226 research outputs found

    The use of performance information case studies in local social services departments

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    New Public Management (NPM) is the commonly used label for the growing popularity of businesslike control tools in governmental organisations. NPM includes several dimensions of change, such as divisionalisation, visible and active control and a prominent role for performance measurement. Developments in Dutch local government demonstrate several of these elements of NPM. Pollitt and Bouckaert (2000) and Pollitt (2002) defined four levels of NPM change: (1) discourse; (2) decisions; (3) practices and (4) results. This paper focuses on performance measurement. The politicians and managers at the top of the investigated municipalities took the decision to adopt instruments that generate performance information. This paper seeks to explain the extent to which the information resulting from these instruments is actually being used in the management practices at work floor level. It investigates two categories of explanations for information use: characteristics of the available information (such as its contents, amount and quality) and characteristics of the organization and its routines. The paper thus analyses how decisions taken by politicians and top managers to adopt NPM relate practices at work floor level.

    Disparities in kidney transplantation accessibility among immigrant populations in Europe:A systematic review and meta-analysis

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    Background and objectives: Disparities in access to healthcare for patients with an immigration background are well-known. The aim of this study was to determine whether disparities among immigrant populations translate into a relative difference in the number of kidney transplants (KT) performed in documented immigrant patients (first and second generation) relative to native-born patients in Europe. Methods: A literature search was performed in PubMed from inception to 11-10-2022. Studies were eligible if: (1) written in English, (2) included immigrant and native-born KT patients, (3) performed in countries registered as Council of Europe members, (4) focused on documented first- and second-generation immigrant populations [1]. Systematic reviews, literature reviews, and case reports or articles about emigration, non-KT, and undocumented immigrants were excluded. The outcome measurement was a relative percentage of KTs to the total population per 100.000 residents. By dividing the immigrant percentages by the native-born resident percentages, the odds ratio (OR) was calculated in a meta-analysis. The risk of bias was assessed; articles with high risk of bias were excluded in a second meta-analysis. Results: Out of 109 articles, 5 were included (n = 24,614). One Italian study (n = 24,174) had a ratio below 1, being 0.910 (95%CI 0.877ÔÇô0.945). The other four articles (n = 196, n = 283, n = 77, n = 119) had ratios above 1: 1.36 (95%CI 0.980ÔÇô1.87), 2.04 (95%CI 1.56ÔÇô2.68), 2.23 (95%CI 1.53ÔÇô3.25) and 2.64 (95%CI 1.68ÔÇô4.15). After performing a meta-analysis, the OR did not show a significant difference: 1.68 (95%CI 1.03ÔÇô2.75). After bias correction, this remained unchanged: 1.78 (95%CI 0.961ÔÇô3.31). Conclusions: In our meta-analysis we did not find a significant difference in the relative number of KTs performed in immigrant versus native-born populations in Europe. However, a lesser likelihood for immigrants to receive a pre-emptive kidney transplantation was found. Large heterogeneity between studies (e.g. different sample size, patient origins, study duration, adult vs children patients) was a shortcoming to our analysis. Nevertheless, our article is the first review in this understudied topic. As important questions (e.g. on ethnicity, living donor rate) remain, future studies are needed to address them.</p

    Probabilistic Model-Based Safety Analysis

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    Model-based safety analysis approaches aim at finding critical failure combinations by analysis of models of the whole system (i.e. software, hardware, failure modes and environment). The advantage of these methods compared to traditional approaches is that the analysis of the whole system gives more precise results. Only few model-based approaches have been applied to answer quantitative questions in safety analysis, often limited to analysis of specific failure propagation models, limited types of failure modes or without system dynamics and behavior, as direct quantitative analysis is uses large amounts of computing resources. New achievements in the domain of (probabilistic) model-checking now allow for overcoming this problem. This paper shows how functional models based on synchronous parallel semantics, which can be used for system design, implementation and qualitative safety analysis, can be directly re-used for (model-based) quantitative safety analysis. Accurate modeling of different types of probabilistic failure occurrence is shown as well as accurate interpretation of the results of the analysis. This allows for reliable and expressive assessment of the safety of a system in early design stages

    Assessing quality of life in psychosocial and mental health disorders in children:a comprehensive overview and appraisal of generic health related quality of life measures

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    Background: Mental health problems often arise in childhood and adolescence and can have detrimental effects on people's quality of life (QoL). Therefore, it is of great importance for clinicians, policymakers and researchers to adequately measure QoL in children. With this review, we aim to provide an overview of existing generic measures of QoL suitable for economic evaluations in children with mental health problems. Methods: First, we undertook a meta-review of QoL instruments in which we identified all relevant instruments. Next, we performed a systematic review of the psychometric properties of the identified instruments. Lastly, the results were summarized in a decision tree. Results: This review provides an overview of these 22 generic instruments available to measure QoL in children with psychosocial and or mental health problems and their psychometric properties. A systematic search into the psychometric quality of these instruments found 195 suitable papers, of which 30 assessed psychometric quality in child and adolescent mental health. Conclusions: We found that none of the instruments was perfect for use in economic evaluation of child and adolescent mental health care as all instruments had disadvantages, ranging from lack of psychometric research, no proxy version, not being suitable for young children, no age-specific value set for children under 18, to insufficient focus on relevant domains (e.g. social and emotional domains)

