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This paper reports results from a detailed study of the careers of laboratory technicians in British medical research. Technicians and their contributions are very frequently missing from accounts of modern medicine, and this project is an attempt to correct that absence. The present paper focuses almost entirely on the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research in North London, from the first proposal of such a body in 1913 until the mid 1960s. The principal sources of information have been technical staff themselves, largely as recorded in an extensive series of oral history interviews. These have covered a wide range of issues and provide valuable perspectives about technicians’ backgrounds and working lives.
PMCID: PMC2628576  PMID: 18548906
medical laboratory technicians; medical laboratories; medical history
2.  Communication methods and production techniques in fixed prosthesis fabrication: a UK based survey. Part 1: Communication methods 
British Dental Journal  2014;217(6):E12.
Highlights the importance of dentist-technician communication.Concludes that dentists must ensure that written prescriptions contain all the necessary information so that the dental technician can fabricate fixed prostheses correctly and without delay.Recommendations for improved communication are made with the ultimate goal of better patient service.
Statement of the problem The General Dental Council (GDC) states that members of the dental team have to 'communicate clearly and effectively with other team members and colleagues in the interest of patients'. A number of studies from different parts of the world have highlighted problems and confirmed the need for improved communication methods and production techniques between dentists and dental technicians.
Aim The aim of this study was to identify the communication methods and production techniques used by dentists and dental technicians for the fabrication of fixed prostheses within the UK from the dental technicians' perspective. The current publication reports on the communication methods.
Materials and methods Seven hundred and eighty-two online questionnaires were distributed to the Dental Laboratories Association membership and included a broad range of topics. Statistical analysis was undertaken to test the influence of various demographic variables.
Results The number of completed responses totalled 248 (32% response rate). The laboratory prescription and the telephone were the main communication tools used. Statistical analysis of the results showed that a greater number of communication methods were used by large laboratories. Frequently missing items from the laboratory prescription were the shade and the date required. The majority of respondents (73%) stated that a single shade was selected in over half of cases. Sixty-eight percent replied that the dentist allowed sufficient laboratory time. Twenty-six percent of laboratories felt either rarely involved or not involved at all as part of the dental team.
Conclusion This study suggests that there are continuing communication and teamwork issues between dentists and dental laboratories.
PMCID: PMC4340155  PMID: 25257016
3.  Incidence of tuberculosis, hepatitis, brucellosis, and shigellosis in British medical laboratory workers. 
British Medical Journal  1976;1(6012):759-762.
A retrospective postal survey of 21 000 medical laboratory workers in England and Wales showed 18 new cases of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1971, a five-times increased risk of acquiring the disease compared with the general population. Technicians were at greatest risk, especially if they worked in morbid anatomy departments. Of the 35 cases of hepatitis, the technicians were again the occupational group most likely to acquire the disease. Microbiology staff were twice as likely to report shigellosis as those in other pathology divisions but only one case of brucellosis was reported in the whole laboratory population. A similar survey carried out in 1973 of 3000 Scottish medical laboratory workers corroborates the results from England and Wales. Medical laboratory workers continue to experience a considerable risk of developing an occupationally acquired infection. Improvements in staff safety and health care seem to be necessary.
PMCID: PMC1639170  PMID: 1260318
4.  Infections in British clinical laboratories, 1986-87. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1989;42(7):677-681.
During 1986-87 this continuing survey showed 15 specific infections in the staff of 235 laboratories, representing 28,524 person years of exposure. The community was the probable source of four of the five cases of tuberculosis and one of the five cases of salmonellosis. Occupational exposure was the probable cause of four infections by Shigella flexneri, three by Salmonella typhimurium, and one by S typhi, all affecting medical laboratory scientific officers (MLSOs) in microbiology. Occupational exposure was also the probable cause of one case of tuberculosis in a mortuary technician and one of probable non-A, non-B hepatitis in a medical laboratory scientific officer haematology worker. The overall incidence of reported infections was 52.6/100,000 person years (35/100,000 for infections of probable occupational origin). The highest rates of laboratory acquired infections related to MLSO microbiology workers and mortuary technicians. No additional infections were seen as a result of extending the survey to forensic laboratories.
PMCID: PMC1142013  PMID: 2503546
5.  Human Resource and Funding Constraints for Essential Surgery in District Hospitals in Africa: A Retrospective Cross-Sectional Survey 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(3):e1000242.
In the second of two papers investigating surgical provision in eight district hospitals in Saharan African countries, Margaret Kruk and colleagues describe the range of providers of surgical care and anesthesia and estimate the related costs.
There is a growing recognition that the provision of surgical services in low-income countries is inadequate to the need. While constrained health budgets and health worker shortages have been blamed for the low rates of surgery, there has been little empirical data on the providers of surgery and cost of surgical services in Africa. This study described the range of providers of surgical care and anesthesia and estimated the resources dedicated to surgery at district hospitals in three African countries.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional survey of data from eight district hospitals in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda. There were no specialist surgeons or anesthetists in any of the hospitals. Most of the health workers were nurses (77.5%), followed by mid-level providers (MLPs) not trained to provide surgical care (7.8%), and MLPs trained to perform surgical procedures (3.8%). There were one to six medical doctors per hospital (4.2% of clinical staff). Most major surgical procedures were performed by doctors (54.6%), however over one-third (35.9%) were done by MLPs. Anesthesia was mainly provided by nurses (39.4%). Most of the hospital expenditure was related to staffing. Of the total operating costs, only 7% to 14% was allocated to surgical care, the majority of which was for obstetric surgery. These costs represent a per capita expenditure on surgery ranging from US$0.05 to US$0.14 between the eight hospitals.
African countries have adopted different policies to ensure the provision of surgical care in their respective district hospitals. Overall, the surgical output per capita was very low, reflecting low staffing ratios and limited expenditures for surgery. We found that most surgical and anesthesia services in the three countries in the study were provided by generalist doctors, MLPs, and nurses. Although more information is needed to estimate unmet need for surgery, increasing the funds allocated to surgery, and, in the absence of trained doctors and surgeons, formalizing the training of MLPs appears to be a pragmatic and cost-effective way to make basic surgical services available in underserved areas.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Infectious diseases remain the major killers in developing countries, but traumatic injuries, complications of childbirth, and other conditions that need surgery are important contributors to the overall burden of disease in these countries. Unfortunately, the provision of surgical services in low- and middle-income countries is often insufficient. There are many fewer operations per a head of population in developing countries than in developed countries, essential operations such as cesarean sections for complicated deliveries are not always available, and elective operations such as male and female sterilization can be difficult to obtain. Lack of funding for surgical procedures and shortages of trained health workers have often been blamed for the low rates of surgery in developing countries. For example, anesthesiologists (doctors who are trained to give anesthetics and other pain-relieving agents) and trained anesthetists (usually nurses and technicians) are rare in many African countries, as are surgeons and obstetricians (doctors who look after women during pregnancy and childbirth). To make matters worse, these specialists often work in tertiary referral hospitals in large cities. In district hospitals, which provide most of the primary health care needs of rural populations, basic surgical care is usually provided by “mid-level health care providers” (MLPs)—individuals with a level of training between that of nurses and physicians.
