Holographic quantum-error correcting codes are models of bulk/boundary dualities such as the anti-de Sitter/conformal field theory (AdS/CFT) correspondence, where a higher-dimensional bulk geometry is associated with the code’s logical degrees of freedom. Previous discrete holographic codes based on tensor networks have reproduced the general code properties expected from continuum AdS/CFT, such as complementary recovery. However, the boundary states of such tensor networks typically do not exhibit the expected correlation functions of CFT boundary states. In this work, we show that a new class of exact holographic codes, extending the previously proposed hyperinvariant tensor networks into quantum codes, produce the correct boundary correlation functions. This approach yields a dictionary between logical states in the bulk and the critical renormalization group flow of boundary states. Furthermore, these codes exhibit a state-dependent breakdown of complementary recovery as expected from AdS/CFT under small quantum gravity corrections.View less
Background: The PROMIS Preference score (PROPr) is a new generic preference-based health-related quality of life (HRQoL) score that can be used as a health state utility (HSU) score for quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) in cost-utility analyses (CUAs). It is the first HSU score based on item response theory (IRT) and has demonstrated favorable psychometric properties in first analyses. The PROPr combines the seven PROMIS domains: cognition, depression, fatigue, pain, physical function, sleep disturbance, and ability to participate in social roles and activities. It was developed based on preferences of the US general population. The aim of this study was to validate the PROPr in a German inpatient sample and to compare it to the EQ-5D.
Methods: We collected PROPr and EQ-5D-5L data from 141 patients undergoing inpatient treatment in the rheumatology and psychosomatic departments. We evaluated the criterion and convergent validity, and ceiling and floor effects of the PROPr and compared those characteristics to those of the EQ-5D.
Results: The mean PROPr (0.26, 95% CI: 0.23; 0.29) and the mean EQ-5D (0.44, 95% CI: 0.38; 0.51) scores differed significantly (d = 0.18, p < 0.001). Compared to the EQ-5D, the PROPr scores were less scattered across the measurement range which has resulted in smaller confidence intervals of the mean scores. The Pearson correlation coefficient between the two scores was r = 0.72 (p < 0.001). Both scores showed fair agreement with an Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) of 0.48 (p < 0.05). The PROPr and EQ-5D demonstrated similar discrimination power across sex, age, and conditions. While the PROPr showed a floor effect, the EQ-5D showed a ceiling effect.
Conclusion: The PROPr measures HSU considerably lower than the EQ-5D as a result of different construction, anchors and measurement ranges. Because QALYs derived with the EQ-5D are widely considered state-of-the-art, application of the PROPr for QALY measurements would be problematic.View less
Background: Microbial food contamination, although a known contributor to diarrheal disease and highly prevalent in low-income settings, has received relatively little attention in nutrition programs. Therefore, to address the critical pathway from food contamination to infection to child undernutrition, we adapted and integrated an innovative food hygiene intervention into a large-scale nutrition-sensitive agriculture trial in rural Bangladesh. In this article, we describe the intervention, analyze participation and uptake of the promoted food hygiene behaviors among intervention households, and examine the underlying determinants of behavior adoption.
Methods: The food hygiene intervention employed emotional drivers, engaging group activities, and household visits to improve six feeding and food hygiene behaviors. The program centered on an 'ideal family' competition. Households' attendance in each food hygiene session was documented. Uptake of promoted behaviors was assessed by project staff on seven 'ideal family' indicators using direct observations of practices and spot checks of household hygiene conditions during household visits. We used descriptive analysis and mixed-effect logistic regression to examine changes in household food hygiene practices and to identify determinants of uptake.
Results: Participation in the food hygiene intervention was high with more than 75% attendance at each session. Hygiene behavior practices increased from pre-intervention with success varying by behavior. Safe storage and fresh preparation or reheating of leftover foods were frequently practiced, while handwashing and cleaning of utensils was practiced by fewer participants. In total, 496 of 1275 participating households (39%) adopted at least 5 of 7 selected practices in all three assessment rounds and were awarded 'ideal family' titles at the end of the intervention. Being an 'ideal family' winner was associated with high participation in intervention activities [adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 11.4, 95% CI: 5.2-24.9], highest household wealth [AOR: 2.3, 95% CI: 1.4-3.6] and secondary education of participating women [AOR: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.4-3.4].
