existing health conditions in self and others. Specific anxiety about COVID-19 was greater in older participants.
This study showed a modest increase in the prevalence of mental health problems in the early stages of the pandemic, and these problems were predicted by several specific COVID-related variables. Further similar surveys, particularly of those with children at home, are required as the pandemic progresses.
Rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected people with intellectual disability disproportionately. Existing data does not provide enough information to understand factors associated with increased deaths in those with intellectual disability. Establishing who is at high risk is important in developing prevention strategies, given risk factors or comorbidities in people with intellectual disability may be different to those in the general population.
To identify comorbidities, demographic and clinical factors of those individuals with intellectual disability who have died from COVID-19.
An observational descriptive case series looking at deaths because of COVID-19 in people with intellectual disability was conducted. Along with established risk factors observed in the general population, possible specific risk factors and comorbidities in people with intellectual disability for deaths related to COVID-19 were examined. Comparisons between mild and moderate-to-profound intellectual disability subcohorts were undertaken.
Data on 66 deaths in individuals with intellectual disability were analysed. This group was younger (mean age 64 years) compared with the age of death in the general population because of COVID-19. High rates of moderate-to-profound intellectual disability (n = 43), epilepsy (n = 29), mental illness (n = 29), dysphagia (n = 23), Down syndrome (n = 20) and dementia (n = 15) were observed.
This is the first study exploring associations between possible risk factors and comorbidities found in COVID-19 deaths in people with intellectual disability. Our data provides insight into possible factors for deaths in people with intellectual disability. Some of the factors varied between the mild and moderate-to-profound intellectual disability groups. This highlights an urgent need for further systemic inquiry and study of the possible cumulative impact of these factors and comorbidities given the possibility of COVID-19 resurgence.