    COVID-19 vaccination in patients with immune thrombocytopenia

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    Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an acquired autoimmune disorder characterized by low platelet count and increased bleeding risk. COVID-19 vaccination has been described as risk factor for de novo ITP, but the effects of COVID-19 vaccination in patients with ITP are unknown. Our aims were to investigate the effects of COVID-19 vaccination in ITP patients on platelet count, bleeding complications and ITP exacerbation (any of: Ôëą50% decline in platelet count; or nadir platelet count 20% decrease from baseline; or use of rescue therapy). Platelet counts of ITP patients and healthy controls were collected immediately before, 1 and 4 weeks after first and second vaccination. Linear mixed-effects modelling was applied to analyze platelet counts over time. We included 218 ITP patients (50.9% female, mean age 55 years and median platelet count of 106x109/L) and 200 healthy controls (60.0% female, mean age 58 years and median platelet count of 256x109/L). Platelet counts decreased by 6.3% after vaccination. We observed no difference in decrease between the groups. Thirty ITP patients (13.8%, 95%CI 9.5%-19.1%) had an exacerbation and 5 (2.2%, 95%CI 0.7%-5.3%) suffered from a bleeding event. Risk factors for ITP exacerbation were platelet count <50x109/L (OR 5.3, 95%CI 2.1-13.7), ITP treatment at time of vaccination (OR 3.4, 95%CI 1.5-8.0) and age (OR 0.96 per year, 95%CI 0.94-0.99). Our study highlights safety of COVID-19 vaccination in ITP patients and importance of close monitoring platelet counts in a subgroup of ITP patients. ITP patients with exacerbation responded well on therapy

    Computed Tomography and Adrenal Venous Sampling in the Diagnosis of Unilateral Primary Aldosteronism

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    Unilateral primary aldosteronism is the most common surgically correctable form of endocrine hypertension and is usually differentiated from bilateral forms by adrenal venous sampling (AVS) or computed tomography (CT). Our objective was to compare clinical and biochemical postsurgical outcomes of patients with unilateral primary aldosteronism diagnosed by CT or AVS and identify predictors of surgical outcomes. Patient data were obtained from 18 internationally distributed centers and retrospectively analyzed for clinical and biochemical outcomes of adrenalectomy of patients with surgical management based on CT (n=235 patients, diagnosed from 1994-2016) or AVS (526 patients, diagnosed from 1994-2015) using the standardized PASO (Primary Aldosteronism Surgical Outcome) criteria. Biochemical outcomes were highly different according to surgical management approach with a smaller proportion in the CT group achieving complete biochemical success (188 of 235 [80%] patients versus 491 of 526 [93%], P<0.001) and a greater proportion with absent biochemical success (29 of 235 [12%] versus 10 of 526 [2%], P<0.001). A diagnosis by CT was associated with a decreased likelihood of complete biochemical success compared with AVS (odds ratio, 0.28; 0.16-0.50; P<0.001). Clinical outcomes were not significantly different, but the absence of a postsurgical elevated aldosterone-to-renin ratio was a strong marker of complete clinical success (odds ratio, 14.81; 1.76-124.53; P=0.013) in the CT but not in the AVS group. In conclusion, patients diagnosed by CT have a decreased likelihood of achieving complete biochemical success compared with a diagnosis by AVS

    Pathophysiological subtypes of Alzheimer's disease based on cerebrospinal fluid proteomics.

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    Alzheimer's disease is biologically heterogeneous, and detailed understanding of the processes involved in patients is critical for development of treatments. CSF contains hundreds of proteins, with concentrations reflecting ongoing (patho)physiological processes. This provides the opportunity to study many biological processes at the same time in patients. We studied whether Alzheimer's disease biological subtypes can be detected in CSF proteomics using the dual clustering technique non-negative matrix factorization. In two independent cohorts (EMIF-AD MBD and ADNI) we found that 705 (77% of 911 tested) proteins differed between Alzheimer's disease (defined as having abnormal amyloid, n = 425) and controls (defined as having normal CSF amyloid and tau and normal cognition, n = 127). Using these proteins for data-driven clustering, we identified three robust pathophysiological Alzheimer's disease subtypes within each cohort showing (i) hyperplasticity and increased BACE1 levels; (ii) innate immune activation; and (iii) blood-brain barrier dysfunction with low BACE1 levels. In both cohorts, the majority of individuals were labelled as having subtype 1 (80, 36% in EMIF-AD MBD; 117, 59% in ADNI), 71 (32%) in EMIF-AD MBD and 41 (21%) in ADNI were labelled as subtype 2, and 72 (32%) in EMIF-AD MBD and 39 (20%) individuals in ADNI were labelled as subtype 3. Genetic analyses showed that all subtypes had an excess of genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease (all P &gt; 0.01). Additional pathological comparisons that were available for a subset in ADNI suggested that subtypes showed similar severity of Alzheimer's disease pathology, and did not differ in the frequencies of co-pathologies, providing further support that found subtypes truly reflect Alzheimer's disease heterogeneity. Compared to controls, all non-demented Alzheimer's disease individuals had increased risk of showing clinical progression (all P &lt; 0.01). Compared to subtype 1, subtype 2 showed faster clinical progression after correcting for age, sex, level of education and tau levels (hazard ratio = 2.5; 95% confidence interval = 1.2, 5.1; P = 0.01), and subtype 3 at trend level (hazard ratio = 2.1; 95% confidence interval = 1.0, 4.4; P = 0.06). Together, these results demonstrate the value of CSF proteomics in studying the biological heterogeneity in Alzheimer's disease patients, and suggest that subtypes may require tailored therapy

