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1.  Determinants of diabetes knowledge in a cohort of Nigerian diabetics 
One of the consequences of the generational paradigm shift of lifestyle from the traditional African model to a more "western" standard is a replacement of communicable diseases by non-communicable or life style related diseases like diabetes. To address this trend, diabetes education along with continuous assessment of diabetes related knowledge has been advocated. Since most of the Nigerian studies assessing knowledge of diabetes were hospital-based, we decided to evaluate the diabetes related knowledge and its sociodemographic determinants in a general population of diabetics.
Diabetics (n = 184) attending the 2012 world diabetes day celebration in a Nigerian community were surveyed using a two part questionnaire. Section A elicited information on their demographics characteristics and participation in update courses, and exercise, while section B assessed knowledge of diabetes using the 14 item Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Centre's Brief Diabetes Knowledge Test.
We found that Nigerian diabetics had poor knowledge of diabetes, with pervasive fallacies. Majority did not have knowledge of "diabetes diet", "fatty food", "free food", effect of unsweetened fruit juice on blood glucose, treatment of hypoglycaemia, and the average duration glycosylated haemoglobin (haemoglobin A1) test measures blood glucose. Attaining tertiary education, falling under the 51-60 years age group, frequent attendance at seminars/updates and satisfaction with education received, being employed by or formerly working for the government, and claiming an intermediate, or wealthy income status was associated with better knowledge of diabetes.
Nigerian diabetics' knowledge of diabetes was poor and related to age, level of education, satisfaction with education received, employment status and household wealth.
PMCID: PMC3984720  PMID: 24593904
Determinants; Knowledge; Sociodemographic; Diabetes; Nigeria
2.  Knowledge of insulin use and its determinants among Nigerian insulin requiring diabetes patients 
Intensive insulin therapy is essential in the maintenance of strict glycemic control among insulin requiring patients with diabetes. However this presents a challenge in the face of the complexities associated with insulin use and also taking into consideration the potential dangers associated with inappropriate use. Insufficient knowledge of insulin use can result in preventable complications, adverse patient outcome, poor adherence to therapy and invariably poor glycemic control.
Insulin requiring diabetes patients (n = 54) attending the 2012 world diabetes day celebration in a Nigerian community were surveyed using a two part questionnaire. Section A elicited information on their demographics characteristics and participation in update courses, and exercise, while section B assessed knowledge of insulin use using the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Centre's Brief Diabetes Knowledge Test. All participants who had a good grasp of English language or who could understand the contents of the questionnaire when it was explained to them, and were willing to participate in the study were assessed. Descriptive statistics of percentages was computed for the sociodemographic variables, previous education, satisfaction with education, involvement in regular exercise, knowledge of benefit of exercise and correct response to each question in section B. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and independent t-test was used to determine the influence of sociodemographic variables on insulin use knowledge.
Knowledge of insulin use is poor among insulin requiring patients with diabetes, with majority not conversant with such terms as ketoacidosis, insulin reaction and low blood sugar. Furthermore, they did not know how to modify their insulin dosage in relation to diet, exercise and infections (e.g. flu). Better knowledge of insulin use was associated with age, employment status, level of education attained, how frequent one reads/attends update courses and satisfaction with education received.
Poor knowledge of the causes and prevention of the ketoacidosis, insulin reaction and hypoglycemia increases their risk of developing them, which will invariably lead to poor adherence to insulin therapy. Therefore this study suggests a methodical, continuous and up-to-date tutelage if proper self management in terms of good glycemic control is to be achieved.
PMCID: PMC3933982  PMID: 24397956
Insulin use knowledge; Determinants of insulin use knowledge; Insulin-requiring diabetes patients; Nigerian
3.  Using Twitter for breast cancer prevention: an analysis of breast cancer awareness month 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:508.
One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. The best-known awareness event is breast cancer awareness month (BCAM). BCAM month outreach efforts have been associated with increased media coverage, screening mammography and online information searching. Traditional mass media coverage has been enhanced by social media. However, there is a dearth of literature about how social media is used during awareness-related events. The purpose of this research was to understand how Twitter is being used during BCAM.
This was a cross-sectional, descriptive study. We collected breast cancer- related tweets from 26 September - 12 November 2012, using Twitter’s application programming interface. We classified Twitter users into organizations, individuals, and celebrities; each tweet was classified as an original or a retweet, and inclusion of a mention, meaning a reference to another Twitter user with @username. Statistical methods included ANOVA and chi square. For content analysis, we used computational linguistics techniques, specifically the MALLET implementation of the unsupervised topic modeling algorithm Latent Dirichlet Allocation.
There were 1,351,823 tweets by 797,827 unique users. Tweets spiked dramatically the first few days then tapered off. There was an average of 1.69 tweets per user. The majority of users were individuals. Nearly all of the tweets were original. Organizations and celebrities posted more often than individuals. On average celebrities made far more impressions; they were also retweeted more often and their tweets were more likely to include mentions. Individuals were more likely to direct a tweet to a specific person. Organizations and celebrities emphasized fundraisers, early detection, and diagnoses while individuals tweeted about wearing pink.
Tweeting about breast cancer was a singular event. The majority of tweets did not promote any specific preventive behavior. Twitter is being used mostly as a one-way communication tool. To expand the reach of the message and maximize the potential for word-of-mouth marketing using Twitter, organizations need a strategic communications plan to ensure on-going social media conversations. Organizations may consider collaborating with individuals and celebrities in these conversations. Social media communication strategies that emphasize fundraising for breast cancer research seem particularly appropriate.
PMCID: PMC4231612  PMID: 24168075
Social media; Breast cancer; Campaign; Twitter; Awareness
4.  21st Birthday Drinking and Associated Physical Consequences and Behavioral Risks 
Twenty-first birthday celebrations often involve dangerously high levels of alcohol consumption, yet little is known about risk factors for excessive drinking on this occasion. Participants (N = 150) from a larger prospective study who consumed at least one drink during their celebration completed questionnaires and semi-structured interviews about their 21st birthday within four days after the event. Assessments were designed to characterize 21st birthday alcohol use, adjusted for alcohol content, as well as situational/contextual factors (e.g., celebration location, peer influence) that contribute to event-level drinking. Participants reported an average of 10.85 drinks (9.76 adjusted drinks), with experienced drinkers consuming significantly more than relatively naïve drinkers who had no previous binge or drunken episodes. Men consumed more drinks, whereas age of first drunken episode and heavier drinking during the 3-months preceding the 21st birthday predicted higher estimated blood alcohol concentrations (eBACs) on the 21st birthday. Celebrating in bars and engaging in birthday-specific drinking traditions (free drinks at bars) explained additional variance in 21st birthday eBACs. Both physical consequences (e.g., blacking out or having a hangover) and behavioral risks (e.g., sexually provocative behaviors) were prevalent and were predicted by higher eBACs. Together these findings indicate that 21st birthday celebrations are associated with heavy drinking and a variety of physical consequences and behavioral risks.
