• Attitudes of parents and staff towards medical students on the paediatric wards

      Duignan, A; Kennedy, C; Canas-Martinez, A; Gildea, D; Jamaludin, MA; Moore, M; Meehan, J; Nadeem, M; Roche, EF; Trinity College Dublin, College Green, Dublin 2 (Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), 2014-01)
    • Attitudes towards statistics of graduate entry medical students: the role of prior learning experiences

      Hannigan, Ailish; Hegarty, Avril C; McGrath, Deirdre (2014-04-04)
      Abstract Background While statistics is increasingly taught as part of the medical curriculum, it can be an unpopular subject and feedback from students indicates that some find it more difficult than other subjects. Understanding attitudes towards statistics on entry to graduate entry medical programmes is particularly important, given that many students may have been exposed to quantitative courses in their previous degree and hence bring preconceptions of their ability and interest to their medical education programme. The aim of this study therefore is to explore, for the first time, attitudes towards statistics of graduate entry medical students from a variety of backgrounds and focus on understanding the role of prior learning experiences. Methods 121 first year graduate entry medical students completed the Survey of Attitudes toward Statistics instrument together with information on demographics and prior learning experiences. Results Students tended to appreciate the relevance of statistics in their professional life and be prepared to put effort into learning statistics. They had neutral to positive attitudes about their interest in statistics and their intellectual knowledge and skills when applied to it. Their feelings towards statistics were slightly less positive e.g. feelings of insecurity, stress, fear and frustration and they tended to view statistics as difficult. Even though 85% of students had taken a quantitative course in the past, only 24% of students described it as likely that they would take any course in statistics if the choice was theirs. How well students felt they had performed in mathematics in the past was a strong predictor of many of the components of attitudes. Conclusion The teaching of statistics to medical students should start with addressing the association between students’ past experiences in mathematics and their attitudes towards statistics and encouraging students to recognise the difference between the two disciplines. Addressing these issues may reduce students’ anxiety and perception of difficulty at the start of their learning experience and encourage students to engage with statistics in their future careers.
    • Atypical Listeria innocua strains possess an intact LIPI-3

      Clayton, Evelyn M; Daly, Karen M; Guinane, Caitriona M; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D; Ross, Paul R (2014-03-08)
      Abstract Background Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen which is the causative agent of listeriosis and can be divided into three evolutionary lineages I, II and III. While all strains possess the well established virulence factors associated with the Listeria pathogenicity island I (LIPI-1), lineage I strains also possess an additional pathogenicity island designated LIPI-3 which encodes listeriolysin S (LLS), a post-translationally modified cytolytic peptide. Up until now, this pathogenicity island has been identified exclusively in a subset of lineage I isolates of the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Results In total 64 L. innocua strains were screened for the presence of LIPI-3. Here we report the identification of an intact LIPI-3 in 11 isolates of L. innocua and the remnants of the cluster in several others. Significantly, we can reveal that placing the L. innocua lls genes under the control of a constitutive promoter results in a haemolytic phenotype, confirming that the cluster is capable of encoding a functional haemolysin. Conclusions Although the presence of the LIPI-3 gene cluster is confined to lineage I isolates of L. monocytogenes, a corresponding gene cluster or its remnants have been identified in many L. innocua strains.
    • An audit in general adult psychiatry service.

      Udumaga, E; Mannion, L; Department of Liaison Psychiatry, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork. ejike.udumaga@hse.ie (2010-04)
      The aim of this study is to evaluate the standards of lithium monitoring using the local prescribing guidelines in patients attending the lithium clinic of Galway University Hospitals (GUH). The laboratory records of 116 out of 142 patients who met the inclusion criteria were examined to identify the frequency of testing for serum lithium level, thyroid function tests and renal function tests. Only about one third of the patients met all the recommended standards in these three areas revealing poor standard of lithium monitoring. Lithium monitoring standards could be improved through the involvement of multidisciplinary team and a more detailed patient education system.
    • An audit of Colposcopy referrals from a GU/STD clinic.