Conclusion: This intervention is an example of successful integration of a behavior change food hygiene component into an existing large-scale trial and achieved satisfactory coverage. Future analysis will show if the intervention was able to sustain improved behaviors over time and decrease food contamination and infection.View less
Background: Vaccination rates for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) and diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio (Tdap-IPV) are not optimal among German adolescents. Education in combination with easy access to vaccination may be a promising approach to improve vaccination rates. The present paper describes a pilot study of a planned cluster randomized controlled trial (cRCT) in which we aim to improve MMR and Tdap-IPV vaccination rates together with knowledge and self-efficacy in a school setting.
Methods: The study covered 863 students from 41 classes of four schools. The optimization and feasibility of access to schools, recruitment strategies, intervention, and assessment procedures were examined. The course and content of the educational unit were evaluated with a mixed-methods approach. A pre-post measurement design was tested for the vaccination rate in all schools. Additionally, at two schools, improvement in vaccination-related knowledge and perceived self-efficacy were measured by questionnaire pre-educational unit (n=287) and post-educational unit (n=293). The remaining two schools provided only postintervention data. Finally, we evaluated the psychometric properties (i.e., reliability, retest reliability, and change rates) of the questionnaire, applying Cronbach's alpha, factor analyses, generalized estimating equations and linear mixed models.
Results: The findings of the pilot study indicated good feasibility. Of the total sample, 437 students (50.9%) brought their vaccination cards to school, 68 students received Tdap-IPV vaccinations, and 11 received MMR vaccinations. Out of six knowledge questions, on average, the students had M=2.84 (95% CI [2.69, 3.10]) correct answers before and M=4.45 (95% CI [4.26, 4.64]) after the class. Ranging from 1 to 4, the self-efficacy scale changed by 0.3 points (p <.001); Cronbach's alpha was 0.67 and 0.76 pre- and post-educational unit, respectively, and a one-factor solution was found. Content analysis of the five semistructured group interviews (n=12, 58.3% female) showed that all students found the length of the intervention to be appropriate. The teaching methods, including interactive and social media components, were perceived as very good.
Conclusions: A school-based educational and on-site vaccination intervention appears to be feasible in terms of procedures and the adequacy of the instruments for the adolescent target group.View less
Background: The outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has posed multiple challenges to healthcare systems. Evidence suggests that mental well-being is badly affected due to compliance with preventative measures in containing the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to explore the role of positive mental health (subjective sense of wellbeing) to cope with fears related to COVID-19 and general anxiety disorder in the Pashtun community in Pakistan.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 501 respondents from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa participating in an online-based study. We performed correlational analysis, hierarchical linear regression and structural equational modeling (SEM) to analyze the role of mental health in reducing fears and general anxiety disorder.
Results: The results of the SEM show that positive mental health has direct effects in reducing the fear related to COVID-19 (beta = - 0.244, p < 0.001) and general anxiety (beta = - 0.210, p < 0.001). Fears of COVID-19 has a direct effect on increasing general anxiety (beta = 0.480). In addition, positive mental health also has an indirect effect (beta = - 0.117, p < 0.001) on general anxiety (R-2 = 0.32, p < 0.001) through reducing fear of coronavirus.
Conclusion: Based on these findings, there is a need to develop community health policies emphasizing on promotive and preventive mental health strategies for people practicing social/physical distancing.View less
Background: Depression is highly prevalent in nursing home residents living with moderate to severe dementia. However, assessing depressive symptoms in residents with dementia can be challenging and may vary by rater perspective. We aimed to investigate the concordance of, and factors associated with self- and informant-rated depressive symptoms in nursing home residents with dementia.
