Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Observational study


Austerity measures and health-system redesign to minimise hospital expenditures risk adversely affecting patient outcomes. The RN4CAST study was designed to inform decision making about nursing, one of the largest components of hospital operating expenses. We aimed to assess whether differences in patient to nurse ratios and nurses' educational qualifications in nine of the 12 RN4CAST countries with similar patient discharge data were associated with variation in hospital mortality after common surgical procedures.

Concepts: Patient, Risk, Observational study, Surgery, Educational psychology, Nursing, Nurse, Expense


To examine how hospitals that volunteered to be under financial incentives for more than a decade as part of the Premier Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (early adopters) compared with similar hospitals where these incentives were implemented later under the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program (late adopters).

Concepts: Hospital, Observational study, Incentive


Observational associations between cannabis and schizophrenia are well documented, but ascertaining causation is more challenging. We used Mendelian randomization (MR), utilizing publicly available data as a method for ascertaining causation from observational data.

Concepts: Scientific method, Genetics, Observational study, Correlation does not imply causation


BACKGROUND Whether hearing loss is independently associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults is unknown. METHODS We studied 1984 older adults (mean age, 77.4 years) enrolled in the Health ABC Study, a prospective observational study begun in 1997-1998. Our baseline cohort consisted of participants without prevalent cognitive impairment (Modified Mini-Mental State Examination [3MS] score, ≥80) who underwent audiometric testing in year 5. Participants were followed up for 6 years. Hearing was defined at baseline using a pure-tone average of thresholds at 0.5 to 4 kHz in the better-hearing ear. Cognitive testing was performed in years 5, 8, 10, and 11 and consisted of the 3MS (measuring global function) and the Digit Symbol Substitution test (measuring executive function). Incident cognitive impairment was defined as a 3MS score of less than 80 or a decline in 3MS score of more than 5 points from baseline. Mixed-effects regression and Cox proportional hazards regression models were adjusted for demographic and cardiovascular risk factors. RESULTS In total, 1162 individuals with baseline hearing loss (pure-tone average >25 dB) had annual rates of decline in 3MS and Digit Symbol Substitution test scores that were 41% and 32% greater, respectively, than those among individuals with normal hearing. On the 3MS, the annual score changes were -0.65 (95% CI, -0.73 to -0.56) vs -0.46 (95% CI, -0.55 to -0.36) points per year (P = .004). On the Digit Symbol Substitution test, the annual score changes were -0.83 (95% CI, -0.94 to -0.73) vs -0.63 (95% CI, -0.75 to -0.51) points per year (P = .02). Compared to those with normal hearing, individuals with hearing loss at baseline had a 24% (hazard ratio, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.05-1.48) increased risk for incident cognitive impairment. Rates of cognitive decline and the risk for incident cognitive impairment were linearly associated with the severity of an individual’s baseline hearing loss. CONCLUSIONS Hearing loss is independently associated with accelerated cognitive decline and incident cognitive impairment in community-dwelling older adults. Further studies are needed to investigate what the mechanistic basis of this association is and whether hearing rehabilitative interventions could affect cognitive decline.

Concepts: Psychology, Regression analysis, Proportional hazards models, Observational study, Cognition, Hearing impairment, Audiogram, Numerical digit


There are conflicting findings from observational studies of the arrhythrogenic potential of azithromycin. Our aim was to quantify the association between azithromycin use and the risk of ventricular arrhythmia.

Concepts: Scientific method, Observational study, The Association, Sunshine pop



Unnecessary diagnostic imaging leads to higher costs, longer emergency department stays, and increased patient exposure to ionizing radiation. We sought to prospectively derive and validate two decision instruments (DIs) for selective chest computed tomography (CT) in adult blunt trauma patients.

Concepts: Ionizing radiation, X-ray, Hospital, Observational study, Medical imaging, Radiology


Handwashing (HW) compliance, although an effective means of limiting childhood illness, remains low among personnel in early childhood centers (ECCs). Our study determined HW compliance and efficacy of ECC personnel.

Concepts: Observational study, Childhood


To compare the prevalence of an incomplete circle of Willis in patients with migraine with aura, migraine without aura, and control subjects, and correlate circle of Willis variations with alterations in cerebral perfusion.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medical terms, Observational study, Migraine, Epilepsy, Aura, Scintillating scotoma


BACKGROUND: Anti-NMDA receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis is an autoimmune disorder in which the use of immunotherapy and the long-term outcome have not been defined. We aimed to assess the presentation of the disease, the spectrum of symptoms, immunotherapies used, timing of improvement, and long-term outcome. METHODS: In this multi-institutional observational study, we tested for the presence of NMDAR antibodies in serum or CSF samples of patients with encephalitis between Jan 1, 2007, and Jan 1, 2012. All patients who tested positive for NMDAR antibodies were included in the study; patients were assessed at symptom onset and at months 4, 8, 12, 18, and 24, by use of the modified Rankin scale (mRS). Treatment included first-line immunotherapy (steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, plasmapheresis), second-line immunotherapy (rituximab, cyclophosphamide), and tumour removal. Predictors of outcome were determined at the Universities of Pennsylvania (PA, USA) and Barcelona (Spain) by use of a generalised linear mixed model with binary distribution. RESULTS: We enrolled 577 patients (median age 21 years, range 8 months to 85 years), 211 of whom were children (<18 years). Treatment effects and outcome were assessable in 501 (median follow-up 24 months, range 4-186): 472 (94%) underwent first-line immunotherapy or tumour removal, resulting in improvement within 4 weeks in 251 (53%). Of 221 patients who did not improve with first-line treatment, 125 (57%) received second-line immunotherapy that resulted in a better outcome (mRS 0-2) than those who did not (odds ratio [OR] 2·69, CI 1·24-5·80; p=0·012). During the first 24 months, 394 of 501 patients achieved a good outcome (mRS 0-2; median 6 months, IQR 2-12) and 30 died. At 24 months' follow-up, 203 (81%) of 252 patients had good outcome. Outcomes continued to improve for up to 18 months after symptom onset. Predictors of good outcome were early treatment (0·62, 0·50-0·76; p<0·0001) and no admission to an intensive care unit (0·12, 0·06-0·22; p<0·0001). 45 patients had one or multiple relapses (representing a 12% risk within 2 years); 46 (67%) of 69 relapses were less severe than initial episodes (p<0·0001). In 177 children, predictors of good outcome and the magnitude of effect of second-line immunotherapy were similar to those of the entire cohort. INTERPRETATION: Most patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis respond to immunotherapy. Second-line immunotherapy is usually effective when first-line treatments fail. In this cohort, the recovery of some patients took up to 18 months. FUNDING: The Dutch Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health, the McKnight Neuroscience of Brain Disorders award, The Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias, and Fundació la Marató de TV3.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Better, Cohort study, Epidemiology, Observational study, Relative risk, Modified Rankin Scale