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The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on how health outcomes are unequally distributed among different population groups, with disadvantaged communities and individuals being disproportionality affected in terms of infection, morbidity and mortality, as well as vaccine access. Recently, there has been considerable debate about how social disadvantage and inequality intersect with developmental processes to result in a heightened susceptibility to environmental stressors, economic shocks and large-scale health emergencies. We argue that DOHaD Society members can make important contributions to addressing issues of inequality and improving community resilience in response to COVID-19. In order to do so, it is beneficial to engage with and adopt a social justice framework. We detail how DOHaD can align its research and policy recommendations with a social justice perspective to ensure that we contribute to improving the health of present and future generations in an equitable and socially just way.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
An accurate estimate of the average number of hand hygiene opportunities per patient hour (HHO rate) is required to implement group electronic hand hygiene monitoring systems (GEHHMSs). We sought to identify predictors of HHOs to validate and implement a GEHHMS across a network of critical care units.
Multicenter, observational study (10 hospitals) followed by quality improvement intervention involving 24 critical care units across 12 hospitals in Ontario, Canada.
Critical care patient beds were randomized to receive 1 hour of continuous direct observation to determine the HHO rate. A Poisson regression model determined unit-level predictors of HHOs. Estimates of average HHO rates across different types of critical care units were derived and used to implement and evaluate use of GEHHMS.
During 2,812 hours of observation, we identified 25,417 HHOs. There was significant variability in HHO rate across critical care units. Time of day, day of the week, unit acuity, patient acuity, patient population and use of transmission-based precautions were significantly associated with HHO rate. Using unit-specific estimates of average HHO rate, aggregate HH adherence was 30.0% (1,084,329 of 3,614,908) at baseline with GEHHMS and improved to 38.5% (740,660 of 1,921,656) within 2 months of continuous feedback to units (P < .0001).
Unit-specific estimates based on known predictors of HHO rate enabled broad implementation of GEHHMS. Further longitudinal quality improvement efforts using this system are required to assess the impact of GEHHMS on both HH adherence and clinical outcomes within critically ill patient populations.
Nosocomial transmission of influenza is a major concern for infection control. We aimed to dissect transmission dynamics of influenza, including asymptomatic transmission events, in acute care.
Prospective surveillance study during 2 influenza seasons.
Volunteer sample of inpatients on medical wards and healthcare workers (HCWs).
Participants provided daily illness diaries and nasal swabs for influenza A and B detection and whole-genome sequencing for phylogenetic analyses. Contacts between study participants were tracked. Secondary influenza attack rates were calculated based on spatial and temporal proximity and phylogenetic evidence for transmission.
In total, 152 HCWs and 542 inpatients were included; 16 HCWs (10.5%) and 19 inpatients (3.5%) tested positive for influenza on 109 study days. Study participants had symptoms of disease on most of the days they tested positive for influenza (83.1% and 91.9% for HCWs and inpatients, respectively). Also, 11(15.5%) of 71 influenza-positive swabs among HCWs and 3 (7.9%) of 38 influenza-positive swabs among inpatients were collected on days without symptoms; 2 (12.5%) of 16 HCWs and 2 (10.5%) of 19 inpatients remained fully asymptomatic. The secondary attack rate was low: we recorded 1 transmission event over 159 contact days (0.6%) that originated from a symptomatic case. No transmission event occurred in 61 monitored days of contacts with asymptomatic influenza-positive individuals.
Influenza in acute care is common, and individuals regularly shed influenza virus without harboring symptoms. Nevertheless, both symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission events proved rare. We suggest that healthcare-associated influenza prevention strategies that are based on preseason vaccination and barrier precautions for symptomatic individuals seem to be effective.
To assess influenza symptoms, adherence to mask use recommendations, absenteesm and presenteeism in acute care healthcare workers (HCWs) during influenza epidemics.
The TransFLUas influenza transmission study in acute healthcare prospectively followed HCWs prospectively over 2 consecutive influenza seasons. Symptom diaries asking for respiratory symptoms and adherence with mask use recommendations were recorded on a daily basis, and study participants provided midturbinate nasal swabs for influenza testing.
In total, 152 HCWs (65.8% nurses and 13.2% physicians) were included: 89.1% of study participants reported at least 1 influenza symptom during their study season and 77.8% suffered from respiratory symptoms. Also, 28.3% of HCW missed at least 1 working day during the study period: 82.6% of these days were missed because of symptoms of influenza illness. Of all participating HCWs, 67.9% worked with symptoms of influenza infection on 8.8% of study days. On 0.3% of study days, symptomatic HCWs were shedding influenza virus while at work. Among HCWs with respiratory symptoms, 74.1% adhered to the policy to wear a mask at work on 59.1% of days with respiratory symptoms.
Respiratory disease is frequent among HCWs and imposes a significant economic burden on hospitals due to the number of working days lost. Presenteesm with respiratory illness, including influenza, is also frequent and poses a risk for patients and staff.
