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Influenced by proposals (spanning back to the Kaiser Reich) to hinder the urban-rural divide, Hessian Social Democrats introduced the Hessenplan in 1951 to rebuild the war-torn cities, reconstruct state infrastructure, and integrate displaced persons. A key component of this plan was the establishment of rural community centres, which provided modern amenities and leisure activities, attempted to reduce the hardship of the rural lifestyle through the mechanisation of labour, as well as reinforced democratic principles – all in an attempt to hinder the rural exodus. Branded ‘Castles of Peace’, the rural community centres also represented an environment and a tool for political transformation through democratic re-education. They provided an opportunity to help balance the social, cultural, and economic inequalities between urban and rural communities, were used to prevent further individual anomie, and to instill within the rural populace the importance of becoming responsible citizens in the new democratic age.
Evidence on the impact of the pandemic on healthcare presentations for self-harm has accumulated rapidly. However, existing reviews do not include studies published beyond 2020.
To systematically review evidence on presentations to health services following self-harm during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A comprehensive search of databases (WHO COVID-19 database; Medline; medRxiv; Scopus; PsyRxiv; SocArXiv; bioRxiv; COVID-19 Open Research Dataset, PubMed) was conducted. Studies published from 1 January 2020 to 7 September 2021 were included. Study quality was assessed with a critical appraisal tool.
Fifty-one studies were included: 57% (29/51) were rated as ‘low’ quality, 31% (16/51) as ‘moderate’ and 12% (6/51) as ‘high-moderate’. Most evidence (84%, 43/51) was from high-income countries. A total of 47% (24/51) of studies reported reductions in presentation frequency, including all six rated as high-moderate quality, which reported reductions of 17–56%. Settings treating higher lethality self-harm were overrepresented among studies reporting increased demand. Two of the three higher-quality studies including study observation months from 2021 reported reductions in self-harm presentations. Evidence from 2021 suggests increased numbers of presentations among adolescents, particularly girls.
Sustained reductions in numbers of self-harm presentations were seen into the first half of 2021, although this evidence is based on a relatively small number of higher-quality studies. Evidence from low- and middle-income countries is lacking. Increased numbers of presentations among adolescents, particularly girls, into 2021 is concerning. Findings may reflect changes in thresholds for help-seeking, use of alternative sources of support and variable effects of the pandemic across groups.
Protected areas (PAs) are critical for achieving conservation, economic and development goals, but the factors that lead households to engage in prohibited resource collection in PAs are not well understood. We examine collection behaviours in community forests and the protected Chitwan National Park in Chitwan, Nepal. Our approach incorporates household and ecological data, including structured interviews, spatially explicit data on collection behaviours measured with computer tablets and a systematic field survey of invasive species. We pair our data with a framework that considers factors related to a household’s demand for resources, barriers to prohibited resource collection, barriers to legal resource collection and alternatives to resource collection. The analysis identifies key drivers of prohibited collection, including sociodemographic variables and perceptions of an invasive plant (Mikania micrantha). The social-ecological systems approach reveals that household perceptions of the presence of M. micrantha were more strongly associated with resource collection decisions than the actual ecologically measured presence of the plant. We explore the policy implications of our findings for PAs and propose that employing a social-ecological systems approach leads to conservation policy and scientific insights that are not possible to achieve with social or ecological approaches alone.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is associated with altered activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and amygdala, yet no studies have examined fronto-limbic circuitry in borderline adolescents and emerging adults. Here, we examined the contribution of fronto-limbic effective connectivity (EC) to the longitudinal stability of emotion-related impulsivity, a key feature of BPD, in symptomatic adolescents and young adults.
We compared resting-state EC in 82 adolescents and emerging adults with and without clinically significant borderline symptoms (n BPD = 40, ages 13–30). Group-specific directed networks were estimated amongst fronto-limbic nodes including PFC, ventral striatum (VS), central amygdala (CeN), and basolateral amygdala (BLA). We examined the association of directed centrality metrics with initial levels and rates of change in emotion-related impulsivity symptoms over a one-year follow-up using latent growth curve models (LGCMs).
