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Concept: Risk management


This study measured part of the in-hive pesticide exposome by analyzing residues from live in-hive bees, stored pollen, and wax in migratory colonies over time and compared exposure to colony health. We summarized the pesticide burden using three different additive methods: (1) the hazard quotient (HQ), an estimate of pesticide exposure risk, (2) the total number of pesticide residues, and (3) the number of relevant residues. Despite being simplistic, these models attempt to summarize potential risk from multiple contaminations in real-world contexts. Colonies performing pollination services were subject to increased pesticide exposure compared to honey-production and holding yards. We found clear links between an increase in the total number of products in wax and colony mortality. In particular, we found that fungicides with particular modes of action increased disproportionally in wax within colonies that died. The occurrence of queen events, a significant risk factor for colony health and productivity, was positively associated with all three proxies of pesticide exposure. While our exposome summation models do not fully capture the complexities of pesticide exposure, they nonetheless help elucidate their risks to colony health. Implementing and improving such models can help identify potential pesticide risks, permitting preventative actions to improve pollinator health.

Concepts: Insect, Risk, Risk management, Honey bee, Beekeeping, Pesticide, Pollination, Pollinator decline


As successful malaria control programmes re-orientate towards elimination, the identification of transmission foci, targeting of attack measures to high-risk areas and management of importation risk become high priorities. When resources are limited and transmission is varying seasonally, approaches that can rapidly prioritize areas for surveillance and control can be valuable, and the most appropriate attack measure for a particular location is likely to differ depending on whether it exports or imports malaria infections.Methods/Results: Here, using the example of Namibia, a method for targeting of interventions using surveillance data, satellite imagery, and mobile phone call records to support elimination planning is described. One year of aggregated movement patterns for over a million people across Namibia are analyzed, and linked with case-based risk maps built on satellite imagery. By combining case-data and movement, the way human population movements connect transmission risk areas is demonstrated. Communities that were strongly connected by relatively higher levels of movement were then identified, and net export and import of travellers and infection risks by region were quantified. These maps can aid the design of targeted interventions to maximally reduce the number of cases exported to other regions while employing appropriate interventions to manage risk in places that import them.

Concepts: Integral, Risk management, Mobile phone, International trade, Export, Google Maps, Import


BACKGROUND: Mental health related presentations are common in Australian emergency departments (EDs). We sought to better understand ED staff knowledge and levels of confidence in treating people with mental health related problems using qualitative methods. METHODS: This was a qualitative learning needs analysis of Australian emergency doctors and nurses regarding the assessment and management of mental health presentations. Participants were selected for semi-structured telephone interview using criterion-based sampling. Recruitment was via the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and College of Emergency Nursing Australasia membership databases. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic framework analysis was used to identify perceived knowledge gaps and levels of confidence among participants in assessing and managing patients attending EDs with mental health presentations. RESULTS: Thirty-six staff comprising 20 doctors and 16 nurses consented to participate. Data saturation was achieved for four major areas where knowledge gaps were reported. These were: assessment (risk assessment and assessment of mental status), management (psychotherapeutic skills, ongoing management, medication management and behaviour management), training (curriculum and rotations), and application of mental health legislation. Participants' confidence in assessing mental health patients was affected by environmental, staff, and patient related factors. Clinicians were keen to learn more about evidence based practice to provide better care for this patient group. Areas where clinicians felt the least confident were in the effective assessment and management of high risk behaviours, providing continuity of care, managing people with dual diagnosis, prescribing and effectively managing medications, assessing and managing child and adolescent mental health, and balancing the caseload in ED. CONCLUSION: Participants were most concerned about knowledge gaps in risk assessment, particularly for self-harming patients, violent and aggressive patients and their management, and distinguishing psychiatric from physical illness. Staff confidence was enhanced by better availability of skilled psychiatric support staff to assist in clinical decision-making for complex cases and via the provision of a safe ED environment. Strategies to enhance the care of patients with mental health presentations in Australian emergency departments should address these gaps in knowledge and confidence.

