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As part of the Pathology, Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Study, we conducted uniform structured interviews with knowledgeable informants (72% children) of 1,493 older (age > 65) Brazilian decedents.
The interview included measures of social isolation (number of family and friends in at least monthly contact with decedent), emotional isolation (short form of UCLA Loneliness Scale), and major depression plus the informant portion of the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale to diagnose dementia and its precursor, mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Decedents had a median social network size of 8.0 (interquartile range = 9.0) and a median loneliness score of 0.0 (interquartile range = 1.0). On the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, 947 persons had no cognitive impairment, 122 had MCI, and 424 had dementia. In a logistic regression model adjusted for age, education, sex, and race, both smaller network size (odds ratio [OR] = 0.975; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.962, 0.989) and higher loneliness (OR = 1.145; 95% CI: 1.060, 1.237) were associated with higher likelihood of dementia. These associations persisted after controlling for depression (present in 10.4%) and did not vary by race. After controlling for depression, neither network size nor loneliness was related to MCI.
Social and emotional isolation are associated with higher likelihood of dementia in older black and white Brazilians.
To describe a pilot project infection prevention and control (IPC) assessment conducted in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in New York State (NYS) during a pivotal 2-week period when the region became the nation’s epicenter for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
A telephone and video assessment of IPC measures in SNFs at high risk or experiencing COVID-19 activity.
SNFs in 14 New York counties, including New York City.
A 3-component remote IPC assessment: (1) screening tool; (2) telephone IPC checklist; and (3) COVID-19 video IPC assessment (ie, “COVIDeo”).
In total, 92 SNFs completed the IPC screening tool and checklist: 52 (57%) were conducted as part COVID-19 investigations, and 40 (43%) were proactive prevention-based assessments. Among the 40 proactive assessments, 14 (35%) identified suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases. COVIDeo was performed in 26 (28%) of 92 assessments and provided observations that other tools would have missed: personal protective equipment (PPE) that was not easily accessible, redundant, or improperly donned, doffed, or stored and specific challenges implementing IPC in specialty populations. The IPC assessments took ∼1 hour each and reached an estimated 4 times as many SNFs as on-site visits in a similar time frame.
Remote IPC assessments by telephone and video were timely and feasible methods of assessing the extent to which IPC interventions had been implemented in a vulnerable setting and to disseminate real-time recommendations. Remote assessments are now being implemented across New York State and in various healthcare facility types. Similar methods have been adapted nationally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This SHEA white paper identifies knowledge gaps and challenges in healthcare epidemiology research related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with a focus on core principles of healthcare epidemiology. These gaps, revealed during the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, are described in 10 sections: epidemiology, outbreak investigation, surveillance, isolation precaution practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), environmental contamination and disinfection, drug and supply shortages, antimicrobial stewardship, healthcare personnel (HCP) occupational safety, and return to work policies. Each section highlights three critical healthcare epidemiology research questions with detailed description provided in supplementary materials. This research agenda calls for translational studies from laboratory-based basic science research to well-designed, large-scale studies and health outcomes research. Research gaps and challenges related to nursing homes and social disparities are included. Collaborations across various disciplines, expertise and across diverse geographic locations will be critical.
In recent years, a variety of efforts have been made in political science to enable, encourage, or require scholars to be more open and explicit about the bases of their empirical claims and, in turn, make those claims more readily evaluable by others. While qualitative scholars have long taken an interest in making their research open, reflexive, and systematic, the recent push for overarching transparency norms and requirements has provoked serious concern within qualitative research communities and raised fundamental questions about the meaning, value, costs, and intellectual relevance of transparency for qualitative inquiry. In this Perspectives Reflection, we crystallize the central findings of a three-year deliberative process—the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD)—involving hundreds of political scientists in a broad discussion of these issues. Following an overview of the process and the key insights that emerged, we present summaries of the QTD Working Groups’ final reports. Drawing on a series of public, online conversations that unfolded at www.qualtd.net, the reports unpack transparency’s promise, practicalities, risks, and limitations in relation to different qualitative methodologies, forms of evidence, and research contexts. Taken as a whole, these reports—the full versions of which can be found in the Supplementary Materials—offer practical guidance to scholars designing and implementing qualitative research, and to editors, reviewers, and funders seeking to develop criteria of evaluation that are appropriate—as understood by relevant research communities—to the forms of inquiry being assessed. We dedicate this Reflection to the memory of our coauthor and QTD working group leader Kendra Koivu.1
To describe epidemiologic and genomic characteristics of a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak in a large skilled-nursing facility (SNF), and the strategies that controlled transmission.
