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Brief measurements of the subjective experience of stress with good predictive capability are important in a range of community mental health and research settings. The potential for large-scale implementation of such a measure for screening may facilitate early risk detection and intervention opportunities. Few such measures however have been developed and validated in epidemiological and longitudinal community samples. We designed a new single-item measure of the subjective level of stress (SLS-1) and tested its validity and ability to predict long-term mental health outcomes of up to 12 months through two separate studies.
We first examined the content and face validity of the SLS-1 with a panel consisting of mental health experts and laypersons. Two studies were conducted to examine its validity and predictive utility. In study 1, we tested the convergent and divergent validity as well as incremental validity of the SLS-1 in a large epidemiological sample of young people in Hong Kong (n = 1445). In study 2, in a consecutively recruited longitudinal community sample of young people (n = 258), we first performed the same procedures as in study 1 to ensure replicability of the findings. We then examined in this longitudinal sample the utility of the SLS-1 in predicting long-term depressive, anxiety and stress outcomes assessed at 3 months and 6 months (n = 182) and at 12 months (n = 84).
The SLS-1 demonstrated good content and face validity. Findings from the two studies showed that SLS-1 was moderately to strongly correlated with a range of mental health outcomes, including depressive, anxiety, stress and distress symptoms. We also demonstrated its ability to explain the variance explained in symptoms beyond other known personal and psychological factors. Using the longitudinal sample in study 2, we further showed the significant predictive capability of the SLS-1 for long-term symptom outcomes for up to 12 months even when accounting for demographic characteristics.
The findings altogether support the validity and predictive utility of the SLS-1 as a brief measure of stress with strong indications of both concurrent and long-term mental health outcomes. Given the value of brief measures of mental health risks at a population level, the SLS-1 may have potential for use as an early screening tool to inform early preventative intervention work.
Families facing end-stage nonmalignant chronic diseases (NMCDs) are presented with similar symptom burdens and need for psycho-social–spiritual support as their counterparts with advanced cancers. However, NMCD patients tend to face more variable disease trajectories, and thus may require different anticipatory supports, delivered in familiar environments. The Life Rainbow Programme (LRP) provides holistic, transdisciplinary, community-based end-of-life care for patients with NMCDs and their caregivers. This paper reports on the 3-month outcomes using a single-group, pre–post comparison.
Patients with end-stage NMCDs were screened for eligibility by a medical team before being referred to the LRP. Patients were assessed at baseline (T0), 1 month (T1), and 3 months (T2) using the Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale (IPOS). Their hospital use in the previous month was also measured by presentations at accident and emergency services, admissions to intensive care units, and number of hospital bed-days. Caregivers were assessed at T0 and T2 using the Chinese version of the Modified Caregiver Strain Index, and self-reported health, psychological, spiritual, and overall well-being. Over-time changes in outcomes for patients, and caregivers, were tested using paired-sample t-tests, Wilcoxon-signed rank tests, and chi-square tests.
Seventy-four patients and 36 caregivers participated in this research study. Patients reported significant improvements in all IPOS domains at both 1 and 3 months [ranging from Cohen's d = 0.495 (nausea) to 1.793 (depression and information needs fulfilled)]. Average hospital bed-days in the previous month fell from 3.50 to 1.68, comparing baseline and 1 month (p < 0.05). At 3 months, caregiver strain was significantly reduced (r = 0.332), while spiritual well-being was enhanced (r = 0.333).
After receiving 3 month's LRP services, patients with end-stage NMCDs and their caregivers experienced significant improvements in the quality of life and well-being, and their hospital bed-days were reduced.
