McMaster University
  • Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Recent publications
Purpose: This study aimed to characterize contemporary management of Canadian patients with cardiovascular implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) undergoing radiation therapy (RT) in light of updated American Association of Physicists in Medicine guidelines. Methods and materials: A 22-question web-based survey was distributed to members of the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology, Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists, and Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists from January to February 2020. Respondent demographics, knowledge, and management practices were elicited. Statistical comparisons by respondent demographics were performed using χ2 and Fisher exact tests. Results: In total, 155 surveys were completed by 54 radiation oncologists, 26 medical physicists, and 75 radiation therapists in academic (51%) and community (49%) practices across all provinces. The majority of respondents (77%) had managed >10 patients with CIEDs in their career. Most respondents (70%) reported using risk-stratified institutional management protocols. Respondents used manufacturer recommendations, rather than American Association of Physicists in Medicine or institutionally recommended dose limits, when the manufacturer limit was 0 Gy (44%), 0 to 2 Gy (45%), or >2 Gy (34%). The majority of respondents (86%) reported institutional policies to refer to a cardiologist for CIED evaluation both before and after completion of RT. Cumulative dose to CIED, pacing dependence, and neutron production were considered during risk stratification by 86%, 74%, and 50% of participants, respectively. Dose and energy thresholds for high-risk management were not known by 45% and 52% of respondents, with radiation oncologists and radiation therapists significantly less likely to report thresholds than medical physicists (P < .001). Although 59% of respondents felt comfortable managing patients with CIEDs, community respondents were less likely to feel comfortable than academic respondents (P = .037). Conclusions: The management of Canadian patients with CIEDs undergoing RT is characterized by variability and uncertainty. National consensus guidelines may have a role in improving provider knowledge and confidence in caring for this growing population.
About two-thirds of Canadian COVID-19 related deaths occurred in long-term care homes (LTCHs). Multiple jobholding and excessive part-time work among staff have been discussed as vectors of transmission. Using an administrative census of registered nurses (RNs) and registered practical nurses (RPNs) in the Canadian province of Ontario, this paper contrasts the prevalence of multiple jobholding, part-time/casual work, and other job and worker characteristics across health sectors in 2019 and 2020 to establish whether the LTCH sector deviates from the norms in Ontario healthcare. Prior to COVID-19, about 19% of RNs and 21% of RPNs in LTCHs held multiple jobs. For RPNs, this was almost identical to the RPN provincial average, while for RNs this was 2.5 percentage points above the RN provincial average. In 2020, multiple jobholding fell significantly in LTCHs after the province passed a single site order to reduce COVD-19 transmission. Although there are many similarities across sectors, nurses, especially RNs, in LTCHs differ on some dimensions. They are more likely to be internationally educated and, together with nurses in hospitals, those who work part- time/casual are more likely to prefer full-time hours (involuntary part-time/casual). Overall, while multiple jobholding and part-time work among nurses are problematic for infection prevention and control, these employment practices in LTCHs did not substantially deviate from the norms in the rest of healthcare in Ontario.
Following George Floyd’s murder in 2020, academia pursued a policy of diversity, noticeable in the job advertisements for the following academic year. This article analyzes 77 tenure-track positions for the 2020–2021 academic year advertised on the National Communication Association’s COMMNotes. With a focus on the job market and labor, the authors explain the assumptions of applying for tenure-track positions. The analysis shows how diversity transforms from concept into practice. However, within the context of the U.S.-based communication studies’ economic conditions, the authors ask if labor is outside the conceptualization of diversity.
Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality. While tranexamic acid (TXA) reduces bleeding and transfusion requirements in established PPH, we sought to determine the feasibility of conducting a fully powered trial assessing the effect of prophylactic tranexamic acid, prior to PPH onset, in a Canadian Obstetric setting. With institutional and Health Canada approval, consenting, eligible parturients (singleton, > 32 weeks gestation, vaginal or caesarian delivery) were randomly assigned to receive TXA (1 g intravenously) or placebo (0.9% saline) prior to delivery. Participants, investigators, data collectors/adjudicators, and analysis was blinded. The primary outcome was administration of study intervention to > 85% of randomized individuals. Secondary outcomes included recruitment rate (feasibility) and safety outcomes. Over 8 months, 611 were approached, 35 consented, and 27 randomized (14 TXA, 13 placebo). 89% of randomized participants received the assigned intervention. Recruitment fell below feasibility (23% target). No serious adverse outcomes occurred. Our pilot trial in a Canadian Obstetric setting was unable to demonstrate feasibility to conduct a large, multicentre trial to examine prophylactic use of tranexamic for PPH secondary to the complex regulatory requirements associated with a trial for an off-label, but commonly utilized intervention. These challenges should inform stakeholders on the resources and challenges of conducting future trials using off-label interventions. Trial registration:, NCT03069859 (03/03/2017).
