ResearchPad - feature-article https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Large-Scale Air Medical Operations in the Age of Coronavirus Disease 2019: Early Leadership Lessons From the Front Lines of British Columbia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N73ff487d-f4f4-4970-a996-fd3381fbe307 In late 2019, a novel coronavirus was identified as the cause of a cluster of atypical pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. It subsequently spread throughout China and around the world, quickly becoming a public health emergency. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus disease 2019 a pandemic. This article explores the preparation and early experiences of a large Canadian critical care transport program during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic focused on 6 broad strategic objectives centered around staff welfare, regular and transparent communication, networking, evidenced-based approach to personal protective equipment, agile mission planning, and an expedited approach to clinical practice and policy updates and future state modeling.

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<![CDATA[Influence of immune aging on vaccine responses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N8b432954-2754-4442-8957-2f44e150cabf Impaired vaccine responses in older individuals are associated with alterations in both the quantity and quality of the T-cell compartment with age. As reviewed herein, the T-cell response to vaccination requires a fine balance between the generation of inflammatory effector T cells versus follicular helper T (TFH) cells that mediate high-affinity antibody production in tandem with the induction of long-lived memory cells for effective recall immunity. During aging, we find that this balance is tipped where T cells favor short-lived effector but not memory or TFH responses. Consistently, vaccine-induced antibodies commonly display a lower protective capacity. Mechanistically, multiple, potentially targetable, changes in T cells have been identified that contribute to these age-related defects, including posttranscription regulation, T-cell receptor signaling, and metabolic function. Although research into the induction of tissue-specific immunity by vaccines and with age is still limited, current mechanistic insights provide a framework for improved design of age-specific vaccination strategies that require further evaluation in a clinical setting.

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<![CDATA[New Approaches to Identifying and Reducing the Global Burden of Disease From Pollution]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nbf7723dd-5647-4f8e-be7f-e9600ebe8e30

Abstract

Pollution from multiple sources causes significant disease and death worldwide. Some sources are legacy, such as heavy metals accumulated in soils, and some are current, such as particulate matter. Because the global burden of disease from pollution is so high, it is important to identify legacy and current sources and to develop and implement effective techniques to reduce human exposure. But many limitations exist in our understanding of the distribution and transport processes of pollutants themselves, as well as the complicated overprint of human behavior and susceptibility.

New approaches are being developed to identify and eliminate pollution in multiple environments. Community‐scale detection of geogenic arsenic and fluoride in Bangladesh is helping to map the distribution of these harmful elements in drinking water. Biosensors such as bees and their honey are being used to measure heavy metal contamination in cities such as Vancouver and Sydney. Drone‐based remote sensors are being used to map metal hot spots in soils from former mining regions in Zambia and Mozambique. The explosion of low‐cost air monitors has allowed researchers to build dense air quality sensing networks to capture ephemeral and local releases of harmful materials, building on other developments in personal exposure sensing. And citizen science is helping communities without adequate resources measure their own environments and in this way gain agency in controlling local pollution exposure sources and/or alerting authorities to environmental hazards. The future of GeoHealth will depend on building on these developments and others to protect a growing population from multiple pollution exposure risks.

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<![CDATA[Mitigating the impact of conference and travel cancellations on researchers’ futures]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N944f63c5-6a8f-4a6e-b9ff-cb4565380ccb

The need to protect public health during the current COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated conference cancellations on an unprecedented scale. As the scientific community adapts to new working conditions, it is important to recognize that some of our actions may disproportionately affect early-career researchers and scientists from countries with limited research funding. We encourage all conference organizers, funders and institutions who are able to do so to consider how they can mitigate the unintended consequences of conference and travel cancellations and we provide seven recommendations for how this could be achieved. The proposed solutions may also offer long-term benefits for those who normally cannot attend conferences, and thus lead to a more equitable future for generations of researchers.

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<![CDATA[Improving on legacy conferences by moving online]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd76ab90d-5ef3-4e73-b70d-1ca32d3d49ba

Scientific conferences and meetings have an important role in research, but they also suffer from a number of disadvantages: in particular, they can have a massive carbon footprint, they are time-consuming, and the high costs involved in attending can exclude many potential participants. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of many conferences, forcing the scientific community to explore online alternatives. Here, we report on our experiences of organizing an online neuroscience conference, neuromatch, that attracted some 3000 participants and featured two days of talks, debates, panel discussions, and one-on-one meetings facilitated by a matching algorithm. By offering most of the benefits of traditional conferences, several clear advantages, and with fewer of the downsides, we feel that online conferences have the potential to replace many legacy conferences.