Methods: Cross-sectional data was collected from N= 162 nursing home residents with dementia (age: 53-100; 74% women). Self-ratings were assessed with the Geriatric Depression Scale, while the depression and anxiety items of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory were used for informant-ratings. Cohen's Kappa was calculated to determine the concordance of both measures and of each with antidepressant medication. Multivariate associations with sociodemographic variables, self- and informant-rated quality of life, dementia stage, neuropsychiatric symptoms, functional status and antidepressant medication were analysed with linear mixed models and generalized estimating equations.
Results: Concordance between self- and single item informant-rated depressive symptoms was minimal (Cohen's Kappa = .22, p= .02). No concordance was found for self-reported depressive symptoms and the combined informant-rated depression-anxiety score. Self-reported depression was negatively associated with self-rated quality of life (beta=-.32; 95%CI: -.45 to -.19, p< .001), informant-rated quality of life (beta=-.25; 95%CI: -.43 to -.07, p= .005) and functional status (beta=-.16; 95%CI: -.32 to -.01, p= .04), whilst single item informant-rated depression revealed negative associations with informant-rated quality of life (beta =-.32; 95%CI: -.52 to .13, p=.001) and dementia stage (beta=-.31; 95%CI: -.52 to -.10, p = .004). The combined informant-rated depression-anxiety score showed negative associations with self-rated quality of life (beta=-.12; 95%CI: -.22 to -.03, p = .01) and dementia stage (beta = -.37; 95%CI: -.67 to -.07, p= .02) and a positive association with neuropsychiatric symptoms (beta = .30; 95%CI: .10 to .51, p= .004). No concordance was found with antidepressant medication.
Conclusions: In line with our expectations, low agreement and unique association patterns were found for both measures. These findings indicate that both instruments address different aspects of depression and underline the need for comprehensive approaches when it comes to detecting signs of clinically relevant depressive symptoms in dementia.View less
Background: Though evidence on the detrimental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes is vast, research focusing on general practitioners' (GP) care during the pandemic in nursing homes is still scarce.
Methods: A retrospective online survey among 1,010 nursing home managers in Germany was conducted during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic between November 2020 and February 2021. Associations between perceived deficits in GP care (routine and acute visits) and both general and COVID-19-related characteristics of nursing homes were analysed using multiple logistic regression analyses.
Results: The majority of nursing home managers reported no deficits in GP care (routine visits, 84.3%; acute visits, 92.9%). Logistic regression analyses revealed that deficits in GP care (routine visits) were significantly associated with visiting restrictions for GPs and nursing home size. Small nursing homes (1-50 residents) were significantly more likely to report deficits in GP care (routine visits) compared to medium (51-100 residents) and large nursing homes (> 100 residents). Further, deficits in GP care (acute visits) were significantly associated with dementia as a focus of care and the burden of insufficient testing for SARS-CoV-2 among residents. Moreover, visiting restrictions for GPs were significantly associated with dementia as the focus of care and the COVID-19 incidence at the federal state level. Finally, COVID-19 cases in nursing homes were significantly associated with size of nursing homes, COVID-19-incidence on the federal state level and the burden of insufficient testing capacities for SARS-CoV-2 among residents.
Conclusion: We found structural factors associated with GP care deficits during the pandemic. New concepts for GP care should be implemented in pandemic preparedness plans to ensure high quality, consistent, and reliable GP care as well as effective infection prevention measures in nursing homes.View less
Background: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are frequently used to treat pain, fever and inflammatory conditions. Due to evidenced fetotoxicity, treatment with NSAID and metamizole should be avoided in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. There is an ongoing debate on fetotoxic risk of 2nd trimester use which is why we have conducted this study.
Methods: In this observational cohort study outcome of pregnancies with NSAID and/or metamizole exposure in the 2nd and/or 3rd trimester (study cohort n = 1092) was compared with pregnancies exposed to NSAID and/or metamizole in the 1st trimester only (comparison cohort, n = 1154). The WHO-UMC system was used to assess causality between study medication and study endpoints. Prenatal study endpoints were constriction of ductus arteriosus Botalli, oligohydramnios, late spontaneous abortion (SAB) or stillbirth. Postnatal study endpoints were patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), anomalies of the right heart ventricle, primary pulmonary hypertension (PPHT), and neonatal impairment of kidney function.
