University General - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 794
"I Do Feel Like a Scientist at Times": A Qualitative Study of the Acceptability of Molecular Point-Of-Care Testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea to Primary Care Professionals in a Remote High STI Burden Setting
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2015-12-29)
BACKGROUND: Point-of-care tests for chlamydia (CT) and gonorrhoea (NG) could increase the uptake and timeliness of testing and treatment, contribute to improved disease control and reduce reproductive morbidity. The GeneXpert (Xpert CT/NG assay), suited to use at the point-of-care, is being used in the TTANGO randomised controlled trial (RCT) in 12 remote Australian health services with a high burden of sexually transmissible infections (STIs). This represents the first ever routine use of a molecular point-of-care diagnostic for STIs in primary care. The purpose of this study was to explore the acceptability of the GeneXpert to primary care staff in remote Australia. METHODS: In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 16 staff (registered or enrolled nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers/Practitioners) trained and experienced with GeneXpert testing. Interviews were digitally-recorded and transcribed verbatim prior to content analysis. RESULTS: Most participants displayed positive attitudes, indicating the test was both easy to use and useful in their clinical context. Participants indicated that point-of-care testing had improved management of STIs, resulting in more timely and targeted treatment, earlier commencement of partner notification, and reduced follow up efforts associated with client recall. Staff expressed confidence in point-of-care test results and treating patients on this basis, and reported greater job satisfaction. While point-of-care testing did not negatively impact on client flow, several found the manual documentation processes time consuming, suggesting that improved electronic connectivity and test result transfer between the GeneXpert and patient management systems could overcome this. Managing positive test results in a shorter time frame was challenging for some but most found it satisfying to complete episodes of care more quickly. CONCLUSIONS: In the context of a RCT, health professionals working in remote primary care in Australia found the GeneXpert highly acceptable. These findings have implications for use in other primary care settings around the world.
"This is our life now. Our new normal": A qualitative study of the unmet needs of carers of stroke survivors.
(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2019)
Many stroke survivors require care from informal carers such as family members and friends who may experience adverse impacts. This study aimed to qualitatively explore the unmet needs of carers of stroke survivors, and their preferences for interventions and support services. We conducted 24 semi-structured, qualitative interviews with carers of stroke survivors from the Hunter region, Australia. Inductive thematic analysis was used in the context of a needs-led framework to identify key themes of their unmet needs. Key unmet needs identified by carers of stroke survivors in this study centred on four main themes: (1) social relationships and support; (2) adequacy of information; (3) taking care of oneself; and (4) accessing appropriate services. Carers of stroke survivors desired the development of services which provide connectivity to information, training, education and community support; and inclusion in a community with social relationships and other carers of stroke survivors. Ongoing unmet needs often result in adverse health and quality of life outcomes for carers of stroke survivors. Co-designed programs and resources for carers, particularly relating to unmet needs in social, information, self-care and service access domains are needed.
#MindinBody-feasibility of vigorous exercise (Bikram yoga versus high intensity interval training) to improve persistent pain in women with a history of trauma: a pilot randomized control trial
BACKGROUND: The neurobiology of persistent pain shares common underlying psychobiology with that of traumatic stress. Modern treatments for traumatic stress often involve bottom-up sensorimotor retraining/exposure therapies, where breath, movement, balance and mindfulness, are used to target underlying psychobiology. Vigorous exercise, in particular Bikram yoga, combines many of these sensorimotor/exposure therapeutic features. However, there is very little research investigating the feasibility and efficacy of such treatments for targeting the underlying psychobiology of persistent pain. METHODS: This study was a randomized controlled trail (RCT) comparing the efficacy of Bikram yoga versus high intensity interval training (HIIT), for improving persistent pain in women aged 20 to 50 years. The participants were 1:1 randomized to attend their assigned intervention, 3 times per week, for 8 weeks. The primary outcome measure was the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) and further pain related biopsychosocial secondary outcomes, including SF-36 Medical Outcomes and heart rate variability (HRV), were also explored. Data was collected pre (t0) and post (t1) intervention via an online questionnaire and physiological testing. RESULTS: A total of 34 women were recruited from the community. Analyses using ANCOVA demonstrated no significant difference in BPI (severity plus interference) scores between the Bikram yoga (n = 17) and the HIIT (n = 15). Women in the Bikram yoga group demonstrated significantly improved SF-36 subscale physical functioning: [ANCOVA: F(1, 29) = 6.17, p = .019, partial eta-squared effect size (ηp2) = .175 and mental health: F(1, 29) = 9.09, p = .005, ηp2 = .239; and increased heart rate variability (SDNN): F(1, 29) = 5.12, p = .013, ηp2 = .150, scores compared to the HIIT group. Across both groups, pain was shown to decrease, no injuries were experienced and retention rates were 94% for Bikram yoga and 75% for HIIT . CONCLUSIONS: Bikram yoga does not appear a superior exercise compared to HIIT for persistent pain. However, imporvements in quality of life measures and indicator of better health were seen in the Bikram yoga group. The outcomes of the present study suggest vigorous exercise interventions in persistent pain cohorts are feasible. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ( ACTRN12617001507370 , 26/10/2017).
