Riviste scientifiche

[Correspondence] COVID-19—a very visible pandemic

The Lancet - %age fa
Johan Giesecke's1 many claims lead to two concepts. First, that lockdowns were bad, with the Swedish way being the best approach to the pandemic; and second, that everyone in the world would get COVID-19 in a thinly veiled argument that herd immunity was the only way that the virus would be controlled.

[Correspondence] COVID-19—a very visible pandemic

The Lancet - %age fa
Many predictions have been made regarding the slowing spread of COVID-19; it is not my intention to refute the epidemiological position of Johan Giesecke in his Correspondence.1 However, I will respond as a student doctor concerned about the broader implications.

[Correspondence] COVID-19—a very visible pandemic – Author's reply

The Lancet - %age fa
Let me express thanks to the many colleagues who have provided valuable feedback. I will not address each of these responses individually, but give a collective answer.

[Articles] Surgery versus cast immobilisation for adults with a bicortical fracture of the scaphoid waist (SWIFFT): a pragmatic, multicentre, open-label, randomised superiority trial

The Lancet - %age fa
Adult patients with scaphoid waist fractures displaced by 2 mm or less should have initial cast immobilisation, and any suspected non-unions should be confirmed and immediately fixed with surgery. This treatment strategy will help to avoid the risks of surgery and mostly limit the use of surgery to fixing fractures that fail to unite.

[Articles] Mortality in adults with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV by antiretroviral therapy and tuberculosis drug use: an individual patient data meta-analysis

The Lancet - %age fa
Use of ART and more effective anti-tuberculosis drugs is associated with lower odds of death among HIV-positive patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Access to these therapies should be urgently pursued.

[Clinical Picture] A wandering spleen, splenomegaly, hypersplenism, and iron deficiency anaemia

The Lancet - %age fa
A 30-year-old woman was seen in our outpatient clinic reporting a 1-month history of fatigue and breathlessness on exertion. She reported having heavy menstrual bleeding.

Disparities in United States hospitalizations for serious infections in patients with and without opioid use disorder: A nationwide observational study

PLoS Medicine - Ve, 07/08/2020 - 23:00

by June-Ho Kim, Danielle R. Fine, Lily Li, Simeon D. Kimmel, Long H. Ngo, Joji Suzuki, Christin N. Price, Matthew V. Ronan, Shoshana J. Herzig

Background

Patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) who are hospitalized for serious infections requiring prolonged intravenous antibiotics may face barriers to discharge, which could prolong hospital length of stay (LOS) and increase financial burden. We investigated differences in LOS, discharge disposition, and charges between hospitalizations for serious infections in patients with and without OUD.

Methods and findings

We utilized the 2016 National Inpatient Sample—a nationally representative database of all discharges from US acute care hospitals. The population of interest was all hospitalizations for infective endocarditis, epidural abscess, septic arthritis, or osteomyelitis. The exposure was OUD, and the primary outcome was LOS until discharge, assessed by using a competing risks analysis to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs). Adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of discharge disposition and adjusted differences in hospital charges were also reported. Of 95,470 estimated hospitalizations for serious infections (infective endocarditis, epidural abscess, septic arthritis, and osteomyelitis), the mean age was 49 years and 35% were female. 46% had Medicare (government-based insurance coverage for people age 65+ years), and 70% were non-Hispanic white. After adjustment for potential confounders, OUD was associated with a lower probability of discharge at any given LOS (aHR 0.61; 95% CI 0.59–0.63; p < 0.001). OUD was also associated with lower odds of discharge to home (aOR 0.38; 95% CI 0.33–0.43; p < 0.001) and higher odds of discharge to a post-acute care facility (aOR 1.85; 95% CI 1.57–2.17; p < 0.001) or patient-directed discharge (also referred to as “discharge against medical advice”) (aOR 3.47; 95% CI 2.80–4.29; p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in average total hospital charges, though daily hospital charges were significantly lower for patients with OUD. Limitations include the potential for unmeasured confounders and the use of billing codes to identify cohorts.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that among hospitalizations for some serious infections, those involving patients with OUD were associated with longer LOS, higher odds of discharge to post-acute care facilities or patient-directed discharge, and similar total hospital charges, despite lower daily charges. These findings highlight opportunities to improve care for patients with OUD hospitalized with serious infections, and to reduce the growing associated costs.

