The pipeline embolization device (PED) provides effective, durable and safe endovascular reconstruction of large and giant intracranial aneurysms. However, 80% of all cerebral aneurysms found in the general population are less than 10 mm in size. Treatment of small aneurysms (<10 mm) with flow diverters may be advantageous over endosaccular modalities that carry risks of procedural rupture during aneurysm access or coil placement.
We retrospectively reviewed a prospective, single-center aneurysm database to identify all patients with small (<10 mm) internal carotid artery (ICA) aneurysms who underwent endovascular treatment using the PED. Patient demographics, aneurysm characteristics, procedural details, complications, and technical and clinical outcomes were analyzed.
Forty-four cases were performed in 41 patients (age range 31-78 years). PED was successfully implanted in 42 cases. A single PED was used in 37/42 (88%) cases. Mean postprocedure hospital stay was 1.7 ± 0.3 days and 98% of patients were discharged home. Major complication occurred in one patient (2.3%), who died of early subarachnoid hemorrhage. Transient neurological deficit, delayed intracerebral hemorrhage (asymptomatic), and delayed groin infection occurred in one patient each. Follow-up rate was 91.8% (45 aneurysms in 35 patients) with a mean follow-up of 4.0 ± 1.9 months. By 6 months post-PED implantation, angiographic success (complete or near complete aneurysm occlusion) was observed in 80%. Mild (<50%), asymptomatic, nonflow limiting in-stent stenosis was observed in 5.4% (2/37 cases). All the 35 patients with follow-up remained at preprocedure neurological baseline.
Small (<10 mm) ICA aneurysm treatment with PED implantation is safe and carries a high rate of early angiographic success.
Cerebral aneurysms; flow diverter; pipeline embolization device
Over the next twenty years the number of Americans diagnosed with dementia is expected to more than double (CDC 2007). It is, therefore, an important public health initiative to understand what factors contribute to the longevity of a healthy mind. Both default mode network (DMN) function and increased aerobic fitness have been associated with better cognitive performance and reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease among older adults. Here we examine the association between aerobic fitness, functional connectivity in the DMN, and cognitive performance. Results showed significant age-related deficits in functional connectivity in both local and distributed DMN pathways. However, in a group of healthy elderly adults, almost half of the age-related disconnections showed increased functional connectivity as a function of aerobic fitness level. Finally, we examine the hypothesis that functional connectivity in the DMN is one source of variance in the relationship between aerobic fitness and cognition. Results demonstrate instances of both specific and global DMN connectivity mediating the relationship between fitness and cognition. We provide the first evidence for functional connectivity as a source of variance in the association between aerobic fitness and cognition, and discuss results in the context of neurobiological theories of cognitive aging and disease.
cognitive aging; fMRI; functional connectivity; aerobic exercise; executive function; spatial memory
We isolated a xylan-degrading bacterium from seawater of Micronesia and identified it as Oceanicola sp. strain S124. We sequenced the Oceanicola sp. S124 genome using GSFLX 454 pyrosequencing and predicted 4,433 open reading frames (ORFs) including putative saccharification and phage-related genes.
Objective: We present the case of a 14-year-old Factor VIII-deficient patient with no history of trauma, who developed acute spontaneous compartment syndrome of the volar forearm. We also suggest a treatment strategy. Methods: Fasciotomy with hematoma evacuation and ipsilateral carpal tunnel release was performed, and the wound was closed with vascular loops in “Jacob's ladder” fashion. Factor infusions were continued overnight. Results: The volar forearm compartment was successfully decompressed, and the patient's coagulopathy was managed with appropriate clotting factors. Conclusions: Hemophilic patients warrant special consideration and multispecialty care; with replenished coagulation factors and timely surgical decompression, they can expect satisfactory recovery of muscular and neurological function.
