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1.  Effects of Alcohol Injection in Rat Sciatic Nerve 
Foot & ankle international  2014;35(11):1187-1191.
Background
Previous studies have shown that the injection of dehydrated alcohol has been successful for the treatment of Morton's neuroma in the foot. In this study, we determined the cellular effect of injection of alcohol into and around the sciatic nerve of rats, and measured the extent of cell necrosis and/or any associated histologic or inflammatory changes.
Methods
Twenty-two male (~375g) Wistar rats were randomized into two groups each receiving alcohol injections into or around the sciatic nerve after nerve exposure under sterile technique. Group 1 rats were injected with a 0.5ml solution of 0.5% Marcaine in the left sciatic nerve as a control group. In the right sciatic nerve a 0.5ml solution of 4% ethanol with 0.5% Marcaine was injected. Group 2 rats received 0.5ml of 20%ethanol with 0.5% Marcaine injected into the left sciatic nerve and 0.5 ml of 30% ethanol with 0.5% Marcaine injected into the right sciatic nerve. In each group, the rats were placed in 3 subgroups: intraneural, perineural, perimuscular injections. All rats were sacrificed and tissue harvested for histologic evaluation at day 10 post injection.
Results
No evidence of alcohol-associated cell necrosis, apoptosis or apparent inflammation was observed in histologic specimens of any injected nerves, perineural tissue, or muscles in controls or experimental groups regardless of concentration of ethanol injected on day 10.
Conclusion
We concluded that alcohol injection (≤30% ethanol) into and/or around the sciatic nerve or the adjacent muscle of rats has no histologic evidence of necrosis or inflammation to the nerve or surrounding tissue. There was no observable histological change in apoptosis, or cell number, in response to the alcohol injection.
doi:10.1177/1071100714546188
PMCID: PMC4321877  PMID: 25097192
Interdigital Neuroma; Morton’s Neuroma; Alcohol; Ethanol; Sclerosing Therapy; Foot
2.  Interventions to improve outpatient referrals from primary care to secondary care 
Background
The primary care specialist interface is a key organisational feature of many health care systems. Patients are referred to specialist care when investigation or therapeutic options are exhausted in primary care and more specialised care is needed. Referral has considerable implications for patients, the health care system and health care costs. There is considerable evidence that the referral processes can be improved.
Objectives
To estimate the effectiveness and efficiency of interventions to change outpatient referral rates or improve outpatient referral appropriateness.
Search methods
We conducted electronic searches of the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) group specialised register (developed through extensive searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Healthstar and the Cochrane Library) (February 2002) and the National Research Register. Updated searches were conducted in MEDLINE and the EPOC specialised register up to October 2007.
Selection criteria
Randomised controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, controlled before and after studies and interrupted time series of interventions to change or improve outpatient referrals. Participants were primary care physicians. The outcomes were objectively measured provider performance or health outcomes.
Data collection and analysis
A minimum of two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed study quality.
Main results
Seventeen studies involving 23 separate comparisons were included. Nine studies (14 comparisons) evaluated professional educational interventions. Ineffective strategies included: passive dissemination of local referral guidelines (two studies), feedback of referral rates (one study) and discussion with an independent medical adviser (one study). Generally effective strategies included dissemination of guidelines with structured referral sheets (four out of five studies) and involvement of consultants in educational activities (two out of three studies). Four studies evaluated organisational interventions (patient management by family physicians compared to general internists, attachment of a physiotherapist to general practices, a new slot system for referrals and requiring a second ‘in-house’ opinion prior to referral), all of which were effective. Four studies (five comparisons) evaluated financial interventions. One study evaluating change from a capitation based to mixed capitation and fee-for-service system and from a fee-for-service to a capitation based system (with an element of risk sharing for secondary care services) observed a reduction in referral rates. Modest reductions in referral rates of uncertain significance were observed following the introduction of the general practice fundholding scheme in the United Kingdom (UK). One study evaluating the effect of providing access to private specialists demonstrated an increase in the proportion of patients referred to specialist services but no overall effect on referral rates.
Authors’ conclusions
There are a limited number of rigorous evaluations to base policy on. Active local educational interventions involving secondary care specialists and structured referral sheets are the only interventions shown to impact on referral rates based on current evidence. The effects of ‘in-house’ second opinion and other intermediate primary care based alternatives to outpatient referral appear promising.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005471.pub2
PMCID: PMC4164370  PMID: 18843691
*Medicine [organization & administration; standards]; *Outpatients; *Practice Guidelines as Topic; *Primary Health Care [economics; organization & administration; standards]; *Specialization; Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic; Economics, Medical; Family Practice [economics; organization & administration; standards]; Information Dissemination; Referral and Consultation [economics; organization & administration; *standards]; Humans
3.  Maximizing the benefits of antiretroviral therapy for key affected populations 
Introduction
Scientific research has demonstrated the clinical benefits of earlier initiation of antiretroviral treatment (ART), and that ART can markedly reduce HIV transmission to sexual partners. Ensuring universal access to ART for those who need it has long been a core principle of the HIV response, and extending the benefits of ART to key populations is critical to increasing the impact of ART and the overall effectiveness of the HIV response. However, this can only be achieved through coordinated efforts to address political, social, legal and economic barriers that key populations face in accessing HIV services.
