• 2021 ISHNE/HRS/EHRA/APHRS collaborative statement on mHealth in Arrhythmia Management: Digital Medical Tools for Heart Rhythm Professionals

      Varma, Niraj; Cygankiewicz, Iwona; Turakhia, Mintu; Heidbuchel, Hein; Hu, Yufeng; Chen, Lin Yee; Couderc, Jean‐Philippe; Cronin, Edmond M.; Estep, Jerry D.; Grieten, Lars; Lane, Deirdre A.; Mehra, Reena; Page, Alex; Passman, Rod; Piccini, Jonathan; Piotrowicz, Ewa; Piotrowicz, Ryszard; Platonov, Pyotr G.; Ribeiro, Antonio Luiz; Rich, Robert E.; Russo, Andrea M.; Slotwiner, David; Steinberg, Jonathan S.; Svennberg, Emma (2021-01-29)
      This collaborative statement from the International Society for Holter and Noninvasive Electrocardiology/Heart Rhythm Society/European Heart Rhythm Association/Asia Pacific Heart Rhythm Society describes the current status of mobile health (“mHealth”) technologies in arrhythmia management. The range of digital medical tools and heart rhythm disorders that they may be applied to and clinical decisions that may be enabled are discussed. The facilitation of comorbidity and lifestyle management (increasingly recognized to play a role in heart rhythm disorders) and patient self‐management are novel aspects of mHealth. The promises of predictive analytics but also operational challenges in embedding mHealth into routine clinical care are explored.
    • A Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Lacrimal Surgery: The Asia-Pacific Perspective

      Nair, Akshay Gopinathan; Narayanan, Natasha; Ali, Mohammad Javed; Narayanan|0000-0002-9670-7865 (2020-11-04)
      Aim: To assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdown on lacrimal surgery among oculoplastic surgeons in the Asia-Pacific region. Methods: An institutional board review approved anonymous electronic survey was sent out via email to oculoplastic surgeons across the Asia-Pacific region. All responses were tabulated and analysed. Results: A total of 259 valid responses were received. Nearly 87% of the surgeons agreed that lacrimal procedures were associated with a high risk of COVID-19 transmission. In all, at the time of taking the survey, 151/259 (58.3%) of the surgeons were not performing any lacrimal surgeries in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and 71/259 (27.4%) of the respondents were only performing emergency lacrimal surgeries. External dacryocystorhinostomy was the most commonly performed lacrimal procedure across the region and lacrimal procedures contributed to at least 25% of the income for nearly a third of the respondents. Majority of the respondents were female (52.9%), but a significantly higher proportion of male oculoplastic surgeons were still performing lacrimal surgeries during the lockdown. Over 75% of respondents indicated that resuming lacrimal procedures is important to their practice. Conclusion: The survey showed that there was a general agreement among the surveyed oculoplastic surgeons in the Asia-Pacific region that lacrimal procedures were associated with a high risk of COVID-19 transmission and over 85% of them of had either stopped performing elective lacrimal surgeries altogether or were providing only emergent care. It is likely that not performing elective lacrimal procedures, COVID-19 has financially impacted a high percentage of the surveyed oculoplastic surgeons.
    • Abortion Opportunism

      Rebouché, Rachel (2020-05-18)
      Eleven states have tried to suspend abortion care in response to COVID-19. State officials claim that they will preserve medical supplies, hospital space, and health care capacity by classifyingabortion as an elective, non-essential surgery that must be delayed. Advocacy groups representing abortion providers sued in several states to enjoin these bans. What has emerged is a fight that ignores medical evidence and threatens to exacerbate the current public health emergency. The Executive Order issued in Texas offers an apt example. Though abortion may be available in Texas for the time being, opinions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit provide a troubling roadmap for suspending constitutional rights as a health emergency measure.
    • Adapted Physical Activity to Ensure the Physical and Psychological Well-Being of COVID-19 Patients