      O'Connor, Catherine; Myles, Helena; O'Connor, Mortimer B; Clancy, Josephine; Ryan, Ailis; Traynor, Mary; McGrath, Dolores; O'Sullivan, Kitty; Dept. of GU/STD Medicine, Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, Ireland. Catherine.OConnor@mailh.hse.ie (2008)
      BACKGROUND: Cervical cancer is increasing at 1.5% per year in Ireland with 50% mortality giving 2.2% of all cancer deaths. In the Mid-West region a pilot screening programme has begun to screen all women 25-60 years. 66% of Genitourinary/Sexually transmitted disease (GU/STD) clinics' abnormal smears are <25 years. Requests to abandon "opportunistic" screening prompted this GU/STD clinic audit. METHODS: 221(8.4%) patients referred to colposcopy over 4 years were audited. Retrospective analysis was carried out on GU/STD clinic files, hospital files and computer records for biopsy reports. Ethical approval was prospectively granted. RESULTS: 2637 smears were carried out from November 1999 - September 2003.221 patients referred to colposcopy were audited.1%, 3%, 5% had severe, moderate and, mild dyskaryosis, respectively, on cervical screening while 0.8%, 1.2%, 1.5% had CIN3, CIN2, CIN1 abnormalities, respectively, on biopsy with 3.5% having no abnormality (Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia = CIN).53% referred to colposcopy were <25 years. CONCLUSION: 2% had high grade lesions. 37% of high grade lesions are <25 years.Of the high grade lesions 13% had Chlamydia trachomatis (27% of CIN3) and 44% had HPV despite Relative Risks (RR) being 0.75 and 1.09 respectively. Older women had higher grade changes. No statistical difference was found for progression, regression and persistence in those over and under 25.
    • An audit of generic prescribing in a general surgical department.

      Gleeson, M; Coyle, P; Clarke Moloney, M; Walsh, S R; Grace, P A; Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. (2013-01-17)
      BACKGROUND: The Health Service Executive introduced a generic prescription policy to reduce costs. Despite this, generic prescription rates remain low. AIM: To audit in-patient prescription practice in a single surgical department and identify potential savings which could be realised by adherence to the generic prescribing policy. METHODS: Surgical in-patient charts were obtained at the point of discharge and their drug prescription information was recorded. RESULTS: 51 % of prescriptions involved a trade-name prescription where an appropriate generic equivalent existed. The cost implications for hospital and community patients were found to be greatly affected by substitution policies that exist at hospital pharmacy level. CONCLUSION: There is a need to promote greater adherence to generic prescribing amongst hospital doctors in line with international best practice. It can have a positive impact in terms of safe prescribing and can have cost implications at both hospital and community level.
    • An audit of Irish Orthodontic referrals

      Dowling, PA; Garvey, MT; Blake, M (1997)
    • An audit of prescribing practices for benzodiazepines and Z-drugs.

      Cadogan, C; Ryder, S (Irish Medical Journal, 2015-03)
      Concerns persist over the use of benzodiazepines and Z-drugs in Ireland. A prospective prescription audit was conducted in 81 community pharmacies across Ireland over a four week period. The study sought to assess the level of prescription compliance with key components of benzodiazepine and Z-drug prescribing guidelines. 28% of audit booklets issued were returned, yielding data on 4,418 prescriptions. The findings suggest that little progress has been made in improving the prescribing of benzodiazepines and Z-drugs in Ireland in the decade since publication of the Benzodiazepine Committee's report. Fewer than one fifth of prescriptions (18.8%) were fully compliant with the assessment criteria and the majority (53.7%) had multiple discrepancies. This study highlights the importance of monitoring and auditing benzodiazepine and Z-drug prescribing practices. Interventions involving patients, prescribers and pharmacists are required to improve the prescribing and use of these medications in Ireland.
    • Auditing in the Irish Casemix budget models

      O’Connor, M D; Burke, E; Gallagher, E; Bane, F; Johnson, J (2011-10-19)
    • Author response

      Charlton, R (Irish Medical Journal, 2011-06)
    • The Autism Simplex Collection: an international, expertly phenotyped autism sample for genetic and phenotypic analyses

