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The US Senate is unique in the United States and rare internationally for its total disregard of population differences among its representational units. To analyze malapportionment’s policy impact, we devised a hypothetical reapportionment scheme that more closely approximates state population but remains favorable to small states. We developed a formula to reweight senators’ roll-call votes to reflect better state population differences. We recalculated 804 key US Senate votes between 1961 and 2019 and found that state equality in the Senate systematically biases policy outcomes toward Republican preferences.
Policies that promote conversion of antibiotics from intravenous to oral route administration are considered “low hanging fruit” for hospital antimicrobial stewardship programs. We developed a simple metric based on digestive days of therapy divided by total days of therapy for targeted agents and a method for hospital comparisons. External comparisons may help identify opportunities for improving prospective implementation.
Foundation Doctors are exposed to a range of specialties within the Foundation Programme, with 20.9% completing a psychiatry rotation. Those who do not have a psychiatry rotation may have little experience other than what was acquired in undergraduate training, despite being expected to care for patients with mental health problems. According to Mind (2017), one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year thus essential that our medical workforce know and understand the basic principles of psychiatry to aid their management of core psychiatric conditions. The aim of this project was to improve mental health literacy among Foundation Doctors by improving their communication, formulation and risk management skills. Another objective was to encourage uptake to Psychiatry and help plug the high number of unfilled Consultant posts.
The initial pilot was carried out between January and June 2021 over zoom and the sessions were optional. A survey was completed to find out which topics were most relevant and common themes included MCA/MHA interface, risk management and treatment of various conditions. These themes were incorporated into 90-minute sessions which included interactive case-based discussion in small breakout groups and some didactic teaching. The six session topics were EUPD, Dementia, Depression, Delirium, Substance Misuse and Alcohol Misuse. The sessions were facilitated by clinicians of mixed experience from Foundation Doctors to Consultants. Participant knowledge was tested using pre- and post-session quizzes and a working group reviewed feedback, making relevant changes subsequently.
Feedback was majorly positive, and attendees valued the interactivity, breakout rooms, case studies and choice of topics. Suggested areas of improvement were having more time for discussion, technical difficulties, and less psychiatric ‘jargon’, but these tended to be isolated comments. Five out of six sessions showed an improvement in assessment scores afterwards, with an average improvement of 12.6% (average pre-session score of 70% and average post-session score of 82.6%). One session showed a decrease in the post-session quiz scores which on reflection showed that the questions in the assessment covered material not included in the session.
The virtual programme was an effective way of improving knowledge and confidence in psychiatry. Whilst the sessions were positively received and showed improvements in post-session scores, there were some limitations which will be addressed and used to develop future training. There is now more mental health woven throughout the new Foundation curriculum and expected that much of this content will be covered during Foundation Training.
Data suggest poorer bereavement outcomes for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, but this has not been estimated in population-based research. This study compared bereavement outcomes for partners of same-gender and different-gender decedents.
In this population-based, cross-sectional survey of people bereaved of a civil partner or spouse 6–10 months previously, we used adjusted logistic and linear regression to investigate outcomes of interest: (1) positive screen on Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG), (2) positive screen on General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), (3) grief intensity (ICG) and (4) psychiatric symptoms (GHQ-12).
Among 233 same-gender partners and 329 of different-gender partners, 66.1% [95% confidence interval (CI) 60.0–72.2] and 59.2% [95% CI (53.9–64.6)] respectively screened positive for complicated grief on the ICG, whilst 76.0% [95% CI (70.5–81.5)] and 69.3% [95% CI (64.3–74.3)] respectively screened positive on the GHQ-12. Same-gender bereaved partners were not significantly more likely to screen positive for complicated grief than different-gender partners [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.56, 95% CI (0.98–2.47)], p = 0.059, but same-gender bereaved partners were significantly more likely to screen for psychiatric caseness [aOR 1.67 (1.02, 2.71) p = 0.043]. We similarly found no significant association of partner gender with grief intensity [B = 1.86, 95% CI (−0.91to 4.63), p = 0.188], but significantly greater psychological distress for same-gender partners [B = 1.54, 95% CI (−0.69–2.40), p < 0.001].