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<![CDATA[Infectious disease and red wolf conservation: assessment of disease occurrence and associated risks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N08af4233-8bf1-42ec-b9ea-c70d6e5a49c5

Abstract

Infectious diseases pose a significant threat to global biodiversity and may contribute to extinction. As such, establishing baseline disease prevalence in vulnerable species where disease could affect persistence is important to conservation. We assessed potential disease threats to endangered red wolves (Canis rufus) by evaluating regional (southeastern United States) disease occurrences in mammals and parasite prevalence in red wolves and sympatric coyotes (Canis latrans) in North Carolina. Common viral pathogens in the southeast region, such as canine distemper and canine parvovirus, and numerous widespread endoparasites could pose a threat to the red wolf population. The most prevalent parasites in red wolves and sympatric coyotes were heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis), hookworm (Ancylostoma caninum), and Ehrlichia spp.; several red wolves and coyotes were also positive for bacteria causing Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi). Coyotes had a more species-rich parasite community than red wolves, suggesting they could harbor more parasites and act as a disease reservoir. Species identity and sex did not significantly affect parasite loads, but young canids were less likely to have heartworm and more likely to have high levels of endoparasites. Continued disease monitoring is important for red wolf recovery because low levels of genetic variability may compromise the wolves’ abilities to combat novel pathogens from closely related species, such as domestic dogs and coyotes.

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<![CDATA[Ungulates as model systems for the study of disease processes in natural populations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N205fe5dd-cd61-4f60-bea6-66761f532283

Abstract

Parasites and pathogens are a fundamental driving force in the ecology and evolution of mammalian populations, and understanding disease processes in natural populations is an urgent priority in the face of increased rates of infectious disease emergence. In this review, we argue that mammalogists are uniquely placed to contribute to addressing these challenges because in-depth knowledge of mammal species is fundamental to the development of wild model systems that could accelerate discovery in disease ecology. The use of animal models—species for which a broad range of diagnostic, molecular, and genetic tools have been developed—in tightly controlled laboratory environments has been instrumental in driving progress in the biomedical sciences. However, in natural populations, disease processes operate in the context of enormous genetic, phenotypic, and environmental variability. Understanding diseases in animal populations (including humans) thus requires investment in “wild animal models” that explicitly include individual variation and relevant environmental gradients. Wild mammal groups such as primates and rodents have already been identified as potentially useful models of infectious diseases in the wild. Here, we discuss the enormous potential that ungulates hold as candidates for wild model systems. The diversity, broad geographic distribution, and often high abundance of species in this group make them a highly accessible target for disease research. Moreover, a depth of background knowledge, close relationships to domesticated animals, and ongoing management of many wild ungulate species provide context, tools, and opportunity for cutting-edge research at the interface of ecological and biomedical sciences. Studies of wild ungulates are already helping to unravel some key challenges in infectious disease research, including the role of parasites in trophic cascades, the consequences of climate change for disease dynamics, and the systems biology of host–parasite interactions. Other areas where ungulate studies may provide new insight include research on the sources and drivers of emerging infectious diseases.

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<![CDATA[Reader engagement with medical content on Wikipedia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N334471ca-16c3-406b-8863-4fe7d1653715

Articles on Wikipedia about health and medicine are maintained by WikiProject Medicine (WPM), and are widely used by health professionals, students and others. We have compared these articles, and reader engagement with them, to other articles on Wikipedia. We found that WPM articles are longer, possess a greater density of external links, and are visited more often than other articles on Wikipedia. Readers of WPM articles are more likely to hover over and view footnotes than other readers, but are less likely to visit the hyperlinked sources in these footnotes. Our findings suggest that WPM readers appear to use links to external sources to verify and authorize Wikipedia content, rather than to examine the sources themselves.

