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  • Opioid Overdose Recognition: A Survey of Perceived Preparedness and Desire for Curricular Integration Among Current US Medical Students

    Walsh, Lindsay; Chapman, Brittany; Carey, Jennifer; Loycano, Kayla; Carreiro, Stephanie (2024-01-10)
    Objectives: Opioid overdose deaths remain a major health issue in the United States (US). As future physicians, medical students must receive comprehensive training to recognize and manage opioid overdoses. This study aimed to highlight training gaps at the medical student level and understand students' attitudes toward patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). Methods: We assessed baseline knowledge of and attitudes toward the management of opioid overdoses and naloxone administration among medical students in the US. Two validated survey tools (Opioid Overdose Knowledge Scale and Opioid Overdose Attitude Scale) were administered to medical students training at accredited institutions along with supplemental questions measuring knowledge and attitudes towards opioid overdose management, naloxone administration, and prior training. Results: The final sample had N = 73 participants from US medical schools with a mean age of 25.3 (range of 22-37): 72.6% of respondents were female. Although most respondents reported personal/professional experience with OUD before medical school, they expressed interest in additional training. Knowledge surrounding opioid overdoses increased insignificantly over the 4 years of medical school. However, there was a significant increase in both perceived competence in overdose recognition/management and in concerns about intervening from the first to fourth year of medical school. Female respondents had significantly lower perceived competence and readiness to intervene sub-scores than male counterparts; however, there was no significant difference in overall attitude and knowledge scores when stratified by sex. Incorporating opioid overdose prevention training (OOPT) into early medical education was favorable among respondents, who expressed an overwhelming interest in learning and supporting patients with OUD. Conclusions: Given the ongoing opioid crisis, medical students are ideally placed to identify and manage opioid overdoses. Medical students are ready to receive this training, thus strengthening the argument for OOPT integration into early medical student curricula.
  • Evaluation of ChatGPT and Google Bard Using Prompt Engineering in Cancer Screening Algorithms

    Nguyen, Daniel; Swanson, Daniel; Newbury, Alex; Kim, Young H (2023-12-15)
    Large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT and Bard have emerged as powerful tools in medicine, showcasing strong results in tasks such as radiology report translations and research paper drafting. While their implementation in clinical practice holds promise, their response accuracy remains variable. This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of ChatGPT and Bard in clinical decision-making based on the American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria for various cancers. Both LLMs were evaluated in terms of their responses to open-ended (OE) and select-all-that-apply (SATA) prompts. Furthermore, the study incorporated prompt engineering (PE) techniques to enhance the accuracy of LLM outputs. The results revealed similar performances between ChatGPT and Bard on OE prompts, with ChatGPT exhibiting marginally higher accuracy in SATA scenarios. The introduction of PE also marginally improved LLM outputs in OE prompts but did not enhance SATA responses. The results highlight the potential of LLMs in aiding clinical decision-making processes, especially when guided by optimally engineered prompts. Future studies in diverse clinical situations are imperative to better understand the impact of LLMs in radiology.
  • Exploring Zentangle as a virtual mindfulness-based art intervention for people with serious mental illness

    Stojcevski, Marko; Cheung, Amy; Agwu, Victor; Fan, Xiaoduo (2023-11-30)
    Introduction: Zentangle is an emerging art intervention that incorporates mindfulness into creative drawing. This pilot study explored Zentangle as a novel adjunct treatment for people with serious mental illness (SMI). Methods: Six participants with SMI completed an 8-week Zentangle program. Psychiatric outcomes were evaluated using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Scale (Q-LES-Q-SF). A focus group was conducted to better understand the experiences of the participants. Results: A significant reduction in psychiatric symptoms was observed as measured by the total score on the BPRS between baseline and 5-week post-intervention (40.7 ± 9.1 vs. 33.7 ± 8.9, mean ± SD, p = 0.02). Participants also showed a significant increase in mindful attention using the average score on the MAAS between 1- and 5-week post-intervention (3.5 ± 0.4 vs. 4.2 ± 0.7, mean ± SD, p = 0.04). Four themes were generated from the focus group: (1) approaching mindfulness through Zentangle; (2) power of uncomplicated art creation; (3) understanding the value of self-appreciation; and (4) fostering a positive environment. Discussion: Our preliminary data suggest that the use of Zentangle for participants with SMI may have a positive impact on overall psychiatric symptoms and mindfulness. Moreover, the Zentangle Method encourages positive emotions like gratitude and self-accomplishment to counteract negative feelings of self-criticism and failure in participants.
  • Cathepsin W, T-cell receptor-associated transmembrane adapter 1, lymphotactin and killer cell lectin like receptor K1 are sensitive and specific RNA biomarkers of canine epitheliotropic lymphoma

