140 research outputs found

    Challenges of Virtual RDS for Recruitment of Sexual Minority Women for a Behavioral Health Study

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    Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) is an approach commonly used to recruit nonprobability samples of rare and hard-to-find populations. The purpose of this study was to explore the utility of phone- and web-based RDS methodology to sample sexual minority women (SMW) for participation in a telephone survey. Key features included (i) utilizing a national probability survey sample to select seeds; (ii) web-based recruitment with emailed coupons; and (iii) virtual processes for orienting, screening, and scheduling potential participants for computer-assisted telephone interviews. Rather than resulting in a large diverse sample of SMW, only a small group of randomly selected women completed the survey and agreed to recruit their peers, and very few women recruited even one participant. Only seeds from the most recent of two waves of the probability study generated new SMW recruits. Three RDS attempts to recruit SMW over several years and findings from brief qualitative interviews revealed four key challenges to successful phone- and web-based RDS with this population. First, population-based sampling precludes sampling based on participant characteristics that are often used in RDS. Second, methods that distance prospective participants from the research team may impede development of relationships, investment in the study, and motivation to participate. Third, recruitment for telephone surveys may be impeded by multiple burdens on seeds and recruits (e.g., survey length, understanding the study and RDS process). Finally, many seeds from a population-based sample may be needed, which is not generally feasible when working with a limited pool of potential seeds. This method may yield short recruitment chains, which would not meet key RDS assumptions for approximation of a probability sample. In conclusion, potential challenges to using RDS in studies with SMW, particularly those using virtual approaches, should be considered

    Pathways into services for offenders with intellectual disabilities : childhood experience, diagnostic information and offence variables

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    The patterns and pathways into intellectual disability (ID) offender services were studied through case file review for 477 participants referred in one calendar year to community generic, community forensic, and low, medium, and maximum secure services. Data were gathered on referral source, demographic information, index behavior, prior problem behaviors, diagnostic information, and abuse or deprivation. Community referrers tended to refer to community services and secure service referrers to secure services. Physical and verbal violence were the most frequent index behaviors, whereas contact sexual offenses were more prominent in maximum security. Age at first incident varied with security, with the youngest in maximum secure services. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or conduct disorder was the most frequently recorded diagnosis, and severe deprivation was the most frequent adverse developmental experience. Fire starting, theft, and road traffic offenses did not feature prominently. Generic community services accepted a number of referrals with forensic-type behavior and had higher proportions of both women and people with moderate or severe ID

    Sustaining a new model of acute stroke care : A mixed-method process evaluation of the Melbourne Mobile Stroke Unit

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    Background Internationally, Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) ambulances have changed pre-hospital acute stroke care delivery. MSU clinical and cost-effectiveness studies are emerging, but little is known about important factors for achieving sustainability of this innovative model of care. Methods Mixed-methods study from the Melbourne MSU (operational since November 2017) process evaluation. Participant purposive sampling included clinical, operational and executive/management representatives from Ambulance Victoria (AV) (emergency medical service provider), the MSU clinical team, and receiving hospitals. Sustainability was defined as ongoing MSU operations, including MSU workforce and future model considerations. Theoretically-based on-line survey with Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT), Self Determination Theory (SDT, Intrinsic Motivation), and open-text questions targeting barriers and benefits was administered (June-September 2019). Individual/group interviews were conducted, eliciting improvement suggestions and requirements for ongoing use. Descriptive and regression analyses (quantitative data) and directed content and thematic analysis (open text and interview data) were conducted. Results There were 135 surveys completed. Identifying that the MSU was beneficial to daily work (β = 0.61), not experiencing pressure/tension about working on the MSU (β = 0.17) and thinking they did well working within the team model (β = 0.17) were significantly associated with wanting to continue working within the MSU model [R2 = 0.76; F(15, 60) = 12.76, P < .001]. Experiences varied between those on the MSU team and those working with the MSU. Advantages were identified for patients (better, faster care) and clinicians (interdisciplinary learning). Disadvantages included challenges integrating into established systems, and establishing working relationships. Themes identified from 35 interviews were MSU team composition, MSU vehicle design and layout, personnel recruitment and rostering, communication improvements between organisations, telemedicine options, MSU operations and dispatch specificity. Conclusion Important factors affecting the sustainability of the MSU model of stroke care emerged. A cohesive team approach, with identifiable benefits and good communication between participating organisations is important for clinical and operational sustainability