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<![CDATA[The single-cell eQTLGen consortium]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N3f43dc65-f5a4-4b03-bc29-3f0a031bd734

In recent years, functional genomics approaches combining genetic information with bulk RNA-sequencing data have identified the downstream expression effects of disease-associated genetic risk factors through so-called expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analysis. Single-cell RNA-sequencing creates enormous opportunities for mapping eQTLs across different cell types and in dynamic processes, many of which are obscured when using bulk methods. Rapid increase in throughput and reduction in cost per cell now allow this technology to be applied to large-scale population genetics studies. To fully leverage these emerging data resources, we have founded the single-cell eQTLGen consortium (sc-eQTLGen), aimed at pinpointing the cellular contexts in which disease-causing genetic variants affect gene expression. Here, we outline the goals, approach and potential utility of the sc-eQTLGen consortium. We also provide a set of study design considerations for future single-cell eQTL studies.

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<![CDATA[Wikidata as a knowledge graph for the life sciences]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N6bee1a31-fd7c-4a3b-b046-0aa356b217b3

Wikidata is a community-maintained knowledge base that has been assembled from repositories in the fields of genomics, proteomics, genetic variants, pathways, chemical compounds, and diseases, and that adheres to the FAIR principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability. Here we describe the breadth and depth of the biomedical knowledge contained within Wikidata, and discuss the open-source tools we have built to add information to Wikidata and to synchronize it with source databases. We also demonstrate several use cases for Wikidata, including the crowdsourced curation of biomedical ontologies, phenotype-based diagnosis of disease, and drug repurposing.

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<![CDATA[Framework for advancing rigorous research]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N328f6937-f161-45e0-b425-111f053b4a66

There is a pressing need to increase the rigor of research in the life and biomedical sciences. To address this issue, we propose that communities of 'rigor champions' be established to campaign for reforms of the research culture that has led to shortcomings in rigor. These communities of rigor champions would also assist in the development and adoption of a comprehensive educational platform that would teach the principles of rigorous science to researchers at all career stages.

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<![CDATA[Worth living or worth dying? The views of the general public about allowing disabled children to die]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N145ae4c5-5fb7-4aef-9c07-44eeddcf4a6f

Background

Decisions about withdrawal of life support for infants have given rise to legal battles between physicians and parents creating intense media attention. It is unclear how we should evaluate when life is no longer worth living for an infant. Public attitudes towards treatment withdrawal and the role of parents in situations of disagreement have not previously been assessed.

Methods

An online survey was conducted with a sample of the UK public to assess public views about the benefit of life in hypothetical cases similar to real cases heard by the UK courts (eg, Charlie Gard, Alfie Evans). We then evaluated these public views in comparison with existing ethical frameworks for decision-making.

Results

One hundred and thirty participants completed the survey. The majority (94%) agreed that an infant’s life may have no benefit when well-being falls below a critical level. Decisions to withdraw treatment were positively associated with the importance of use of medical resources, the infant’s ability to have emotional relationships, and mental abilities. Up to 50% of participants in each case believed it was permissible to either continue or withdraw treatment.

Conclusion

Despite the controversy, our findings indicate that in the most severe cases, most people agree that life is not worth living for a profoundly disabled infant. Our survey found wide acceptance of at least the permissibility of withdrawal of treatment across a range of cases, though also a reluctance to overrule parents’ decisions. These findings may be useful when constructing guidelines for clinical practice.

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<![CDATA[Considering the Role of Adaptive Evolution in Models of the Ocean and Climate System]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nfe9152c8-e79c-4817-9ec2-593d8a0ca732

Abstract

Numerical models have been highly successful in simulating global carbon and nutrient cycles in today's ocean, together with observed spatial and temporal patterns of chlorophyll and plankton biomass at the surface. With this success has come some confidence in projecting the century‐scale response to continuing anthropogenic warming. There is also increasing interest in using such models to understand the role of plankton ecosystems in past oceans. However, today's marine environment is the product of billions of years of continual evolution—a process that continues today. In this paper, we address the questions of whether an assumption of species invariance is sufficient, and if not, under what circumstances current model projections might break down. To do this, we first identify the key timescales and questions asked of models. We then review how current marine ecosystem models work and what alternative approaches are available to account for evolution. We argue that for timescales of climate change overlapping with evolutionary timescales, accounting for evolution may to lead to very different projected outcomes regarding the timescales of ecosystem response and associated global biogeochemical cycling. This is particularly the case for past extinction events but may also be true in the future, depending on the eventual degree of anthropogenic disruption. The discipline of building new numerical models that incorporate evolution is also hugely beneficial in itself, as it forces us to question what we know about adaptive evolution, irrespective of its quantitative role in any specific event or environmental changes.

