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1.
JMIR Ment Health ; 9(10): e31251, 2022 Oct 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2089622

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Communication via technology is regarded as an effective way of maintaining social connection and helping individuals to cope with the psychological impact of social distancing measures during a pandemic. However, there is little information about which factors have influenced increased use of technology to communicate with others during lockdowns and whether this has changed over time. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to explore which psychosocial factors (eg, mental health and employment) and pandemic-related factors (eg, shielding and time) influenced an increase in communication via technology during the first lockdown in the United Kingdom. METHODS: A cross-sectional, web-based survey was conducted between April and July 2020, examining thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with the pandemic, including communicating more using technology (eg, via messaging, phone, or video). We collected sociodemographic information, employment status, mental health service user status, and depression symptoms. We used hierarchical logistic regression to test which factors were associated with communicating more using technology during the lockdown. RESULTS: Participants (N=1464) were on average 41.07 (SD 14.61) years old, and mostly women (n=1141; 77.9%), White (n=1265; 86.4%), and employed (n=1030; 70.4%). Participants reported a mild level of depression (mean 9.43, SD 7.02), and were communicating more using technology (n=1164; 79.5%). The hierarchical regression indicated that people who were employed and experiencing lower levels of depression were more likely to report increased communication using technology during a lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic, and over time, men communicated more using technology. Increased use of technology to communicate was related to greater communication and the inability to see others due to the social distancing measures enacted during the lockdown. It was not related to a general increase in technology use during the lockdown. CONCLUSIONS: Although most participants reported increased use of technology to communicate during a lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was more apparent in the employed and those experiencing low levels of depression. Moving forward, we should continue to monitor groups who may have been excluded from the benefits of support and communication using technology.

2.
Zoonoses Public Health ; 69(5): 550-559, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1788902

ABSTRACT

It has been suggested that pets play a critical role in the maintenance of methicillin-resistant (MR) and multidrug-resistant (MDR) Staphylococcus spp. in the household. We examined risk factors for carriage of antimicrobial-resistant coagulase-positive staphylococci, with particular attention to Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus pseudintermedius isolated from pets living in households of people diagnosed with methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) skin or soft-tissue infection. We analyzed data collected cross-sectionally from a study conducted in 2012 that evaluated the transmission of MRSA and other staphylococci from humans, their pets and the environment (Pets and Environmental Transmission of Staphylococci [PETS] study). We used unadjusted and adjusted stratified logistic regression analyses with household-clustered standard errors to evaluate the association between demographic, healthcare-related, contact-related and environmental risk factors and MDR Staphylococcus spp. isolated from dogs and cats. Staphylococcal isolates obtained from dogs (n = 63) and cats (n = 47) were included in these analyses. The use of oral or injectable antimicrobials by the pets during the prior year was the main risk factor of interest. Based on our results, 50% (12/24) of S. aureus, 3.3% (1/30) of S. pseudintermedius and 25% (14/56) of other coagulase-positive staphylococci (CPS) were determined to be MDR. S. aureus isolates were more likely to be MDR compared with S. pseudintermedius. We did not find a significant statistical association between the use of oral or injectable antimicrobials in the prior year and the presence of MDR bacteria. The results suggest that drivers of antimicrobial resistance in household staphylococci may vary by bacterial species, which could have implications for one health intervention strategies for staphylococci and inform the investigation of other reverse zoonoses, such as COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Anti-Infective Agents , COVID-19 , Cat Diseases , Dog Diseases , Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus , Staphylococcal Infections , Animals , Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/veterinary , Cat Diseases/microbiology , Cats , Coagulase , Dog Diseases/epidemiology , Dog Diseases/microbiology , Dogs , Drug Resistance, Bacterial , Humans , Pets/microbiology , Risk Factors , Staphylococcal Infections/epidemiology , Staphylococcal Infections/microbiology , Staphylococcal Infections/veterinary , Staphylococcus , Staphylococcus aureus
3.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 01 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715767

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: This study investigated the spontaneous clinical course of patients with endomyocardial biopsy (EMB)-proven lymphocytic myocarditis and cardiac human herpesvirus 6 (HHV6) DNA presence, and the effectiveness of steroid-based intervention in HHV6-positive patients. RESULTS: 756 heart failure (HF) patients underwent an EMB procedure to determine the underlying cause of unexplained HF. Low levels of HHV6 DNA, detectable by nested PCR only, were found in 10.4% of the cases (n = 79) of which 62% (n = 49) showed myocardial inflammation. The spontaneous course of patients with EMB-proven HHV6 DNA-associated lymphocytic myocarditis (n = 26) showed significant improvements in the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and clinical symptoms, respectively, in 15/26 (60%) patients, 3-12 months after disease onset. EMB mRNA expression of components of the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway and protein analysis of cardiac remodeling markers, analyzed by real-time PCR and MALDI mass spectrometry, respectively, did not differ between HHV6-positive and -negative patients. In another cohort of patients with ongoing symptoms related to lymphocytic myocarditis associated with cardiac levels of HHV6-DNA copy numbers <500 copies/µg cardiac DNA, quantified by real-time PCR, the efficacy and safety of steroid-based immunosuppression for six months was investigated. Steroid-based immunosuppression improved the LVEF (≥5%) in 8/10 patients and reduced cardiac inflammation in 7/10 patients, without an increase in cardiac HHV6 DNA levels in follow-up EMBs. CONCLUSION: Low HHV6 DNA levels are frequently detected in the myocardium, independent of inflammation. In patients with lymphocytic myocarditis with low levels of HHV6 DNA, the spontaneous clinical improvement is nearby 60%. In selected symptomatic patients with cardiac HHV6 DNA copy numbers less than 500 copies/µg cardiac DNA and without signs of an active systemic HHV6 infection, steroid-based therapy was found to be effective and safe. This finding needs to be further confirmed in large, randomized trials.