Relative contribution of diet and physical activity to increased adiposity among rural to urban migrants in India: A cross-sectional study

PLoS Medicine - Ve, 07/08/2020 - 23:00

by Sanjay Kinra, Poppy Alice Carson Mallinson, Jenny A. Cresswell, Liza J. Bowen, Tanica Lyngdoh, Dorairaj Prabhakaran, Kolli Srinath Reddy, Mario Vaz, Anura V. Kurpad, George Davey Smith, Yoav Ben-Shlomo, Shah Ebrahim

Background

In common with many other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), rural to urban migrants in India are at increased risk of obesity, but it is unclear whether this is due to increased energy intake, reduced energy expenditure, or both. Knowing this and the relative contribution of specific dietary and physical activity behaviours to greater adiposity among urban migrants could inform policies for control of the obesity epidemic in India and other urbanising LMICs. In the Indian Migration Study, we previously found that urban migrants had greater prevalence of obesity and diabetes compared with their nonmigrant rural-dwelling siblings. In this study, we investigated the relative contribution of energy intake and expenditure and specific diet and activity behaviours to greater adiposity among urban migrants in India.

Methods and findings

The Indian Migration Study was conducted between 2005 and 2007. Factory workers and their spouses from four cities in north, central, and south of India, together with their rural-dwelling siblings, were surveyed. Self-reported data on diet and physical activity was collected using validated questionnaires, and adiposity was estimated from thickness of skinfolds. The association of differences in dietary intake, physical activity, and adiposity between siblings was examined using multivariable linear regression. Data on 2,464 participants (median age 43 years) comprised of 1,232 sibling pairs (urban migrant and their rural-dwelling sibling) of the same sex (31% female) were analysed. Compared with the rural siblings, urban migrants had 18% greater adiposity, 12% (360 calories/day) more energy intake, and 18% (11 kilojoules/kg/day) less energy expenditure (P < 0.001 for all). Energy intake and expenditure were independently associated with increased adiposity of urban siblings, accounting for 4% and 6.5% of adiposity difference between siblings, respectively. Difference in dietary fat/oil (10 g/day), time spent engaged in moderate or vigorous activity (69 minutes/day), and watching television (30 minutes/day) were associated with difference in adiposity between siblings, but no clear association was observed for intake of fruits and vegetables, sugary foods and sweets, cereals, animal and dairy products, and sedentary time. The limitations of this study include a cross-sectional design, systematic differences in premigration characteristics of migrants and nonmigrants, low response rate, and measurement error in estimating diet and activity from questionnaires.

Conclusions

We found that increased energy intake and reduced energy expenditure contributed equally to greater adiposity among urban migrants in India. Policies aimed at controlling the rising prevalence of obesity in India and potentially other urbanising LMICs need to be multicomponent, target both energy intake and expenditure, and focus particularly on behaviours such as dietary fat/oil intake, time spent on watching television, and time spent engaged in moderate or vigorous intensity physical activity.

Development and validation of a model for predicting incident type 2 diabetes using quantitative clinical data and a Bayesian logistic model: A nationwide cohort and modeling study

PLoS Medicine - Ve, 07/08/2020 - 23:00

by Lua Wilkinson, Nengjun Yi, Tapan Mehta, Suzanne Judd, W. Timothy Garvey

Background

Obesity is closely related to the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (T2D). The prevention of T2D has become imperative to stem the rising rates of this disease. Weight loss is highly effective in preventing T2D; however, the at-risk pool is large, and a clinically meaningful metric for risk stratification to guide interventions remains a challenge. The objective of this study is to predict T2D risk using full-information continuous analysis of nationally sampled data from white and black American adults age ≥45 years.

Methods and findings

A sample of 12,043 black (33%) and white individuals from a population-based cohort, REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) (enrolled 2003–2007), was observed through 2013–2016. The mean participant age was 63.12 ± 8.62 years, and 43.7% were male. Mean BMI was 28.55 ± 5.61 kg/m2. Risk factors for T2D regularly recorded in the primary care setting were used to evaluate future T2D risk using Bayesian logistic regression. External validation was performed using 9,710 participants (19% black) from Atherosclerotic Risk in Communities (ARIC) (enrolled 1987–1989), observed through 1996–1998. The mean participant age in this cohort was 53.86 ± 5.65 years, and 44.6% were male. Mean BMI was 27.15 ± 4.92 kg/m2. Predictive performance was assessed using the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves and area under the curve (AUC) statistics. The primary outcome was incident T2D. By 2016 in REGARDS, there were 1,602 incident cases of T2D. Risk factors used to predict T2D progression included age, sex, race, BMI, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, blood pressure, and blood glucose. The Bayesian logistic model (AUC = 0.79) outperformed the Framingham risk score (AUC = 0.76), the American Diabetes Association risk score (AUC = 0.64), and a cardiometabolic disease system (using Adult Treatment Panel III criteria) (AUC = 0.75). Validation in ARIC was robust (AUC = 0.85). Main limitations include the limited generalizability of the REGARDS sample to black and white, older Americans, and no time to diagnosis for T2D.

