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The novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is the causative agent of the 2020 worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Antibody testing is useful for diagnosing historic infections of a disease in a population. These tests are also a helpful epidemiological tool for predicting how the virus spreads in a community, relating antibody levels to immunity and for assessing herd immunity. In the present study, SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins were recombinantly produced and used to analyse serum from individuals previously exposed, or not, to SARS-CoV-2. The nucleocapsid (Npro) and spike subunit 2 (S2Frag) proteins were identified as highly immunogenic, although responses to the former were generally greater. These two proteins were used to develop two quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) that when used in combination resulted in a highly reliable diagnostic test. Npro and S2Frag-ELISAs could detect at least 10% more true positive coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases than the commercially available ARCHITECT test (Abbott). Moreover, our quantitative ELISAs also show that specific antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 proteins tend to wane rapidly even in patients who had developed severe disease. As antibody tests complement COVID-19 diagnosis and determine population-level surveillance during this pandemic, the alternative diagnostic we present in this study could play a role in controlling the spread of the virus.
Following Stefan Zweig’s influential adaptation of Volpone in 1926, the twentieth century saw a slew of adaptations of Jonson’s great comedy. This essay focuses on three less familiar adaptations of Volpone, which follow Zweig’s particularly twentieth-century interest in the intersection of financial scams and power. First, Lionel Bart’s musical Wally Pone, King of Soho (1958), staged at London’s Unity Theatre and set in 1950s Soho. Second, the 1962 musical Foxy, which saw a Broadway run. This version eschews direct contemporaneity, instead relocating Jonson’s narrative to a remote area in the Yukon experiencing an economic bubble at the height of the 1896 Gold Rush. Third, Larry Gelbart’s Sly Fox, a farcical comedy first staged in 1976 at the Broadhurst Theatre, New York. This adaptation also stages the invalid trick among gold prospectors, this time in nineteenth-century San Francisco. Each of these versions involves a complex repurposing of the play, to make it speak to the experience of completely different audiences. The adjustments made in these three adaptations reveal considerable transformations in value and ideology, particularly around matters of social class and sexuality. Together they demonstrate Jonson’s robust and still powerful critique of a sexually rapacious and, above all, money-driven society.
Lewy body dementia, consisting of both dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD), is considerably under-recognised clinically compared with its frequency in autopsy series.
This study investigated the clinical diagnostic pathways of patients with Lewy body dementia to assess if difficulties in diagnosis may be contributing to these differences.
We reviewed the medical notes of 74 people with DLB and 72 with non-DLB dementia matched for age, gender and cognitive performance, together with 38 people with PDD and 35 with Parkinson's disease, matched for age and gender, from two geographically distinct UK regions.
The cases of individuals with DLB took longer to reach a final diagnosis (1.2 v. 0.6 years, P = 0.017), underwent more scans (1.7 v. 1.2, P = 0.002) and had more alternative prior diagnoses (0.8 v. 0.4, P = 0.002), than the cases of those with non-DLB dementia. Individuals diagnosed in one region of the UK had significantly more core features (2.1 v. 1.5, P = 0.007) than those in the other region, and were less likely to have dopamine transporter imaging (P < 0.001). For patients with PDD, more than 1.4 years prior to receiving a dementia diagnosis: 46% (12 of 26) had documented impaired activities of daily living because of cognitive impairment, 57% (16 of 28) had cognitive impairment in multiple domains, with 38% (6 of 16) having both, and 39% (9 of 23) already receiving anti-dementia drugs.
Our results show the pathway to diagnosis of DLB is longer and more complex than for non-DLB dementia. There were also marked differences between regions in the thresholds clinicians adopt for diagnosing DLB and also in the use of dopamine transporter imaging. For PDD, a diagnosis of dementia was delayed well beyond symptom onset and even treatment.
To assess the utility of an automated, statistically-based outbreak detection system to identify clusters of hospital-acquired microorganisms.
Multicenter retrospective cohort study.
The study included 43 hospitals using a common infection prevention surveillance system.
A space–time permutation scan statistic was applied to hospital microbiology, admission, discharge, and transfer data to identify clustering of microorganisms within hospital locations and services. Infection preventionists were asked to rate the importance of each cluster. A convenience sample of 10 hospitals also provided information about clusters previously identified through their usual surveillance methods.