PMCID: PMC3232305  PMID: 21895347
21st birthday; alcohol; alcohol-related problems; behavioral risk; physical consequences
5.  Donor Funding for Newborn Survival: An Analysis of Donor-Reported Data, 2002–2010 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(10):e1001332.
With recent increases in development assistance money for maternal and child health, Catherine Pitt and colleagues examine whether foreign aid specifically for newborns has changed, whether it's on par with the burden of newborn deaths worldwide, and how such funding can be tracked.
Neonatal mortality accounts for 43% of global under-five deaths and is decreasing more slowly than maternal or child mortality. Donor funding has increased for maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH), but no analysis to date has disaggregated aid for newborns. We evaluated if and how aid flows for newborn care can be tracked, examined changes in the last decade, and considered methodological implications for tracking funding for specific population groups or diseases.
Methods and Findings
We critically reviewed and categorised previous analyses of aid to specific populations, diseases, or types of activities. We then developed and refined key terms related to newborn survival in seven languages and searched titles and descriptions of donor disbursement records in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Creditor Reporting System database, 2002–2010. We compared results with the Countdown to 2015 database of aid for MNCH (2003–2008) and the search strategy used by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Prior to 2005, key terms related to newborns were rare in disbursement records but their frequency increased markedly thereafter. Only two mentions were found of “stillbirth” and only nine references were found to “fetus” in any spelling variant or language. The total value of non-research disbursements mentioning any newborn search terms rose from US$38.4 million in 2002 to US$717.1 million in 2010 (constant 2010 US$). The value of non-research projects exclusively benefitting newborns fluctuated somewhat but remained low, at US$5.7 million in 2010. The United States and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provided the largest value of non-research funding mentioning and exclusively benefitting newborns, respectively.
Donor attention to newborn survival has increased since 2002, but it appears unlikely that donor aid is commensurate with the 3.0 million newborn deaths and 2.7 million stillbirths each year. We recommend that those tracking funding for other specific population groups, diseases, or activities consider a key term search approach in the Creditor Reporting System along with a detailed review of their data, but that they develop their search terms and interpretations carefully, taking into account the limitations described.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In 1990, 12 million children—most of them living in developing countries—died before they reached their fifth birthday. Faced with this largely avoidable loss of young lives, in 2000, world leaders set a target of reducing under-five mortality (deaths) to one-third of its 1990 level by 2015 as Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4); this goal, together with seven others, aims to eradicate extreme poverty globally. In recent years, progress towards reducing child mortality has accelerated but remains insufficient to achieve MDG4, in part, because progress towards reducing neonatal mortality—deaths during the first 28 days of life—has been particularly slow. Neonatal deaths now account for a greater proportion of global child deaths than in 1990—43% of the 7 million children who died before their fifth birthday in 2011 died during the neonatal period. The major causes of neonatal deaths are complications of preterm and term delivery and infections. Simple interventions such as improved hygiene at birth and advice on breastfeeding can substantially reduce neonatal deaths.
Why Was This Study Done?
To achieve MDG4, more must be done to prevent deaths among newborn babies. One reason that progress in reducing neonatal mortality is slow could be insufficient donor funding (aid) for newborn health. Previous analyses by, for example, Countdown to 2015 (which tracks coverage levels for health interventions that reduce maternal, newborn, and child mortality) indicate that donor funding has increased for maternal, newborn, and child health over the past decade, but how much of this aid directly benefits newborns is unknown. Here, the researchers develop a method for tracking aid flows for newborns and examine changes in this flow over the past decade by applying their new strategy to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Creditor Reporting System (CRS) Aid Activity database. This database collects information about official development assistance for health given (disbursed) to developing countries by member countries of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, international organizations, and some private donors.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a comprehensive set of search terms related to newborn survival by piloting it on the Countdown to 2015 official development assistance database, which covers the years 2003–2008. They then used their list of 24 key terms to search the CRS database from 2002 (the first year for which relatively complete disbursement data are available) to 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available) and classified each retrieved project according to whether its funding activities aimed to benefit newborns exclusively or to improve the health of other population groups as well. The researchers found that key terms related to newborns were rare in disbursement records before 2005 but that their frequency increased markedly thereafter. The total value of non-research disbursements (aid provided for programmatic or advocacy activities) that mentioned any newborn search terms increased from US$38.4 million in 2002 to US$717.1 million in 2010. The value of non-research projects that exclusively benefitted newborns fluctuated; in 2010, it was $US5.7 million. Finally, the US and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provided the largest value of non-research funding mentioning newborns and exclusively benefitting newborns, respectively.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the value of aid disbursements mentioning newborns or an activity likely to benefit newborns increased 20-fold between 2002 and 2010 and constituted an increasing proportion of aid for maternal, newborn, and child health. Although this increase may partly reflect increased detail in aid disbursement reporting, it is also likely to reflect an increase in donor attention to newborn survival. The accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by limitations in the search strategy and in the CRS database, which does not capture aid flows from emerging donors such as China or from many private foundations. Moreover, because these findings take no account of domestic expenditure, they do not provide a comprehensive estimate of the value of resources available in developing countries for newborn health. Nevertheless, investment in newborn survival is unlikely to be commensurate with global newborn mortality. Thus, an expansion of programmatic funding from donors as well as increased governmental support for newborn health in developing countries is urgently needed to catalyze the scale-up of cost-effective interventions to save newborn lives and to meet MDG4.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) works for children's rights, survival, development, and protection around the world; it provides information on Millennium Development Goal 4 and its Childinfo website provides detailed statistics about child survival and health, including the 2012 report of UN Inter-agency Group of Child Mortality Estimation; its Committing to Child Survival: a Promise Renewed webpage includes links to its 2012 progress report, to a video about progress made in reducing child deaths worldwide, and to stories about child survival in the field
The World Health Organization has information about Millennium Development Goal 4 and about maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (some information in several languages)
Countdown to 2015 provides additional information on maternal, newborn, and child survival, including its 2012 report Building a Future for Women and Children
The Healthy Newborn Network (HNN) is a community of more than 70 partner organizations addressing critical knowledge gaps for newborn health providing recent data on newborn survival and analyses of country programs
Information on and access to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development Creditor Reporting System Aid Activities database is available
Further information about the Millennium Development Goals is available
PMCID: PMC3484125  PMID: 23118619
6.  Nighttime assaults: using a national emergency department monitoring system to predict occurrence, target prevention and plan services 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:746.
Emergency department (ED) data have the potential to provide critical intelligence on when violence is most likely to occur and the characteristics of those who suffer the greatest health impacts. We use a national experimental ED monitoring system to examine how it could target violence prevention interventions towards at risk communities and optimise acute responses to calendar, holiday and other celebration-related changes in nighttime assaults.
A cross-sectional examination of nighttime assault presentations (6.01 pm to 6.00 am; n = 330,172) over a three-year period (31st March 2008 to 30th March 2011) to English EDs analysing changes by weekday, month, holidays, major sporting events, and demographics of those presenting.