Why Was This Study Done?
Various organizations are currently working to improve emergency and essential surgical care in developing countries. For example, the Bellagio Essential Surgery Group (BESG) seeks to define, quantify, and address the problem of unmet surgical needs in sub-Saharan Africa. Importantly, however, before any programs can be introduced to improve access to surgical services in developing countries, better baseline data on existing surgical services needs to be collected—most of the available information on these services is anecdotal. In this study, the researchers (most of whom are members of the BESG) investigate the provision of surgical procedures and anesthesia in district hospitals in three sub-Saharan African countries and estimate the costs of surgery performed in the same hospitals.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected recent data on the number of doctors, MLPs, and nurses in two district hospitals in Tanzania and in Mozambique, and from four district hospitals in Uganda and information on each hospital's expenditure. Most of the health workers in these hospitals (which care for 3 million people between them) were nurses (77.5%), followed by MLPs not trained to provide surgical care (7.8%), and MLPs trained to provide surgical care (3.8%). The hospitals had between one and six medical doctors each (28 across all the hospitals), but there were no trained surgeons or anesthesiologists posted at any of the hospitals. About half of the major surgical procedures undertaken at these hospitals were performed by doctors but more than a third were done by MLPs although the exact pattern of personnel involved in surgery varied among the three countries. Anesthesia was mostly provided by nurses and doctors; again the pattern of anesthesia provision varied among countries and hospitals. Only 7%–14% of overall hospital expenditure was allocated to surgical care and most of this allocation was used for obstetric services. Finally, the researchers estimate that, on the basis of district populations, the district hospitals spent between US$0.05 and US$0.14 per head on surgical services.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in the district hospitals investigated in this study, physicians, MLPs, and nurses provide most of the surgical care. Furthermore, although all the hospitals in the study provide some surgical care, it accounts for a small part of the hospitals' overall operating costs. These findings may not be generalizable to other district hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa and provide no information about the unmet needs for surgical care. Nevertheless, these findings and those of a separate paper that investigates the range and volume of surgical procedures undertaken in the same district hospitals provide a valuable baseline for planning the expansion of health care services in Africa. They also suggest that increasing the funds allocated to surgery and formalizing the training of MLPs might be a cost-effective way of increasing access to surgical care in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The range and volume of surgery in the same hospitals is investigated in a PLoS Medicine Research Article by Moses Galukande et al.
Information on the Bellagio Essential Surgery Group is available
WHO's Global initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care plans to take essential emergency, basic surgery and anesthesia skills to health care staff in low- and middle-income countries around the world; WHO also has a page describing the importance of emergency and essential surgery in primary health care
PMCID: PMC2834706  PMID: 20231869
6.  Respiratory Findings in Dental Laboratory Technicians in Rasht (North of Iran) 
Tanaffos  2011;10(2):44-49.
There are several occupations that can expose people to some air pollutants. Dental technicians are exposed to inorganic dust and chemical vapors when making dental prosthesis that can put them at risk for respiratory problems. This study was performed to assess respiratory dysfunction in a group of dental technicians
Materials and Methods
This was a cross-sectional study designed to ascertain the prevalence of respiratory disorders in dental laboratory technicians in Rasht, a city located in north of Iran. A Structured questionnaire was adapted according to the European Community Respiratory Health Survey questionnaire and used to elicit information regarding sociodemographic characteristics and medical status of the study participants. The ventilation status, protective measures and direct exposure to materials in the laboratories were directly observed by the observers and subjects underwent respiratory tests and chest x-ray.
The mean age of dental technicians was 31.31 yrs (range 18-56 years) and 83% were males with a mean dental work experience of 9.04 years. In 54.8% of cases, the work environment did not have air conditioning system. The most common signs and symptoms were cough (38.1%) and wheezing (16.7%). There was a significant correlation between smoking and respiratory signs. Restrictive airway pattern and air trapping were two prevalent findings which were observed in 85.7% and 33.3% of the subjects. Cigarette smoking had a negative effect on FEV1, FEF25%-75%, and TLC causing a significant reduction in all three parameters (p < 0.05). The most prevalent finding was interstitial opacity which was observed in 10 individuals (23.8%). This finding was not significantly associated with age, gender, cigarette smoking, or daily work hours. However, there was a significant statistical association between work experience and interstitial opacity.
The prevalence of respiratory dysfunction and chest x-ray findings were high as in several similar studies. In order to reduce the hazards of respiratory disorders in risky occupations and provide dental workers with technical preventive measures, a more comprehensive study should be conducted throughout the country and further evaluations through biopsy and CT-scan need to be performed in suspicious cases when necessary.
PMCID: PMC4153148  PMID: 25191362
Dental technicians; Respiratory disorders; Respiratory function test
7.  Respiratory morbidity in a population of French dental technicians 
Aims: To compare wage earner dental technicians with non-exposed salaried subjects for the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and function, and chest x ray abnormalities.
Methods: A total of 134 dental technicians and 131 non-exposed subjects participated. A medical and an occupational questionnaire were filled in to evaluate the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and occupational exposures. Subjects underwent respiratory tests and chest x ray examination.
Results: Mean age of the dental technicians was 36.6 years with a mean duration of dental work of 16.5 years. There was a significant risk of cough (day and night) and usual phlegm in dental technicians. Respiratory function parameters were lower in dental technicians with a significant difference between exposed and non-exposed groups for % FVC (forced vital capacity), % FEF25 (forced mid expiratory flow), and % FEF50. The prevalence of small opacities increased with age. Small opacities were significantly related to an exposure to asbestos in the past.
Conclusions: Our young population of dental technicians is at risk of respiratory morbidity. They should benefit from adequate technical prevention measures.
PMCID: PMC1740304  PMID: 12040116
8.  Tuberculosis among Health-Care Workers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e494.
The risk of transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from patients to health-care workers (HCWs) is a neglected problem in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Most health-care facilities in these countries lack resources to prevent nosocomial transmission of tuberculosis (TB).