      Buxbaum, Joseph D; Bolshakova, Nadia; Brownfeld, Jessica M; Anney, Richard JL; Bender, Patrick; Bernier, Raphael; Cook, Edwin H; Coon, Hilary; Cuccaro, Michael; Freitag, Christine M; et al. (2014-05-20)
      Abstract Background There is an urgent need for expanding and enhancing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) samples, in order to better understand causes of ASD. Methods In a unique public-private partnership, 13 sites with extensive experience in both the assessment and diagnosis of ASD embarked on an ambitious, 2-year program to collect samples for genetic and phenotypic research and begin analyses on these samples. The program was called The Autism Simplex Collection (TASC). TASC sample collection began in 2008 and was completed in 2010, and included nine sites from North America and four sites from Western Europe, as well as a centralized Data Coordinating Center. Results Over 1,700 trios are part of this collection, with DNA from transformed cells now available through the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic (ADOS-G) measures are available for all probands, as are standardized IQ measures, Vineland Adaptive Behavioral Scales (VABS), the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), and physical measures (height, weight, and head circumference). At almost every site, additional phenotypic measures were collected, including the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ) and Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R), as well as the non-word repetition scale, Communication Checklist (Children’s or Adult), and Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC). Moreover, for nearly 1,000 trios, the Autism Genome Project Consortium (AGP) has carried out Illumina 1 M SNP genotyping and called copy number variation (CNV) in the samples, with data being made available through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Whole exome sequencing (WES) has been carried out in over 500 probands, together with ancestry matched controls, and this data is also available through the NIH. Additional WES is being carried out by the Autism Sequencing Consortium (ASC), where the focus is on sequencing complete trios. ASC sequencing for the first 1,000 samples (all from whole-blood DNA) is complete and data will be released in 2014. Data is being made available through NIH databases (database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) and National Database for Autism Research (NDAR)) with DNA released in Dist 11.0. Primary funding for the collection, genotyping, sequencing and distribution of TASC samples was provided by Autism Speaks and the NIH, including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Human Genetics Research Institute (NHGRI). Conclusions TASC represents an important sample set that leverages expert sites. Similar approaches, leveraging expert sites and ongoing studies, represent an important path towards further enhancing available ASD samples.
    • Autoantibodies to a 140-kd protein in juvenile dermatomyositis are associated with calcinosis.

      Gunawardena, H; Wedderburn, L R; Chinoy, H; Betteridge, Z E; North, J; Ollier, W E R; Cooper, R G; Oddis, C V; Ramanan, A V; Davidson, J E; et al. (2009-06)
      OBJECTIVE: The identification of novel autoantibodies in juvenile dermatomyositis (DM) may have etiologic and clinical implications. The aim of this study was to describe autoantibodies to a 140-kd protein in children recruited to the Juvenile DM National Registry and Repository for UK and Ireland. METHODS: Clinical data and sera were collected from children with juvenile myositis. Sera that recognized a 140-kd protein by immunoprecipitation were identified. The identity of the p140 autoantigen was investigated by immunoprecipitation/immunodepletion, using commercial monoclonal antibodies to NXP-2, reference anti-p140, and anti-p155/140, the other autoantibody recently described in juvenile DM. DNA samples from 100 Caucasian children with myositis were genotyped for HLA class II haplotype associations and compared with those from 864 randomly selected UK Caucasian control subjects. RESULTS: Sera from 37 (23%) of 162 patients with juvenile myositis were positive for anti-p140 autoantibodies, which were detected exclusively in patients with juvenile DM and not in patients with juvenile DM-overlap syndrome or control subjects. No anti-p140 antibody-positive patients were positive for other recognized autoantibodies. Immunodepletion suggested that the identity of p140 was consistent with NXP-2 (the previously identified MJ autoantigen). In children with anti-p140 antibodies, the association with calcinosis was significant compared with the rest of the cohort (corrected P < 0.005, odds ratio 7.0, 95% confidence interval 3.0-16.1). The clinical features of patients with anti-p140 autoantibodies were different from those of children with anti-p155/140 autoantibodies. The presence of HLA-DRB1*08 was a possible risk factor for anti-p140 autoantibody positivity. CONCLUSION: This study has established that anti-p140 autoantibodies represent a major autoantibody subset in juvenile DM. This specificity may identify a further immunogenetic and clinical phenotype within the juvenile myositis spectrum that includes an association with calcinosis.
    • Autologous circulating angiogenic cells treated with osteopontin and delivered via a collagen scaffold enhance wound healing in the alloxan-induced diabetic rabbit ear ulcer model