Streptococcus mutans, a primary dental pathogen, has a remarkable capacity to scavenge nutrients from the oral biofilm for its survival. Cystine is an amino acid dimer formed by the oxidation of two cysteine residues that is required for optimal growth, whereas S. mutans modulates l-cystine uptake via two recently identified transporters designated TcyABC and TcyDEFGH, which have not been fully characterized. Using a non-polar tcyABC-deficient mutant (SmTcyABC), here we report that L-cystine uptake is drastically diminished in the mutant, whereas its ability to grow is severely impaired under l-cystine starvation conditions, relative to wild type. A substrate competition assay showed that l-cystine uptake by the TcyABC transporter was strongly inhibited by dl-cystathionine and l-djenkolic acid and moderately inhibited by S-methyl-l-cysteine and l-cysteine. Using gene expression analysis, we observed that the tcyABC operon was up-regulated under cystine starvation. TcyABC has been shown to be positively regulated by the LysR-type transcriptional regulator CysR. We identified another LysR-type transcriptional regulator that negatively regulates TcyABC with homology to the B. subtilis YtlI regulator, which we termed TcyR. Our study enhances the understanding of l-cystine uptake in S. mutans which allows survival and persistence of this pathogen in the oral biofilm.
Cystine; cysteine; transport; TcyABC; Streptococcus mutans
This study examined whether individual differences in aerobic fitness are associated with differences in activation of cognitive control brain networks in preadolescent children. As expected, children performed worse on a measure of cognitive control compared to a group of young adults. However, individual differences in aerobic fitness were associated with cognitive control performance among children. Lower-fit children had disproportionate performance cost in accuracy with increasing task difficulty, relative to higher-fit children. Brain activation was compared between performance-matched groups of lower- and higher-fit children. Fitness groups differed in brain activity for regions associated with response execution and inhibition, task set maintenance, and top-down regulation. Overall, differing activation patterns coupled with different patterns of brain-behavior correlations suggest an important role of aerobic fitness in modulating task strategy and the efficiency of neural networks that implement cognitive control in preadolescent children.
exercise; physical activity; aerobic fitness; executive control; fMRI; development
The majority (∼75%) of cow's milk-allergic children tolerate extensively heated-(baked-) milk products. Long-term effects of inclusion of dietary baked-milk have not been reported.
We report on the outcomes of children who incorporated baked-milk products into their diets.
Children evaluated for tolerance to baked-milk (muffin) underwent sequential food challenges to baked-cheese (pizza) followed by unheated-milk. Immunologic parameters were measured at challenge visits. The comparison group were matched to active subjects (using age, sex, and baseline milk-specific IgE) to evaluate the natural history of tolerance development.
Over a median of 37 months (range 8-75 months), 88 children underwent challenges at varying intervals (range 6-54 months). Among 65 subjects initially tolerant to baked-milk, 39 (60%) now tolerate unheated-milk, 18 (28%) tolerate baked-milk/baked-cheese and 8 (12%) chose to avoid milk strictly. Among the baked-milk-reactive subgroup (n=23), 2 (9%) tolerate unheated-milk, 3 (13%) tolerate baked-milk/baked-cheese, while the majority (78%) avoid milk strictly. Subjects who were initially tolerant to baked-milk were 28 times more likely to become unheated-milk-tolerant compared to baked-milk-reactive subjects (P<.001). Subjects who incorporated dietary baked-milk were 16 times more likely than the comparison group to become unheated-milk-tolerant (P<.001). Median casein IgG4 levels in the baked-milk-tolerant group increased significantly (P<.001); median milk IgE values did not change significantly.
Tolerance of baked-milk is a marker of transient IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy whereas reactivity to baked-milk portends a more persistent phenotype. The addition of baked-milk to the diet of children tolerating such foods appears to accelerate development of unheated-milk tolerance compared to strict avoidance.
Addition of dietary baked-milk is safe, convenient, and well-accepted by patients. Prescribing baked-milk products to milk-allergic children represents an important shift in the treatment paradigm for milk allergy.
The majority of cow's milk-allergic children tolerate extensively baked-milk products, which is a marker of transient IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy. Dietary baked-milk appears to accelerate development of unheated-milk tolerance compared to strict avoidance.
cow's milk allergy; milk allergy; tolerance; extensively heated; baked; immunotherapy; immunomodulation
Both long and short sleep duration have been associated with obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. However, there have been no previous studies investigating the potential relationship between altered sleep duration and allergen sensitization.
To explore the association between sleep duration and sensitization to food and aeroallergens.
This study includes 1534 rural Chinese adolescent twins aged 12 to 21 years who completed standard sleep questionnaires and skin prick tests (SPTs) to 9 food and 5 aeroallergens. Total sleep time was defined as the interval from bedtime to wake-up time minus sleep latency. Sensitization was defined as having at least one positive SPT.