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review to summarize the evidence on the incidence and prevalence of latent TB infection (LTBI) and disease among HCWs in LMICs, and to evaluate the impact of various preventive strategies that have been attempted. To identify relevant studies, we searched electronic databases and journals, and contacted experts in the field. We identified 42 articles, consisting of 51 studies, and extracted data on incidence, prevalence, and risk factors for LTBI and disease among HCWs. The prevalence of LTBI among HCWs was, on average, 54% (range 33% to 79%). Estimates of the annual risk of LTBI ranged from 0.5% to 14.3%, and the annual incidence of TB disease in HCWs ranged from 69 to 5,780 per 100,000. The attributable risk for TB disease in HCWs, compared to the risk in the general population, ranged from 25 to 5,361 per 100,000 per year. A higher risk of acquiring TB disease was associated with certain work locations (inpatient TB facility, laboratory, internal medicine, and emergency facilities) and occupational categories (radiology technicians, patient attendants, nurses, ward attendants, paramedics, and clinical officers).
In summary, our review demonstrates that TB is a significant occupational problem among HCWs in LMICs. Available evidence reinforces the need to design and implement simple, effective, and affordable TB infection-control programs in health-care facilities in these countries.
A systematic review demonstrates that tuberculosis is an important occupational problem among health care workers in low and middle-income countries.
Editors' Summary
One third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). In many people, the bug causes no health problems—it remains latent. But about 10% of infected people develop active, potentially fatal TB, often in their lungs. People with active pulmonary TB readily spread the infection to other people, including health-care workers (HCWs), in small airborne droplets produced when they cough or sneeze. In high-income countries such as the US, guidelines are in place to minimize the transmission of TB in health-care facilities. Administrative controls (for example, standard treatment plans for people with suspected or confirmed TB) aim to reduce the exposure of HCWs to people with TB. Environmental controls (for example, the use of special isolation rooms) aim to prevent the spread and to reduce the concentration of infectious droplets in the air. Finally, respiratory-protection controls (for example, personal respirators for nursing staff) aim to reduce the risk of infection when exposure to M. tuberculosis is unavoidably high. Together, these three layers of control have reduced the incidence of TB in HCWs (the number who catch TB annually) in high-income countries.
Why Was This Study Done?
But what about low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where more than 90% of the world's cases of TB occur? Here, there is little money available to implement even low-cost strategies to reduce TB transmission in health-care facilities—so how important an occupational disease is TB in HCWs in these countries? In this study, the researchers have systematically reviewed published papers to find out the incidence and prevalence (how many people in a population have a specific disease) of active TB and latent TB infections (LTBIs) in HCWs in LMICs. They have also investigated whether any of the preventative strategies used in high-income countries have been shown to reduce the TB burden in HCWs in poorer countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To identify studies on TB transmission to HCWs in LMICs, the researchers searched electronic databases and journals, and also contacted experts on TB transmission. They then extracted and analyzed the relevant data on TB incidence, prevalence, risk factors, and control measures. Averaged-out over the 51 identified studies, 54% of HCWs had LTBI. In most of the studies, increasing age and duration of employment in health-care facilities, indicating a longer cumulative exposure to infection, was associated with a higher prevalence of LTBI. The same trend was seen in a subgroup of medical and nursing students. After accounting for the incidence of TB in the relevant general population, the excess incidence of TB in the different studies that was attributable to being a HCW ranged from 25 to 5,361 cases per 100, 000 people per year. In addition, a higher risk of acquiring TB was associated with working in specific locations (for example, inpatient TB facilities or diagnostic laboratories) and with specific occupations, including nurses and radiology attendants; most of the health-care facilities examined in the published studies had no specific TB infection-control programs in place.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all systematic reviews, the accuracy of these findings may be limited by some aspects of the original studies, such as how the incidence of LTBI was measured. In addition, the possibility that the researchers missed some relevant published studies, or that only studies where there was a high incidence of TB in HCWs were published, may also affect the findings of this study. Nevertheless, they suggest that TB is an important occupational disease in HCWs in LMICs and that the HCWs most at risk of TB are those exposed to the most patients with TB. Reduction of that risk should be a high priority because occupational TB leads to the loss of essential, skilled HCWs. Unfortunately, there are few data available to indicate how this should be done. Thus, the researchers conclude, well-designed field studies are urgently needed to evaluate whether the TB-control measures that have reduced TB transmission to HCWs in high-income countries will work and be affordable in LMICs.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
• US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases patient fact sheet on tuberculosis
• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information for patients and professionals on tuberculosis
• MedlinePlus encyclopedia entry on tuberculosis
• NHS Direct Online, from the UK National Health Service, patient information on tuberculosis
• US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, information about tuberculosis for health-care workers
• American Lung Association information on tuberculosis and health-care workers
PMCID: PMC1716189  PMID: 17194191
9.  A Program Using Pharmacy Technicians to Collect Medication Histories in the Emergency Department 
Pharmacy and Therapeutics  2015;40(1):56-61.
When specially trained pharmacy technicians took patients’ medication histories in a hospital emergency department, the histories they conducted were accurate 88% of the time compared with 57% of those conducted by nurses, who had other duties.
To evaluate the percentage, frequency, and types of medication history errors made by pharmacy technicians compared with nurses in the emergency department (ED) to determine if patient safety and care can be improved while reducing nurses’ workloads.
Medication history errors were evaluated in a pre-post study comparing a historical control group (nurses) prior to the implementation of a pharmacy technician program in the ED to a prospective cohort group (pharmacy technicians). Two certified pharmacy technicians were trained by the post-graduate year one (PGY1) pharmacy practice resident to conduct medication history interviews in a systematic fashion, with outside resources (i.e., assisted living facility, pharmacy, physician’s office, or family members) being consulted if any portion of the medication history was unclear or lacking information. The primary outcome compared the percentage of patients with accurate medication histories in each group. Secondary outcomes included differences between groups regarding total medication errors, types of errors, documentation of patient allergies and drug reactions, and documentation of last administration times for high-risk anticoagulant/antiplatelet medications. Accuracy was determined by reviewing each documented medication history for identifiable errors, including review of electronic generated prescriptions within the hospital system as well as physician notes or histories documented on the same day (for potential discrepancies). This review was performed by the pharmacy resident. The categories of errors included a drug omission, a drug commission, an incorrect or missing drug, an incorrect or missing dose, or an incorrect or missing frequency. Anonymous surveys were distributed to ED nurses to assess their feedback on the new medication reconciliation program using pharmacy technicians.
