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Low Serum Vitamin D Is Independently Associated with Larger Lesion Volumes after Ischemic Stroke

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 11:41am

BACKGROUND: Despite its high prevalence, known association with vascular disease and stroke incidence and fatality, little is known about the contribution of vitamin D status to a worse outcome after ischemic stroke. Therefore, we sought to assess whether low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D), a marker of vitamin D status, is predictive of the ischemic infarct volume and whether it relates to a worse outcome.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed prospective, consecutive acute ischemic stroke patients evaluated from January 2013 to January 2014 at a tertiary referral center. All patients (n = 96) had a magnetic resonance imaging-proven acute ischemic stroke. Multivariable linear and logistic regression analyses were used to test whether vitamin D represents an independent predictor of infarct volume and poor 90-day outcome (modified Rankin Scale score of > 2).

RESULTS: In univariable analyses, lacunar infarct etiology, lower admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, and higher serum 25(OH)D concentration were associated with smaller infarct volumes (P < .05). The association of 25(OH)D with ischemic infarct volume was independent of other known predictors of the infarct extent (P = .001). Multivariable analyses showed that the risk for a poor 90-day outcome doubled with each 10-ng/mL decrease in serum 25(OH)D.

CONCLUSIONS: Low serum 25(OH)D was independently associated with larger ischemic infarct volume, which may partially explain observed worse outcomes in ischemic stroke patients with poor vitamin D status. Although causality remains to be proven, our results provide the rationale to further explore vitamin D as a promising marker for cerebral ischemic vulnerability and to identify stroke patients at high risk for poor outcome.

Extending the Time Window for Endovascular and Pharmacological Reperfusion

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 11:41am

Pharmacological and device-induced reperfusion therapies have demonstrated increasingly positive outcomes regarding both reperfusion efficacy and 90-day functional outcomes after acute ischemic stroke. However, presently, only a minority of patients are eligible for these treatments. Less than 10 % of all ischemic stroke patients receive intravenous thrombolysis in most centers and it has been projected that only approximately 7-15 % of ischemic stroke patients are eligible for acute endovascular intervention. Making these effective therapies safely available to a much larger number of patients is critical for expanding the benefits of acute ischemic stroke treatment. In this article, we summarize the key results from the clinical trials, challenges, and exciting novel opportunities to increase patient eligibility for these therapies as well as for better outcomes for stroke patients.

ARTS (Aspiration-Retriever Technique for Stroke): Initial clinical experience

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 11:41am

BACKGROUND: A new generation of highly navigable large-bore aspiration catheters and retriever devices for intracranial mechanical thrombectomy has markedly improved recanalization rates, time and clinical outcomes. We report collected clinical data utilizing a new technique based on combined large lumen aspiration catheter and partially resheathed stent retriever (ARTS: Aspiration (catheter)-(stent) Retriever Technique for Stroke). This technique is applied, especially in presence of bulky/rubbery emboli, when resistance is felt while retracting the stent retriever; at that point the entire assembly is locked and removed in-toto under continuous aspiration with additional flow arrest.

METHODS: A retrospective data analysis was performed to identify patients with large cerebral artery acute ischemic stroke treated with ARTS. The study was conducted between August 2013 and February 2015 at a single high volume stroke center. Procedural and clinical data were captured for analysis.

RESULTS: Forty-two patients (median age 66 years) met inclusion criteria for this study. The ARTS was successful in achieving Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction (TICI) > /=2b revascularization in 97.6% of cases (TICI 2b = 18 patients, TICI 3 = 23 patients). Patients' median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score at admission was 18 (6-40). A 3-month follow-up modified Rankin Scale value of 0-2 was achieved in 65.7% of the successfully treated patients (average 2.4). Two patients (4.8%) developed symptomatic intraparenchymal hemorrhages. Six procedure unrelated deaths were observed.

CONCLUSIONS: We found that ARTS is a fast, safe and effective method for endovascular recanalization of large vessel occlusions presenting within the context of acute ischemic stroke.