Results: Ductus arteriosus constriction was diagnosed in 5/1092 (0.5%) in the study cohort versus 0/1154 pregnancies in the comparison cohort. In one fetus, ductus arteriosus constriction and oligohydramnios occurred already in the late 2nd trimester after long-term NSAID exposure. Oligohydramnios was diagnosed in 41/1092 (3.8%) in the study cohort versus 29/1154 (2.5%) cases in the comparison cohort [RR, 1.5 (95% CI 0.9-2.4)]. Limited to 2nd trimester, oligohydramnios occurred in 8/904 (0.9%) versus 2/1154 (0.2%) pregnancies [RR, 5.1 (95% CI 1.1-24.0)]. At least in four of the 2nd trimester exposed pregnancies NSAID exposure lasted several weeks. Late SAB or stillbirth occurred in 14/1092 (1.3%) versus 17/1154 (1.5%). Postnatal cardiovascular or renal pathology did not differ between the cohorts.
Conclusions: NSAID use in the 2nd trimester limited to a few days does not appear to pose a relevant risk. Use for longer periods in the advanced 2nd trimester, however, may cause oligohydramnios and ductus arteriosus constriction similar to effects observed after 3rd trimester use.View less
Background: Sonography based estimate of fetal weight is a considerable issue for delivery planning. The study evaluated the influence of diabetes, obesity, excess weight gain, fetal and neonatal anthropometrics on accuracy of estimated fetal weight with respect to the extent of the percent error of estimated fetal weight to birth weight for different categories.
Methods: Multicenter retrospective analysis from 11,049 term deliveries and fetal ultrasound biometry performed within 14 days to delivery. Estimated fetal weight was calculated by Hadlock IV. Percent error from birth weight was determined for categories in 250 g increments between 2500 g and 4500 g. Estimated fetal weight accuracy was categorized as accurate <= 10% of birth weight, under- and overestimated by > +/- 10% - +/- 20% and > 20%.
Results: Diabetes was diagnosed in 12.5%, obesity in 12.6% and weight gain exceeding IOM recommendation in 49.1% of the women. The percentage of accurate estimated fetal weight was not significantly different in the presence of maternal diabetes (70.0% vs. 71.8%, p = 0.17), obesity (69.6% vs. 71.9%, p = 0.08) or excess weight gain (71.2% vs. 72%, p = 0.352) but of preexisting diabetes (61.1% vs. 71.7%; p = 0.007) that was associated with the highest macrosomia rate (26.9%). Mean percent error of estimated fetal weight from birth weight was 2.39% +/- 9.13%. The extent of percent error varied with birth weight with the lowest numbers for 3000 g-3249 g and increasing with the extent of birth weight variation: 5% +/- 11% overestimation in the lowest and 12% +/- 8% underestimation in the highest ranges.
Conclusion: Diabetes, obesity and excess weight gain are not necessarily confounders of estimated fetal weight accuracy. Percent error of estimated fetal weight is closely related to birth weight with clinically relevant over- and underestimation at both extremes. This work provides detailed data regarding the extent of percent error for different birth weight categories and may therefore improve delivery planning.View less
Background: Congenital heart defects (CHD) affect about 8 out of 1000 births worldwide. Most of the patients reach adulthood and are exposed to an increased risk of endocarditis. Since bacteria already enter the bloodstream during everyday activities, oral hygiene is given special importance in the prevention of endocarditis.
Methods: In this study 81 boys (55.1%) and 66 (44.9%) girls with CHD received a dental exam and additionally an assessment using the DIAGNOdent (R) pen. This study group consisting of patients with CHD was matched with a healthy epidemiological control group in Germany.
Results: Eighty-one boys (55.1%) and 66 (44.9%) girls were examined. The mean age was 11 & PLUSMN; 4 years. 38.8% showed at least one untreated carious lesions. 37.4% had a dmft/DMFT & GE;2 and thus represented a group with an increased caries risk. The dmft value was 2.12 & PLUSMN; 1.25 in the age group 3-6 year olds. In the group of the 7-12 year old patients the DMFT/dmft was 2.06 & PLUSMN; 2.27, whereas DMFT in 13-17 year olds was at 2.12 & PLUSMN; 1.58. However, children and adolescents with CHD had a higher DMF index than healthy children in the same age group.