A total of 300 medication histories from the ED were evaluated (150 in each group). Medication histories conducted by pharmacy technicians were accurate 88% of the time compared with 57% of those conducted by nurses (P < 0.0001). Nineteen errors (1.1%) were made by pharmacy technicians versus 117 (8.3%) by nurses (relative risk [RR], 7.5; P < 0.0001). The most common type of error was an incorrect or missing dose (10 versus 59, P < 0.001), followed by an incorrect or missing frequency (0 versus 30, P < 0.0001), and a drug commission (5 versus 23, P = 0.004). There were no differences between groups regarding the documentation of patient allergies. Documentation rates of high-risk anticoagulant and antiplatelet administration times were greater for pharmacy technicians than for nurses (76% versus 13%, P < 0.001).
This study demonstrates that trained pharmacy technicians can assist prescribers and nurses by improving the accuracy of medication histories obtained in the ED.
PMCID: PMC4296593  PMID: 25628508
10.  Continuing professional development training needs of medical laboratory personnel in Botswana 
Laboratory professionals are expected to maintain their knowledge on the most recent advances in laboratory testing and continuing professional development (CPD) programs can address this expectation. In developing countries, accessing CPD programs is a major challenge for laboratory personnel, partly due to their limited availability. An assessment was conducted among clinical laboratory workforce in Botswana to identify and prioritize CPD training needs as well as preferred modes of CPD delivery.
A self-administered questionnaire was disseminated to medical laboratory scientists and technicians registered with the Botswana Health Professions Council. Questions were organized into domains of competency related to (i) quality management systems, (ii) technical competence, (iii) laboratory management, leadership, and coaching, and (iv) pathophysiology, data interpretation, and research. Participants were asked to rank their self-perceived training needs using a 3-point scale in order of importance (most, moderate, and least). Furthermore, participants were asked to select any three preferences for delivery formats for the CPD.
Out of 350 questionnaires that were distributed, 275 were completed and returned giving an overall response rate of 79%. The most frequently selected topics for training in rank order according to key themes were (mean, range) (i) quality management systems, most important (79%, 74–84%); (ii) pathophysiology, data interpretation, and research (68%, 52–78%); (iii) technical competence (65%, 44–73%); and (iv) laboratory management, leadership, and coaching (60%, 37–77%). The top three topics selected by the participants were (i) quality systems essentials for medical laboratory, (ii) implementing a quality management system, and (iii) techniques to identify and control sources of error in laboratory procedures. The top three preferred CPD delivery modes, in rank order, were training workshops, hands-on workshops, and internet-based learning. Journal clubs at the workplace was the least preferred method of delivery of CPD credits.
CPD programs to be developed should focus on topics that address quality management systems, case studies, competence assessment, and customer care. The findings from this survey can also inform medical laboratory pre-service education curriculum.
PMCID: PMC4141587  PMID: 25134431
Continuing professional development; Curriculum; Developing countries; Medical laboratory; Training needs
11.  Infections in British clinical laboratories, 1984-5. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1987;40(8):826-829.
During 1984-5 this continuing survey showed that 41 infections occurred in the staff of 193 laboratories, representing 23,043.5 person years of exposure. The community was the probable source of two cases each of hepatitis A and B, one of tuberculosis, two of campylobacter enteritis, and 12 of Norwalk viral diarrhoea. Occupational exposure was the probable cause of six hepatitis B infections (affecting haematology, biochemistry, and microbiology staff), three of tuberculosis (affecting mortuary and morbid anatomy workers), seven shigella, three salmonella (including one typhoid) and one pseudocholera infection (all in microbiology medical laboratory scientific officers), and a streptococcal infection in a mortuary technician. An episode of hepatitis of uncertain cause affected a carrier of hepatitis B. The incidence of reported infections of all types was 178 per 100,000 person years (91 for infections of suspected occupational origin). The highest incidence was in morbid anatomy and mortuary workers, followed by microbiology medical laboratory scientific officers.
PMCID: PMC1141119  PMID: 3654983
12.  Assessment of the technical quality of electrocardiograms. 
The technical quality of 600 electrocardiograms (ECG's) was assessed for missing leads and clipping, and graded from 1 to 5 for each of noise, lead drift and beat-to-beat drift. Three subgroups of 200 ECGs each were studied: group A, those obtained by emergency department staff (non-technicians); group B, records obtained by ECG technicians; and group C, telephone-transmitted records obtained by technicians performing all the laboratory work at a smaller, outlying hospital. Records with missing leads, clipping, grade 4 or 5 noise, grade 5 lead drift or grade 5 beat-to-beat drift were classified as unsatisfactory or rejected. With these stringent criteria the rejection rate was 71.0% for group A records, 58.5% for group B and 44.5% for group C. The proportions of records with peak quality (no missing leads or clipping, and grade 1 noise, lead drift or beat-to-beat drift) were 4.5% for group A, 5.5% for group B and 23.0% for group C. Suggested revisions in the grading of technical quality of ECGs are presented.
PMCID: PMC1818330  PMID: 688125
13.  Provision of gastrointestinal endoscopy and related services for a district general hospital. Working Party of the Clinical Services Committee of the British Society of Gastroenterology. 
Gut  1991;32(1):95-105.
(1) The number of endoscopic examinations performed is rising. Epidemiological data and the workload of well developed units show that annual requirements per head of population are approaching: Upper gastrointestinal 1 in 100 Flexible sigmoidoscopy 1 in 500 Colonoscopy 1 in 500 ERCP 1 in 2000 (2) Open access endoscopy to general practitioners is desirable and increasingly sought. For a district general hospital serving a population of 250,000, this workload entails about 3500 procedures annually, performed during 10 half day routine sessions plus emergency work. (3) High standards of training and experience are needed by all staff, who must work in purpose built accommodation designed to promote efficient and safe practice. (4) The endoscopy unit should be adjacent to day care facilities and near the x ray department. There should be easy access to wards. (5) An endoscopy unit needs at least two endoscopy rooms; a fully ventilated cleaning/disinfection area; rooms for patient reception, preparation, and recovery; and accommodation for administration, storage, and staff amenities. (6) The service should be consultant based. At least 10 clinical sessions are required, made up of six or more consultant sessions and two to four clinical assistant, hospital practitioner, or staff specialist sessions. Each consultant should be expected to commit at least two sessions weekly to endoscopy. Extra consultant sessions may be needed to provide an efficient service. (7) A specially trained nursing sister (grade G or H) and five other endoscopy nurses are needed to care for the patients; their work may be supplemented by care assistants. (8) A new post of endoscopy department assistant (analogous to an operating department assistant) is proposed to maintain and prepare instruments, and to give technical assistance during procedures. (9) A full time secretary should be employed. Records, appointments, and audit should be computer based. (10) ERCP needs the collaboration of an interventional radiologist working with high quality x ray equipment in a specially prepared radiology screening room. This facility may need to serve more than one hospital. (11) A gastrointestinal measurement laboratory can conveniently be combined with the endoscopy unit. In some hospitals one or more gastrointestinal measurement technicians may staff this laboratory. (12) An endoscopy unit is a service department analogous to a radiology department. It needs an annual budget.