Concepts: Psychology, Hospital, Risk, Illness, Educational psychology, Risk management, Urgent care, Psychiatry


Prospective Hazard Analysis techniques such as Healthcare Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (HFMEA) and Structured What If Technique (SWIFT) have the potential to increase safety by identifying risks before an adverse event occurs. Published accounts of their application in healthcare have identified benefits, but the reliability of some methods has been found to be low. The aim of this study was to examine the validity of SWIFT and HFMEA by comparing their outputs in the process of risk assessment, and comparing the results with risks identified by retrospective methods.

Concepts: Risk, Psychometrics, Risk management, Probability, Hazard, Risk assessment, Failure mode and effects analysis, Safety engineering


Potential environmental risks caused by chemicals that could be released from a recycled plastic product were assessed using a screening risk assessment procedure for chemicals in recycled products.

Concepts: Risk, Assessment, Risk management, Environmentalism, Risk assessment, Probabilistic risk assessment


The National Health Service Health Check program in England is the largest cardiovascular risk assessment and management program in the world. We assessed the effect of this program on modelled risk of cardiovascular disease, individual risk factors for cardiovascular disease, prescribing of relevant medications and diagnosis of vascular disease.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Risk, Cardiovascular disease, Peripheral vascular disease, Management, Risk management, Risk assessment


The extent to which aging affects decision-making is controversial. Given the critical financial decisions that older adults face (e.g., managing retirement funds), changes in risk preferences are of particular importance [1]. Although some studies have found that older individuals are more risk averse than younger ones [2-4], there are also conflicting results, and a recent meta-analysis found no evidence for a consistent change in risk taking across the lifespan [5]. There has as yet been little examination of one potential substrate for age-related changes in decision-making, namely age-related decline in dopamine, a neuromodulator associated with risk-taking behavior. Here, we characterized choice preferences in a smartphone-based experiment (n = 25,189) in which participants chose between safe and risky options. The number of risky options chosen in trials with potential gains but not potential losses decreased gradually over the lifespan, a finding with potentially important economic consequences for an aging population. Using a novel approach-avoidance computational model, we found that a Pavlovian attraction to potential reward declined with age. This Pavlovian bias has been linked to dopamine, suggesting that age-related decline in this neuromodulator could lead to the observed decrease in risk taking.

Concepts: Decision making, Risk, Decision theory, Risk management, Ageing, Retirement, Finance, Risk aversion


Suicide risk assessment aims to reduce uncertainty in order to focus treatment and supervision on those who are judged to be more likely to die by suicide. In this article we consider recent meta-analytic research that highlights the difference between uncertainty about suicide due to chance factors (aleatory uncertainty) and uncertainty that results from lack of knowledge (epistemic uncertainty). We conclude that much of the uncertainty about suicide is aleatory rather than epistemic, and discuss the implications for clinicians.

Concepts: Epistemology, Risk, Decision theory, Risk management, Knowledge, Unknown unknown, Donald Rumsfeld


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a leading cause of death in the United States and often occurs without previous cardiac symptoms. Lifetime risk for SCD and the influence of established risk factors on lifetime risks for SCD have not been estimated previously.

Concepts: Risk, United States, Cardiac arrest, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Risk management, Sudden cardiac death, War on Terrorism


Although actuarial data indicate that risk-taking behavior peaks in adolescence, laboratory evidence for this developmental spike remains scarce. One possible explanation for this incongruity is that in the real world adolescents often have only vague information about the potential consequences of their behavior and the likelihoods of those consequences, whereas in the lab these are often clearly stated. How do adolescents behave under such more realistic conditions of ambiguity and uncertainty? We asked 105 participants aged from 8 to 22 years to make three types of choices: (1) choices between options whose possible outcomes and probabilities were fully described (choices under risk); (2) choices between options whose possible outcomes were described but whose probability information was incomplete (choices under ambiguity), and (3) choices between unknown options whose possible outcomes and probabilities could be explored (choices under uncertainty). Relative to children and adults, two adolescent-specific markers emerged. First, adolescents were more accepting of ambiguity; second, they were also more accepting of uncertainty (as indicated by shorter pre-decisional search). Furthermore, this tolerance of the unknown was associated with motivational, but not cognitive, factors. These findings offer novel insights into the psychology of adolescent risk taking.

Concepts: Decision making, Risk, Cognition, Decision theory, Risk management, Probability, Adolescence, Uncertainty