'The difference in determinants of Chlamydia trachomatis and Mycoplasma genitalium in a sample of young Australian women'
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2011-02-01)
BACKGROUND: Differences in the determinants of Chlamydia trachomatis ('chlamydia') and Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) genital infection in women are not well understood. METHODS: A cohort study of 16 to 25 year old Australian women recruited from primary health care clinics, aimed to determine chlamydia and MG prevalence and incidence. Vaginal swabs collected at recruitment were used to measure chlamydia and MG prevalence, organism-load and chlamydia-serovar a cross-sectional analysis undertaken on the baseline results is presented here. RESULTS: Of 1116 participants, chlamydia prevalence was 4.9% (95% CI: 2.9, 7.0) (n = 55) and MG prevalence was 2.4% (95% CI: 1.5, 3.3) (n = 27). Differences in the determinants were found - chlamydia not MG, was associated with younger age [AOR:0.9 (95% CI: 0.8, 1.0)] and recent antibiotic use [AOR:0.4 (95% CI: 0.2, 1.0)], and MG not chlamydia was associated with symptoms [AOR:2.1 (95% CI: 1.1, 4.0)]. Having two or more partners in last 12 months was more strongly associated with chlamydia [AOR:6.4 (95% CI: 3.6, 11.3)] than MG [AOR:2.2 (95% CI: 1.0, 4.6)] but unprotected sex with three or more partners was less strongly associated with chlamydia [AOR:3.1 (95%CI: 1.0, 9.5)] than MG [AOR:16.6 (95%CI: 2.0, 138.0)]. Median organism load for MG was 100 times lower (5.7 × 104/swab) than chlamydia (5.6 × 106/swab) (p < 0.01) and not associated with age or symptoms for chlamydia or MG. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate significant chlamydia and MG prevalence in Australian women, and suggest that the differences in strengths of association between numbers of sexual partners and unprotected sex and chlamydia and MG might be due to differences in the transmission dynamics between these infections.
9-Vinylanthracene Based Fluorogens: Synthesis, Structure-Property Relationships and Applications
Fluorescent dyes with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) properties exhibit intensified emission upon aggregation. They are promising candidates to study biomolecules and cellular changes in aqueous environments when aggregation formation occurs. Here, we report a group of 9-position functionalized anthracene derivatives that were conveniently synthesized by the palladium-catalyzed Heck reaction. Using fluorometric analyses, these dyes were confirmed to show AIE behavior upon forming aggregates at high concentrations, in viscous solvents, and when poorly solubilized. Their photophysical properties were then further correlated with their structural features, using density functional theory (DFT) calculation. Finally, we demonstrated their potential applications in monitoring pH changes, quantifying globular proteins, as well as cell imaging with confocal microscopy.
A Bayesian Approach to Parameter Estimation for Kernel Density Estimation via Transformations
(Cambridge University Press, 2011)
In this paper, we present a Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulation algorithm for estimating parameters in the kernel density estimation of bivariate insurance claim data via transformations. Our data set consists of two types of auto insurance claim costs and exhibits a high-level of skewness in the marginal empirical distributions. Therefore, the kernel density estimator based on original data does not perform well. However, the density of the original data can be estimated through estimating the density of the transformed data using kernels. It is well known that the performance of a kernel density estimator is mainly determined by the bandwidth, and only in a minor way by the kernel. In the current literature, there have been some developments in the area of estimating densities based on transformed data, where bandwidth selection usually depends on pre-determined transformation parameters. Moreover, in the bivariate situation, the transformation parameters were estimated for each dimension individually. We use a Bayesian sampling algorithm and present a Metropolis-Hastings sampling procedure to sample the bandwidth and transformation parameters from their posterior density. Our contribution is to estimate the bandwidths and transformation parameters simultaneously within a Metropolis-Hastings sampling procedure. Moreover, we demonstrate that the correlation between the two dimensions is better captured through the bivariate density estimator based on transformed data.