PMCID: PMC1379223  PMID: 1991644
14.  Resuscitation from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: is survival dependent on who is available at the scene? 
Heart  1999;81(1):47-52.
Objective—To determine whether survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is influenced by the on-scene availability of different grades of ambulance personnel and other health professionals.
Design—Population based, retrospective, observational study.
Setting—County of Nottinghamshire with a population of one million.
Subjects—All 2094 patients who had resuscitation attempted by Nottinghamshire Ambulance Service crew from 1991 to 1994; study of 1547 patients whose arrest were of cardiac aetiology.
Main outcome measures—Survival to hospital admission and survival to hospital discharge.
Results—Overall survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest remains poor: 221 patients (14.3%) survived to reach hospital alive and only 94 (6.1%) survived to be discharged from hospital. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the chances of those resuscitated by technician crew reaching hospital alive were poor but were greater when paramedic crew were either called to assist technicians or dealt with the arrest themselves (odds ratio 6.9 (95% confidence interval 3.92 to 26.61)). Compared to technician crew, survival to hospital discharge was only significantly improved with paramedic crew (3.55 (1.62 to 7.79)) and further improved when paramedics were assisted by either a health professional (9.91 (3.12 to 26.61)) or a medical practitioner (20.88 (6.72 to 64.94)).
Conclusions—Survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest remains poor despite attendance at the scene of the arrest by ambulance crew and other health professionals. Patients resuscitated by a paramedic from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest caused by cardiac disease were more likely to survive to hospital discharge than when resuscitation was provided by an ambulance technician. Resuscitation by a paramedic assisted by a medical practitioner offers a patient the best chances of surviving the event.

 Keywords: out-of-hospital;  cardiac arrest;  paramedic;  technician
PMCID: PMC1728906  PMID: 10220544
15.  Infections in British clinical laboratories, 1988-1989. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1991;44(8):667-669.
During 1988-89 this continuing survey showed 18 infections in the staff of laboratories reporting from 166 centres, representing 21,756 person-years of exposure. Shigella and other bowel infections (one caused by S typhi) predominated, affecting 11 microbiology medical laboratory scientific officers. Three shigella infections originated from quality control samples. Pulmonary tuberculosis affected four workers, including two mortuary technicians, but without detected occupational exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Other infections included one caused by Brucella melitensis. Hepatitis was not reported. The sustained low level of hepatitis is encouraging and suggests a low risk to staff of bloodborne infections such as human immunodeficiency virus.
PMCID: PMC496761  PMID: 1890201
16.  The 2009 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting: Martin Chalfie, Chemistry 2008 
American Biologist Martin Chalfie shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Roger Tsien and Osamu Shimomura for their discovery and development of the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP).
Martin Chalfie was born in Chicago in 1947 and grew up in Skokie Illinois. Although he had an interest in science from a young age-- learning the names of the planets and reading books about dinosaurs-- his journey to a career in biological science was circuitous. In high school, Chalfie enjoyed his AP Chemistry course, but his other science courses did not make much of an impression on him, and he began his undergraduate studies at Harvard uncertain of what he wanted to study. Eventually he did choose to major in Biochemistry, and during the summer between his sophomore and junior years, he joined Klaus Weber's lab and began his first real research project, studying the active site of the enzyme aspartate transcarbamylase. Unfortunately, none of the experiments he performed in Weber's lab worked, and Chalfie came to the conclusion that research was not for him.
Following graduation in 1969, he was hired as a teacher Hamden Hall Country Day School in Connecticut where he taught high school chemistry, algebra, and social sciences for 2 years. After his first year of teaching, he decided to give research another try. He took a summer job in Jose Zadunaisky's lab at Yale, studying chloride transport in the frog retina. Chalfie enjoyed this experience a great deal, and having gained confidence in his own scientific abilities, he applied to graduate school at Harvard, where he joined the Physiology department in 1972 and studied norepinephrine synthesis and secretion under Bob Pearlman. His interest in working on C. elegans led him to post doc with Sydney Brenner, at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. In 1982 he was offered position at Columbia University.
When Chalfie first heard about GFP at a research seminar given by Paul Brehm in 1989, his lab was studying genes involved in the development and function of touch-sensitive cells in C. elegans. He immediately became very excited about the idea of expressing the fluorescent protein in the nematode, hoping to figure out where the genes were expressed in the live organism. At the time, all methods of examining localization, such as antibody staining or in situ hybridization, required fixation of the tissue or cells, revealing the location of proteins only at fixed points in time.
In September 1992, after obtaining GFP DNA from Douglas Prasher, Chalfie asked his rotation student, Ghia Euskirchen to express GFP in E. coli, unaware that several other labs were also trying to express the protein, without success. Chalfie and Euskirchen used PCR to amplify only the coding sequence of GFP, which they placed in an expression vector and expressed in E.coli. Because of her engineering background, Euskirchen knew that the microscope in the Chalfie lab was not good enough to use for this type of experiment, so she captured images of green bacteria using the microscope from her former engineering lab. This work demonstrated that GFP fluorescence requires no component other than GFP itself. In fact, the difficulty that other labs had encountered stemmed from their use of restriction enzyme digestions for subcloning, which brought along an extra sequence that prevented GFP's fluorescent expression. Following Euskirchen's successful expression in E. coli, Chalfie's technician Yuan Tu went on to express GFP in C. elegans, and Chalfie published the findings in Science in 1994.
Through the study of C. elegans and GFP, Chalfie feels there is an important lesson to be learned about the importance basic research. Though there has been a recent push for clinically-relevant or patent-producing (translational) research, Chalfie warns that taking this approach alone is a mistake, given how "woefully little" we know about biology. He points out the vast expanse of the unknowns in biology, noting that important discoveries such as GFP are very frequently made through basic research using a diverse set of model organisms. Indeed, the study of GFP bioluminescence did not originally have a direct application to human health. Our understanding of it, however, has led to a wide array of clinically-relevant discoveries and developments. Chalfie believes we should not limit ourselves: "We should be a little freer and investigate things in different directions, and be a little bit awed by what we're going to find."
