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1.  Health-related quality of life of children with physical disabilities: a longitudinal study 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:26.
Outcomes of health and rehabilitation services for children and youth with disabilities increasingly include assessments of health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The purpose of this research was to 1) describe overall patterns of HRQoL, 2) examine changes in parent’s perceptions of child’s HRQoL across 18 months and 3) explore factors that predict these changes.
Participants in this study included 427 parents of children (229 boys and 198 girls) with a physically-based disability between the ages of 6 to 14 years. The Child Health Questionnaire (CHQ) was administered three times, at nine month intervals. Comparisons to the CHQ normative data were analyzed at Time 1 using t-tests, and change over time was examined using linear mixed-effects models. Possible predictors were modeled: 1) child’s factors measured by the Activities Scale for Kids, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and general health measured by SF-36, 2) family characteristics measured by the Impact on Family Scale and 3) environmental barriers measured by the Craig Hospital Inventory of Environmental Factors.
CHQ scores of the study’s participants demonstrated significantly lower summary scores from the normative sample for both CHQ Physical and Psychosocial summary scores. On average, children did not change significantly over time for physical summary scores. There was an average increase in psychosocial health that was statistically significant, but small. However, there was evidence of heterogeneity among children. Environmental barriers, behavioral difficulties, family functioning/impact, general health and child physical functioning had negative and significant associations with physical QoL at baseline. Change in physical QoL scores over time was dependent on children’s behavioral difficulties, family functioning and environmental barriers. Environmental barriers, behavioral difficulties, family functioning/impact and general health had significant associations with psychosocial scores at baseline, but none served as predictors of change over time.
Children with physical disabilities differ from the normative group on parent ratings of their physical and psychosocial health. While there was little average change in CHQ scores over 18 months, there is evidence of heterogeneity among children. Factors such as environmental barriers, family functioning/impact, child physical functioning and behavioral difficulties and general health significantly influence QoL scores as measured by the CHQ.
PMCID: PMC3911963  PMID: 24476085
Disability; Health-related quality of life; Longitudinal study; Environmental barriers
2.  Correction: Association of Psychotherapy with Disability Benefit Claim Closure among Patients Disabled Due to Depression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):10.1371/annotation/fd8ade2b-e9ed-4f75-8e32-5b327535306c.
PMCID: PMC3880342
3.  Association of Psychotherapy with Disability Benefit Claim Closure among Patients Disabled Due to Depression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67162.
Depression is the most frequent reason for receiving disability benefits in North America, and treatment with psychotherapy is often funded by private insurers. No studies have explored the association between the provision of psychotherapy for depression and time to claim closure.
Using administrative data from a Canadian disability insurer, we evaluated the association between the provision of psychotherapy and short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) claim closure by performing Cox proportional hazards regression.
We analyzed 10,508 STD and 10,338 LTD claims for depression. In our adjusted analyses, receipt of psychotherapy was associated with longer time to STD closure (HR [99% CI] = 0.81 [0.68 to 0.97]) and faster LTD claim closure (1.42 [1.33 to 1.52]). In both STD and LTD, older age (0.90 [0.88 to 0.92] and 0.83 [0.80 to 0.85]), per decade), a primary diagnosis of recurrent depression versus non-recurrent major depression (0.78 [0.69 to 0.87] and 0.80 [0.72 to 0.89]), a psychological secondary diagnosis (0.90 [0.84 to 0.97] and 0.66 [0.61 to 0.71]), or a non-psychological secondary diagnosis (0.81 [0.73 to 0.90] and 0.77 [0.71 to 0.83]) versus no secondary diagnosis, and an administrative services only policy ([0.94 [0.88 to 1.00] and 0.87 [0.75 to 0.996]) or refund policy (0.86 [0.80 to 0.92] and 0.73 [0.68 to 0.78]) compared to non-refund policy claims were independently associated with longer time to STD claim closure.
We found, paradoxically, that receipt of psychotherapy was independently associated with longer time to STD claim closure and faster LTD claim closure in patients with depression. We also found multiple factors that were predictive of time to both STD and LTD claim closure. Our study has limitations, and well-designed prospective studies are needed to establish the effect of psychotherapy on disabling depression.