An Au-on-Au tip sensor is developed for the detection of Salmonella typhimurium (Salmonella), using a new synthetic nucleic acid probe (NAP) as a linker for the immobilization of a DNA-conjugated Au nanoparticle (AuNP) onto a DNA-attached thin Au layer inside a pipette tip. In the presence of Salmonella, RNase H2 from Salmonella (STH2) cleaves the NAP and the freed DNA-conjugated AuNP can be visually detected by a paper strip. This portable biosensor does not require any electronic, electrochemical or optical equipment. It delivers a detection limit of 3.2 × 103 CFU/mL for Salmonella in 1 h without cell-culturing or signal amplification and does not show cross-reactivity with several control bacteria. Further, the sensor reliably detects Salmonella spiked in food samples, such as ground beef and chicken, milk, and eggs. The sensor can be reused and is stable at ambient temperature, showing its potential as a point-of-need device for the prevention of food poisoning by Salmonella.
Purpose This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the efficacy of barrier films and dressings in preventing acute radiation dermatitis (RD). Methods OVID Medline, Embase, and Cochrane databases were searched from 1946 to September 2020 to identify randomized controlled trials on the use of barrier films or dressings to prevent RD. For comparable outcomes between studies, pooled effect sizes and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using the random effects analysis in RevMan 5.4. Results Fourteen and 11 studies were included in the qualitative and quantitative analyses, respectively. Five types of barrier films used for RD were identified: Hydrofilm, StrataXRT®, Mepitel® Film, 3 M™ Cavilon™ No-Sting Barrier Film, and silver leaf nylon dressing. Hydrofilm and Mepitel Film significantly reduced the development of RD grade ≥ 2 in breast and head and neck cancer patients (RR 0.32, 95%CI 0.19, 0.56, p < 0.0001; RR 0.21, 95%CI 0.05, 0.89, p = 0.03, resp.). Moreover, Hydrofilm had a beneficial effect on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) (SMD -0.75, 95%CI -1.2, -0.29, p = 0.001). The meta-analyses on the other barrier films did not show any significant effect. Conclusion This review and meta-analysis demonstrated that Hydrofilm and Mepitel Film could effectively reduce RD severity and improve PROs. The evidence is generally weak for all the studies on barrier films and dressings due to a limited study number, high risk of bias, small sample sizes, and minimal comparable outcome measures. It’s potential has been proven, but future research in this field is recommended to confirm the efficacy of these products and assess real-world feasibility.
Purpose Radiation dermatitis (RD) is a common side effect of radiation therapy, affecting a majority of breast and head and neck cancer patients with a negative impact on quality of life. Currently, no consensus exists regarding the prevention of RD. Methods PubMed, Embase and Cochrane databases (1946 to December 2022) were searched using PRISMA guidelines to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that investigated the use of topical non-steroidal agents in the prevention of RD in patients undergoing radiotherapy. Results A total of six RCTs were included, comprising 627 patients. Among the topical non-steroidal agents analyzed, only the use of Biafine® in breast cancer patients was significant in preventing grade 4 and 3 + RD as classified by the Radiation Therapy Oncology group (RTOG) scale (OR = 0.07, 95% CI 0.01–0.63, p = 0.02, and OR 0.11, 95% CI 0.03–0.41, p < 0.01, respectively). The remaining agents (trolamine alone and hyaluronic acid/hyaluronan) did not significantly prevent the occurrence of RD. Conclusion The results of this systematic review and meta-analysis indicate that Biafine® can prevent grade 3 + RD in breast cancer patients. The use of trolamine and hyaluronic acid does not significantly affect the incidence of RD.