Attenuated traumatic axonal injury and improved functional outcome after traumatic brain injury in mice lacking Sarm1

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 11:41am

Axonal degeneration is a critical, early event in many acute and chronic neurological disorders. It has been consistently observed after traumatic brain injury, but whether axon degeneration is a driver of traumatic brain injury remains unclear. Molecular pathways underlying the pathology of traumatic brain injury have not been defined, and there is no efficacious treatment for traumatic brain injury. Here we show that mice lacking the mouse Toll receptor adaptorSarm1(sterile alpha/Armadillo/Toll-Interleukin receptor homology domain protein) gene, a key mediator of Wallerian degeneration, demonstrate multiple improved traumatic brain injury-associated phenotypes after injury in a closed-head mild traumatic brain injury model.Sarm1(-/-)mice developed fewer beta-amyloid precursor protein aggregates in axons of the corpus callosum after traumatic brain injury as compared toSarm1(+/+)mice. Furthermore, mice lackingSarm1had reduced plasma concentrations of the phophorylated axonal neurofilament subunit H, indicating that axonal integrity is maintained after traumatic brain injury. Strikingly, whereas wild-type mice exibited a number of behavioural deficits after traumatic brain injury, we observed a strong, early preservation of neurological function inSarm1(-/-)animals. Finally, usingin vivoproton magnetic resonance spectroscopy we found tissue signatures consistent with substantially preserved neuronal energy metabolism inSarm1(-/-)mice compared to controls immediately following traumatic brain injury. Our results indicate that the SARM1-mediated prodegenerative pathway promotes pathogenesis in traumatic brain injury and suggest that anti-SARM1 therapeutics are a viable approach for preserving neurological function after traumatic brain injury.

Developing a Community-Based Participatory Research Approach to Understanding of the Repeat Use of Psychiatric Emergency Services

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 9:06am

Psychiatric emergency services (PES) remain a critical and under-examined component of the community mental health system. We describe how a unique community-academic partnership came together to examine repeat use of PES through the design and conduct of a qualitative study using a CBPR approach. The goals of the project were to: (1) develop a model of research which promoted the inclusion of people who use mental health services in the research process; and (2) design and conduct a study to examine the repeat use of PES through the inclusion of the perspectives and experiences of people who use these services.

Infertility and Perinatal Loss: When the Bough Breaks

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 3:03pm

Infertility and perinatal loss are common, and associated with lower quality of life, marital discord, complicated grief, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Young women, who lack social supports, have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss or a history of trauma and / or preexisting psychiatric illness are at a higher risk of experiencing psychiatric illnesses or symptoms after a perinatal loss or during infertility. It is especially important to detect, assess, and treat depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric symptoms because infertility or perinatal loss may be caused or perpetuated by such symptoms. Screening, psychoeducation, provision of resources and referrals, and an opportunity to discuss their loss and plan for future pregnancies can facilitate addressing mental health concerns that arise. Women at risk of or who are currently experiencing psychiatric symptoms should receive a comprehensive treatment plan that includes the following: (1) proactive clinical monitoring, (2) evidence-based approaches to psychotherapy, and (3) discussion of risks, benefits, and alternatives of medication treatment during preconception and pregnancy.

PRogram In Support of Moms (PRISM): Development and Beta Testing

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 3:01pm

Most women with perinatal depression do not receive depression treatment. The authors describe the development and beta testing of a new program, PRogram In Support of Moms (PRISM), to improve treatment of perinatal depression in obstetric practices. A multidisciplinary work group of seven perinatal and behavioral health professionals was convened to design, refine, and beta-test PRISM in an obstetric practice. Iterative feedback and problem solving facilitated development of PRISM components, which include provider training and a toolkit, screening procedures, implementation assistance, and access to immediate psychiatric consultation. Beta testing with 50 patients over two months demonstrated feasibility and suggested that PRISM may improve provider screening rates and self-efficacy to address depression. On the basis of lessons learned, PRISM will be enhanced to integrate proactive patient engagement and monitoring into obstetric practices. PRISM may help overcome patient-, provider-, and system-level barriers to managing perinatal depression in obstetric settings.

