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1.
Arch Dis Child ; 2022 Oct 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2064006

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic was managed with sustained mass lockdowns to prevent spread of COVID-19 infection. Babies born during the early stages of the pandemic missed the opportunity of meeting a normal social circle of people outside the family home. METHODS: We compared 10 parentally reported developmental milestones at 12-month assessment in a cohort of 309 babies born at the onset of the pandemic (CORAL cohort) and 1629 babies from a historical birth cohort (BASELINE cohort recruited between 2008 and 2011). RESULTS: Compared with a historical cohort, babies born into lockdown appeared to have some deficits in social communication. Fewer infants in the pandemic cohort had one definite and meaningful word (76.6% vs 89.3%), could point (83.8% vs 92.8%) or wave bye-bye (87.7% vs 94.4%) at 12-month assessment. Adjusted log-binomial regression analyses demonstrated significant differences in social communication in the CORAL cohort compared with the BASELINE cohort: one definite and meaningful word (relative risk (RR): 0.86 (95% CI: 0.80 to 0.92)), pointing (RR: 0.91 (95% CI: 0.86 to 0.96)) and waving bye-bye (RR: 0.94 (95% CI: 0.90 to 0.99)). DISCUSSION: Parentally reported developmental outcomes in a birth cohort of babies born into lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic may indicate some potential deficits in early life social communication. It must be noted that milestones are parentally reported and comparison is with a historical cohort with associated limitations. Further studies with standardised testing is required to validate these findings. CONCLUSION: Pandemic-associated social isolation may have impacted on the social communication skills in babies born during the pandemic compared with a historical cohort. Babies are resilient and inquisitive by nature, and it is hoped that with societal re-emergence and increase in social circles, their social communication skills will improve.

2.
J Aging Soc Policy ; : 1-8, 2022 Aug 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1996968

ABSTRACT

Over 19,000 residents and health-care workers in 315 RCFs were swabbed in a once - off mass swabbing of residents and staff in residential care facilities (RCFs) in the Cork/Kerry region in Ireland in April and May 2020. This exercise was in response to epidemiological evidence demonstrating increasing community transmission of COVID-19 and emerging evidence of the vulnerability of older persons, particularly those with underlying medical conditions. The effectiveness of such strategies is uncertain and may depend on both the positive case yield and efficiency of testing turn-around to ensure that timely control measures are put in place. The overall positivity rate was 0.88% (n = 172). Mass swabbing allowed early identification of some new cases and outbreaks in RCFs. This facilitated early public health interventions to protect the most vulnerable members of society.

3.
Front Neurol ; 13: 836796, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1855398

ABSTRACT

Digital technologies are increasingly available and are reducing in cost. There is an opportunity to move to a digital health approach in vestibular rehabilitation (VR), but there is a paucity of suitable systems available and a consequent lack of evidence to support their use. This study aimed to investigate a novel digital platform developed specifically for VR (comprising clinician software, a wearable sensor, and a patient-facing app). Participants (n = 14, 9F:5M, mean age 59) with vestibular dysfunction and imbalance used the app for treatment, and therapists (n = 4) used the platform to deliver VR in the form of individualized exercise programmes over a mean of 17.4 ± 8.8 weeks. Outcomes included the system usability scale, the patient enablement instrument (PEI), change in subjective symptoms (numerical rating scales), percentage adherence to prescribed exercise, and a semi-structured interview on utility. A significant reduction was found in symptoms of vertigo/dizziness (p < 0.004), imbalance (p < 0.002), oscillopsia (p < 0.04), and anxiety (p < 0.02) after use. System usability scores were high for both clinicians (mean 85/100) and participants (mean 82.7/100) and high enablement was reported (mean PEI 6.5/12). Overall percentage adherence to the exercise prescription was highly variable and ranged from 4 to 78% when measured digitally. At semi-structured interviews, participants reported a high level of acceptance and satisfaction with digital delivery, and no adverse events were recorded. When COVID-19 restrictions eased, 2 participants trialed the head sensor with the application and found it highly usable. Further research is required to investigate the efficacy and how the wearable sensor impacts the delivery of care.

4.
Frontiers in neurology ; 13, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1787313

ABSTRACT

Digital technologies are increasingly available and are reducing in cost. There is an opportunity to move to a digital health approach in vestibular rehabilitation (VR), but there is a paucity of suitable systems available and a consequent lack of evidence to support their use. This study aimed to investigate a novel digital platform developed specifically for VR (comprising clinician software, a wearable sensor, and a patient-facing app). Participants (n = 14, 9F:5M, mean age 59) with vestibular dysfunction and imbalance used the app for treatment, and therapists (n = 4) used the platform to deliver VR in the form of individualized exercise programmes over a mean of 17.4 ± 8.8 weeks. Outcomes included the system usability scale, the patient enablement instrument (PEI), change in subjective symptoms (numerical rating scales), percentage adherence to prescribed exercise, and a semi-structured interview on utility. A significant reduction was found in symptoms of vertigo/dizziness (p < 0.004), imbalance (p < 0.002), oscillopsia (p < 0.04), and anxiety (p < 0.02) after use. System usability scores were high for both clinicians (mean 85/100) and participants (mean 82.7/100) and high enablement was reported (mean PEI 6.5/12). Overall percentage adherence to the exercise prescription was highly variable and ranged from 4 to 78% when measured digitally. At semi-structured interviews, participants reported a high level of acceptance and satisfaction with digital delivery, and no adverse events were recorded. When COVID-19 restrictions eased, 2 participants trialed the head sensor with the application and found it highly usable. Further research is required to investigate the efficacy and how the wearable sensor impacts the delivery of care.

