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Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1089/JWH.2020.8721

Evidence of Gender Differences in the Diagnosis and Management of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Patients: An Analysis of Electronic Health Records Using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning.

04 Mar 2021-Journal of Womens Health (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 140 Huguenot Street, 3rd Floor New Rochelle, NY 10801 USA)-Vol. 30, Iss: 3, pp 393-404
Abstract: Background: The impact of sex and gender in the incidence and severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains controversial. Here, we aim to describe the characteristics of COVID-19 patients at disease onset, with special focus on the diagnosis and management of female patients with COVID-19. Methods: We explored the unstructured free text in the electronic health records (EHRs) within the SESCAM Healthcare Network (Castilla La-Mancha, Spain). The study sample comprised the entire population with available EHRs (1,446,452 patients) from January 1st to May 1st, 2020. We extracted patients' clinical information upon diagnosis, progression, and outcome for all COVID-19 cases. Results: A total of 4,780 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 were identified. Of these, 2,443 (51%) were female, who were on average 1.5 years younger than male patients (61.7 ± 19.4 vs. 63.3 ± 18.3, p = 0.0025). There were more female COVID-19 cases in the 15-59-year-old interval, with the greatest sex ratio (95% confidence interval) observed in the 30-39-year-old range (1.69; 1.35-2.11). Upon diagnosis, headache, anosmia, and ageusia were significantly more frequent in females than males. Imaging by chest X-ray or blood tests were performed less frequently in females (65.5% vs. 78.3% and 49.5% vs. 63.7%, respectively), all p < 0.001. Regarding hospital resource use, females showed less frequency of hospitalization (44.3% vs. 62.0%) and intensive care unit admission (2.8% vs. 6.3%) than males, all p < 0.001. Conclusion: Our results indicate important sex-dependent differences in the diagnosis, clinical manifestation, and treatment of patients with COVID-19. These results warrant further research to identify and close the gender gap in the ongoing pandemic.

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Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.21203/RS.3.RS-689808/V1
Rachel Harwood1, Helen Yan, Nish Talawila Da Camara2, Clare Smith3  +16 moreInstitutions (10)
06 Jul 2021-medRxiv
Abstract: Background We aimed to use individual patient data to describe pre-existing factors associated with severe disease, primarily admission to critical care, and death secondary to SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and young people (CYP) in hospital. Methods We searched Pubmed, European PMC, Medline and Embase for case series and cohort studies that included all CYP admitted to hospital with ≥30 CYP with SARS-CoV-2 or ≥5 CYP with PIMS-TS or MIS-C. Eligible studies contained 1) details of age, sex, ethnicity or co-morbidities, and 2) an outcome which included admission to critical care, mechanical invasive ventilation, cardiovascular support, or death. Studies reporting outcomes in more restricted grouping of co-morbidities were eligible for narrative review. Authors of eligible studies were approached for individual patient data (IPD). We used random effects meta-analyses for aggregate study-level data and multilevel mixed effect models for IPD data to examine risk factors (age, sex, comorbidities) associated with admission to critical care and death. Data shown are odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Findings 81 studies were included, 57 in the meta-analysis (of which 22 provided IPD) and 26 in the narrative synthesis. Most studies had an element of bias in their design or reporting. Sex was not associated with critical care or death. Compared with CYP aged 1-4 years, infants had increased odds of admission to critical care (OR 1.63 (95% CI 1.40-1.90)) and death (OR 2.08 (1.57-2.86)). Odds of death were increased amongst CYP over 10 years (10-14 years OR 2.15 (1.54-2.98); >14 years OR 2.15 (1.61-2.88)). Number of comorbid conditions was associated with increased odds of admission to critical care and death for COVID-19 in a dose-related fashion. For critical care admission odds ratios were: 1 comorbidity 1.49 (1.45-1.53); 2 comorbidities 2.58 (2.41-2.75); ≥3 comorbidities 2.97 (2.04-4.32), and for death: 1 comorbidity 2.15 (1.98-2.34); 2 comorbidities 4.63 (4.54-4.74); ≥3 co-morbidities 4.98 (3.78-6.65). Odds of admission to critical care were increased for all co-morbidities apart from asthma (0.92 (0.91-0.94)) and malignancy (0.85 (0.17-4.21)) with an increased odds of death in all co-morbidities considered apart from asthma. Neurological and cardiac comorbidities were associated with the greatest increase in odds of severe disease or death. Obesity increased the odds of severe disease and death independently of other comorbidities. Interpretation Hospitalised CYP at greatest vulnerability of severe disease or death from SARS-CoV-2 infection are infants, teenagers, those with cardiac or neurological conditions, or 2 or more comorbid conditions, and those who are obese. These groups should be considered higher priority for vaccination and for protective shielding when appropriate. Whilst odds ratios were high, the absolute increase in risk for most comorbidities was small compared to children without underlying conditions. Funding RH is in receipt of a funded fellowship from Kidney Research UK. JW is in receipt of a Medical Research Council Fellowship. Putting Research Into Context Evidence before this study The risk factors for severe disease following SARS-CoV-2 infection in adults has been extensively studied and reported, with good evidence that increasing age, non-white ethnicity, male gender and co-morbidities increase the risk. SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and young people (CYP) infrequently results in hospital admission and very rarely causes severe disease and death, making it difficult to discern the impact of a range of potential risk factors for severe disease in the many small to moderate sized published studies. More recent larger publications have aimed to address this question in specific populations but the global experience has not been described. We searched Pubmed, European PMC, Medline and Embase from the 1st January 2020 to 21st May 2021 for case series and cohort studies that included all CYP admitted to hospital with 30 children with reverse transcriptase-PCR confirmed SARS-CoV-2 or 5 CYP defined as having PIMS-TS or MIS-C. 57 studies met the eligibility criteria for meta-analysis. Added value of this study To our knowledge, this is the first meta-analysis to use individual patient data to compare the odds and risk of critical care admission and death in CYP with COVID-19 and PIMS-TS. We find that the odds of severe disease in hospitalised children is increased in those with multiple co-morbidities, cardiac and neurological co-morbidities and those who are obese. However, the additional risk compared to children without co-morbidity is small. Implications of all the available evidence Severe COVID-19 and PIMS-TS, whilst rare, can occur in CYP. We have identified pre-existing risk factors for severe disease after SARS-CoV-2 and recommend that those with co-orbidities which place them in the highest risk groups are prioritised for vaccination.