Improving perinatal depression care: the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project for Moms

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 3:00pm

OBJECTIVE: Perinatal depression is common and associated with poor birth, infant and child outcomes. Screening for perinatal depression alone does not improve treatment rates or patient outcomes. This paper describes the development, implementation and outcomes of a new and low-cost population-based program to help providers address perinatal depression, the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP) for Moms.

METHOD: MCPAP for Moms builds providers' capacity to address perinatal depression through (1) trainings and toolkits on depression screening, assessment and treatment; (2) telephonic access to perinatal psychiatric consultation for providers serving pregnant and postpartum women; and (3) care coordination to link women with individual psychotherapy and support groups.

RESULTS: In the first 18 months, MCPAP for Moms enrolled 87 Ob/Gyn practices, conducted 100 trainings and served 1123 women. Of telephone consultations provided, 64% were with obstetric providers/midwives and 16% were with psychiatrists. MCPAP for Moms costs $8.38 per perinatal woman per year ($0.70 per month) or $600,000 for 71,618 deliveries annually in Massachusetts.

CONCLUSION: The volume of encounters, number of women served and low cost suggest that MCPAP for Moms is a feasible, acceptable and sustainable approach that can help frontline providers effectively identify and manage perinatal depression.

What is the e-Science Portal for New England Librarians?

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 12:29pm

Promotional flyer for the e-Science Portal for New England Librarians. The e-Science portal is a resource for librarians, library students, information professionals, and interested individuals to learn about and discuss library roles in e-Science, fundamentals of domain sciences, and emerging trends in supporting networked scientific research.

Priorities of Municipal Policy Makers in Relation to Physical Activity and the Built Environment: A Latent Class Analysis

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 11:01am

OBJECTIVE: To examine policy makers' public policy priorities related to physical activity and the built environment, identify classes of policy makers based on priorities using latent class analysis, and assess factors associated with class membership.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey data from municipal officials in 94 cities and towns across 6 US states were analyzed.

PARTICIPANTS: Participants (N = 423) were elected or appointed municipal officials spanning public health, planning, transportation/public works, community and economic development, parks and recreation, and city management.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants rated the importance of 11 policy areas (public health, physical activity, obesity, economic development, livability, climate change, air quality, natural resource conservation, traffic congestion, traffic safety, and needs of vulnerable populations) in their daily job responsibilities. Latent class analysis was used to determine response patterns and identify distinct classes based on officials' priorities. Logistic regression models assessed participant characteristics associated with class membership.

RESULTS: Four classes of officials based on policy priorities emerged: (1) economic development and livability; (2) economic development and traffic concerns; (3) public health; and (4) general (all policy areas rated as highly important). Compared with class 4, officials in classes 1 and 3 were more likely to have a graduate degree, officials in class 2 were less likely to be in a public health job/department, and officials in class 3 were more likely to be in a public health job/department.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings can guide public health professionals in framing discussions with policy makers to maximize physical activity potential of public policy initiatives, particularly economic development.

Did Medicare Part D Affect National Trends in Health Outcomes or Hospitalizations? A Time-Series Analysis

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 11:00am

BACKGROUND: Medicare Part D increased economic access to medications, but its effect on population-level health outcomes and use of other medical services remains unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To examine changes in health outcomes and medical services in the Medicare population after implementation of Part D.

DESIGN: Population-level longitudinal time-series analysis with generalized linear models.

SETTING: Community.

PATIENTS: Nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries (n = 56,293 [unweighted and unique]) from 2000 to 2010.

MEASUREMENTS: Changes in self-reported health status, limitations in activities of daily living (ADLs) (ADLs and instrumental ADLs), emergency department visits and hospital admissions (prevalence, counts, and spending), and mortality. Medicare claims data were used for confirmatory analyses.

RESULTS: Five years after Part D implementation, no clinically or statistically significant reductions in the prevalence of fair or poor health status or limitations in ADLs or instrumental ADLs, relative to historical trends, were detected. Compared with trends before Part D, no changes in emergency department visits, hospital admissions or days, inpatient costs, or mortality after Part D were seen. Confirmatory analyses were consistent.

LIMITATIONS: Only total population-level outcomes were studied. Self-reported measures may lack sensitivity.