Same-gender bereaved partners report significantly more psychological distress. In view of their poorer sub-clinical mental health, clinical and bereavement services should refine screening processes to identify those at risk of poor mental health outcomes.
The World Health Organization African region recorded its first laboratory-confirmed coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases on 25 February 2020. Two months later, all the 47 countries of the region were affected. The first anniversary of the pandemic occurred in a changed context with the emergence of new variants of concern (VOC) and growing COVID-19 fatigue. This study describes the epidemiological trajectory of COVID-19 in the region, summarises public health and social measures (PHSM) implemented and discusses their impact on the pandemic trajectory. As of 24 February 2021, the African region accounted for 2.5% of cases and 2.9% of deaths reported globally. Of the 13 countries that submitted detailed line listing of cases, the proportion of cases with at least one co-morbid condition was estimated at 3.3% of all cases. Hypertension, diabetes and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection were the most common comorbid conditions, accounting for 11.1%, 7.1% and 5.0% of cases with comorbidities, respectively. Overall, the case fatality ratio (CFR) in patients with comorbid conditions was higher than in patients without comorbid conditions: 5.5% vs. 1.0% (P < 0.0001). Countries started to implement lockdown measures in early March 2020. This contributed to slow the spread of the pandemic at the early stage while the gradual ease of lockdowns from 20 April 2020 resulted in an upsurge. The second wave of the pandemic, which started in November 2020, coincided with the emergence of the new variants of concern. Only 0.08% of the population from six countries received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. It is critical to not only learn from the past 12 months to improve the effectiveness of the current response but also to start preparing the health systems for subsequent waves of the current pandemic and future pandemics.
Republican support for the 1982 Voting Rights Act (VRA) extension is a puzzle for scholars of racial policy coalitions. The extension contained provisions that were manifestly antithetical to core principles of the “color-blind” policy alliance said to dominate the GOP. Recent scholarship has explained this puzzling decision by arguing that conservatives were confident that the VRA's most objectionable provisions could be undone by the federal bureaucracy and judiciary, while absolving Republicans of the blame of being against voting rights. This article suggests that the picture is more complicated. Applying the concept of “critical junctures” to the 1982 VRA extension, the article highlights the importance of actors’ contingent decisions and reveals a wider range of choices available to political entrepreneurs than has been conventionally understood. Highlighting differing views within the Reagan administration, this article also identifies a wider range of reasons why Republicans supported the act's extension, including career ambition, party-building, policy agenda advancement, and genuine commitment, rather than simply a defensive stance as implied by recent histories.
Pompe disease results from lysosomal acid α-glucosidase deficiency, which leads to cardiomyopathy in all infantile-onset and occasional late-onset patients. Cardiac assessment is important for its diagnosis and management. This article presents unpublished cardiac findings, concomitant medications, and cardiac efficacy and safety outcomes from the ADVANCE study; trajectories of patients with abnormal left ventricular mass z score at enrolment; and post hoc analyses of on-treatment left ventricular mass and systolic blood pressure z scores by disease phenotype, GAA genotype, and “fraction of life” (defined as the fraction of life on pre-study 160 L production-scale alglucosidase alfa). ADVANCE evaluated 52 weeks’ treatment with 4000 L production-scale alglucosidase alfa in ≥1-year-old United States of America patients with Pompe disease previously receiving 160 L production-scale alglucosidase alfa. M-mode echocardiography and 12-lead electrocardiography were performed at enrolment and Week 52. Sixty-seven patients had complete left ventricular mass z scores, decreasing at Week 52 (infantile-onset patients, change −0.8 ± 1.83; 95% confidence interval −1.3 to −0.2; all patients, change −0.5 ± 1.71; 95% confidence interval −1.0 to −0.1). Patients with “fraction of life” <0.79 had left ventricular mass z score decreasing (enrolment: +0.1 ± 3.0; Week 52: −1.1 ± 2.0); those with “fraction of life” ≥0.79 remained stable (enrolment: −0.9 ± 1.5; Week 52: −0.9 ± 1.4). Systolic blood pressure z scores were stable from enrolment to Week 52, and no cohort developed systemic hypertension. Eight patients had Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome. Cardiac hypertrophy and dysrhythmia in ADVANCE patients at or before enrolment were typical of Pompe disease. Four-thousand L alglucosidase alfa therapy maintained fractional shortening, left ventricular posterior and septal end-diastolic thicknesses, and improved left ventricular mass z score.