PMCID: PMC3152221  PMID: 20147885
17.  A Systematic Approach to Capacity Strengthening of Laboratory Systems for Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Sri Lanka 
The lack of capacity in laboratory systems is a major barrier to achieving the aims of the London Declaration (2012) on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). To counter this, capacity strengthening initiatives have been carried out in NTD laboratories worldwide. Many of these initiatives focus on individuals' skills or institutional processes and structures ignoring the crucial interactions between the laboratory and the wider national and international context. Furthermore, rigorous methods to assess these initiatives once they have been implemented are scarce. To address these gaps we developed a set of assessment and monitoring tools that can be used to determine the capacities required and achieved by laboratory systems at the individual, organizational, and national/international levels to support the control of NTDs.
Methodology and principal findings
We developed a set of qualitative and quantitative assessment and monitoring tools based on published evidence on optimal laboratory capacity. We implemented the tools with laboratory managers in Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. Using the tools enabled us to identify strengths and gaps in the laboratory systems from the following perspectives: laboratory quality benchmarked against ISO 15189 standards, the potential for the laboratories to provide support to national and regional NTD control programmes, and the laboratory's position within relevant national and international networks and collaborations.
We have developed a set of mixed methods assessment and monitoring tools based on evidence derived from the components needed to strengthen the capacity of laboratory systems to control NTDs. Our tools help to systematically assess and monitor individual, organizational, and wider system level capacity of laboratory systems for NTD control and can be applied in different country contexts.
Author Summary
Capacity strengthening activities such as technical training for staff, student research project supervision, and equipment provision are being carried out in laboratories worldwide as part of the global effort to control neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). However, these activities often focus on developing the skill sets of an individual and are not being thoroughly monitored and assessed. To address these gaps we developed a set of monitoring and assessment tools that can be used to determine the capacities required and achieved by laboratory systems to support the control of NTDs. The tools simultaneously focus on individuals (e.g., technicians, students, researchers), organisations (e.g., universities, research institutions, clinical facilities), national governments, and international agencies. Using the tools highlighted the strengths and limitations of each laboratory system in addition to the role of the laboratory regionally and internationally. We used the tools in Kenya, Ghana, Malawi and Sri Lanka, and concluded that our tools can be adapted and tailored to use in other countries and laboratories.
PMCID: PMC3945753  PMID: 24603407
18.  AB 103. Respiratory pathology in genetic era 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2012;4(Suppl 1):AB103.
Department of Pathology was founded in 1960. With the establishment of the Institute for Pulmonary Diseases. Laboratories for histology, cytology, immunohistochemistry and autopsy unit are integral part of this department.
Patients and methods
In histopathologic laboratory over 10,000 endoscopical and surgical biopsies, with ex tempore analyzes annually, are technically prepared and processed by using standard as well as special stainings. Over 6000 samples per year obtained by exfoliative cytology: sputum, pleural, pericardial and abdominal effusions, aspiration cytology: transthoracic fine needle aspiration (FNA), and samples obtained during bronchoscopy: lavage, brushes and transbronchial fine needle aspiration biopsy (obtained during endobronchial ultrasound guided (EBUS) FNA) and bronchoalveolar lavages are processed in the laboratory for cytology. May Grunwald Giemsa and Papanicolaou stainings are used for all cytological specimens and in many cases cell blocks are prepared too for ancillary technics. Laboratory for immunohistochemistry disposes of 43 tumor markers for the diagnosis and differentiation of primary and secondary lung tumors, malignant mesothelioma, lymphoma and thymoma and annually performs over 300 analyzes. Over 200 autopsies per year are performed in the autopsy unit. Predominant field of work is thoracic pathology, but we are also dealing with cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary and gynecological pathology.
Today The Department of Pathology employs 1 biologist, 6 laboratory technicians and 3 autopsy assistants as well as 2 pathologists, 3 cytopathologists and 1 resident. As the Institute for Pulmonary Diseases is university hospital all doctors, 4 PhD and 2 postgraduate students are engaged in the educational work. Teachers participate in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at Medical Faculty in Novi Sad, Banja Luka and Foca (Serbian Republic). The Department of Pathology from the very beginning enforced specialization in Pathology and sub-specialization in Medical Cytology. In the cooperation with the Center for Continuing Education, several educational seminars in the field of pathology and cytology have been organized.
The future of this department is the automatization and standardization of working processes, control improvement, continuing education of all employees and greater engagement in the field of research. Introducing of genetic and molecular techniques for better diagnosis and individualized therapy is our task in the next few years.
PMCID: PMC3537378
19.  Mapping the use of simulation in prehospital care – a literature review 
High energy trauma is rare and, as a result, training of prehospital care providers often takes place during the real situation, with the patient as the object for the learning process. Such training could instead be carried out in the context of simulation, out of danger for both patients and personnel. The aim of this study was to provide an overview of the development and foci of research on simulation in prehospital care practice.
An integrative literature review were used. Articles based on quantitative as well as qualitative research methods were included, resulting in a comprehensive overview of existing published research. For published articles to be included in the review, the focus of the article had to be prehospital care providers, in prehospital settings. Furthermore, included articles must target interventions that were carried out in a simulation context.
The volume of published research is distributed between 1984- 2012 and across the regions North America, Europe, Oceania, Asia and Middle East. The simulation methods used were manikins, films, images or paper, live actors, animals and virtual reality. The staff categories focused upon were paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), medical doctors (MDs), nurse and fire fighters. The main topics of published research on simulation with prehospital care providers included: Intubation, Trauma care, Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Ventilation and Triage.
Simulation were described as a positive training and education method for prehospital medical staff. It provides opportunities to train assessment, treatment and implementation of procedures and devices under realistic conditions. It is crucial that the staff are familiar with and trained on the identified topics, i.e., intubation, trauma care, CPR, ventilation and triage, which all, to a very large degree, constitute prehospital care. Simulation plays an integral role in this. The current state of prehospital care, which this review reveals, includes inadequate skills of prehospital staff regarding ventilation and CPR, on both children and adults, the lack of skills in paediatric resuscitation and the lack of knowledge in assessing and managing burns victims. These circumstances suggest critical areas for further training and research, at both local and global levels.
PMCID: PMC3997227  PMID: 24678868
Simulation; Prehospital; Systematic literature review
20.  Open access intrapartum CTG database 
Cardiotocography (CTG) is a monitoring of fetal heart rate and uterine contractions. Since 1960 it is routinely used by obstetricians to assess fetal well-being. Many attempts to introduce methods of automatic signal processing and evaluation have appeared during the last 20 years, however still no significant progress similar to that in the domain of adult heart rate variability, where open access databases are available (e.g. MIT-BIH), is visible. Based on a thorough review of the relevant publications, presented in this paper, the shortcomings of the current state are obvious. A lack of common ground for clinicians and technicians in the field hinders clinically usable progress. Our open access database of digital intrapartum cardiotocographic recordings aims to change that.