    Does information from ClinicalTrials.gov increase transparency and reduce bias? Results from a five-report case series

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    Background We investigated whether information in ClinicalTrials.gov would impact the conclusions of five ongoing systematic reviews. Method We considered five reviews that included 495 studies total. Each review team conducted a search of ClinicalTrials.gov up to the date of the review’s last literature search, screened the records using the review’s eligibility criteria, extracted information, and assessed risk of bias and applicability. Each team then evaluated the impact of the evidence found in ClinicalTrials.gov on the conclusions in the review. Results Across the five reviews, the number of studies that had both a registry record and a publication varied widely, from none in one review to 43% of all studies identified in another. Among the studies with both a record and publication, there was also wide variability in the match between published outcomes and those listed in ClinicalTrials.gov. Of the 173 total ClinicalTrials.gov records identified across the five projects, between 11 and 43% did not have an associated publication. In the 14% of records that contained results, the new data provided in the ClinicalTrials.gov records did not change the results or conclusions of the reviews. Finally, a large number of published studies were not registered in ClinicalTrials.gov, but many of these were published before ClinicalTrials.gov’s inception date of 2000. Conclusion Improved prospective registration of trials and consistent reporting of results in ClinicalTrials.gov would help make ClinicalTrials.gov records more useful in finding unpublished information and identifying potential biases. In addition, consistent indexing in databases, such as MEDLINE, would allow for better matching of records and publications, leading to increased utility of these searches for systematic review projects

    AKT1 Loss Correlates with Episomal HPV16 in Vulval Intraepithelial Neoplasia

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    Anogenital malignancy has a significant association with high-risk mucosal alpha-human papillomaviruses (alpha-PV), particularly HPV 16 and 18 whereas extragenital SCC has been linked to the presence of cutaneous beta and gamma–HPV types. Vulval skin may be colonised by both mucosal and cutaneous (beta-, mu-, nu- and gamma-) PV types, but there are few systematic studies investigating their presence and their relative contributions to vulval malignancy. Dysregulation of AKT, a serine/threonine kinase, plays a significant role in several cancers. Mucosal HPV types can increase AKT phosphorylation and activity whereas cutaneous HPV types down-regulate AKT1 expression, probably to weaken the cornified envelope to promote viral release. We assessed the presence of mucosal and cutaneous HPV in vulval malignancy and its relationship to AKT1 expression in order to establish the corresponding HPV and AKT1 profile of normal vulval skin, vulval intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) and vulval squamous cell carcinoma (vSCC). We show that HPV16 is the principle HPV type present in VIN, there were few detectable beta types present and AKT1 loss was not associated with the presence of these cutaneous HPV. We show that HPV16 early gene expression reduced AKT1 expression in transgenic mouse epidermis. AKT1 loss in our VIN cohort correlated with presence of high copy number, episomal HPV16. Maintained AKT1 expression correlated with low copy number, an increased frequency of integration and increased HPV16E7 expression, a finding we replicated in another untyped cohort of vSCC. Since expression of E7 reflects tumour progression, these findings suggest that AKT1 loss associated with episomal HPV16 may have positive prognostic implications in vulval malignancy

    A randomized controlled trial to assess the clinical and cost effectiveness of a nurse-led Antenatal Asthma Management Service in South Australia (AAMS study)