Introduction: Time-to-treatment plays a pivotal role in survival from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Every minute delay in defibrillation results in a 7-10% reduction in survival. This is particularly problematic in rural and remote regions, where bystander and EMS response is often prolonged and automated external defibrillators (AED) are often not available. Our objective was to examine the feasibility of a novel AED drone delivery method for rural and remote SCA. A secondary objective was to compare times between AED drone delivery and ambulance response to various mock SCA resuscitations. Methods: We conducted 6 simulations in two different rural communities in southern Ontario. During phase 1 (4 simulations) a “mock” call was placed to 911 and a single AED drone and an ambulance were simultaneously dispatched from the same location to a pre-determined destination. Once on scene, trained first responders retrieved the AED from the drone and initiated resuscitative efforts on a manikin. The second phase (2 scenarios) were done in a similar manner save for the drone being dispatched from a regionally optimized location for drone response. Results: Phase 1: The distance from dispatch location to scene varied from 6.6 km to 8.8 km. Mean (SD) response time from 911 call to scene arrival was 11.2 (+/- 1.0) minutes for EMS compared to 8.1 (+/- 0.1) for AED drone delivery. In all four simulations, the AED drone arrived before EMS, ranging from 2.1 to 4.4 minutes faster. The mean time for trained responders to retrieve the AED and apply it to the manikin was 35 (+/- 5) sec. No difficulties were encountered in drone activation by dispatch, drone lift off, landing or removal of the AED from the drone by responders. Phase 2: The ambulance response distance was 20km compared to 9km for the drone. Drones were faster to arrival at the scene by 7 minutes and 8 minutes with AED application 6 and 7 minutes prior to ambulance respectively. Conclusion: This implementation study suggests AED drone delivery is feasible with improvements in response time during a simulated SCA scenario. These results suggest the potential for AED drone delivery to decrease time to first defibrillation in rural and remote communities. Further research is required to determine the appropriate distance for drone delivery of an AED in an integrated EMS system as well as optimal strategies to simplify bystander application of a drone delivered AED.
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.
Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
Relapse is distressingly common after the first episode of psychosis, yet it is poorly understood and difficult to predict. Investigating changes in cognitive function preceding relapse may provide new insights into the underlying mechanism of relapse in psychosis. We hypothesized that relapse in fully remitted first-episode psychosis patients was preceded by working memory deterioration.
Visual memory and verbal working memory were monitored prospectively in a 1-year randomized controlled trial of remitted first-episode psychosis patients assigned to medication continuation (quetiapine 400 mg/day) or discontinuation (placebo). Relapse (recurrence of positive symptoms of psychosis), visual (Visual Patterns Test) and verbal (Letter–Number span test) working memory and stressful life events were assessed monthly.
Remitted first-episode patients (n = 102) participated in the study. Relapsers (n = 53) and non-relapsers (n = 49) had similar baseline demographic and clinical profiles. Logistic regression analyses indicated relapse was associated with visual working memory deterioration 2 months before relapse [odds ratio (OR) 3.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19–7.92, P = 0.02], more stressful life events 1 month before relapse (OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.20–3.72, P = 0.01) and medication discontinuation (OR 5.52, 95% CI 2.08–14.62, P = 0.001).
Visual working memory deterioration beginning 2 months before relapse in remitted first-episode psychosis patients (not baseline predictor) may reflect early brain dysfunction that heralds a psychotic relapse. The deterioration was found to be unrelated to a worsening of psychotic symptoms preceding relapse. Testable predictors offer insight into the brain processes underlying relapse in psychosis.
During 1990 we surveyed the southern sky using a multi-beam receiver at frequencies of 4850 and 843 MHz. The half-power beamwidths were 4 and 25 arcmin respectively. The finished surveys cover the declination range between +10 and −90 degrees declination, essentially complete in right ascension, an area of 7.30 steradians. Preliminary analysis of the 4850 MHz data indicates that we will achieve a five sigma flux density limit of about 30 mJy. We estimate that we will find between 80 000 and 90 000 new sources above this limit. This is a revised version of the paper presented at the Regional Meeting by the first four authors; the surveys now have been completed.
Neurological soft signs (NSS) have long been considered potential endophenotypes for schizophrenia. However, few studies have investigated the heritability and familiality of NSS. The present study examined the heritability and familiality of NSS in healthy twins and patient–relative pairs.
The abridged version of the Cambridge Neurological Inventory was administered to 267 pairs of monozygotic twins, 124 pairs of dizygotic twins, and 75 pairs of patients with schizophrenia and their non-psychotic first-degree relatives.
NSS were found to have moderate but significant heritability in the healthy twin sample. Moreover, patients with schizophrenia correlated closely with their first-degree relatives on NSS.
Taken together, the findings provide evidence on the heritability and familiality of NSS in the Han Chinese population.