Conclusions: The present study reveals that more than one third of those examined have a dental condition in need of rehabilitation. In future, close interdisciplinary cooperation between pediatric cardiologists and dentists should ensure regular dental check-ups.View less
We present a new, consistently processed seismicity catalogue for the eastern and southern Alps based on the temporary dense Swath-D monitoring network. The final catalogue contains 6053 earthquakes for the time period 2017–2019 and has a magnitude of completeness of −1.0 ML. The smallest detected and located events have a magnitude of −1.7 ML. Aimed at the low to moderate seismicity in the study region, we have developed a multi-stage, mostly automatic workflow that combines a priori information from local catalogues and waveform-based event detection, subsequent efficient GPU-based (GPU: graphics processing unit) event search by template matching, P and S arrival time pick refinement, and location in a regional 3-D velocity model.
The resulting seismicity distribution generally confirms the previously identified main seismically active domains but provides increased resolution of the fault activity at depth. In particular, the high number of small events additionally detected by the template search contributes to a denser catalogue and provides an important basis for future geological and tectonic studies in this complex part of the Alpine orogen.View less
Objectives: To investigate sonication as a new tool in microbiological probing of dental infections.
Methods: Comparison of a standard probing method: intraoperative swab, with sonication, and vortex of the removed tooth, was performed on 20 carious destructed teeth. Illumina high throughput sequencing of the 16S-rRNA-gene was used for assessing the microbial composition. Antibiotic susceptibility has been assigned based on known resistances of each detected species. Probing procedures were compared using Bland-Altmann-Test, and antibiotic susceptibility using the Friedmann-Test and alpha-adjusted post-hoc-analysis.
Results: In total, 60 samples were analysed: 20 intraoperative swabs, 20 vortex fluids, and 20 sonication fluids. Sonication fluid yielded the highest number of bacterial sequencing reads in all three procedures. Comparing the operational taxonomic units (OTUs) of the identified bacteria, significantly more OTUs were found in sonication fluid samples. Phylum and order abundances varied between the three procedures. Significantly more Actinomycetales have been found in sonication fluid samples compared to swab samples. The assigned resistance rates for the identified bacteria (1.79-31.23%) showed no differences between the tested probing procedures. The lowest resistance rates were found for amoxicillin + clavulanate (3.95%) and levofloxacin (3.40%), with the highest in amoxicillin (30.21%) and clindamycin (21.88%).
Conclusions: By using sonication on extracted teeth, it is possible to get a more comprehensive image of the residing microbial flora compared to the standard procedure. If sonication is not available, vortexing is a potential alternative. In immunocompromised patients, especially when actinomycosis is suspected, sonication should be considered for a more detailed microbiological evaluation of the potential disease-causing microbiome. Due to the high rates of antibiotic resistance, a more targeted antibiotic therapy is favourable. Levofloxacin should be considered as a first-line alternative to amoxicillin + clavulanate in patients with an allergy to penicillin.View less
Background: Due to exposure to potentially infectious aerosols during treatments, the dental personnel is considered being at high risk for aerosol transmitted diseases like COVID-19. The aim of this study was to evaluate aerosol exposure during different dental treatments as well as the efficacy of dental suction to reduce aerosol spreading.
Methods: Dental powder-jet (PJ; Air-Flow (R)), a water-cooled dental handpiece with a diamond bur (HP) and water-cooled ultrasonic scaling (US) were used in a simulation head, mounted on a dental unit in various treatment settings. The influence of the use of a small saliva ejector (SE) and high-volume suction (HVS) was evaluated. As a proxy of aerosols, air-born particles (PM10) were detected using a Laser Spectrometer in 30 cm distance from the mouth. As control, background particle counts (BC) were measured before and after experiments.
