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This study aims to look at the trends in our head and neck cancer patient population over the past 5 years with an emphasis on the past 2 years to evaluate how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted our disparities and availability of care for patients, especially those living in rural areas. An additional aim is to identify existing disparities at our institution in the treatment of head and neck patients and determine solutions to improve patient care.
Materials and Methods:
A retrospective chart review was performed to identify patients who were consulted and subsequently treated with at least one fraction of radiation therapy at our institution with palliative or curative intent. Patient demographic information was collected including hometown, distance from the cancer centre based on zip-codes and insurance information and type of appointment (in-person or telehealth). Rural–urban continuum codes were used to determine rurality.
A total of 490 head and neck cancer patients (n = 490) were treated from 2017 to 2021. When broken down by year, there were no significant trends in patient population regarding travel distance or rurality. Roughly 20–30% of our patients live in rural areas and about 30% have a commute > 50 miles for radiation treatment. A majority of our patients rely on public insurance (68%) with a small percentage of those uninsured (4%). Telehealth visits were rare prior to 2019 and rose to 5 and 2 visits in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Head and neck cancer patients, despite rurality or distance from a cancer centre, may present with alarmingly enough symptoms despite limitations and difficulties with seeking medical attention even during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. However, providers must be aware of these potential disparities that exist in the rural population and seek to address these.
To examine the association between adherence to plant-based diets and mortality.
Prospective study. We calculated a plant-based diet index (PDI) by assigning positive scores to plant foods and reverse scores to animal foods. We also created a healthful PDI (hPDI) and an unhealthful PDI (uPDI) by further separating the healthy plant foods from less-healthy plant foods.
The VA Million Veteran Program.
315 919 men and women aged 19–104 years who completed a FFQ at the baseline.
We documented 31 136 deaths during the follow-up. A higher PDI was significantly associated with lower total mortality (hazard ratio (HR) comparing extreme deciles = 0·75, 95 % CI: 0·71, 0·79, Ptrend < 0·001]. We observed an inverse association between hPDI and total mortality (HR comparing extreme deciles = 0·64, 95 % CI: 0·61, 0·68, Ptrend < 0·001), whereas uPDI was positively associated with total mortality (HR comparing extreme deciles = 1·41, 95 % CI: 1·33, 1·49, Ptrend < 0·001). Similar significant associations of PDI, hPDI and uPDI were also observed for CVD and cancer mortality. The associations between the PDI and total mortality were consistent among African and European American participants, and participants free from CVD and cancer and those who were diagnosed with major chronic disease at baseline.
A greater adherence to a plant-based diet was associated with substantially lower total mortality in this large population of veterans. These findings support recommending plant-rich dietary patterns for the prevention of major chronic diseases.
The exercise of administrative discretion by street-level workers plays a key role in shaping citizens’ access to welfare and employment services. Governance reforms of social services delivery, such as performance-based contracting, have often been driven by attempts to discipline this discretion. In several countries, these forms of market governance are now being eclipsed by new modes of digital governance that seek to reshape the delivery of services using algorithms and machine learning. Australia, a pioneer of marketisation, is one example, proposing to deploy digitalisation to fully automate most of its employment services rather than as a supplement to face-to-face case management. We examine the potential and limits of this project to replace human-to-human with ‘machine bureaucracies’. To what extent are welfare and employment services amenable to digitalisation? What trade-offs are involved? In addressing these questions, we consider the purported benefits of machine bureaucracies in achieving higher levels of efficiency, accountability, and consistency in policy delivery. While recognising the potential benefits of machine bureaucracies for both governments and jobseekers, we argue that trade-offs will be faced between enhancing the efficiency and consistency of services and ensuring that services remain accessible and responsive to highly personalised circumstances.
To describe the use of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled dark nudges by leading global food and beverage companies to influence consumer behaviour.
The five most recent annual reports (ranging from 2014 to 2018 or 2015 to 2019, depending on the company) and websites from twelve of the leading companies in the global food and beverage industry were reviewed to identify uses of AI and emerging technologies to influence consumer behaviour. Uses of AI and emerging technologies were categorised according to the Typology of Interventions in Proximal Physical Micro-Environments (TIPPME) framework, a tool for categorising and describing nudge-type behaviour change interventions (which has also previously been used to describe dark nudge-type approaches used by the alcohol industry).
Twelve leading companies in the global food and beverage industry.
Text was extracted from fifty-seven documents from eleven companies. AI-enabled dark nudges used by food and beverage companies included those that altered products and objects’ availability (e.g. social listening to inform product development), position (e.g. decision technology and facial recognition to manipulate the position of products on menu boards), functionality (e.g. decision technology to prompt further purchases based on current selections) and presentation (e.g. augmented or virtual reality to deliver engaging and immersive marketing).