    Olayinka, Jadesola Temitope; Nagarkar, Akanksha; Ma, Diana Junyue; Wong, Neil B; Romasco, Andrew; Piedra-Mora, Cesar; Wrijil, Linda; David, Clement N; Gardner, Heather L; Robinson, Nicholas A; et al. (2023-11-03)
    Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) is an uncommon type of lymphoma involving malignant skin-resident or skin-homing T cells. Canine epitheliotropic lymphoma (EL) is the most common form of CTCL in dogs, and it also spontaneously arises from T lymphocytes in the mucosa and skin. Clinically, it can be difficult to distinguish early-stage CTCLs apart from other forms of benign interface dermatitis (ID) in both dogs and people. Our objective was to identify novel biomarkers that can distinguish EL from other forms of ID, and perform comparative transcriptomics of human CTCL and canine EL. Here, we present a retrospective gene expression study that employed archival tissue from biorepositories. We analyzed a discovery cohort of 6 canines and a validation cohort of 8 canines with EL which occurred spontaneously in client-owned companion dogs. We performed comparative targeted transcriptomics studies using NanoString to assess 160 genes from lesional skin biopsies from the discovery cohort and 800 genes from the validation cohort to identify any significant differences that may reflect oncogenesis and immunopathogenesis. We further sought to determine if gene expression in EL and CTCL are conserved across humans and canines by comparing our data to previously published human datasets. Similar chemokine profiles were observed in dog EL and human CTCL, and analyses were performed to validate potential biomarkers and drivers of disease. In dogs, we found enrichment of T cell gene signatures, with upregulation of IFNG, TNF, PRF1, IL15, CD244, CXCL10, and CCL5 in EL in dogs compared to healthy controls. Importantly, CTSW, TRAT1 and KLRK1 distinguished EL from all other forms of interface dermatitis we studied, providing much-needed biomarkers for the veterinary field. XCL1/XCL2 were also highly specific of EL in our validation cohort. Future studies exploring the oncogenesis of spontaneous lymphomas in companion animals will expand our understanding of these disorders. Biomarkers may be useful for predicting disease prognosis and treatment responses. We plan to use our data to inform future development of targeted therapies, as well as for repurposing drugs for both veterinary and human medicine.
  • Prevalence and predictors of shared decision-making in goals-of-care clinician-family meetings for critically ill neurologic patients: a multi-center mixed-methods study

    Fleming, Victoria; Prasad, Abhinav; Ge, Connie; Crawford, Sybil; Meraj, Shazeb; Hough, Catherine L; Lo, Bernard; Carson, Shannon S; Steingrub, Jay; White, Douglas B; et al. (2023-10-21)
    Background: Shared decision-making is a joint process where patients, or their surrogates, and clinicians make health choices based on evidence and preferences. We aimed to determine the extent and predictors of shared decision-making for goals-of-care discussions for critically ill neurological patients, which is crucial for patient-goal-concordant care but currently unknown. Methods: We analyzed 72 audio-recorded routine clinician-family meetings during which goals-of-care were discussed from seven US hospitals. These occurred for 67 patients with 72 surrogates and 29 clinicians; one hospital provided 49/72 (68%) of the recordings. Using a previously validated 10-element shared decision-making instrument, we quantified the extent of shared decision-making in each meeting. We measured clinicians' and surrogates' characteristics and prognostic estimates for the patient's hospital survival and 6-month independent function using post-meeting questionnaires. We calculated clinician-family prognostic discordance, defined as ≥ 20% absolute difference between the clinician's and surrogate's estimates. We applied mixed-effects regression to identify independent associations with greater shared decision-making. Results: The median shared decision-making score was 7 (IQR 5-8). Only 6% of meetings contained all 10 shared decision-making elements. The most common elements were "discussing uncertainty"(89%) and "assessing family understanding"(86%); least frequent elements were "assessing the need for input from others"(36%) and "eliciting the context of the decision"(33%). Clinician-family prognostic discordance was present in 60% for hospital survival and 45% for 6-month independent function. Univariate analyses indicated associations between greater shared decision-making and younger clinician age, fewer years in practice, specialty (medical-surgical critical care > internal medicine > neurocritical care > other > trauma surgery), and higher clinician-family prognostic discordance for hospital survival. After adjustment, only higher clinician-family prognostic discordance for hospital survival remained independently associated with greater shared decision-making (p = 0.029). Conclusion: Fewer than 1 in 10 goals-of-care clinician-family meetings for critically ill neurological patients contained all shared decision-making elements. Our findings highlight gaps in shared decision-making. Interventions promoting shared decision-making for high-stakes decisions in these patients may increase patient-value congruent care; future studies should also examine whether they will affect decision quality and surrogates' health outcomes.
  • Phosphaturic mesenchymal tumor: two cases highlighting differences in clinical and radiologic presentation