CONCLUSION: Five years after implementation, and contrary to previous reports, no evidence was found of Part D's effect on a range of population-level health indicators among Medicare enrollees. Further, there was no clear evidence of gains in medical care efficiencies.

Validation of the Waterpipe Tolerance Questionnaire Among Jordanian School-Going Adolescent Waterpipe Users

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 10:59am

INTRODUCTION: Waterpipe use among adolescents has been increasing progressively. Yet no studies were reported to assess the validity and reliability of nicotine dependence scale. The current study aims to assess the validity and reliability of an Arabic version of the modified Waterpipe Tolerance Questionnaire WTQ among school-going adolescent waterpipe users.

METHODS: In a cross-sectional study conducted in Jordan, information on waterpipe use among 333 school-going adolescents aged 11-18 years was obtained using the Arabic version of the WTQ. An exploratory factor analysis and correlation matrices were conducted to assess validity and reliability of the WTQ.

RESULTS: The WTQ had a 0.73 alpha of internal consistency indicating moderate level of reliability. The scale showed multidimensionality with items loading on two factors, namely waterpipe consumption and morning smoking.

CONCLUSION: This study report nicotine dependence level among school-going adolescents who identify themselves as waterpipe users using the WTQ.

Associations of lifetime active and passive smoking with spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and tubal ectopic pregnancy: a cross-sectional analysis of historical data from the Women's Health Initiative

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 10:58am

OBJECTIVE: To examine the associations between tobacco exposure and adverse pregnancy outcomes using quantitative measures of lifetime active smoking and secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure.

METHODS: Historical reproductive data on 80 762 women who participated in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study were examined with a cross-sectional analysis. We assessed self-reported lifetime active and passive tobacco smoke exposure, self-reported spontaneous abortions, stillbirths and ectopic pregnancies.

RESULTS: When compared with never-smoking women, participants who were ever active smokers during their reproductive years had ORs (OR) of 1.16 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.26) for 1 or more spontaneous abortions, 1.44 (95% CI 1.20 to 1.73) for 1 or more stillbirths, and 1.43 (95% CI 1.10 to 1.86) for 1 or more ectopic pregnancies. Never-smoking women participants with the highest levels of lifetime SHS exposure, including childhood > 10 years, adult home > 20 years and adult work exposure > 10 years, when compared with never-smoking women with no SHS exposure had adjusted ORs of 1.17 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.30) for spontaneous abortion, 1.55 (95% CI 1.21 to 1.97) for stillbirth, and 1.61 (95% CI 1.16 to 2.24) for ectopic pregnancy.

CONCLUSIONS: Women who were ever-smokers during their reproductive years had significantly greater estimates of risk for spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and tubal ectopic pregnancy. Never-smoking women with the highest levels of lifetime exposure to SHS had significantly increased estimates of risk for spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and tubal ectopic pregnancy.

Inflammasome activation and function in liver disease

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 10:58am

Inflammation contributes to the pathogenesis of most acute and chronic liver diseases. Inflammasomes are multiprotein complexes that can sense danger signals from damaged cells and pathogens and assemble to mediate caspase-1 activation, which proteolytically activates the cytokines IL-1beta and IL-18. In contrast to other inflammatory responses, inflammasome activation uniquely requires two signals to induce inflammation, therefore setting an increased threshold. IL-1beta, generated upon caspase-1 activation, provides positive feed-forward stimulation for inflammatory cytokines, thereby amplifying inflammation. Inflammasome activation has been studied in different human and experimental liver diseases and has been identified as a major contributor to hepatocyte damage, immune cell activation and amplification of liver inflammation. In this Review, we discuss the different types of inflammasomes, their activation and biological functions in the context of liver injury and disease progression. Specifically, we focus on the triggers of inflammasome activation in alcoholic steatohepatitis and NASH, chronic HCV infection, ischaemia-reperfusion injury and paracetamol-induced liver injury. The application and translation of these discoveries into therapies promises novel approaches in the treatment of inflammation in liver disease.