Public health practitioners and policymakers must understand and engage with these technologies and tactics if they are to counter industry promotion of products harmful to health, particularly as investment by the industry in AI and other emerging technologies suggests their use will continue to grow.
Reducing vulnerability to environmental change must be a key component of any strategy for sustainable development. We consider the situation of the nations of the Lower Mekong, namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam, focusing on the threat of climate change. We distinguish between physical vulnerability, characterized in terms of spatial exposure to hazardous events, and social vulnerability, which is a function of the social conditions and historical circumstances that put people at risk. As vulnerability is a dynamic condition, we frame the assessment in terms of the processes and trends that are shaping current patterns of vulnerability and resilience. The nations of the Lower Mekong face a range of potential trends in climate, with changes in the incidence of flooding, variability in water availability, the occurrence of drought and heat stress, the frequency and/or intensity of tropical cyclones, and, in coastal areas, sea-level rise posing the major risks. A baseline assessment of the social, economic, and political trends that are influencing present-day levels of social vulnerability highlights the fact that poverty is the largest barrier to developing the capacity to cope and adapt effectively with change. The situation of the poorest members of society is being adversely affected by trends in inequality, disparities in property rights, dismantling of agricultural cooperatives, unions, and various forms of financial support and changes in social structure and institutions. We identify an important tension that can exist between efforts aimed at improving the general economic situation and what is needed to improve resilience to climate stress, particularly among the rural poor. As far as adaptation is concerned, there are lessons for other regions in the traditional approaches developed within the Lower Mekong, as these nations have a rich history of managing their dynamic natural environment.
To achieve the elimination of the hepatitis C virus (HCV), sustained and sufficient levels of HCV testing is critical. The purpose of this study was to assess trends in testing and evaluate the effectiveness of strategies to diagnose people living with HCV. Data were from 12 primary care clinics in Victoria, Australia, that provide targeted services to people who inject drugs (PWID), alongside general health care. This ecological study spanned 2009–2019 and included analyses of trends in annual numbers of HCV antibody tests among individuals with no previous positive HCV antibody test recorded and annual test yield (positive HCV antibody tests/all HCV antibody tests). Generalised linear models estimated the association between count outcomes (HCV antibody tests and positive HCV antibody tests) and time, and χ2 test assessed the trend in test yield. A total of 44 889 HCV antibody tests were conducted 2009–2019; test numbers increased 6% annually on average [95% confidence interval (CI) 4–9]. Test yield declined from 2009 (21%) to 2019 (9%) (χ2P = <0.01). In more recent years (2013–2019) annual test yield remained relatively stable. Modest increases in HCV antibody testing and stable but high test yield within clinics delivering services to PWID highlights testing strategies are resulting in people are being diagnosed however further increases in the testing of people at risk of HCV or living with HCV may be needed to reach Australia's HCV elimination goals.
Many mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are associated with poor dietary quality and nutrient intake. There is, however, a deficit of research looking at the relationship between obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) severity, nutrient intake and dietary quality.
This study aims to explore the relationship between OCD severity, nutrient intake and dietary quality.
A post hoc regression analysis was conducted with data combined from two separate clinical trials that included 85 adults with diagnosed OCD, using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5. Nutrient intakes were calculated from the Dietary Questionnaire for Epidemiological Studies version 3.2, and dietary quality was scored with the Healthy Eating Index for Australian Adults – 2013.
Nutrient intake in the sample largely aligned with Australian dietary guidelines. Linear regression models adjusted for gender, age and total energy intake showed no significant associations between OCD severity, nutrient intake and dietary quality (all P > 0.05). However, OCD severity was inversely associated with caffeine (β = −15.50, 95% CI −28.88 to −2.11, P = 0.024) and magnesium (β = −6.63, 95% CI −12.72 to −0.53, P = 0.034) intake after adjusting for OCD treatment resistance.
This study showed OCD severity had little effect on nutrient intake and dietary quality. Dietary quality scores were higher than prior studies with healthy samples, but limitations must be noted regarding comparability. Future studies employing larger sample sizes, control groups and more accurate dietary intake measures will further elucidate the relationship between nutrient intake and dietary quality in patients with OCD.
We conducted a retrospective review of a hybrid antimicrobial restriction process demonstrating adherence to appropriate use criteria in 72% of provisional-only orders, in 100% of provisional orders followed by ID orders, and in 97% of ID-initiated orders. Therapy interruptions occurred in 24% of provisional orders followed by ID orders.
We examined the return on investment (ROI) from the Endovascular Reperfusion Alberta (ERA) project, a provincially funded population-wide strategy to improve access to endovascular therapy (EVT), to inform policy regarding sustainability.