5.
Front Psychiatry ; 13: 823096, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731853

ABSTRACT

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the commonest neurodevelopmental disability. It is a highly complex disorder with an increasing prevalence and an unclear etiology. Consensus indicates that ASD arises as a genetically modulated, and environmentally influenced condition. Although pathogenic rare genetic variants are detected in around 20% of cases of ASD, no single factor is responsible for the vast majority of ASD cases or that explains their characteristic clinical heterogeneity. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that ASD susceptibility involves an interplay between genetic factors and environmental exposures. One such environmental exposure which has received significant attention in this regard is maternal immune activation (MIA) resulting from bacterial or viral infection during pregnancy. Reproducible rodent models of ASD are well-established whereby induction of MIA in pregnant dams, leads to offspring displaying neuroanatomical, functional, and behavioral changes analogous to those seen in ASD. Blockade of specific inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-17A during gestation remediates many of these observed behavioral effects, suggesting a causative or contributory role. Here, we review the growing body of animal and human-based evidence indicating that interleukin-17A may mediate the observed effects of MIA on neurodevelopmental outcomes in the offspring. This is particularly important given the current corona virus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection during pregnancy is a potent stimulator of the maternal immune response, however the long-term effects of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection on neurodevelopmental outcomes is unclear. This underscores the importance of monitoring neurodevelopmental outcomes in children exposed to SARS-CoV-2-induced MIA during gestation.

6.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(9): e28766, 2021 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443964

ABSTRACT

Despite recent and potent technological advances, the real-world implementation of remote digital health technology in the care and monitoring of patients with motor neuron disease has not yet been realized. Digital health technology may increase the accessibility to and personalization of care, whereas remote biosensors could optimize the collection of vital clinical parameters, irrespective of patients' ability to visit the clinic. To facilitate the wide-scale adoption of digital health care technology and to align current initiatives, we outline a road map that will identify clinically relevant digital parameters; mediate the development of benefit-to-burden criteria for innovative technology; and direct the validation, harmonization, and adoption of digital health care technology in real-world settings. We define two key end products of the road map: (1) a set of reliable digital parameters to capture data collected under free-living conditions that reflect patient-centric measures and facilitate clinical decision making and (2) an integrated, open-source system that provides personalized feedback to patients, health care providers, clinical researchers, and caregivers and is linked to a flexible and adaptable platform that integrates patient data in real time. Given the ever-changing care needs of patients and the relentless progression rate of motor neuron disease, the adoption of digital health care technology will significantly benefit the delivery of care and accelerate the development of effective treatments.


Subject(s)
Motor Neuron Disease , Biomedical Technology , Caregivers , Health Personnel , Humans , Motor Neuron Disease/diagnosis , Motor Neuron Disease/therapy , Technology
7.
Amyotroph Lateral Scler Frontotemporal Degener ; 23(1-2): 76-80, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1258723

ABSTRACT

Forced vital capacity (FVC) is an essential respiratory measurement for assessment and monitoring of patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Our clinic rapidly implemented remote assessment of FVC after COVID-19 related restrictions on respiratory testing were imposed, using mini-spirometers and video consultation. We sought to evaluate the patient's experiences of performing remote respiratory assessments to guide future development and optimisation of the service. Twenty-five patients completed surveys. The mean age was 65.2 years and average time from diagnosis was 17.04 (2-99) months. Seventy-two percent (n = 18) required help from a caregiver to perform the tests. Ninety-two percent (n = 23) of patients reported that overall, they were satisfied and were happy to continue with remote respiratory assessment. Reducing the number of clinic visits for review and assessment was valued by 92% (n = 23) and reducing the risk associated with COVID-19 was valued by 96% (n = 24). The highest frequency reported as acceptable for performing the remote breathing assessments was monthly (60%, n = 15), followed by every second month (28%, n = 7). Remote respiratory testing is viewed positively by patients. These technologies used in combination with video-consultations and other novel forms of remote monitoring implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis will continue to be valuable tools for clinical care in future. However, further evaluation of the validity of remote respiratory assessment is required.


Subject(s)
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis , COVID-19 , Telemedicine , Aged , Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/diagnosis , Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Vital Capacity
8.
Ir J Med Sci ; 191(2): 547-552, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1163152

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Schools in Ireland closed in March 2020 as part of a national strategy to contain the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2). The extent to which schools contribute to the overall propagation of SARS-CoV-2 was continuing to evolve internationally. AIMS: To examine regional data on SARS-CoV-2 transmission in primary, post-primary and special schools in Cork and Kerry, two counties in southwest Ireland, during the first 6 weeks of the 2020-2021 academic year and determine the rate of in-school transmission. METHODS: Data were obtained from the Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting (CIDR) system and supplemented with digital records from the regional Department of Public Health (Dept PH) and from the Health Service Executive (HSE) Covid Care Tracker application. The positivity rate among school close contacts was calculated to determine the rate of in-school SARS-CoV-2 transmission. RESULTS: The overall rate of in-school transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was low at 4.1%. Positivity rates among students and staff who were close contacts were similarly low (3.1% vs. 6.9%, p = 0.07). One secondary case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged, on average, for every 7.6 infectious days spent by an index case in school. Schools accounted for 2.2% of all notified cases of COVID-19 in the region during the observation period. CONCLUSIONS: During the first 6 weeks of the academic year, the rate of in-school SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the region was low, and schools did not contribute substantially to the overall burden of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Ireland/epidemiology , Schools , Students
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