    Gu, Joey; Ge, Connie; Joshi, Ganesh; Most, Mathew; Tai, Ryan (2023-10-04)
    Phosphaturic mesenchymal tumors are rare, usually benign neoplasms that occur in the soft tissue or bone and are the cause of nearly all cases of tumor-induced osteomalacia. Tumor-induced osteomalacia due to phosphaturic mesenchymal tumor is a challenging diagnosis to make-patients present with variable clinical and radiologic findings and the culprit neoplasm is often small and can occur anywhere head to toe. We present two cases of phosphaturic mesenchymal tumor in the scapular body and plantar foot. In both cases, the patient endured years of debilitating symptoms before a tissue diagnosis was eventually reached. Descriptions of clinical presentation, laboratory workup, surgical resection, and imaging characteristics, with a focus on CT, MRI, and functional imaging, are provided to assist with the diagnosis and management of this rare entity. A brief review of current literature and discussion of the differential diagnoses of phosphaturic mesenchymal tumor is also provided.
  • Surface modification of neurovascular stents: from bench to patient

    Zoppo, Christopher T; Mocco, J; Manning, Nathan W; Bogdanov, Alexei A. Jr.; Gounis, Matthew J (2023-10-04)
    Flow-diverting stents (FDs) for the treatment of cerebrovascular aneurysms are revolutionary. However, these devices require systemic dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) to reduce thromboembolic complications. Given the risk of ischemic complications as well as morbidity and contraindications associated with DAPT, demonstrating safety and efficacy for FDs either without DAPT or reducing the duration of DAPT is a priority. The former may be achieved by surface modifications that decrease device thrombogenicity, and the latter by using coatings that expedite endothelial growth. Biomimetics, commonly achieved by grafting hydrophilic and non-interacting polymers to surfaces, can mask the device surface with nature-derived coatings from circulating factors that normally activate coagulation and inflammation. One strategy is to mimic the surfaces of innocuous circulatory system components. Phosphorylcholine and glycan coatings are naturally inspired and present on the surface of all eukaryotic cell membranes. Another strategy involves linking synthetic biocompatible polymer brushes to the surface of a device that disrupts normal interaction with circulating proteins and cells. Finally, drug immobilization can also impart antithrombotic effects that counteract normal foreign body reactions in the circulatory system without systemic effects. Heparin coatings have been explored since the 1960s and used on a variety of blood contacting surfaces. This concept is now being explored for neurovascular devices. Coatings that improve endothelialization are not as clinically mature as anti-thrombogenic coatings. Coronary stents have used an anti-CD34 antibody coating to capture circulating endothelial progenitor cells on the surface, potentially accelerating endothelial integration. Similarly, coatings with CD31 analogs are being explored for neurovascular implants.
  • Adolescent cancer prevention in rural, pediatric primary care settings in the United States: A scoping review

