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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.
The coronavirus [coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)] pandemic has introduced extraordinary life changes and stress, particularly in adolescents and young adults. Initial reports suggest that depression and anxiety are elevated during COVID-19, but no prior study has explored changes at the within-person level. The current study explored changes in depression and anxiety symptoms from before the pandemic to soon after it first peaked in Spring 2020 in a sample of adolescents and young adults (N = 451) living in Long Island, New York, an early epicenter of COVID-19 in the U.S.
Depression (Children's Depression Inventory) and anxiety symptoms (Screen for Child Anxiety Related Symptoms) were assessed between December 2014 and July 2019, and, along with COVID-19 experiences, symptoms were re-assessed between March 27th and May 15th, 2020.
Across participants and independent of age, there were increased generalized anxiety and social anxiety symptoms. In females, there were also increased depression and panic/somatic symptoms. Multivariable linear regression indicated that greater COVID-19 school concerns were uniquely associated with increased depression symptoms. Greater COVID-19 home confinement concerns were uniquely associated with increased generalized anxiety symptoms, and decreased social anxiety symptoms, respectively.
Adolescents and young adults at an early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. experienced increased depression and anxiety symptoms, particularly amongst females. School and home confinement concerns related to the pandemic were independently associated with changes in symptoms. Overall, this report suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic is having multifarious adverse effects on the mental health of youth.
In a previous study, we showed that access to willow fodder decreased somatic cell counts (SCC) in the milk of local Mamber goats grazing in brushland at the end of lactation. To test whether the consumption of willow affects the cells of the immune system, Alpine crossbred dairy goats grazing in the same environment were either offered free access to freshly cut willow fodder (W, n = 24) or not (C, n = 24) for 2 weeks. The willow fodder contained 7.5 g/kg DM of salicin. The other major secondary compounds were catechin, myricitrin, hyperin and chlorogenic acid (2.2, 2.6, 1.0 and 0.75 g/kg DM, respectively). Udder health status was determined before the experiment, and each of the two groups included five (W) or six (C) goats defined as infected, as established by microbial cfu in milk, and 19 (W) or 18 (C) non-infected goats. Goats ingested, on average, 600 g of DM from willow (25% of food intake), resulting in minor changes in dietary quality compared to the controls, as established by faecal near-IR spectrometry. Throughout the 2 weeks of experiment, differences between groups in dietary CP contents were minor and affected neither by infection nor by access to willow; the dietary percentage of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) decreased in C and increased in W; dietary acid detergent fibre (ADF) increased; and the dietary tannin contents decreased for both treatments. However, milking performance and milk quality attributes in both W and C goats were similar. Initial SCC and milk neutrophil (cluster of differentiation (CD)18+ and porcine granulocyte (PG)68) cell counts were higher in infected than in non-infected goats; counts decreased significantly in W but not in C uninfected goats. The percentage of CD8+ T-cells increased in all C goats, while in the W group, a significant increase was found only for infected goats. The consumption of willow mitigated an increase in CD8+ in blood and triggered an increase in CD8+ in milk, suggesting an immune-regulatory effect independent of udder status. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a direct nutraceutical effect of fodder ingestion on the immune status of goats.
Assessment of patients’ subjective experiences is an important approach of qualitative research in mental health care. It also strengthens the patient-centred view on mentally ill people. Here we focus on the admission to a psychiatric hospital.
Subjective experiences of psychiatric admissions were recorded with a semi-structured interview in 72 fairly representative in-patients. Patients’ satisfaction with treatment was recorded with the ZUF-8 questionnaire. Additionally, 52 in-patients on nine wards were interviewed in focus groups.
From the patients’ point of view, the most important aspects of the admission were staff, ward atmosphere and fellow patients. Violence and coercion played only a minor role. In the face-to-face interviews, assessments were generally positive. The results of the patient-satisfaction-questionnaire (ZUF-8) showed a tendency to positive ratings as well. In focus groups, also negative experiences and criticism were reported.
Patient's subjective experiences of an admission to a psychiatric hospital could be well assessed. Future surveys should be conducted anonymously to minimize social desirability bias. Focus groups yield an important extension of individual interviews.
Attempts to reduce high utilisation of psychiatric inpatient care by targeting the critical time of hospital discharge have been rare. In Germany, until now no such intervention has been implemented, let alone subjected to a clinical trial.
“Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Needs-Oriented Discharge Planning and Monitoring for High Utilisers of Psychiatric Services” (NODPAM) is a multicentre RCT conducted in five psychiatric hospitals in Germany (Günzburg, Düsseldorf, Regensburg, Greifswald, and Ravensburg). Subjects asked to provide informed consent to participate have to be of adult age with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia or affective disorder, and a defined high utilisation of psychiatric care during two years prior to the current admission. Subjects are asked to provide detailed outcome data at four measurement points during a period of 18 months. Recruitment (which started in April 06) is still ongoing. Thus, baseline data of about 350 participants will be presented.
Recruitment has been quite successful and the study has been generally well accepted by participating patients and their clinicians in in- and outpatient treatment settings. Subjects showed substantial initial impairment on outcome measures (e.g. needs, psychopathology, quality of life, and level of functioning) and high utilisation of mental health care. Further results on conduct and feasibility of the trial will be presented.
The first phase of this mulicentre trial was promising. The potential of this study to strengthen the integration of mental health care provision in Germany will be discussed.
Aim of this contribution is to describe the intervention used in the study “Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Needs-Oriented Discharge Planning and Monitoring for High Utilisers of Psychiatric Services” (NODPAM). This intervention applies principles of needs-led care and focusses on the inpatient-outpatient transition. The NODPAM intervention manual includes a range of predefined standardised options based on number and type of needs.
For the intervention group, a trained intervention worker provides a coherent package of needs-oriented discharge planning and monitoring focussing on the care process. He or she emphasises continuity of the care process vis-à-vis both patient and clinician (and carers if possible) via providing two manualised intervention sessions): (a) A discharge planning session takes place just before discharge with the patient and responsible clinician at the inpatient service; (b) A monitoring session takes place three months after discharge with the patient and outpatient clinician (office-based or public outpatient mental health service-based). A written treatment plan is signed by and forwarded to all participants after each session.
Acceptance of the intervention by patients and clinicians has been high so far. Further results on duration, participant characteristics, and participants' appraisal of the NODPAM intervention will be presented.
These first results indicate that the NODPAM intervention is feasible in inpatient mental health services in Germany. Discussion will focus on its applicability in other service systems.
In alcoholism, one relevant mechanism contributing to relapse is the exposure to stimuli that are associated with alcohol intake. Such conditioned cues can elicit conditioned responses like alcohol craving and consumption. In the last decade, considerable progress has been made in identifying basic neuronal mechanisms that underlie cue-induced alcohol craving.
We explored whether functional brain activation during exposure to alcohol-associated stimuli is related to the prospective relapse risk in detoxified alcohol-dependent patients.
46 alcohol-dependent and 46 healthy volunteers participated in a fMRI study using a cue reactivity paradigm, in which visual alcohol-related and control stimuli were presented. Patients were followed for 3 months. Afterwards data was analysed regarding the subsequent relapse, resulting in 16 abstainers and 30 relapsers.
Alcohol-related versus neutral stimuli activated a frontocortical-limbic network including inferior, medial and middle frontal gyrus as well as putamen in the group of patients relative to healthy controls. Moreover, abstainers showed a stronger activation in orbitofrontal cortex as well as midbrain during the presentation of alcohol-related cues whereas relapsers revealed a stronger activation of cingulate gyrus.
This study suggests that cue-induced activation of orbitofrontal cortex and dopaminergic innervated midbrain is negatively associated with the prospective relapse risk in alcohol-dependent patients. This could indicate a more pronounced and conscious processing of alcohol cues which might serve as a warning signal and a behavioural controlling function. In contrast, prospective relapsers showed a stronger activation of cingulate gyrus, a region involved in the attribution of motivational value.
There is an emerging consensus in developmental psychopathology that irritable youth are at risk for developing internalizing problems later in life. The current study explored if irritability in youth is multifactorial and the impact of irritability dimensions on psychopathology outcomes in adulthood.
We conducted exploratory factor analysis on irritability symptom items from a semi-structured diagnostic interview administered to a community sample of adolescents (ages 14–19; 42.7% male; 89.1% white). The analysis identified two factors corresponding to items from the mood disorders v. the oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) (Leibenluft and Stoddard) sections of the interview. These factors were then entered together into regression models predicting psychopathology assessed at age 24 (N = 941) and again at age 30 (N = 816). All models controlled for concurrent psychopathology in youth.
The two irritability dimensions demonstrated different patterns of prospective relationships, with items from the ODD section primarily predicting externalizing psychopathology, items from the mood disorder sections predicting depression at age 24 but not 30, and both dimensions predicting borderline personality disorder symptoms.
