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Trends in the Magnitude of, and Patient Characteristics Associated With, Multiple Hospital Readmissions After Acute Myocardial Infarction

Sun, 05/28/2017 - 6:08pm

There are limited contemporary data available describing recent trends in the magnitude and characteristics of patients who are rehospitalized multiple times after hospital discharge for an acute myocardial infarction (AMI). We reviewed the medical records of 4,480 residents of the Worcester, Massachusetts, metropolitan area, who were discharged from 3 Central Massachusetts medical centers after an AMI in 6 biennial periods from 2001 to 2011 and were followed for all-cause and cause-specific hospital readmissions over the subsequent 6 months. The average age of our study population was 68 years, 89% were white, and 41% were women. Overall, approximately 1 of every 3 patients had a readmission to the hospital within 6 months after hospital discharge for an AMI. The proportion of patients who were readmitted to the hospital 1, 2, or 3 times for any cause within 6 months remained unchanged during the years under study (20%, 8%, and 6%, respectively); 59% of these readmissions were cardiac related. Women, elderly patients, those with multiple chronic conditions, patients with a prolonged index hospitalization, and those who developed heart failure and/or atrial fibrillation during hospitalization were at higher risk for being readmitted multiple times compared with those who were readmitted once. Six-month hospital readmission rates after hospital discharge for an AMI remained stable during the years under study. In conclusion, we identified several groups at higher risk for multiple hospital readmissions who might be targeted for intensified monitoring efforts and tailored educational and treatment approaches.

Which Homeless Veterans Benefit From a Peer Mentor and How

Sun, 05/28/2017 - 6:08pm

OBJECTIVE: Veterans Affairs (VA) is expanding peer support. Research is limited on Veterans' perspective on benefits from peer services. We describe homeless Veteran perceptions of value and examine characteristics associated with benefit. METHOD: From a sample of Veterans in a multisite randomized control trial, we studied addition of peers in VA Primary Care and homeless-oriented primary care clinics. We used qualitative methods to study the perceptions of peer services among a subsample of homeless Veterans. Quantitative methods were used to validate findings in both samples. RESULTS: Sixty-five percent of the subsample and 83% of the full sample benefited from a peer mentor. Participants who benefited had more peer visits and minutes of intervention (p<.05), were more likely to be minority, and were less likely to have posttraumatic stress disorder. CONCLUSION: The majority of Veteran participants in this study benefited from receiving peer mentor intervention. African American Veterans were more likely to benefit and Veterans with PTSD were less likely to benefit. Client endorsement of the peer's role influenced outcomes.

Factors Supporting the Employment of Young Adult Peer Providers: Perspectives of Peers and Supervisors

Sun, 05/28/2017 - 6:08pm

Peer providers are a promising practice for transition-age youth community mental health treatment engagement and support, yet little is known about the experience of being a young adult peer provider or what helps to make an individual in this role successful. Utilizing a capital theory lens, this study uses data from focus groups (two with young adult peer providers and two with their supervisors) to examine facilitators of young adult peer provider success in community mental health treatment settings. Eight factors were identified as critical to young adult peer provider on-the-job success: persistence, job confidence, resilience, job training, skilled communications with colleagues, regular and individualized supervision, support from colleagues, and family support. Findings suggest that young adult peer providers may benefit immensely from an agency level focus on fostering social organizational capital as well as more individualized efforts to increase cultural, social, and psychological capital through training and supervision.

Predictive Validity of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) Born Very Preterm

Sun, 05/28/2017 - 6:08pm

OBJECTIVE: To examine the predictive validity of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) administered at age 24 months for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosed at 10 years of age in a US cohort of 827 extremely low gestational age newborns (ELGANs) followed from birth.

STUDY DESIGN: We examined the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of the M-CHAT in predicting an ASD diagnosis at age 10 years based on gold standard diagnostic instruments. We then assessed how these predictive parameters were affected by sensorimotor and cognitive impairments, socioeconomic status (SES), and emotional/behavioral dysregulation at age 2 years.

RESULTS: Using standard criteria, the M-CHAT had a sensitivity of 52%, a specificity of 84%, a PPV of 20%, and an NPV of 96%. False-positive and false-negative rates were high among children with hearing and vision impairments. High false-positive rates also were associated with lower SES, motor and cognitive impairments, and emotional/behavioral dysregulation at age 2 years.

CONCLUSIONS: Among extremely preterm children with ASD, almost one-half were not correctly screened by the M-CHAT at age 2 years. Sensorimotor and cognitive impairments, SES, and emotional/behavioral dysregulation contributed significantly to M-CHAT misclassifications. Clinicians are advised to consider these factors when screening very preterm toddlers for ASD.