Males are at greater risk of assault presentation (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 3.14, 95% confidence intervals [CIs] 3.11-3.16; P < 0.001); with male:female ratios increasing on more violent nights. Risks peak at age 18 years. Deprived individuals have greater risks of presenting across all ages (AOR 3.87, 95% CIs 3.82-3.92; P < 0.001). Proportions of assaults from deprived communities increase midweek. Female presentations in affluent areas peak aged 20 years. By age 13, females from deprived communities exceed this peak. Presentations peak on Friday and Saturday nights and the eves of public holidays; the largest peak is on New Year’s Eve. Assaults increase over summer with a nadir in January. Impacts of annual celebrations without holidays vary. Some (Halloween, Guy Fawkes and St Patrick’s nights) see increased assaults while others (St George’s and Valentine’s Day nights) do not. Home nation World Cup football matches are associated with nearly a three times increase in midweek assault presentation. Other football and rugby events examined show no impact. The 2008 Olympics saw assaults fall. The overall calendar model strongly predicts observed presentations (R2 = 0.918; P < 0.001).
To date, the role of ED data has focused on helping target nightlife police activity. Its utility is much greater; capable of targeting and evaluating multi-agency life course approaches to violence prevention and optimising frontline resources. National ED data are critical for fully engaging health services in the prevention of violence.
PMCID: PMC3490838  PMID: 22950487
Violence; Assaults; Emergency department; Nighttime; Deprivation; Monitoring
7.  Facial Firework Injury: A Case Series 
Fireworks are used to celebrate a variety of religious, patriotic, and cultural holidays and events around the world. Fireworks are common in the United States, with the most popular holiday for their use being national Independence Day, also known as July Fourth. The use of fireworks within the context of celebrations and holidays presents the ideal environment for accidents that lead to severe and dangerous injuries. Injuries to the face from explosions present a challenging problem in terms of restoring ideal ocular, oral, and facial function. Despite the well documented prevalence of firework use and injury, there is a relatively large deficit in the literature in terms of firework injury that involves the face. We present a unique case series that includes 4 adult male patients all with severe firework injuries to the face that presented at an urban level 1 trauma center. These four patients had an average age of 26.7 years old and presented within 5 hours of each other starting on July Fourth. Two patients died from their injuries and two patients underwent reconstructive surgical management, one of which had two follow up surgeries. We explore in detail their presentation, management, and subsequent outcomes as an attempt to add to the very limited data in the field of facial firework blast injury. In addition, the coincidence of their presentation within the same 5 hours brings into question the availability of the fireworks involved, and the possibility of similar injuries related to this type of firework in the future.
PMCID: PMC4100840  PMID: 25035740
8.  Prevalance of ABO and Rhesus Blood Groups in Blood Donors: A Study from a Tertiary Care Teaching Hospital of Kumaon Region of Uttarakhand 
Backround: ABO and Rhesus (Rh) blood group antigens are hereditary characters and are useful in population genetic studies, in resolving medico-legal issues and more importantly for the immunologic safety of blood during transfusion.
Aims: This study is aimed to determine the distribution pattern of the ABO and Rh blood groups among blood donors in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand and compare it with other data from similar studies within the India and all over the world.
Design: It is a retrospective study carried out at blood bank of Shushila Tewari Hospital of Government Medical College, Haldwani from January 2012 to December 2013.
Materials and Methods: The study was conducted on 12,701 blood donors. ABO and Rh typing was done using slide agglutination method with antisera ABO and Rh (Tulip diagnostics ltd). Doubtful cases were confirmed by tube agglutination method and reverse grouping using known pooled A and B cells. The age group and sex of donors, frequency of ABO and Rh blood groups were reported in simple percentages.
Results: The predominant donors belonged to age group between 18-35years (84.28%). Male donors were more than female donors, ratio being 352:1. Replacement donors (99.71%) were much more than voluntary donors (0.91%). The most common blood group was B (32.07%) and least common being AB (10.53%). Blood group ‘O’ and ‘A’ had same frequency. The prevalence of Rhesus positive and negative distribution in the studied population was 94.49% and 5.51% respectively. Blood group frequency with respect to ABO and Rhesus positive was found to be shown by formula B> O>A >AB. The frequency for ABO and Rhesus negative was given by the formula B>A>O>AB.
Conclusion: Knowledge of frequencies of the different blood groups is very important for blood banks and transfusion service policies that could contribute significantly to the National Health System.
PMCID: PMC4316263  PMID: 25653957
ABO; Blood groups; Blood donors; Kumaon; Rhesus
9.  The Lombardy Rare Donor Programme 
Blood Transfusion  2014;12(Suppl 1):s249-s255.
In 2005, the government of Lombardy, an Italian region with an ethnically varied population of approximately 9.8 million inhabitants including 250,000 blood donors, founded the Lombardy Rare Donor Programme, a regional network of 15 blood transfusion departments coordinated by the Immunohaematology Reference Laboratory of the Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico in Milan. During 2005 to 2012, Lombardy funded LORD-P with 14.1 million euros.
Materials and methods
During 2005–2012 the Lombardy Rare Donor Programme members developed a registry of blood donors and a bank of red blood cell units with either rare blood group phenotypes or IgA deficiency. To do this, the Immunohaematology Reference Laboratory performed extensive serological and molecular red blood cell typing in 59,738 group O or A, Rh CCDee, ccdee, ccDEE, ccDee, K− or k− donors aged 18–55 with a record of two or more blood donations, including both Caucasians and ethnic minorities. In parallel, the Immunohaematology Reference Laboratory implemented a 24/7 service of consultation, testing and distribution of rare units for anticipated or emergent transfusion needs in patients developing complex red blood cell alloimmunisation and lacking local compatible red blood cell or showing IgA deficiency.
Red blood cell typing identified 8,747, 538 and 33 donors rare for a combination of common antigens, negative for high-frequency antigens and with a rare Rh phenotype, respectively. In June 2012, the Lombardy Rare Donor Programme frozen inventory included 1,157 red blood cell units. From March 2010 to June 2012 one IgA-deficient donor was detected among 1,941 screened donors and IgA deficiency was confirmed in four previously identified donors. From 2005 to June 2012, the Immunohaematology Reference Laboratory provided 281 complex red blood cell alloimmunisation consultations and distributed 8,008 Lombardy Rare Donor Programme red blood cell units within and outside the region, which were transfused to 2,365 patients with no untoward effects.
Lombardy Rare Donor Programme, which recently joined the ISBT Working Party on Rare Donors, contributed to increase blood transfusion safety and efficacy inside and outside Lombardy.
PMCID: PMC3934293  PMID: 23522888
red blood cell groups; rare blood donor; molecular biology; DNA array
10.  Proposed legislative change mandating retrospective release of identifying information: consultation with donors and Government response 
How do gamete donors who presumed they could remain anonymous respond to proposed legislation to retrospectively remove anonymity?
A little more than half of the donors opposed the recommendation to introduce legislation to remove donor anonymity with retrospective effect.
An increasing proportion of parents disclose their origins to their donor-conceived children and growing numbers of donor-conceived adults are aware of how they were conceived. Research indicates that access to information about the donor is important to donor-conceived people. However, worldwide most donor-conceived people are unable to find any identifying information about the donor because of the practice of anonymous gamete donation.