The intrapartum CTG database consists in total of 552 intrapartum recordings, which were acquired between April 2010 and August 2012 at the obstetrics ward of the University Hospital in Brno, Czech Republic. All recordings were stored in electronic form in the OB TraceVue®;system. The recordings were selected from 9164 intrapartum recordings with clinical as well as technical considerations in mind. All recordings are at most 90 minutes long and start a maximum of 90 minutes before delivery. The time relation of CTG to delivery is known as well as the length of the second stage of labor which does not exceed 30 minutes. The majority of recordings (all but 46 cesarean sections) is – on purpose – from vaginal deliveries. All recordings have available biochemical markers as well as some more general clinical features. Full description of the database and reasoning behind selection of the parameters is presented in the paper.
A new open-access CTG database is introduced which should give the research community common ground for comparison of results on reasonably large database. We anticipate that after reading the paper, the reader will understand the context of the field from clinical and technical perspectives which will enable him/her to use the database and also understand its limitations.
PMCID: PMC3898997  PMID: 24418387
Cardiotocography; Intrapartum; CTG; Database; Signal processing; Fetal heart rate
21.  Respiratory medicine and research at McGill University: A historical perspective 
The history of respiratory medicine and research at McGill University (Montreal, Quebec) is tightly linked with the growth of academic medicine within its teaching hospitals. Dr Jonathan Meakins, a McGill medical graduate, was recruited to the Royal Victoria Hospital in 1924; as McGill’s first full-time clinical professor and Physician-in-Chief at the Royal Victoria Hospital. His focus on respiratory medicine led to the publication of his first book, Respiratory Function in Disease, in 1925. Meakins moved clinical laboratories from the Department of Pathology and placed them within the hospital. As such, he was responsible for the development of hospital-based research.
Dr Ronald Christie was recruited as a postdoctoral fellow by Meakins in the early 1930s. After his fellowship, he returned to Britain but came back to McGill from St Bartholomew’s Hospital (London, United Kingdom) to become Chair of the Department of Medicine in 1955; he occupied the post for 10 years. He published extensively on the mechanical properties of the lung in common diseases such as emphysema and heart failure.
Dr David Bates was among Dr Christie’s notable recruits; Bates in turn, recruited Drs Maurice McGregor, Margaret Becklake, William Thurlbeck, Joseph Milic-Emili, Nicholas Anthonisen, Charles Bryan and Peter Macklem. Bates published extensively in the area of respiratory physiology and, with Macklem and Christie, coauthored the book Respiratory Function in Disease, which integrated physiology into the analysis of disease.
Dr JA Peter Paré joined the attending staff of the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Royal Edward Laurentian Hospital in 1949. A consummate clinician and teacher, he worked closely with Dr Robert Fraser, the Chair of Radiology, to write the reference text Diagnosis of Diseases of the Chest. This was a sentinel contribution in its focus on radiographic findings as the foundation for a systematic approach to diagnosis, and the correlation of these findings with pathological and clinical observations.
Dr Margaret Becklake immigrated to Montreal from South Africa in 1957. Her research focused on occupational lung disease. She established the respiratory epidemiology research unit at McGill. She was renowned for her insistence on the importance of a clearly stated, relevant research question and for her clarity and insight.
Dr William Thurlbeck, another South African, had developed an interest in emphysema and chronic bronchitis and applied a structure-function approach in collaboration with Peter Macklem and other respirologists. As chief of the Royal Victoria autopsy service, he used pathological specimens to develop a semiquantitative grading system of gross emphysema severity. He promoted the use of morphometry to quantify structural abnormalities.
Dr James Hogg studied the functional consequences of pathological processes for lung function during his PhD studies under the joint supervision of Drs Macklem and Thurlbeck. His contributions to understanding the structural basis for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are numerous, reflecting his transdisciplinary knowledge of respiratory pathology and physiology. He trained other outstanding investigators such as Peter Paré Jr, with whom he founded the Pulmonary Research Laboratory in St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver (British Columbia) in 1977.
A signal event in the evolution of respiratory research at McGill was the construction of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories in 1972. These laboratories were directed by Dr Peter Macklem, a trainee of Dr Becklake’s. The research within the laboratory initially focused on respiratory mechanics, gas distribution within the lung and the contribution of airways of different sizes to the overall mechanical behaviour of the lungs. The effects of cigarette smoking on lung dysfunction, mechanisms of possible loss of lung elastic recoil in asthma and control of bronchomotor tone were all additional areas of active investigation. Dr Macklem pioneered the study of the physiological consequences of small airway pathology.
Dr Joseph Milic-Emili succeeded Dr Macklem as director of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories in 1979. Milic-Emili was renowned for his work on ventilation distribution and the assessment of pleural pressure. He led the development of convenient tools for the assessment of respiratory drive. He clarified the physiological basis for carbon dioxide retention in patients with COPD placed on high inspired oxygen concentrations.
Another area that captured many investigators’ attention in the 1980s was the notion of respiratory failure as a consequence of respiratory muscle fatigue. Dr Charalambos (‘Charis’) Roussos made seminal contributions in this field. These studies triggered a long-lasting interest in respiratory muscle training, in rehabilitation, and in noninvasive mechanical ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure.
Dr Ludwig Engel obtained his PhD under the supervision of Peter Macklem and established himself in the area of ventilation distribution in health and in bronchoconstriction and the mechanics of breathing in asthma; he trained many investigators including one of the authors, Dr Jim Martin, who succeeded Milic-Emili as director of the Meakins Christie Laboratories from 1993 to 2008. Dr Martin developed small animal models of allergic asthma, and adopted a recruitment strategy that diversified the research programs at the Meakins Christie Laboratories.
Dr Manuel Cosio built on earlier work with Macklem and Hogg in his development of key structure-function studies of COPD. He was instrumental in recruiting a new generation of young investigators with interests in sleep medicine and neuromuscular diseases.
The 1970s and 1980s also witnessed the emergence of a topnotch respiratory division at the Montreal General Hospital, in large part reflecting the leadership of Dr Neil Colman, later a lead author of the revised Fraser and Paré textbook. At the Montreal General, areas of particular clinical strength and investigation included asthma, occupational and immunological lung diseases.
In 1989, the Meakins Christie Laboratories relocated to its current site on Rue St Urbain, adjacent to the Montreal Chest Institute. Dr Qutayba Hamid, on faculty at the Brompton Hospital, joined the Meakins-Christie Labs in 1994. In addition to an outstanding career in the area of the immunopathology of human asthma, he broadened the array of techniques routinely applied at the labs and has ably led the Meakins-Christie Labs from 2008 to the present.