Compared to individuals with the highest (3rd) tertile of sleep duration, those who slept less were more likely to be sensitized to any food allergen with odds ratios (ORs) of 1.9 (95% confidence interval(CI):1.3–2.7) and 1.4 (95%CI:1.0–1.9) for the 1st and 2nd tertiles (trend test Ptrend=3×10−4), respectively. The corresponding ORs for sensitization to any aeroallergen were 1.5 (95%CI: 1.1–2.0) and 1.3 (95%CI:1.0–1.7) (Ptrend=8×10−3). These associations were independent of percent body fat. In addition, we observed a significant dose-response association between the number of positive SPTs and percentage of shortest sleep duration (1st tertile) (Ptrend=1×10−3).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance
In this sample of relatively lean rural Chinese adolescents, we found that short sleep duration was associated with increased risk of sensitization to food and aeroallergens, independent of percent body fat. Longitudinal studies are needed to further determine the temporal and causal relationships. If short sleep duration indeed is one of the risk factors for allergic sensitization, the global burden of allergic diseases could be dramatically reduced by providing appropriate guidance on sleep duration for youth.
sleep duration; skin prick test; allergen; sensitization; adolescent
Temperature has multiple effects on neurons, yet little is known about the effects of high temperature on the physiology of mammalian central neurons. Hyperthermia can influence behavior and cause febrile seizures. We studied the effects of acute hyperthermia on the immature hippocampus in vitro by recording from pyramidal neurons and inhibitory oriens-lacunosum moleculare (O-LM) interneurons (identified by green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression in the GIN mouse line). Warming to 41°C caused depolarization, spontaneous action potentials, reduced input resistance and membrane time constant, and increased spontaneous synaptic activity of most pyramidal cells and O-LM interneurons. Pyramidal neurons of area CA3 were more strongly excited by hyperthermia than those of area CA1. About 90% of O-LM interneurons in both CA1 and CA3 increased their firing rates at hyperthermic temperatures; interneurons in CA3 fired faster than those in CA1 on average. Blockade of fast synaptic transmission did not abolish the effect of hyperthermia on neuronal excitability. Our results suggest that hyperthermia increases hippocampal excitability, particularly in seizure-prone area CA3, by altering the intrinsic membrane properties of pyramidal cells and interneurons.
febrile seizures; hippocampal neurons; hyperthermia; inhibition
Abiraterone acetate is a prodrug of abiraterone, a selective inhibitor of CYP17, the enzyme catalyst for two essential steps in androgen biosynthesis. In castration-resistant prostate cancers (CRPCs), extragonadal androgen sources may sustain tumor growth despite a castrate environment. This phase I dose-escalation study of abiraterone acetate evaluated safety, pharmacokinetics, and effects on steroidogenesis and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in men with CPRC with or without prior ketoconazole therapy.
Patients and Methods
Thirty-three men with chemotherapy-naïve progressive CRPC were enrolled. Nineteen patients (58%) had previously received ketoconazole for CRPC. Bone metastases were present in 70% of patients, and visceral involvement was present in 18%. Three patients (9%) had locally advanced disease without distant metastases. Fasted or fed cohorts received abiraterone acetate doses of 250, 500, 750, or 1,000 mg daily. Single-dose pharmacokinetic analyses were performed before continuous daily dosing.
Adverse events were predominantly grade 1 or 2. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed. Hypertension (grade 3, 12%) and hypokalemia (grade 3, 6%; grade 4, 3%) were the most frequent serious toxicities and responded to medical management. Confirmed ≥ 50% PSA declines at week 12 were seen in 18 (55%) of 33 patients, including nine (47%) of 19 patients with prior ketoconazole therapy and nine (64%) of 14 patients without prior ketoconazole therapy. Substantial declines in circulating androgens and increases in mineralocorticoids were seen with all doses.
Abiraterone acetate was well tolerated and demonstrated activity in CRPC, including in patients previously treated with ketoconazole. Continued clinical study is warranted.