This study adopted a qualitative research model using semi-structured interviews with gamete donors that included open questions. Interviews with 42 volunteers were conducted between December 2012 and February 2013.
Before 1998 gamete donors in Victoria, Australia, were able to remain anonymous. Pre-1998 donors were invited through an advertising campaign to be interviewed about their views on a recommendation that legislation mandating retrospective release of identifying information be introduced.
Donors were almost evenly split between those who supported and those who rejected the recommendation to introduce legislation to remove donor anonymity with retrospective effect. About half of the donors who rejected the recommendation suggested the compromise of persuading donors voluntarily to release information (whether identifying or non-identifying) to donor-conceived people. These donors were themselves willing to supply information to their donor offspring. The findings of this study informed the Victorian Government's response to the proposed legislative change. While acknowledging donor-conceived people's right of access to information about their donors, the Government decided that identifying information should be released only with the consent of donors and that donors should be encouraged to allow themselves to be identifiable to their donor offspring.
There is no way of knowing whether participants were representative of all pre-1998 donors.
The balancing of donors' and donor-conceived people's rights requires utmost sensitivity. All over the world, increasing numbers of donor-conceived people are reaching adulthood; of those who are aware of their mode of conception, some are likely to have a strong wish to know the identity of their donors. Legislators and policy-makers in jurisdictions permitting anonymous gamete donations will need to respond when these desires are expressed, and may choose to be guided by the model of consultation described in this paper.
The study was funded by the Victorian Department of Health. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
Not applicable.
PMCID: PMC3896224  PMID: 24319103
donor conception; anonymity; disclosure; legislation; intermediary services
11.  Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Celebrating the Centennial Through the Lens of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Surgical Pathology Records 
Thyroid  2013;23(2):142-150.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is now considered the most prevalent autoimmune disease, as well as the most common endocrine disorder. It was initially described in 1912, but only rarely reported until the early 1950s. To celebrate this centennial, we reviewed the surgical pathology archives of the Johns Hopkins hospital for cases of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, spanning the period from May 1889 to October 2012. Approximately 15,000 thyroidectomies were performed at this hospital over 124 years. The first surgical case was reported in 1942, 30 years after the original description. Then, 867 cases of Hashimoto's thyroiditis were seen from 1942 to 2012, representing 6% of all thyroidectomies. Hashimoto's thyroiditis was the sole pathological finding in 462 cases; it accompanied other thyroid pathologies in the remaining 405 cases. The most commonly associated pathology was papillary thyroid cancer, an association that increased significantly during the last two decades. The most common indication for thyroidectomy was a thyroid nodule that was cytologically suspicious for malignancy. Hashimoto's thyroiditis remains a widespread, intriguing, and multifaceted disease of unknown etiology one century after its description. Advances in the understanding of its pathogenesis and preoperative diagnosis will improve recognition and treatment of this disorder, and may one day lead to its prevention.
PMCID: PMC3569966  PMID: 23151083
12.  The Forgotten Forefather: Joseph James Kinyoun and the Founding of the National Institutes of Health 
mBio  2012;3(4):e00139-12.
In celebrating the 125th anniversary of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in August 2012, NIH has been examining its origins, its history, and the visionary men and women whose research have contributed to the saving and/or improving the quality of life of millions of people throughout the world. This minireview examines Joseph James Kinyoun (1860 to 1919), the 1887 founder of a federal Hygienic Laboratory that is considered the direct ancestor of the modern NIH, and explores the development of NIH as it was shaped by, and in turn shaped, the new field of microbiology.
PMCID: PMC3388889  PMID: 22736540
13.  The role of technological progress vs. accidental discoveries and clinical experience in the evolution of dialysis 
The 50th anniversary of dialysotherapy celebrated by nephrologists around the world in 2012 provided an opportunity for discussion on the role of clinical experience in relation to technological progress in the evolution of dialysis, especially of recently observed inadequate decrease in mortality/morbidity rates of patients on chronic dialysis. My report, based on almost 50 years of career in nephrology, refers the evolution of dialysis, from catharsis to modern dialysotherapy with special attention devoted to nowadays gravely underestimated role of clinical experience and personalized professional care for patients.
PMCID: PMC3843571  PMID: 24226207
catharsis; dialysis; pioneers of dialysotherapy; technological advancement; accidental discoveries; clinical experience
14.  The Impact of Ramadan Observance upon Athletic Performance 
Nutrients  2012;4(6):491-505.
Ramadan observance requires a total abstention from food and drink from sunrise to sunset for a period of one month. Such intermittent fasting has only minor effects upon the overall nutrition and physiological responses of the general sedentary population. Larger meals are consumed at night and in the early morning. Body mass usually remains unchanged, the total energy intake remains roughly constant, and there is little alteration in the relative consumption of protein, fats and carbohydrates. However, Ramadan observance may be of greater consequence for the training and performance of the competitive athlete, particularly when the festival is celebrated in the hotter part of the year and daylight hours are long, as is the case for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England. The normal sleeping time then tends to be shortened, and blood sugar and tissue hydration decrease progressively throughout the hours of daylight. Some limitation of anaerobic effort, endurance performance and muscle strength might be anticipated from the decrease in muscle glycogen and body fluid reserves, and a reduced blood glucose may cause a depressed mood state, an increased perception of effort, and poorer team work. This review considers empirical data on the extent of such changes, and their likely effect upon anaerobic, aerobic and muscular performance, suggesting potential nutritional and behavioral tactics for minimizing such effects in the Muslim competitor.
PMCID: PMC3397348  PMID: 22822448
anaerobic capacity; anaerobic power; aerobic power; fatigue; muscular strength; perceived exertion; vigilance
15.  Evaluation of the Lung Cancer Risks at Which to Screen Ever- and Never-Smokers: Screening Rules Applied to the PLCO and NLST Cohorts 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(12):e1001764.
Martin Tammemägi and colleagues evaluate which risk groups of individuals, including nonsmokers and high-risk individuals from 65 to 80 years of age, should be screened for lung cancer using computed tomography.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Lung cancer risks at which individuals should be screened with computed tomography (CT) for lung cancer are undecided. This study's objectives are to identify a risk threshold for selecting individuals for screening, to compare its efficiency with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) criteria for identifying screenees, and to determine whether never-smokers should be screened. Lung cancer risks are compared between smokers aged 55–64 and ≥65–80 y.