The Meakins Christie Laboratories have had a remarkable track record that continues to this day. The basis for its enduring success is not immediately clear but it has almost certainly been linked to the balance of MD and PhD scientists that brought perspective and rigour. The diverse disciplines and research programs also facilitated adaptation to changing external research priorities.
The late 1990s and the early 21st century also saw the flourishing of the Respiratory Epidemiology Unit, under the leadership of Drs Pierre Ernst, Dick Menzies and Jean Bourbeau. It moved from McGill University to the Montreal Chest Institute in 2004. This paved the way for expanded clinical and translational research programs in COPD, tuberculosis, asthma, respiratory sleep disorders and other pulmonary diseases. The faculty now comprises respiratory clinician-researchers and PhD scientists with expertise in epidemiological methods and biostatistics.
Respiratory physiology and medicine at McGill benefitted from a strong start through the influence of Meakins and Christie, and a tight linkage between clinical observation and physiological research. The subsequent recruitment of talented and creative faculty members with absolute dedication to academic medicine continued the legacy. No matter how significant the scientific contributions of the individuals themselves, their most important impact resulted from the training of a large cohort of other gifted physicians and graduate students. Some of these are further described in the accompanying full-length online article.
PMCID: PMC4324519  PMID: 25664457
22.  The Brazilian Research and Teaching Center in Biomedicine and Aerospace Biomedical Engineering 
Hippokratia  2008;12(Suppl 1):32-36.
The recent engagement of Brazil in the construction and utilization of the International Space Station has motivated several Brazilian research institutions and universities to establish study centers related to Space Sciences. The Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) is no exception.
Method: The University initiated in 1993 the first degree course training students to operate commercial aircraft in South America (the School of Aeronautical Sciences. A further step was the decision to build the first Brazilian laboratory dedicated to the conduct of experiments in ground-based microgravity simulation. Established in 1998, the Microgravity Laboratory, which was located in the Instituto de Pesquisas Cientificas e Tecnologicas (IPCT), was supported by the Schools of Medicine, Aeronautical Sciences and Electrical Engineering/Biomedical Engineering. At the end of 2006, the Microgravity Laboratory became a Center and was transferred to the School of Engineering.
Results: The principal activities of the Microgravity Centre are the development of research projects related to human physiology before, during and after ground-based microgravity simulation and parabolic flights, to aviation medicine in the 21st century and to aerospace biomedical engineering.
Conclusion: The history of Brazilian, and why not say worldwide, space science should unquestionably go through PUCRS. As time passes, the pioneering spirit of our University in the aerospace area has become undeniable. This is due to the group of professionals, students, technicians and staff in general that have once worked or are still working in the Center of Microgravity, a group of faculty and students that excel in their undeniable technical-scientific qualifications.
PMCID: PMC2577397  PMID: 19048090
Microgravity; space life sciences; research center; space biomedicine
23.  British Contributions to Medical Libraries Overseas 
Since the Second World War, Britain has established or rehabilitated medical schools in eight territories for which she has some responsibility, and, through the British Council, she is making medical library services available in many other countries. Official organizations and professional bodies provide abstract and review journals which enable medical men overseas to keep abreast of modern knowledge, while the Library Association Medical Section and the British National Book Centre have established flourishing exchange services, whose facilities are offered to medical libraries abroad. The most pressing need in developing countries at the present time is for professional medical librarians. Opportunities for training in Britain are open to librarians through at least six official sources besides the British Council and World Health Organization, but so far only two trainees have presented themselves on such grants. Less experienced librarians in the developing countries also need the continuing support of their senior colleagues overseas.
PMCID: PMC198226  PMID: 14223737
24.  Pre-use anesthesia machine check; certified anesthesia technician based quality improvement audit 
Quality assurance of providing a work ready machine in multiple theatre operating rooms in a tertiary modern medical center in Riyadh.
The aim of the following study is to keep high quality environment for workers and patients in surgical operating rooms.
Settings and Design:
Technicians based audit by using key performance indicators to assure inspection, passing test of machine worthiness for use daily and in between cases and in case of unexpected failure to provide quick replacement by ready to use another anesthetic machine.
Materials and Methods:
The anesthetic machines in all operating rooms are daily and continuously inspected and passed as ready by technicians and verified by anesthesiologist consultant or assistant consultant. The daily records of each machines were collected then inspected for data analysis by quality improvement committee department for descriptive analysis and report the degree of staff compliance to daily inspection as “met” items. Replaced machine during use and overall compliance.
Statistical Analysis Used:
Distractive statistic using Microsoft Excel 2003 tables and graphs of sums and percentages of item studied in this audit.
Audit obtained highest compliance percentage and low rate of replacement of machine which indicate unexpected machine state of use and quick machine switch.
The authors are able to conclude that following regular inspection and running self-check recommended by the manufacturers can contribute to abort any possibility of hazard of anesthesia machine failure during operation. Furthermore in case of unexpected reason to replace the anesthesia machine in quick maneuver contributes to high assured operative utilization of man machine inter-phase in modern surgical operating rooms.
PMCID: PMC4258968  PMID: 25886335
Anaesthesia machine; audit; certified technician; indicator; key performance; quality improvement
25.  Glutaraldehyde exposure and its occupational impact in the health care environment 
Despite the search for effective and less toxic substitutes, glutaraldehyde (GA) remains one of the few substances capable of high-level instrument disinfection in modern health care. Workers commonly affected include operating room nurses, radiographers, x-ray technicians and cleaners. Widespread hospital usage combined with its well-known irritant properties, has ensured an increase in occupationally-related illnesses during recent years. Operating room nurses, laboratory workers and x-ray technicians frequently contact GA in both the liquid and vapor form. Workplace exposure is usually dependent on job tasks, ventilation levels and the use of protective equipment. GA is a relatively potent irritant and sensitizer, with a well-documented history of symptoms following occupational exposure. Although mechanisms for GA toxicity have been postulated, research on the toxicological, teratogenic, and carcinogenic potential of this chemical has shown inconsistent results. Reducing workplace exposure to its lowest possible level represents the most important hazard reduction strategy. This may be achieved by keeping GA containers tightly sealed when not in use, maintaining adequate ventilation levels and the rigid adherence to appropriate personal protective equipment. Substitution with automated cold sterilization machines may be another appropriate measure, while banning unnecessary practices such as GA fogging and its use as a surface disinfectant may also be helpful in reducing occupational exposure in the health care environment.
PMCID: PMC2723614  PMID: 21432369
glutaraldehyde; occupational exposure; health care environment; toxicology; disinfection

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