In controls, ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and dorsal ACC had a directed influence on CeN and VS, respectively. In the BPD group, bilateral BLA had a directed influence on CeN, whereas in the healthy group CeN influenced BLA. LGCMs indicated that emotion-related impulsivity was stable across a one-year follow-up in the BPD group. Further, higher EC of R CeN to other regions in controls was associated with stronger within-person decreases in emotion-related impulsivity.
Functional inputs from BLA and vmPFC appear to play competing roles in influencing CeN activity. In borderline adolescents and young adults, BLA may predominate over CeN activity, while in controls the ability of CeN to influence BLA activity predicted more rapid reductions in emotion-related impulsivity.
Depression and insomnia commonly co-occur. Yet, little is known about the mechanisms through which insomnia influences depression. Recent research and theory highlight reward system dysfunction as a potential mediator of the relationship between insomnia and depression. This study is the first to examine the impact of insomnia on reward learning, a key component of reward system functioning, in clinical depression.
The sample consisted of 72 veterans with unipolar depression who endorsed sleep disturbance symptoms. Participants completed the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, self-report measures of insomnia, depression, and reward processing, and a previously validated signal detection task (Pizzagalli et al., 2005, Biological Psychiatry, 57(4), 319–327). Trial-by-trial response bias (RB) estimates calculated for each of the 200 task trials were examined using linear mixed-model analyses to investigate change in reward learning.
Findings demonstrated diminished rate and magnitude of reward learning in the Insomnia group relative to the Hypersomnia/Mixed Symptom group across the task. Within the Insomnia group, participants with more severe insomnia evidenced the lowest rates of reward learning, with increased RB across the task with decreasing insomnia severity.
Among individuals with depression, insomnia is associated with decreased ability to learn associations between neutral stimuli and rewarding outcomes and/or modify behavior in response to differential receipt of reward. This attenuated reward learning may contribute to clinically meaningful decreases in motivation and increased withdrawal in this comorbid group. Results extend existing theory by highlighting impairments in reward learning specifically as a potential mediator of the association between insomnia and depression.
Psychological attachment to political parties can bias people’s attitudes, beliefs, and group evaluations. Studies from psychology suggest that self-affirmation theory may ameliorate this problem in the domain of politics on a variety of outcome measures. We report a series of studies conducted by separate research teams that examine whether a self-affirmation intervention affects a variety of outcomes, including political or policy attitudes, factual beliefs, conspiracy beliefs, affective polarization, and evaluations of news sources. The different research teams use a variety of self-affirmation interventions, research designs, and outcomes. Despite these differences, the research teams consistently find that self-affirmation treatments have little effect. These findings suggest considerable caution is warranted for researchers who wish to apply the self-affirmation framework to studies that investigate political attitudes and beliefs. By presenting the “null results” of separate research teams, we hope to spark a discussion about whether and how the self-affirmation paradigm should be applied to political topics.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic forced American medical systems to adapt to high patient loads of respiratory disease. Its disruption of normal routines also brought opportunities for broader reform. The purpose of this article is to describe how the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center (CRDAMC), a medium-sized Army hospital, capitalized on opportunities to advance its strategic aims during the pandemic. Specifically, the hospital sequentially adopted virtual video visits, surged on preventative screenings, and made-over its image to appeal to patients seeking urgent care. These campaigns supported COVID-19 efforts and larger strategic goals simultaneously, and they will endure for years to come. Predictably, CRDAMC encountered obstacles in the course of its transformation. These obstacles and their follow-on lessons are provided to assist future medical leaders seeking quantum change in the opportunities made available by health crises.
Over the past twenty years, several taxonomies of personality and psychopathology have been developed. More recently, many studies have compared dimensional models of personality pathology to categorical diagnoses of personality disorders. Altogether, this proliferation of research suggests the value of articulating the desirable properties of a good taxonomic system. Here, the authors extend basic research in cognitive science on the limitations of representational capacity, which suggests that humans need to compress complex clinical presentations to make good judgments. With this in mind, the authors propose that information compression and information fidelity are two principles that are essential to good taxonomy. The principle of information compression is that taxonomies should prune the complexities of a detailed clinical presentation to focus on important sources of covariation. The principle of information fidelity is that a good taxonomy should maintain essential features that reasonably approximate the structure of an individual or the population. They conclude with the claim that the overarching goal of taxonomic science in classifying personality pathology is to provide clinicians and researchers with empirically based informative priors that help to bias thinking toward useful clinical distinctions.