Discussion
Recent analyses show that HIV prevalence levels among key populations are far higher than among the general population, and they experience a range of biological and behavioural factors, and social, legal and economic barriers that increase their vulnerability to HIV and have resulted in alarmingly low ART coverage. World Health Organization 2014 consolidated guidance on HIV among key populations offers the potential for increased access to ART by key populations, following the same principles as for the general adult population. However, it should not be assumed that key populations will achieve greater access to ART unless stigma, discrimination and punitive laws, policies and practices that limit access to ART and other HIV interventions in many countries are addressed.
Conclusions
Rights-based approaches and investments in critical enablers, such as supportive legal and policy environments, are essential to enable wider access to ART and other HIV interventions for key populations. The primary objective of ART should always be to treat the person living with HIV; prevention is an important, additional benefit. ART should be provided only with informed consent. The preventive benefits of treatment must not be used as a pretext for failure to provide other necessary HIV programming for key populations, including comprehensive harm reduction and other prevention interventions tailored to meet the needs of key populations. An end to AIDS is only possible if we overcome the barriers of criminalization, stigma and discrimination that remain key drivers of the HIV epidemics among key populations.
doi:10.7448/IAS.17.1.19320
PMCID: PMC4104298  PMID: 25043380
treatment; HIV/AIDS; human rights
4.  Use of drug therapy in the management of symptomatic ureteric stones in hospitalized adults (SUSPEND), a multicentre, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of a calcium-channel blocker (nifedipine) and an α-blocker (tamsulosin): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:238.
Background
Urinary stone disease is common, with an estimated prevalence among the general population of 2% to 3%. Ureteric stones can cause severe pain and have a significant impact on quality of life, accounting for over 15,000 hospital admissions in England annually. Uncomplicated cases of smaller stones in the lower ureter are traditionally treated expectantly. Those who fail standard care or develop complications undergo active treatment, such as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy or ureteroscopy with stone retrieval. Such interventions are expensive, require urological expertise and carry a risk of complications.
Growing understanding of ureteric function and pathophysiology has led to the hypothesis that drugs causing relaxation of ureteric smooth muscle, such as the selective α-blocker tamsulosin and the calcium-channel blocker nifedipine, can enhance the spontaneous passage of ureteric stones. The use of drugs in augmenting stone passage, reducing the morbidity and costs associated with ureteric stone disease, is promising. However, the majority of clinical trials conducted to date have been small, poor to moderate quality and lacking in comprehensive economic evaluation.
This trial aims to determine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of tamsulosin and nifedipine in the management of symptomatic urinary stones.
Methods/design
The SUSPEND (Spontaneous Urinary Stone Passage ENabled by Drugs) trial is a multicentre, double-blind, randomized controlled trial evaluating two medical expulsive therapy strategies (nifedipine or tamsulosin) versus placebo.
Patients aged 18 to 65 with a ureteric stone confirmed by non-contrast computed tomography of the kidney, ureter and bladder will be randomized to receive nifedipine, tamsulosin or placebo (400 participants per arm) for a maximum of 28 days. The primary clinical outcome is spontaneous passage of ureteric stones at 4 weeks (defined as no further intervention required to facilitate stone passage). The primary economic outcome is a reduction in the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life years, determined at 12 weeks. The analysis will be based on all participants as randomized (intention to treat). The trial has 90% power with a type I error rate of 5% to detect a 10% increase in primary outcome between the tamsulosin and nifedipine treatment groups.
Trial registration
ISRCTN69423238; EudraCT number: 2010-019469-26
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-238
PMCID: PMC4090633  PMID: 24947817
medical expulsive therapy; nifedipine; tamsulosin; ureteric stone
5.  PINK1-Parkin Pathway Activity Is Regulated by Degradation of PINK1 in the Mitochondrial Matrix 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(5):e1004279.
Loss-of-function mutations in PINK1, which encodes a mitochondrially targeted serine/threonine kinase, result in an early-onset heritable form of Parkinson's disease. Previous work has shown that PINK1 is constitutively degraded in healthy cells, but selectively accumulates on the surface of depolarized mitochondria, thereby initiating their autophagic degradation. Although PINK1 is known to be a cleavage target of several mitochondrial proteases, whether these proteases account for the constitutive degradation of PINK1 in healthy mitochondria remains unclear. To explore the mechanism by which PINK1 is degraded, we performed a screen for mitochondrial proteases that influence PINK1 abundance in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. We found that genetic perturbations targeting the matrix-localized protease Lon caused dramatic accumulation of processed PINK1 species in several mitochondrial compartments, including the matrix. Knockdown of Lon did not decrease mitochondrial membrane potential or trigger activation of the mitochondrial unfolded protein stress response (UPRmt), indicating that PINK1 accumulation in Lon-deficient animals is not a secondary consequence of mitochondrial depolarization or the UPRmt. Moreover, the influence of Lon on PINK1 abundance was highly specific, as Lon inactivation had little or no effect on the abundance of other mitochondrial proteins. Further studies indicated that the processed forms of PINK1 that accumulate upon Lon inactivation are capable of activating the PINK1-Parkin pathway in vivo. Our findings thus suggest that Lon plays an essential role in regulating the PINK1-Parkin pathway by promoting the degradation of PINK1 in the matrix of healthy mitochondria.
