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A case study of short-term forecasting during the COVID-19 pandemic: the platform icumonitoring.ch

Viewpoint
Petermann M, Fröhlich J, Wyler D
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20524

Based on the example of the models implemented on icumonitoring.ch, and on general theoretical considerations, the authors argue that the framework of continuous-time differential equations is not suited to making reliable short-term predictions on quantities such as ICU occupancy in Swiss hospitals. Instead, they propose the use of very simple, hands-on forecasting based on fitting parameters of suitably chosen curves to the observed data, and making the forecast by expert judgement based on the results of the fitted curves.

Dynamic modelling to identify mitigation strategies for the COVID-19 pandemic

Original article
Gorji H, Arnoldini M, Jenny D, Hardt WD, Jenny P
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20487

Relevant pandemic-spread scenario simulations can provide guiding principles for containment and mitigation policies. The authors devised a compartmental model to predict the effectiveness of different mitigation strategies with a main focus on mass testing. The model suggests that testing strategies can be equally effective as social distancing, though at much lower economic costs.

Prevalence of diabetes mellitus in the greater Bern region (Bern-Mittelland) 2010–2014

Original article
Reichenbach N, Laimer M, Diem P
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20478

Administratively collected data in clinics and insurance companies constitute a convenient data source for epidemiological studies. In conjunction with the capture-recapture method an approach with comparatively low effort and costs for the surveillance of chronic disease can be provided.

Optimal allocation of limited test resources for the quantification of COVID-19 infections

Original article
Chatzimanolakis M, Weber P, Arampatzis G, Wälchli D, Kičić I, Karnakov P, Papadimitriou C, Koumoutsakos P
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20445

The proposed methodology can lead to vastly less uncertain predictions for the spread of the disease, thus improving estimates of the effective reproduction number and the future number of unreported infections. This information can provide timely and systematic guidance for the effective identification of infectious individuals and for decision-making regarding lockdown measures and the distribution of vaccines.

37-year incidence and mortality time trends of common cancer types by sex, age, and stage in the canton of Zurich

Original article
Wanner M, Matthes KL, Karavasiloglou N, Limam M, Korol D, Rohrmann S
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20388

The Cancer Registry Zurich, Zug, Schaffhausen and Schwyz is one of the oldest cancer registries in Switzerland, first registering tumours in 1980 for the canton of Zurich. The aim of this study was to analyse trends in incidence and mortality for the most common types of cancer in the canton of Zurich from 1981 to 2017.

Flattening the curve in 52 days: characterisation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Principality of Liechtenstein – an observational study

Original article
Thiel SL, Weber MC, Risch L, Wohlwend N, Lung T, Hillmann D, Ritzler M, Risch M, Kohler P, Vernazza P, Kahlert CR, Fleisch F, Cusini A, Karajan TV, Copeland S, Paprotny M
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20361

The close collaboration of all relevant stakeholders allowed for the complete workup of all COVID-19 patients nationwide. A multitude of factors led to the early containment of the first wave of the pandemic, with a very low rate of serious outcomes. Antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2 revealed a substantial proportion of undiagnosed COVID-19 cases among close contacts of the patients.

COVID-19 infectivity profile correction

Viewpoint
Ashcroft P, Huisman JS, Lehtinen S, Bouman JA, Althaus CL, Regoes RR, Bonhoeffer S
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20336

Presymptomatic infections are spread over a longer time period before symptom onset than previously thought, which can have significant ramifications for contact tracing efforts.

A research agenda for digital proximity tracing apps

Viewpoint
von Wyl V, Bonhoeffer S, Bugnion E, Puhan MA, Salathé M, Stadler T, Troncoso C, Vayena E, Low N
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20324

It is likely that there is only a limited time window for the optimisation of the proximity tracing app and promotion of substantial population uptake. It will be all the more important that research programmes allow data-driven, evidence-based optimisations, and information for the public about the benefits, harms and costs of proximity tracing apps.

Assessing the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Switzerland

Original article
Lemaitre JC, Perez-Saez J, Azman AS, Rinaldo A, Fellay J
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20295

Current estimates of time-varying R0 in Switzerland well below one are promising. However, as of 24 April 2020, at least 96% of the Swiss population remains susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. These results warrant a cautious relaxation of social distance practices and close monitoring of changes in both the basic and effective reproduction numbers.

Time trend of suicide in Swiss male farmers and comparison with other men: a cohort study

Original article
Steck N, Junker C, Bopp M, Egger M, Zwahlen M
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20251

The ongoing agricultural reforms present serious challenges for Swiss farmers. This study shows a higher rate of suicide in farmers compared to non-farmers in Switzerland, with the gap widening increasingly after 2006.

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