PMCID: PMC3696037  PMID: 23840614
5.  Prognosis of West Nile virus associated acute flaccid paralysis: a case series 
Little is known about the long-term health related quality of life outcomes in patients with West Nile virus associated acute flaccid paralysis. We describe the quality of life scores of seven patients with acute flaccid paralysis who presented to hospital between 2003 and 2006, and were followed for up to two years.
Case presentations
Between 2003 and 2006, 157 symptomatic patients with West Nile virus were enrolled in a longitudinal cohort study of West Nile virus in Canada. Seven patients (4%) had acute flaccid paralysis. The first patient was a 55-year-old man who presented with left upper extremity weakness. The second patient was a 54-year-old man who presented with bilateral upper extremity weakness. The third patient was a 66-year-old woman who developed bilateral upper and lower extremity weakness. The fourth patient was a 67-year-old man who presented with right lower extremity weakness. The fifth patient was a 60-year-old woman who developed bilateral lower extremity weakness. The sixth patient was a 71-year-old man with a history of Parkinson's disease and acute onset bilateral lower extremity weakness. The seventh patient was a 52-year-old man who presented with right lower extremity weakness. All were Caucasian. Patients were followed for a mean of 1.1 years. At the end of follow-up the mean score on the Physical Component Summary of the Short-Form 36 scale had only slightly increased to 39. In contrast, mean score on the Mental Component Summary of the Short-Form 36 scale at the end of follow-up had normalized to 50.
Despite the poor physical prognosis for patients with acute flaccid paralysis, the mental health outcomes are generally favorable.
PMCID: PMC3177918  PMID: 21854567
6.  Effects of an evidence service on health-system policy makers' use of research evidence: A protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Health-system policy makers need timely access to synthesised research evidence to inform the policy-making process. No efforts to address this need have been evaluated using an experimental quantitative design. We developed an evidence service that draws inputs from Health Systems Evidence, which is a database of policy-relevant systematic reviews. The reviews have been (a) categorised by topic and type of review; (b) coded by the last year searches for studies were conducted and by the countries in which included studies were conducted; (c) rated for quality; and (d) linked to available user-friendly summaries, scientific abstracts, and full-text reports. Our goal is to evaluate whether a "full-serve" evidence service increases the use of synthesized research evidence by policy analysts and advisors in the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) as compared to a "self-serve" evidence service.
We will conduct a two-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT), along with a follow-up qualitative process study in order to explore the findings in greater depth. For the RCT, all policy analysts and policy advisors (n = 168) in a single division of the MOHLTC will be invited to participate. Using a stratified randomized design, participants will be randomized to receive either the "full-serve" evidence service (database access, monthly e-mail alerts, and full-text article availability) or the "self-serve" evidence service (database access only). The trial duration will be ten months (two-month baseline period, six-month intervention period, and two month cross-over period). The primary outcome will be the mean number of site visits/month/user between baseline and the end of the intervention period. The secondary outcome will be participants' intention to use research evidence. For the qualitative study, 15 participants from each trial arm (n = 30) will be purposively sampled. One-on-one semi-structured interviews will be conducted by telephone on their views about and their experiences with the evidence service they received, how helpful it was in their work, why it was helpful (or not helpful), what aspects were most and least helpful and why, and recommendations for next steps.
To our knowledge, this will be the first RCT to evaluate the effects of an evidence service specifically designed to support health-system policy makers in finding and using research evidence.
Trial registration NCT01307228
PMCID: PMC3123565  PMID: 21619621
This paper discusses the need for critically evaluating regional-scale (~200-2000 km) three-dimensional numerical photochemical air quality modeling systems to establish a model’s credibility in simulating the spatio-temporal features embedded in the observations. Because of limitations of currently used approaches for evaluating regional air quality models, a framework for model evaluation is introduced here for determining the suitability of a modeling system for a given application, distinguishing the performance between different models through confidence-testing of model results, guiding model development, and analyzing the impacts of regulatory policy options. The framework identifies operational, diagnostic, dynamic, and probabilistic types of model evaluation. Operational evaluation techniques include statistical and graphical analyses aimed at determining whether model estimates are in agreement with the observations in an overall sense. Diagnostic evaluation focuses on process-oriented analyses to determine whether the individual processes and components of the model system are working correctly, both independently and in combination. Dynamic evaluation assesses the ability of the air quality model to simulate changes in air quality stemming from changes in source emissions and/or meteorology, the principal forces that drive the air quality model. Probabilistic evaluation attempts to assess the confidence that can be placed in model predictions using techniques such as ensemble modeling and Bayesian model averaging. The advantages of these types of model evaluation approaches are discussed in this paper.