Innovation Concept: EM Sim Cases is an innovative, open-access website that was created in 2015 to publish medical simulation resources including standardized, peer-reviewed simulation cases. Herein we describe our interim analysis. Methods: We performed a massive online needs assessment using a methodology previously described by Chan et. al. to determine how we can shape EM Sim Cases to meet the needs of learners and educators who use it. We engaged with simulation experts from the Emergency Medicine Simulation Education Research Collaborative to design a Google Forms survey using best practices in survey design. We distributed the survey to our target community of practice via Twitter, email, and a blog post published on emsimcases.com. Curriculum, Tool, or Material: We received 81 responses from simulation educators representing 8 medical specialties and 13 countries. Most survey respondents identified themselves as staff physicians (n = 44) and specialized in emergency medicine (n = 39). They had 0-21+ years of experience. 37% of respondents (n = 30) stated that material from EM Sim Cases makes up 25% or more of their simulation curriculum. Several respondents noted that using this content made them feel more confident and more current. Respondents praised EM Sim Cases for a well-organized case format, the proper level of detail, consistency between case designs, and the wide variety of cases. Suggested improvements included an opportunity to directly comment on cases and more cases in pediatric, rural, and advanced airway management situations. Suggestions were made to improve the navigability of the website. Respondents wanted to see additional blog content on debriefing strategies and self-made task/skill trainers. Conclusion: EM Sim Cases is a novel, free open-access simulation resource. Using a massive online needs assessment we were able to determine future directions including case topics, website reorganization, and educational material. We were also able to capture how impactful a resource like this can be to clinical and educational practice outside of the simulation setting.
Introduction: In 2018, Canadian postgraduate specialist Emergency Medicine (EM) programs began implementing a competency-based medical education (CBME) assessment system. To support improvement of this assessment program, we sought to evaluate its short-term educational outcomes nationally and within individual programs. Methods: Program-level data from the 2018 resident cohort were amalgamated and analyzed. The number of Entrustable Professional Activity (EPA) assessments (overall and for each EPA) and the timing of resident promotion through program stages was compared between programs and to the guidelines provided by the national EM specialty committee. Total EPA observations from each program were correlated with the number of EM and pediatric EM rotations. Results: Data from 15 of 17 (88.2%) EM programs containing 9,842 EPA observations from 68 of the 77 (88.3%) Canadian EM specialist residents in the 2018 cohort were analyzed. The average number of EPAs observed per resident in each program varied from 92.5 to 229.6 and correlated strongly with the number of blocks spent on EM and pediatric EM (r = 0.83, p < 0.001). Relative to the guidelines outlined by the specialty committee, residents were promoted later than expected and with fewer EPA observations than suggested. Conclusion: We present a new approach to the amalgamation of national and program-level assessment data. There was demonstrable variation in both EPA-based assessment numbers and promotion timelines between programs and with national guidelines. This evaluation data will inform the revision of local programs and national guidelines and serve as a starting point for further reaching outcome evaluation. This process could be replicated by other national assessment programs.
Introduction: A critical component for successful implementation of any innovation is an organization's readiness for change. Competence by Design (CBD) is the Royal College's major change initiative to reform the training of medical specialists in Canada. The purpose of this study was to measure readiness to implement CBD among the 2019 launch disciplines. Methods: An online survey was distributed to program directors of the 2019 CBD launch disciplines one month prior to implementation. Questions were developed based on the R = MC2 framework for organizational readiness. They addressed program motivation to implement CBD, general capacity for change, and innovation-specific capacity. Questions related to motivation and general capacity were scored using a 5-point scale of agreement. Innovation-specific capacity was measured by asking participants whether they had completed 33 key pre-implementation tasks (yes/no) in preparation for CBD. Bivariate correlations were conducted to examine the relationship between motivation, general capacity and innovation specific capacity. Results: Survey response rate was 42% (n = 79). A positive correlation was found between all three domains of readiness (motivation and general capacity, r = 0.73, p < 0.01; motivation and innovation specific capacity, r = 0.52, p < 0.01; general capacity and innovation specific capacity, r = 0.47, p < 0.01). Most respondents agreed that successful launch of CBD was a priority (74%). Fewer felt that CBD was a move in the right direction (58%) and that implementation was a manageable change (53%). While most programs indicated that their leadership (94%) and faculty and residents (87%) were supportive of change, 42% did not have experience implementing large-scale innovation and 43% indicated concerns about adequate support staff. Programs had completed an average of 72% of pre-implementation tasks. No difference was found between disciplines (p = 0.11). Activities related to curriculum mapping, competence committees and programmatic assessment had been completed by >90% of programs, while <50% of programs had engaged off-service rotations. Conclusion: Measuring readiness for change aids in the identification of factors that promote or inhibit successful implementation. These results highlight several areas where programs struggle in preparation for CBD launch. Emergency medicine training programs can use this data to target additional implementation support and ongoing faculty development initiatives.