Vitamin D plays an important role in skeletal health throughout life. Some studies have hypothesised that vitamin D may reduce the risk of other diseases. Our study aimed to estimate age-specific and sex-specific serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) status and to identify the determinants of serum 25(OH)D status in Hong Kong, a subtropical city in southern China. In 2009–2010, households in Hong Kong were followed up to identify acute respiratory illnesses, and sera from 2694 subjects were collected in three to four different study phases to permit measurement of 25(OH)D levels at different times of the year. A questionnaire survey on diet and lifestyle was conducted among children, with simultaneous serum collection in April and May 2010. The mean of serum 25(OH)D levels in age groups ranged from 39 to 63 nmol/l throughout the year with the mean values in all age groups in spring below 50 nmol/l. Children aged 6–17 years, and girls and women had significantly lower serum 25(OH)D levels than adults, and boys and men, respectively (all P< 0·001). We estimated that serum 25(OH)D levels in Hong Kong followed a lagged pattern relative to climatic season by 5 weeks with lowest observed levels in early spring (March). For children aged 6–17 years, reporting a suntan, having at least 1 servings of fish/week and having at least 1 serving of eggs/week were independently associated with higher serum 25(OH)D levels. Adequate sunlight exposure and increased intake of dietary vitamin D could improve vitamin D status, especially for children and females in the winter and spring.
To assess the effectiveness of infection control preparedness for human infection with influenza A H7N9 in Hong Kong.
A descriptive study of responses to the emergence of influenza A H7N9.
A university-affiliated teaching hospital.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) with unprotected exposure (not wearing N95 respirator during aerosol-generating procedure) to a patient with influenza A H7N9.
A bundle approach including active and enhanced surveillance, early airborne infection isolation, rapid molecular diagnostic testing, and extensive contact tracing for HCWs with unprotected exposure was implemented. Seventy HCWs with unprotected exposure to an index case were interviewed especially regarding their patient care activities.
From April 1, 2013, through May 31, 2014, a total of 126 (0.08%) of 163,456 admitted patients were tested for the H7 gene by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction per protocol. Two confirmed cases were identified. Seventy (53.8%) of 130 HCWs had unprotected exposure to an index case, whereas 41 (58.6%) and 58 (82.9%) of 70 HCWs wore surgical masks and practiced hand hygiene after patient care, respectively. Sixteen (22.9%) of 70 HCWs were involved in high-risk patient contacts. More HCWs with high-risk patient contacts received oseltamivir prophylaxis (P=0.088) and significantly more had paired sera collected for H7 antibody testing (P<0.001). Ten (14.3%) of 70 HCWs developed influenza-like illness during medical surveillance, but none had positive results by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Paired sera was available from 33 of 70 HCWs with unprotected exposure, and none showed seroconversion against H7N9.
Despite the delay in airborne precautions implementation, no patient-to-HCW transmission of influenza A H7N9 was demonstrated.
We examined the impact of the neonatal hepatitis B immunization programme, first provided to all neonates born to mothers screened positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in late 1983, on the age-specific prevalence of HBsAg carriage in teenage mothers managed in 1998–2008. HBsAg carriage was found in 2·5%, 2·7%, 8·8% and 8·0% of mothers aged ⩽16, 17, 18, and 19 years, respectively (P = 0·004), which was also correlated with advancing age (P = 0·011). While neither difference nor correlation with age was found in mothers born before 1984, the prevalence of 1·2%, 1·5%, 7·1% and 8·3%, respectively, was significantly different among (P = 0·008) and correlated with (P = 0·002) age in mothers born 1984 onwards. Regression analysis indicated there was a significantly higher incidence of HBsAg carriage from age 17 onwards (adjusted odds ratio 2·55, 95% confidence interval 1·07–6·10, P = 0·035), suggesting that the protective effect of the vaccine declined in late adolescence.
Reliable estimates of the burden of 2009 pandemic influenza A(pH1N1) cannot be easily obtained because only a small fraction of infections were confirmed by laboratory tests in a timely manner. In this study we developed a Poisson prediction modelling approach to estimate the excess mortality associated with pH1N1 in 2009 and seasonal influenza in 1998–2008 in the subtropical city Hong Kong. The results suggested that there were 127 all-cause excess deaths associated with pH1N1, including 115 with cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and 22 with pneumonia and influenza. The excess mortality rates associated with pH1N1 were highest in the population aged ⩾65 years. The mortality burden of influenza during the whole of 2009 was comparable to those in the preceding ten inter-pandemic years. The estimates of excess deaths were more than twofold higher than the reported fatal cases with laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 infection.