Design, setting, and participants:
This cohort study was conducted during March 22–May 4, 2020, among all staff and residents at a 780-bed SNF in San Francisco, California.
Contact tracing and symptom screening guided targeted testing of staff and residents; respiratory specimens were also collected through serial point prevalence surveys (PPSs) in units with confirmed cases. Cases were confirmed by real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction testing for SARS-CoV-2, and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) was used to characterize viral isolate lineages and relatedness. Infection prevention and control (IPC) interventions included restricting from work any staff who had close contact with a confirmed case; restricting movement between units; implementing surgical face masking facility-wide; and the use of recommended PPE (ie, isolation gown, gloves, N95 respirator and eye protection) for clinical interactions in units with confirmed cases.
Of 725 staff and residents tested through targeted testing and serial PPSs, 21 (3%) were SARS-CoV-2 positive: 16 (76%) staff and 5 (24%) residents. Fifteen cases (71%) were linked to a single unit. Targeted testing identified 17 cases (81%), and PPSs identified 4 cases (19%). Most cases (71%) were identified before IPC interventions could be implemented. WGS was performed on SARS-CoV-2 isolates from 4 staff and 4 residents: 5 were of Santa Clara County lineage and the 3 others were distinct lineages.
Early implementation of targeted testing, serial PPSs, and multimodal IPC interventions limited SARS-CoV-2 transmission within the SNF.
Many studies document cognitive decline following specific types of acute illness hospitalizations (AIH) such as surgery, critical care, or those complicated by delirium. However, cognitive decline may be a complication following all types of AIH. This systematic review will summarize longitudinal observational studies documenting cognitive changes following AIH in the majority admitted population and conduct meta-analysis (MA) to assess the quantitative effect of AIH on post-hospitalization cognitive decline (PHCD).
We followed Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Selection criteria were defined to identify studies of older age adults exposed to AIH with cognitive measures. 6566 titles were screened. 46 reports were reviewed qualitatively, of which seven contributed data to the MA. Risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale.
The qualitative review suggested increased cognitive decline following AIH, but several reports were particularly vulnerable to bias. Domain-specific outcomes following AIH included declines in memory and processing speed. Increasing age and the severity of illness were the most consistent risk factors for PHCD. PHCD was supported by MA of seven eligible studies with 41,453 participants (Cohen’s d = −0.25, 95% CI [−0.02, −0.49] I2 35%).
There is preliminary evidence that AIH exposure accelerates or triggers cognitive decline in the elderly patient. PHCD reported in specific contexts could be subsets of a larger phenomenon and caused by overlapping mechanisms. Future research must clarify the trajectory, clinical significance, and etiology of PHCD: a priority in the face of an aging population with increasing rates of both cognitive impairment and hospitalization.
Outbreaks of cyclosporiasis, a food-borne illness caused by the coccidian parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis have increased in the USA in recent years, with approximately 2300 laboratory-confirmed cases reported in 2018. Genotyping tools are needed to inform epidemiological investigations, yet genotyping Cyclospora has proven challenging due to its sexual reproductive cycle which produces complex infections characterized by high genetic heterogeneity. We used targeted amplicon deep sequencing and a recently described ensemble-based distance statistic that accommodates heterogeneous (mixed) genotypes and specimens with partial genotyping data, to genotype and cluster 648 C. cayetanensis samples submitted to CDC in 2018. The performance of the ensemble was assessed by comparing ensemble-identified genetic clusters to analogous clusters identified independently based on common food exposures. Using these epidemiologic clusters as a gold standard, the ensemble facilitated genetic clustering with 93.8% sensitivity and 99.7% specificity. Hence, we anticipate that this procedure will greatly complement epidemiologic investigations of cyclosporiasis.