Conclusions

Our results show that a Bayesian logistic model using full-information continuous predictors has high predictive discrimination, and can be used to quantify race- and sex-specific T2D risk, providing a new, powerful predictive tool. This tool can be used for T2D prevention efforts including weight loss therapy by allowing clinicians to target high-risk individuals in a manner that could be used to optimize outcomes.

Covid-19 news: Coronavirus cases may be levelling off in England

New Scientist - Ve, 07/08/2020 - 19:10
The latest coronavirus news updated every day including coronavirus cases, the latest news, features and interviews from New Scientist and essential information about the covid-19 pandemic

Physicists have a massive problem as Higgs boson refuses to misbehave

New Scientist - Ve, 07/08/2020 - 16:00
Physicists at CERN hope seeing the Higgs boson do something unexpected could reveal why different particles vary in mass, but so far it is behaving exactly as predicted

How covid-19 spawned a plastic pandemic – and what we can do about it

New Scientist - Ve, 07/08/2020 - 14:00
Hygiene fears and the demand for masks have unleashed a plastic pollution pandemic, while industry lobbyists are pushing to roll back bans on single-use plastics

An AI can make selfies look like they’re not selfies

New Scientist - Ve, 07/08/2020 - 12:00
Computer software can now edit selfie photos so it doesn’t appear the person in the image is holding the camera in their outstretched arm

Covid-19 lockdowns will have little lasting impact on global warming

New Scientist - Ve, 07/08/2020 - 12:00
Global lockdowns to halt the spread of the coronavirus will have a negligible impact on global warming, researchers have found. If measures stay in place until 2021, global temperatures will only be 0.01°C lower than expected by 2030

Obesity may cause cancer simply because larger organs have more cells

New Scientist - Ve, 07/08/2020 - 10:00
We’ve just discovered that people who are obese have larger organs and thus more cells that might mutate, which could explain their higher risk of getting some cancers

Temporal variations in the distribution of self-harm episodes and methods across the Australian asylum seeker population: An observational study

PLoS Medicine - Gi, 06/08/2020 - 23:00

by Kyli Hedrick, Gregory Armstrong, Guy Coffey, Rohan Borschmann

Background

Temporal patterns in the frequency and characteristics of self-harm episodes across the Australian asylum seeker population may have implications for self-harm prevention and public health policy. The aim of this study was to examine how the distribution of self-harm episodes and method(s) of self-harm used across the Australian asylum seeker population vary according to the 24-hour cycle, day, and month, and to establish a basis for further research.

Methods and findings

We conducted an observational study of all 949 self-harm incidents reported across the Australian asylum seeker population (representing a monthly average of 28,992 adults) between 1 August 2014 and 31 July 2015, obtained by Freedom of Information (FOI) from the Department of Immigration. Time of self-harm, day, and month of occurrence were investigated across all five Australian asylum seeker populations (i.e., community-based arrangements, community detention, onshore immigration detention, offshore immigration detention [Nauru], and offshore immigration detention [Manus Island]). Significant variations in distributions over the 24-hour cycle were observed by processing arrangements. Compared with the average distribution across all other processing arrangements, self-harm more commonly occurred among community-based asylum seekers (36.3%) between 12:00 AM and 3:59 AM (p < 0.001), in asylum seekers on Manus Island (36.4%) between 4:00 PM and 7:59 PM (p = 0.02), and among asylum seekers in onshore detention (20.4%) between 8:00 PM and 11:59 PM (p < 0.001). Compared with the average distribution across all other methods, self-poisoning (by medication) (25%) was significantly more likely to occur between 12:00 AM and 3:59 AM (p = 0.009), and self-battery (42%) between 8:00 AM and 11:59 AM (p < 0.001). The highest and lowest monthly self-harm episode rates for the whole asylum seeker population were in August (2014) (5 episodes per 1,000 asylum seekers; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1–11) and in both January and February (2015) (2.1 episodes per 1,000 asylum seekers; 95% CI 0.6–7.2), respectively; however, the overlapping CIs indicate no statistically significant differences across the months. When examining monthly trends by processing arrangements, we observed that self-harm was significantly more likely to occur in August (2014) than other months of the year among asylum seekers in onshore detention (19%) (p < 0.001), in January (2015) on Manus Island (18%) (p = 0.002), and in October (2014) on Nauru (15%) (p < 0.001). The main study limitations were that we could not investigate certain characteristics associated with self-harm (e.g., gender, country of origin), as the Department of Immigration did not routinely collect such data. There was also the potential risk of making a type 1 error, given the exploratory nature of the comparisons we undertook; we minimised this by lowering our significance threshold from 0.05 to 0.01.