      Center for Biotechnology, Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (Temple University) (2021-01-29)
      The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been responsible for a global pandemic involving massive increases in the daily numbers of cases and deaths. Due to the emergency caused by the pandemic, huge efforts have been made to develop COVID-19 vaccines, the first of which were released in December 2020. Effective vaccines for COVID-19 are needed to protect the population, especially healthcare professionals and fragile individuals, such as older people or chronic-disease-affected patients. Physical exercise training generally has health benefits and assists in the prevention of several chronic diseases. Moreover, physical activity improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and improving self-esteem. Therefore, the present review aims to provide a detailed view of the literature, presenting updated evidence on the beneficial effects of adapted physical activity, based on personalized and tailor-made exercise, in preventing, treating, and counteracting the consequences of COVID-19.
    • AI-Based Information Systems

      Buxmann, Peter; Hess, Thomas; Thatcher, Jason Bennett (2020-12-01)
    • Approaches to Reducing Risk of COVID-19 Infections in Prisons and Immigration Detention Centers: A Commentary

      Kelly, Kate; Soto, Nai; Wisseh, Nadi Damond; Clerget, Shaina A.; 0000-0002-5155-0518 (2020-09-18)
      Although often left out of public health efforts and policy decisions, prisons, jails, and detention centers are integral to community health. With an average of 650,000 citizens returning home from prison each year in the United States, and thousands of correctional staff members returning home every night, there are millions of touchpoints between outside communities and carceral settings. For this reason, carceral communities should be central to planning and policy making in response to the spread of the COVID-19 illness. As social workers and clinicians, we are urgently concerned that efforts to prevent COVID-19 infections in prisons are underdeveloped and inadequate in the face of a fast-spreading virus. In this commentary, we outline a set of public health, policy, and clinical recommendations based upon the existing literature to mitigate various risks to the well-being of carceral communities.
    • Approaching Inflammation Paradoxes—Proinflammatory Cytokine Blockages Induce Inflammatory Regulators

      Center for Cardiovascular Research (Temple University); Center for Inflammation, Translational & Clinical Lung Research (Temple University); Center for Metabolic Disease Research (Temple University); Center for Cardiovascular Research (Temple University); Center for Thrombosis Research (Temple University) (2020-10-19)
      The mechanisms that underlie various inflammation paradoxes, metabolically healthy obesity, and increased inflammations after inflammatory cytokine blockades and deficiencies remain poorly determined. We performed an extensive –omics database mining, determined the expressions of 1367 innate immune regulators in 18 microarrays after deficiencies of 15 proinflammatory cytokines/regulators and eight microarray datasets of patients receiving Mab therapies, and made a set of significant findings: 1) proinflammatory cytokines/regulators suppress the expressions of innate immune regulators; 2) upregulations of innate immune regulators in the deficiencies of IFNγ/IFNγR1, IL-17A, STAT3 and miR155 are more than that after deficiencies of TNFα, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-18, STAT1, NF-kB, and miR221; 3) IFNγ, IFNγR and IL-17RA inhibit 10, 59 and 39 proinflammatory cytokine/regulator pathways, respectively; in contrast, TNFα, IL-6 and IL-18 each inhibits only four to five pathways; 4) The IFNγ-promoted and -suppressed innate immune regulators have four shared pathways; the IFNγR1-promoted and -suppressed innate immune regulators have 11 shared pathways; and the miR155-promoted and -suppressed innate immune regulators have 13 shared pathways, suggesting negative-feedback mechanisms in their conserved regulatory pathways for innate immune regulators; 5) Deficiencies of proinflammatory cytokine/regulator-suppressed, promoted programs share signaling pathways and increase the likelihood of developing 11 diseases including cardiovascular disease; 6) There are the shared innate immune regulators and pathways between deficiency of TNFα in mice and anti-TNF therapy in clinical patients; 7) Mechanistically, up-regulated reactive oxygen species regulators such as myeloperoxidase caused by suppression of proinflammatory cytokines/regulators can drive the upregulation of suppressed innate immune regulators. Our findings have provided novel insights on various inflammation paradoxes and proinflammatory cytokines regulation of innate immune regulators; and may re-shape new therapeutic strategies for cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory diseases.
    • Automatic detection of influential actors in disinformation networks

