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As a response to the acute strain placed on the National Health Service during the first wave of coronavirus disease 2019 in the UK, a number of junior doctors including ENT trainees were redeployed to other clinical specialties. This presented these trainees with novel challenges and opportunities.
A qualitative study was performed to explore these experiences, undertaking semi-structured interviews with ENT trainees between 17th and 30th July. Participants were recruited through purposeful sampling. Interview transcripts underwent thematic analysis using Dedoose software.
Seven ENT trainees were interviewed, ranging from specialty trainee years four to eight (‘ST4’ to ‘ST8’) in grade. Six core themes were identified: organisation of redeployment, utilisation of skill set, emotional impact of redeployment, redeployed team dynamics, concerns about safety and impact on training.
The ENT trainees’ experiences of redeployment described highlight some important lessons and considerations for future redeployments.
Psychological attachment to political parties can bias people’s attitudes, beliefs, and group evaluations. Studies from psychology suggest that self-affirmation theory may ameliorate this problem in the domain of politics on a variety of outcome measures. We report a series of studies conducted by separate research teams that examine whether a self-affirmation intervention affects a variety of outcomes, including political or policy attitudes, factual beliefs, conspiracy beliefs, affective polarization, and evaluations of news sources. The different research teams use a variety of self-affirmation interventions, research designs, and outcomes. Despite these differences, the research teams consistently find that self-affirmation treatments have little effect. These findings suggest considerable caution is warranted for researchers who wish to apply the self-affirmation framework to studies that investigate political attitudes and beliefs. By presenting the “null results” of separate research teams, we hope to spark a discussion about whether and how the self-affirmation paradigm should be applied to political topics.
To compare antimicrobial prescribing practices in Australian hematology and oncology patients to noncancer acute inpatients and to identify targets for stewardship interventions.
Retrospective comparative analysis of a national prospectively collected database.
Using data from the 2014–2018 annual Australian point-prevalence surveys of antimicrobial prescribing in hospitalized patients (ie, Hospital National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey called Hospital NAPS), the most frequently used antimicrobials, their appropriateness, and guideline concordance were compared among hematology/bone marrow transplant (hemBMT), oncology, and noncancer inpatients in the setting of treatment of neutropenic fever and antibacterial and antifungal prophylaxis.
In 454 facilities, 94,226 antibiotic prescriptions for 62,607 adult inpatients (2,230 hemBMT, 1,824 oncology, and 58,553 noncancer) were analyzed. Appropriateness was high for neutropenic fever management across groups (83.4%–90.4%); however, hemBMT patients had high rates of carbapenem use (111 of 746 prescriptions, 14.9%), and 20.2% of these prescriptions were deemed inappropriate. Logistic regression demonstrated that hemBMT patients were more likely to receive appropriate antifungal prophylaxis compared to oncology and noncancer patients (adjusted OR, 5.3; P < .001 for hemBMT compared to noncancer patients). Oncology had a low rate of antifungal prophylaxis guideline compliance (67.2%), and incorrect dosage and frequency were key factors. Compared to oncology patients, hemBMT patients were more likely to receive appropriate nonsurgical antibacterial prophylaxis (aOR, 8.4; 95% CI, 5.3–13.3; P < .001). HemBMT patients were also more likely to receive appropriate nonsurgical antibacterial prophylaxis compared to noncancer patients (OR, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.9–5.0; P < .001). However, in the Australian context, the hemBMT group had higher than expected use of fluoroquinolone prophylaxis (66 of 831 prescriptions, 8%).
This study demonstrates why separate analysis of hemBMT and oncology populations is necessary to identify specific opportunities for quality improvement in each patient group.
Selective cascade reporting of antibiotic susceptibilities did not have a significant impact on de-escalation from piperacillin-tazobactam (PT), duration of PT use, length of stay, or rates of acute kidney injury and Clostridioides difficile infection in patients with positive monomicrobial blood cultures with either Escherichia coli or Klebsiella spp.
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.
This study aimed to analyse social, health and environmental factors associated with the development of chronic otitis media by age nine.
This was a prospective, longitudinal, birth cohort study of 6560 children, reviewed at age nine. Chronic otitis media defined as previous surgical history or video-otoscopic changes of tympanic membrane retraction, perforation or cholesteatoma. Non-affected children were used as the control group.
Univariate analysis demonstrated an association between chronic otitis media and otorrhoea, snoring, grommet insertion, adenoidectomy, tonsillectomy, hearing loss, abnormal tympanograms and preterm birth. Multivariate analysis suggests many of these factors may be interrelated.