Results: With only SE, integrated aerosol levels [median (Q25/Q75) mu g/m(3) s] for PJ [91,246 (58,213/118,386) mu g/m(3) s, p < 0.001, ANOVA] were significantly increased compared to BC [7243 (6501/8407) mu g/m(3) s], whilst HP [11,119 (7190/17,234) mu g/m(3) s, p > 0.05] and US [6558 (6002/7066) mu g/m(3) s; p > 0.05] did not increase aerosol levels significantly. The use of HVS significantly decreased aerosol exposure for PJ [37,170 (29,634/51,719) mu g/m(3) s; p < 0.01] and HP [5476 (5066/5638) mu g/m(3) s; p < 0.001] compared to SE only, even reaching lower particle counts than BC levels for HP usage (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: To reduce the exposure to potentially infectious aerosols, HVS should be used during aerosol-forming dental treatments.View less
Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, shortage of nursing staff became even more evident. Nurses experienced great strain, putting them at risk to leave their jobs. Individual and organizational factors were known to be associated with nurses' turnover intention before the pandemic. The knowledge of factors associated with turnover intention during the pandemic could help to foster nurses' retention. Therefore, this review aims to identify factors associated with nurses' turnover intention during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: After a systematic search of six databases, the resulting records were screened in a two-step process based on pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. The included quantitative studies were synthesized qualitatively due to their methodological heterogeneity.
Results: A total of 19 articles were included in the analysis. Individual factors such as health factors or psychological symptoms and demographic characteristics were associated with nurses' turnover intention. Organizational factors associated with turnover intention were e.g., caring for COVID-19 patients, low job control or high job demands, and moral distress. Resilience and supporting leadership could mitigate adverse associations with turnover intention.
Conclusions: The results help to identify high-risk groups according to individual factors and to develop possible interventions, such as trainings for nurses and their superiors, addressing individual and organizational factors. Future research should focus on longitudinal designs applying carefully defined concepts of turnover intention.View less
Background: Care homes were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although high levels of psychosocial burden (i.e., anxiety, depression and stress) during the pandemic have been described for healthcare workers in hospitals, evidence on the psychosocial burden for nurses in care homes during the pandemic is scarce.
Methods: A total of 811 nurses participated in a retrospective online survey between November 2020 and February 2021. Information about the COVID-19 situation (i.e., working demands, COVID-19 cases in their facility, and COVID-19-related burden) of nurses in German care homes during the first wave of the pandemic (March 2020 to June 2020) was gathered. The Stress Scale of the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales (SDASS-21), the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale-2 (GAD-2), the Patients-Health-Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2), and the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) were used to screen for psychosocial burden.
Results: Among nurses, 94.2% stated that working demands since the COVID-19 pandemic increased. Further, 59.1% showed clinically relevant levels of either stress, anxiety, and/or depression. Multiple regression analysis showed significant associations between COVID-19-related burden and qualification (p < .01), dissatisfaction with COVID-19 management of care home manager (p < .05), COVID-19-related anxiety (p < .001), and dementia as a focus of care (p < .05). Stress, depression, and anxiety showed associations with COVID-19 related burden at work (p < .01), COVID-19-related anxiety (p < .001), social support (p < .01), and sense of community (p < .05). Stress was also associated with COVID-19 cases among residents (p < .05), and size of care home (p < .05).
Conclusion: Short- and long-term strategies (i.e., psychosocial counseling, mandatory team meetings, more highly qualified nurses, additional training) in the work environment of nursing, in crises, but beyond, should be encouraged to reduce the burden on nursing staff in care homes.View less
Background: Large-scale disease overarching longitudinal data are rare in the field of neuroimmunology. However, such data could aid early disease stratification, understanding disease etiology and ultimately improve treatment decisions. The Berlin Registry of Neuroimmunological Entities (BERLimmun) is a longitudinal prospective observational study, which aims to identify diagnostic, disease activity and prognostic markers and to elucidate the underlying pathobiology of neuroimmunological diseases.
