2,307 research outputs found

    Fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone: the experience of frontline NHS workers

    Get PDF
    A group of UK trainees find themselves face-to-face with one of the most catastrophic health crises in recent times

    Longitudinal investigation of prognostic communication: Feasibility and acceptability of studying serial disease reevaluation conversations in children with high-risk cancer

    Get PDF
    BACKGROUND: Prospective investigation of medical dialogue is considered the gold standard in prognostic communication research. To the authors' knowledge, the achievability of collecting mixed methods data across an evolving illness trajectory for children with cancer is unknown. METHODS: The objective of the current study was to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of recording sequential medical discussions at disease reevaluation time points for children with high‐risk cancer. Mixed methods data (ie, surveys, interviews, checklists, and chart reviews) corresponding to each disease reevaluation conversation also were captured in real‐time for 34 patients across 24 months at an academic pediatric cancer center. RESULTS: All eligible oncology clinicians (65 of 65 clinicians; 100%) and the majority of eligible patient/parent dyads (34 of 41 dyads; 82.9%) enrolled on the study; of 200 disease reevaluation discussions, 185 discussions (92.5%) were recorded, totaling >3300 minutes of recorded medical dialogue. Longitudinal data were captured for 31 of 34 patient/parent dyads (91.2%). The vast majority of study materials were completed, including 138 of 139 nonverbal communication checklists (99.3%), all 49 oncologist surveys (100%), 40 of 49 parent surveys (81.6%), all 34 oncologist interviews (100%), and 24 of 34 parent interviews (70.6%). Only 1 parent reported participation to be a “very” distressing experience, no parents believed that their level of distress warranted speaking with a psychosocial provider, and the majority of parents (18 of 29 parents; 62.1%) described study participation as “somewhat” or “very” useful to them. CONCLUSIONS: The prospective, longitudinal investigation of prognostic communication using a mixed methods approach appears to be feasible and acceptable to clinicians, patients, and families. The study of sensitive content can be accomplished without causing undue participant burden or harm, thereby enabling further advancement of communication research

    Who knows best? A Q methodology study to explore perspectives of professional stakeholders and community participants on health in low-income communities

    Get PDF
    Abstract Background Health inequalities in the UK have proved to be stubborn, and health gaps between best and worst-off are widening. While there is growing understanding of how the main causes of poor health are perceived among different stakeholders, similar insight is lacking regarding what solutions should be prioritised. Furthermore, we do not know the relationship between perceived causes and solutions to health inequalities, whether there is agreement between professional stakeholders and people living in low-income communities or agreement within these groups. Methods Q methodology was used to identify and describe the shared perspectives (‘subjectivities’) that exist on i) why health is worse in low-income communities (‘Causes’) and ii) the ways that health could be improved in these same communities (‘Solutions’). Purposively selected individuals (n = 53) from low-income communities (n = 25) and professional stakeholder groups (n = 28) ranked ordered sets of statements – 34 ‘Causes’ and 39 ‘Solutions’ – onto quasi-normal shaped grids according to their point of view. Factor analysis was used to identify shared points of view. ‘Causes’ and ‘Solutions’ were analysed independently, before examining correlations between perspectives on causes and perspectives on solutions. Results Analysis produced three factor solutions for both the ‘Causes’ and ‘Solutions’. Broadly summarised these accounts for ‘Causes’ are: i) ‘Unfair Society’, ii) ‘Dependent, workless and lazy’, iii) ‘Intergenerational hardships’ and for ‘Solutions’: i) ‘Empower communities’, ii) ‘Paternalism’, iii) ‘Redistribution’. No professionals defined (i.e. had a significant association with one factor only) the ‘Causes’ factor ‘Dependent, workless and lazy’ and the ‘Solutions’ factor ‘Paternalism’. No community participants defined the ‘Solutions’ factor ‘Redistribution’. The direction of correlations between the two sets of factor solutions – ‘Causes’ and ‘Solutions’ – appear to be intuitive, given the accounts identified. Conclusions Despite the plurality of views there was broad agreement across accounts about issues relating to money. This is important as it points a way forward for tackling health inequalities, highlighting areas for policy and future research to focus on

    Climate change promotes parasitism in a coral symbiosis.

    Get PDF
    Coastal oceans are increasingly eutrophic, warm and acidic through the addition of anthropogenic nitrogen and carbon, respectively. Among the most sensitive taxa to these changes are scleractinian corals, which engineer the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth. Corals' sensitivity is a consequence of their evolutionary investment in symbiosis with the dinoflagellate alga, Symbiodinium. Together, the coral holobiont has dominated oligotrophic tropical marine habitats. However, warming destabilizes this association and reduces coral fitness. It has been theorized that, when reefs become warm and eutrophic, mutualistic Symbiodinium sequester more resources for their own growth, thus parasitizing their hosts of nutrition. Here, we tested the hypothesis that sub-bleaching temperature and excess nitrogen promotes symbiont parasitism by measuring respiration (costs) and the assimilation and translocation of both carbon (energy) and nitrogen (growth; both benefits) within Orbicella faveolata hosting one of two Symbiodinium phylotypes using a dual stable isotope tracer incubation at ambient (26 °C) and sub-bleaching (31 °C) temperatures under elevated nitrate. Warming to 31 °C reduced holobiont net primary productivity (NPP) by 60% due to increased respiration which decreased host %carbon by 15% with no apparent cost to the symbiont. Concurrently, Symbiodinium carbon and nitrogen assimilation increased by 14 and 32%, respectively while increasing their mitotic index by 15%, whereas hosts did not gain a proportional increase in translocated photosynthates. We conclude that the disparity in benefits and costs to both partners is evidence of symbiont parasitism in the coral symbiosis and has major implications for the resilience of coral reefs under threat of global change