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Topics: Odds ratio (59%), Cohort study (53%), Comorbidity (53%) ... show more

4 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.2196/26109
Zhaohui Su1, Dean McDonnell2, Barry L Bentley3, Jiguang He4  +4 moreInstitutions (6)
Abstract: Background: With advances in science and technology, biotechnology is becoming more accessible to people of all demographics. These advances inevitably hold the promise to improve personal and population well-being and welfare substantially. It is paradoxical that while greater access to biotechnology on a population level has many advantages, it may also increase the likelihood and frequency of biodisasters due to accidental or malicious use. Similar to “Disease X” (describing unknown naturally emerging pathogenic diseases with a pandemic potential), we term this unknown risk from biotechnologies “Biodisaster X.” To date, no studies have examined the potential role of information technologies in preventing and mitigating Biodisaster X. Objective: This study aimed to explore (1) what Biodisaster X might entail and (2) solutions that use artificial intelligence (AI) and emerging 6G technologies to help monitor and manage Biodisaster X threats. Methods: A review of the literature on applying AI and 6G technologies for monitoring and managing biodisasters was conducted on PubMed, using articles published from database inception through to November 16, 2020. Results: Our findings show that Biodisaster X has the potential to upend lives and livelihoods and destroy economies, essentially posing a looming risk for civilizations worldwide. To shed light on Biodisaster X threats, we detailed effective AI and 6G-enabled strategies, ranging from natural language processing to deep learning–based image analysis to address issues ranging from early Biodisaster X detection (eg, identification of suspicious behaviors), remote design and development of pharmaceuticals (eg, treatment development), and public health interventions (eg, reactive shelter-at-home mandate enforcement), as well as disaster recovery (eg, sentiment analysis of social media posts to shed light on the public’s feelings and readiness for recovery building). Conclusions: Biodisaster X is a looming but avoidable catastrophe. Considering the potential human and economic consequences Biodisaster X could cause, actions that can effectively monitor and manage Biodisaster X threats must be taken promptly and proactively. Rather than solely depending on overstretched professional attention of health experts and government officials, it is perhaps more cost-effective and practical to deploy technology-based solutions to prevent and control Biodisaster X threats. This study discusses what Biodisaster X could entail and emphasizes the importance of monitoring and managing Biodisaster X threats by AI techniques and 6G technologies. Future studies could explore how the convergence of AI and 6G systems may further advance the preparedness for high-impact, less likely events beyond Biodisaster X.