Background: Given the highly stressful environment surrounding the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, healthcare workers (HCW) and public safety personnel (PSP) are at an elevated risk for adverse psychological outcomes, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol/substance use problems. As such, the study aimed to identify associations between PTSD severity, related dissociation and emotion dysregulation symptoms, and alcohol/substance use problems among HCWs and PSP. Methods: A subset of data (N = 498; HCWs = 299; PSP = 199) was extracted from a larger study examining psychological variables among Canadian HCWs and PSP during the pandemic. Structural equation modelling assessed associations between PTSD symptoms and alcohol/substance use-related problems with dissociation and emotion dysregulation as mediators. Results: Among HCWs, dissociation fully mediated the relation between PTSD and alcohol-related problems (indirect effect β = .133, p = .03) and emotion dysregulation partially mediated the relation between PTSD and substance-related problems (indirect effect β = .151, p = .046). In PSP, emotion dysregulation fully mediated the relation between PTSD and alcohol-related problems (indirect effects β = .184, p = .005). For substance-related problems among PSP, neither emotion dysregulation nor dissociation (ps >.05) had any effects. Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first study examining associations between PTSD severity and alcohol/substance use-related problems via mediating impacts of emotion dysregulation and dissociation among HCWs and PSP during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. These findings highlight dissociation and emotion dysregulation as important therapeutic targets for structured interventions aimed at reducing the burden of PTSD and/or SUD among Canadian HCWs or PSP suffering from the adverse mental health impacts of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
Background: Implementation of international guidelines in Latin American settings requires additional considerations (i.e., values and preferences, resources, accessibility, feasibility, and impact on health equity). Objective: To provide evidence-based guidelines about diagnosis of VTE and management in children and during pregnancy. Methods: We used the GRADE ADOLOPMENT method to adapt recommendations from three American Society of Hematology, ASH, VTE guidelines (Diagnosis of VTE, VTE in Pregnancy and VTE in Pediatric population). ASH and 12 local hematology societies formed a guideline panel comprised of medical professionals from 10 countries in Latin America. Panelists prioritized 10 questions about VTE diagnosis and 18 about management in special populations that were relevant for the Latin American context. A knowledge synthesis team updated evidence reviews of health effects conducted for the original ASH guidelines and summarized information about factors specific to the Latin American context. Results: In comparison with the original guideline, there were significant changes in 2/10 diagnostic recommendations (changes in the diagnostic algorithms) and in 9/18 management recommendations (4 changed direction and 5 changed strength). Conclusions: This guideline ADOLOPMENT project highlighted the importance of contextualization of recommendations in other settings, based on differences in values, resources, feasibility and health equity impact.
Wastewater analysis of pathogens, particularly SARS-CoV-2, is instrumental in tracking and monitoring infectious diseases in a population. This method can be used to generate early warnings regarding the onset of an infectious disease and predict the associated infection trends. Currently, wastewater analysis of SARS-CoV-2 is almost exclusively performed using polymerase chain reaction for the amplification-based detection of viral RNA at centralized laboratories. Despite the development of several biosensing technologies offering point-of-care solutions for analyzing SARS-CoV-2 in clinical samples, these remain elusive for wastewater analysis due to the low levels of the virus and the interference caused by the wastewater matrix. Herein, we integrate an aptamer-based electrochemical chip with a filtration, purification, and extraction (FPE) system for developing an alternate in-field solution for wastewater analysis. The sensing chip employs a dimeric aptamer, which is universally applicable to the wild-type, alpha, delta, and omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2. We demonstrate that the aptamer is stable in the wastewater matrix (diluted to 50%) and its binding affinity is not significantly impacted. The sensing chip demonstrates a limit of detection of 1000 copies/L (1 copy/mL), enabled by the amplification provided by the FPE system. This allows the integrated system to detect trace amounts of the virus in native wastewater and categorize the amount of contamination into trace (<10 copies/mL), medium (10-1000 copies/mL), or high (>1000 copies/mL) levels, providing a viable wastewater analysis solution for in-field use.
Introduction: A breast cancer diagnosis may result in disabling effects which may persist after treatment. The aim of this study was to identify patient factors that are associated with increased cancer worry, fatigue, and impact on work. Methods: Women with a history of breast cancer, aged ≥18 years, and English-speaking were recruited through the Love Research Army between October and November 2019. Participants completed demographic and clinical questions alongside the BREAST-Q Cancer Worry, Fatigue, and Impact on Work scales. Univariable and multivariable regression analyses were used to identify participant characteristics associated with each scale. Results: Cancer Worry, Fatigue, and Impact on Work scales were completed by n = 1680, n = 1037, and n = 873 participants, respectively. Most participants were older than 50 ( n = 1,470, 87.5%), married ( n = 1229, 73.2%), white ( n = 1557, 92.7%), and had undergone surgery for cancer treatment ( n = 1,472, 87.6%). Increased Cancer Worry was significantly associated ( P < .04) with younger age, less time since diagnosis, pain related to cancer/treatment, recurrence, prior chemotherapy, and ongoing breast edema. Increased Fatigue was significantly associated ( P < .01) with elevated BMI, less time since diagnosis, ethnicity, employment status, recurrence, prior chemotherapy, ongoing pain, and difficulty sleeping secondary to treatment. Decreased Impact on Work scores was significantly associated ( P < .04) with chemotherapy administration, shorter time since diagnosis, employment, fatigue related to treatment, breast edema, and ongoing pain. Conclusion: This study reveals patient characteristics associated with increased cancer worry, fatigue, and a negative impact on work following a breast cancer diagnosis. These findings can inform clinical and research initiatives to better support patients through treatment and survivorship.
Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted insufficiencies and gaps within healthcare systems globally. In most countries, including high-income countries, healthcare facilities were over-run and occupied with too few resources beyond capacity. We carried out a systematic review with a primary aim to identify the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the presentation and treatment of stroke globally in populations≥65 years of age. Design: A systematic review was completed. In total, 38 papers were included following full-text screening. Data sources: PubMed, MEDLINE and Embase. Eligibility criteria: Eligible studies included observational and real-world evidence publications with a population who have experienced stroke treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Exclusion criteria included studies comparing the effect of the COVID-19 infection on stroke treatment and outcomes. Data extraction and synthesis: Primary outcome measures extracted were the number of admissions, treatment times and patient outcome. Secondary outcomes were severity on admission, population risk factors and destination on discharge. No meta-analysis was performed. Results: This review demonstrated that 84% of studies reported decreased admissions rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, among those admitted, on average, had higher severity of stroke. Additionally, in-hospital stroke treatment pathways were affected by the implementation of COVID-19 protocols, which resulted in increased treatment times in 60% of studies and increased in-hospital mortality in 82% of studies by 100% on average. The prevalence of stroke subtype (ischaemic or haemorrhagic) and primary treatment methods (thrombectomy or thrombolysis) did not vary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions: During the COVID-19 pandemic, many populations hesitated to seek medical attention, decreasing hospital admissions for less severe strokes and increasing hospitalisation of more severe cases and mortality. The effect of the pandemic on society and healthcare systems needs to be addressed to improve stroke treatment pathways and prepare for potential future epidemics. Prospero registration number: CRD42021248564.
Advancements in Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have enabled the manufacture of affordable and efficient wearable devices. In sensor-based gait analysis, motion and biofeedback sensor devices are easily attached to different parts of the body. Instrumentation of gait using different sensor technologies enables researchers and clinicians to capture high-resolution quantitative motion data within and beyond the lab. Integration of advanced sensor technologies provides objective and rater-independent multimodal outcomes that complement established clinical examination. Multi-modal data capture in ecologically valid, patient-relevant habitual settings opens new possibilities to monitor fluctuating and rare incidents by informing different aspects of impaired gait. Interconnected device communication and the Internet of Things (IoT) provide the infrastructural platform to enable remote gait assessment. However, an extended period of motion data recorded by different sensor technologies results in a vast amount of unlabelled data. Computational methods and artificial intelligence techniques (e.g., data mining) provide opportunities to manage data collected in unsupervised environments. Although technological advancement and algorithms promote remote gait assessment, more work needs to be done in terms of analytical and clinical validation to achieve robust and reliable gait analysis tools that contribute to better rehabilitation and treatment.
There are many consequences of heart failure (HF), including symptoms, impaired health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and physical and social limitations (functional status). These have a substantial impact on patients' lives, yet are not routinely captured in clinical trials. Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) can quantify patients' experiences of their disease and its treatment. Steps can be taken to improve the use of PROs in HF trials, in regulatory and payer decisions, and in patient care. Importantly, PRO measures (PROMs) must be developed with involvement of patients, family members, and caregivers from diverse demographic groups and communities. PRO data collection should become more routine not only in clinical trials but also in clinical practice. This may be facilitated by the use of digital tools and interdisciplinary patient advocacy efforts. There is a need for standardisation, not only of the PROM instruments, but also in procedures for analysis, interpretation and reporting PRO data. More work needs to be done to determine the degree of change that is important to patients and that which is associated with increased risks of clinical events. This "minimal clinically important difference (MCID)" requires further research to determine thresholds for different PROMs, to assess consistency across trial populations, and to define standards for improvement that warrant regulatory and reimbursement approvals. PROs are a vital part of patient care and drug development, and more work should be done to ensure that these measures are both reflective of the patient experience and that they are more widely employed.
Surface-mediated transmission of pathogens is a major concern with regard to the spread of infectious diseases. Current pathogen prevention methods on surfaces rely on the use of biocides, which aggravate the emergence of antimicrobial resistance and pose harmful health effects. In response, a bifunctional and substrate-independent spray coating is presented herein. The bifunctional coating relies on wrinkled polydimethylsiloxane microparticles, decorated with biocidal gold nanoparticles to induce a "repel and kill" effect against pathogens. Pathogen repellency is provided by the structural hierarchy of the microparticles and their surface chemistry, whereas the kill mechanism is achieved using functionalized gold nanoparticles embedded on the microparticles. Bacterial tests with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa reveal a 99.9% reduction in bacterial load on spray-coated surfaces, while antiviral tests with Phi6─a bacterial virus often used as a surrogate to SARS-CoV-2─demonstrate a 98% reduction in virus load on coated surfaces. The newly developed spray coating is versatile, easily applicable to various surfaces, and effective against various pathogens, making it suitable for reducing surface contamination in frequently touched, heavy traffic, and high-risk surfaces.
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18,348 members
Behnam Sadeghirad
  • Departments of Anethesia and Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Omar M. Bdair
  • Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Matiar Howlader
  • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Carlos Alberto Cuello-Garcia
  • Health Research Methods Evidence and Impact
Loubna Akhabir
  • Department of Medicine
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