Methods and Findings
Applying the PLCOm2012 model, a model based on 6-y lung cancer incidence, we identified the risk threshold above which National Lung Screening Trial (NLST, n = 53,452) CT arm lung cancer mortality rates were consistently lower than rates in the chest X-ray (CXR) arm. We evaluated the USPSTF and PLCOm2012 risk criteria in intervention arm (CXR) smokers (n = 37,327) of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO). The numbers of smokers selected for screening, and the sensitivities, specificities, and positive predictive values (PPVs) for identifying lung cancers were assessed. A modified model (PLCOall2014) evaluated risks in never-smokers. At PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151, the 65th percentile of risk, the NLST CT arm mortality rates are consistently below the CXR arm's rates. The number needed to screen to prevent one lung cancer death in the 65th to 100th percentile risk group is 255 (95% CI 143 to 1,184), and in the 30th to <65th percentile risk group is 963 (95% CI 291 to −754); the number needed to screen could not be estimated in the <30th percentile risk group because of absence of lung cancer deaths. When applied to PLCO intervention arm smokers, compared to the USPSTF criteria, the PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 threshold selected 8.8% fewer individuals for screening (p<0.001) but identified 12.4% more lung cancers (sensitivity 80.1% [95% CI 76.8%–83.0%] versus 71.2% [95% CI 67.6%–74.6%], p<0.001), had fewer false-positives (specificity 66.2% [95% CI 65.7%–66.7%] versus 62.7% [95% CI 62.2%–63.1%], p<0.001), and had higher PPV (4.2% [95% CI 3.9%–4.6%] versus 3.4% [95% CI 3.1%–3.7%], p<0.001). In total, 26% of individuals selected for screening based on USPSTF criteria had risks below the threshold PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151. Of PLCO former smokers with quit time >15 y, 8.5% had PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151. None of 65,711 PLCO never-smokers had PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151. Risks and lung cancers were significantly greater in PLCO smokers aged ≥65–80 y than in those aged 55–64 y. This study omitted cost-effectiveness analysis.
The USPSTF criteria for CT screening include some low-risk individuals and exclude some high-risk individuals. Use of the PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 criterion can improve screening efficiency. Currently, never-smokers should not be screened. Smokers aged ≥65–80 y are a high-risk group who may benefit from screening.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Lung cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in the world and the most common cause of cancer-related deaths. Like all cancers, lung cancer occurs when cells acquire genetic changes that allow them to grow uncontrollably and to move around the body (metastasize). The most common trigger for these genetic changes in lung cancer is exposure to cigarette smoke. Symptoms of lung cancer include a persistent cough and breathlessness. If lung cancer is diagnosed when it is confined to the lung (stage I), the tumor can often be removed surgically. Stage II tumors, which have spread into nearby lymph nodes, are usually treated with surgery plus chemotherapy or radiotherapy. For more advanced lung cancers that have spread throughout the chest (stage III) or the body (stage IV), surgery is rarely helpful and these tumors are treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy alone. Overall, because most lung cancers are not detected until they are advanced, less than 17% of people diagnosed with lung cancer survive for five years.
Why Was This Study Done?
Screening for lung cancer—looking for early disease in healthy people—could save lives. In the US National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), annual screening with computed tomography (CT) reduced lung cancer mortality by 20% among smokers at high risk of developing cancer compared with screening with a chest X-ray. But what criteria should be used to decide who is screened for lung cancer? The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), for example, recommends annual CT screening of people who are 55–80 years old, have smoked 30 or more pack-years (one pack-year is defined as a pack of cigarettes per day for one year), and—if they are former smokers—quit smoking less than 15 years ago. However, some experts think lung cancer risk prediction models—statistical models that estimate risk based on numerous personal characteristics—should be used to select people for screening. Here, the researchers evaluate PLCOm2012, a lung cancer risk prediction model based on the incidence of lung cancer among smokers enrolled in the US Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO). Specifically, the researchers use NLST and PLCO screening trial data to identify a PLCOm2012 risk threshold for selecting people for screening and to compare the efficiency of the PLCOm2012 model and the USPSTF criteria for identifying “screenees.”
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
By analyzing NLST data, the researchers calculated that at PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151, mortality (death) rates among NLST participants screened with CT were consistently below mortality rates among NLST participants screened with chest X-ray and that 255 people with a PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 would need to be screened to prevent one lung cancer death. Next, they used data collected from smokers in the screened arm of the PLCO trial to compare the efficiency of the PLCOm2012 and USPSTF criteria for identifying screenees. They found that 8.8% fewer people had a PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 than met USPSTF criteria for screening, but 12.4% more lung cancers were identified. Thus, using PLCOm2012 improved the sensitivity and specificity of the selection of individuals for lung cancer screening over using UPSTF criteria. Notably, 8.5% of PLCO former smokers with quit times of more than 15 years had PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151, none of the PLCO never-smokers had PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151, and the calculated risks and incidence of lung cancer were greater among PLCO smokers aged ≥65–80 years than among those aged 55–64 years.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Despite the absence of a cost-effectiveness analysis in this study, these findings suggest that the use of the PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 threshold rather than USPSTF criteria for selecting individuals for lung cancer screening could improve screening efficiency. The findings have several other important implications. First, these findings suggest that screening may be justified in people who stopped smoking more than 15 years ago; USPSTF currently recommends that screening stop once an individual's quit time exceeds 15 years. Second, these findings do not support lung cancer screening among never-smokers. Finally, these findings suggest that smokers aged ≥65–80 years might benefit from screening, although the presence of additional illnesses and reduced life expectancy need to be considered before recommending the provision of routine lung cancer screening to this section of the population.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about all aspects of lung cancer for patients and health-care professionals, including information on lung cancer screening (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK also provides detailed information about lung cancer and about lung cancer screening
The UK National Health Service Choices website has a page on lung cancer that includes personal stories
MedlinePlus provides links to other sources of information about lung cancer (in English and Spanish)
Information about the USPSTF recommendations for lung cancer screening is available
PMCID: PMC4251899  PMID: 25460915
16.  Vacation Appendicitis 
This study suggests that developing appendicitis while on vacation to Walt Disney World, Florida is associated with a higher incidence of perforated appendicitis.
When someone plans a vacation, one of the last things taken into consideration is the possibility of contracting an illness while away. Unfortunately, if people develop abdominal pain while planning for a vacation, they usually proceed with the vacation and do not consider getting medical attention for their pain. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of being on vacation and its association with ruptured appendicitis.
From January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2008, the incidence of ruptured appendicitis cases at Florida Hospital–Celebration Health, located 5 miles from Walt Disney World, was compared with that of Florida Hospital–Orlando, approximately 30 miles away from Walt Disney World. We evaluated whether patients “on vacation” versus residents of Orlando have an increased incidence of ruptured appendicitis.
Of patients treated for presumed appendicitis, 60.59% at Florida Hospital–Celebration Health had ruptured appendicitis during this time versus 20.42% at Florida Hospital–Orlando. Of those 266 patients seen at Florida Hospital–Celebration Health, 155 were on vacation versus only 21 at Florida Hospital–Orlando.
Although there is not a direct cause and effect, it is clear that there is a higher incidence of ruptured appendicitis in patients on vacation versus in the regular community in the Orlando, Florida area.
PMCID: PMC3662752  PMID: 23743367
Appendicitis; Ruptured appendicitis
17.  Using online adverts to increase the uptake of cervical screening amongst “real Eastenders”: an opportunistic controlled trial 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:117.
Cervical screening uptake has increased as a result of occurrences of cervical cancer in TV ‘soap operas’ and in real life celebrities such as Jade Goody. Media analysis at the time of Jade Goody’s death suggested the NHS did not take sufficient advantage of this opportunity to improve cervical screening rates. Google AdWords has been used to recruit and raise awareness of health but we were not aware of its use to supplement media events.