The association between chronic otitis media and otorrhoea, abnormal tympanograms and grommets supports the role of the Eustachian tube and otitis media (with effusion or acute) in the pathogenesis of chronic otitis media. The role of snoring, adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy is unclear. Associations suggested by previous studies (sex, socioeconomic group, parental smoking, maternal education, childcare, crowding and siblings) were not found to be significant predictors in this analysis.
Introduction: In 2018, Canadian postgraduate specialist Emergency Medicine (EM) programs began implementing a competency-based medical education (CBME) assessment system. To support improvement of this assessment program, we sought to evaluate its short-term educational outcomes nationally and within individual programs. Methods: Program-level data from the 2018 resident cohort were amalgamated and analyzed. The number of Entrustable Professional Activity (EPA) assessments (overall and for each EPA) and the timing of resident promotion through program stages was compared between programs and to the guidelines provided by the national EM specialty committee. Total EPA observations from each program were correlated with the number of EM and pediatric EM rotations. Results: Data from 15 of 17 (88.2%) EM programs containing 9,842 EPA observations from 68 of the 77 (88.3%) Canadian EM specialist residents in the 2018 cohort were analyzed. The average number of EPAs observed per resident in each program varied from 92.5 to 229.6 and correlated strongly with the number of blocks spent on EM and pediatric EM (r = 0.83, p < 0.001). Relative to the guidelines outlined by the specialty committee, residents were promoted later than expected and with fewer EPA observations than suggested. Conclusion: We present a new approach to the amalgamation of national and program-level assessment data. There was demonstrable variation in both EPA-based assessment numbers and promotion timelines between programs and with national guidelines. This evaluation data will inform the revision of local programs and national guidelines and serve as a starting point for further reaching outcome evaluation. This process could be replicated by other national assessment programs.
Altered neurocognitive function in schizophrenia could reflect both genetic and illness-specific effects.
To use functional magnetic resonance imaging to discriminate between the influences of the genetic risk for schizophrenia and environmental factors on the neural substrate of verbal fluency, a candidate schizophrenia endophenotype using a case control twin design.
We studied 23 monozygotic twin pairs: 13 pairs discordant for schizophrenia and 10 pairs of healthy volunteer twins. Groups were matched for age, gender, handedness, level of education, parental socio-economic status, and ethnicity. Behavioural performance and regional brain activation during a phonological verbal fluency task were assessed.
Relative to healthy control twins, both patients and their non-psychotic co-twins produced fewer correct responses and showed less activation in the medial temporal region and inferior frontal gyrus. Twins with schizophrenia showed greater activation than both their non-psychotic co-twins and controls in right lateral temporal cortex, reflecting reduced deactivation during word generation while their non-psychotic co-twins showed greater activation in the left temporal cortex.
Both genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia and schizophrenia were associated with impaired verbal fluency performance, reduced engagement of the medial temporal region and dorsal inferior frontal gyrus. Schizophrenia was specifically associated with an additional reduction in deactivation in the right temporal cortex.
Abnormalities of orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) sulcogyral patterns have been reported in schizophrenia, but it is not known if these predate psychosis.
Hundred and forty-six subjects at high genetic risk of schizophrenia, 34 first episode of schizophrenia patients (SZ) and 36 healthy controls were scanned and clinically assessed. Utilising the classification system proposed by Chiavaras, we categorised OFC patterns and compared their distribution between the groups, as well as between those high risk subjects who did, and did not develop schizophrenia. The relationship between OFC pattern and schizotypy was explored in high risk subjects.
We refined Chiavaras’ classification system, with the identification of a previously unreported variant of OFC surface structure. There were significant differences in distribution of OFC patterns between high risk subjects who did or did not develop schizophrenia as well as between the first episode of schizophrenia group and healthy controls. Within the high risk group, possession of OFC Type III was associated with higher ratings on the Structured Inventory for Schizotypy (SIS) psychotic factor.
Our results suggest that OFC Type III is associated with psychotic features before the development of schizophrenia. Characterisation of OFC morphology may have a role in the identification of those at greatest risk of developing schizophrenia.
To investigate associations between schizophrenia candidate gene polymorphisms and regional cortical thickness and volume in patients with schizophrenia and healthy control subjects.
