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The regression discontinuity design (RDD) is a valuable tool for identifying causal effects with observational data. However, applying the traditional electoral RDD to the study of divided government is challenging. Because assignment to treatment in this case is the result of elections to multiple institutions, there is no obvious single forcing variable. Here, we use simulations in which we apply shocks to real-world election results in order to generate two measures of the likelihood of divided government, both of which can be used for causal analysis. The first captures the electoral distance to divided government and can easily be utilized in conjunction with the standard sharp RDD toolkit. The second is a simulated probability of divided government. This measure does not easily fit into a sharp RDD framework, so we develop a probability restricted design (PRD) which relies upon the underlying logic of an RDD. This design incorporates common regression techniques but limits the sample to those observations for which assignment to treatment approaches “as-if random.” To illustrate both of our approaches, we reevaluate the link between divided government and the size of budget deficits.
The majority of self-management interventions are designed with a narrow focus on patient skills and fail to consider their potential as “catalysts” for improving care delivery. A project was undertaken to develop a patient self-management resource to support evidence-based, person-centered care for cancer pain and overcome barriers at the levels of the patient, provider, and health system.
The project used a mixed-method design with concurrent triangulation, including the following: a national online survey of current practice; two systematic reviews of cancer pain needs and education; a desktop review of online patient pain diaries and other related resources; consultation with stakeholders; and interviews with patients regarding acceptability and usefulness of a draft resource.
Findings suggested that an optimal self-management resource should encourage pain reporting, build patients’ sense of control, and support communication with providers and coordination between services. Each of these characteristics was identified as important in overcoming established barriers to cancer pain care. A pain self-management resource was developed to include: (1) a template for setting specific, measureable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals of care, as well as identifying potential obstacles and ways to overcome these; and (2) a pain management plan detailing exacerbating and alleviating factors, current strategies for management, and contacts for support.
Significance of results
Self-management resources have the potential for addressing barriers not only at the patient level, but also at provider and health system levels. A cluster randomized controlled trial is under way to test effectiveness of the resource designed in this project in combination with pain screening, audit and feedback, and provider education. More research of this kind is needed to understand how interventions at different levels can be optimally combined to overcome barriers and improve care.
The aim of this study was to describe patient level costing methods and develop a database of healthcare resource use and cost in patients with AHF receiving ventricular assist device (VAD) therapy.
Patient level micro-costing was used to identify documented activity in the years preceding and following VAD implantation, and preceding heart transplant for a cohort of seventy-seven consecutive patients listed for heart transplantation (2009–12). Clinician interviews verified activity, established time resource required for each activity, and added additional undocumented activities. Costs were sourced from the general ledger, salary, stock price, pharmacy formulary data, and from national medical benefits and prostheses lists. Linked administrative data analyses of activity external to the implanting institution, used National Weighted Activity Units (NWAU), 2014 efficient price, and admission complexity cost weights and were compared with micro-costed data for the implanting admission.
The database produced includes patient level activity and costs associated with the seventy-seven patients across thirteen resource areas including hospital activity external to the implanting center. The median cost of the implanting admission using linked administrative data was $246,839 (interquartile range [IQR] $246,839–$271,743), versus $270,716 (IQR $211,740–$378,482) for the institutional micro-costing (p = .08).
Linked administrative data provides a useful alternative for imputing costs external to the implanting center, and combined with institutional data can illuminate both the pathways to transplant referral and the hospital activity generated by patients experiencing the terminal phases of heart failure in the year before transplant, cf-VAD implant, or death.
Palliative care for nursing home residents with advanced dementia is often sub-optimal due to poor communication and limited care planning. In a cluster randomized controlled trial, registered nurses (RNs) from 10 nursing homes were trained and funded to work as Palliative Care Planning Coordinators (PCPCs) to organize family case conferences and mentor staff. This qualitative sub-study aimed to explore PCPC and health professional perceptions of the benefits of facilitated case conferencing and identify factors influencing implementation.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the RNs in the PCPC role, other members of nursing home staff, and physicians who participated in case conferences. Analysis was conducted by two researchers using a thematic framework approach.
Interviews were conducted with 11 PCPCs, 18 other nurses, eight allied health workers, and three physicians. Perceived benefits of facilitated case conferencing included better communication between staff and families, greater multi-disciplinary involvement in case conferences and care planning, and improved staff attitudes and capabilities for dementia palliative care. Key factors influencing implementation included: staffing levels and time; support from management, staff and physicians; and positive family feedback.
The facilitated approach explored in this study addressed known barriers to case conferencing. However, current business models in the sector make it difficult for case conferencing to receive the required levels of nursing qualification, training, and time. A collaborative nursing home culture and ongoing relationships with health professionals are also prerequisites for success. Further studies should document resident and family perceptions to harness consumer advocacy.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the evidence payers cited in their coverage policies for multi-gene panels and sequencing tests (panels), and to compare these findings with the evidence payers cited in their coverage policies for other types of medical interventions.