      O’Loughlin, Aonghus; Kulkarni, Mangesh; Vaughan, Erin E; Creane, Michael; Liew, Aaron; Dockery, Peter; Pandit, Abhay; O’Brien, Timothy (2014-01-31)
      Abstract Introduction Diabetic foot ulceration is the leading cause of amputation in people with diabetes mellitus. Peripheral vascular disease is present in the majority of patients with diabetic foot ulcers. Despite standard treatments there exists a high amputation rate. Circulating angiogenic cells previously known as early endothelial progenitor cells are derived from peripheral blood and support angiogenesis and vasculogenesis, providing a potential topical treatment for non-healing diabetic foot ulcers. Methods A scaffold fabricated from Type 1 collagen facilitates topical cell delivery to a diabetic wound. Osteopontin is a matricellular protein involved in wound healing and increases the angiogenic potential of circulating angiogenic cells. A collagen scaffold seeded with circulating angiogenic cells was developed. Subsequently the effect of autologous circulating angiogenic cells that were seeded in a collagen scaffold and topically delivered to a hyperglycemic cutaneous wound was assessed. The alloxan-induced diabetic rabbit ear ulcer model was used to determine healing in response to the following treatments: collagen seeded with autologous circulating angiogenic cells exposed to osteopontin, collagen seeded with autologous circulating angiogenic cells, collagen alone and untreated wound. Stereology was used to assess angiogenesis in wounds. Results The cells exposed to osteopontin and seeded on collagen increased percentage wound closure as compared to other groups. Increased angiogenesis was observed with the treatment of collagen and collagen seeded with circulating angiogenic cells. Conclusions These results demonstrate that topical treatment of full thickness cutaneous ulcers with autologous circulating angiogenic cells increases wound healing. Cells exposed to the matricellular protein osteopontin result in superior wound healing. The wound healing benefit is associated with a more efficient vascular network. This topical therapy provides a potential novel therapy for the treatment of non-healing diabetic foot ulcers in humans.
    • Autonomic dysfunction in patients with advanced cancer; prevalence, clinical correlates and challenges in assessment

      Stone, Carol A; Kenny, Rose Anne; Nolan, Brid; Lawlor, Peter G (2012-03-01)
      Abstract Background The results of a small number of studies of autonomic function in patients with advanced cancer suggest that autonomic dysfunction (AD) is common. In other disease-specific groups this is associated with decreased survival, falls and symptoms such as postural hypotension, nausea, early satiety and fatigue. The contribution of AD to symptoms in advanced cancer is unknown. Methods We conducted a prospective cohort study designed to identify the risk factors for falls in patients with advanced cancer. Ambulant adult patients admitted consecutively to palliative care services were invited to participate. Participants underwent an assessment at baseline which included standard clinical tests of autonomic function, assessment of symptom severity, muscle strength, anthropometric measurements, walking speed, medication use, comorbidities and demographics. Information regarding survival was recorded ten months following cessation of recruitment. The clinical correlates of AD, defined as definite or severe dysfunction using Ewing's classification, were examined by univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis. Survival analysis was conducted using Kaplan-Meier plots and the log rank test. Results Of 185 patients recruited, 45% were unable to complete all of the clinical tests of autonomic function. Non-completion was associated with scoring high on clinical indicators of frailty. It was possible to accurately classify 138/185 (74.6%) of participants as having either definite or severe versus normal, early or atypical AD: 110 (80%) had definite/severe AD. In logistic regression analysis, age (OR = 1.07 [95% CI; 1.03-1.1] P = 0.001) and increased severity of fatigue (OR = 1.26 [95% CI; 1.05-1.5] p = 0.016) were associated with having definite/severe AD. In analysis adjusted for age, median survival of participants with definite/severe AD was shorter than in those with normal/early/atypical classification (χ2 = 4.3, p = 0.038). Conclusions Autonomic dysfunction is highly prevalent in patients with advanced cancer and is associated with increased severity of fatigue and reduced survival. Due to frailty, up to 45% of participants were unable to complete standard clinical tests of autonomic function. In order to further investigate the impact of AD and the therapeutic potential of treatment of AD in patients with advanced cancer, the validity of alternative novel methods of assessing autonomic function must be appraised.
    • Availability of HIV prevention and treatment services for people who inject drugs: findings from 21 countries