This was an opportunistic service evaluation to accompany a cervical cancer storyline in Eastenders (a TV ‘soap opera’). We ran an AdWords campaign based on keywords such as ‘Eastenders’, and ‘cervical cancer’ in a one mile radius in East London, linked to one webpage giving details of 10 practices and other links on cervical cancer. We recorded costs of adverts and setting up the webpage. We used routine statistics from Tower Hamlets, City and Hackney, and Newham Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) of the number of smears, eligible populations, and coverage by practice by month from September 2010 to January 2012 to compare the ten intervention practices with controls.
Eight people per day in the target area viewed the project webpage. The cost of setting up the website and running Google AdWords was £1320 or £1.88 per person viewing the webpage. Unlike Jade Goody’s death, there was no major impact from the Eastenders’ storyline on Google searches for cervical cancer. There was considerable monthly variation in the number of smear tests in the 3 PCTs. The AdWords campaign may have had some effect on smear rates but this showed, at best, a marginal statistical difference. Assuming a ‘real’ effect, the intervention may have resulted in 110 ‘extra’ women being screened but there was no change in coverage.
Although the Eastenders storyline seemed to have no effect on interest in cervical cancer or screening, the AdWords campaign may have had some effect. Given the small scale exploratory nature of the study this was not statistically significant but the relatively modest cost of advertising suggests a larger study may be worthwhile. An outline of a possible study is described.
PMCID: PMC3621164  PMID: 23531167
Cervical screening; Online advertising; Media; Television drama
18.  Food Marketing Expenditures Aimed at Youth Putting the Numbers in Context 
In response to concerns about childhood obesity, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released two reports documenting food and beverage marketing expenditures to children and adolescents. The recently released 2012 report found an inflation-adjusted 19.5% reduction in marketing expenditures targeted to youth from $2.1 billion in 2006 to $1.8 billion in 2009. The current article highlights features of the FTC’s analysis, examines how expenditures relate to youth exposure to food marketing, and assesses changes in the nutritional content of marketed products.
Of the $304.0 million decline in expenditures, $117.8 million (38.7%) was from a decline in premium (i.e., restaurant children’s meal toys) expenditures rather than direct marketing. Although inflation-adjusted TV expenditures fell by 19.4%, children and teens still see 12–16 TV advertisements (ads)/day for products generally high in saturated fat, sugar or sodium. In addition, newer digital forms of unhealthy food and beverage marketing to youths are increasing; the FTC reported an inflation-adjusted 50.7% increase in new media marketing expenditures. The self-regulatory Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) is limited in scope and effectiveness: expenditures increased for many noncovered marketing techniques (i.e., product placement, movie/video, cross-promotion licenses, athletic sponsorship, celebrity fees, events, philanthropy, and other); only two restaurants are members of CFBAI, and nonpremium restaurant marketing expenditures were up by $86.0 million (22.5% inflation-adjusted increase); industry pledges do not protect children aged >11 years, and some marketing appears to have shifted to older children; and, nutritional content remains poor. Continued monitoring of and improvements to food marketing to youth are needed.
PMCID: PMC3781010  PMID: 24050422
19.  Relegating malaria resurgences to history 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:123.
Progress in malaria control over the past decade has been striking, with malaria mortality rates falling by approximately one quarter globally and more than a third in the World Health Organization African Region. In the accompanying paper, Cohen et al. demonstrate the potential fragility of these gains, comprehensively describing malaria resurgences that have occurred over the past 80 or so years. They found that the vast majority of resurgences were due, at least in part, to the weakening of malaria control programmes; resource constraints were the most commonly identified factor. Their findings are timely and compelling, demonstrating that global efforts will be wasted if the required resources are not secured to achieve and maintain universal access to life-saving malaria prevention and control tools. The greatest threats to current malaria control efforts are not biological, but financial. The increases in funding for malaria over the past decade, while impressive, still fall far short of the nearly $6 billion dollars required annually. Domestic spending by endemic country governments on malaria specifically, and health more generally, could go a long way towards filling the projected funding gap. However, external funding is also essential, and the global community needs to work together to ensure full funding of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, which has been the single largest source of malaria funding over the past decade. This year, on April 25th, World Malaria Day will be celebrated with the theme Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria. The review by Cohen et al. suggests one possible future if such investment is not made. However, with sufficient support, malaria resurgences can be relegated to history.
PMCID: PMC3464155  PMID: 22531295
Malaria; Resurgence; Financing
20.  Blood Donation by Elderly Repeat Blood Donors 
Upper age limits for blood donors are intended to protect elderly blood donors from donor reactions. However, due to a lack of data about adverse reactions in elderly blood donors, upper age limits are arbitrary and vary considerably between different countries.
Here we present data from 171,231 voluntary repeat whole blood donors beyond the age of 68 years.
Blood donations from repeat blood donors beyond the age of 68 years increased from 2,114 in 2005 to 38,432 in 2012 (from 0,2% to 4.2% of all whole blood donations). Adverse donor reactions in repeat donors decreased with age and were lower than in the whole group (0.26%), even in donors older than 71 years (0.16%). However, from the age of 68 years, the time to complete recovery after donor reactions increased. Donor deferrals were highest in young blood donors (21.4%), but increased again in elderly blood donors beyond 71 years (12.6%).
Blood donation by regular repeat blood donors older than 71 years may be safely continued. However, due to a lack of data for donors older than 75 years, blood donation in these donors should be handled with great caution.
PMCID: PMC4164071  PMID: 25254019
Blood donation; Elderly blood donors; Donor safety; Blood donors; Donor deferral; Adverse donation reactions
21.  Evaluation of splanchnic oximetry, Doppler flow velocimetry in the superior mesenteric artery and feeding tolerance in very low birth weight IUGR and non-IUGR infants receiving bolus versus continuous enteral nutrition 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:106.
IUGR infants are thought to have impaired gut function after birth, which may result in intestinal disturbances, ranging from temporary intolerance to the enteral feeding to full-blown NEC.
In literature there is no consensus regarding the impact of enteral feeding on intestinal blood flow and hence regarding the best regimen and the best rate of delivering the enteral nutrition.
This is a randomized, non-pharmacological, single-center, cross-over study including 20 VLBW infants.
Inclusion criteria
* Weight at birth ranging: 700–1501 grams
* Gestational age up to 25 weeks and 6 days
* Written informed consent from parents or guardians
Exclusion criteria
* Major congenital abnormality
* Patients enrolled in other trials
* Significant multi-organ failure prior to trial entry
* Pre-existing cutaneous disease not allowing the placement of the NIRS’ probe
In the first 24 hours of life, between the 48th and 72nd hours of life, and during Minimal Enteral Feeding, all infants’ intestinal perfusion will be evaluated with NIRS and a Doppler of the superior mesenteric artery will be executed.
At the achievement of an enteral intake of 100 mL/Kg/day the patients (IUGR and NON IUGR separately) will be randomized in 2 groups: Group A (n=10) will receive a feed by bolus (in 10 minutes); then, after at least 3 hours, they will receive the same amount of formula administered in 3 hours. Group B (n=10) will receive a feed administered in 3 hours followed by a bolus administration of the same amount of formula (in 10 minutes) after at least 3 hours.