Use of Indwelling Urinary Catheters in Nursing Homes: Implications for Quality Improvement Efforts

Sun, 05/28/2017 - 6:08pm

OBJECTIVES: To describe the epidemiology of indwelling urinary catheter use in nursing homes (NHs). DESIGN: Observational cohort study. SETTING: A purposeful sampling strategy was used to identify a diverse sample of 28 Connecticut NHs, defined in terms of ownership, quality ratings, and bed size.

PARTICIPANTS: Long-stay (>100 days) residents of study NHs with an indwelling urinary catheter present at any time over a 1-year period.

MEASUREMENTS: Duration of catheter use was determined, and indications for catheter placement were documented. Indications considered appropriate included urinary retention or outlet obstruction, pressure ulcer (Stage 3 or 4 with risk of contamination by urine), hospice care, and need for accurate measurement of input and output. During quarterly follow-up assessments, whether the catheter was still in place or had been removed for any reason other than routine maintenance was determined.

RESULTS: The overall rate of any urinary catheter use per 100 resident-beds over a 1-year period was 4.8 (range 1.0-9.9, median 5.1). Of the 228 residents meeting eligibility criteria, a documented indication for the catheter was present in the NH record for 195 (86%). Of those with a documented indication, 99% (n = 193) had one or more indications deemed appropriate, including urinary retention (83%), pressure ulcer (21%), hospice care (10%), and need for accurate measurement of input and output (6%). The urinary catheter was removed at some point during the period of observation in 49% (n = 111) of participants; those with a shorter duration of catheter use before study enrollment were more likely to have the catheter removed during the follow-up period. Of the 111 residents who had the catheter removed, 58 (52.3%) had it reinserted at some point during follow-up.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that indwelling urinary catheter use in long-stay NH residents is uncommon and generally appropriate and that efforts to improve catheter care and outcomes should extend beyond a singular focus on reducing use.

The DNA-sensing AIM2 inflammasome controls radiation-induced cell death and tissue injury

Sun, 05/28/2017 - 6:08pm

Acute exposure to ionizing radiation induces massive cell death and severe damage to tissues containing actively proliferating cells, including bone marrow and the gastrointestinal tract. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying this pathology remain controversial. Here, we show that mice deficient in the double-stranded DNA sensor AIM2 are protected from both subtotal body irradiation-induced gastrointestinal syndrome and total body irradiation-induced hematopoietic failure. AIM2 mediates the caspase-1-dependent death of intestinal epithelial cells and bone marrow cells in response to double-strand DNA breaks caused by ionizing radiation and chemotherapeutic agents. Mechanistically, we found that AIM2 senses radiation-induced DNA damage in the nucleus to mediate inflammasome activation and cell death. Our results suggest that AIM2 may be a new therapeutic target for ionizing radiation exposure.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Contraceptive Use in Young Women

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 11:50am

Background: Young women have the highest rates of unintended pregnancies among reproductive­ aged women. Black and Latina women are at highest risk. Few studies have examined reasons for these differences. In this study, we examined disparities in contraceptive use and contraceptive counseling by race and ethnicity among young women.

Methods: Using the 2011-2013 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), a cross-sectional, nationally representative database, our analysis included women aged 15-24 years who had sexual intercourse within the past year, and were not pregnant or seeking pregnancy. The primary outcomes were contraceptive use and receipt of contraceptive services within the past 12 months.

Results: Young women who identify as Hispanic (H) or Non-Hispanic Black (NHB) are less likely to report current contraceptive use than their non-Hispanic White (NHW) or Non-Hispanic Other (NHO) counterparts. This finding remains statistically significant among NHB women after controlling for confounders (H: adjusted OR=0.57±0.17, 95% CI [0.32, 1.02]; NHB: adjusted OR=0.51±0.13, 95% CI [0.31-0.82;] NHO: OR=1.91±0.67, 95% CI [0.96, 3.81]). There were no differences in birth control counseling received by race/ethnicity. However, NHW and NHO were more likely to have been issued contraception within the last 12 months (H: 49.6%, NHB: 49.0%, NHW: 60.1%, NHO: 64.8; p=0.047).

Conclusions/Implications: Young Black and Latina women are less likely to use contraception than other racial and ethnic groups; this difference persists among young black women after controlling for sociodemographic differences. Future studies should explore reasons for the decreased contraceptive usage rate among young black women.

Changes in Physician Decision Making after CT: A Prospective Multicenter Study in Primary Care Settings

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 11:50am

Purpose: To determine the effect of computed tomography (CT) results on physician decision making in three common clinical scenarios in primary care.