Methods: We used the University of California at San Francisco TRANSPERS Payer Coverage Registry to identify coverage policies for panels issued by five of the largest US private payers. We reviewed each policy and categorized the evidence cited within as: clinical studies, systematic reviews, technology assessments, cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs), budget impact studies, and clinical guidelines. We compared the evidence cited in these coverage policies for panels with the evidence cited in policies for other intervention types (pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostic tests and imaging, and surgical interventions) as reported in a previous study.
Results: Fifty-five coverage policies for panels were included. On average, payers cited clinical guidelines in 84 percent of their coverage policies (range, 73–100 percent), clinical studies in 69 percent (50–87 percent), technology assessments 47 percent (33–86 percent), systematic reviews or meta-analyses 31 percent (7–71 percent), and CEAs 5 percent (0–7 percent). No payers cited budget impact studies in their policies. Payers less often cited clinical studies, systematic reviews, technology assessments, and CEAs in their coverage policies for panels than in their policies for other intervention types. Payers cited clinical guidelines in a comparable proportion of policies for panels and other technology types.
Conclusions: Payers in our sample less often cited clinical studies and other evidence types in their coverage policies for panels than they did in their coverage policies for other types of medical interventions.
Infections cause morbidity and mortality in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The association between nursery design and nosocomial infections is unclear.
To determine whether rates of colonization by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), late-onset sepsis, and mortality are reduced in single-patient rooms.
Retrospective cohort study.
NICU in a tertiary referral center.
Our NICU is organized into single-patient and open-unit rooms. Clinical data sets including bed location and microbiology results were examined over 29 months. Differences in outcomes between bed configurations were determined by χ2 and Cox regression.
All NICU patients.
Among 1,823 patients representing 55,166 patient-days, single-patient and open-unit models had similar incidences of MRSA colonization and MRSA colonization-free survival times. Average daily census was associated with MRSA colonization rates only in single-patient rooms (hazard ratio, 1.31; P=.039), whereas hand hygiene compliance on room entry and exit was associated with lower colonization rates independent of bed configuration (hazard ratios, 0.834 and 0.719 per 1% higher compliance, respectively). Late-onset sepsis rates were similar in single-patient and open-unit models as were sepsis-free survival and the combined outcome of sepsis or death. After controlling for demographic, clinical, and unit-based variables, multivariate Cox regression demonstrated that bed configuration had no effect on MRSA colonization, late-onset sepsis, or mortality.
MRSA colonization rate was impacted by hand hygiene compliance, regardless of room configuration, whereas average daily census affected only infants in single-patient rooms. Single-patient rooms did not reduce the rates of MRSA colonization, late-onset sepsis, or death.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2015;36(10):1173–1182
Background: Mental health problems have been found to be more prevalent in prison populations, and higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been found in sentenced populations compared to the general population. Evidence-based treatment in the general population however has not been transferred and empirically supported into the prison system. Aims: The aim of this manuscript is to illustrate how trauma focused work can be applied in a prison setting. Method: This report describes a two-phased approach to treating PTSD, starting with stabilization, followed by an integration of culturally appropriate ideas from narrative exposure therapy (NET), given that the traumas were during war and conflict, and trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT). Results: PTSD and scores on paranoia scales improved between start and end of treatment; these improvements were maintained at a 6-month follow-up. Conclusion: This case report1 illustrates successful treatment of multiple incident PTSD in a prison setting using adaptations to TF-CBT during a window of opportunity when individuals are more likely to be free from substances and live in relative stability. Current service provision and evidence-based practice for PTSD is urgently required in UK prisons to allow individuals to engage in opportunities to reduce re-offending, free from mental health symptoms.
To investigate marketing techniques used on the packaging of child-oriented products sold through supermarkets.
Food and beverage products which met criteria for ‘marketed to children’ were recorded as child-oriented. The products were analysed for food categories, nutritional value, and type and extent of marketing techniques used.
A major supermarket chain in Adelaide, South Australia.
Child-oriented food and beverage products.
One hundred and fifty-seven discrete products were marketed to children via product packaging; most (75·2 %) represented non-core foods, being high in fat or sugar. Many marketing techniques (more than sixteen unique marketing techniques) were used to promote child-oriented food products. Claims about health and nutrition were found on 55·5 % of non-core foods. A median of 6·43 marketing techniques per product was found.
The high volume and power of marketing non-core foods to children via product packaging in supermarkets should be of concern to policy makers wanting to improve children's diet for their health and to tackle childhood obesity. Claims about health or nutrition on non-core foods deserve urgent attention owing to their potential to mislead and confuse child and adult consumers.
Aluminum-doped zinc oxide (ZnO:Al) thin films were prepared on glass substrates by radio frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering from a ceramic mixed target ZnO:Al2O3 (1 wt.%) with a power of 250 W. Two series of samples were deposited at room temperature, the first one in pure Ar atmosphere, the second one in Ar/O2 gas mixture. Effects of post-deposition annealing treatments carried out from 400 °C to 500 °C under vacuum and in N2/H2 (5%) atmosphere have been investigated. The influence of these parameters was studied by a detailed microstructural analysis using X-Ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. For N2/H2 annealing process, the increase of charge carrier concentration limits the increase of the mobility while after vacuum annealing, an improvement of both electrical and optical properties was observed. The increase of the crystallinity and grain size for ZnO:Al films deposited in Ar/O2 gas mixture could explain their improvements. Resistivity was reduced down to 3.5×10-4 Ω.cm, for a mobility of 49 cm2/V.s with a vacuum annealing at 450 °C for ZnO:Al deposited in Ar/O2 gas mixture.