      Smith, Steven T.; Kao, Edward K.; Mackin, Erika D.; Shah, Danelle C.; Simek, Olga; Rubin, Donald B. (2021-01-07)
      The weaponization of digital communications and social media to conduct disinformation campaigns at immense scale, speed, and reach presents new challenges to identify and counter hostile influence operations (IOs). This paper presents an end-to-end framework to automate detection of disinformation narratives, networks, and influential actors. The framework integrates natural language processing, machine learning, graph analytics, and a network causal inference approach to quantify the impact of individual actors in spreading IO narratives. We demonstrate its capability on real-world hostile IO campaigns with Twitter datasets collected during the 2017 French presidential elections and known IO accounts disclosed by Twitter over a broad range of IO campaigns (May 2007 to February 2020), over 50,000 accounts, 17 countries, and different account types including both trolls and bots. Our system detects IO accounts with 96% precision, 79% recall, and 96% area-under-the precision-recall (P-R) curve; maps out salient network communities; and discovers high-impact accounts that escape the lens of traditional impact statistics based on activity counts and network centrality. Results are corroborated with independent sources of known IO accounts from US Congressional reports, investigative journalism, and IO datasets provided by Twitter.
    • Avoiding the Banality of Evil in Times of COVID-19: Thinking Differently with a Biopsychosocial Perspective for Future Health and Social Policies Development

      Leonardi, Matilde; Lee, Haejung; Van Der Veen, Sabina; Maribo, Thomas; Cuenot, Marie; Simon, Liane; Paltamaa, Jaana; Maart, Soraya; Tucker, Carole; Besstrashnova, Yanina; Shosmin, Alexander; Cid, Daniel; Almborg, Ann-Helene; Anttila, Heidi; Yamada, Shin; Frattura, Lucilla; Zavaroni, Carlo; Zhuoying, Qiu; Martinuzzi, Andrea; Martinuzzi, Michela; Magnani, Francesca Giulia; Snyman, Stefanus; Amine El Oumri, Ahmed; Sylvain, Ndegeya; Layton, Natasha; Sykes, Catherine; Saleeby, Patricia Welch; Sylvia Winkler, Andrea; Kraus de Camargo, Olaf (2020-09-01)
      The COVID-19 pandemic provides the opportunity to re-think health policies and health systems approaches by the adoption of a biopsychosocial perspective, thus acting on environmental factors so as to increase facilitators and diminish barriers. Specifically, vulnerable people should not face discrimination because of their vulnerability in the allocation of care or life-sustaining treatments. Adoption of biopsychosocial model helps to identify key elements where to act to diminish effects of the pandemics. The pandemic showed us that barriers in health care organization affect mostly those that are vulnerable and can suffer discrimination not because of severity of diseases but just because of their vulnerability, be this age or disability and this can be avoided by biopsychosocial planning in health and social policies. It is possible to avoid the banality of evil, intended as lack of thinking on what we do when we do, by using the emergence of the emergency of COVID-19 as a Trojan horse to achieve some of the sustainable development goals such as universal health coverage and equity in access, thus acting on environmental factors is the key for global health improvement.
    • BCG vaccination policy and preventive chloroquine usage: do they have an impact on COVID-19 pandemic?

      Center for Biotechnology, Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (Temple University) (2020-07-08)
      Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). In the light of its rapid global spreading, on 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic. Interestingly, the global spreading of the disease is not uniform, but has so far left some countries relatively less affected. The reason(s) for this anomalous behavior are not fully understood, but distinct hypotheses have been proposed. Here we discuss the plausibility of two of them: the universal vaccination with Bacillus Calmette–Guerin (BCG) and the widespread use of the antimalarial drug chloroquine (CQ). Both have been amply discussed in the recent literature with positive and negative conclusions: we felt that a comprehensive presentation of the data available on them would be useful. The analysis of data for countries with over 1000 reported COVID-19 cases has shown that the incidence and mortality were higher in countries in which BCG vaccination is either absent or has been discontinued, as compared with the countries with universal vaccination. We have performed a similar analysis of the data available for CQ, a widely used drug in the African continent and in other countries in which malaria is endemic; we discuss it here because CQ has been used as the drug to treat COVID-19 patients. Several African countries no longer recommend it officially for the fight against malaria, due to the development of resistance to Plasmodium, but its use across the continent is still diffuse. Taken together, the data in the literature have led to the suggestion of a possible inverse correlation between BCG immunization and COVID-19 disease incidence and severity.
    • Beauty and the Mask