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<![CDATA[Professional development for clerkship administrators: a 16-year overview of the clerkship administrator certificate program]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N2438b3b7-1b30-4c25-97c5-f29c49abae2f

ABSTRACT

Background: Increasing accreditation requirements as well as transformations in medical school curricula necessitate administrative staff who are not only invested in the clerkship coordinator role but also view what they do as a career. To date, there has been a lack of professional development opportunities for clerkship administrators. Methods: In 2003, the Central Group on Educational Affairs of the Association of American Medical Colleges recognized a need for professional development for clerkship administrators. The Clerkship Administrator Certificate Program emerged from that decision and presented for the first time in 2004 in Omaha, Nebraska. This article provides an overview of the program, how it has been evaluated, and how it continues to evolve. Results: The program had two guiding principles: to offer professional development opportunities for clerkship administrators through interactive workshops and to ensure the program was feasible both in terms of completion and in cost. Over the past 16 years, the Clerkship Administrator Certificate Program workshops have been delivered to over 300 clerkship administrators. Of those, 206 have completed a project in order to receive their certificate. Projects have related to innovations in medical education (n = 41), grading (n = 26), professional development (n = 26), and patient care (n = 20) to name a few. Discussion: In order to meet the demands for presenting the workshops, a train-the-trainer model has been employed to expand the number of individuals presenting the workshops. Additional research needs to be done to determine influence of the program on future professional development endeavors.

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<![CDATA[Making Sense of Modeling in Elementary Literacy Instruction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N94c6d585-5ed7-4971-9c8f-7195bf1c9e17

Abstract

Although modeling is an instructional approach commonly named in literacy education circles, the authors struggled to articulate the essential features of modeling to preservice teachers. This was a problem for them and for the preservice teachers with whom they worked. The problem also represents a larger one in the field, which is that educators are still building that which is the foundation of most other professions: a shared professional language. Efforts to build a shared professional language are important for literacy educators seeking to reflect on and improve their craft, literacy leaders working to make change at the school level, and mentor teachers and teacher educators tasked with preparing the next generation of teachers. The authors describe their efforts to articulate and represent modeling in elementary literacy instruction.

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<![CDATA[Good Pharmacy Practice Standardized for Community Pharmacists: The Lebanese Order of Pharmacists Initiative]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ca7a4f1d5eed0c484f429d9

Objective:

The community pharmacist's role is in constant evolution. It shifted from compounding and dispensing to patient-centered services. To guarantee that all pharmacists are providing a service of appropriate quality to every patient, the Lebanese Order of Pharmacists (OPL) took the initiative of developing good pharmacy practice (GPP) guidelines to be applied by community pharmacists for services' quality improvement.

Methods:

Within the OPL, a Scientific Committee, the executive authority to organize scientific and educational activities, is appointed. It decided, in January 2018, to elaborate GPP guidelines for community pharmacists and created the Community Pharmacy Practice Subcommittee, which was in charge of this project. The GPP standards suggested by the OPL were inspired by the ones published by international organizations, namely the International Pharmaceutical Federation and WHO, American, European, and regional countries.

Findings:

The GPP standards comprised 15 sections that tackled the following topics: settings of a pharmacy, handling of stock, extemporaneous compounding, provision of medicines, supply of nonprescription medicines, interaction and communication, documentation systems, equipment, resources, health promotion, diagnostics, pharmacotherapy monitoring, research and professional development, trainees, and para-pharmaceuticals.

Conclusion:

The OPL was able to implement a first draft of the GPP standards for community pharmacists in Lebanon, a developing country with many constraints. The starting project will need to be consolidated by raising awareness and changing misconception among community pharmacists as a first step. Amendments to these guidelines will follow based on the pharmacists' feedback and results of an ongoing national survey conducted by the OPL and academia.

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<![CDATA[Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes: Romantic Relationships and Implications for Well-Being]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bfe7c72d5eed0c484937290

Objective.