On the randomization day intestinal and cerebral regional oximetry will be measured via NIRS. Intestinal and celebral oximetry will be measured before the feed and 30 minutes after the feed by bolus during the 3 hours nutrition the measurements will be performed before the feed, 30 minutes from the start of the nutrition and 30 minutes after the end of the gavage. An evaluation of blood flow velocity of the superior mesenteric artery will be performed meanwhile. The infants of the Group A will be fed with continuous nutrition until the achievement of full enteral feeding. The infants of the Group B will be fed by bolus until the achievement of full enteral feeding.
Evaluations of intestinal oximetry and superior mesenteric artery blood flow after the feed may help in differentiating how the feeding regimen alters the splanchnic blood flow and oxygenation and if the changes induced by feeding are different in IUGR versus NON IUGR infants.
Trial registration number
PMCID: PMC3447641  PMID: 22828032
Feeding tolerance; Near infrared spectroscopy; Minimal enteral feeding; Enteral nutrition; Parenteral nutrition; Intra-uterine growth restriction; Near infrared spectroscopy; Mesenteric artery Doppler; Bolus nutrition; Intermittent nutrition
22.  An 8-Week Web-Based Weight Loss Challenge With Celebrity Endorsement and Enhanced Social Support: Observational Study 
Initial engagement and weight loss within Web-based weight loss programs may predict long-term success. The integration of persuasive Web-based features may boost engagement and therefore weight loss.
To determine whether an 8-week challenge within a commercial Web-based weight loss program influenced weight loss, website use, and attrition in the short term, when compared to the standard program.
De-identified data for participants (mean age 36.7±10.3 years; 86% female) who enrolled in the Biggest Loser Club (BLC) (n=952) and the BLC’s Shannan Ponton Fast Track Challenge (SC) for 8 weeks (n=381) were compared. The BLC program used standard evidence-based website features, with individualized calorie and exercise targets to facilitate a weight loss of 0.5-1 kg per week (–500kcal/day less than estimated energy expenditure). SC used the same website features but in addition promoted greater initial weight loss using a 1200 kcal/day energy intake target and physical activity energy expenditure of 600 kcal/day. SC used persuasive features to facilitate greater user engagement, including offering additional opportunities for social support (eg, webinar meetings with a celebrity personal trainer and social networking) endorsed by a celebrity personal trainer. Self-reported weekly weight records were used to determine weight change after 8 weeks. A primary analysis was undertaken using a generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) with all available weight records for all participants included. Dropout (participants who cancelled their subscription) and nonusage (participants who stopped using the Web-based features) attrition rates at 8 weeks were calculated. The number of participants who accessed each website feature and the total number of days each feature was used were calculated. The difference between attrition rates and website use for the two programs were tested using chi-square and Wilcoxon Rank Sum tests, respectively.
Using GLMM, including weight data for all participants, there was significantly greater (P=.03) 8-week weight loss in SC (–5.1 kg [–5.5 to –4.6 kg] or –6.0%) compared to BLC participants (–4.5 kg [–4.8, –4.2] or –5.0%). Dropout rates were low and consistent across groups (BLC: 17 (1.8%) vs SC: 2 (0.5%), P=.08) and 48.7% (456/936) of BLC and 51.2% (184/379) of SC participants accessed the website at 8 weeks, with no difference between programs (P=.48). SC participants accessed the discussion forums, menu plans, exercise plans, and educational materials significantly more than BLC participants (P<.05).
Using a short-term challenge with persuasive features, including online social support with endorsement by a celebrity personal trainer, as well as a greater energy balance deficit, within a commercial Web-based weight loss program may facilitate greater initial weight loss and engagement with some program components. The results support the need for a more rigorous and prospective evaluation of Web-based weight loss programs that incorporate additional strategies to enhance initial weight loss and engagement, such as a short-term challenge.
PMCID: PMC3713892  PMID: 23827796
weight loss; Internet; commercial sector; user engagement; retention
23.  Elimination of HIV in South Africa through Expanded Access to Antiretroviral Therapy: A Model Comparison Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(10):e1001534.
Using nine structurally different models, Jan Hontelez and colleagues investigate timeframes for HIV elimination in South Africa using a universal test and treat strategy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Expanded access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) using universal test and treat (UTT) has been suggested as a strategy to eliminate HIV in South Africa within 7 y based on an influential mathematical modeling study. However, the underlying deterministic model was criticized widely, and other modeling studies did not always confirm the study's finding. The objective of our study is to better understand the implications of different model structures and assumptions, so as to arrive at the best possible predictions of the long-term impact of UTT and the possibility of elimination of HIV.
Methods and Findings
We developed nine structurally different mathematical models of the South African HIV epidemic in a stepwise approach of increasing complexity and realism. The simplest model resembles the initial deterministic model, while the most comprehensive model is the stochastic microsimulation model STDSIM, which includes sexual networks and HIV stages with different degrees of infectiousness. We defined UTT as annual screening and immediate ART for all HIV-infected adults, starting at 13% in January 2012 and scaled up to 90% coverage by January 2019. All models predict elimination, yet those that capture more processes underlying the HIV transmission dynamics predict elimination at a later point in time, after 20 to 25 y. Importantly, the most comprehensive model predicts that the current strategy of ART at CD4 count ≤350 cells/µl will also lead to elimination, albeit 10 y later compared to UTT. Still, UTT remains cost-effective, as many additional life-years would be saved. The study's major limitations are that elimination was defined as incidence below 1/1,000 person-years rather than 0% prevalence, and drug resistance was not modeled.
Our results confirm previous predictions that the HIV epidemic in South Africa can be eliminated through universal testing and immediate treatment at 90% coverage. However, more realistic models show that elimination is likely to occur at a much later point in time than the initial model suggested. Also, UTT is a cost-effective intervention, but less cost-effective than previously predicted because the current South African ART treatment policy alone could already drive HIV into elimination.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
About 34 million people (mostly in low- and middle-income countries) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and every year another 2.5 million people become infected. HIV, which is usually transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected partner, gradually destroys CD4 lymphocytes and other immune system cells, leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, people infected with HIV often died within ten years of infection. Then, in 1996, antiretroviral therapy (ART) became available, and, for people living in affluent countries, HIV/AIDS became a chronic condition. However, ART was expensive, so HIV/AIDS remained a fatal condition for people living in resource-limited countries. In 2006, the international community set a target of achieving universal ART coverage by 2010, and ART programs were initiated in many resource-limited countries. Although universal ART coverage has still not been achieved in South Africa, where nearly 6 million people are HIV-positive, 80% of people in need of ART were receiving a World Health Organization–recommended ART regimen by October 2012.
Why Was This Study Done?