We identified 230 clusters in 43 hospitals involving Gram-positive and -negative bacteria and fungi. Half of the clusters progressed after initial detection, suggesting that early detection could trigger interventions to curtail further spread. Infection preventionists reported that they would have wanted to be alerted about 81% of these clusters. Factors associated with clusters judged to be moderately or highly concerning included high statistical significance, large size, and clusters involving Clostridioides difficile or multidrug-resistant organisms. Based on comparison data provided by the convenience sample of hospitals, only 9 (18%) of 51 clusters detected by usual surveillance met statistical significance, and of the 70 clusters not previously detected, 58 (83%) involved organisms not routinely targeted by the hospitals’ surveillance programs. All infection prevention programs felt that an automated outbreak detection tool would improve their ability to detect outbreaks and streamline their work.
Automated, statistically-based outbreak detection can increase the consistency, scope, and comprehensiveness of detecting hospital-associated transmission.
Technological innovation has been pervasive and has touched almost every aspect of modern life, including the delivery of behavioural and mental heath care. As telehealth expands, internet interventions are particularly interesting as a medium of delivering effective care. However, standards are required to help inform healthcare policy makers, providers, clinicians and patients.
Move towards outlining a gold standard for internet-delivered behavioural and mental health interventions.
Contribute and build upon existing standards and guidelines for the practice of telehealth, but to now extend these to include internet-delivered interventions.
Drawing from research, experience and practice, the authors propose a matrix for the evaluation of what might be considered a gold standard for internet-delivered behavioural and mental health interventions.
Seven elements are proposed and considered aspects of what would constitute a gold standard and they include, the use of evidence-based and empirically supported content, robust, engaging, secure and responsive technologies, shaped by behavioural health subject matter experts, employ user-centred design and development principles, have a focus on accountable care-achieving clinical outcomes, have research and evaluation that supports its effectiveness, and a well developed implementation science and support.
The paper proposes some characteristics that could compose a gold standard for internet-delivered interventions for behavioural and mental health care. The contribution is neither exhaustive nor conclusive, but offers an invitation to the discussion.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Internet-delivered treatments for depression have proved successful, with supported programs offering the potential for improved adherence and outcomes. Internet interventions are particularly interesting in the context of increasing access to interventions, and delivering interventions population-wide.
Investigate the potential feasibility and effectiveness of an online intervention for depression in the community.
Establish the effectiveness of a supported online delivered cognitive behavioural intervention for symptoms of depression in adults in the community.
The study was a randomized controlled trial of an 8-module internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) program for adults with depressive symptoms (n = 96) compared to a waiting-list control group (n = 92). Participants received weekly support from a trained supporter. The primary outcome was depressive symptoms as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II). The program was made available nationwide from an established and recognized charity for depression.
For the treatment group, post-treatment effect sizes reported were large for the primary outcome measure (d = 0.91). The between-group effects were moderate to large and statistically significant for the primary outcomes (d = 0.50) favoring the treatment group. Gains were maintained at 6-month follow-up.
The study has demonstrated the efficacy of the online delivered space from depression treatment. Participants demonstrated reliable and statistically significant changes in symptoms from pre- to post-intervention. The study supports a model for delivering online depression interventions population-wide using trained supporters.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Currently, there is limited knowledge on the impact of father-only sessions or parenting programs supporting impending fatherhood. This research explored an antenatal dads program aimed at fathers to assess the benefits of such interventions.
Literature regarding parenting programs and early childhood education initiatives, especially those aimed at children and families in disadvantaged circumstance, have been demonstrated to act as a buffer to poorer health and lifestyle outcomes in later life.
A qualitative research approach was used to explore the experiences of 16 fathers and 6 staff of a community-based parenting program with sessions focusing on fatherhood.
Four main themes were identified from the data regarding the experiences of groups engaged with the Antenatal Dads and First Year Families program. The first theme ‘Knowledge and Capacity Building’ stated that the information provided in the program helped fathers to be better informed and prepared for their impending fatherhood. The second theme was ‘Mental Health Awareness’ and identified the importance of raising awareness of depression and suicide in fathers, including where and how to get help. The third theme was ‘Soft-Entry’ and highlighted how the attendance at one service helped participants to learn about additional services through word of mouth and targeted promotion. The final theme was ‘Feeling Connected’, which helped fathers to feel more connected with the process of childbirth and development including playing and engaging with their children. Overall, the fathers found that the male-only sessions assisted them by supporting frank discussions on fatherhood. Additionally, the study helped identify the advantages of fathers meeting other fathers through attendance in the program, or even other couples in similar situations that helped fathers to feel less lonely regarding their situation.
