Co-use of MDMA with psilocybin/LSD may buffer against challenging experiences and enhance positive experiences
Psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) experiences can range from very positive to highly challenging (e.g., fear, grief, and paranoia). These challenging experiences contribute to hesitancy toward psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy among health care providers and patients. Co-use of 3,4-Methylenedioxy methamphetamine (MDMA) with psilocybin/LSD anecdotally reduces challenging experiences and enhances positive experiences associated with psilocybin/LSD. However, limited research has investigated the acute effects of co-use of MDMA and psilocybin/LSD. In a prospective convenience sample (N = 698) of individuals with plans to use psilocybin/LSD, we examined whether co-use of MDMA with psilocybin/LSD (n = 27) is associated with differences in challenging or positive experiences. Challenging experiences were measured using the Challenging Experiences Questionnaire and positive experiences were measured using the Mystical Experience Questionnaire and single-item measures of self-compassion, compassion, love, and gratitude. Potentially confounding variables were identified and included as covariates. Relative to psilocybin/LSD alone, co-use of psilocybin/LSD with a self-reported low (but not medium-high) dose of MDMA was associated with significantly less intense total challenging experiences, grief, and fear, as well as increased self-compassion, love and gratitude. Co-use of psilocybin/LSD and MDMA was not associated with differences in mystical-type experiences or compassion. Findings suggest co-use of MDMA with psilocybin/LSD may buffer against some aspects of challenging experiences and enhance certain positive experiences. Limitations include use of a convenience sample, small sample size, and non-experimental design. Additional studies (including controlled dose-response studies) that examine the effects and safety of co-administering MDMA with psilocybin/LSD (in healthy controls and clinical samples) are warranted and may assist the development of personalized treatments.
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Remdesivir resistance in transplant recipients with persistent COVID-19
New mutations conferring resistance to SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics have important clinical implications. We describe the first cases of an independently acquired V792I RNA-dependent RNA polymerase mutation developing in renal transplant recipients after remdesivir exposure. Our work underscores the need for augmented efforts to identify concerning mutations and address their clinical implications.
SARS-CoV-2 infection and venous thromboembolism after surgery: an international prospective cohort study
SARS-CoV-2 has been associated with an increased rate of venous thromboembolism in critically ill patients. Since surgical patients are already at higher risk of venous thromboembolism than general populations, this study aimed to determine if patients with peri-operative or prior SARS-CoV-2 were at further increased risk of venous thromboembolism. We conducted a planned sub-study and analysis from an international, multicentre, prospective cohort study of elective and emergency patients undergoing surgery during October 2020. Patients from all surgical specialties were included. The primary outcome measure was venous thromboembolism (pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis) within 30 days of surgery. SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis was defined as peri-operative (7 days before to 30 days after surgery); recent (1-6 weeks before surgery); previous (≥7 weeks before surgery); or none. Information on prophylaxis regimens or pre-operative anti-coagulation for baseline comorbidities was not available. Postoperative venous thromboembolism rate was 0.5% (666/123,591) in patients without SARS-CoV-2; 2.2% (50/2317) in patients with peri-operative SARS-CoV-2; 1.6% (15/953) in patients with recent SARS-CoV-2; and 1.0% (11/1148) in patients with previous SARS-CoV-2. After adjustment for confounding factors, patients with peri-operative (adjusted odds ratio 1.5 (95%CI 1.1-2.0)) and recent SARS-CoV-2 (1.9 (95%CI 1.2-3.3)) remained at higher risk of venous thromboembolism, with a borderline finding in previous SARS-CoV-2 (1.7 (95%CI 0.9-3.0)). Overall, venous thromboembolism was independently associated with 30-day mortality (5.4 (95%CI 4.3-6.7)). In patients with SARS-CoV-2, mortality without venous thromboembolism was 7.4% (319/4342) and with venous thromboembolism was 40.8% (31/76). Patients undergoing surgery with peri-operative or recent SARS-CoV-2 appear to be at increased risk of postoperative venous thromboembolism compared with patients with no history of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Optimal venous thromboembolism prophylaxis and treatment are unknown in this cohort of patients, and these data should be interpreted accordingly.
Machine learning risk prediction of mortality for patients undergoing surgery with perioperative SARS-CoV-2: the COVIDSurg mortality score
To support the global restart of elective surgery, data from an international prospective cohort study of 8492 patients (69 countries) was analysed using artificial intelligence (machine learning techniques) to develop a predictive score for mortality in surgical patients with SARS-CoV-2. We found that patient rather than operation factors were the best predictors and used these to create the COVIDsurg Mortality Score (https://covidsurgrisk.app). Our data demonstrates that it is safe to restart a wide range of surgical services for selected patients.
Effects of pre-operative isolation on postoperative pulmonary complications after elective surgery: an international prospective cohort study
We aimed to determine the impact of pre-operative isolation on postoperative pulmonary complications after elective surgery during the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We performed an international prospective cohort study including patients undergoing elective surgery in October 2020. Isolation was defined as the period before surgery during which patients did not leave their house or receive visitors from outside their household. The primary outcome was postoperative pulmonary complications, adjusted in multivariable models for measured confounders. Pre-defined sub-group analyses were performed for the primary outcome. A total of 96,454 patients from 114 countries were included and overall, 26,948 (27.9%) patients isolated before surgery. Postoperative pulmonary complications were recorded in 1947 (2.0%) patients of which 227 (11.7%) were associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Patients who isolated pre-operatively were older, had more respiratory comorbidities and were more commonly from areas of high SARS-CoV-2 incidence and high-income countries. Although the overall rates of postoperative pulmonary complications were similar in those that isolated and those that did not (2.1% vs 2.0%, respectively), isolation was associated with higher rates of postoperative pulmonary complications after adjustment (adjusted OR 1.20, 95%CI 1.05-1.36, p = 0.005). Sensitivity analyses revealed no further differences when patients were categorised by: pre-operative testing; use of COVID-19-free pathways; or community SARS-CoV-2 prevalence. The rate of postoperative pulmonary complications increased with periods of isolation longer than 3 days, with an OR (95%CI) at 4-7 days or ≥ 8 days of 1.25 (1.04-1.48), p = 0.015 and 1.31 (1.11-1.55), p = 0.001, respectively. Isolation before elective surgery might be associated with a small but clinically important increased risk of postoperative pulmonary complications. Longer periods of isolation showed no reduction in the risk of postoperative pulmonary complications. These findings have significant implications for global provision of elective surgical care.