The study goal was to examine whether young adults with type 1 diabetes involve romantic partners in their illness, and, if so, how their involvement is related to relationship quality and psychological well-being.

Methods.

A total of 68 people (mean age 25.5 years, [SD 3.7 years]) with type 1 diabetes (mean diabetes duration 6 years, [SD 6.7]) involved in a romantic relationship (mean relationship duration 25 months, [SD 27 months]) completed phone interviews. Communal coping (shared illness appraisal and collaborative problem-solving), partner supportive and unsupportive behavior, relationship quality, and psychological well-being were assessed with standardized measures. The study was partly descriptive in identifying the extent of communal coping and specific supportive and unsupportive behaviors and partly correlational in connecting communal coping and supportive or unsupportive behaviors to relationship quality and psychological well-being.

Results.

Descriptive findings showed that partners were somewhat involved in diabetes, but communal coping was less common compared to other chronically ill populations. The most common partner supportive behaviors were emotional and instrumental support. The most common partner unsupportive behavior was worry about diabetes. Correlational results showed that communal coping was related to greater partner emotional and instrumental support, but also to greater partner overprotective and controlling behaviors (P <0.01 for all). Communal coping was unrelated to relationship quality or psychological distress. Partner overinvolvement in diabetes management had a mixed relation to outcomes, whereas partner underinvolvement was uniformly related to poor outcomes.

Conclusion.

People with type 1 diabetes may benefit from increased partner involvement in illness. This could be facilitated by health care professionals.

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<![CDATA[Community-based distributive medical education: Advantaging society]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ac097eb463d7e39736324d6

This paper presents a narrative summary of an increasingly important trend in medical education by addressing the merits of community-based distributive medical education (CBDME). This is a relatively new and compelling model for teaching and training physicians in a manner that may better meet societal needs and expectations. Issues and trends regarding the growing shortage and imbalanced distribution of physicians in the USA are addressed, including the role of international medical graduates. A historical overview of costs and funding sources for medical education is presented, as well as initiatives to increase the training and placement of physicians cost-effectively through new and expanded medical schools, two- and four-year regional or branch campuses and CBDME. Our research confirms that although medical schools have responded to Association of American Medical Colleges calls for higher student enrollment and societal concerns about the distribution and placement of physicians, significant opportunities for improvement remain. Finally, the authors recommend further research be conducted to guide policy on incentives for physicians to locate in underserved communities, and determine the cost-effectiveness of the CBDME model in both the near and long terms.

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<![CDATA[The fascinating and secret wild life of the budding yeast S. cerevisiae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae9ab0ee8fa60bbe754

The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used in laboratory experiments for over a century and has been instrumental in understanding virtually every aspect of molecular biology and genetics. However, it wasn't until a decade ago that the scientific community started to realise how little was known about this yeast's ecology and natural history, and how this information was vitally important for interpreting its biology. Recent large-scale population genomics studies coupled with intensive field surveys have revealed a previously unappreciated wild lifestyle of S. cerevisiae outside the restrictions of human environments and laboratories. The recent discovery that Chinese isolates harbour almost twice as much genetic variation as isolates from the rest of the world combined suggests that Asia is the likely origin of the modern budding yeast.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.05835.001

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<![CDATA[Bias in the reporting of sex and age in biomedical research on mouse models]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db26ab0ee8fa60bd0664

In animal-based biomedical research, both the sex and the age of the animals studied affect disease phenotypes by modifying their susceptibility, presentation and response to treatment. The accurate reporting of experimental methods and materials, including the sex and age of animals, is essential so that other researchers can build on the results of such studies. Here we use text mining to study 15,311 research papers in which mice were the focus of the study. We find that the percentage of papers reporting the sex and age of mice has increased over the past two decades: however, only about 50% of the papers published in 2014 reported these two variables. We also compared the quality of reporting in six preclinical research areas and found evidence for different levels of sex-bias in these areas: the strongest male-bias was observed in cardiovascular disease models and the strongest female-bias was found in infectious disease models. These results demonstrate the ability of text mining to contribute to the ongoing debate about the reproducibility of research, and confirm the need to continue efforts to improve the reporting of experimental methods and materials.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.13615.001

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