Innovation Concept: A major barrier to the development of a national simulation case repository and multi-site simulation research is the lack of a standardized national case template. This issue was recently identified as a priority research topic for Canadian simulation based education (SBE) research in emergency medicine (EM). We partnered with the EM Simulation Education Researchers Collaborative (EM-SERC) to develop a national simulation template. Methods: The EM Sim Cases template was chosen as a starting point for the consensus process. We generated feedback on the template using a three-phase modified nominal group technique. Members of the EM-SERC mailing list were consulted, which included 20 EM simulation educators from every Canadian medical school except Northern Ontario School of Medicine and Memorial University. When comments conflicted, the sentiment with more comments in favour was incorporated. Curriculum, Tool or Material: In phase one we sought free-text feedback on the EM Sim Cases template via email. We received 65 comments from 11 respondents. An inductive thematic analysis identified four major themes (formatting, objectives, debriefing, and assessment tools). In phase two we sought free-text feedback on the revised template via email. A second thematic analysis on 40 comments from 12 respondents identified three broad themes (formatting, objectives, and debriefing). In phase three we sought feedback on the penultimate template via focus groups with simulation educators and technologists at multiple Canadian universities. This phase generated 98 specific comments which were grouped according to the section of the template being discussed and used to develop the final template (posted on emsimcases.com). Conclusion: We describe a national consensus-building process which resulted in a simulation case template endorsed by simulation educators from across Canada. This template has the potential to: 1. Reduce the replication of effort across sites by facilitating the sharing of simulation cases. 2. Enable national collaboration on the development of both simulation cases and curricula. 3. Facilitate multi centre simulation-based research by removing confounders related to the local adoption of an unfamiliar case template. This could improve the rigour and validity of these studies by reducing inter-site variability. 4. Increase the validity of any simulation scenarios developed for use in national high-stakes assessment.
Introduction: Competency based medical education (CBME) has triggered widespread utilization of workplace-based assessment (WBA) tools in postgraduate training programs. These WBAs predominately use rating scales with entrustment anchors, such as the Ottawa Surgical Competency Operating Room Evaluation (O-SCORE). However, little is known about the factors that influence a supervising physician's decision to assign a particular rating on scales using entrustment anchors. This study aimed to identify the factors that influence supervisors’ ratings of trainees using WBA tools with entrustment anchors at the time of assessment and to explore the experiences with and challenges of using entrustment anchors in the emergency department (ED). Methods: A convenience sample of full-time emergency medicine (EM) faculty were recruited from two sites within a single academic Canadian EM hospital system. Fifty semi-structured interviews were conducted with EM physicians within two hours of completing a WBA for an EM trainee. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and independently analyzed by two members of the research team. Themes were stratified by trainee level, rating and task. Results: Interviews involved 73% (27/37) of all EM staff and captured assessments completed on 83% (37/50) of EM trainees. The mean WBA rating of studied samples was 4.34 ± 0.77 (2 to 5), which was similar to the mean rating of all WBAs completed during the study period. Overall, six major factors were identified that influenced staff WBA ratings: amount of guidance required, perceived competence through discussion and questioning, trainee experience, clinical context, past experience working with the trainee, and perceived confidence. The majority of staff denied struggling to assign ratings. However, when they did struggle, it involved the interpretation of WBA anchors and their application to the clinical context in the ED. Conclusion: Several factors appear to be taken into account by clinical supervisors when they make decisions regarding the particular rating that they will assign a trainee on a WBA that uses entrustment anchors. Not all of these factors are specific to that particular clinical encounter. The results from this study further our understanding on the use of entrustment anchors within the ED and may facilitate faculty development regarding WBA completion as we move forward in CBME.