ART is usually started when a person's CD4 count falls below 350 cells/µl blood, but it is thought that treatment of all HIV-positive individuals, regardless of their CD4 count, could reduce HIV transmission by reducing the infectiousness of HIV-positive individuals (“treatment as prevention”). Might it be possible, therefore, to eliminate HIV by screening everyone annually for infection and treating all HIV-positive individuals immediately? In 2009, a mathematical modeling study suggested that seven years of universal test and treat (UTT) could eliminate HIV in South Africa. The deterministic (nonrandom) model used in that study has been widely criticized, however, and some subsequent modeling studies have reached different conclusions, probably because of differences in the models' structures and in the assumptions built into them. A better understanding of the reasons for the discrepancies between models would help policy-makers decide whether to introduce UTT, so, here, the researchers developed several increasingly complex and realistic models of the South African HIV epidemic and used these models to predict the long-term impact of UTT in South Africa.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed nine structurally different mathematical models of the South African HIV epidemic based on the STDSIM framework, a stochastic microsimulation model that simulates the life course of individuals in a dynamic network of sexual contacts and in which events such as HIV infection are random processes. The simplest model, which resembled the original deterministic model, was extended by sequentially adding in factors such as different HIV transmission rates at different stages of HIV infection and up-to-date assumptions regarding the ability of ART to reduce HIV infectiousness. All the models replicated the prevalence of HIV in South Africa (the proportion of the population that was HIV-positive) between 1990 and 2010, and all predicted that UTT (defined as annual screening of individuals age 15+ years and immediate ART for all HIV-infected adults starting in 2012 and scaled up to 90% coverage by 2019) would result in HIV elimination (less than one new infection per 1,000 person-years). However, whereas the simplest model predicted that UTT would eliminate HIV after seven years, the more complex, realistic models predicted elimination at much later time points. Importantly, the most comprehensive model predicted that, although elimination would be reached after about 17 years of UTT, the current strategy of ART initiation for HIV-positive individuals at a CD4 cell count at or below 350 cells/µl would also lead to HIV elimination, albeit ten years later than UTT.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings confirm previous predictions that UTT could eliminate HIV in South Africa, but the development of more realistic models than those used in the past suggests that HIV elimination would occur substantially later than originally predicted. Importantly, the most comprehensive model suggests that HIV could be eliminated in South Africa using the current strategy for ART treatment alone. As with all modeling studies, the accuracy of these findings depends on the assumptions built into the models and on the structure of the models. Thus, although these findings support the use of UTT as an intervention to eliminate HIV, more research with comprehensive models that incorporate factors such as data from ongoing trials of treatment as prevention is needed to determine the population-level impact and overall cost-effectiveness of UTT.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Ford and Hirnschall
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and AIDS in South Africa, on HIV treatment as prevention and the possibility of HIV elimination (in English and Spanish)
The 2012 UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report provides up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it
The World Health Organization provides information about universal access to AIDS treatment (in several languages); its 2010 ART guidelines can be downloaded
The PLOS Medicine Collection Investigating the Impact of Treatment on New HIV Infections provides more information about HIV treatment as prevention
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC3805487  PMID: 24167449
24.  Osmotic therapies added to antibiotics for acute bacterial meningitis 
Every day children and adults throughout the world die from acute community-acquired bacterial meningitis, particularly in low-income countries. Survivors are at risk of deafness, epilepsy and neurological disabilities. Osmotic therapies have been proposed as an adjunct to improve mortality and morbidity from bacterial meningitis. The theory is that they will attract extra-vascular fluid by osmosis and thus reduce cerebral oedema by moving excess water from the brain into the blood. The intention is to thus reduce death and improve neurological outcomes.
To evaluate the effects on mortality, deafness and neurological disability of osmotic therapies added to antibiotics for acute bacterial meningitis in children and adults.
Search methods
We searched CENTRAL 2012, Issue 11, MEDLINE (1950 to November week 3, 2012), EMBASE (1974 to November 2012), CINAHL (1981 to November 2012), LILACS (1982 to November 2012) and registers of ongoing clinical trials (April 2012). We also searched conference abstracts and contacted researchers in the field.
Selection criteria
Randomised controlled trials testing any osmotic therapy in adults or children with acute bacterial meningitis.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently screened the search results and selected trials for inclusion. We collected data from each study for mortality, deafness, seizures and neurological disabilities. Results are presented using risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) and grouped according to whether the participants received steroids or not.
Main results
Four trials were included comprising 1091 participants. All compared glycerol (a water-soluble sugar alcohol) with a control; in three trials this was a placebo, and in one a small amount of 50% dextrose. Three trials included comparators of dexamethasone alone or in combination with glycerol. As dexamethasone appeared to have no modifying effect, we aggregated results across arms where both treatment and control groups received corticosteroids and where both treatment and control groups did not.
Compared to placebo, glycerol may have little or no effect on death in people with bacterial meningitis (RR 1.09, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.89 to 1.33, 1091 participants, four trials, low-quality evidence); or on death and neurological disability combined (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.25).
Glycerol may have little or no effect on seizures during treatment for meningitis (RR 1.08, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.30, 909 participants, three trials, low-quality evidence).
Glycerol may reduce the risk of subsequent deafness (RR 0.60, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.93, 741 participants, four trials, low-quality evidence).
Authors’ conclusions
The only osmotic diuretic to have undergone randomised evaluation is glycerol. Data from trials to date have not demonstrated benefit on death, but it may reduce deafness. Osmotic diuretics, including glycerol, should not be given to adults and children with bacterial meningitis unless as part of carefully conducted randomised controlled trial.
PMCID: PMC3996551  PMID: 23543568
Adrenal Cortex Hormones [therapeutic use]; Anti-Bacterial Agents [therapeutic use]; Combined Modality Therapy [methods]; Community-Acquired Infections [complications; metabolism; mortality; therapy]; Deafness [prevention & control]; Dexamethasone [therapeutic use]; Diuretics, Osmotic [*therapeutic use]; Epilepsy [prevention & control]; Glucose [therapeutic use]; Glycerol [*therapeutic use]; Intracranial Pressure [physiology]; Meningitis, Bacterial [complications; metabolism; mortality; *therapy]; Osmosis [physiology]; Osmotic Pressure [physiology]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Adolescent; Adult; Child; Humans
25.  Report on the 9th EONS Congress, Istanbul, Turkey, 18–19 September 2014: nursing highlights 
ecancermedicalscience  2014;8:481.
The European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS), in partnership with the Oncology Nursing Association of Turkey (TONA), organised the 9th EONS Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, 18–19 September 2014. The Congress venue was in Harbiye Cultural Centre and Istanbul Military Museum and offered two days of unprecedented scientific, educational, and networking opportunities for all stakeholders active in the field of oncology nursing around the world.
EONS is a pan-European organisation dedicated to the support and development of cancer nurses. Through individual members and national societies EONS engages in projects to help nurses develop their skills, network with each other, and raise the profile of cancer nursing across Europe.
This biennial Congress brings together cancer nurses across the globe from many fields of expertise to ‘Celebrate Excellence in Cancer Nursing’ through interactive sessions, lectures, and collegial networking. The format was specifically designed to meet the needs of nurses working in the field of cancer care, education, and research.
PMCID: PMC4239126  PMID: 25435909
9th EONS Congress; conference highlights; oncology nursing

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