We calculated net benefit (NB) as benefit minus cost and ROI as benefit divided by cost. Patients treated with EVT and their controls were identified from the ESCAPE trial. Using the provincial administrative databases, their health services utilization (HSU), including inpatient, outpatient, physician, long-term care services, and prescription drugs, were compared. This benefit was then extrapolated to the number of patients receiving EVT increased in 2018 and 2019 by the ERA implementation. We used three time horizons, including short (90 days), medium (1 year), and long-term (5 years).
EVT was associated with a reduced gross HSU cost for all the three time horizons. Given the total costs of ERA were $2.04 million in 2018 ($11,860/patient) and $3.73 million in 2019 ($17,070/patient), NB per patient in 2018 (2019) was estimated at −$7,313 (−$12,524), $54,592 ($49,381), and $47,070 ($41,859) for short, medium, and long-term time horizons, respectively. Total NB for the province in 2018 (2019) were −$1.26 (−$2.74), $9.40 ($10.78), and $8.11 ($9.14) million; ROI ratios were 0.4 (0.3), 5.6 (3.9) and 5.0 (3.5). Probabilities of ERA being cost saving were 39% (31%), 97% (96%), and 94% (91%), for short, medium, and long-term time horizons, respectively.
The ERA program was cost saving in the medium and long-term time horizons. Results emphasized the importance of considering a broad range of HSU and long-term impact to capture the full ROI.
Stem cells give rise to the entirety of cells within an organ. Maintaining stem cell identity and coordinately regulating stem cell divisions is crucial for proper development. In plants, mobile proteins, such as WUSCHEL-RELATED HOMEOBOX 5 (WOX5) and SHORTROOT (SHR), regulate divisions in the root stem cell niche. However, how these proteins coordinately function to establish systemic behaviour is not well understood. We propose a non-cell autonomous role for WOX5 in the cortex endodermis initial (CEI) and identify a regulator, ANGUSTIFOLIA (AN3)/GRF-INTERACTING FACTOR 1, that coordinates CEI divisions. Here, we show with a multi-scale hybrid model integrating ordinary differential equations (ODEs) and agent-based modeling that quiescent center (QC) and CEI divisions have different dynamics. Specifically, by combining continuous models to describe regulatory networks and agent-based rules, we model systemic behaviour, which led us to predict cell-type-specific expression dynamics of SHR, SCARECROW, WOX5, AN3 and CYCLIND6;1, and experimentally validate CEI cell divisions. Conclusively, our results show an interdependency between CEI and QC divisions.
There is minimal data regarding antegrade-only accessory pathways in young patients. Given evolving recommendations and treatments, retrospective analysis of the clinical and electrophysiologic properties of antegrade-only pathways in patients <21 years old was performed, with subsequent comparison of electrophysiology properties to age-matched controls with bidirectional pathways. Of 522 consecutive young patients with ventricular pre-excitation referred for electrophysiology study, 33 (6.3%) had antegrade-only accessory pathways. Indications included palpitations (47%), chest pain (25%), and syncope (22%). The shortest value for either the accessory pathway effective refractory period or the pre-excited R-R interval was taken for each patient, with the median of the antegrade-only group significantly greater than shortest values for the bidirectional group (310 [280–360] ms versus 270 [240–302] ms, p < 0.001). However, the prevalence of pathways with high-risk properties (effective refractory period or shortest pre-excited R-R interval <250 ms) was similar in both study patients and controls (13% versus 21%) (p = 0.55). Sixteen patients had a single antegrade-only accessory pathway and no inducible arrhythmia. Six patients had Mahaim fibres, all right anterolateral with inducible antidromic reciprocating tachycardia. However, 11 patients with antegrade-only accessory pathways and 3 with Mahaim fibres had inducible tachycardia due to a second substrate recognised at electrophysiology study. These included concealed accessory pathways (7), bidirectional accessory pathways (5), and atrioventricular node re-entry (2). Antegrade-only accessory pathways require comprehensive electrophysiology evaluation as confounding factors such as high-risk conduction properties or inducible Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) due to a second substrate of tachycardia are often present.
Recognizing and managing existential suffering remains challenging. We present two cases demonstrating how existential suffering manifests in patients and how to manage it to alleviate suffering.
