SciCombinator

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Introduction: Contact tracing has the potential to control outbreaks without the need for stringent physical distancing policies, e.g. civil lockdowns. Unlike forward contact tracing, backward contact tracing identifies the source of newly detected cases. This approach is particularly valuable when there is high individual-level variation in the number of secondary transmissions (overdispersion). Methods: By using a simple branching process model, we explored the potential of combining backward contact tracing with more conventional forward contact tracing for control of COVID-19. We estimated the typical size of clusters that can be reached by backward tracing and simulated the incremental effectiveness of combining backward tracing with conventional forward tracing. Results: Across ranges of parameter values consistent with dynamics of SARS-CoV-2, backward tracing is expected to identify a primary case generating 3-10 times more infections than a randomly chosen case, typically increasing the proportion of subsequent cases averted by a factor of 2-3. The estimated number of cases averted by backward tracing became greater with a higher degree of overdispersion. Conclusion: Backward contact tracing can be an effective tool for outbreak control, especially in the presence of overdispersion as is observed with SARS-CoV-2.

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Background:​ During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown, contact clustering in social bubbles may allow extending contacts beyond the household at minimal additional risk and hence has been considered as part of modified lockdown policy or a gradual lockdown exit strategy. We estimated the impact of such strategies on epidemic and mortality risk using the UK as a case study. Methods:​ We used an individual based model for a synthetic population similar to the UK, stratified into transmission risks from the community, within the household and from other households in the same social bubble. The base case considers a situation where non-essential shops and schools are closed, the secondary household attack rate is 20% and the initial reproduction number is 0.8. We simulate social bubble strategies (where two households form an exclusive pair) for households including children, for single occupancy households, and for all households. We test the sensitivity of results to a range of alternative model assumptions and parameters. Results:  Clustering contacts outside the household into exclusive bubbles is an effective strategy of increasing contacts while limiting the associated increase in epidemic risk. In the base case, social bubbles reduced fatalities by 42% compared to an unclustered increase of contacts. We find that if all households were to form social bubbles the reproduction number would likely increase to above the epidemic threshold of R=1. Strategies allowing households with young children or single occupancy households to form social bubbles increased the reproduction number by less than 11%. The corresponding increase in mortality is proportional to the increase in the epidemic risk but is focussed in older adults irrespective of inclusion in social bubbles. Conclusions: ​ If managed appropriately, social bubbles can be an effective way of extending contacts beyond the household while limiting the increase in epidemic risk.

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has ravaged the world’s socioeconomic systems forcing many governments across the globe to implement unprecedented stringent mitigation measures to restrain its rapid spread and adverse effects. A disproportionate number of COVID-19 related morbidities and mortalities were predicted to occur in Africa. However, Africa still has a lower than predicted number of cases, 4% of the global pandemic burden. In this open letter, we highlight some of the early stringent countermeasures implemented in Kenya, a sub-Saharan African country, to avert the severe effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These mitigation measures strike a balance between minimising COVID-19 associated morbidity and fatalities and its adverse economic impact, and taken together have significantly dampened the pandemic’s impact on Kenya’s populace.

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Parathyroid protection during thyroid lobectomy was not illustrated previously. Aim of this study was to find out the influence of parathyroid glands in situ preservation and autotransplantation on postoperative parathyroid function in thyroid lobectomy.Consecutive patients who underwent primary thyroid lobectomy with unilateral central neck dissection for papillary thyroid carcinoma in our center were included retrospectively. Postoperative hypoparathyroidism was defined as low parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels (<1.6 pmol/L) and keeping over 6 months was defined as permanent. Patients were divided into 3 groups: all identified parathyroid glands preserved in situ (preservation group); at least one parathyroid gland autotransplanted without accidental resection (autotransplantation group); at least one parathyroid gland accidental resected (resection group).A total of 425 patients were included. No permanent hypoparathyroidism was reported, and the rates of transient hypoparathyroidism were similar among all groups. Significantly lower serum PTH levels were found in autotransplantation group versus preservation group at postoperative 1-day (3.77 ± 1.61 vs 4.72 ± 2.31, P < .001). Transient hypoparathyroidism was significantly associated with reduced intraoperative carbon nanoparticles utilization (57.1% vs 77.4%, P = .039).Thyroid lobectomy was a safe surgical method for parathyroid protection no matter the practice to ipsilateral parathyroid glands. However, preservation of all parathyroid glands was still recommended considering relatively stable PTH levels.

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The comparison of ketamine with tramadol for pain control remains controversial in pediatric adenotonsillectomy or tonsillectomy. We conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to explore the efficacy of ketamine vs tramadol for pain relief in children following adenotonsillectomy or tonsillectomy.

