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The Disability Support Pension (DSP) is the major Australian government financial benefit program for people of working age with medical conditions and disabilities that restrict work capacity. Between 2012 and 2018 a series of policy reforms sought to restrict the growth in DSP payments and encourage more people with some work capacity to seek employment. We characterise changes in three markers of access to disability financial support over the reform period (1) DSP recipient rates (2) DSP grant (approval) rates and (3) the rate of unemployment benefit receipt in people with impaired work capacity. Results demonstrate a significant reduction in DSP receipt and grant rates, and significant increase in the rate of unemployment benefit receipt in working-age Australians with work disabling medical conditions and disability. These changes were not distributed uniformly. People whose primary medical condition was a musculoskeletal or circulatory system disorder demonstrated greater declines in DSP receipt and grant rates, while there was a more rapid increase in unemployment benefit receipt among people with primary mental health conditions. Some trend changes occur in periods during which new disability assessment and pension eligibility policies were introduced, though our ability to attribute changes to specific policy changes is limited.
The success rate for translation of newly engineered medical technologies into clinical practice is low. Traversing the “translational valleys of death” requires a high level of knowledge of the complex landscape of technical, ethical, regulatory, and commercialization challenges along a multi-agency path of approvals. The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute developed a program targeted at increasing that success rate through comprehensive training, education, and resourcing. The Medical Technology Advance Program (MTAP) provides technical, educational, and consultative assistance to investigators that leverages partnerships with experts in the health products industry to speed progress toward clinical implementation. The training, resourcing, and guidance are integrated through the entire journey of medical technology translation. Investigators are supported through a set of courses that cover bioethics, ethical engineering, preclinical and clinical study design, regulatory submissions, entrepreneurship, and commercialization. In addition to the integrated technical and educational resources, program experts provide direct consultation for planning each phase along the life cycle of translation. Since 2008, nearly 200 investigators have gained assistance from MTAP resulting in over 100 publications and patents. This support via medicine–engineering–industry partnership provides a unique and novel opportunity to expedite new medical technologies into clinical and product implementation.
In premodern economic systems where the social embedding of exchange provided actors with the ability to control or monopolize trade, including the goods that enter and leave a marketplace, “restricted markets” formed. These markets produced external revenues that could be used to achieve political goals. Conversely, commercialized systems required investment in public goods that incentivize the development of market cooperation and “open markets,” where buyers and sellers from across social sectors and diverse communities could engage in exchange as economic equals within marketplaces. In this article, we compare market development at the Late Postclassic sites of Chetumal, Belize, and Tlaxcallan, Mexico. We identified a restricted market at Chetumal, using the distribution of exotic goods, particularly militarily and ritually charged obsidian projectile points; in contrast, an open market was built at Tlaxcallan. Collective action theory provides a useful framework to understand these differences in market development. We argue that Tlaxcaltecan political architects adopted more collective strategies, in which open markets figured, to encourage cooperation among an ethnically diverse population.
A number of large naturalistic trials of anti-psychotic medication have been carried out in recent years. These include SOHO, CATIE, CAFÉ, EUFEST, and CUTLASS.
These studies have attempted to demonstrate the efficacy in practice of second generation drugs as compared to first generation drugs. the results of these studies have been hotly debated and various conclusions have been drawn.
However, it is necessary to question what methodological issues have arisen in these studies, and hence how safe are the conclusions.
It is now also necessary to examine what findings appear to have been demonstrated by these trials, and whether certain findings are corroborated by several trials, while other trial results contradict each other.
In the presentation, each of the five studies will be critically appraised by a contributor who is a practicing clinician, but who has not participated as a principal investigator in the study concerned. Conclusions will be drawn as to whether the trials are useful for developing guidelines for the use of antipsychotics in the management of psychotic illness, what findings are corroborated by several trials, and indeed, whether methodological flaws might undermine some conclusions from some of the studies.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is beneficial in depression. Symptom scores can be translated into Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale scores to indicate clinical relevance. We aimed to assess the clinical relevance of findings of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of CBT in depression. We identified RCTs of CBT that used the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD). HAMD scores were translated into Clinical Global Impression – Change scale (CGI-I) scores to measure clinical relevance. One hundred and seventy datasets from 82 studies were included. The mean percentage HAMD change for treatment arms was 53.66%, and 29.81% for control arms, a statistically significant difference. Combined active therapies showed the biggest improvement on CGI-I score, followed by CBT alone. All active treatments had better than expected HAMD percentage reduction and CGI-I scores. CBT has a clinically relevant effect in depression, with a notional CGI-I score of 2.2, indicating a significant clinical response. The non-specific or placebo effect of being in a psychotherapy trial was a 29% reduction of HAMD.
Founded on post-war optimism that a Europe of united democracies could provide both peace and prosperity, the European Union is slowly waking up to the fact that not all of its Member States are committed to democratic principles. Article 2 TEU pronounces (as fact) that “[t]he Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.” And Article 2 goes on to assert (as fact) that “[t]hese values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.” But for some EU member governments, these values no longer define the aspirational horizon. The requirements of Article 2 are simply no longer met in all Member States.