These results suggest that the current standard of extracting and compositing irritability symptom items from diagnostic interviews masks distinct dimensions of irritability with different psychopathological outcomes. Additionally, these findings add nuance to the prevailing notion that irritability in youth is specifically linked to later internalizing problems. Further investigation using more sensitive and multifaceted measures of irritability are needed to parse the meaning and clinical implications of these dimensions.
Traditional historical literature has stressed a generalised crisis throughout the world in the 17th century. First proposed for Europe with its numerous dynastic, religious and state conflicts, it has now been expanded to include Asia and the Middle East as well. It was also assumed that there was a significant crisis in the Americas, a theme which until recently has dominated the traditional literature. The claim that there was such a crisis was based on a series of classic studies by Earl J. Hamilton, Chaunu and Borah, among others. But new research has challenged this hypothesis and we will examine both these new studies as well as offering our own research findings on this subject.
Non-fasting hypertriacylglycerolaemia is a risk factor for CVD and the amount of fat in a meal seems to be the main factor influencing postprandial lipaemia. Although several studies suggest that Ca can increase faecal fat excretion, it is not known whether Ca can decrease postprandial TAG. This study aimed to evaluate the influence of dietary Ca (DC) and supplemental Ca (SC) on lipaemia, glucose metabolism, C-reactive protein (CRP) and adiponectin during postprandial period in obese women challenged with a high-fat meal. In this cross-over controlled trial, sixteen obese women aged 20–50 years were randomly assigned to receive three test meals (approximately 2900 kJ; 48 % fat): high DC (547 mg DC), high SC (HSCM; 500 mg SC-calcium carbonate) and low Ca (42 mg DC). Blood samples were collected in the fasting period and at minutes 120 and 240 after meals to evaluate total cholesterol and fractions, TAG, glucose, insulin, high-sensitivity CRP and adiponectin. Serum levels of TAG and insulin increased significantly after all test meals. Only after HSCM total cholesterol did not present a significant increase and LDL-cholesterol had a significant decrease. Postprandial glucose, HDL-cholesterol, CRP and adiponectin did not present significant changes after the three test meals. The comparative analysis of the effects of the three test meals on serum lipids, glucose, insulin, CRP and adiponectin revealed no significant meal-by-time interaction. These results suggest that in obese women challenged with a high-fat meal DC and SC do not interfere with postprandial lipaemia, glucose metabolism, CRP and adiponectin.
Recent evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency is associated with CVD, impaired kidney function and proteinuria. To date, no study has evaluated these associations in renal transplant recipients (RTR) adjusting for body adiposity assessed by a ‘gold standard’ method. This study aimed to evaluate the vitamin D status and its association with body adiposity, CVD risk factors, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and proteinuria in RTR, living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (a low-latitude city (22°54'10"S)), taking into account body adiposity evaluated by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). This cross-sectional study included 195 RTR (114 men) aged 47·6 (sd 11·2) years. Nutritional evaluation included anthropometry and DXA. Risk factors for CVD were hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia and the metabolic syndrome. eGFR was evaluated using the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration equation. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration was used to define vitamin D status as follows: 10 % (n 19) had vitamin D deficiency (<16 ng/ml), 43 % (n 85) had insufficiency (16–30 ng/ml) and 47 % (n 91) had sufficiency (>30 ng/ml). Percentage of body fat (DXA) was significantly associated with vitamin D deficiency independently of age, sex and eGFR. Lower 25(OH)D was associated with higher odds of the metabolic syndrome and dyslipidaemia after adjustment for age, sex and eGFR, but not after additional adjustment for body fat. Hypertension and diabetes were not related to 25(OH)D. Lower serum 25(OH)D was associated with increasing proteinuria and decreasing eGFR even after adjustments for age, sex and percentage of body fat. This study suggests that in RTR of a low-latitude city hypovitaminosis D is common, and is associated with excessive body fat, decreased eGFR and increased proteinuria.
Most original studies and all meta-analyses conducted to date converge on the conclusion that patients with schizophrenia display rather generalized neurocognitive deficits. For the present study, we reopen this seemingly closed chapter and examine whether important influences, such as lack of motivation and negative attitudes towards cognitive assessment, result in poorer secondary neuropsychological performance.