To describe the pattern of transmission of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) during 2 nosocomial outbreaks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with regard to the possibility of airborne transmission.
Contact investigations with active case finding were used to assess the pattern of spread from 2 COVID-19 index patients.
A community hospital and university medical center in the United States, in February and March, 2020, early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two index patients and 421 exposed healthcare workers.
Exposed healthcare workers (HCWs) were identified by analyzing the electronic medical record (EMR) and conducting active case finding in combination with structured interviews. Healthcare coworkers (HCWs) were tested for COVID-19 by obtaining oropharyngeal/nasopharyngeal specimens, and RT-PCR testing was used to detect SARS-CoV-2.
Two separate index patients were admitted in February and March 2020, without initial suspicion for COVID-19 and without contact or droplet precautions in place; both patients underwent several aerosol-generating procedures in this context. In total, 421 HCWs were exposed in total, and the results of the case contact investigations identified 8 secondary infections in HCWs. In all 8 cases, the HCWs had close contact with the index patients without sufficient personal protective equipment. Importantly, despite multiple aerosol-generating procedures, there was no evidence of airborne transmission.
These observations suggest that, at least in a healthcare setting, most SARS-CoV-2 transmission is likely to take place during close contact with infected patients through respiratory droplets, rather than by long-distance airborne transmission.
Research participation by members of racial or ethnic minority groups continues to be less than optimum resulting in difficulties to generalization of research findings. Community-engaged research that relies on a community health worker (CHW) model has been found effective in building trust in the community, thereby motivating people to participate in health research. The Sentinel Network study aimed at testing the feasibility of utilizing the CHW model to link community members to appropriate health research studies at each of the research sites.
The study was conducted at six Clinical and Translational Science Award institutions (N = 2371) across the country; 733 (30.9%) of the participants were from the University of Florida, 525 (22.0%) were from Washington University in St. Louis, 421 (17.8%) were from the University of California, Davis, 288 (12.1%) were from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 250 (10.5%) were from Rochester, and 154 (6.5%) from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Trained CHWs from each of these sites conducted regular community outreach where they administered a Health Needs Assessment, provided medical and social referrals, and linked to eligible research studies at each of those sites. A 30-day follow-up assessment was developed to track utilization of services satisfaction with the services and research study participation.
A large majority of people, especially African Americans, expressed willingness to participate in research studies. The top two health concerns reported by participants were hypertension and diabetes.
Findings on the rate of navigation and enrollment in research from this study indicate the effectiveness of a hybrid CHW service and research model of directly engaging community members to encourage people to participate in research.
We examined the epidemiology of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) between epidemiological year (EY) 1996/1997 and EY2015/2016. Over the 20 EYs, 3707 cases were reported with annual incidence rates per 100 000 peaking at 11.6 in EY1999/2000, decreasing significantly to 1.5 in EY2015/2016. The highest disease burden was in infants and children <5, whereas adults aged ⩾65 years experienced the highest case fatality ratio (CFR) of 15.7% but over the study period the median annual CFR remained low (4.4%). Meningococcal serogroup B (menB) dominated (78%), followed by menC (17%), menW (1%) and menY (1%). The incidence of menC IMD declined significantly in all age groups after menC vaccine introduction in 2000. MenB incidence also declined over the 20 EYs with decreasing trends in all age groups under 65, including an almost 50% decrease in infants over the final four EYs. IMD incidence in the ROI has declined, partly attributable to menC vaccination success, coupled with a spontaneous decline in menB. However, recent gradual increases in non-menB IMD and the introduction of vaccines targeting menB demand continued detailed surveillance to accurately monitor trends and to assess vaccine impact.