Genotyping was performed using PCR and pyrosequencing techniques. Cortical morphology was analyzed by processing magnetic resonance brain images with the FreeSurfer software package. General linear model analysis was used to study associations between gene variants and cortical thickness in patients and controls, respectively. Regional cortical volumes were defined from automatic cortical parcellations. Our first studies from 96 patients with schizophrenia and 104 healthy control subjects demonstrate that polymorphisms in the brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene may be associated with variation in frontal lobe morphology. Associations seem to be stronger in patients with schizophrenia than in healthy controls.
Neurocognitive and functional neuroimaging studies point to frontal lobe abnormalities in schizophrenia. Molecular and behavioural genetic studies suggest that the frontal lobe is under significant genetic influence. We carried out structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the frontal lobe in monozygotic (MZ) twins concordant or discordant for schizophrenia and healthy MZ control twins.
The sample comprised 21 concordant pairs, 17 discordant affected and 18 discordant unaffected twins from 19 discordant pairs, and 27 control pairs. Groups were matched on sociodemographic variables. Patient groups (concordant, discordant affected) did not differ on clinical variables. Volumes of superior, middle, inferior and orbital frontal gyri were calculated using the Cavalieri principle on the basis of manual tracing of anatomic boundaries. Group differences were investigated covarying for whole-brain volume, gender and age.
Results for superior frontal gyrus showed that twins with schizophrenia (i.e. concordant twins and discordant affected twins) had reduced volume compared to twins without schizophrenia (i.e. discordant unaffected and control twins), indicating an effect of illness. For middle and orbital frontal gyrus, concordant (but not discordant affected) twins differed from non-schizophrenic twins. There were no group differences in inferior frontal gyrus volume.
These findings suggest that volume reductions in the superior frontal gyrus are associated with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (in the presence or absence of a co-twin with schizophrenia). On the other hand, volume reductions in middle and orbital frontal gyri are seen only in concordant pairs, perhaps reflecting the increased genetic vulnerability in this group.
Recent findings support sex-specific effects of PDYN polymorphisms on association with opioid addiction (Clarke et al. 2012). We have demonstrated that PDYN haplotypes, which include rs2281285, are associated with alcohol dependence and propensity to drink in negative emotional situations (negative craving) (Karpyak et al 2012). The rs2281285 variant may contribute to regulation of alternative PDYN mRNA transcription specific to brain area or physiological condition.
To investigate sex-specific effects of the PDYN rs2281285 variant on risk for alcohol dependence.
To examine the association of the PDYN rs2281285 variant with alcohol dependence in male and female subjects.
rs2281285 was genotyped in the investigation cohort of 816 (554 males) alcohol dependent subjects (DSM-IV-TR) and 1248 (603 males) non-alcoholic controls and in the replication cohort of 467 (347 males) alcohol dependent subjects and 431 (224 males) non-alcoholic controls. Logistic regression models were used to test for sex-specific associations after controlling for age.
As previously reported, significant association of the PDYN rs2281285 variant with alcohol dependence was found in the investigation (p = 0.008, odds ratio = 1.299), but not the replication cohort (0.223, OR = 0.118). However, sex-specific analyses revealed stronger association in males (p = 0.002, OR = 1.493) but not females (p = 0.684, OR = 1.066) in the investigation cohort, and a trend for association in males (p = 0.086, OR = 1.352) but not females (p = 0.808, OR = 0.947) in the replication cohort.
Our findings support association of PDYN rs2281285 variant with alcohol dependence in male but not female subjects. Future studies should investigate functional mechanisms of this effect.
[Improvement in daily accessible risk assessments]
We show enhanced patient safety through a quality improvement methodology project in an intensive psychiatric care unit of a psychiatric hospital in southwest of Scotland. This is a project as part of the national patient safety programme in mental health. The Scottish Patient Safety Programme for Mental Health aims to systematically reduce harm experienced by people using mental health services in Scotland, by supporting frontline staff to test, gather real-time data and reliably implement interventions, before spreading across their catchment area.
Multidisciplinary staff worked together in improving recording of daily electronic and paper based risk assessments from a baseline of 20% to nearly 100% over a sixth month period. We expect better quality risk management by readily accessible risk assessments and safe practise through enhanced safety perception by the patients as well as staff. Patient and staff safety perception tools were designed to measure impact of improvement in risk management. We have seen drop in the number of critical incidents and challenging situations requiring restraint following coordinated approach to risk assessment and easy access to key information. We have been successful as the frontline staff became part of the process of change and this has enabled sustained improvement.