    Ryan, Grace W; Whitmire, Paula; Batten, Annabelle; Goulding, Melissa; Baltich Nelson, Becky; Lemon, Stephenie C; Pbert, Lori (2023-09-29)
    Adolescence is a critical period for establishing habits and engaging in health behaviors to prevent future cancers. Rural areas tend to have higher rates of cancer-related morbidity and mortality as well as higher rates of cancer-risk factors among adolescents. Rural primary care clinicians are well-positioned to address these risk factors. Our goal was to identify existing literature on adolescent cancer prevention in rural primary care and to classify key barriers and facilitators to implementing interventions in such settings. We searched the following databases: Ovid MEDLINE®; Ovid APA PsycInfo; Cochrane Library; CINAHL; and Scopus. Studies were included if they reported on provider and/or clinic-level interventions in rural primary care clinics addressing one of these four behaviors (obesity, tobacco, sun exposure, HPV vaccination) among adolescent populations. We identified 3,403 unique studies and 24 met inclusion criteria for this review. 16 addressed obesity, 6 addressed HPV vaccination, 1 addressed skin cancer, and 1 addressed multiple behaviors including obesity and tobacco use. 10 studies were either non-randomized experimental designs (n = 8) or randomized controlled trials (n = 2). The remaining were observational or descriptive research. We found a dearth of studies addressing implementation of adolescent cancer prevention interventions in rural primary care settings. Priorities to address this should include further research and increased funding to support EBI adaptation and implementation in rural clinics to reduce urban-rural cancer inequities.
  • Association of neighborhood-level sociodemographic factors with Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) distribution of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests in 5 US communities

    Herbert, Carly; Shi, Qiming; Baek, Jonggyu; Wang, Biqi; Kheterpal, Vik; Nowak, Christopher; Suvarna, Thejas; Singh, Aditi; Hartin, Paul; Durnam, Basyl; et al. (2023-09-22)
    Background: Many interventions for widescale distribution of rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 have utilized online, direct-to-consumer (DTC) ordering systems; however, little is known about the sociodemographic characteristics of home-test users. We aimed to characterize the patterns of online orders for rapid antigen tests and determine geospatial and temporal associations with neighborhood characteristics and community incidence of COVID-19, respectively. Methods: This observational study analyzed online, DTC orders for rapid antigen test kits from beneficiaries of the Say Yes! Covid Test program from March to November 2021 in five communities: Louisville, Kentucky; Indianapolis, Indiana; Fulton County, Georgia; O'ahu, Hawaii; and Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, Michigan. Using spatial autoregressive models, we assessed the geospatial associations of test kit distribution with Census block-level education, income, age, population density, and racial distribution and Census tract-level Social Vulnerability Index. Lag association analyses were used to measure the association between online rapid antigen kit orders and community-level COVID-19 incidence. Results: In total, 164,402 DTC test kits were ordered during the intervention. Distribution of tests at all sites were significantly geospatially clustered at the block-group level (Moran's I: p < 0.001); however, education, income, age, population density, race, and social vulnerability index were inconsistently associated with test orders across sites. In Michigan, Georgia, and Kentucky, there were strong associations between same-day COVID-19 incidence and test kit orders (Michigan: r = 0.89, Georgia: r = 0.85, Kentucky: r = 0.75). The incidence of COVID-19 during the current day and the previous 6-days increased current DTC orders by 9.0 (95% CI = 1.7, 16.3), 3.0 (95% CI = 1.3, 4.6), and 6.8 (95% CI = 3.4, 10.2) in Michigan, Georgia, and Kentucky, respectively. There was no same-day or 6-day lagged correlation between test kit orders and COVID-19 incidence in Indiana. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that online ordering is not associated with geospatial clustering based on sociodemographic characteristics. Observed temporal preferences for DTC ordering can guide public health messaging around DTC testing programs.
  • Application of Causal Inference Methods to Pooled Longitudinal Non- Randomized Studies: A Methodological Systematic Review [preprint]

    Hufstedler, Heather; Mauer, Nicole; Yeboah, Edmund; Carr, Sinclair; Rahman, Sabahat; Danzer, Alexander M; Debray, Thomas P A; Jong, Valentijn M T; Campbell, Harlan; Gustafson, Paul; et al. (2023-08-30)
    Observational data provide invaluable real-world information in medicine, but certain methodological considerations are required to derive causal estimates. In this systematic review, we evaluated the methodology and reporting quality of individual-level patient data meta-analyses (IPD-MAs) published in 2009, 2014, and 2019 that sought to estimate a causal relationship in medicine. We screened over 16,000 titles and abstracts, reviewed 45 full-text articles out of the 167 deemed potentially eligible, and included 29 into the analysis. Unfortunately, we found that causal methodologies were rarely implemented, and reporting was generally poor across studies. Specifically, only three of the 29 articles used quasi-experimental methods, and no study used G-methods to adjust for time-varying confounding. To address these issues, we propose stronger collaborations between physicians and methodologists to ensure that causal methodologies are properly implemented in IPD-MAs. In addition, we put forward a suggested checklist of reporting guidelines for IPD-MAs that utilize causal methods. This checklist could improve reporting thereby potentially enhancing the quality and trustworthiness of IPD-MAs, which can be considered one of the most valuable sources of evidence for health policy.
  • Heterozygous FOXJ1 Mutations Cause Incomplete Ependymal Cell Differentiation and Communicating Hydrocephalus