Author Summary
Mitochondria are essential organelles that provide most of the cell's energy and perform many other critical functions. The gradual accumulation of defective mitochondria is thought to play a role in aging and in diseases of the nervous system, including Parkinson's disease. The selective elimination of defective mitochondria is therefore a vital task for the cell, and the protein PINK1 was recently identified as a critical player in this process. PINK1 accumulates on the surface of mitochondria after they are damaged, starting a process that leads ultimately to the elimination of defective mitochondria. Previous work indicated that PINK1 does not accumulate on healthy mitochondria because it is rapidly degraded. However, it was unclear exactly how and where this degradation occurred. Our work shows that Lon protease promotes the degradation of PINK1 in the mitochondrial matrix. This finding provides new insight into the mechanisms of mitochondrial quality control, and reveals a potential strategy for treating the many diseases associated with the accumulation of defective mitochondria.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004279
PMCID: PMC4038460  PMID: 24874806
6.  VCP is essential for mitochondrial quality control by PINK1/Parkin and this function is impaired by VCP mutations 
Neuron  2013;78(1):65-80.
Mutations in VCP cause multisystem degeneration impacting the nervous system, muscle, and/or bone. Patients may present with ALS, Parkinsonism, frontotemporal dementia, myopathy, Paget’s disease or a combination of these. The disease mechanism is unknown. We developed a Drosophila model of VCP mutation-dependent degeneration. The phenotype is reminiscent of PINK1 and parkin mutants, including a pronounced mitochondrial defect. Indeed, VCP interacts genetically with the PINK1/parkin pathway in vivo. Paradoxically, VCP complements PINK1 deficiency but not parkin deficiency. The basis of this paradox is resolved by mechanistic studies in vitro showing that VCP recruitment to damaged mitochondria requires Parkin-mediated ubiquitination of mitochondrial targets. VCP recruitment coincides temporally with mitochondrial fission, and VCP is required for proteasome-dependent degradation of Mitofusins in vitro and in vivo. Further, VCP and its adaptor Npl4/Ufd1 are required for clearance of damaged mitochondria via the PINK1/Parkin pathway, and this is impaired by pathogenic mutations in VCP.
doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.02.029
PMCID: PMC3683300  PMID: 23498974
7.  Explaining clinical behaviors using multiple theoretical models 
Background
In the field of implementation research, there is an increased interest in use of theory when designing implementation research studies involving behavior change. In 2003, we initiated a series of five studies to establish a scientific rationale for interventions to translate research findings into clinical practice by exploring the performance of a number of different, commonly used, overlapping behavioral theories and models. We reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the methods, the performance of the theories, and consider where these methods sit alongside the range of methods for studying healthcare professional behavior change.
Methods
These were five studies of the theory-based cognitions and clinical behaviors (taking dental radiographs, performing dental restorations, placing fissure sealants, managing upper respiratory tract infections without prescribing antibiotics, managing low back pain without ordering lumbar spine x-rays) of random samples of primary care dentists and physicians. Measures were derived for the explanatory theoretical constructs in the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), and Illness Representations specified by the Common Sense Self Regulation Model (CSSRM). We constructed self-report measures of two constructs from Learning Theory (LT), a measure of Implementation Intentions (II), and the Precaution Adoption Process. We collected data on theory-based cognitions (explanatory measures) and two interim outcome measures (stated behavioral intention and simulated behavior) by postal questionnaire survey during the 12-month period to which objective measures of behavior (collected from routine administrative sources) were related. Planned analyses explored the predictive value of theories in explaining variance in intention, behavioral simulation and behavior.
Results
Response rates across the five surveys ranged from 21% to 48%; we achieved the target sample size for three of the five surveys. For the predictor variables, the mean construct scores were above the mid-point on the scale with median values across the five behaviors generally being above four out of seven and the range being from 1.53 to 6.01. Across all of the theories, the highest proportion of the variance explained was always for intention and the lowest was for behavior. The Knowledge-Attitudes-Behavior Model performed poorly across all behaviors and dependent variables; CSSRM also performed poorly. For TPB, SCT, II, and LT across the five behaviors, we predicted median R2 of 25% to 42.6% for intention, 6.2% to 16% for behavioral simulation, and 2.4% to 6.3% for behavior.
