Ringo, Doty, Demeter and Simard, Cerebral Cortex 1994;4:331-343: a proof of the need for the spatial clustering of interneuronal connections to enhance cortical computation.
It has been argued that an important principle driving the organization of the cerebral cortex towards local processing has been the need to decrease time lost to interneuronal conduction delay. In this paper, I show for a simplified model of the cerebral cortex, using analytical means, that if interneuronal conduction time increases proportional to interneuronal distance, then the only way to increase the numbers of synaptic events occurring in a fixed finite time period is to spatially cluster interneuronal connections. (+info)
Cluster survey evaluation of coverage and risk factors for failure to be immunized during the 1995 National Immunization Days in Egypt.
BACKGROUND: In 1995, Egypt continued to experience endemic wild poliovirus transmission despite achieving high routine immunization coverage with at least three doses of oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV3) and implementing National Immunization Days (NIDs) annually for several years. METHODS: Parents of 4188 children in 3216 households throughout Egypt were surveyed after the second round of the 1995 NIDs. RESULTS: Nationwide, 74% of children are estimated to have received both NID doses, 17% one NID dose, and 9% neither NID dose. Previously unimmunized (47%) or partially immunized (64%) children were less likely to receive two NID doses of OPV than were fully immunized children (76%) (P < 0.001). Other risk factors nationwide for failure to receive NID OPV included distance from residence to nearest NID site >10 minute walk (P < 0.001), not being informed about the NID at least one day in advance (P < 0.001), and residing in a household which does not watch television (P < 0.001). Based on these findings, subsequent NIDs in Egypt were modified to improve coverage, which has resulted in a marked decrease in the incidence of paralytic poliomyelitis in Egypt. CONCLUSIONS: In selected situations, surveys can provide important information that is useful for planning future NIDs. (+info)
Clusters of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia: analysis of person-to-person transmission by genotyping.
Genotyping at the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of the nuclear rRNA operon was performed on isolates of P. carinii sp. f. hominis from three clusters of P. carinii pneumonia among eight patients with haematological malignancies and six with HIV infection. Nine different ITS sequence types of P. carinii sp. f. hominis were identified in the samples from the patients with haematological malignancies, suggesting that this cluster of cases of P. carinii pneumonia was unlikely to have resulted from nosocomial transmission. A common ITS sequence type was observed in two of the patients with haematological malignancies who shared a hospital room, and also in two of the patients with HIV infection who had prolonged close contact on the ward. In contrast, different ITS sequence types were detected in samples from an HIV-infected homosexual couple who shared the same household. These data suggest that person-to-person transmission of P. carinii sp. f. hominis may occur from infected to susceptible immunosuppressed patients with close contact within hospital environments. However direct transmission between patients did not account for the majority of cases within the clusters, suggesting that person-to-person transmission of P. carinii sp. f. hominis infection may be a relatively infrequent event and does not constitute the major route of transmission in man. (+info)
Influence of sampling on estimates of clustering and recent transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis derived from DNA fingerprinting techniques.
The availability of DNA fingerprinting techniques for Mycobacterium tuberculosis has led to attempts to estimate the extent of recent transmission in populations, using the assumption that groups of tuberculosis patients with identical isolates ("clusters") are likely to reflect recently acquired infections. It is never possible to include all cases of tuberculosis in a given population in a study, and the proportion of isolates found to be clustered will depend on the completeness of the sampling. Using stochastic simulation models based on real and hypothetical populations, the authors demonstrate the influence of incomplete sampling on the estimates of clustering obtained. The results show that as the sampling fraction increases, the proportion of isolates identified as clustered also increases and the variance of the estimated proportion clustered decreases. Cluster size is also important: the underestimation of clustering for any given sampling fraction is greater, and the variability in the results obtained is larger, for populations with small clusters than for those with the same number of individuals arranged in large clusters. A considerable amount of caution should be used in interpreting the results of studies on clustering of M. tuberculosis isolates, particularly when sampling fractions are small. (+info)
Newly recognized focus of La Crosse encephalitis in Tennessee.
La Crosse virus is a mosquito-borne arbovirus that causes encephalitis in children. Only nine cases were reported in Tennessee during the 33-year period from 1964-1996. We investigated a cluster of La Crosse encephalitis cases in eastern Tennessee in 1997. Medical records of all suspected cases of La Crosse virus infection at a pediatric referral hospital were reviewed, and surveillance was enhanced in the region. Previous unreported cases were identified by surveying 20 hospitals in the surrounding 16 counties. Mosquito eggs were collected from five sites. Ten cases of La Crosse encephalitis were serologically confirmed. None of the patients had been discharged from hospitals in the region with diagnosed La Crosse encephalitis in the preceding 5 years. Aedes triseriatus and Aedes albopictus were collected at the case sites; none of the mosquitos had detectable La Crosse virus. This cluster may represent an extension of a recently identified endemic focus of La Crosse virus infection in West Virginia. (+info)
Hierarchical cluster analysis applied to workers' exposures in fiberglass insulation manufacturing.