Methods: BERLimmun is a single-center prospective observational study of planned 650 patients with neuroimmunological disease entity (e.g. but not confined to: multiple sclerosis, isolated syndromes, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders) and 85 healthy participants with 15 years of follow-up. The protocol comprises annual in-person visits with multimodal standardized assessments of medical history, rater-based disability staging, patient-report of lifestyle, diet, general health and disease specific symptoms, tests of motor, cognitive and visual functions, structural imaging of the neuroaxis and retina and extensive sampling of biological specimen.
Discussion: The BERLimmun database allows to investigate multiple key aspects of neuroimmunological diseases, such as immunological differences between diagnoses or compared to healthy participants, interrelations between findings of functional impairment and structural change, trajectories of change for different biomarkers over time and, importantly, to study determinants of the long-term disease course. BERLimmun opens an opportunity to a better understanding and distinction of neuroimmunological diseases.View less
Background and aims: Myasthenia Gravis requires expert treatment from specialized neurologists. In Germany, this treatment is mainly provided by 18 Integrated Myasthenia Centers (iMZ) accredited by the German Myasthenia Gravis Association (DMG). The DMG is a large and well-organized patient organisation that is regarded as a trusted source for disease-specific information. The aim of this study was to analyse the type of requests that each of these institutions receives in order to identify any potential unmet needs regarding the availability of advice for patients and caregivers. This data can then be used in further research to tailor modern digital communication tools to the specific needs of MG patients.
Methods: Counselling requests sent via e-mail to both institutions were extracted for defined examination periods and divided into a period 'before COVID-19 pandemic' (01.07.2019-31.12.2019) and 'during COVID-19 pandemic' (01.07.2020-31.12.2020). Requests were then analysed using four main categories: medical requests, organisational issues, COVID-19 and social legislation inquiries.
Results: One thousand seven hundred eleven requests for advice were addressed to DMG and iMZ Charite. Most inquiries directed to the DMG (47%; n = 750) were related to medical issues, most frequently to side effects of medications (n = 325; 20%) and questions about treatment (n = 263; 16%), followed by inquiries regarding organisational issues (26%; n = 412). About half of the inquiries (n = 69; 58%) to the iMZ Charite were related to medical issues and almost one in three inquiries concerned organisational issues (n = 37; 30%). About one in ten inquiries concerned socio-legal matters (iMZ: n = 7; 6% and DMG: n = 177; 11%). During the pandemic, COVID-19 related issues accounted for 8% (n = 6) of inquiries at iMZ, and 16% (n = 253) at DMG.
Conclusions: MG sufferers have a high demand for timely advice. In the current setting, they address their requests to both iMZs and the DMG via e-mail. Our findings confirm that the DMG is highly trusted by patients and caregivers and is used to obtain second opinions. A relevant proportion of requests to the iMZ could be answered more effectively through standardized responses or improved process management. The implementation of modern digital solutions, including telemedicine, for communication between patient and specialist should be evaluated in further research.View less
Background: Osteoporosis is a disease of the skeletal system associated with loss of bone mass and an increased risk of fractures affecting women more often than men. Identification of the knowledge about osteoporosis and its preventive methods is the backbone of any awareness program. This study investigates the knowledge with a special focus on women with and without a migration background.
Methods: Data from systematic patient interviews based on a questionnaire were collected at three different sites in Berlin between February and June 2021. The survey included questions assessing migrant background, demographic characteristics, lifestyle habits including physical exercise and smoking, prevention by vitamin D intake and bone densitometry, and information on personal and family medical history. According to the responses, a scale was created to assess the level of knowledge of preventive osteoporosis measures. The ethic committee of the Charite, Medical faculty has approved this study. SPSS (version 24.0) was used for the statistical analyses.
Results: The survey of 502 female patients revealed that 25% had low and 34% no previous knowledge of osteoporosis. Older age and a better education level correlate with a higher knowledge. Patients with gynecologic cancer are less well informed. There is a significant difference in vitamin D intake between migrant and non-migrant women (57% vs. 49%). There were no significant differences regarding the use of bone densitometry.