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations on the basis of an internationally agreed set of criteria. We present the first review of the development and spread of the IBA concept since it was launched by BirdLife International (then ICBP) in 1979 and examine some of the characteristics of the resulting inventory. Over 13,000 global and regional IBAs have so far been identified and documented in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in almost all of the world’s countries and territories, making this the largest global network of sites of significance for biodiversity. IBAs have been identified using standardised, data-driven criteria that have been developed and applied at global and regional levels. These criteria capture multiple dimensions of a site’s significance for avian biodiversity and relate to populations of globally threatened species (68.6% of the 10,746 IBAs that meet global criteria), restricted-range species (25.4%), biome-restricted species (27.5%) and congregatory species (50.3%); many global IBAs (52.7%) trigger two or more of these criteria. IBAs range in size from < 1 km2 to over 300,000 km2 and have an approximately log-normal size distribution (median = 125.0 km2, mean = 1,202.6 km2). They cover approximately 6.7% of the terrestrial, 1.6% of the marine and 3.1% of the total surface area of the Earth. The launch in 2016 of the KBA Global Standard, which aims to identify, document and conserve sites that contribute to the global persistence of wider biodiversity, and whose criteria for site identification build on those developed for IBAs, is a logical evolution of the IBA concept. The role of IBAs in conservation planning, policy and practice is reviewed elsewhere. Future technical priorities for the IBA initiative include completion of the global inventory, particularly in the marine environment, keeping the dataset up to date, and improving the systematic monitoring of these sites.
Infection with STEC O157 is relatively rare but has potentially serious sequelae, particularly for children. Large outbreaks have prompted considerable efforts designed to reduce transmission primarily from food and direct animal contact. Despite these interventions, numbers of infections have remained constant for many years and the mechanisms leading to many sporadic infections remain unclear.
Here, we show that two-thirds of all cases reported in England between 2009 and 2015 were sporadic. Crude rates of infection differed geographically and were highest in rural areas during the summer months. Living in rural areas with high densities of cattle, sheep or pigs and those served by private water supplies were associated with increased risk. Living in an area of lower deprivation contributed to increased risk but this appeared to be associated with reported travel abroad. Fresh water coverage and residential proximity to the coast were not risk factors.
To reduce the overall burden of infection in England, interventions designed to reduce the number of sporadic infections with STEC should focus on the residents of rural areas with high densities of livestock and the effective management of non-municipal water supplies. The role of sheep as a reservoir and potential source of infection in humans should not be overlooked.
A cognitive–behavioural therapy in-patient treatment model for adults with severe anorexia nervosa was developed and evaluated, and outcomes were compared with the previous treatment model and other published outcomes from similar settings.
This study showed the Pathways to Recovery outcomes were positive in terms of improvements in body mass index and psychopathology.
Adults with anorexia nervosa can achieve good outcomes despite longer illness duration and comorbidities.
Declaration of interest
A.B., A.C. and L.H. work at The Retreat where the Pathways to Recovery were developed.
Patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) with vaso-occlusive crises (VOC) often visit the emergency department (ED) for management of painful episodes. The primary objective of this pilot study was to evaluate the acceptability of a short-stay model for treatment of VOC in SCD outside of the ED in Toronto, Canada. Secondary objectives were to assess patient satisfaction of this model, barriers to its use and comparison of clinical outcomes to a historical control.
Adult SCD patients with symptoms of an uncomplicated VOC between October 2014 to July 2016 were managed according to best practice recommendations in a short-stay unit as an alternative to the local emergency room. Primary outcome of time to first analgesia, and secondary outcome of discharge rate were compared to a historical control at a local ED from 2009-2012. Satisfaction and barriers to use of the ambulatory care delivery model were assessed by patient survey.
Twenty-one visits were recorded at the short-stay unit during the study period. Average time to first opiate dose was 23.5 minutes in the short-stay unit compared to 100.3 minutes in the ED (p<0.001). Discharge rate from the short-stay unit was 84.2%. Average patient satisfaction with this model of care was high (>4/5 on Likert scale) except for geographic accessibility (85% response rate, n=18).
This study demonstrated high patient satisfaction and acceptability of a short-stay model for treatment of uncomplicated VOC in adult SCD patients in Toronto, the first of its kind in Canada.