The objectives of this study were to explore the application of cluster analysis to the characterization of multiple exposures in industrial hygiene practice and to compare exposure groupings based on the result from cluster analysis with that based on non-measurement-based approaches commonly used in epidemiology. Cluster analysis was performed for 37 workers simultaneously exposed to three agents (endotoxin, phenolic compounds and formaldehyde) in fiberglass insulation manufacturing. Different clustering algorithms, including complete-linkage (or farthest-neighbor), single-linkage (or nearest-neighbor), group-average and model-based clustering approaches, were used to construct the tree structures from which clusters can be formed. Differences were observed between the exposure clusters constructed by these different clustering algorithms. When contrasting the exposure classification based on tree structures with that based on non-measurement-based information, the results indicate that the exposure clusters identified from the tree structures had little in common with the classification results from either the traditional exposure zone or the work group classification approach. In terms of the defining homogeneous exposure groups or from the standpoint of health risk, some toxicological normalization in the components of the exposure vector appears to be required in order to form meaningful exposure groupings from cluster analysis. Finally, it remains important to see if the lack of correspondence between exposure groups based on epidemiological classification and measurement data is a peculiarity of the data or a more general problem in multivariate exposure analysis. (+info)
A taxonomy of health networks and systems: bringing order out of chaos.
OBJECTIVE: To use existing theory and data for empirical development of a taxonomy that identifies clusters of organizations sharing common strategic/structural features. DATA SOURCES: Data from the 1994 and 1995 American Hospital Association Annual Surveys, which provide extensive data on hospital involvement in hospital-led health networks and systems. STUDY DESIGN: Theories of organization behavior and industrial organization economics were used to identify three strategic/structural dimensions: differentiation, which refers to the number of different products/services along a healthcare continuum; integration, which refers to mechanisms used to achieve unity of effort across organizational components; and centralization, which relates to the extent to which activities take place at centralized versus dispersed locations. These dimensions were applied to three components of the health service/product continuum: hospital services, physician arrangements, and provider-based insurance activities. DATA EXTRACTION METHODS: We identified 295 health systems and 274 health networks across the United States in 1994, and 297 health systems and 306 health networks in 1995 using AHA data. Empirical measures aggregated individual hospital data to the health network and system level. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We identified a reliable, internally valid, and stable four-cluster solution for health networks and a five-cluster solution for health systems. We found that differentiation and centralization were particularly important in distinguishing unique clusters of organizations. High differentiation typically occurred with low centralization, which suggests that a broader scope of activity is more difficult to centrally coordinate. Integration was also important, but we found that health networks and systems typically engaged in both ownership-based and contractual-based integration or they were not integrated at all. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, we were able to classify approximately 70 percent of hospital-led health networks and 90 percent of hospital-led health systems into well-defined organizational clusters. Given the widespread perception that organizational change in healthcare has been chaotic, our research suggests that important and meaningful similarities exist across many evolving organizations. The resulting taxonomy provides a new lexicon for researchers, policymakers, and healthcare executives for characterizing key strategic and structural features of evolving organizations. The taxonomy also provides a framework for future inquiry about the relationships between organizational strategy, structure, and performance, and for assessing policy issues, such as Medicare Provider Sponsored Organizations, antitrust, and insurance regulation. (+info)
Double blind, cluster randomised trial of low dose supplementation with vitamin A or beta carotene on mortality related to pregnancy in Nepal. The NNIPS-2 Study Group.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact on mortality related to pregnancy of supplementing women of reproductive age each week with a recommended dietary allowance of vitamin A, either preformed or as beta carotene. DESIGN: Double blind, cluster randomised, placebo controlled field trial. SETTING: Rural southeast central plains of Nepal (Sarlahi district). SUBJECTS: 44 646 married women, of whom 20 119 became pregnant 22 189 times. INTERVENTION: 270 wards randomised to 3 groups of 90 each for women to receive weekly a single oral supplement of placebo, vitamin A (7000 micrograms retinol equivalents) or beta carotene (42 mg, or 7000 micrograms retinol equivalents) for over 31/2 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: All cause mortality in women during pregnancy up to 12 weeks post partum (pregnancy related mortality) and mortality during pregnancy to 6 weeks postpartum, excluding deaths apparently related to injury (maternal mortality). RESULTS: Mortality related to pregnancy in the placebo, vitamin A, and beta carotene groups was 704, 426, and 361 deaths per 100 000 pregnancies, yielding relative risks (95% confidence intervals) of 0. 60 (0.37 to 0.97) and 0.51 (0.30 to 0.86). This represented reductions of 40% (P<0.04) and 49% (P<0.01) among those who received vitamin A and beta carotene. Combined, vitamin A or beta carotene lowered mortality by 44% (0.56 (0.37 to 0.84), P<0.005) and reduced the maternal mortality ratio from 645 to 385 deaths per 100 000 live births, or by 40% (P<0.02). Differences in cause of death could not be reliably distinguished between supplemented and placebo groups. CONCLUSION: Supplementation of women with either vitamin A or beta carotene at recommended dietary amounts during childbearing years can lower mortality related to pregnancy in rural, undernourished populations of south Asia. (+info)