Case 1: A 69-year-old man with renal cell carcinoma receiving end-of-life care expressed fear of lying down “as he may not wake up.” He also expressed concerns of not being a good Christian. Supportive psychotherapy and chaplain support were provided, with anxiolytic medications as needed. He was able to express his fear of dying and concern about his family, and Edmonton Symptom Assessment System scores improved. He died peacefully with family at bedside. Case 2: A 71-year-old woman presented with follicular lymphoma and colonic obstruction requiring nasogastric drain of fecaloid matter. Initially, she felt that focusing on comfort rather than cure symbolized giving up but eventually felt at peace. Physical symptoms were well-controlled but emotionally she became more distressed, repeatedly asking angrily, “Why is it taking so long to die?.” She was supported by her family through Bible readings and prayers, but she was distressed about being a burden to them. An interdisciplinary approach involving expressive supportive counseling, spiritual care, and integrative medicine resulted in limited distress relief. Owing to increasing agitation, the patient and family agreed to titrate chlorpromazine to sedation. Her family was appreciative that she was restful until her death.
Existential suffering manifests through multiple domains in each patient. A combination of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic techniques may be needed to relieve end-of-life suffering.
OBJECTIVES/GOALS: We conducted interviews with investigators, clinicians, and health system and health agency leaders to assess regional educational needs in implementation and improvement science, including content (knowledge and skill), format, experiential learning, and mentoring, to identify barriers and guide planning. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: Five CTSAs in the University of California Biomedical Research Acceleration, Integration, & Development consortium (UC BRAID) plus a fifth affiliated CTSA developed a common protocol and interviewed 31 California-based learners (current fellows, early and mid-career investigators, clinicians, and health agency personnel) and system leaders from health care and health agencies. Interviews focused on impact goals, educational needs in dissemination, implementation, and improvement (DII) science, challenges in DII research, preferred learning formats, desired proficiencies and skills, and barriers such as cost, time, awareness, terminology, and suitability and availability of training. A rapid review of literature identified potential domains of knowledge and skills for a proposed curriculum. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: Areas of emphasis varied among interviewees; identified learning needs differed between traditional research perspectives (emphasizing areas such as partner engagement, grant writing, frameworks, study design) and applied perspectives (emphasizing areas such as managing change, complex systems, learning system capacity). Learners had a range of preferences; most interviewees desired formats that are longitudinal, experiential, applied, cooperative, and affordable. Variation in knowledge of, and interpretations of, DII terms and goals limited the ability of some interviewees to specify educational needs. A synthesis reveals areas for potential future co-development and networked approaches to regional training and capacity enhancement. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE OF IMPACT: In response to a rapidly changing health landscape, our academic health systems are developing capabilities to improve care for their populations. Our work informs the training and education needs that are critical to translation at a system-wide level. Regional convenings can raise awareness while translational programs fill educational gaps.
Australia’s welfare-to-work system has been subject to ongoing political contestation and policy reform since the 1990s. In this paper we take a big picture look at the Australian system over time, re-visiting our earlier analysis of the impact of marketisation on flexibility at the frontline over the first ten years of the Australian market in employment services. That analysis demonstrated that marketisation had failed to deliver the service flexibility intended through contracting-out, and had instead produced market herding around a common set of standardised frontline practices. In the interim, there have been two further major redesigns of the Australian system at considerable expense to taxpayers. Re-introducing greater flexibility and service tailoring into the market has been a key aim of these reforms. Calling on evidence from an original, longitudinal survey of frontline employment service staff run in 2008, 2012 and 2016, this paper considers how the Australian market has evolved over its second decade. We find remarkable consistency over time and, indeed, evidence of deepening organisational convergence. We conclude that, once in motion, isomorphic pressures towards standardisation quickly get locked into quasi-market regimes; at least when these pressures occur in low-trust contracting environments.
We undertook a quality improvement project to address challenges with pulmonary artery catheter (PAC) line maintenance in a setting of low-baseline central-line infection rates. We observed a subsequent reduction in Staphylococcal PAC line infections and a trend toward a reduction in overall PAC infection rates over 1 year.
In Canada, recreational use of cannabis was legalized in October 2018. This policy change along with recent publications evaluating the efficacy of cannabis for the medical treatment of epilepsy and media awareness about its use have increased the public interest about this agent. The Canadian League Against Epilepsy Medical Therapeutics Committee, along with a multidisciplinary group of experts and Canadian Epilepsy Alliance representatives, has developed a position statement about the use of medical cannabis for epilepsy. This article addresses the current Canadian legal framework, recent publications about its efficacy and safety profile, and our understanding of the clinical issues that should be considered when contemplating cannabis use for medical purposes.
We used multivariable analyses to assess whether meeting core elements was associated with antibiotic utilization. Compliance with 7 elements versus not doing so was associated with higher use of broad-spectrum agents for community-acquired infections [days of therapy per 1,000 patient days: 155 (39) vs 133 (29), P = .02] and anti-methicillin-resistant S. aureus agents [days of therapy per 1,000 patient days: 145 (37) vs 124 (30), P = .03].