Synthesis of Ni and Zn substituted nano-greigite, Fe3S4, is achieved from single source diethyldithiocarbamato precursor compounds, producing particles typically 50–100 nm in diameter with plate-like pseudohexagonal morphologies. Up to 12 wt.% Ni is incorporated into the greigite structure, and there is evidence that Zn is also incorporated but Co is not substituted into the lattice. The Fe L3 X-ray absorption spectra for these materials have a narrow single peak at 707.7 eV and the resulting main X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) has the same sign at 708.75 eV. All XMCD spectra also have a broad positive feature at 711 eV, a characteristic of covalent mixing. The greigite XMCD spectra contrast with the three clearly defined XMCD site specific peaks found in the ferrite spinel, magnetite. The Fe L2,3X-ray absorption spectra and XMCD spectra of the greigite reflect and reveal the high conductivity of greigite and the very strong covalency of the Fe–S bonding. The electron hopping between Fe3+ and Fe2+ on octahedral sites results in an intermediate oxidation state of the Fe in the Oh site of Fe2.5+ producing an effective formula of [Fe3+ ↑]A-site[2Fe2.5+ ↓]B-siteS42–]. The Ni L2,3 X-ray absorption spectra and XMCD reveal substitution on the Oh site with a strongly covalent character and an oxidation state <Ni1.5+ in a representative formula [Fe3+ ↑]A[[(2 – x)Fe2.5+ ↓][Nix1.5+]]BS42–.
Anomalous aortic origin of the coronary arteries is associated with exercise-induced ischaemia, leading some physicians to restrict exercise in patients with this condition. We sought to determine whether exercise restriction was associated with increasing body mass index over time. From 1998 to 2015, 440 patients ⩽30 years old were enrolled into an inception cohort. Exercise-restriction status was documented in 143 patients. Using linear mixed model repeated-measures regression, factors associated with increasing body mass index z-score over time, including exercise restriction and surgical intervention as time-varying covariates, were investigated. The 143 patients attended 558 clinic visits for which exercise-restriction status was recorded. The mean number of clinic visits per patient was 4, and the median duration of follow-up was 1.7 years (interquartile range (IQR) 0.5–4.4). The median age at first clinic visit was 10.3 years (IQR 7.1–13.9), and 71% (101/143) were males. All patients were alive at their most recent follow-up. At the first clinic visit, 54% (78/143) were exercise restricted, and restriction status changed in 34% (48/143) during follow-up. The median baseline body mass index z-score was 0.2 (IQR 0.3–0.9). In repeated-measures analysis, neither time-related exercise restriction nor its interaction with time was associated with increasing body mass index z-score. Surgical intervention and its interaction with time were associated with decreasing body mass index z-score. Although exercise restriction was not associated with increasing body mass index over time, surgical intervention was associated with decreasing body mass index z-score over time in patients with anomalous aortic origin of the coronary arteries.
Volumetric atrophy and microstructural alterations in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures of the hippocampus have been reported in people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, no study to date has jointly investigated concomitant microstructural and volumetric changes of the hippocampus in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
A total of 84 subjects (23 MCI, 17 DLB, 14 AD, and 30 healthy controls) were recruited for a multi-modal imaging (3T MRI and DTI) study that included neuropsychological evaluation. Freesurfer was used to segment the total hippocampus and delineate its subfields. The hippocampal segmentations were co-registered to the mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) maps obtained from the DTI images.
Both AD and MCI groups showed significantly smaller hippocampal volumes compared to DLB and controls, predominantly in the CA1 and subiculum subfields. Compared to controls, hippocampal MD was elevated in AD, but not in MCI. DLB was characterized by both volumetric and microstructural preservation of the hippocampus. In MCI, higher hippocampal MD was associated with greater atrophy of the hippocampus and CA1 region. Hippocampal volume was a stronger predictor of memory scores compared to MD within the MCI group.
Through a multi-modal integration, we report novel evidence that the hippocampus in DLB is characterized by both macrostructural and microstructural preservation. Contrary to recent suggestions, our findings do not support the view that DTI measurements of the hippocampus are superior to volumetric changes in characterizing group differences, particularly between MCI and controls.
We studied neuroinflammation in individuals with late-life, depression, as a
risk factor for dementia, using [11C]PK11195 positron emission
tomography (PET). Five older participants with major depression and 13
controls underwent PET and multimodal 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
with blood taken to measure C-reactive protein (CRP). We found significantly
higher CRP levels in those with late-life depression and raised
[11C]PK11195 binding compared with controls in brain regions
associated with depression, including subgenual anterior cingulate cortex,
and significant hippocampal subfield atrophy in cornu ammonis 1 and
subiculum. Our findings suggest neuroinflammation requires further
investigation in late-life depression, both as a possible aetiological
factor and a potential therapeutic target.