PMCID: PMC3066450  PMID: 21461126
air quality model; photochemical model; model evaluation; performance evaluation
8.  Using knowledge brokers to facilitate the uptake of pediatric measurement tools into clinical practice: a before-after intervention study 
The use of measurement tools is an essential part of good evidence-based practice; however, physiotherapists (PTs) are not always confident when selecting, administering, and interpreting these tools. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a multifaceted knowledge translation intervention, using PTs as knowledge brokers (KBs) to facilitate the use in clinical practice of four evidence-based measurement tools designed to evaluate and understand motor function in children with cerebral palsy (CP). The KB model evaluated in this study was designed to overcome many of the barriers to research transfer identified in the literature.
A mixed methods before-after study design was used to evaluate the impact of a six-month KB intervention by 25 KBs on 122 practicing PTs' self-reported knowledge and use of the measurement tools in 28 children's rehabilitation organizations in two regions of Canada. The model was that of PT KBs situated in clinical sites supported by a network of KBs and the research team through a broker to the KBs. Modest financial remuneration to the organizations for the KB time (two hours/week for six months), ongoing resource materials, and personal and intranet support was provided to the KBs. Survey data were collected by questionnaire prior to, immediately following the intervention (six months), and at 12 and 18 months. A mixed effects multinomial logistic regression was used to examine the impact of the intervention over time and by region. The impact of organizational factors was also explored.
PTs' self-reported knowledge of all four measurement tools increased significantly over the six-month intervention, and reported use of three of the four measurement tools also increased. Changes were sustained 12 months later. Organizational culture for research and supervisor expectations were significantly associated with uptake of only one of the four measurement tools.
KBs positively influenced PTs' self-reported knowledge and self-reported use of the targeted measurement tools. Further research is warranted to investigate whether this is a feasible, cost-effective model that could be used more broadly in a rehabilitation setting to facilitate the uptake of other measurement tools or evidence-based intervention approaches.
PMCID: PMC3004810  PMID: 21092283
9.  Development of the AGREE II, part 1: performance, usefulness and areas for improvement 
We undertook research to improve the AGREE instrument, a tool used to evaluate guidelines. We tested a new seven-point scale, evaluated the usefulness of the original items in the instrument, investigated evidence to support shorter, tailored versions of the tool, and identified areas for improvement.
We report on one component of a larger study that used a mixed design with four factors (user type, clinical topic, guideline and condition). For the analysis reported in this article, we asked participants to read a guideline and use the AGREE items to evaluate it based on a seven-point scale, to complete three outcome measures related to adoption of the guideline, and to provide feedback on the instrument’s usefulness and how to improve it.
Guideline developers gave lower-quality ratings than did clinicians or policy-makers. Five of six domains were significant predictors of participants’ outcome measures (p < 0.05). All domains and items were rated as useful by stakeholders (mean scores > 4.0) with no significant differences by user type (p > 0.05). Internal consistency ranged between 0.64 and 0.89. Inter-rater reliability was satisfactory. We received feedback on how to improve the instrument.
Quality ratings of the AGREE domains were significant predictors of outcome measures associated with guideline adoption: guideline endorsements, overall intentions to use guidelines, and overall quality of guidelines. All AGREE items were assessed as useful in determining whether a participant would use a guideline. No clusters of items were found more useful by some users than others. The measurement properties of the seven-point scale were promising. These data contributed to the refinements and release of the AGREE II.
PMCID: PMC2900328  PMID: 20513780
10.  Development of the AGREE II, part 2: assessment of validity of items and tools to support application 
We established a program of research to improve the development, reporting and evaluation of practice guidelines. We assessed the construct validity of the items and user’s manual in the β version of the AGREE II.
We designed guideline excerpts reflecting high-and low-quality guideline content for 21 of the 23 items in the tool. We designed two study packages so that one low-quality and one high-quality version of each item were randomly assigned to each package. We randomly assigned 30 participants to one of the two packages. Participants reviewed and rated the guideline content according to the instructions of the user’s manual and completed a survey assessing the manual.