Introduction: Early and accurate diagnosis of critical conditions is essential in emergency medical services (EMS). Serum lactate testing may be used to identify patients with worse prognosis, including sepsis. Recently, the use of a point-of-care lactate (POCL) test has been evaluated in guiding treatment in patients with sepsis. Operating as part of the Prehospital Evidence Based Practice (PEP) Program, the authors sought to identify and describe the body of evidence for POCL use in EMS and the emergency department (ED) for patients with sepsis. Methods: Following PEP methodology, in May 2018, PubMed was searched in a systematic manner. Title and abstract screening were conducted by the program coordinator. These studies were collected, appraised and added to the existing body of literature contained within the PEP database. Evidence appraisal was conducted by two reviewers who assigned both a level of evidence (LOE) on a novel three tier scale and a direction of evidence (supportive, neutral or opposing; based on primary outcome). Data on setting and study design were also extracted. Results: Eight studies were included in our analysis. Three of these studies were conducted in the ED setting; each investigating the POCL test's ability to predict severe sepsis, ICU admission or death. All three studies found supportive results for POCL. A systematic review on the use of POCL in the ED determined that this test can also improve time to treatment. Five of the total 8 studies were conducted prehospitally. Two of these studies were supportive of POCL use in the prehospital setting; in terms of feasibility and the ability to predict sepsis. Both of these study sites used this early information as part of initiating a “sepsis alert” pathway. The other three prehospital studies provide neutral support for POCL. One study demonstrated moderate ability of POCL to predict severe illness. Two studies found poor agreement between prehospital POCL and serum lactate values. Conclusion: Limited low and moderate quality evidence suggest POCL may be feasible and helpful in predicting sepsis in the prehospital setting. However, there is sparse and inconsistent support for specific important outcomes, including accuracy.
Introduction: The Prehospital Evidence-Based Practice (PEP) program is an online, freely accessible, continuously updated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) evidence repository. This summary describes the research evidence for the identification and management of adult patients suffering from sepsis syndrome or septic shock. Methods: PubMed was searched in a systematic manner. One author reviewed titles and abstracts for relevance and two authors appraised each study selected for inclusion. Primary outcomes were extracted. Studies were scored by trained appraisers on a three-point Level of Evidence (LOE) scale (based on study design and quality) and a three-point Direction of Evidence (DOE) scale (supportive, neutral, or opposing findings based on the studies’ primary outcome for each intervention). LOE and DOE of each intervention were plotted on an evidence matrix (DOE x LOE). Results: Eighty-eight studies were included for 15 interventions listed in PEP. The interventions with the most evidence were related to identification tools (ID) (n = 26, 30%) and early goal directed therapy (EGDT) (n = 21, 24%). ID tools included Systematic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS), quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) and other unique measures. The most common primary outcomes were related to diagnosis (n = 30, 34%), mortality (n = 40, 45%) and treatment goals (e.g. time to antibiotic) (n = 14, 16%). The evidence rank for the supported interventions were: supportive-high quality (n = 1, 7%) for crystalloid infusion, supportive-moderate quality (n = 7, 47%) for identification tools, prenotification, point of care lactate, titrated oxygen, temperature monitoring, and supportive-low quality (n = 1, 7%) for vasopressors. The benefit of prehospital antibiotics and EGDT remain inconclusive with a neutral DOE. There is moderate level evidence opposing use of high flow oxygen. Conclusion: EMS sepsis interventions are informed primarily by moderate quality supportive evidence. Several standard treatments are well supported by moderate to high quality evidence, as are identification tools. However, some standard in-hospital therapies are not supported by evidence in the prehospital setting, such as antibiotics, and EGDT. Based on primary outcomes, no identification tool appears superior. This evidence analysis can guide selection of appropriate prehospital therapies.
Respiratory viral infections are a leading cause of disease worldwide. A variety of respiratory viruses produce infections in humans with effects ranging from asymptomatic to life-treathening. Standard surveillance systems typically only target severe infections (ED outpatients, hospitalisations, deaths) and fail to track asymptomatic or mild infections. Here we performed a large-scale community study across multiple age groups to assess the pathogenicity of 18 respiratory viruses. We enrolled 214 individuals at multiple New York City locations and tested weekly for respiratory viral pathogens, irrespective of symptom status, from fall 2016 to spring 2018. We combined these test results with participant-provided daily records of cold and flu symptoms and used this information to characterise symptom severity by virus and age category. Asymptomatic infection rates exceeded 70% for most viruses, excepting influenza and human metapneumovirus, which produced significantly more severe outcomes. Symptoms were negatively associated with infection frequency, with children displaying the lowest score among age groups. Upper respiratory manifestations were most common for all viruses, whereas systemic effects were less typical. These findings indicate a high burden of asymptomatic respiratory virus infection exists in the general population.
Transoral laser microsurgery is an increasingly common treatment modality for glottic carcinoma. This study aimed to determine the effect of age, gender, stage and time on voice-related quality of life using the Voice Handicap Index-10.
Primary early glottic carcinoma patients treated with transoral laser microsurgery were included in the study. Self-reported Voice Handicap Index testing was completed pre-operatively, three months post-operatively, and yearly at follow-up appointments.
Voice Handicap Index improvement was found to be dependent on age and tumour stage, while no significant differences were found in Voice Handicap Index for gender. Voice Handicap Index score was significantly improved at 12 months and 24 months. Time versus Voice Handicap Index modelling revealed a preference for non-linear over linear regression.
Age and stage are important factors, as younger patients with more advanced tumours show greater voice improvement post-operatively. Patient's Voice Handicap Index is predicted to have 95 per cent of maximal improvement by 5.5 months post-operatively.