    Hou, Connie C; Li, Danielle; Berry, Bethany C; Zheng, Shaokuan; Carroll, Rona S; Johnson, Mark D; Yang, Hong Wei (2023-08-24)
    Heterozygous mutations affecting FOXJ1, a transcription factor governing multiciliated cell development, have been associated with obstructive hydrocephalus in humans. However, factors that disrupt multiciliated ependymal cell function often cause communicating hydrocephalus, raising questions about whether FOXJ1 mutations cause hydrocephalus primarily by blocking cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow or by different mechanisms. Here, we show that heterozygous FOXJ1 mutations are also associated with communicating hydrocephalus in humans and cause communicating hydrocephalus in mice. Disruption of one Foxj1 allele in mice leads to incomplete ependymal cell differentiation and communicating hydrocephalus. Mature ependymal cell number and motile cilia number are decreased, and 12% of motile cilia display abnormal axonemes. We observed decreased microtubule attachment to basal bodies, random localization and orientation of basal body patches, loss of planar cell polarity, and a disruption of unidirectional CSF flow. Thus, heterozygous FOXJ1 mutations impair ventricular multiciliated cell differentiation, thereby causing communicating hydrocephalus. CSF flow obstruction may develop secondarily in some patients harboring FOXJ1 mutations. Heterozygous FOXJ1 mutations impair motile cilia structure and basal body alignment, thereby disrupting CSF flow dynamics and causing communicating hydrocephalus.
  • A novel intrasaccular aneurysm device with high complete occlusion rate: initial results in a rabbit model

    Zoppo, Christopher T; Kolstad, Josephine W; King, Robert M; Wolfe, Thomas; Kraitem, Afif; Vardar, Zeynep; Badruddin, Aamir; Pereira, Edgard; Guerrero, Boris Pabón; Rosqueta, Arturo S; et al. (2023-08-01)
    Background: Intrasaccular flow-disrupting devices are a safe and effective treatment strategy for intracranial aneurysms. We utilized high-frequency optical coherence tomography (HF-OCT) and digital subtraction angiography (DSA) to evaluate SEAL Arc, a new intrasaccular device, and compare the findings with the well-established Woven EndoBridge (WEB) device in an animal model of saccular aneurysms. Methods: In a rabbit model, elastase-induced aneurysms were treated with SEAL Arc (n=11) devices. HF-OCT and DSA were performed after implant and repeated after 12 weeks. Device protrusion and malapposition were assessed at implant time and scored on a binary system. Aneurysm occlusion was assessed at 12 weeks with the WEB Occlusion Scale and dichotomized to complete (A and B) or incomplete (C and D) occlusion. The percentage of neointimal coverage after 12 weeks was quantified using HF-OCT. We compared these data to previously published historical controls treated with the gold-standard WEB device (n=24) in the same model. Results: Aneurysm size and device placement were not significantly different between the two groups. Complete occlusion was demonstrated in 80% of the SEAL Arc devices, which compared favorably to the 21% of the aneurysms treated with WEB devices (P=0.002). Neointimal coverage across SEAL Arc devices was 86±15% compared with 49±27% for WEB (P=0.001). Protruding devices had significantly less neointimal coverage (P<0.001) as did incompletely occluded aneurysms (P<0.001). Histologically, all aneurysms treated with SEAL Arc devices were completely healed. Conclusion: Complete early aneurysm occlusion was frequently observed in the SEAL Arc treated aneurysms, with significant neointimal coverage after 12 weeks.
  • A mobile addiction service for community-based overdose prevention