In all cases, content designed to be of high quality was rated higher than low-quality content; in 18 of 21 cases, the differences were significant (p < 0.05). The manual was rated by participants as appropriate, easy to use, and helpful in differentiating guidelines of varying quality, with all scores above the mid-point of the seven-point scale. Considerable feedback was offered on how the items and manual of the β-AGREE II could be improved.
The validity of the items was established and the user’s manual was rated as highly useful by users. We used these results and those of our study presented in part 1 to modify the items and user’s manual. We recommend AGREE II (available at as the revised standard for guideline development, reporting and evaluation.
PMCID: PMC2900368  PMID: 20513779
11.  The Role of Theory in Increasing Adherence to Prescribed Practice 
Physiotherapy Canada  2009;61(2):68-77.
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to apply theoretical frameworks to adherence behaviour and to guide the development of an intervention to increase adherence to prescribed home programmes.
Summary of Key Points: Delivering an effective intervention requires establishing one that is evidence based and of adequate dosage. Two-thirds of patients who receive home exercise prescriptions do not adhere to their home programme, which may contribute to their physiotherapy's being ineffective. The mediating concepts of self-efficacy (SE) and outcome expectations (OE) are common to the five relevant theories used to explain adherence to exercise: the health belief model, protection motivation theory, theory of reasoned action, theory of planned behaviour, and social cognitive theory.
Conclusion/Recommendations: Few intervention studies with any theoretical underpinning have examined adherence to exercise. Even fewer have been designed to affect and measure change in the theoretical mediators of SE and OE in patient populations. Physiotherapists must consider increasing adherence as a component of effective physiotherapy. Ongoing research is needed to increase our understanding of adherence to prescribed home programmes and to design interventions to affect theoretical mediators for increasing adherence.
PMCID: PMC2792241  PMID: 20190989
adherence; learning; motor; practice; theory; fidélité; apprentissage; moteur; pratique; théorie
12.  A randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of knowledge translation and exchange strategies 
Significant resources and time are invested in the production of research knowledge. The primary objective of this randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effectiveness of three knowledge translation and exchange strategies in the incorporation of research evidence into public health policies and programs.
This trial was conducted with a national sample of public health departments in Canada from 2004 to 2006. The three interventions, implemented over one year in 2005, included access to an online registry of research evidence; tailored messaging; and a knowledge broker. The primary outcome assessed the extent to which research evidence was used in a recent program decision, and the secondary outcome measured the change in the sum of evidence-informed healthy body weight promotion policies or programs being delivered at health departments. Mixed-effects models were used to test the hypotheses.
One hundred and eight of 141 (77%) health departments participated in this study. No significant effect of the intervention was observed for primary outcome (p < 0.45). However, for public health policies and programs (HPPs), a significant effect of the intervention was observed only for tailored, targeted messages (p < 0.01). The treatment effect was moderated by organizational research culture (e.g., value placed on research evidence in decision making).
The results of this study suggest that under certain conditions tailored, targeted messages are more effective than knowledge brokering and access to an online registry of research evidence. Greater emphasis on the identification of organizational factors is needed in order to implement strategies that best meet the needs of individual organizations.
Trial Registration
The trial registration number and title are as follows: ISRCTN35240937 -- Is a knowledge broker more effective than other strategies in promoting evidence-based physical activity and healthy body weight programming?
PMCID: PMC2936828  PMID: 19775439
13.  Clinicians' evaluations of, endorsements of, and intentions to use practice guidelines change over time: a retrospective analysis from an organized guideline program 
Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) can improve clinical care but uptake and application are inconsistent. Objectives were: to examine temporal trends in clinicians' evaluations of, endorsements of, and intentions to use cancer CPGs developed by an established CPG program; and to evaluate how predictor variables (clinician characteristics, beliefs, and attitudes) are associated with these trends.
Design and methods
Between 1999 and 2005, 756 clinicians evaluated 84 Cancer Care Ontario CPGs, yielding 4,091 surveys that targeted four CPG quality domains (rigour, applicability, acceptability, and comparative value), clinicians' endorsement levels, and clinicians' intentions to use CPGs in practice.