    A cluster randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Intermediate Care Clinics for Diabetes (ICCD) : study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

    Get PDF
    Background World-wide healthcare systems are faced with an epidemic of type 2 diabetes. In the United Kingdom, clinical care is primarily provided by general practitioners (GPs) rather than hospital specialists. Intermediate care clinics for diabetes (ICCD) potentially provide a model for supporting GPs in their care of people with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes and in their management of cardiovascular risk factors. This study aims to (1) compare patients with type 2 diabetes registered with practices that have access to an ICCD service with those that have access only to usual hospital care; (2) assess the cost-effectiveness of the intervention; and (3) explore the views and experiences of patients, health professionals and other stakeholders. Methods/Design This two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial (with integral economic evaluation and qualitative study) is set in general practices in three UK Primary Care Trusts. Practices are randomized to one of two groups with patients referred to either an ICCD (intervention) or to hospital care (control). Intervention group: GP practices in the intervention arm have the opportunity to refer patients to an ICCD - a multidisciplinary team led by a specialist nurse and a diabetologist. Patients are reviewed and managed in the ICCD for a short period with a goal of improving diabetes and cardiovascular risk factor control and are then referred back to practice. or Control group: Standard GP care, with referral to secondary care as required, but no access to ICCD. Participants are adults aged 18 years or older who have type 2 diabetes that is difficult for their GPs to control. The primary outcome is the proportion of participants reaching three risk factor targets: HbA1c (≤7.0%); blood pressure (<140/80); and cholesterol (<4 mmol/l), at the end of the 18-month intervention period. The main secondary outcomes are the proportion of participants reaching individual risk factor targets and the overall 10-year risks for coronary heart disease(CHD) and stroke assessed by the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) risk engine. Other secondary outcomes include body mass index and waist circumference, use of medication, reported smoking, emotional adjustment, patient satisfaction and views on continuity, costs and health related quality of life. We aimed to randomize 50 practices and recruit 2,555 patients

    Detecting and predicting neutralization of alemtuzumab responses in MS

    Get PDF
    Objective: To test the hypothesis that anti-drug antibodies against alemtuzumab could become relevant after repeated treatments for some individuals, possibly explaining occasional treatment resistance. Methods: Recombinant alemtuzumab single-chain variable fragment antibody with a dual tandem nanoluciferase reporter linker was made and used to detect binding anti-drug antibodies. Alemtuzumab IgG Alexa-Fluor 488 conjugate was used in a competitive-binding cell based assay to detect neutralizing anti-drug antibodies. The assays were used to retrospectively screen, blinded, banked-serum samples from people with multiple sclerosis (n=32) who had received three or more cycles of alemtuzumab. Lymphocyte depletion was measured between baseline and about 1 month post-infusion. Results: The number of individuals showing limited depletion of lymphocytes increased with the number of treatment cycles. Lack of depletion was also a poor prognostic feature for future disease activity. Anti-drug antibody responses were detected in 29/32 (90.6%) individuals. Neutralizing antibodies occurred prior to the development of limited depletion in 6/7 individuals (18.8% of the whole sample). Pre-infusion, anti-drug antibody levels predicted limited, post-infusion lymphocyte depletion. Conclusions: Although anti-drug antibodies to alemtuzumab have been portrayed as being of no clinical significance, alemtuzumab-specific antibodies appear to be clinically relevant for some individuals, although causation remains to be established. Monitoring of, lymphocyte depletion and the anti-drug response may be of practical value in patients requiring additional cycles of alemtuzumab. Anti-drug antibody detection may help to inform on re-treatment or switching to another treatment

    A mixed methods approach to evaluating community drug distributor performance in the control of neglected tropical diseases

    Get PDF
    BACKGROUND: Trusted literate, or semi-literate, community drug distributors (CDDs) are the primary implementers in integrated preventive chemotherapy (IPC) programmes for Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) control. The CDDs are responsible for safely distributing drugs and for galvanising communities to repeatedly, often over many years, receive annual treatment, create and update treatment registers, monitor for side-effects and compile treatment coverage reports. These individuals are 'volunteers' for the programmes and do not receive remuneration for their annual work commitment. METHODS: A mixed methods approach, which included pictorial diaries to prospectively record CDD use of time, structured interviews and focus group discussions, was used to triangulate data on how 58 CDDs allocated their time towards their routine family activities and to NTD Programme activities in Uganda. The opportunity costs of CDD time were valued, performance assessed by determining the relationship between time and programme coverage, and CDD motivation for participating in the programme was explored. RESULTS: Key findings showed approximately 2.5 working weeks (range 0.6-11.4 working weeks) were spent on NTD Programme activities per year. The amount of time on NTD control activities significantly increased between the one and three deliveries that were required within an IPC campaign. CDD time spent on NTD Programme activities significantly reduced time available for subsistence and income generating engagements. As CDDs took more time to complete NTD Programme activities, their treatment performance, in terms of validated coverage, significantly decreased. Motivation for the programme was reported as low and CDDs felt undervalued. CONCLUSIONS: CDDs contribute a considerable amount of opportunity cost to the overall economic cost of the NTD Programme in Uganda due to the commitment of their time. Nevertheless, programme coverage of at least 75 %, as required by the World Health Organisation, is not being achieved and vulnerable individuals may not have access to treatment as a consequence of sub-optimal performance by the CDDs due to workload and programmatic factors
    corecore