    Pepin, Michael D; Joseph, Jillian K; Chapman, Brittany P; McAuliffe, Christina; O'Donnell, Logan K; Marano, Ryan L; Carreiro, Stephanie; Garcia, Erik J; Silk, Hugh; Babu, Kavita M (2023-07-19)
    Mainstays of opioid overdose prevention include medications for opioid use disorder (e.g., methadone or buprenorphine) and naloxone distribution. Inadequate access to buprenorphine limits its uptake, especially in communities of color, and people with opioid use disorders encounter multiple barriers to obtaining necessary medications including insurance, transportation, and consistent availability of telephones. UMass Memorial Medical Center and our community partners sought to alleviate these barriers to treatment through the deployment of a mobile addiction service, called the Road to Care. Using this approach, multidisciplinary and interprofessional providers deliver holistic addiction care by centering our patients' needs with respect to scheduling, location, and convenience. This program also extends access to buprenorphine and naloxone among people experiencing homelessness. Additional systemic and individualized barriers encountered are identified, as well as potential solutions for future mobile addiction service utilization. Over a two-year period, we have cared for 1,121 individuals who have accessed our mobile addiction service in over 4,567 encounters. We prescribed buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) to 330 individuals (29.4% of all patients). We have distributed nearly 250 naloxone kits directly on-site or and more than 300 kits via prescriptions to local pharmacies. To date, 74 naloxone rescue attempts have been reported back to us. We have demonstrated that a community-based mobile addiction service, anchored within a major medical center, can provide high-volume and high-quality overdose prevention services that facilitate engagement with additional treatment. Our experience is described as a case study below.
  • Cross-Check QA: A Quality Assurance Workflow to Prevent Missed Diagnoses by Alerting Inadvertent Discordance Between the Radiologist and Artificial Intelligence in the Interpretation of High-Acuity CT Scans

    Chekmeyan, Mariam; Baccei, Steven J; Garwood, Elisabeth R (2023-07-08)
    Purpose: The aim of this study was to implement and evaluate a quality assurance (QA) workflow that leverages natural language processing to rapidly resolve inadvertent discordance between radiologists and an artificial intelligence (AI) decision support system (DSS) in the interpretation of high-acuity CT studies when the radiologist does not engage with AI DSS output. Methods: All consecutive high-acuity adult CT examinations performed in a health system between March 1, 2020, and September 20, 2022, were interpreted alongside an AI DSS (Aidoc) for intracranial hemorrhage, cervical spine fracture, and pulmonary embolus. CT studies were flagged for this QA workflow if they met three criteria: (1) negative results by radiologist report, (2) a high probability of positive results by the AI DSS, and (3) unviewed AI DSS output. In these cases, an automated e-mail notification was sent to our quality team. If discordance was confirmed on secondary review-an initially missed diagnosis-addendum and communication documentation was performed. Results: Of 111,674 high-acuity CT examinations interpreted alongside the AI DSS over this 2.5-year time period, the frequency of missed diagnoses (intracranial hemorrhage, pulmonary embolus, and cervical spine fracture) uncovered by this workflow was 0.02% (n = 26). Of 12,412 CT studies prioritized as depicting positive findings by the AI DSS, 0.4% (n = 46) were discordant, unengaged, and flagged for QA. Among these discordant cases, 57% (26 of 46) were determined to be true positives. Addendum and communication documentation was performed within 24 hours of the initial report signing in 85% of these cases. Conclusions: Inadvertent discordance between radiologists and the AI DSS occurred in a small number of cases. This QA workflow leveraged natural language processing to rapidly detect, notify, and resolve these discrepancies and prevent potential missed diagnoses.
  • Longitudinal healing flow diverting stents with phosphorylcholine surface modification

    Zoppo, Christopher T; Epshtein, Mark; Gounis, Matthew J; Anagnostakou, Vania; King, Robert M (2023-07-04)
    Background: Flow diversion has become a standard treatment for cerebral aneurysms. However, major drawbacks include the need for dual antiplatelet therapy after implant and delayed complete occlusion of the aneurysm, which occurs when new tissue growth excludes the aneurysm from the parent artery. Biomimetic surface modifications such as the phosphorylcholine polymer (Shield surface modification) represent major advances in reducing thrombogenicity of these devices. However, in vitro studies have raised concerns that this modification may also delay endothelialization of flow diverters. Methods: Bare metal Pipeline, Pipeline Shield, and Vantage with Shield devices were implanted in the common carotid arteries (CCAs) of 10 rabbits (two in the left CCA, one in the right CCA). Following implant and at 5, 10, 15, and 30 days, the devices were imaged with high-frequency optical coherence tomography and conventional angiography to evaluate tissue growth. At 30 days the devices were explanted and their endothelial growth was assessed with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) at five locations along their length using a semi-quantitative score. Results: The average tissue growth thickness (ATGT) was not different between the three devices. Neointima was apparent at 5 days and all devices demonstrated similar ATGT at each time point. On SEM, no difference was found in the endothelium scores between the device types. Conclusion: In vivo, neither the Shield surface modification nor the device design (Vantage) altered the longitudinal healing of the flow diverter.
  • I saw Medusa's head sign and turned to stone