SARS-CoV-2 vaccination modelling for safe surgery to save lives: data from an international prospective cohort study
BACKGROUND:Preoperative SARS-CoV-2 vaccination could support safer elective surgery. Vaccine numbers are limited so this study aimed to inform their prioritization by modelling. METHODS:The primary outcome was the number needed to vaccinate (NNV) to prevent one COVID-19-related death in 1 year. NNVs were based on postoperative SARS-CoV-2 rates and mortality in an international cohort study (surgical patients), and community SARS-CoV-2 incidence and case fatality data (general population). NNV estimates were stratified by age (18-49, 50-69, 70 or more years) and type of surgery. Best- and worst-case scenarios were used to describe uncertainty. RESULTS:NNVs were more favourable in surgical patients than the general population. The most favourable NNVs were in patients aged 70 years or more needing cancer surgery (351; best case 196, worst case 816) or non-cancer surgery (733; best case 407, worst case 1664). Both exceeded the NNV in the general population (1840; best case 1196, worst case 3066). NNVs for surgical patients remained favourable at a range of SARS-CoV-2 incidence rates in sensitivity analysis modelling. Globally, prioritizing preoperative vaccination of patients needing elective surgery ahead of the general population could prevent an additional 58 687 (best case 115 007, worst case 20 177) COVID-19-related deaths in 1 year. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:As global roll out of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination proceeds, patients needing elective surgery should be prioritized ahead of the general population.
Timing of surgery following SARS-CoV-2 infection: an international prospective cohort study
Peri-operative SARS-CoV-2 infection increases postoperative mortality. The aim of this study was to determine the optimal duration of planned delay before surgery in patients who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection. This international, multicentre, prospective cohort study included patients undergoing elective or emergency surgery during October 2020. Surgical patients with pre-operative SARS-CoV-2 infection were compared with those without previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. The primary outcome measure was 30-day postoperative mortality. Logistic regression models were used to calculate adjusted 30-day mortality rates stratified by time from diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection to surgery. Among 140,231 patients (116 countries), 3127 patients (2.2%) had a pre-operative SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. Adjusted 30-day mortality in patients without SARS-CoV-2 infection was 1.5% (95%CI 1.4-1.5). In patients with a pre-operative SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis, mortality was increased in patients having surgery within 0-2 weeks, 3-4 weeks and 5-6 weeks of the diagnosis (odds ratio (95%CI) 4.1 (3.3-4.8), 3.9 (2.6-5.1) and 3.6 (2.0-5.2), respectively). Surgery performed ≥ 7 weeks after SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis was associated with a similar mortality risk to baseline (odds ratio (95%CI) 1.5 (0.9-2.1)). After a ≥ 7 week delay in undertaking surgery following SARS-CoV-2 infection, patients with ongoing symptoms had a higher mortality than patients whose symptoms had resolved or who had been asymptomatic (6.0% (95%CI 3.2-8.7) vs. 2.4% (95%CI 1.4-3.4) vs. 1.3% (95%CI 0.6-2.0), respectively). Where possible, surgery should be delayed for at least 7 weeks following SARS-CoV-2 infection. Patients with ongoing symptoms ≥ 7 weeks from diagnosis may benefit from further delay.
Raf acts downstream of the EGF receptor to determine dorsoventral polarity during Drosophila oogenesis
In Drosophila, as in mammalian cells, the Raf serine/threonine kinase appears to act as a common transducer of signals from several different receptor tyrosine kinases. We describe a new role for Raf in Drosophila development, showing that Raf acts in the somatic follicle cells to specify the dorsoventral polarity of the egg. Targeted expression of activated Raf (Rafgof) within follicle cells is sufficient to dorsalize both the eggshell and the embryo, whereas reduced Raf activity ventralizes the eggshell. We show that Raf functions downstream of the EGF receptor to instruct the dorsal follicle cell fate. In this assay, human and Drosophila Rafgof are functionally similar, in that either can induce ventral follicle cells to assume a dorsal fate.
Targeted gene expression as a means of altering cell fates and generating dominant phenotypes
We have designed a system for targeted gene expression that allows the selective activation of any cloned gene in a wide variety of tissue- and cell-specific patterns. The gene encoding the yeast transcriptional activator GAL4 is inserted randomly into the Drosophila genome to drive GAL4 expression from one of a diverse array of genomic enhancers. It is then possible to introduce a gene containing GAL4 binding sites within its promoter, to activate it in those cells where GAL4 is expressed, and to observe the effect of this directed misexpression on development. We have used GAL4-directed transcription to expand the domain of embryonic expression of the homeobox protein even-skipped. We show that even-skipped represses wingless and transforms cells that would normally secrete naked cuticle into denticle secreting cells. The GAL4 system can thus be used to study regulatory interactions during embryonic development. In adults, targeted expression can be used to generate dominant phenotypes for use in genetic screens. We have directed expression of an activated form of the Dras2 protein, resulting in dominant eye and wing defects that can be used in screens to identify other members of the Dras2 signal transduction pathway.