      Patel, Viren; Mazzaferro, Daniel M.; Sarwer, David; Bartlett, Scott P.; Sarwer, David B|0000-0003-1033-5528 (2020-01-01)
      Coronavirus disease 2019 has profoundly changed society, culture, commerce, and perhaps most importantly, human interaction. As the citizens of the world followed government-imposed stay-at-home orders, and as the phrase “social distancing” became part of the daily lexicon in a matter of weeks, the public largely adopted the use of face coverings in public places to reduce potential transmission of the virus. The practice of using face coverings for the nose and mouth, whether with homemade fabrics or with surgical masks, undoubtedly has effects on facial perception. Although emotions such as intense fear can be communicated with contraction of the muscles of the brow and those around the eyes, communication of genuine happiness requires contraction of the muscles around the mouth, which is unlikely to be seen behind a face covering. 1 Additionally, the lower half of the face, and specifically the perioral area, has been shown to be vital for determinations of attractiveness. In the 1980s, Dr. Leslie Farkas, widely recognized as the father of craniofacial anthropometry, sought to define the facial measurements and proportions associated with attractive faces.2 When comparing attractive and unattractive faces, Dr. Farkas found that the greatest differences in facial measurements and proportions were centered around the perioral area, including but not limited to a narrow philtrum, a wider oral commissure distance, and a greater protrusion of the upper vermilion.3 With this in mind, it is interesting to consider how masks concealing the lower half of the face would affect perceived attractiveness, which has been shown to influence judgments of a range of interpersonal characteristics, such as competence and trustworthiness.1,4,5 The present study was undertaken to assess whether judgments of attractiveness differ when the lower face is covered by a surgical mask. We anticipated that faces covered with surgical masks would be judged as more attractive than faces not covered by a mask.
    • Cardiovascular Manifestations of COVID-19 Infection

      Center for Translational Medicine (Temple University) (2020-11-19)
      SARS-CoV-2 induced the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, the most significant medical challenge in the last century. COVID-19 is associated with notable increases in morbidity and death worldwide. Preexisting conditions, like cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, are correlated with higher severity and a significant increase in the fatality rate of COVID-19. COVID-19 induces multiple cardiovascular complexities, such as cardiac arrest, myocarditis, acute myocardial injury, stress-induced cardiomyopathy, cardiogenic shock, arrhythmias and, subsequently, heart failure (HF). The precise mechanisms of how SARS-CoV-2 may cause myocardial complications are not clearly understood. The proposed mechanisms of myocardial injury based on current knowledge are the direct viral entry of the virus and damage to the myocardium, systemic inflammation, hypoxia, cytokine storm, interferon-mediated immune response, and plaque destabilization. The virus enters the cell through the angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) receptor and plays a central function in the virus’s pathogenesis. A systematic understanding of cardiovascular effects of SARS-CoV2 is needed to develop novel therapeutic tools to target the virus-induced cardiac damage as a potential strategy to minimize permanent damage to the cardiovascular system and reduce the morbidity. In this review, we discuss our current understanding of COVID-19 mediated damage to the cardiovascular system.
    • Cardiovascular Manifestations of COVID-19 Infection