Social Media Statement: Post hoc analyses of the ADVANCE study cohort of 113 children support ongoing cardiac monitoring and concomitant management of children with Pompe disease on long-term alglucosidase alfa to functionally improve cardiomyopathy and/or dysrhythmia.
To determine the utility of the Sofia SARS rapid antigen fluorescent immunoassay (FIA) to guide hospital-bed placement of patients being admitted through the emergency department (ED).
Cross-sectional analysis of a clinical quality improvement study.
This study was conducted in 2 community hospitals in Maryland from September 21, 2020, to December 3, 2020. In total, 2,887 patients simultaneously received the Sofia SARS rapid antigen FIA and SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assays on admission through the ED.
Rapid antigen results and symptom assessment guided initial patient placement while confirmatory RT-PCR was pending. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive values, and negative predictive values of the rapid antigen assay were calculated relative to RT-PCR, overall and separately for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Assay sensitivity was compared to RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values. Assay turnaround times were compared. Clinical characteristics of RT-PCR–positive patients and potential exposures from false-negative antigen assays were evaluated.
For all patients, overall agreement was 97.9%; sensitivity was 76.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 71%–82%), and specificity was 99.7% (95% CI, 99%–100%). We detected no differences in performance between asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals. As RT-PCR Ct increased, the sensitivity of the antigen assay decreased. The mean turnaround time for the antigen assay was 1.2 hours (95% CI, 1.0–1.3) and for RT-PCR it was 20.1 hours (95% CI, 18.9–40.3) (P < .001). No transmission from antigen-negative/RT-PCR–positive patients was identified.
Although not a replacement for RT-PCR for detection of all SARS-CoV-2 infections, the Sofia SARS antigen FIA has clinical utility for potential initial timely patient placement.
Palpable thyroid nodules are present in approximately 5–7% of the adult population, and of these, 5–10% harbor malignancy. Additional thyroid nodules are found incidentally on imaging for other medical reasons, including screening for malignancies of other organs or evaluation of vasculature. Ultrasound (US) imaging of the neck with evaluation of the thyroid and lymph nodes is typically used and recommended to characterize thyroid nodules. The American Thyroid Association (ATA) classification, and the Thyroid Imaging, Reporting, and Data System (TIRADS) of the American College of Radiology (ACR-TIRADS) risk stratification systems are commonly used.
An intermediate-depth (1751 m) ice core was drilled at the South Pole between 2014 and 2016 using the newly designed US Intermediate Depth Drill. The South Pole ice core is the highest-resolution interior East Antarctic ice core record that extends into the glacial period. The methods used at the South Pole to handle and log the drilled ice, the procedures used to safely retrograde the ice back to the National Science Foundation Ice Core Facility (NSF-ICF), and the methods used to process and sample the ice at the NSF-ICF are described. The South Pole ice core exhibited minimal brittle ice, which was likely due to site characteristics and, to a lesser extent, to drill technology and core handling procedures.
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.
To conduct a pilot study implementing combined genomic and epidemiologic surveillance for hospital-acquired multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) to predict transmission between patients and to estimate the local burden of MDRO transmission.
Pilot prospective multicenter surveillance study.
The study was conducted in 8 university hospitals (2,800 beds total) in Melbourne, Australia (population 4.8 million), including 4 acute-care, 1 specialist cancer care, and 3 subacute-care hospitals.
All clinical and screening isolates from hospital inpatients (April 24 to June 18, 2017) were collected for 6 MDROs: vanA VRE, MRSA, ESBL Escherichia coli (ESBL-Ec) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (ESBL-Kp), and carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPa) and Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAb). Isolates were analyzed and reported as routine by hospital laboratories, underwent whole-genome sequencing at the central laboratory, and were analyzed using open-source bioinformatic tools. MDRO burden and transmission were assessed using combined genomic and epidemiologic data.