    Zoppo, Christopher T; Taros, Trenton; Singh, Jasmeet; Puri, Ajit; Kuhn, Anna Luisa (2023-07-04)
    Developmental venous anomalies (DVAs) are characterized by many radially oriented medullary veins surrounding a central draining vessel. When the imaging plane is perpendicular to the central vessel, these medullary veins resemble Medusa's head of snakes. Medusa's head sign, or caput medusae, can be appreciated on contrast enhanced CT scans and MRIs of the brain and is highly indicative of a DVA.
  • Passive Monitoring of Crowd-Level Cough Counts in Waiting Areas produces Reliable Syndromic Indicator for Total COVID-19 Burden in a Hospital Emergency Clinic [preprint]

    Rahman, Tauhidur; Hossain, Forsad; Tonmoy, Tanjid Hasan; Nuvvula, Sri; Chapman, Brittany P; Gupta, Rajesh; Lover, Andrew; Dinglasan, Rhoel; Carreiro, Stephanie (2023-06-26)
    Syndromic surveillance is an effective tool for enabling the timely detection of infectious disease outbreaks and facilitating the implementation of effective mitigation strategies by public health authorities. While various information sources are currently utilized to collect syndromic signal data for analysis, the aggregated measurement of cough, an important symptom for many illnesses, is not widely employed as a syndromic signal. With recent advancements in ubiquitous sensing technologies, it becomes feasible to continuously measure population-level cough incidence in a contactless, unobtrusive, and automated manner. In this work, we demonstrate the utility of monitoring aggregated cough count as a syndromic indicator to estimate COVID-19 cases. In our study, we deployed a sensor-based platform Syndromic Logger in the emergency room of a large hospital. The platform captured syndromic signals from audio, thermal imaging, and radar, while the ground truth data were collected from the hospital's electronic health record. Our analysis revealed a significant correlation between the aggregated cough count and positive COVID-19 cases in the hospital (Pearson correlation of 0.40, p-value < 0.001). Notably, this correlation was higher than that observed with the number of individuals presenting with fever (Pearson correlation of 0.22, p=0.04), a widely used syndromic signal and screening tool for such diseases. Furthermore, we demonstrate how the data obtained from our Syndromic Logger platform could be leveraged to estimate various COVID-19-related statistics using multiple modeling approaches. Our findings highlight the efficacy of aggregated cough count as a valuable syndromic indicator associated with the occurrence of COVID-19 cases. Incorporating this signal into syndromic surveillance systems for such diseases can significantly enhance overall resilience against future public health challenges, such as emerging disease outbreaks or pandemics.
  • Changes in postpartum contraception utilization rates during the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic

    Chin, Emily; Leung, Katherine; Moore Simas, Tiffany A; Kumaraswami, Tara (2023-06-19)
    Background: The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with restricted access to reproductive care including delayed abortion and female sterilization procedures, in addition to altered maternity care experiences. Given high rates of unintended and short-interval pregnancies in the United States in general and negative obstetric outcomes specifically associated with COVID-19, access to all effective pregnancy prevention methods during the pandemic was crucial. Objectives: To investigate changes in contraception utilization rates prior to delivery discharge, at outpatient postpartum visits, and at 10 weeks' postpartum, at the largest healthcare system in Central Massachusetts, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (15 March to 15 May 2020), compared to the same period in 2019. Design: Retrospective cohort review. Methods: Compared perinatal individuals (n = 495) who received prenatal care and delivered at UMass Memorial Medical Center from mid-March to mid-May in both 2019 (non-pandemic) and 2020 (COVID-19 pandemic). Receipt of contraception prior to delivery discharge and at outpatient postpartum visit was estimated and compared between the two time periods using the Chi-square test for categorical variables (or Fisher's exact test when cell counts were < 5) and Student's t-test for continuous variables. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to adjust for confounders. Results: The proportion of individuals who used long-acting reversible contraception before delivery discharge was 4% in 2019 and 13% in 2020 (p = 0.01). Modes of outpatient postpartum visit contraception did not vary from 2019 to 2020, (p = 0.06). Overall, there were no differences in contraception utilization rates at 10 weeks' postpartum from 2019 to 2020, (p = 0.50). Conclusion: Compared to a year prior, immediate postpartum long-acting reversible contraception use increased during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, while overall contraception use at 10 weeks' postpartum remained unchanged. The evaluation of contraceptive use during the most restrictive time of COVID-19 pandemic can help identify opportunities to increase access to effective contraception, such as the immediate postpartum period prior to hospital discharge.
  • COVID-19-induced Esophageal Necrosis Requiring Emergent Total Esophagectomy in a Vaccinated Patient