We investigated the relative involvement of cortical regions supporting attentional control in older and younger adults during performance on a modified version of the Stroop task. Participants were exposed to two different types of incongruent trials. One of these, an incongruent-ineligible condition, produces conflict at the non-response level, while the second, an incongruent-eligible condition, produces conflict at both non-response and response levels of information processing. Greater attentional control is needed to perform the incongruent-eligible condition compared to other conditions. We examined the cortical recruitment associated with this task in an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm in twenty-five older and twenty-five younger adults. Our results indicated that while younger adults demonstrated an increase in the activation of cortical regions responsible for maintaining attentional control in response to increased levels of conflict, such sensitivity and flexibility of the cortical regions to increased attentional control demands was absent in older adults. These results suggest a limitation in older adults’ capabilities for flexibly recruiting the attentional network in response to increasing attentional demands.
attentional control; aging; fMRI; flexibility; Stroop task; interference; inhibition
The effect of food introduction timing on the development of food allergy remains controversial. We sought to examine whether the presence of childhood eczema changes the relationship between timing of food introduction and food allergy. The analysis includes 960 children recruited as part of a family-based food allergy cohort. Food allergy was determined by objective symptoms developing within 2 hours of ingestion, corroborated by skin prick testing/specific IgE. Physician diagnosis of eczema and timing of formula and solid food introduction were obtained by standardized interview. Cox Regression analysis provided hazard ratios for the development of food allergy for the same subgroups. Logistic regression models estimated the association of eczema and formula/food introduction with the risk of food allergy, individually and jointly. Of the 960 children, 411 (42.8%) were allergic to 1 or more foods and 391 (40.7%) had eczema. Children with eczema had a 8.4-fold higher risk of food allergy (OR, 95% CI: 8.4, 5.9–12.1). Among all children, later (>6 months) formula and rice/wheat cereal introduction lowered the risk of food allergy. In joint analysis, children without eczema who had later formula (OR, 95% CI: 0.5, 0.3–0.9) and later (>1 year) solid food (OR, 95% CI: 0.5, 0.3–0.95) introduction had a lower risk of food allergy. Among children with eczema, timing of food or formula introduction did not modify the risk of developing food allergy. Later food introduction was protective for food allergy in children without eczema but did not alter the risk of developing food allergy in children with eczema.
Neural stimulation with high spatial and temporal precision is desirable both for studying the real-time dynamics of neural networks and for prospective clinical treatment of neurological diseases. Optical stimulation of genetically targeted neurons expressing the light sensitive channel protein Channelrhodopsin (ChR2) has recently been reported as a means for millisecond temporal control of neuronal spiking activities with cell-type selectivity. This offers the prospect of enabling local delivery of optical stimulation and the simultaneous monitoring of the neural activity by electrophysiological means, both in the vicinity of and distant to the stimulation site. We report here a novel dual-modality hybrid device, which consists of a tapered coaxial optical waveguide (‘optrode’) integrated into a 100 element intra-cortical multi-electrode recording array. We first demonstrate the dual optical delivery and electrical recording capability of the single optrode in in vitro preparations of mouse retina, photo-stimulating the native retinal photoreceptors while recording light-responsive activities from ganglion cells. The dual-modality array device was then used in ChR2 transfected mouse brain slices. Specifically, epileptiform events were reliably optically triggered by the optrode and their spatiotemporal patterns were simultaneously recorded by the multi-electrode array.
Models of selective attention predict that focused attention to spatially contiguous stimuli may result in enhanced activity in areas of cortex specialized for processing task-relevant and task-irrelevant information. We examined this hypothesis by localizing color-sensitive areas (CSA) and word and letter sensitive areas of cortex and then examining modulation of these regions during performance of a modified version of the Stroop task in which target and distractors are spatially coincident. We report that only the incongruent condition with the highest cognitive demand showed increased activity in CSA relative to other conditions, indicating an attentional enhancement in target processing areas. We also found an enhancement of activity in one region sensitive to word/letter processing during the most cognitively demanding incongruent condition indicating greater processing of the distractor dimension. Correlations with performance revealed that top-down modulation during the task was critical for effective filtering of irrelevant information in conflict conditions. These results support predictions made by models of selective attention and suggest an important mechanism of top-down attentional control in spatially contiguous stimuli.