Subject(s)
Herpesvirus 6, Human/physiology , Immunosuppressive Agents/administration & dosage , Myocarditis/drug therapy , Myocarditis/virology , Roseolovirus Infections/drug therapy , Roseolovirus Infections/virology , Steroids/administration & dosage , Adult , Aged , Biopsy , Cohort Studies , DNA, Viral/genetics , Female , Gene Dosage , Herpesvirus 6, Human/genetics , Herpesvirus 6, Human/isolation & purification , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Myocarditis/immunology , Myocarditis/physiopathology , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein/genetics , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein/immunology , Roseolovirus Infections/immunology , Roseolovirus Infections/physiopathology , Stroke Volume
4.
JMIR Aging ; 5(1): e30388, 2022 Jan 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662507

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Dementia misconceptions on social media are common, with negative effects on people with the condition, their carers, and those who know them. This study codeveloped a thematic framework with carers to understand the forms these misconceptions take on Twitter. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to identify and analyze types of dementia conversations on Twitter using participatory methods. METHODS: A total of 3 focus groups with dementia carers were held to develop a framework of dementia misconceptions based on their experiences. Dementia-related tweets were collected from Twitter's official application programming interface using neutral and negative search terms defined by the literature and by carers (N=48,211). A sample of these tweets was selected with equal numbers of neutral and negative words (n=1497), which was validated in individual ratings by carers. We then used the framework to analyze, in detail, a sample of carer-rated negative tweets (n=863). RESULTS: A total of 25.94% (12,507/48,211) of our tweet corpus contained negative search terms about dementia. The carers' framework had 3 negative and 3 neutral categories. Our thematic analysis of carer-rated negative tweets found 9 themes, including the use of weaponizing language to insult politicians (469/863, 54.3%), using dehumanizing or outdated words or statements about members of the public (n=143, 16.6%), unfounded claims about the cures or causes of dementia (n=11, 1.3%), or providing armchair diagnoses of dementia (n=21, 2.4%). CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to use participatory methods to develop a framework that identifies dementia misconceptions on Twitter. We show that misconceptions and stigmatizing language are not rare. They manifest through minimizing and underestimating language. Web-based campaigns aiming to reduce discrimination and stigma about dementia could target those who use negative vocabulary and reduce the misconceptions that are being propagated, thus improving general awareness.

5.
Humanities & Social Sciences Communications ; 8(1), 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1147868

ABSTRACT

We examined how age and exposure to different types of COVID-19 (mis)information affect misinformation beliefs, perceived credibility of the message and intention-to-share it on WhatsApp. Through two mixed-design online experiments in the UK and Brazil (total N = 1454) we first randomly exposed adult WhatsApp users to full misinformation, partial misinformation, or full truth about the therapeutic powers of garlic to cure COVID-19. We then exposed all participants to corrective information from the World Health Organisation debunking this claim. We found stronger misinformation beliefs among younger adults (18–54) in both the UK and Brazil and possible backfire effects of corrective information among older adults (55+) in the UK. Corrective information from the WHO was effective in enhancing perceived credibility and intention-to-share of accurate information across all groups in both countries. Our findings call for evidence-based infodemic interventions by health agencies, with greater engagement of younger adults in pandemic misinformation management efforts.

6.
J Ment Health ; 30(2): 138-147, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1050046

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People with existing mental health conditions may be particularly vulnerable to the psychological effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. But their positive and negative appraisals, and coping behaviour could prevent or ameliorate future problems. OBJECTIVE: To explore the emotional experiences, thought processes and coping behaviours of people with existing mental health problems and carers living through the pandemic. METHODS: UK participants who identified as a mental health service user (N18), a carer (N5) or both (N8) participated in 30-minute semi-structured remote interviews (31 March 2020 to 9 April 2020). The interviews investigated the effects of social distancing and self-isolation on mental health and the ways in which people were coping. Data were analysed using a framework analysis. Three service user researchers charted data into a framework matrix (consisting of three broad categories: "emotional responses", "thoughts" and "behaviours") and then used an inductive process to capture other contextual themes. RESULTS: Common emotional responses were fear, sadness and anger but despite negative emotions and uncertainty appraisals, participants described efforts to cope and maintain their mental wellbeing. This emphasised an increased reliance on technology, which enabled social contact and occupational or leisure activities. Participants also spoke about the importance of continued and adapted mental health service provision, and the advantages and disadvantages associated with changes in their living environment, life schedule and social interactions. CONCLUSION: This study builds on a growing number of qualitative accounts of how mental health service users and carers experienced and coped with extreme social distancing measures early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than a state of helplessness this study contains a clear message of resourcefulness and resilience in the context of fear and uncertainty.


Subject(s)
Adaptation, Psychological , COVID-19/psychology , Caregivers/psychology , Mental Disorders/psychology , Physical Distancing , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Caregivers/statistics & numerical data , Female , Humans , Interviews as Topic , Male , Mental Disorders/therapy , Mental Health Services , Middle Aged , Qualitative Research , United Kingdom , Young Adult
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