Materials and Methods: This research was approved by the institutional review board (IRB) and was HIPAA compliant. All physicians consented to participate with an opt-in or opt-out mechanism; patient consent was waived with IRB approval. In this prospective multicenter observational study, outpatients referred by primary care providers (PCPs) for CT evaluation of abdominal pain, hematuria, or weight loss were identified. Prior to CT, PCPs were surveyed to elicit their leading diagnosis, confidence in that diagnosis (confidence range, 0%-100%), a rule-out diagnosis, and a management plan if CT were not available. Surveys were repeated after CT. Study measures were the proportion of patients in whom leading diagnoses and management changed (PCP management vs specialist referral vs emergency department transfer), median changes in diagnostic confidence, and the proportion of patients in whom CT addressed rule-out diagnoses. Regression analyses were used to identify associations between study measures and site and participant characteristics. Specifically, logistic regression analysis was used for binary study measures (change in leading diagnosis, change in management), and linear regression analysis was used for the continuous study measure (change in diagnostic confidence). Accrual began on September 5, 2012, and ended on June 28, 2014.

Results: In total, 91 PCPs completed pre- and post-CT surveys in 373 patients. In patients with abdominal pain, hematuria, or weight loss, leading diagnoses changed after CT in 53% (131 of 246), 49% (36 of 73), and 57% (27 of 47) of patients, respectively. Management changed in 35% (86 of 248), 27% (20 of 74), and 54% (26 of 48) of patients, respectively. Median absolute changes in diagnostic confidence were substantial and significant (+20%, +20%, and +19%, respectively; P≤ .001 for all); median confidence after CT was high (90%, 88%, and 80%, respectively). PCPs reported CT was helpful in confirming or excluding rule-out diagnoses in 98% (184 of 187), 97% (59 of 61), and 97% (33 of 34) of patients, respectively. Significant associations between primary measures and site and participant characteristics were not identified.

Conclusion: Changes in PCP leading diagnoses and management after CT were common, and diagnostic confidence increased substantially.

Role of CT in the Diagnosis of Nonspecific Abdominal Pain: A Multicenter Analysis

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 11:50am

OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study was to determine whether specific patient and physician factors-known before CT-are associated with a diagnosis of nonspecific abdominal pain (NSAP) after CT in the emergency department (ED).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed data originally collected in a prospective multicenter study. In the parent study, we identified ED patients referred to CT for evaluation of abdominal pain. We surveyed their physicians before and after CT to identify changes in leading diagnoses, diagnostic confidence, and admission decisions. In the current study, we conducted a multiple regression analysis to identify whether the following were associated with a post-CT diagnosis of NSAP: patient age; patient sex; physicians' years of experience; physicians' pre-CT diagnostic confidence; and physicians' pre-CT admission decision if CT had not been available. We analyzed patients with and those without a pre-CT diagnosis of NSAP separately. For the sensitivity analysis, we excluded patients with different physicians before and after CT.

RESULTS: In total, 544 patients were included: 10% (52/544) with a pre-CT diagnosis of NSAP and 90% (492/544) with a pre-CT diagnosis other than NSAP. The leading diagnoses changed after CT in a large proportion of patients with a pre-CT diagnosis of NSAP (38%, 20/52). In regression analysis, we found that physicians' pre-CT diagnostic confidence was inversely associated with a post-CT diagnosis of NSAP in patients with a pre-CT diagnosis other than NSAP (p = 0.0001). No other associations were significant in both primary and sensitivity analyses.

CONCLUSION: With the exception of physicians' pre-CT diagnostic confidence, the factors evaluated were not associated with a post-CT diagnosis of NSAP.

An Old Idea Revisited: Reflections on the Role of Aesthetic Surgery in Behavioral and Social Change

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 11:49am

Although the notion that an individual’s morality can be changed from bad to good solely with a procedure that improves physical appearance is controversial, the relationship between appearance and behavior is complex and pertinent to an individual’s psychology and quality of life. Where plastic surgery comes into play, as either treatment or adjuvant therapy, remains to be determined.

Antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in emergency department observation unit patients

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 11:49am

Clostridium difficile diarrhoea is an urgent threat to patients, but little is known about the role of antibiotic administration that starts in emergency department observation units (EDOUs). We studied risk factors for antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD) and C. difficile infection (CDI) in EDOU patients. This prospective cohort study enrolled adult patients discharged after EDOU antibiotic treatment between January 2013 and 2014. We obtained medical histories, EDOU treatment and occurrence of AAD and CDI over 28 days after discharge. We enrolled and followed 275 patients treated with antibiotics in the EDOU. We found that 52 (18.6%) developed AAD and four (1.5%) had CDI. Patients treated with vancomycin [relative risk (RR) 0.52, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.3-0.9] were less likely to develop AAD. History of developing diarrhoea with antibiotics (RR 3.11, 95% CI 1.92-5.03) and currently failing antibiotics (RR 1.90, 95% CI 1.14-3.16) were also predictors of AAD. Patients with CDI were likely to be treated with clindamycin. In conclusion, AAD occurred in almost 20% of EDOU patients with risk factors including a previous history of diarrhoea with antibiotics and prior antibiotic therapy, while the risk of AAD was lower in patients receiving treatment regimens utilizing intravenous vancomycin.

External Volume Expansion in Irradiated Tissue: Effects on the Recipient Site

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 11:49am

BACKGROUND: External volume expansion prepares recipient sites to improve outcomes of fat grafting. For patients receiving radiotherapy after mastectomy, results with external volume expansion vary, and the relationship between radiotherapy and expansion remains unexplored. Thus, the authors developed a new translational model to investigate the effects in chronic skin fibrosis after radiation exposure.

METHODS: Twenty-four SKH1-E mice received 50 Gy of beta-radiation to each flank and were monitored until fibrosis developed (8 weeks). External volume expansion was then applied at -25 mmHg to one side for 6 hours for 5 days. The opposite side served as the control. Perfusion changes were assessed with hyperspectral imaging. Mice were euthanized at 5 (n = 12) and 15 days (n = 12) after the last expansion application. Tissue samples were analyzed with immunohistochemistry for CD31 and Ki67, Masson trichrome for skin thickness, and picrosirius red to analyze collagen composition.

RESULTS: All animals developed skin fibrosis 8 weeks after radiotherapy and became hypoperfused based on hyperspectral imaging. Expansion induced edema on treated sides after stimulation. Perfusion was decreased by 13 percent on the expansion side (p < 0.001) compared with the control side for 5 days after stimulation. Perfusion returned to control-side levels by day 15. Dermal vasculature increased 38 percent by day 15 (p < 0.01) in expansion versus control. No difference was found in collagen composition.

CONCLUSIONS: External volume expansion temporarily reduces perfusion, likely because of transient ischemia or edema. Together with mechanotransduction, these effects encourage a proangiogenic and proliferative environment in fibrotic tissue after radiotherapy in the authors' mouse model. Further studies are needed to assess these changes in fat graft retention.

The use of in-situ simulation to improve safety in the plastic surgery office: a feasibility study

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 11:49am

OBJECTIVE: Simulation-based interventions and education can potentially contribute to safer and more effective systems of care. We utilized in-situ simulation to highlight safety issues, regulatory requirements, and assess perceptions of safety processes by the plastic surgery office staff.

METHODS: A high-fidelity human patient simulator was brought to an office-based plastic surgery setting to enact a half-day full-scale, multidisciplinary medical emergency. Facilitated group debriefings were conducted after each scenario with special consideration of the principles of team training, communication, crisis management, and adherence to evidence-based protocols and regulatory standards. Abbreviated AHRQ Medical Office Safety Culture Survey was completed by the participants before and after the session.

RESULTS: The in-situ simulations had a high degree of acceptance and face validity according to the participants. Areas highlighted by the simulation sessions included rapid communication, delegation of tasks, location of emergency materials, scope of practice, and logistics of transport. The participant survey indicated greater awareness of patient safety issues following participation in simulation and debriefing exercises in 3 areas (P < 0.05): the need to change processes if there is a recognized patient safety issue (100% vs 75%), openness to ideas about improving office processes (100% vs 88%), and the need to discuss ways to prevent errors from recurring (88% vs 62%).

CONCLUSIONS: Issues of safety and regulatory compliance can be assessed in an office-based setting through the short-term (half-day) use of in-situ simulation with facilitated debriefing and the review of audiovisual recordings by trained facilities inspectors.

Decreased Thromboembolic Stroke but not Atherosclerosis or Vascular Remodeling in Mice with ROCK2-deficient Platelets

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 4:34pm

Aims: Rho-associated coiled-coil containing kinase (ROCK)-2 is an important mediator of the actin cytoskeleton. Because changes in the actin cytoskeleton are critical for platelet function, we hypothesized that ROCK2 in platelets will play important role in thrombosis and can be potentially a target for therapeutic intervention in thromboembolic stroke.