      Petersen, Zaino; Myers, Bronwyn; van Hout, Marie-Claire; Plüddemann, Andreas; Parry, Charles (2013-08-19)
      Abstract Background About a third of the global HIV infections outside sub-Saharan Africa are related to injecting drug use (IDU), and this accounts for a growing proportion of persons living with HIV. This paper is a response to the need to monitor the state of the HIV epidemic as it relates to IDU and the availability of HIV treatment and harm reduction services in 21 high epidemic countries. Methods A data collection form was designed to cover questions on rates of IDU, prevalence and incidence of HIV and information on HIV treatment and harm reduction services available to people who inject drugs (PWID). National and regional data on HIV infection, IDU in the form of reports and journal articles were sought from key informants in conjunction with a systematic search of the literature. Results Completed data collection forms were received for 11 countries. Additional country-specific information was sourced via the literature search. The overall proportion of HIV positive PWID in the selected countries ranged from 3% in Kazakhstan to 58% in Vietnam. While IDU is relatively rare in sub-Saharan Africa, it is the main driver of HIV in Mauritius and Kenya, with roughly 47% and 36% of PWID respectively being HIV positive. All countries had antiretroviral treatment (ART) available to PWID, but data on service coverage were mainly missing. By the end of 2010, uptake of needle and syringe programmes (NSP) in Bangladesh, India and Slovakia reached the internationally recommended target of 200 syringes per person, while uptake in Kazakhstan, Vietnam and Tajikistan reached between 100-200 syringes per person. The proportion of PWID receiving opioid substitution therapy (OST) ranged from 0.1% in Kazakhstan to 32.8% in Mauritius, with coverage of less than 3% for most countries. Conclusions In order to be able to monitor the impact of HIV treatment and harm reduction services for PWID on the epidemic, epidemiological data on IDU and harm reduction service provision to PWID needs to be regularly collected using standardised indicators.
    • Avoiding burnout in nursing through mindfulness

      Ruth, Alan (Nursing in General Practice, 2014-07)
    • Awareness and minimisation of systematic bias in research.

      Malone, Helen; Nicholl, Honor; Tracey, Catherine; School of Nursing & Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin. (Mark Allen Publishing, 2014-03)
      A major goal of nursing and midwifery is the delivery of evidence-based practice. Consequently, it is essential for the quality and safety of patient/client care that policy makers, educators and practitioners are aware of the presence of potential systematic bias in research practice and research publications so that only sound evidence translates into practice. The main aim of this paper is to highlight the need for ongoing awareness of the potential presence of systematic bias in research practice, to explore commonly reported types of systematic bias and to report some methods that can be applied to minimise systematic bias in research.
    • The awareness of healthcare staff towards post-stroke cognitive impairment: a cross sectional study.

      Almalki, Obaid; Alshehri, Mansour Abdullah; El-Sodany, Ahmed Mohamed; El-Fiky, Amir Abdel-Raouf (The Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 2018-06)
      [Purpose] This study aimed to determine the awareness amongst healthcare staff of post-stroke cognitive impairment in a university teaching hospital and supporting stroke rehabilitation unit. [Subjects and Methods] A cross sectional study was employed to collect data from 20 healthcare staff about post-stroke cognitive impairment. This study was conducted in Ireland at two sites, the Acute Stroke unit in Cork University Hospital, and the Stroke Rehabilitation unit and Assessment and Treatment Centre in St. Finbarr's Hospital. [Results] Approximately 75% of participants felt that they had knowledge about post-stroke cognitive deficits, with around 50% of them having patients with persistent cognitive decline between 40% and 60%. Most participants (70%) agreed that cognitive function should be routinely assessed and the majority (85%) discussed the potential impact of post-stroke cognitive deficits with patients and their families. However, some participants need to be aware of post-stroke cognitive deterioration. [Conclusion] Although there was evidence of good practice, a small number of healthcare staff felt that they did not have sufficient knowledge about post-stroke cognitive deficits. Thus, further professional education should be provided to improve the knowledge of healthcare staff about potential cognitive impairments after stroke.