A sample of 50 patients with an established diagnosis of schizophrenia were tested for routine neurocognitive assessment and compared to 60 nonclinical volunteers. Before and after the assessment, subjective momentary influences were examined (e.g. motivation, concerns about assessment, fear about poor outcome) for their impact on performance using a new questionnaire called the Momentary Influences, Attitudes and Motivation Impact (MIAMI) on Cognitive Performance Scale.
As expected, patients performed significantly worse than controls on all neurocognitive domains tested (large effect size, on average). However, patients also displayed more subjective momentary impairment, as well as more fears about the outcome and less motivation than controls. Mediation analyses indicated that these influences contributed to (secondary) poorer neurocognitive performance. Differences in neurocognitive scores shrank to a medium effect size, on average, when MIAMI scores were accounted for.
The data argue that performance on measures of neurocognition in schizophrenia are to a considerable extent due to secondary factors. Poor motivation, fears and momentary impairments distinguished patients from controls and these variables heavily impacted performance. Before concluding that neurocognitive deficits in psychiatric patients are present, clinicians should take these confounding influences into account. Although patients with schizophrenia achieved, on average, worse test scores than controls, a large subgroup displayed spared performance.
Despite a growing body of literature on integrated land–sea management (ILSM), very little critical assessment has been conducted in order to evaluate ILSM in practice on island systems. Here we develop indicators for assessing 10 integrated island management principles and evaluate the performance of planning and implementation in four island ILSM projects from the tropical Pacific across different governance structures. We find that where customary governance is still strongly respected and enabled through national legislation, ILSM in practice can be very effective at restricting access and use according to fluctuations in resource availability. However, decision-making under customary governance systems may be vulnerable to mismanagement. Government-led ILSM processes have the potential to design management actions that address the spatial scale of ecosystem processes and threats within the context of national policy and legislation, but may not fully capture broad stakeholder interests, and implementation may be poorly coordinated across highly dispersed island archipelagos. Private sector partnerships offer unique opportunities for resourcing island ILSM, although these are highly likely to be geared towards private sector interests that may change in the future and no longer align with community and/or national objectives. We identify consistent challenges that arise during island ILSM planning and implementation and offer recommendations for improvement.
A K-band (18-25 GHz) reflected-wave ruby maser (Moore and Clauss 1979) has been borrowed from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory for radio astronomy use on the NASA 64-m antenna of the Deep Space Network at the Tidbinbilla Tracking Station, near Canberra. The purpose of the installation is to provide additional sensitive spectral line, continuum, and VLBI capabilities in the southern hemisphere. Previous measurements at 22.3 GHz (λ = 13.5 mm) determined that the Tidbinbilla 64-m antenna has a peak aperture efficiency of ˜22%, a well-behaved beam shape and consistent pointing (Fourikis and Jauncey 1979). Before installing the maser on the antenna a cooled (circulator) switch was added to provide a beam-switching capability, and a spectral line receiver following the maser was incorporated. The system was assembled and tested at JPL in late 1980 and installed at Tidbinbilla early in 1981. We give here a brief description and present some of the first line observations made in February and March 1981. Extensive line and continuum observations are planned with the present system and a program is under way to determine the telescope pointing characteristics.
Eleven widely used crop simulation models (APSIM, CERES, CROPSYST, COUP, DAISY, EPIC, FASSET, HERMES, MONICA, STICS and WOFOST) were tested using spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) data set under varying nitrogen (N) fertilizer rates from three experimental years in the boreal climate of Jokioinen, Finland. This is the largest standardized crop model inter-comparison under different levels of N supply to date. The models were calibrated using data from 2002 and 2008, of which 2008 included six N rates ranging from 0 to 150 kg N/ha. Calibration data consisted of weather, soil, phenology, leaf area index (LAI) and yield observations. The models were then tested against new data for 2009 and their performance was assessed and compared with both the two calibration years and the test year. For the calibration period, root mean square error between measurements and simulated grain dry matter yields ranged from 170 to 870 kg/ha. During the test year 2009, most models failed to accurately reproduce the observed low yield without N fertilizer as well as the steep yield response to N applications. The multi-model predictions were closer to observations than most single-model predictions, but multi-model mean could not correct systematic errors in model simulations. Variation in soil N mineralization and LAI development due to differences in weather not captured by the models most likely was the main reason for their unsatisfactory performance. This suggests the need for model improvement in soil N mineralization as a function of soil temperature and moisture. Furthermore, specific weather event impacts such as low temperatures after emergence in 2009, tending to enhance tillering, and a high precipitation event just before harvest in 2008, causing possible yield penalties, were not captured by any of the models compared in the current study.