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Topics: Population (53%)

3 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0250523
Manfred S. Green1, Dorit Nitzan2, Naama Schwartz1, Yaron Niv3  +1 moreInstitutions (3)
29 Apr 2021-PLOS ONE
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, it was noted that males seemed to have higher case-fatality rates than females. We examined the magnitude and consistency of the sex differences in age-specific case-fatality rates (CFRs) in seven countries. METHODS: Data on the cases and deaths from COVID-19, by sex and age group, were extracted from the national official agencies from Denmark, England, Israel, Italy, Spain, Canada and Mexico. Age-specific CFRs were computed for males and females separately. The ratio of the male to female CFRs were computed and meta-analytic methods were used to obtained pooled estimates of the male to female ratio of the CFRs over the seven countries, for all age-groups. Meta-regression and sensitivity analysis were conducted to evaluate the age and country contribution to differences. RESULTS: The CFRs were consistently higher in males at all ages. The pooled M:F CFR ratios were 1.71, 1.88, 2.11, 2.11, 1.84, 1.78 and 1.49, for ages 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80+ respectively. In meta-regression, age group and country were associated with the heterogeneity in the CFR ratios. CONCLUSIONS: The sex differences in the age-specific CFRs are intriguing. Sex differences in the incidence and mortality have been found in many infectious diseases. For COVID-19, factors such as sex differences in the prevalence of underlying diseases may play a part in the CFR differences. However, the consistently greater case-fatality rates in males at all ages suggests that sex-related factors impact on the natural history of the disease. This could provide important clues as to the mechanisms underlying the severity of COVID-19 in some patients.

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Topics: Case fatality rate (57%)

3 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.2196/20492
Abstract: Background: Clinical natural language processing (cNLP) systems are of crucial importance due to their increasing capability in extracting clinically important information from free text contained in electronic health records (EHRs). The conversion of a nonstructured representation of a patient’s clinical history into a structured format enables medical doctors to generate clinical knowledge at a level that was not possible before. Finally, the interpretation of the insights gained provided by cNLP systems has a great potential in driving decisions about clinical practice. However, carrying out robust evaluations of those cNLP systems is a complex task that is hindered by a lack of standard guidance on how to systematically approach them. Objective: Our objective was to offer natural language processing (NLP) experts a methodology for the evaluation of cNLP systems to assist them in carrying out this task. By following the proposed phases, the robustness and representativeness of the performance metrics of their own cNLP systems can be assured. Methods: The proposed evaluation methodology comprised five phases: (1) the definition of the target population, (2) the statistical document collection, (3) the design of the annotation guidelines and annotation project, (4) the external annotations, and (5) the cNLP system performance evaluation. We presented the application of all phases to evaluate the performance of a cNLP system called “EHRead Technology” (developed by Savana, an international medical company), applied in a study on patients with asthma. As part of the evaluation methodology, we introduced the Sample Size Calculator for Evaluations (SLiCE), a software tool that calculates the number of documents needed to achieve a statistically useful and resourceful gold standard. Results: The application of the proposed evaluation methodology on a real use-case study of patients with asthma revealed the benefit of the different phases for cNLP system evaluations. By using SLiCE to adjust the number of documents needed, a meaningful and resourceful gold standard was created. In the presented use-case, using as little as 519 EHRs, it was possible to evaluate the performance of the cNLP system and obtain performance metrics for the primary variable within the expected CIs. Conclusions: We showed that our evaluation methodology can offer guidance to NLP experts on how to approach the evaluation of their cNLP systems. By following the five phases, NLP experts can assure the robustness of their evaluation and avoid unnecessary investment of human and financial resources. Besides the theoretical guidance, we offer SLiCE as an easy-to-use, open-source Python library. Trial Registration:

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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.18370/2309-4117.2021.58.9-16
Abstract: The document was approved at an expanded meeting of the Ukrainian Society of Gynecological Endocrinology with the involvement of all board members and representatives of the Association of Obstetricians-Gynecologists of Ukraine, the Association of Pharmacologists of Ukraine, the Association of Anesthesiologists of Ukraine, as well during the Third Ukrainian School of Gynecological and Reproductive Endocrinology with international participation ISGE 19–20.03.21.The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted medical practice, in terms of organizational and clinical practices, posing a number of complex and contradictory challenges for professionals.This document is the result of the systematization of scientific data available by March 2021 and recommendations of international medical and specialized professional societies on controversial clinical issues in gynecological practice caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as certain issues of safety and ratio of using hormonal drugs. The involvement of experts from professional associations of the obstetric and gynecological field, pharmacology, anesthesiology and vascular surgery and phlebology in the working group made it possible to formulate clinically justified provisions of the position.The position includes three thematic sections: “On the use of estrogen-containing combined hormonal contraceptives (CHC) during the COVID-19 pandemic”; “On the use of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) during the COVID-19 pandemic”; “On the issue of unregistered compounded bioidentical hormones”. At the beginning of each thematic section, the main conclusions of the consensus position of professional medical associations are presented. According to the data available by March 2021, there is no reason to limit the use of CHC or MHT in healthy women (currently not having COVID-19). The question of CHC or MHT discontinuing or switching to other forms by women with COVID-19 should be decided depending on the severity of the disease, the total set of risk factors for thromboembolic complications and other individual characteristics of the clinical situation. Further research will provide elaboration of more detailed algorithms. Physicians need to be vigilant about the safety of compounded Bioidentical Hormonal Therapy (cBHT) in any dosage form (including pellets), especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, given the unexplored systemic effects and therefore the potential risks. Preference should be given to officially licensed medicinal products with a well-studied safety profile and clinical effects, the use of which is authorized by doctor's prescription and supported by clinical protocols and guidelines.

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References
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19 results found


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.IJSU.2014.07.013
Erik von Elm1, Douglas G. Altman2, Matthias Egger3, Matthias Egger4  +3 moreInstitutions (7)
16 Oct 2007-PLOS Medicine
Abstract: Much biomedical research is observational. The reporting of such research is often inadequate, which hampers the assessment of its strengths and weaknesses and of a study's generalisability. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Initiative developed recommendations on what should be included in an accurate and complete report of an observational study. We defined the scope of the recommendations to cover three main study designs: cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies. We convened a 2-day workshop in September 2004, with methodologists, researchers, and journal editors to draft a checklist of items. This list was subsequently revised during several meetings of the coordinating group and in e-mail discussions with the larger group of STROBE contributors, taking into account empirical evidence and methodological considerations. The workshop and the subsequent iterative process of consultation and revision resulted in a checklist of 22 items (the STROBE Statement) that relate to the title, abstract, introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections of articles. 18 items are common to all three study designs and four are specific for cohort, case-control, or cross-sectional studies. A detailed Explanation and Elaboration document is published separately and is freely available on the Web sites of PLoS Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Epidemiology. We hope that the STROBE Statement will contribute to improving the quality of reporting of observational studies.

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12,675 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.AJOG.2003.11.019
Shell F. Wong, Kam Ming Chow, Tse N. Leung, Wai F. Ng  +9 moreInstitutions (1)
Abstract: Objective This study was undertaken to evaluate the pregnancy and perinatal outcomes of pregnant women with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

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Topics: Pregnancy (56%), Respiratory disease (51%)

625 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1046/J.1525-1497.2001.016004266.X
Abstract: Women report more intense, more numerous, and more frequent bodily symptoms than men. This difference appears in samples of medical patients and in community samples, whether or not gynecologic and reproductive symptoms are excluded, and whether all bodily symptoms or only those which are medically unexplained are examined. More limited, but suggestive, literature on experimental pain, symptom reporting in childhood, and pain thresholds in animals are compatible with these findings in adults. A number of contributory factors have been implicated, supported by varying degrees of evidence. These include innate differences in somatic and visceral perception; differences in symptom labeling, description, and reporting; the socialization process, which leads to differences in the readiness to acknowledge and disclose discomfort; a sex differential in the incidence of abuse and violence; sex differences in the prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders; and gender bias in research and in clinical practice. General internists need to keep these factors in mind in obtaining the clinical history, understanding the meaning and significance that symptoms hold for each patient, and providing symptom relief.

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Topics: Anxiety (53%), Poison control (51%)

542 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1183/13993003.00688-2020
Janice M. Leung1, Janice M. Leung2, Chen X. Yang1, Chen X. Yang2  +11 moreInstitutions (2)
Abstract: Smokers and individuals with COPD have increased airway expression of ACE-2, which is the entry receptor for the COVID-19 virus. This may explain the increased risk of severe COVID-19 in these subpopulations and highlight importance of smoking cessation.

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Topics: COPD (53%)

479 Citations