Dysfunction of dopamine D3 receptors, particularly in the mesocorticolimbic system, has been linked to the pathogenesis of major depression. Preclinical data show enhanced D3 receptor binding in the striatum upon antidepressant medication and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Thus, the potential impact of dopamine D3 receptor gene (DRD3) variation on ECT outcome in treatment-resistant major depression was evaluated by applying a combined molecular and imaging genetic approach. Altogether, 10 representative variants covering 95.4% of DRD3 gene variation were investigated for association with response to ECT in a sample of 104 (71 female, 33 male) Caucasian patients with pharmacorefractory major depression. Additionally, ventral striatum responsiveness to happy faces was assessed in two independent samples of depressed patients (total N=54) by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging at 3 T. Significant association of DRD3 rs3732790, rs3773679 and rs9817063 variants with response (uncorrected p=0.02–0.03) and remission (uncorrected p=0.01) after ECT was discerned. Logistic regression analyses revealed association of rs3732790 (uncorrected p=0.009; corrected p=0.045) and rs3773679 (uncorrected p=0.009; corrected p=0.045) with remission when applying a recessive model of inheritance. The rs3732790T allele conferring a more favourable treatment response was furthermore found to be associated with stronger striatal responsiveness to happy facial expressions (sample 1: cluster-corrected p=0.002; sample 2: p=0.023). In summary, the present study suggests some impact of DRD3 gene variation on ECT response, potentially mediated by alteration of striatal engagement during the processing of emotionally rewarding stimuli.
Training emergency personnel on the clinical management of a mass-casualty incident (MCI) with prior chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear, or explosives (CBRNE)-exposed patients is a component of hospital preparedness procedures.
The objective of this research was to determine whether a Virtual Emergency Department (VED), designed after the Stanford University Medical Center's Emergency Department (ED) and populated with 10 virtual patient victims who suffered from a dirty bomb blast (radiological) and 10 who suffered from exposure to a nerve toxin (chemical), is an effective clinical environment for training ED physicians and nurses for such MCIs.
Ten physicians with an average of four years of post-training experience, and 12 nurses with an average of 9.5 years of post-graduate experience at Stanford University Medical Center and San Mateo County Medical Center participated in this IRB-approved study. All individuals were provided electronic information about the clinical features of patients exposed to a nerve toxin or radioactive blast before the study date and an orientation to the “game” interface, including an opportunity to practice using it immediately prior to the study. An exit questionnaire was conducted using a Likert Scale test instrument.
Among these 22 trainees, two-thirds of whom had prior Code Triage (multiple casualty incident) training, and one-half had prior CBRNE training, about two-thirds felt immersed in the virtual world much or all of the time. Prior to the training, only four trainees (18%) were confident about managing CBRNE MCIs. After the training, 19 (86%) felt either “confident” or “very confident”, with 13 (59%) attributing this change to practicing in the virtual ED. Twenty-one (95%) of the trainees reported that the scenarios were useful for improving healthcare team skills training, the primary objective for creating them. Eighteen trainees (82%) believed that the cases also were instructive in learning about clinical skills management of such incidents. Conclusions: These data suggest that training healthcare teams in online, virtual environments with dynamic virtual patients is an effective method of training for management of MCIs, particularly for uncommonly occurring incidents.
These data suggest that training healthcare teams in online, virtual environments with dynamic virtual patients is an effective method of training for management of MCIs, particularly for uncommonly occurring incidents.
The Supernova Working Group was re-established at the IAU XXV General Assembly in Sydney, 21 July 2003, sponsored by Commissions 28 (Galaxies) and 47 (Cosmology). Here we report on some of its activities since 2005.
Grey matter changes have been described in individuals who are pre- and peri-psychotic, but it is unclear if these changes are accompanied by changes in white matter structures.
To determine whether changes in white matter occur prior to and with the transition to psychosis in individuals who are pre-psychotic who had previously demonstrated grey matter reductions in frontotemporal regions.
We used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine regional white matter volume in 75 people with prodromal symptoms. A subset of the original group (n=21) were rescanned at 12–18 months to determine white matter volume changes. Participants were retrospectively categorised according to whether they had or had not developed psychosis at follow-up.
Comparison of the baseline MRI data from these two subgroups revealed that individuals who later developed psychosis had larger volumes of white matter in the frontal lobe, particularly in the left hemisphere. Longitudinal comparison of data in individuals who developed psychosis revealed a reduction in white matter volume in the region of the left fronto-occipital fasciculus. Participants who had not developed psychosis showed no reductions in white matter volume but increases in a region subjacent to the right inferior parietal lobule.
The reduction in volume of white matter near the left fronto-occipital fasciculus may reflect a change in this tract in association with the onset of frank psychosis.