      Center for Translational Medicine (Temple University) (2020-11-19)
      SARS-CoV-2 induced the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, the most significant medical challenge in the last century. COVID-19 is associated with notable increases in morbidity and death worldwide. Preexisting conditions, like cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, are correlated with higher severity and a significant increase in the fatality rate of COVID-19. COVID-19 induces multiple cardiovascular complexities, such as cardiac arrest, myocarditis, acute myocardial injury, stress-induced cardiomyopathy, cardiogenic shock, arrhythmias and, subsequently, heart failure (HF). The precise mechanisms of how SARS-CoV-2 may cause myocardial complications are not clearly understood. The proposed mechanisms of myocardial injury based on current knowledge are the direct viral entry of the virus and damage to the myocardium, systemic inflammation, hypoxia, cytokine storm, interferon-mediated immune response, and plaque destabilization. The virus enters the cell through the angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) receptor and plays a central function in the virus’s pathogenesis. A systematic understanding of cardiovascular effects of SARS-CoV2 is needed to develop novel therapeutic tools to target the virus-induced cardiac damage as a potential strategy to minimize permanent damage to the cardiovascular system and reduce the morbidity. In this review, we discuss our current understanding of COVID-19 mediated damage to the cardiovascular system.
    • Case series: Failure of imaging & biochemical markers to capture disease progression in COVID-19

      Dorey-Stein, Zachariah L.; Myers, Catherine; Kumaran, Maruti; Mamary, Albert; Criner, Gerard J.; 0000-0002-3761-153X; 0000-0002-0909-5048 (2020-09-19)
      We report four individuals admitted for acute respiratory failure due to COVID-19 who demonstrated significant clinical improvement prior to discharge and subsequently were readmitted with worsening respiratory failure, elevated inflammatory markers and worsening chest imaging. We propose a multi-disciplinary discharge criterion to establish a safer discharge process including trending inflammatory markers, daily imaging and pursuing follow up CT chest, particularly in individuals with significant morbidities and health disparities.
    • Coronavirus 2019 Infectious Disease Epidemic: Where We Are, What Can Be Done and Hope For

      Center for Biotechnology, Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (Temple University) (2021-01-07)
      Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spreads mainly by means of aerosols (microdroplets) in enclosed environments, especially those in which temperature and humidity are regulated by means of air-conditioning. About 30% of individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disease. Among them, approximately 25% require hospitalization. In medicine, cases are identified as those who become ill. During this pandemic, cases have been identified as those with a positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test, including approximately 70% who were asymptomatic—this has caused unnecessary anxiety. Individuals more than 65 years old, those affected by obesity, diabetes, asthma, or are immune-depressed owing to cancer and other conditions, are at a higher risk of hospitalization and of dying of COVID-19. Healthy individuals younger than 40 years very rarely die of COVID-19. Estimates of the COVID-19 mortality rate vary because the definition of COVID-19–related deaths varies. Belgium has the highest death rate at 154.9 per 100,000 persons, because it includes anyone who died with symptoms compatible with COVID-19, even those never tested for SARS-CoV-2. The United States includes all patients who died with a positive test, whether they died because of, or with, SARS-CoV-2. Countries that include only patients in which COVID-19 was the main cause of death, rather than a cofactor, have lower death rates. Numerous therapies are being developed, and rapid improvements are anticipated. Because of disinformation, only approximately 50% of the U.S. population plans to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. By sharing accurate information, physicians, health professionals, and scientists play a key role in addressing myths and anxiety, help public health officials enact measures to decrease infections, and provide the best care for those who become sick. In this article, we discuss these issues.
    • Coronavirus Outbreak in Italy: Physiological Benefits of Home-Based Exercise During Pandemic

      Center for Biotechnology, Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (Temple University) (2020-05-07)
      The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has forced the hardest-hit populations, like Italians, to radically change their daily habits, starting with social distancing, strict preventive measures, and self-isolation. These precautions also apply to sport-related facilities and activities. The difficulty to practice physical activity during this dramatic moment in time adds to the risks associated with sedentary habits, due to staying all the time at home. Here, the importance and the benefits of maintaining exercise routine, even at home, are emphasized in order to avoid the consequences of inactivity.
    • COVID-19 and Orthopaedic International Humanitarianism