Background: The Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (CERAD-NAB) offers information on the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and gives a profile of cognitive functioning. This study explores the effects of age, education and gender on participants' performance on eight subtests in the Chinese-Cantonese version of the CERAD-NAB.
Methods: The original English version of the CERAD-NAB was translated and content-validated into a Chinese-Cantonese version to suit the Hong Kong Chinese population. The battery was administered to 187 healthy volunteers aged 60 to 94 years. Participants were excluded if they had neurological, medical or psychiatric disorders (including dementia). Stepwise multiple linear regression analyses were performed to assess the relative contribution of the demographic variables to the scores on each subtest.
Results: The Cantonese version of CERAD-NAB was shown to have good content validity and excellent inter-rater reliability. Stepwise multiple regression analyses revealed that performances on seven and four out of eight subtests in the CERAD-NAB were significantly influenced by education level and age, respectively. Age and education had significant effects on participants' performance on many tests. Gender also showed a significant effect on one subtest.
Conclusions: The preliminary data will serve as an initial phase for clinical interpretation of the CERAD-NAB for Cantonese-speaking Chinese elders.
Nosocomial outbreaks of norovirus infection pose a great challenge to the infection control team.
Between November 1, 2009, and February 28, 2010, strategic infection control measures were implemented in a hospital network. In addition to timely staff education and promotion of directly observed hand hygiene, reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction for norovirus was performed as an added test by the microbiology laboratory for all fecal specimens irrespective of the request for testing. Laboratory-confirmed cases were followed up by the infection control team for timely intervention. The incidence of hospital-acquired norovirus infection per 1,000 potentially infectious patient-days was compared with the corresponding period in the preceding 12 months, and the incidence in the other 6 hospital networks in Hong Kong was chosen as the concurrent control. Phylogenetic analysis of norovirus isolates was performed.
Of the 988 patients who were tested, 242 (25%) were positive for norovirus; 114 (47%) of those 242 patients had norovirus detected by our added test. Compared with the corresponding period in the preceding 12 months, the incidence of hospital-acquired norovirus infection decreased from 131 to 16 cases per 1,000 potentially infectious patient-days (P < .001 ), although the number of hospital-acquired infections was low in both the study period (n = 8) and the historical control periods (n = 11). The incidence of hospital-acquired norovirus infection in our hospital network (0.03 cases per 1,000 patient-days) was significantly lower than that of the concurrent control (0.06 cases per 1,000 patient-days) (P = .015). Forty-three (93%) of 46 norovirus isolates sequenced belonged to the genogroup II.4 variant.
Strategic infection control measures with an added test maybe useful in controlling nosocomial transmission of norovirus.
We investigated cerebral structural connectivity and its relationship to symptoms in never-medicated individuals with first-onset schizophrenia using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).
We recruited subjects with first episode DSM-IV schizophrenia who had never been exposed to antipsychotic medication (n=34) and age-matched healthy volunteers (n=32). All subjects received DTI and structural magnetic resonance imaging scans. Patients' symptoms were assessed on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Voxel-based analysis was performed to investigate brain regions where fractional anisotropy (FA) values significantly correlated with symptom scores.
In patients with first-episode schizophrenia, positive symptoms correlated positively with FA scores in white matter associated with the right frontal lobe, left anterior cingulate gyrus, left superior temporal gyrus, right middle temporal gyrus, right middle cingulate gyrus, and left cuneus. Importantly, FA in each of these regions was lower in patients than controls, but patients with more positive symptoms had FA values closer to controls. We found no significant correlations between FA and negative symptoms.
The newly-diagnosed, neuroleptic-naive patients had lower FA scores in the brain compared with controls. There was positive correlation between FA scores and positive symptoms scores in frontotemporal tracts, including left fronto-occipital fasciculus and left inferior longitudinal fasciculus. This implies that white matter dysintegrity is already present in the pre-treatment phase and that FA is likely to decrease after clinical treatment or symptom remission.