The National Neurofibromatosis Foundation International Database is a system for collecting comprehensive information on the clinical manifestations and natural history of neurofibromatosis. Data are entered into personal computers at participating centres and are pooled at the Central Database and coordinating centre in Vancouver, Canada. The system includes special mechanisms to assure consistency among centres and to maintain patient confidentiality. The database is designed to foster collaborative clinical and molecular genetic research in many aspects of neurofibromatosis.
The aim was to test sampling and explore sample characteristics in a pilot study using a case management intervention for older people with functional dependency and repeated contact with the healthcare services as well as to investigate the effects of the intervention on perceived health and depressed mood after 3 months. The aim was also to explore internal consistency in the life satisfaction index Z, activities of daily living-staircase and Geriatric Depression Scale-20.
This pilot study was carried out in a randomised controlled design with repeated follow-ups. In all, 46 people were consecutively and randomly assigned to either an intervention (n = 23) or a control (n = 23) group. Two nurses worked as case managers and carried out the intervention, which consisted of four parts.
No differences were found between the groups at baseline. The results showed the participants had low life satisfaction (median 14 vs. 12), several health complaints (median 11) and a high score on the Geriatric Depression Scale (median 6) at baseline, indicating the risk of depression. No significant effects were observed regarding depressed mood or perceived health between or within groups at follow-up after 3 months. Cronbach's alpha showed satisfactory internal consistency for group comparisons.
The sampling procedure led to similar groups. The life satisfaction, functional dependency and symptoms of depression measures were reliable to use. No changes in perceived health and symptoms of depression were found after 3 months, indicating that it may be too early to expect effects. The low depression score is noteworthy and requires further research.
Pilot projects in eastern Canada that use personal computers and telephone lines to link patients and rural physicians with specialists in urban centres indicate that telemedicine may be a cost-effective adjunct to clinical medicine. Dermatology, radiology, cardiology and oncology are among the areas that have been tested in Nova Scotia. Although physicians say telemedicine may have many useful applications, such as providing efficient continuing medical education for doctors in remote communities, they say it must respect traditional referral patterns.
Partial heating of black water by auto-thermal aerobic digestion was combined with the addition of 1% w/w urea and monitoring of pathogens and indicator organisms over a 21-day period. After initial mixing, the 160 m3 black water (60 m3 heated and 100 m3 non-heated) was left undisturbed. The urea was confirmed to be fully degraded into ammonia (5.1 g N L-1) first after 14 days, while the pH stabilised at around 9.2 after one week. The initial temperature of 17 °C fell by 6 °C during the study. E. coli and Salmonella spp., which are sensitive to ammonia, were inactivated during the first few days of the study, despite the urea only being partly hydrolysed. At day 14, f-RNA bacteriophages could also no longer be detected. The more persistent somatic coliphages, Enterococcus spp. and Ascaris eggs, showed significant but slow inactivation. The treatment proved to be efficient with regards to salmonella, which is a target pathogen in the Swedish context, but for parasite egg inactivation a higher temperature was required. The treatment would benefit from more frequent stirring to speed up the hydrolysis of urea and thus improve treatment efficiency. The alternative treatment scheme could increase capacity by 2.4 times, albeit with a 40% higher cost per volume due to the increased use of urea.