Conclusions

Self-harm in the Australian asylum seeker population was found to vary according to time of day and month of the year, by processing arrangements. A series of procedure-related and detention-related factors were observed to be associated with the temporal variations in self-harm. These findings should form the basis for further investigation into temporal variations in self-harm among asylum seekers, which may in turn lead to effective self-harm prevention strategies.

Ambient air pollution and cause-specific risk of hospital admission in China: A nationwide time-series study

PLoS Medicine - Gi, 06/08/2020 - 23:00

by Jiangshao Gu, Ying Shi, Yifang Zhu, Ning Chen, Haibo Wang, Zongjiu Zhang, Ting Chen

Background

The impacts of air pollution on circulatory and respiratory systems have been extensively studied. However, the associations between air pollution exposure and the risk of noncommunicable diseases of other organ systems, including diseases of the digestive, musculoskeletal, and genitourinary systems, remain unclear or inconclusive. We aimed to systematically assess the associations between short-term exposure to main air pollutants (fine particulate matter [PM2.5] and ozone) and cause-specific risk of hospital admission in China over a wide spectrum of human diseases.

Methods and findings

Daily data on hospital admissions for primary diagnosis of 14 major and 188 minor disease categories in 252 Chinese cities (107 cities in North China and 145 cities in South China) from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2017, were obtained from the Hospital Quality Monitoring System of China (covering 387 hospitals in North China and 614 hospitals in South China). We applied a 2-stage analytic approach to assess the associations between air pollution and daily hospital admissions. City-specific associations were estimated with quasi-Poisson regression models and then pooled by random-effects meta-analyses. Each disease category was analyzed separately, and the P values were adjusted for multiple comparisons. A total of 117,338,867 hospital admissions were recorded in the study period. Overall, 51.7% of the hospitalized cases were male, and 71.3% were aged <65 years. Robust positive associations were found between short-term PM2.5 exposure and hospital admissions for 7 major disease categories: (1) endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases; (2) nervous diseases; (3) circulatory diseases; (4) respiratory diseases; (5) digestive diseases; (6) musculoskeletal and connective tissue diseases; and (7) genitourinary diseases. For example, a 10-μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 was associated with a 0.21% (95% CI 0.15% to 0.27%; adjusted P < 0.001) increase in hospital admissions for diseases of the digestive system on the same day in 2-pollutant models (adjusting for ozone). There were 35 minor disease categories significantly positively associated with same-day PM2.5 in both single- and 2-pollutant models, including diabetes mellitus, anemia, intestinal infection, liver diseases, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, renal failure, urinary tract calculus, chronic ulcer of skin, and back problems. The association between short-term ozone exposure and respiratory diseases was robust. No safety threshold in the exposure–response relationships between PM2.5 and hospital admissions was observed. The main limitations of the present study included the unavailability of data on personal air pollution exposures.

Conclusions

In the Chinese population during 2013–2017, short-term exposure to air pollution, especially PM2.5, was associated with increased risk of hospitalization for diseases of multiple organ systems, including certain diseases of the digestive, musculoskeletal, and genitourinary systems; many of these associations are important but still not fully recognized. The effect estimates and exposure–response relationships can inform policy making aimed at protecting public health from air pollution in China.

Incidence of and trends in hip fracture among adults in urban China: A nationwide retrospective cohort study

PLoS Medicine - Gi, 06/08/2020 - 23:00

by Chenggui Zhang, Jingnan Feng, Shengfeng Wang, Pei Gao, Lu Xu, Junxiong Zhu, Jialin Jia, Lili Liu, Guozhen Liu, Jinxi Wang, Siyan Zhan, Chunli Song

Background

Hip fracture is a public health concern because of its considerable morbidity, excess mortality, great risk of disability, and high societal healthcare costs. China has the largest population of older people in the world and is experiencing rapid population aging and facing great challenges from an increasing number of hip fractures. However, few studies reported the epidemiology, especially at a national level. We aimed to evaluate trends in hip fracture incidence and associated costs for hospitalization in China.