    Cerebrospinal fluid tau levels are associated with abnormal neuronal plasticity markers in Alzheimer's disease

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    BACKGROUND: Increased total tau (t-tau) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a key characteristic of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and is considered to result from neurodegeneration. T-tau levels, however, can be increased in very early disease stages, when neurodegeneration is limited, and can be normal in advanced disease stages. This suggests that t-tau levels may be driven by other mechanisms as well. Because tau pathophysiology is emerging as treatment target for AD, we aimed to clarify molecular processes associated with CSF t-tau levels. METHODS: We performed a proteomic, genomic, and imaging study in 1380 individuals with AD, in the preclinical, prodromal, and mild dementia stage, and 380 controls from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and EMIF-AD Multimodality Biomarker Discovery study. RESULTS: We found that, relative to controls, AD individuals with increased t-tau had increased CSF concentrations of over 400 proteins enriched for neuronal plasticity processes. In contrast, AD individuals with normal t-tau had decreased levels of these plasticity proteins and showed increased concentrations of proteins indicative of blood-brain barrier and blood-CSF barrier dysfunction, relative to controls. The distinct proteomic profiles were already present in the preclinical AD stage and persisted in prodromal and dementia stages implying that they reflect disease traits rather than disease states. Dysregulated plasticity proteins were associated with SUZ12 and REST signaling, suggesting aberrant gene repression. GWAS analyses contrasting AD individuals with and without increased t-tau highlighted several genes involved in the regulation of gene expression. Targeted analyses of SNP rs9877502 in GMNC, associated with t-tau levels previously, correlated in individuals with AD with CSF concentrations of 591 plasticity associated proteins. The number of APOE-e4 alleles, however, was not associated with the concentration of plasticity related proteins. CONCLUSIONS: CSF t-tau levels in AD are associated with altered levels of proteins involved in neuronal plasticity and blood-brain and blood-CSF barrier dysfunction. Future trials may need to stratify on CSF t-tau status, as AD individuals with increased t-tau and normal t-tau are likely to respond differently to treatment, given their opposite CSF proteomic profiles

    Health outcomes of 1000 children born to mothers with inflammatory bowel disease in their first 5 years of life

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    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe the long-term health outcomes of children born to mothers with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and to assess the impact of maternal IBD medication use on these outcomes. DESIGN: We performed a multicentre retrospective study in The Netherlands. Women with IBD who gave birth between 1999 and 2018 were enrolled from 20 participating hospitals. Information regarding disease characteristics, medication use, lifestyle, pregnancy outcomes and long-term health outcomes of children was retrieved from mothers and medical charts. After consent of both parents, outcomes until 5 years were also collected from general practitioners. Our primary aim was to assess infection rate and our secondary aims were to assess adverse reactions to vaccinations, growth, autoimmune diseases and malignancies. RESULTS: We included 1000 children born to 626 mothers (381 (61%) Crohn's disease, 225 (36%) ulcerative colitis and 20 (3%) IBD unclassified). In total, 196 (20%) had intrauterine exposure to anti-tumour necrosis factor-╬▒ (anti-TNF-╬▒) (60 with concomitant thiopurine) and 240 (24%) were exposed to thiopurine monotherapy. The 564 children (56%) not exposed to anti-TNF-╬▒ and/or thiopurine served as control group. There was no association between adverse long-term health outcomes and in utero exposure to IBD treatment. We did find an increased rate of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) in case thiopurine was used during the pregnancy without affecting birth outcomes and long-term health outcomes of children. All outcomes correspond with the general age-adjusted population. CONCLUSION: In our study, we found no association between in utero exposure to anti-TNF-╬▒ and/or thiopurine and the long-term outcomes antibiotic-treated infections, severe infections needing hospital admission, adverse reactions to vaccinations, growth failure, autoimmune diseases and malignancies
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