The identification of agreed criteria for referral following the dental inspection of children in the school setting.
AIM: To clarify the function of the school based dental inspection. OBJECTIVE: For representatives of the Community Dental Service, General Dental Service and Hospital Dental Service to identify an agreed set of criteria for the referral of children following school dental inspection. DESIGN: Qualitative research methodology used to establish a consensus for the inclusion of referral criteria following dental screening. SETTING: Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, England. MATERIALS: A Delphi technique was used to establish a consensus amongst the study participants on the inclusion of nine possible criteria for referral following dental screening. All participants scored each criterion in the range 1-9, with a score of 1 indicating that referral of individuals with the condition should definitely not take place, and a score of 9 indicating referral should definitely take place. Referral criteria were accepted only if they achieved a group median score of 7 or more, with an interquartile range of three scale points, with the lower value being no less than 7. RESULTS: Four of the nine possible criteria met the agreed group standard for inclusion: 'Sepsis', 'Caries in the secondary dentition', 'Overjet > 10 mm', and 'Registered & caries in the permanent dentition'. CONCLUSION: It is possible to agree clear criteria for the referral of children following the school dental inspection. (+info)
The effect of race and sex on physicians' recommendations for cardiac catheterization.
BACKGROUND: Epidemiologic studies have reported differences in the use of cardiovascular procedures according to the race and sex of the patient. Whether the differences stem from differences in the recommendations of physicians remains uncertain. METHODS: We developed a computerized survey instrument to assess physicians' recommendations for managing chest pain. Actors portrayed patients with particular characteristics in scripted interviews about their symptoms. A total of 720 physicians at two national meetings of organizations of primary care physicians participated in the survey. Each physician viewed a recorded interview and was given other data about a hypothetical patient. He or she then made recommendations about that patient's care. We used multivariate logistic-regression analysis to assess the effects of the race and sex of the patients on treatment recommendations, while controlling for the physicians' assessment of the probability of coronary artery disease as well as for the age of the patient, the level of coronary risk, the type of chest pain, and the results of an exercise stress test. RESULTS: The physicians' mean (+/-SD) estimates of the probability of coronary artery disease were lower for women (probability, 64.1+/-19.3 percent, vs. 69.2+/-18.2 percent for men; P<0.001), younger patients (63.8+/-19.5 percent for patients who were 55 years old, vs. 69.5+/-17.9 percent for patients who were 70 years old; P<0.001), and patients with nonanginal pain (58.3+/-19.0 percent, vs. 64.4+/-18.3 percent for patients with possible angina and 77.1+/-14.0 percent for those with definite angina; P=0.001). Logistic-regression analysis indicated that women (odds ratio, 0.60; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.4 to 0.9; P=0.02) and blacks (odds ratio, 0.60; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.4 to 0.9; P=0.02) were less likely to be referred for cardiac catheterization than men and whites, respectively. Analysis of race-sex interactions showed that black women were significantly less likely to be referred for catheterization than white men (odds ratio, 0.4; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.2 to 0.7; P=0.004). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that the race and sex of a patient independently influence how physicians manage chest pain. (+info)
Slippery slopes in flat countries--a response.
In response to the paper by Keown and Jochemsen in which the latest empirical data concerning euthanasia and other end-of-life decisions in the Netherlands is discussed, this paper discusses three points. The use of euthanasia in cases in which palliative care was a viable alternative may be taken as proof of a slippery slope. However, it could also be interpreted as an indication of a shift towards more autonomy-based end-of-life decisions. The cases of non-voluntary euthanasia are a serious problem in the Netherlands and they are only rarely justifiable. However, they do not prove the existence of a slippery slope. Persuading the physician to bring euthanasia cases to the knowledge of the authorities is a problem of any euthanasia policy. The Dutch notification procedure has recently been changed to reduce the underreporting of cases. However, many questions remain. (+info)
Conditions required for a law on active voluntary euthanasia: a survey of nurses' opinions in the Australian Capital Territory.
OBJECTIVES: To ascertain which conditions nurses believe should be in a law allowing active voluntary euthanasia (AVE). DESIGN: Survey questionnaire posted to registered nurses (RNs). SETTING: Australian Capital Territory (ACT) at the end of 1996, when active voluntary euthanasia was legal in the Northern Territory. SURVEY SAMPLE: A random sample of 2,000 RNs, representing 54 per cent of the RN population in the ACT. MAIN MEASURES: Two methods were used to look at nurses' opinions. The first involved four vignettes which varied in terms of critical characteristics of each patient who was requesting help to die. The respondents were asked if the law should be changed to allow any of these requests. There was also a checklist of conditions, most of which have commonly been included in Australian proposed laws on AVE. The respondents chose those which they believed should apply in a law on AVE. RESULTS: The response rate was 61%. Support for a change in the law to allow AVE was 38% for a young man with AIDS, 39% for an elderly man with early stage Alzheimer's disease, 44% for a young woman who had become quadriplegic and 71% for a middle-aged woman with metastases from breast cancer. The conditions most strongly supported in any future AVE law were: "second doctor's opinion", "cooling off period", "unbearable protracted suffering", "patient fully informed about illness and treatment" and "terminally ill". There was only minority support for "not suffering from treatable depression", "administer the fatal dose themselves" and "over a certain age". CONCLUSION: Given the lack of support for some conditions included in proposed AVE laws, there needs to be further debate about the conditions required in any future AVE bills. (+info)
Patient removals from general practitioner lists in Northern Ireland: 1987-1996.