Methods and Results: We generated platelet-specific ROCK2-deficient mice (ROCK2 Plt-/- ) from conditional ROCK2 fl degrees x/fl degrees x and platelet factor (PF)-4-Cre transgenic mice. Platelets from ROCK2 Plt-/- mice were less responsive to thrombin stimulation in terms of pseudopodia formation, collagen adhesion, and in the formation of homotypic and heterotypic aggregates. This corresponded to prolonged bleeding time and delayed vascular occlusion following vessel injury. To determine whether these changes in platelet function could affect thrombotic disease, we utilized a clot-embolic model of ischemic stroke. When pre-formed clots from ROCK2 Plt-/- mice were injected into the middle cerebral artery of control mice, cerebral blood flow recovery occurred more rapidly, leading to decreased cerebral injury and neurological deficits, compared to pre-formed clots from control mice. Interestingly, pre-formed clots from control mice produced similar degree of cerebral injury when injected into control or ROCK2 Plt-/- mice, suggesting that platelet ROCK2 deficiency affects clot formation but not propagation. Indeed, in a non-thrombotic intra-filament MCA occlusion model of stroke, platelet ROCK2 deletion was not protective. Furthermore, ROCK2 Plt-/- mice exhibit similar atherosclerosis severity and vascular remodeling as control mice.

Conclusion: These findings indicate that platelet ROCK2 plays important role in platelet function and thrombosis, but does not contribute to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and vascular remodeling.

RUNX1 and breast cancer

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 4:34pm

News on: Runx1 stabilizes the mammary epithelial cell phenotype and prevents epithelial to mesenchymal transition, by Hong et al. Oncotarget. 2017; 8:17610-27. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.15381.

Bacterial Metabolism Affects the C. elegans Response to Cancer Chemotherapeutics

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 4:34pm

The human microbiota greatly affects physiology and disease; however, the contribution of bacteria to the response to chemotherapeutic drugs remains poorly understood. Caenorhabditis elegans and its bacterial diet provide a powerful system to study host-bacteria interactions. Here, we use this system to study how bacteria affect the C. elegans response to chemotherapeutics. We find that different bacterial species can increase the response to one drug yet decrease the effect of another. We perform genetic screens in two bacterial species using three chemotherapeutic drugs: 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), 5-fluoro-2'-deoxyuridine (FUDR), and camptothecin (CPT). We find numerous bacterial nucleotide metabolism genes that affect drug efficacy in C. elegans. Surprisingly, we find that 5-FU and FUDR act through bacterial ribonucleotide metabolism to elicit their cytotoxic effects in C. elegans rather than by thymineless death or DNA damage. Our study provides a blueprint for characterizing the role of bacteria in the host response to chemotherapeutics.

Unravelling the pleiotropic role of the MceG ATPase in Mycobacterium smegmatis

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 4:34pm

The Mce systems are complex ABC transporters that are encoded by different numbers of homologous operons in Actinobacteria. While the four Mce systems of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are all energized by a single ATPase, MceG, each system appears to import different fatty acids or sterols. To explore if this behaviour can be extended to saprophytic mycobacteria, whose more complex genomes encode more Mce systems, we have identified and characterized the MceG orthologue of Mycobacterium smegmatis. This bacterium relies on MceG to energize its six Mce systems that contribute to a variety of cellular functions including sterol uptake and cell envelope maintenance. In the absence of MceG, M. smegmatis was not able to utilize cholesterol or phytosterols as carbon sources implying that this ATPase is necessary to energize the Mce4-sterol transport system. Other phenotypic alterations observed in the DeltaMceG mutant, such as cell envelope modifications, suggest a pleiotropic functionality of the Mce systems that are particularly important for stress responses. Several DeltaMceG phenotypes were recapitulated in a strain lacking only the unique C-terminal region of MceG, suggesting an important functional or regulatory function for this domain.

The Complex Roles of Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin in Adipocytes and Beyond

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 4:34pm

Having healthy adipose tissue is essential for metabolic fitness. This is clear from the obesity epidemic, which is unveiling a myriad of comorbidities associated with excess adipose tissue including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Lipodystrophy also causes insulin resistance, emphasizing the importance of having a balanced amount of fat. In cells, the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) complexes 1 and 2 (mTORC1 and mTORC2, respectively) link nutrient and hormonal signaling with metabolism, and recent studies are shedding new light on their in vivo roles in adipocytes. In this review, we discuss how recent advances in adipose tissue and mTOR biology are converging to reveal new mechanisms that maintain healthy adipose tissue, and discuss ongoing mysteries of mTOR signaling, particularly for the less understood complex mTORC2.