    Patil, Tanmay; Dickson, Kevin M; Viera, Matthew; Bludevich, Bryce M; Akalin, Ali; Uy, Karl; Lou, Feiran; Maxfield, Mark W (2023-06-09)
    Acute esophageal necrosis may be a potential complication of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 has been associated with a variety of sequelae, including acute respiratory distress syndrome, myocarditis, and thromboembolic events. Here, we present a case of a 43-year-old male who was admitted for acute necrotizing pancreatitis and found to have COVID-19 pneumonia. He subsequently developed acute esophageal necrosis requiring a total esophagectomy. Currently, there are at least five other reported cases of esophageal necrosis with concomitant COVID-19 infection. This case is the first requiring esophagectomy. Future studies may establish esophageal necrosis as a known complication of COVID-19.
  • Prognostic Language in Critical Neurologic Illness: A Multicenter Mixed-Methods Study

    Goss, Adeline; Ge, Connie; Crawford, Sybil; Goostrey, Kelsey; Buddadhumaruk, Praewpannanrai; Hough, Catherine L; Lo, Bernard; Carson, Shannon; Steingrub, Jay; White, Douglas B; et al. (2023-06-08)
    Background and objectives: There are no evidence-based guidelines for discussing prognosis in critical neurologic illness, but in general, experts recommend that clinicians communicate prognosis using estimates, such as numerical or qualitative expressions of risk. Little is known about how real-world clinicians communicate prognosis in critical neurologic illness. Our primary objective was to characterize prognostic language clinicians used in critical neurologic illness. We additionally explored whether prognostic language differed between prognostic domains (e.g., survival, cognition). Methods: We conducted a multicenter cross-sectional mixed-methods study analyzing deidentified transcripts of audio-recorded clinician-family meetings for patients with neurologic illness requiring intensive care (e.g., intracerebral hemorrhage, traumatic brain injury, severe stroke) from 7 US centers. Two coders assigned codes for prognostic language type and domain of prognosis to each clinician prognostic statement. Prognostic language was coded as probabilistic (estimating the likelihood of an outcome occurring, e.g., "80% survival"; "She'll probably survive") or nonprobabilistic (characterizing outcomes without offering likelihood; e.g., "She may not survive"). We applied univariate and multivariate binomial logistic regression to examine independent associations between prognostic language and domain of prognosis. Results: We analyzed 43 clinician-family meetings for 39 patients with 78 surrogates and 27 clinicians. Clinicians made 512 statements about survival (median 0/meeting [interquartile range (IQR) 0-2]), physical function (median 2 [IQR 0-7]), cognition (median 2 [IQR 0-6]), and overall recovery (median 2 [IQR 1-4]). Most statements were nonprobabilistic (316/512 [62%]); 10 of 512 prognostic statements (2%) offered numeric estimates; and 21% (9/43) of family meetings only contained nonprobabilistic language. Compared with statements about cognition, statements about survival (odds ratio [OR] 2.50, 95% CI 1.01-6.18, p = 0.048) and physical function (OR 3.22, 95% 1.77-5.86, p < 0.001) were more frequently probabilistic. Statements about physical function were less likely to be uncertainty-based than statements about cognition (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.17-0.66, p = 0.002). Discussion: Clinicians preferred not to use estimates (either numeric or qualitative) when discussing critical neurologic illness prognosis, especially when they discussed cognitive outcomes. These findings may inform interventions to improve prognostic communication in critical neurologic illness.

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