Time: In contrast to the applicability and intention to use in practice scores, there were small but statistically significant annual net gains in ratings for rigour, acceptability, comparative value, and CPG endorsement measures (p < 0.05 for all rating categories). Predictors: In 17 comparisons, ratings were significantly higher among clinicians having the most favourable beliefs and most positive attitudes and lowest for those having the least favourable beliefs and most negative attitudes (p < 0.05). Interactions Time × Predictors: Over time, differences in outcomes among clinicians decreased due to positive net gains in scores by clinicians whose beliefs and attitudes were least favorable.
Individual differences among clinicians largely explain variances in outcomes measured. Continued engagement of clinicians least receptive to CPGs may be worthwhile because they are the ones showing most significant gains in CPG quality ratings, endorsement ratings, and intentions to use in practice ratings.
PMCID: PMC2715368  PMID: 19558716
14.  Behavioral Heterogeneity in an Animal Model of Neuropsychiatric Lupus 
Biological psychiatry  2005;57(6):679-687.
Various psychiatric manifestations of unknown etiology are common in systemic autoimmune disease lupus erythematosus (SLE). Profound heterogeneity at clinical and neuropathological levels suggests distinct subpopulations of SLE patients and multiple mechanisms in the pathogenesis of aberrant behavior. Using inbred mice prone to SLE-like condition, we presently examine whether subpopulations of diseased mice can be identified on the basis of their behavioral performance.
Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to classify 105 MRL-lpr males into clusters. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and discriminant function analysis were used to detect overall differences and identify discriminative variables.
Cluster 1 was characterized by blunted responsiveness to palatable stimulation, as well as increased spleen mass and serum levels of interleukin-1. Cluster 2 comprised of animals with reduced ambulation speed and enlarged spleen. Mice from cluster 3 showed profound dilatation of brain ventricles, reduced brain mass, impaired nutrition and performance in task reflective of emotional reactivity.
Present results suggest that systemic autoimmunity compromises brain function via non-Mendelian mechanisms. Although neuroactive cytokines may impair reward systems, brain atrophy seems to underlie deficits in ingestive behavior and emotional reactivity. This study supports the hypothesis that multiple neuroimmunological pathways are involved in the etiology of aberrant behavior during SLE-like disease.
PMCID: PMC1635785  PMID: 15780857
Neuropsychiatric lupus; autoimmunity; brain atrophy; multivariate analysis; MRL mice; animal model
15.  Modeling early recovery of physical function following hip and knee arthroplasty 
Information on early recovery after arthroplasty is needed to help benchmark progress and make appropriate decisions concerning patient rehabilitation needs. The purpose of this study was to model early recovery of physical function in patients undergoing total hip (THA) and knee (TKA) arthroplasty, using physical performance and self-report measures.
A sample of convenience of 152 subjects completed testing, of which 69 (mean age: 66.77 ± 8.23 years) underwent THA and 83 (mean age: 60.25 ± 11.19 years) TKA. Postoperatively, patients were treated using standardized care pathways and rehabilitation protocols. Using a repeated measures design, patients were assessed at multiple time points over the first four postoperative months. Outcome measures included the Lower Extremity Function Scale (LEFS), the physical function subscale of the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC PF), the 6 minute walk test (6 MWT), timed up and go test (TUG) and a timed stair test (ST). Average recovery curves for each of the measures were characterized using hierarchical linear modeling. Predictors of recovery were sequentially modeled after validation of the basic developmental models.
Slopes of recovery were greater in the first 6 to 9 weeks with a second-degree polynomial growth term (weeks squared) providing a reasonable fit for the data over the study interval. Different patterns of recovery were observed between the self-report measures of physical function and the performance measures. In contrast to the models for the WOMAC PF and the LEFS, site of arthroplasty was a significant predictor (p = 0.001) in all of the physical performance measure models with the patients post TKA initially demonstrating higher function. Site of arthroplasty (p = 0.025) also predicted the rate of change for patients post THA and between 9 to 11 weeks after surgery, the THA group surpassed the function of the patients post TKA.
Knowledge about the predicted growth curves will assist clinicians in referencing patient progress, and determining the critical time points for measuring change. The study has contributed further evidence to highlight the benefit of using physical performance measures to learn about the patients' actual level of disability.
PMCID: PMC1712335  PMID: 17156487

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