Conclusions
We operationalized multiple theories measuring across five behaviors. Continuing challenges that emerge from our work are: better specification of behaviors, better operationalization of theories; how best to appropriately extend the range of theories; further assessment of the value of theories in different settings and groups; exploring the implications of these methods for the management of chronic diseases; and moving to experimental designs to allow an understanding of behavior change.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-99
PMCID: PMC3500222  PMID: 23075284
8.  Do incentives, reminders or reduced burden improve healthcare professional response rates in postal questionnaires? two randomised controlled trials 
Background
Healthcare professional response rates to postal questionnaires are declining and this may threaten the validity and generalisability of their findings. Methods to improve response rates do incur costs (resources) and increase the cost of research projects. The aim of these randomised controlled trials (RCTs) was to assess whether 1) incentives, 2) type of reminder and/or 3) reduced response burden improve response rates; and to assess the cost implications of such additional effective interventions.
Methods
Two RCTs were conducted. In RCT A general dental practitioners (dentists) in Scotland were randomised to receive either an incentive; an abridged questionnaire or a full length questionnaire. In RCT B non-responders to a postal questionnaire sent to general medical practitioners (GPs) in the UK were firstly randomised to receive a second full length questionnaire as a reminder or a postcard reminder. Continued non-responders from RCT B were then randomised within their first randomisation to receive a third full length or an abridged questionnaire reminder. The cost-effectiveness of interventions that effectively increased response rates was assessed as a secondary outcome.
Results
There was no evidence that an incentive (52% versus 43%, Risk Difference (RD) -8.8 (95%CI −22.5, 4.8); or abridged questionnaire (46% versus 43%, RD −2.9 (95%CI −16.5, 10.7); statistically significantly improved dentist response rates compared to a full length questionnaire in RCT A. In RCT B there was no evidence that a full questionnaire reminder statistically significantly improved response rates compared to a postcard reminder (10.4% versus 7.3%, RD 3 (95%CI −0.1, 6.8). At a second reminder stage, GPs sent the abridged questionnaire responded more often (14.8% versus 7.2%, RD −7.7 (95%CI −12.8, -2.6). GPs who received a postcard reminder followed by an abridged questionnaire were most likely to respond (19.8% versus 6.3%, RD 8.1%, and 9.1% for full/postcard/full, three full or full/full/abridged questionnaire respectively). An abridged questionnaire containing fewer questions following a postcard reminder was the only cost-effective strategy for increasing the response rate (£15.99 per response).
Conclusions
When expecting or facing a low response rate to postal questionnaires, researchers should carefully identify the most efficient way to boost their response rate. In these studies, an abridged questionnaire containing fewer questions following a postcard reminder was the only cost-effective strategy. An increase in response rates may be explained by a combination of the number and type of contacts. Increasing the sampling frame may be more cost-effective than interventions to prompt non-responders. However, this may not strengthen the validity and generalisability of the survey findings and affect the representativeness of the sample.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-250
PMCID: PMC3508866  PMID: 22891875
9.  Surveillance mammography for detecting ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence and metachronous contralateral breast cancer: a systematic review 
European Radiology  2011;21(12):2484-2491.
Objectives
To determine the diagnostic accuracy of surveillance mammography for detecting ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence and metachronous contralateral breast cancer in women previously treated for primary breast cancer.
Methods
A systematic review of surveillance mammography compared with ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), specialist-led clinical examination or unstructured primary care follow-up, using histopathological assessment for test positives and follow-up for test negatives as the reference standard.
Results
Nine studies met our inclusion criteria. Variations in study comparisons precluded meta-analysis. For routine ipsilateral breast tumour detection, surveillance mammography sensitivity ranged from 64–67% and specificity ranged from 85–97%. For MRI, sensitivity ranged from 86–100% and specificity was 93%. For non-routine ipsilateral breast tumour detection, sensitivity and specificity for surveillance mammography ranged from 50–83% and 57–75% and for MRI 93–100% and 88–96%. For routine metachronous contralateral breast cancer detection, one study reported sensitivity of 67% and specificity of 50% for both surveillance mammography and MRI.
Conclusion
Although mammography is associated with high sensitivity and specificity, MRI is the most accurate test for detecting ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence and metachronous contralateral breast cancer in women previously treated for primary breast cancer. Results should be interpreted with caution because of the limited evidence base.
Key Points
• Surveillance mammography is associated with high sensitivity and specificity
• Findings suggest that MRI is the most accurate test for detecting further breast cancer
• Robust conclusions cannot be made due to the limited evidence base
• Further research comparing surveillance mammography and other diagnostic tests is required
doi:10.1007/s00330-011-2226-z
PMCID: PMC3217137  PMID: 21833567
Mammography; Surveillance; Diagnostic accuracy; Neoplasm recurrence, local; Neoplasm, second primary
10.  Applying psychological theories to evidence-based clinical practice: identifying factors predictive of lumbar spine x-ray for low back pain in UK primary care practice 
Background
Psychological models predict behaviour in a wide range of settings. The aim of this study was to explore the usefulness of a range of psychological models to predict the health professional behaviour 'referral for lumbar spine x-ray in patients presenting with low back pain' by UK primary care physicians.