Conclusion: Knowledge of osteoporosis and the possibility of a bone densitometry as well as the implementation of preventive measures is low among women. Therefore, informing patients better should be a priority, with particular attention on the risks and needs of women with a migration background. Specific programs for women with and without migration background should be developed to increase the awareness of osteoporosis.View less
Background: Postural control is associated with fall risk. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have a higher risk to fall than healthy subjects. The objective of this study was to identify associations between variables of postural control with prospective falls in patients with RA.
Methods: For the baseline, the balance performance of 289 men and women with RA, ages 24-85 years, was evaluated by SPPB, FICSIT-4 and Romberg tests. Postural sway for Romberg, semitandem, tandem and one-leg stands were measured with the Leonardo Mechanograph (R). Self-reported disability was assessed using the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) and the Activity-specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC-scale). Falls were reported in quarterly reports over a year. Univariate and multiple logistic regression analysis were used to explore any associations with falling. Receiver-operating characteristics were determined, and the area under the curve is reported.
Results: A total of 238 subjects completed the 1-year follow-up, 48 (20.2%) experienced at least one fall during the observational period. Age (OR = 1.04, CI 1.01-1.07), HAQ (OR = 1.62, 1.1-2.38), FICSIT-4 scoring 0-4 (OR = 2.38, 1.13-5.0), and one-leg standing (OR = 2.14, 1.06-4.31) showed significant associations with falls. With regard to the SPPB and ABC-scale, no statistically significant associations with falls were found. The quartiles containing the worst results of medio-lateral sway of Romberg (OR = 2.63, CI 1.03-6.69), total sway of semitandem (OR = 3.07, CI 1.10-8.57) and tandem (OR = 2.86, CI 1.06-7.69), and area of sway of semitandem (OR = 2.80, CI 1.11-7.08) stands were associated with falls.
Conclusions: The assessment of a one-leg stand seems to be a good screening tool to discriminate between high and low risk of falls in RA patients in clinical practice. A low FICSIT-4 score and several sway parameters are important predictors of falls.View less
Background: Structured and harmonized implementation of molecular tumor boards (MTB) for the clinical interpretation of molecular data presents a current challenge for precision oncology. Heterogeneity in the interpretation of molecular data was shown for patients even with a limited number of molecular alterations. Integration of high-dimensional molecular data, including RNA- (RNA-Seq) and whole-exome sequencing (WES), is expected to further complicate clinical application. To analyze challenges for MTB harmonization based on complex molecular datasets, we retrospectively compared clinical interpretation of WES and RNA-Seq data by two independent molecular tumor boards.
Methods: High-dimensional molecular cancer profiling including WES and RNA-Seq was performed for patients with advanced solid tumors, no available standard therapy, ECOG performance status of 0-1, and available fresh-frozen tissue within the DKTK-MASTER Program from 2016 to 2018. Identical molecular profiling data of 40 patients were independently discussed by two molecular tumor boards (MTB) after prior annotation by specialized physicians, following independent, but similar workflows. Identified biomarkers and resulting treatment options were compared between the MTBs and patients were followed up clinically.
Results: A median of 309 molecular aberrations from WES and RNA-Seq (n = 38) and 82 molecular aberrations from WES only (n = 3) were considered for clinical interpretation for 40 patients (one patient sequenced twice). A median of 3 and 2 targeted treatment options were identified per patient, respectively. Most treatment options were identified for receptor tyrosine kinase, PARP, and mTOR inhibitors, as well as immunotherapy. The mean overlap coefficient between both MTB was 66%. Highest agreement rates were observed with the interpretation of single nucleotide variants, clinical evidence levels 1 and 2, and monotherapy whereas the interpretation of gene expression changes, preclinical evidence levels 3 and 4, and combination therapy yielded lower agreement rates. Patients receiving treatment following concordant MTB recommendations had significantly longer overall survival than patients receiving treatment following discrepant recommendations or physician's choice.
Conclusions: Reproducible clinical interpretation of high-dimensional molecular data is feasible and agreement rates are encouraging, when compared to previous reports. The interpretation of molecular aberrations beyond single nucleotide variants and preclinically validated biomarkers as well as combination therapies were identified as additional difficulties for ongoing harmonization efforts.View less