Altered neurocognitive function in schizophrenia could reflect both genetic and illness-specific effects.
To use functional magnetic resonance imaging to discriminate between the influences of the genetic risk for schizophrenia and environmental factors on the neural substrate of verbal fluency, a candidate schizophrenia endophenotype using a case control twin design.
We studied 23 monozygotic twin pairs: 13 pairs discordant for schizophrenia and 10 pairs of healthy volunteer twins. Groups were matched for age, gender, handedness, level of education, parental socio-economic status, and ethnicity. Behavioural performance and regional brain activation during a phonological verbal fluency task were assessed.
Relative to healthy control twins, both patients and their non-psychotic co-twins produced fewer correct responses and showed less activation in the medial temporal region and inferior frontal gyrus. Twins with schizophrenia showed greater activation than both their non-psychotic co-twins and controls in right lateral temporal cortex, reflecting reduced deactivation during word generation while their non-psychotic co-twins showed greater activation in the left temporal cortex.
Both genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia and schizophrenia were associated with impaired verbal fluency performance, reduced engagement of the medial temporal region and dorsal inferior frontal gyrus. Schizophrenia was specifically associated with an additional reduction in deactivation in the right temporal cortex.
Neurocognitive and functional neuroimaging studies point to frontal lobe abnormalities in schizophrenia. Molecular and behavioural genetic studies suggest that the frontal lobe is under significant genetic influence. We carried out structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the frontal lobe in monozygotic (MZ) twins concordant or discordant for schizophrenia and healthy MZ control twins.
The sample comprised 21 concordant pairs, 17 discordant affected and 18 discordant unaffected twins from 19 discordant pairs, and 27 control pairs. Groups were matched on sociodemographic variables. Patient groups (concordant, discordant affected) did not differ on clinical variables. Volumes of superior, middle, inferior and orbital frontal gyri were calculated using the Cavalieri principle on the basis of manual tracing of anatomic boundaries. Group differences were investigated covarying for whole-brain volume, gender and age.
Results for superior frontal gyrus showed that twins with schizophrenia (i.e. concordant twins and discordant affected twins) had reduced volume compared to twins without schizophrenia (i.e. discordant unaffected and control twins), indicating an effect of illness. For middle and orbital frontal gyrus, concordant (but not discordant affected) twins differed from non-schizophrenic twins. There were no group differences in inferior frontal gyrus volume.
These findings suggest that volume reductions in the superior frontal gyrus are associated with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (in the presence or absence of a co-twin with schizophrenia). On the other hand, volume reductions in middle and orbital frontal gyri are seen only in concordant pairs, perhaps reflecting the increased genetic vulnerability in this group.
Craving in negative emotional situations (negative craving) is commonly associated with relapse and heavy alcohol use. Elevated dynorphin levels were associated with negative emotions, while variations in the OPRK1 and PDYN genes encoding OPRK1 receptor and dynorphins were associated with alcohol dependence.
To investigate potential overlap in the genetic factors underlying, negative craving and alcohol dependence.
Examine the association of the negative craving and genetic variation in the OPRK1 and PDYN genes.
13 PDYN and 10 OPRK1 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), including those previously reported to be associated with alcohol dependence were genotyped in 196 alcohol dependent subjects. The raw scores of the negative subscale of Inventory of Drug Taking Situations (IDTS) were utilized as a quantitative measure of negative craving. Logistic regression models were used to test for associations after controlling for age and gender.
Gene-level haplotype testing demonstrated significant association of negative craving with variation in PDYN (p < 0.05) but not OPRK1 gene. The rs2281285 - rs199794 haplotype showed significant association (p = 0.0236) with negative craving, while rs2235749 - rs10485703 haplotype showed marginally significant association (p = 0.055). This replicates previous findings of association between these haplotypes and alcohol dependence. Negative craving was also associated with PDYN rs2281285 variant (p = 0.012) with estimated effect size of 6.95 (SE = 2.75). This new association finding was not significant after correction for multiple testing (p = 0.18).
Our findings support association of PDYN sequence variation with negative craving in alcohol dependent subjects. Future studies should investigate functional mechanisms of this association.