Methods
Psychological measures were collected by postal questionnaire survey from a random sample of primary care physicians in Scotland and north England. The outcome measures were clinical behaviour (referral rates for lumbar spine x-rays), behavioural simulation (lumbar spine x-ray referral decisions based upon scenarios), and behavioural intention (general intention to refer for lumbar spine x-rays in patients with low back pain). Explanatory variables were the constructs within the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), Common Sense Self-Regulation Model (CS-SRM), Operant Learning Theory (OLT), Implementation Intention (II), Weinstein's Stage Model termed the Precaution Adoption Process (PAP), and knowledge. For each of the outcome measures, a generalised linear model was used to examine the predictive value of each theory individually. Linear regression was used for the intention and simulation outcomes, and negative binomial regression was used for the behaviour outcome. Following this 'theory level' analysis, a 'cross-theoretical construct' analysis was conducted to investigate the combined predictive value of all individual constructs across theories.
Results
Constructs from TPB, SCT, CS-SRM, and OLT predicted behaviour; however, the theoretical models did not fit the data well. When predicting behavioural simulation, the proportion of variance explained by individual theories was TPB 11.6%, SCT 12.1%, OLT 8.1%, and II 1.5% of the variance, and in the cross-theory analysis constructs from TPB, CS-SRM and II explained 16.5% of the variance in simulated behaviours. When predicting intention, the proportion of variance explained by individual theories was TPB 25.0%, SCT 21.5%, CS-SRM 11.3%, OLT 26.3%, PAP 2.6%, and knowledge 2.3%, and in the cross-theory analysis constructs from TPB, SCT, CS-SRM, and OLT explained 33.5% variance in intention. Together these results suggest that physicians' beliefs about consequences and beliefs about capabilities are likely determinants of lumbar spine x-ray referrals.
Conclusions
The study provides evidence that taking a theory-based approach enables the creation of a replicable methodology for identifying factors that predict clinical behaviour. However, a number of conceptual and methodological challenges remain.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-55
PMCID: PMC3125229  PMID: 21619689
11.  Using the theory of planned behaviour as a process evaluation tool in randomised trials of knowledge translation strategies: A case study from UK primary care 
Background
Randomised trials of knowledge translation strategies for professional behaviour change can provide robust estimates of effectiveness, but offer little insight into the causal mechanisms by which any change is produced. To illustrate the applicability of causal methods within randomised trials, we undertook a theory-based process evaluation study within an implementation trial to explore whether the cognitions of primary care doctors' predicted their test requesting behaviours and, secondly, whether the trial results were mediated by the theoretical constructs.
Methods
The process evaluation comprised a cross-sectional questionnaire survey of a random 50% sample of the randomised groups of primary care practices in Grampian (NHS Grampian), UK, who took part in a trial of the effect of enhanced feedback and brief educational reminders on test requesting behaviour. The process evaluation was based upon the Theory of Planned Behaviour and focussed on three of the test requesting behaviours that were targeted in the trial -- ferritin, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and Helicobacter Pylori serology (HPS).
Results
The questionnaire was completed by 131 primary care doctors (56%) from 42 (98%) of the sampled practices. Behavioural intention, attitude, and subjective norm were highly correlated for all the tests. There was no evidence that perceived behavioural control was correlated with any of the other measures. Simple linear regression analysis of the rate of test requests on minimum behavioural intentions had R2 of 11.1%, 12.5%, and 0.1% for ferritin, FSH, and HPS requesting, respectively. Mediational analysis showed that the trial results for ferritin and FSH were partially mediated (between 23% and 78% mediation) through intentions. The HPS trial result was not mediated through intention.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated that a theory-based process evaluation can provide useful information on causal mechanisms that aid not only interpretation of the trial but also inform future evaluations and intervention development.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-71
PMCID: PMC2959079  PMID: 20920277
12.  Factors Impacting Hand Hygiene Compliance Among New Interns: Findings From a Mandatory Patient Safety Course 
Background
Residency is a critical transition during which individuals acquire lifelong behaviors important for professionalism and optimal patient care. One behavior is proper hand hygiene (HH), yet poor compliance with accepted HH practices remains a critical issue in many settings. This study explored the factors affecting hand hygiene compliance (HHC) in a diverse group of interns at the beginning of graduate training.
Methods
During a required patient safety course, we observed HH behaviors using a standardized patient encounter. Interns were instructed to perform a focused exam in a simulated inpatient environment with HH products available and clearly visible. Participants were blinded to the HH component of the study. An auditory alert was triggered if participants failed to perform prepatient encounter HH. Compliance rates and the number of alerts were recorded. All encounters were videotaped.