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    Background: Pregnancy presents a unique situation for the management of asthma as it can alter the course of asthma severity and its treatment, which in turn can affect pregnancy outcomes. Despite awareness of the substantial adverse effects associated with asthma during pregnancy, little has been done to improve its management and reduce associated perinatal morbidity and mortality. The aim of this randomized controlled trial is to evaluate the clinical and cost effectiveness of an Antenatal Asthma Management Service. Methods/design: Design: Multicentre, randomized controlled trial. Inclusion criteria: Women with physician diagnosed asthma, which is not currently in remission, who are less than 20 weeks gestation with a singleton pregnancy and do not have a chronic medical condition. Trial entry and randomization: Eligible women with asthma, stratified by treatment site, disease severity and parity, will be randomized into either the ‘Standard Care Group’ or the ‘Intervention Group’. Study groups: Both groups will be followed prospectively throughout pregnancy. Women in the ‘Standard Care Group’ will receive routine obstetric care reflecting current clinical practice in Australian hospitals. Women in the ‘Intervention Group’ will receive additional care through the nurse-led Antenatal Asthma Management Service, based in the antenatal outpatient clinic. Women will receive asthma education with a full assessment of their asthma at 18, 24, 30 and 36 weeks gestation. Each antenatal visit will include a 60 min session where asthma management skills are assessed including: medication adherence and knowledge, inhaler device technique, recognition of asthma deterioration and possession of a written asthma action plan. Furthermore, subjects will receive education about asthma control and management skills including trigger avoidance and smoking cessation counseling when appropriate. Primary study outcome: Asthma exacerbations during pregnancy. Sample size: A sample size of 378 women will be sufficient to show an absolute reduction in asthma exacerbations during pregnancy of 20% (alpha 0.05 two-tailed, 90% power, 5% loss to follow-up). Discussion: The integration of an asthma education program within the antenatal clinic setting has the significant potential to improve the participation of pregnant women in the self-management of their asthma, reduce asthma exacerbations and improve perinatal health outcomes.Luke E Grzeskowiak, Gustaaf Dekker, Karen Rivers, Kate Roberts-Thomson, Anil Roy, Brian Smith, Jeffery Bowden, Robert Bryce, Michael Davies, Justin Beilby, Anne Wilson, Philippa Middleton, Richard Ruffin, Jonathan Karnon, Vicki L Clifton and for the AAMS study grou

    Gene Expression Signature in Peripheral Blood Detects Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

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    BACKGROUND: Thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is usually asymptomatic and associated with high mortality. Adverse clinical outcome of TAA is preventable by elective surgical repair; however, identifying at-risk individuals is difficult. We hypothesized that gene expression patterns in peripheral blood cells may correlate with TAA disease status. Our goal was to identify a distinct gene expression signature in peripheral blood that may identify individuals at risk for TAA. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Whole genome gene expression profiles from 94 peripheral blood samples (collected from 58 individuals with TAA and 36 controls) were analyzed. Significance Analysis of Microarray (SAM) identified potential signature genes characterizing TAA vs. normal, ascending vs. descending TAA, and sporadic vs. familial TAA. Using a training set containing 36 TAA patients and 25 controls, a 41-gene classification model was constructed for detecting TAA status and an overall accuracy of 78+/-6% was achieved. Testing this classifier on an independent validation set containing 22 TAA samples and 11 controls yielded an overall classification accuracy of 78%. These 41 classifier genes were further validated by TaqMan real-time PCR assays. Classification based on the TaqMan data replicated the microarray results and achieved 80% classification accuracy on the testing set. CONCLUSIONS: This study identified informative gene expression signatures in peripheral blood cells that can characterize TAA status and subtypes of TAA. Moreover, a 41-gene classifier based on expression signature can identify TAA patients with high accuracy. The transcriptional programs in peripheral blood leading to the identification of these markers also provide insights into the mechanism of development of aortic aneurysms and highlight potential targets for therapeutic intervention. The classifier genes identified in this study, and validated by TaqMan real-time PCR, define a set of promising potential diagnostic markers, setting the stage for a blood-based gene expression test to facilitate early detection of TAA
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