Methods and findings

We conducted a population-based study using data between 2012 and 2016 from the national databases of Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance and Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance in China, covering about 480 million residents. Data from around 102.56 million participants aged 55 years and older during the study period were analyzed. A total of 190,560 incident hip fracture patients (mean age 77.05 years, standard deviation 8.94; 63.99% female) were identified. Primary outcomes included the age- and sex-specific incidences of hip fracture. Associated annual costs for hospitalization were also calculated. Incidence was described as per 100,000 person-years at risk, and 95% confidence intervals were computed assuming a Poisson distribution. Hip fracture incidence overall in China did not increase during the study period despite rapid population aging. Incidence per 100,000 was 180.72 (95% CI 137.16, 224.28; P < 0.001) in 2012 and 177.13 (95% CI 139.93, 214.33; P < 0.001) in 2016 for females, and 121.86 (95% CI 97.30, 146.42; P < 0.001) in 2012 and 99.15 (95% CI 81.31, 116.99; P < 0.001) in 2016 for males. For both sexes, declines in hip fracture incidence were observed in patients aged 65 years and older, although incidence was relatively stable in younger patients. However, the total absolute number of hip fractures in those 55 years and older increased about 4-fold. The total costs for hospitalization showed a steep rise from US$60 million to US$380 million over the study period. Costs for hospitalization per patient increased about 1.59-fold, from US$4,300 in 2012 to US$6,840 in 2016. The main limitation of the study was the unavailability of data on imaging information to adjudicate cases of hip fracture.

Conclusions

Our results show that hip fracture incidence among patients aged 55 and over in China reached a plateau between 2012 and 2016. However, the absolute number of hip fractures and associated medical costs for hospitalization increased rapidly because of population aging.

A gender-sensitised weight-loss and healthy living program for men with overweight and obesity in Australian Football League settings (Aussie-FIT): A pilot randomised controlled trial

PLoS Medicine - Gi, 06/08/2020 - 23:00

by Dominika Kwasnicka, Nikos Ntoumanis, Kate Hunt, Cindy M. Gray, Robert U. Newton, Daniel F. Gucciardi, Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Jenny L. Olson, Joanne McVeigh, Deborah A. Kerr, Sally Wyke, Philip J. Morgan, Suzanne Robinson, Marshall Makate, Eleanor Quested

Background

Recent evidence shows that sport settings can act as a powerful draw to engage men in weight loss. The primary objective of this pilot study was to test the feasibility of delivering and to evaluate preliminary efficacy of Aussie-FIT, a weight-loss program for men with overweight/obesity delivered in Australian Football League (AFL) settings, in preparation for a future definitive trial.

Methods and findings

This 6-month pilot trial took place in Perth, Australia. Participants were overweight/obese (Body Mass Index [BMI] ≥ 28 kg/m2), middle-aged (35–65 years old) men. Participants were recruited in May 2018, and the intervention took place between June and December 2018. The intervention involved 12 weekly 90-min face-to-face sessions, incorporating physical activity, nutrition, and behaviour change information and practical activities delivered by coaches at 2 clubs. Data were collected at baseline and immediately postintervention. For trial feasibility purposes, 6-month follow-ups were completed. Outcomes were differences in weight loss (primary outcome) and recruitment and retention rates, self-reported measures (for example, psychological well-being), device-measured physical activity, waist size, and blood pressure at 3 months. Within 3 days of advertising at each club, 426 men registered interest; 306 (72%) were eligible. Men were selected on a first-come first-served basis (n = 130; M age = 45.8, SD = 8; M BMI = 34.48 kg/m2, SD = 4.87) and randomised by a blinded researcher. Trial retention was 86% and 63% at 3- and 6-month follow-ups (respectively). No adverse events were reported. At 3 months, mean difference in weight between groups, adjusted for baseline weight and group, was 3.3 kg (95% CI 1.9, 4.8) in favour of the intervention group (p < 0.001). The intervention group’s moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was higher than the control group by 8.54 min/day (95% CI 1.37, 15.71, p = 0.02). MVPA among men attracted to Aussie-FIT was high at baseline (intervention arm 35.61 min/day, control arm 38.38 min/day), which may have limited the scope for improvement.

Conclusions

Aussie-FIT was feasible to deliver; participants increased physical activity, decreased weight, and reported improvements in other outcomes. Issues with retention were a limitation of this trial. In a future, fully powered randomised controlled trial (RCT), retention could be improved by conducting assessments outside of holiday seasons.

Trial registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12617000515392.

We just figured out why shaving soft hair blunts steel razor blades

New Scientist - Gi, 06/08/2020 - 21:00
Cutting soft materials like hair can blunt even the sharpest blades surprisingly quickly, and now we know why – offering clues to designing longer-lasting razors
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