Results
The HHC among the 169 participants was 37.9% pre-encounter and was higher among female interns than males, although this difference was not statistically significant (41.6% versus 31.5%, P  =  .176). International medical graduates had significantly lower HHC compared with US graduates (23.2% versus 45.1%, P  =  .006). Most initially noncompliant participants performed HH after 1 alert (87.6%).
Discussion
The initial low rate of HHC in our sample is comparable to other studies. Using direct video surveillance and auditory alarms, we improved our success rates for prepatient encounter HHC. Our study identified medical school origin as an important factor for HHC, and the significantly lower compliance for international medical graduates compared with US graduates has not been previously reported. These findings should be considered in designing interventions such as intern orientation and clinical education programs to improve HH behaviors.
doi:10.4300/JGME-D-09-00106.1
PMCID: PMC2941383  PMID: 21975625
13.  Applying psychological theories to evidence-based clinical practice: identifying factors predictive of placing preventive fissure sealants 
Background
Psychological models are used to understand and predict behaviour in a wide range of settings, but have not been consistently applied to health professional behaviours, and the contribution of differing theories is not clear. This study explored the usefulness of a range of models to predict an evidence-based behaviour -- the placing of fissure sealants.
Methods
Measures were collected by postal questionnaire from a random sample of general dental practitioners (GDPs) in Scotland. Outcomes were behavioural simulation (scenario decision-making), and behavioural intention. Predictor variables were from the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), Common Sense Self-regulation Model (CS-SRM), Operant Learning Theory (OLT), Implementation Intention (II), Stage Model, and knowledge (a non-theoretical construct). Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the predictive value of each theoretical model individually. Significant constructs from all theories were then entered into a 'cross theory' stepwise regression analysis to investigate their combined predictive value
Results
Behavioural simulation - theory level variance explained was: TPB 31%; SCT 29%; II 7%; OLT 30%. Neither CS-SRM nor stage explained significant variance. In the cross theory analysis, habit (OLT), timeline acute (CS-SRM), and outcome expectancy (SCT) entered the equation, together explaining 38% of the variance. Behavioural intention - theory level variance explained was: TPB 30%; SCT 24%; OLT 58%, CS-SRM 27%. GDPs in the action stage had significantly higher intention to place fissure sealants. In the cross theory analysis, habit (OLT) and attitude (TPB) entered the equation, together explaining 68% of the variance in intention.
Summary
The study provides evidence that psychological models can be useful in understanding and predicting clinical behaviour. Taking a theory-based approach enables the creation of a replicable methodology for identifying factors that may predict clinical behaviour and so provide possible targets for knowledge translation interventions. Results suggest that more evidence-based behaviour may be achieved by influencing beliefs about the positive outcomes of placing fissure sealants and building a habit of placing them as part of patient management. However a number of conceptual and methodological challenges remain.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-25
PMCID: PMC2864198  PMID: 20377849
14.  The Mitochondrial Fusion-Promoting Factor Mitofusin Is a Substrate of the PINK1/Parkin Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(4):e10054.
Loss-of-function mutations in the PINK1 or parkin genes result in recessive heritable forms of parkinsonism. Genetic studies of Drosophila orthologs of PINK1 and parkin indicate that PINK1, a mitochondrially targeted serine/threonine kinase, acts upstream of Parkin, a cytosolic ubiquitin-protein ligase, to promote mitochondrial fragmentation, although the molecular mechanisms by which the PINK1/Parkin pathway promotes mitochondrial fragmentation are unknown. We tested the hypothesis that PINK1 and Parkin promote mitochondrial fragmentation by targeting core components of the mitochondrial morphogenesis machinery for ubiquitination. We report that the steady-state abundance of the mitochondrial fusion-promoting factor Mitofusin (dMfn) is inversely correlated with the activity of PINK1 and Parkin in Drosophila. We further report that dMfn is ubiquitinated in a PINK1- and Parkin-dependent fashion and that dMfn co-immunoprecipitates with Parkin. By contrast, perturbations of PINK1 or Parkin did not influence the steady-state abundance of the mitochondrial fission-promoting factor Drp1 or the mitochondrial fusion-promoting factor Opa1, or the subcellular distribution of Drp1. Our findings suggest that dMfn is a direct substrate of the PINK1/Parkin pathway and that the mitochondrial morphological alterations and tissue degeneration phenotypes that derive from mutations in PINK1 and parkin result at least in part from reduced ubiquitin-mediated turnover of dMfn.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010054
PMCID: PMC2850930  PMID: 20383334
15.  The accuracy of accredited glaucoma optometrists in the diagnosis and treatment recommendation for glaucoma 
The British Journal of Ophthalmology  2007;91(12):1639-1643.
Aim
To compare the diagnostic performance of accredited glaucoma optometrists (AGO) for both the diagnosis of glaucoma and the decision to treat with that of routine hospital eye care, against a reference standard of expert opinion (a consultant ophthalmologist with a special interest in glaucoma).
Methods
A directly comparative, masked, performance study was undertaken in Grampian, Scotland. Of 165 people invited to participate, 100 (61%) were examined. People suspected of having glaucoma underwent, within one month, a full ophthalmic assessment in both a newly established community optometry led glaucoma management scheme and a consultant led hospital eye service.