To determine the burden of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI), the nature of antimicrobial prescribing and factors contributing to inappropriate prescribing for SSTIs in Australian aged care facilities, SSTI and antimicrobial prescribing data were collected via a standardised national survey. The proportion of residents prescribed ⩾1 antimicrobial for presumed SSTI and the proportion whose infections met McGeer et al. surveillance definitions were determined. Antimicrobial choice was compared to national prescribing guidelines and prescription duration analysed using a negative binomial mixed-effects regression model. Of 12 319 surveyed residents, 452 (3.7%) were prescribed an antimicrobial for a SSTI and 29% of these residents had confirmed infection. Topical clotrimazole was most frequently prescribed, often for unspecified indications. Where an indication was documented, antimicrobial choice was generally aligned with recommendations. Duration of prescribing (in days) was associated with use of an agent for prophylaxis (rate ratio (RR) 1.63, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08–2.52), PRN orders (RR 2.10, 95% CI 1.42–3.11) and prescription of a topical agent (RR 1.47, 95% CI 1.08–2.02), while documentation of a review or stop date was associated with reduced duration of prescribing (RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.25–0.43). Antimicrobial prescribing for SSTI is frequent in aged care facilities in Australia. Methods to enhance appropriate prescribing, including clinician documentation, are required.
Despite many interventions aiming to reduce excessive gestational weight gain (GWG), it is currently unclear the impact on infant anthropometric outcomes. The aim of this review was to evaluate offspring anthropometric outcomes in studies designed to reduce GWG. A systematic search of seven international databases, one clinical trial registry and three Chinese databases was conducted without date limits. Studies were categorised by intervention type: diet, physical activity (PA), lifestyle (diet + PA), other, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) (diet, PA, lifestyle, metformin and other). Meta-analyses were reported as weighted mean difference (WMD) for birthweight and birth length, and risk ratio (RR) for small for gestational age (SGA), large for gestational age (LGA), macrosomia and low birth weight (LBW). Collectively, interventions reduced birthweight, risk of macrosomia and LGA by 71 g (WMD: −70.67, 95% CI −101.90 to −39.43, P<0.001), 16% (RR: 0.84, 95% CI 0.73–0.98, P=0.026) and 19% (RR: 0.81, 95% CI 0.69–0.96, P=0.015), respectively. Diet interventions decreased birthweight and LGA by 99 g (WMD −98.80, 95% CI −178.85 to −18.76, P=0.016) and 65% (RR: 0.35, 95% CI 0.17–0.72, P=0.004). PA interventions reduced the risk of macrosomia by 51% (RR: 0.49, 95% CI 0.26–0.92, P=0.036). In women with GDM, diet and lifestyle interventions reduced birthweight by 211 and 296 g, respectively (WMD: −210.93, 95% CI −374.77 to −46.71, P=0.012 and WMD:−295.93, 95% CI −501.76 to −90.10, P=0.005, respectively). Interventions designed to reduce excessive GWG lead to a small reduction in infant birthweight and risk of macrosomia and LGA, without influencing the risk of adverse outcomes including LBW and SGA.
Oral anticoagulation (OAC) reduces stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) or atrial flutter (AFL). However, OAC initiation rates in patients discharged directly from the emergency department (ED) are low. We aimed to address this care gap by implementing a quality improvement intervention.
The study was performed in four Canadian urban EDs between 2015 and 2016. Patients were included if they had an electrocardiogram (ECG) documenting AF/AFL in the ED, were directly discharged from the ED, and were alive after 90 days. Baseline rates of OAC initiation were determined prior to the intervention. Between June and December 2016, we implemented our intervention in two EDs (ED-intervention), with the remaining sites acting as controls (ED-control). The intervention included a reminder statement prompting OAC initiation according to guideline recommendations, manually added to ECGs with a preliminary interpretation of AF/AFL, along with a decision-support algorithm that included a referral sheet. The primary outcome was the rate of OAC initiation within 90 days of the ED visit.
Prior to the intervention, 37.2% OAC-naïve patients with ECG-documented AF/AFL were initiated on OAC. Following implementation of the intervention, the rate of OAC initiation increased from 38.6% to 47.5% (absolute increase of 8.5%; 95% CI, 0.3% to 16.7%, p=0.04) among the ED-intervention sites, whereas the rate remained unchanged in ED-control sites (35.3% to 35.9%, p=0.9).
Implementation of a quality improvement intervention consisting of a reminder and decision-support tool increased initiation of OAC in high-risk patients. This support package can be readily implemented in other jurisdictions to improve OAC rates for AF/AFL.