It is widely recognised that people with intellectual disabilities receive a poorer quality of healthcare than their non-disabled counterparts. Training for healthcare professionals in intellectual disability is often scant or non-existent. The purpose of this work is to explore the usefulness of employing actors with intellectual disabilities as simulated patients in the assessment of trainee psychiatrists.
The development of a structured clinical exam “station” designed to assess the ability of trainee psychiatrists to communicate with a simulated patient played by an actor with an intellectual disability is described. The paper also assesses the potential benefits of this kind of assessment and the experience of actors and examiners taking part in this process.
The station was found to perform well in discriminating between candidates of various abilities and was well received by actors, examiners and observers. The station is now routinely used in the formal assessment of trainee psychiatrists in the UK.
The use of people with intellectual disabilities in training and assessment appears to be advantageous in terms of improving knowledge, attitudes and skills amongst healthcare professionals and gives increased opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to undertake valued social roles.
Few institutions currently employ actors with intellectual disabilities as simulated patients as part of their training programmes and as a result there is little in the way of literature on this subject. This paper describes an alternative approach to teaching and assessment which falls in line with recommendations from the UK Department of Health to involve service users in the training of healthcare professionals.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Self-reported activity restriction is an established correlate of depression in dementia caregivers (dCGs). It is plausible that the daily distribution of objectively measured activity is also altered in dCGs with depression symptoms; if so, such activity characteristics could provide a passively measurable marker of depression or specific times to target preventive interventions. We therefore investigated how levels of activity throughout the day differed in dCGs with and without depression symptoms, then tested whether any such differences predicted changes in symptoms 6 months later.
Design, setting, participants, and measurements:
We examined 56 dCGs (mean age = 71, standard deviation (SD) = 6.7; 68% female) and used clustering to identify subgroups which had distinct depression symptom levels, leveraging baseline Center for Epidemiologic Studies of Depression Scale–Revised Edition and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) measures, as well as a PHQ-9 score from 6 months later. Using wrist activity (mean recording length = 12.9 days, minimum = 6 days), we calculated average hourly activity levels and then assessed when activity levels relate to depression symptoms and changes in symptoms 6 months later.
Clustering identified subgroups characterized by: (1) no/minimal symptoms (36%) and (2) depression symptoms (64%). After multiple comparison correction, the group of dCGs with depression symptoms was less active from 8 to 10 AM (Cohen’s d ≤ −0.9). These morning activity levels predicted the degree of symptom change on the PHQ-9 6 months later (per SD unit β = −0.8, 95% confidence interval: −1.6, −0.1, p = 0.03) independent of self-reported activity restriction and other key factors.
These novel findings suggest that morning activity may protect dCGs from depression symptoms. Future studies should test whether helping dCGs get active in the morning influences the other features of depression in this population (i.e. insomnia, intrusive thoughts, and perceived activity restriction).
Surgical site infections (SSIs) are common surgical complications that lead to increased costs. Depending on payer type, however, they do not necessarily translate into deficits for every hospital.
We investigated how surgical site infections (SSIs) influence the contribution margin in 2 reimbursement systems based on diagnosis-related groups (DRGs).
This preplanned observational health cost analysis was nested within a Swiss multicenter randomized controlled trial on the timing of preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis in general surgery between February 2013 and August 2015. A simulation of cost and income in the National Health Service (NHS) England reimbursement system was conducted.
Of 5,175 patients initially enrolled, 4,556 had complete cost and income data as well as SSI status available for analysis. SSI occurred in 228 of 4,556 of patients (5%). Patients with SSIs were older, more often male, had higher BMIs, compulsory insurance, longer operations, and more frequent ICU admissions. SSIs led to higher hospital cost and income. The median contribution margin was negative in cases of SSI. In SSI cases, median contribution margin was Swiss francs (CHF) −2045 (IQR, −12,800 to 4,848) versus CHF 895 (IQR, −2,190 to 4,158) in non-SSI cases. Higher ASA class and private insurance were associated with higher contribution margins in SSI cases, and ICU admission led to greater deficits. Private insurance had a strong increasing effect on contribution margin at the 10th, 50th (median), and 90th percentiles of its distribution, leading to overall positive contribution margins for SSIs in Switzerland. The NHS England simulation with 3,893 patients revealed similar but less pronounced effects of SSI on contribution margin.
Depending on payer type, reimbursement systems with DRGs offer only minor financial incentives to the prevention of SSI.