Results
Agreement between the AGO and the consultant ophthalmologist in diagnosing glaucoma was substantial (89%; κ = 0.703, SE = 0.083). Agreement over the need for treatment was also substantial (88%; κ = 0.716, SE = 0.076). The agreement between the trainee ophthalmologists and the consultant ophthalmologist in the diagnosis of glaucoma and treatment recommendation was moderate (83%, κ = 0.541, SE = 0.098, SE = 0.98; and 81%, κ = 0.553, SE = 0.90, respectively). The diagnostic accuracy of the optometrists in detecting glaucoma in this population was high for specificity (0.93 (95% confidence interval, 0.85 to 0.97)) but lower for sensitivity (0.76 (0.57 to 0.89)). Performance was similar when accuracy was assessed for treatment recommendation (sensitivity 0.73 (0.57 to 0.85); specificity 0.96 (0.88 to 0.99)). The differences in sensitivity and specificity between AGO and junior ophthalmologist were not statistically significant.
Conclusions
Community optometrists trained in glaucoma provided satisfactory decisions regarding diagnosis and initiation of treatment for glaucoma. With such additional training in glaucoma, optometrists are at least as accurate as junior ophthalmologists but some cases of glaucoma are missed.
doi:10.1136/bjo.2007.119628
PMCID: PMC2095552  PMID: 17537783
glaucoma; optometry; ophthalmology; diagnosis
16.  Creating a Common Patient Safety Denominator: The Interns' Course 
Aim
After finishing medical school, interns are in many ways unprepared for handling patient care challenges independently. Recognizing that interns may benefit from a patient safety orientation, we developed an innovative curriculum to impart competencies related to their role in preventing medical errors. In the course, which runs during the first week of the intern year, we specifically address 1) calling for help; 2) teamwork and communication; 3) hand hygiene compliance; and, 4) preventing medication and other system errors.
Methods
The course consists of a lecture, interactive workshop, and a Web-based didactic component. Small-group simulation sessions allow instructors to assess interns' baseline competence in hand hygiene and patient hand-offs. In an individual exercise, interns performed a directed physical exam on a standardized patient and their hand hygiene adherence was recorded. In a group exercise, team performance was evaluated in accepting a hand-off from another provider and managing a deteriorating patient.
Results
Of the 131 interns, 35% (41) did not wash their hands before and 95% (121) did not wash their hands after patient examination. In the team exercise, scores for 23 teams ranged from 8 to 18 out of 30. None of the participants asked for additional information prior to accepting responsibility for the patient, despite a clearly inadequate hand-off. Post-course surveys indicate that interns consider the course worthwhile: 95% (121) found it beneficial, acquired new teamwork skills, had more appreciation for patient safety, and felt better prepared for clinical duties.
Discussion
We observed serious gaps in hand-hygiene compliance and in communication during hand-offs, both significant impediments to quality patient care. Nevertheless, positive responses to the course from both the interns and the institution reflect an important step in fostering a culture of patient safety.
doi:10.4300/JGME-D-09-00028.1
PMCID: PMC2931250  PMID: 21975991
17.  Genetic Variation in Healthy Oldest-Old 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(8):e6641.
Individuals who live to 85 and beyond without developing major age-related diseases may achieve this, in part, by lacking disease susceptibility factors, or by possessing resistance factors that enhance their ability to avoid disease and prolong lifespan. Healthy aging is a complex phenotype likely to be affected by both genetic and environmental factors. We sequenced 24 candidate healthy aging genes in DNA samples from 47 healthy individuals aged eighty-five years or older (the ‘oldest-old’), to characterize genetic variation that is present in this exceptional group. These healthy seniors were never diagnosed with cancer, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, or Alzheimer disease. We re-sequenced all exons, intron-exon boundaries and selected conserved non-coding sequences of candidate genes involved in aging-related processes, including dietary restriction (PPARG, PPARGC1A, SIRT1, SIRT3, UCP2, UCP3), metabolism (IGF1R, APOB, SCD), autophagy (BECN1, FRAP1), stem cell activation (NOTCH1, DLL1), tumor suppression (TP53, CDKN2A, ING1), DNA methylation (TRDMT1, DNMT3A, DNMT3B) Progeria syndromes (LMNA, ZMPSTE24, KL) and stress response (CRYAB, HSPB2). We detected 935 variants, including 848 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 87 insertion or deletions; 41% (385) were not recorded in dbSNP. This study is the first to present a comprehensive analysis of genetic variation in aging-related candidate genes in healthy oldest-old. These variants and especially our novel polymorphisms are valuable resources to test for genetic association in models of disease susceptibility or resistance. In addition, we propose an innovative tagSNP selection strategy that combines variants identified through gene re-sequencing- and HapMap-derived SNPs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006641
PMCID: PMC2722017  PMID: 19680556
18.  Applying psychological theories to evidence-based clinical practice: Identifying factors predictive of managing upper respiratory tract infections without antibiotics 
Background
Psychological models can be used to understand and predict behaviour in a wide range of settings. However, they have not been consistently applied to health professional behaviours, and the contribution of differing theories is not clear. The aim of this study was to explore the usefulness of a range of psychological theories to predict health professional behaviour relating to management of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) without antibiotics.