This article offers an analysis of the transnational discursive construction processes informing Latin American security governance in the aftermath of 9/11. It demonstrates that the Global War on Terror provided an opportunity for external and aligned local knowledge producers in the security establishments throughout the Americas to reframe Latin America's security problems through the promotion of a militarised security epistemology, and derived policies, centred on the region's ‘convergent threats’. In tracing the discursive repercussions of this epistemic reframing, the article shows that, by tapping into these discourses, military bureaucracies throughout the Americas were able to overcome their previous institutional marginalisation vis-à-vis civilian agencies. This development contributed to the renaissance of counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism discourses and policies in the region, allowing countries such as Colombia and Brazil to reposition themselves globally by exporting their military expertise for confronting post-9/11 threats beyond the region.
The consistent association between therapeutic alliance and outcome underlines the importance of identifying factors which predict the development of a positive alliance. However, only few studies have examined the association between pretreatment characteristics and alliance formation in patients with schizophrenia.
The study examined whether symptoms and insight would predict the therapeutic alliance in psychotherapy of schizophrenia. Further, the associations and differences between patient and therapist alliance ratings were studied.
Eighty patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders received manual-based psychotherapy. Assessment of symptoms and insight was conducted at baseline, and questionnaire-based alliance ratings were obtained three weeks into treatment. Patient and therapist alliance ratings were examined separately.
Patient and therapist alliance ratings were not significantly correlated (r = 0.17). Patient ratings of the alliance were significantly higher than the ratings of their therapists (d = 0.73). More insight in psychosis significantly predicted higher patient ratings of the alliance. Less positive and negative symptoms were significant predictors of higher therapist alliance ratings.
The findings indicate that symptoms and insight have an influence on the therapeutic alliance in the treatment of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Patients' and therapists' perceptions of the alliance do not seem to demonstrate much convergence.
Geometrical work piece deviations are unavoidable and directly affect the function and quality of technological products. Tolerance management is regarded as a crucial subtask of the development of technological products, because it ensures the function as well as a sufficient product quality while maintaining reasonable production costs. That means, that geometric tolerances as an essential part of the product description greatly affect the functional capability, manufacturability, mountability, verifiability and the costs of the final product. The research group FOR 2271 was founded to enable the computer-aided specification of tolerances, which meet the requirements of production, assembly, verification and function by close cooperation between the departments responsible for product design, assembly and metrology. The aim of this contribution is to determine the manufacturing process scatter as well as the measurement uncertainty and establish ways and means to include that information into efficient meta-models, ultimately enabling improved and accurate tolerance analyses.
The phenomenon of buying-shopping disorder (BSD) was described over 100 years ago. Definitions of BSD refer to extreme preoccupation with shopping and buying, to impulses to purchase that are experienced as irresistible, and to recurrent maladaptive buying excesses that lead to distress and impairments. Efforts to stop BSD episodes are unsuccessful, despite the awareness of repeated break-downs in self-regulation, experiences of post-purchase guilt and regret, comorbid psychiatric disorders, reduced quality of life, familial discord, work impairment, financial problems, and other negative consequences. A recent meta-analysis indicated an estimated point prevalence of BSD of 5%. In this narrative review, the authors offer a perspective to consider BSD as a mental health condition and to classify this disorder as a behavioral addiction, based on both research data and on long-standing clinical experience.
Gray matter (GM) ‘pseudoatrophy’ is well-documented in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN), but changes in white matter (WM) are less well understood. Here we investigated the dynamics of microstructural WM brain changes in AN patients during short-term weight restoration in a combined longitudinal and cross-sectional study design.
Diffusion-weighted images were acquired in young AN patients before (acAN-Tp1, n = 56) and after (acAN-Tp2, n = 44) short-term weight restoration as well as in age-matched healthy controls (HC, n = 60). Images were processed using Tract-Based-Spatial-Statistics to compare fractional anisotropy (FA) across groups and timepoints.
In the cross-sectional comparison, FA was significantly reduced in the callosal body in acAN-Tp1 compared with HC, while no differences were found between acAN-Tp2 and HC. In the longitudinal arm, FA increased with weight gain in acAN-Tp2 relative to acAN-Tp1 in large parts of the callosal body and the fornix, while it decreased in the right corticospinal tract.
Our findings reveal that dynamic, bidirectional changes in WM microstructure in young underweight patients with AN can be reversed with brief weight restoration therapy. These results parallel those previously observed in GM and suggest that alterations in WM in non-chronic AN are also state-dependent and rapidly reversible with successful intervention.
Behavioural public policy (BPP) has come under fire by critics who claim that it is illiberal. Some authors recently suggest that there is a type of BPP – boosting – that is not as vulnerable to this normative critique. Our paper challenges this claim: there's no non-circular way to draw the distinction between nudge and boost that would make the normative difference required to infer the permissibility of a policy intervention from its type-membership. We consider two strategies: paradigmatic examples and causal mechanisms. We conclude by sketching some suggestions about the right way to approach the normative issues.