In total, 408 isolates were collected from 358 patients; 47.5% were screening isolates. ESBL-Ec was most common (52.5%), then MRSA (21.6%), vanA VRE (15.7%), and ESBL-Kp (7.6%). Most MDROs (88.3%) were isolated from patients with recent healthcare exposure.
Combining genomics and epidemiology identified that at least 27.1% of MDROs were likely acquired in a hospital; most of these transmission events would not have been detected without genomics. The highest proportion of transmission occurred with vanA VRE (88.4% of patients).
Genomic and epidemiologic data from multiple institutions can feasibly be combined prospectively, providing substantial insights into the burden and distribution of MDROs, including in-hospital transmission. This analysis enables infection control teams to target interventions more effectively.
This study investigated the latent factor structure of the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB) and its measurement invariance across clinical diagnosis and key demographic variables including sex, race/ethnicity, age, and education for a typical Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research sample.
The NIHTB-CB iPad English version, consisting of 7 tests, was administered to 411 participants aged 45–94 with clinical diagnosis of cognitively unimpaired, dementia, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or impaired not MCI. The factor structure of the whole sample was first examined with exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and further refined using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Two groups were classified for each variable (diagnosis or demographic factors). The confirmed factor model was next tested for each group with CFA. If the factor structure was the same between the groups, measurement invariance was then tested using a hierarchical series of nested two-group CFA models.
A two-factor model capturing fluid cognition (executive function, processing speed, and memory) versus crystalized cognition (language) fit well for the whole sample and each group except for those with age < 65. This model generally had measurement invariance across sex, race/ethnicity, and education, and partial invariance across diagnosis. For individuals with age < 65, the language factor remained intact while the fluid cognition was separated into two factors: (1) executive function/processing speed and (2) memory.
The findings mostly supported the utility of the battery in AD research, yet revealed challenges in measuring memory for AD participants and longitudinal change in fluid cognition.
Despite their use in clinical practice, there is little evidence to support the use of therapist written goodbye letters as therapeutic tools. However, preliminary evidence suggests that goodbye letters may have benefits in the treatment of anorexia nervosa (AN).
This study aimed to examine whether therapist written goodbye letters were associated with improvements in body mass index (BMI) and eating disorder symptomology in patients with AN after treatment.
Participants were adults with AN (n = 41) who received The Maudsley Model of Anorexia Treatment for Adults (MANTRA) in a clinical trial evaluating two AN out-patient treatments. As part of MANTRA, therapists wrote goodbye letters to patients. A rating scheme was developed to rate letters for structure and quality. Linear regression analyses were used to examine associations between goodbye letter scores and outcomes after treatment.
Higher quality letters and letters that adopted a more affirming stance were associated with greater improvements in BMI at 12 months. Neither the overall quality nor the style of goodbye letters were associated with improvements in BMI at 24 months or reductions in eating disorder symptomology at either 12 or 24 months.
The results highlight the potential importance of paying attention to the overall quality of therapist written goodbye letters in the treatment of AN, and adopting an affirming stance.
Trends in detention under the Mental Health Act 1983 in two major London secondary mental healthcare providers were explored using patient-level data in a historical cohort study between 2007–2008 and 2016–2017. An increase in the number of detention episodes initiated per fiscal year was observed at both sites. The rise was accompanied by an increase in the number of active patients; the proportion of active patients detained per year remained relatively stable. Findings suggest that the rise in the number of detentions reflects the rise of the number of people receiving secondary mental healthcare.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
During the Obama presidency, Republicans made major gains in state legislative elections, especially in the South and the Midwest. Republicans’ control grew from 13 legislatures in 2009 to 32 in 2017. A major but largely unexamined consequence of this profound shift in state-level partisan control was the resurgence of efforts to re-segregate public education. We examine new re-segregation policies, especially school district secession and anti-busing laws, which have passed in these states. We argue that the marked reversal in desegregation patterns and upturn in re-segregated school education is part of the Republican Party's anti-civil rights and anti-federal strategies, dressed up in the ideological language of colour-blindness.