Methods
Psychological measures were collected by postal questionnaire survey from a random sample of general practitioners (GPs) in Scotland. The outcome measures were clinical behaviour (using antibiotic prescription rates as a proxy indicator), behavioural simulation (scenario-based decisions to managing URTI with or without antibiotics) and behavioural intention (general intention to managing URTI without antibiotics). Explanatory variables were the constructs within the following theories: Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), Common Sense Self-Regulation Model (CS-SRM), Operant Learning Theory (OLT), Implementation Intention (II), Stage Model (SM), and knowledge (a non-theoretical construct). For each outcome measure, multiple regression analysis was used to examine the predictive value of each theoretical model individually. Following this 'theory level' analysis, a 'cross theory' analysis was conducted to investigate the combined predictive value of all significant individual constructs across theories.
Results
All theories were tested, but only significant results are presented. When predicting behaviour, at the theory level, OLT explained 6% of the variance and, in a cross theory analysis, OLT 'evidence of habitual behaviour' also explained 6%. When predicting behavioural simulation, at the theory level, the proportion of variance explained was: TPB, 31%; SCT, 26%; II, 6%; OLT, 24%. GPs who reported having already decided to change their management to try to avoid the use of antibiotics made significantly fewer scenario-based decisions to prescribe. In the cross theory analysis, perceived behavioural control (TPB), evidence of habitual behaviour (OLT), CS-SRM cause (chance/bad luck), and intention entered the equation, together explaining 36% of the variance. When predicting intention, at the theory level, the proportion of variance explained was: TPB, 30%; SCT, 29%; CS-SRM 27%; OLT, 43%. GPs who reported that they had already decided to change their management to try to avoid the use of antibiotics had a significantly higher intention to manage URTIs without prescribing antibiotics. In the cross theory analysis, OLT evidence of habitual behaviour, TPB attitudes, risk perception, CS-SRM control by doctor, TPB perceived behavioural control and CS-SRM control by treatment entered the equation, together explaining 49% of the variance in intention.
Conclusion
The study provides evidence that psychological models can be useful in understanding and predicting clinical behaviour. Taking a theory-based approach enables the creation of a replicable methodology for identifying factors that predict clinical behaviour. However, a number of conceptual and methodological challenges remain.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-2-26
PMCID: PMC2042498  PMID: 17683558
19.  Toward Evidence-Based Quality Improvement: Evidence (and its Limitations) of the Effectiveness of Guideline Dissemination and Implementation Strategies 1966–1998 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2006;21(Suppl 2):S14-S20.
OBJECTIVES
To determine effectiveness and costs of different guideline dissemination and implementation strategies.
DATA SOURCES
MEDLINE (1966 to 1998), HEALTHSTAR (1975 to 1998), Cochrane Controlled Trial Register (4th edn 1998), EMBASE (1980 to 1998), SIGLE (1980 to 1988), and the specialized register of the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care group.
REVIEW METHODS: INCLUSION CRITERIA
Randomized-controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, controlled before and after studies, and interrupted time series evaluating guideline dissemination and implementation strategies targeting medically qualified health care professionals that reported objective measures of provider behavior and/or patient outcome. Two reviewers independently abstracted data on the methodologic quality of the studies, characteristics of study setting, participants, targeted behaviors, and interventions. We derived single estimates of dichotomous process variables (e.g., proportion of patients receiving appropriate treatment) for each study comparison and reported the median and range of effect sizes observed by study group and other quality criteria.
RESULTS
We included 309 comparisons derived from 235 studies. The overall quality of the studies was poor. Seventy-three percent of comparisons evaluated multifaceted interventions. Overall, the majority of comparisons (86.6%) observed improvements in care; for example, the median absolute improvement in performance across interventions ranged from 14.1% in 14 cluster-randomized comparisons of reminders, 8.1% in 4 cluster-randomized comparisons of dissemination of educational materials, 7.0% in 5 cluster-randomized comparisons of audit and feedback, and 6.0% in 13 cluster-randomized comparisons of multifaceted interventions involving educational outreach. We found no relationship between the number of components and the effects of multifaceted interventions. Only 29.4% of comparisons reported any economic data.
CONCLUSIONS
Current guideline dissemination and implementation strategies can lead to improvements in care within the context of rigorous evaluative studies. However, there is an imperfect evidence base to support decisions about which guideline dissemination and implementation strategies are likely to be efficient under different circumstances. Decision makers need to use considerable judgment about how best to use the limited resources they have for quality improvement activities.
doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00357.x
PMCID: PMC2557130  PMID: 16637955
practice guideline; systematic review; implementation research.

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