The Limits of Person-centered Care

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 10:57am

Survival Rates in Trauma Patients Following Health Care Reform in Massachusetts

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 10:56am

IMPORTANCE: Massachusetts introduced health care reform (HCR) in 2006, expecting to expand health insurance coverage and improve outcomes. Because traumatic injury is a common acute condition with important health, disability, and economic consequences, examination of the effect of HCR on patients hospitalized following injury may help inform the national HCR debate.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect of Massachusetts HCR on survival rates of injured patients.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Retrospective cohort study of 1,520,599 patients hospitalized following traumatic injury in Massachusetts or New York during the 10 years (2002-2011) surrounding Massachusetts HCR using data from the State Inpatient Databases. We assessed the effect of HCR on mortality rates using a difference-in-differences approach to control for temporal trends in mortality.

INTERVENTION: Health care reform in Massachusetts in 2006.

MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURE: Survival until hospital discharge.

RESULTS: During the 10-year study period, the rates of uninsured trauma patients in Massachusetts decreased steadily from 14.9% in 2002 to 5.0.% in 2011. In New York, the rates of uninsured trauma patients fell from 14.9% in 2002 to 10.5% in 2011. The risk-adjusted difference-in-difference assessment revealed a transient increase of 604 excess deaths (95% CI, 419-790) in Massachusetts in the 3 years following implementation of HCR.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Health care reform did not affect health insurance coverage for patients hospitalized following injury but was associated with a transient increase in adjusted mortality rates. Reducing mortality rates for acutely injured patients may require more comprehensive interventions than simply promoting health insurance coverage through legislation.

Dissemination of Evidence-Based Antipsychotic Prescribing Guidelines to Nursing Homes: A Cluster Randomized Trial

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 10:55am

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effectiveness of efforts to translate and disseminate evidence-based guidelines about atypical antipsychotic use to nursing homes (NHs).

DESIGN: Three-arm, cluster randomized trial.


PARTICIPANTS: NHs in the state of Connecticut.

MEASUREMENTS: Evidence-based guidelines for atypical antipsychotic prescribing were translated into a toolkit targeting NH stakeholders, and 42 NHs were recruited and randomized to one of three toolkit dissemination strategies: mailed toolkit delivery (minimal intensity); mailed toolkit delivery with quarterly audit and feedback reports about facility-level antipsychotic prescribing (moderate intensity); and in-person toolkit delivery with academic detailing, on-site behavioral management training, and quarterly audit and feedback reports (high intensity). Outcomes were evaluated using the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework.

RESULTS: Toolkit awareness of 30% (7/23) of leadership of low-intensity NHs, 54% (19/35) of moderate-intensity NHs, and 82% (18/22) of high-intensity NHs reflected adoption and implementation of the intervention. Highest levels of use and knowledge among direct care staff were reported in high-intensity NHs. Antipsychotic prescribing levels declined during the study period, but there were no statistically significant differences between study arms or from secular trends.

CONCLUSION: RE-AIM indicators suggest some success in disseminating the toolkit and differences in reach, adoption, and implementation according to dissemination strategy but no measurable effect on antipsychotic prescribing trends. Further dissemination to external stakeholders such as psychiatry consultants and hospitals may be needed to influence antipsychotic prescribing for NH residents.

Adherence to evidence-based secondary prevention pharmacotherapy in patients after an acute coronary syndrome: A systematic review

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 10:54am

OBJECTIVE: To synthesize current evidence on medication adherence rates and associated risk factors in patients after an acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

METHODS: A systematic review was conducted. Five electronic databases and article bibliographies were searched for publications from 1990 to 2013 which assessed adherence to secondary prevention pharmacotherapy in adults after hospital discharge for an ACS. Identified studies were screened using pre-defined criteria for eligibility. A standardized form was used for data abstraction. Methodological quality was assessed using modified criteria for quantitative studies.

RESULTS: Sixteen studies met our inclusion criteria. Post-discharge medication adherence rates at 1-year ranged between 54% and 86%. There were no consistent predictors of non-adherence across all cardiac medication classes examined.

CONCLUSIONS: Adherence to secondary prevention pharmacotherapy was suboptimal in patients after hospital discharge for an ACS. Risk factors associated with non-adherence were examined in a limited number of studies, and the associations varied between these investigations.