BACKGROUND: Being struck off a general practitioner's list is a major event for patients and a subject for much media attention. However, it has not hitherto received much research attention. AIMS: To quantify the numbers of patients removed at doctors' request in Northern Ireland between 1987 and 1996. To describe the characteristics of those removed and to determine if the rate of removal has increased. METHODS: This is a descriptive epidemiological study involving a secondary data analysis of records held by the Central Services Agency. RESULTS: Six thousand five hundred and seventy-eight new patients were removed at general practitioner (GP) request between 1987 and 1996. This equated to 3920 removal decisions, a rate of 2.43 per 10,000 person-years. The very young and young adults had the highest rates of removal; most of the young being removed as part of a family. Ten point six per cent of removed patients had a repeat removal, and 16.3% of first removal decisions required an assignment to another practice. Family removals have decreased and individual removals have increased over the 10 years. Disadvantaged and densely populated areas with high population turnover were associated with higher rates of removal, though heterogeneity is evident between general practitioners serving similar areas. Compared to the period 1987 to 1991, removal rates for the years 1992 to 1993 were reduced by 20.0% (95% confidence interval (CI) for rate ratio (RR) 0.73-0.87), and those for the years 1994 to 1996 increased by 8% (95% CI = 1.01-1.16). The greatest increase was in the over-75 years age group (standardized RR = 1.60; 95% CI = 1.57-1.62). CONCLUSIONS: Removals are relatively rare events for both patients and practices, though they have been increasing in recent years. Further research is needed to understand the processes that culminate in a removal. (+info)
Dissociable deficits in the decision-making cognition of chronic amphetamine abusers, opiate abusers, patients with focal damage to prefrontal cortex, and tryptophan-depleted normal volunteers: evidence for monoaminergic mechanisms.
We used a novel computerized decision-making task to compare the decision-making behavior of chronic amphetamine abusers, chronic opiate abusers, and patients with focal lesions of orbital prefrontal cortex (PFC) or dorsolateral/medial PFC. We also assessed the effects of reducing central 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) activity using a tryptophan-depleting amino acid drink in normal volunteers. Chronic amphetamine abusers showed suboptimal decisions (correlated with years of abuse), and deliberated for significantly longer before making their choices. The opiate abusers exhibited only the second of these behavioral changes. Importantly, both sub-optimal choices and increased deliberation times were evident in the patients with damage to orbitofrontal PFC but not other sectors of PFC. Qualitatively, the performance of the subjects with lowered plasma tryptophan was similar to that associated with amphetamine abuse, consistent with recent reports of depleted 5-HT in the orbital regions of PFC of methamphetamine abusers. Overall, these data suggest that chronic amphetamine abusers show similar decision-making deficits to those seen after focal damage to orbitofrontal PFC. These deficits may reflect altered neuromodulation of the orbitofrontal PFC and interconnected limbic-striatal systems by both the ascending 5-HT and mesocortical dopamine (DA) projections. (+info)
When to consider radiation therapy for your patient.
Radiation therapy can be an effective treatment modality for both malignant and benign disease. While radiation can be given as primary treatment, it may also be used pre- or postoperatively, with or without other forms of therapy. Radiation therapy is often curative but is sometimes palliative. There are many methods of delivering radiation effectively. Often, patients tolerate irradiation well without significant complications, and organ function is preserved. To ensure that all patients with cancer have the opportunity to consider all treatment options, family physicians should be aware of the usefulness of radiation therapy. (+info)
Safer sex strategies for women: the hierarchical model in methadone treatment clinics.
Women clients of a methadone maintenance treatment clinic were targeted for an intervention aimed to reduce unsafe sex. The hierarchical model was the basis of the single intervention session, tested among 63 volunteers. This model requires the educator to discuss and demonstrate a full range of barriers that women might use for protection, ranking these in the order of their known efficacy. The model stresses that no one should go without protection. Two objections, both untested, have been voiced against the model. One is that, because of its complexity, women will have difficulty comprehending the message. The second is that, by demonstrating alternative strategies to the male condom, the educator is offering women a way out from persisting with the male condom, so that instead they will use an easier, but less effective, method of protection. The present research aimed at testing both objections in a high-risk and disadvantaged group of women. By comparing before and after performance on a knowledge test, it was established that, at least among these women, the complex message was well understood. By comparing baseline and follow-up reports of barriers used by sexually active women before and after intervention, a reduction in reports of unsafe sexual encounters was demonstrated. The reduction could be attributed directly to adoption of the female condom. Although some women who had used male condoms previously adopted the female condom, most of those who did so had not used the male condom previously. Since neither theoretical objection to the hierarchical model is sustained in this population, fresh weight is given to emphasizing choice of barriers, especially to women who are at high risk and relatively disempowered. As experience with the female condom grows and its unfamiliarity decreases, it would seem appropriate to encourage women who do not succeed with the male condom to try to use the female condom, over which they have more control. (+info)