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Genetic alterations are vital to the progression of osteosarcoma carcinoma. The present study investigated a panel of gene signatures that could evaluate prognosis in osteosarcoma based on data from the Therapeutically Applicable Research To Generate Effective Treatments initiative. Osteosarcoma messenger RNA (mRNA) profiles and clinical data were downloaded from the therapeutically applicable research to generate effective treatments database. Patients with osteosarcoma were divided into two groups based on findings at diagnosis: with and without metastasis. Differentially expressed mRNAs were compared and analyzed between groups. Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses identified a set of eight mRNAs with the ability to classify patients into high-risk and low-risk groups with significantly different overall survival times. Further analysis indicated that the eight-mRNA signature was an independent prognostic factor after adjusting for other clinical factors. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis demonstrated a good performance of the eight-mRNA signature. Further, the biological processes and signaling pathways of the eight-mRNA signature were reviewed using Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes resources. Finally, the results of the TCGA analysis were verified by other cohorts from Gene Expression Omnibus database. The identification of an eight-mRNA signature not only provides a prognostic biomarker of osteosarcoma but also offers the potential of novel therapeutic targets for its treatment.

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API2-MALT1 positive gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphomas are considered to have favorable prognosis. We report a case of API2-MALT1 positive gastric MALT lymphoma, treated by endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD).

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To evaluate the effectiveness of percutaneous removal of common bile duct (CBD) stones using a modified balloon technique (balloon catheter sphincteroplasty and expulsion of the stones using half-captured balloons within the sheath) in patients difficult to treat with endoscopy.Fifty patients underwent a modified balloon technique (balloon group), and 53 patients underwent CBD stone removal by the basket method (stone basket group) between 2016 and 2019. We compared the balloon and stone basket groups to evaluate the effectiveness of the modified balloon technique. Outcome variables such as demographics, technical success rates, procedural details, and complications were analyzed. Statistical analysis was performed using Student t test, Fisher exact test, or the χ2 test.The technical success rate in the balloon group was 66% (33/50) in 1 session, 32% (16/50) in 2 sessions, and 2% (1/50) in 3 sessions. That of the stone basket group was 45% (24/53) in 1 session, 38% (20/53) in 2 sessions, and 17% (9/53) in 3 sessions.The total procedure time was significantly shorter in the balloon group (29.5 ± 15.1 minutes) than in the stone basket group (41.7 ± 20.2 minutes) (P < .01), whereas the number of stones was higher in the balloon group than in the stone basket group (P = .03). Maximal stone size, balloon size, pancreatitis, and hospitalization stay did not show statistical differences between the 2 groups. Most complications (9 patients, balloon group; 8 patients, stone basket group) were mild and transient. Major complications occurred in one patient in the stone basket group, who experienced hemobilia due to arterial injury caused by percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage, which was treated by endovascular embolization without mortality.The modified balloon technique is an effective and safe treatment method for CBD stone removal in patients presenting difficulties in the endoscopic approach.

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Although electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is generally a safe therapeutic method, unexpected adverse effects, such as post-ECT delirium, may occur. Despite its harmful consequences, there has been little discussion about the predictors of post-ECT delirium. Thus, the current study aimed to clarify the factors associated with post-ECT delirium by reviewing electronic medical records of 268 bitemporal ECT sessions from December 2006 to July 2018 in a university hospital.Demographic and clinical characteristics of sessions involving patients with or without post-ECT delirium were compared. Multiple logistic regression analysis was applied to analyze the correlation between variables and post-ECT delirium.Post-ECT delirium developed in 23 sessions (8.6%). Of all the demographic and clinical variables measured, only etomidate use was significantly different between delirium-positive and delirium-negative groups after Bonferroni correction. The regression model also indicated that etomidate use to be significantly associated with post-ECT delirium.In this study, etomidate was associated with a higher risk of developing post-ECT delirium, an association that appeared unrelated to other possible measured variables. Practitioners should take into account the risk of post-ECT delirium while choosing anesthetics, so as to prevent early discontinuation before sufficient therapeutic gain is achieved.

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Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating chronic disease of unknown etiology that is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) as a disorder of the brain. CFS affects 1% (17-24 million people) of the world’s population and is a major and costly public health problem. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture can achieve a certain effect in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome, but evidence-based medicine is controversial. This protocol aims to multi-evaluate the literature quality and evidence quality of the current systematic reviews (SRs)/meta-analyses (MAs) of acupuncture treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome, and provide intuitive and reliable evidence synthesis and decision-making basis for clinical treatment.