      Talsania, Alec; Lavy, Chris Lavy; Khanuja, Harpal S.; Chambers, Hank; Kelly, Nancy A.; Gardner, Richard O. E.; Nelson, Scott; Wambisho, Biruk L.; Alexis, Francel; Lalonde, Donald H.; Coughlin, R. Richard; Vosseller, J. Turner; Gokcen, Eric C.; Talsania|0000-0003-0291-8870 (2021-02)
      As the world continues to adjust to life with COVID-19, one topic that requires further thought and discussion is whether elective international medical volunteerism can continue, and, if so, what challenges will need to be addressed. During a pandemic, the medical community is attentive to controlling the disease outbreak, and most of the literature regarding physician involvement during a pandemic focuses primarily on physicians traveling to areas of need to help treat the disease. As a result, little has been written about medical volunteerism that focuses on medical treatment unrelated to the disease outbreak. In a world-wide pandemic, many factors are to be considered in determining whether, and when, a physician should travel to another region to provide care and training for medical issues not directly related to the pandemic. Leaders of humanitarian committees of orthopaedic surgery subspecialties engaged with one another and host orthopaedic surgeons and a sponsoring organization to provide thoughtful insight and expert opinion on the challenges faced and possible pathways to provide continued orthopaedic support around the globe. Although this discussion focuses on international orthopaedic care, these suggestions may have a much broader application to the international medical community as a whole.
    • COVID-19 Deaths: Are We Sure It Is Pneumonia? Please, Autopsy, Autopsy, Autopsy!

      Pomara, Cristoforo; Li Volti, Giovanni; Cappello, Francesco; 0000-0001-9288-1148 (2020-04-26)
      The current outbreak of COVID-19 severe respiratory disease, which started in Wuhan, China, is an ongoing challenge, and a major threat to public health that requires surveillance, prompt diagnosis, and research efforts to understand this emergent pathogen and to develop an effective response. Due to the scientific community’s efforts, there is an increasing body of published studies describing the virus’ biology, its transmission and diagnosis, its clinical features, its radiological findings, and the development of candidate therapeutics and vaccines. Despite the decline in postmortem examination rate, autopsy remains the gold standard to determine why and how death happens. Defining the pathophysiology of death is not only limited to forensic considerations; it may also provide useful clinical and epidemiologic insights. Selective approaches to postmortem diagnosis, such as limited postmortem sampling over full autopsy, can also be useful in the control of disease outbreaks and provide valuable knowledge for managing appropriate control measures. In this scenario, we strongly recommend performing full autopsies on patients who died with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection, particularly in the presence of several comorbidities. Only by working with a complete set of histological samples obtained through autopsy can one ascertain the exact cause(s) of death, optimize clinical management, and assist clinicians in pointing out a timely and effective treatment to reduce mortality. Death can teach us not only about the disease, it might also help with its prevention and, above all, treatment.
    • COVID-19: implications for NCDs and the continuity of care in Sub-Saharan Africa

      Owopetu, Oluwatomi; Fasehun, Luther-King; Abakporo, Uzoma (2021-02-12)
      There has been a rise in non-communicable diseases (NCD) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), driven by westernization, urbanization and unhealthy lifestyles. The prevalence of NCDs and their risk factors vary considerably in SSA between countries and the various sub-populations. A study documented the prevalence of stroke ranging from 0.07 to 0.3%, diabetes mellitus from 0 to 16%, hypertension from 6 to 48%, obesity from 0.4 to 43%, and current smoking from 0.4 to 71%. The numbers of these NCD cases are predicted to rise over the next decade. However, in the context of a global pandemic such as COVID-19, with the rising cases, lockdowns and deaths recorded worldwide, many people living with NCDs may find accessing care more difficult. The majority of the available resources on the subcontinent have been diverted to focus on the ongoing pandemic. This has caused interruptions in care, complication management, drug pick-up alongside the almost neglected silent NCD epidemic, with major consequences for the health system post the COVID-19 era. We explore the issues surrounding the continuity of care and offer some solutions for Sub-Saharan Africa.