Attentional control; Top-down modulation; Stroop task; Color-sensitive; Visual word form area
Research has shown the human brain is organized into separable functional networks during rest and varied states of cognition, and that aging is associated with specific network dysfunctions. The present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine low-frequency (0.008 < f < 0.08 Hz) coherence of cognitively relevant and sensory brain networks in older adults who participated in a 1-year intervention trial, comparing the effects of aerobic and non-aerobic fitness training on brain function and cognition. Results showed that aerobic training improved the aging brain's resting functional efficiency in higher-level cognitive networks. One year of walking increased functional connectivity between aspects of the frontal, posterior, and temporal cortices within the Default Mode Network and a Frontal Executive Network, two brain networks central to brain dysfunction in aging. Length of training was also an important factor. Effects in favor of the walking group were observed only after 12 months of training, compared to non-significant trends after 6 months. A non-aerobic stretching and toning group also showed increased functional connectivity in the DMN after 6 months and in a Frontal Parietal Network after 12 months, possibly reflecting experience-dependent plasticity. Finally, we found that changes in functional connectivity were behaviorally relevant. Increased functional connectivity was associated with greater improvement in executive function. Therefore the study provides the first evidence for exercise-induced functional plasticity in large-scale brain systems in the aging brain, using functional connectivity techniques, and offers new insight into the role of aerobic fitness in attenuating age-related brain dysfunction.
exercise; aging; functional connectivity; fMRI; default mode network; executive function; aerobic fitness
A growing body of literature provides evidence for the prophylactic influence of cardiorespiratory fitness on cognitive decline in older adults. This study examined the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and recruitment of the neural circuits involved in an attentional control task in a group of healthy older adults. Employing a version of the Stroop task, we examined whether higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with an increase in activation in cortical regions responsible for imposing attentional control along with an up-regulation of activity in sensory brain regions that process task-relevant representations. Higher fitness levels were associated with better behavioral performance and an increase in the recruitment of prefrontal and parietal cortices in the most challenging condition, thus providing evidence that cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with an increase in the recruitment of the anterior processing regions. There was a top-down modulation of extrastriate visual areas that process both task-relevant and task-irrelevant attributes relative to the baseline. However, fitness was not associated with differential activation in the posterior processing regions, suggesting that fitness enhances attentional function by primarily influencing the neural circuitry of anterior cortical regions. This study provides novel evidence of a differential association of fitness with anterior and posterior brain regions, shedding further light onto the neural changes accompanying cardiorespiratory fitness.
cardiorespiratory fitness; Stroop task; cognitive and attentional control
The prevalence of allergic diseases is increasing worldwide, but the reasons are not well understood. Previous studies suggest that this trend may be associated with lifestyle and urbanization.
To describe patterns of sensitization and allergic disease in an unselected agricultural Chinese population.
The data was derived from a community-based twin study in Anqing, China. Skin prick testing was performed to foods and aeroallergens. Atopy was defined as sensitization to ≥1 allergen. Allergic disease was ascertained by self-report. The analysis was stratified by sex and age (children [11-17 years] and adults [≥18 years]) and included 1059 same-sex twin pairs.
Of 2118 subjects, 57.6% were male (n=1220). Ages ranged from 11-71 years; 43.3% were children (n=918). Atopy was observed in 47.2% (n=999) of participants. The most common sensitizing foods were shellfish (16.7%) and peanut (12.3%). The most common sensitizing aeroallergens were dust mite (30.6%) and cockroach (25.2%). Birth order and zygosity had no effect on sensitization rates. Multivariate logistic regression models revealed risk factors for sensitization include age for foods and sex for aeroallergens. The rates of food allergy and asthma were estimated to be <1%.
Atopic sensitization was common in this rural farming Chinese population, particularly to shellfish, peanut, dust mite, and cockroach. The prevalence of allergic disease, in contrast, was quite low.
Allergen sensitization was far more common than the rate of self-reported allergic disease in this community. Evidence of sensitization is an inadequate marker of allergic disease and better correlates with clinical disease are needed.
Among this large unselected Chinese rural farming community, atopy was observed in nearly half of the study subjects, but the rate of allergic disease was comparatively very low.
aeroallergens; rural; farming community; Chinese; food allergens; prevalence; sensitization; skin prick tests
Parents of children with food allergy, primary care physicians, and members of the general public play a critical role in the health and well-being of food-allergic children, though little is known about their knowledge and perceptions of food allergy. The purpose of this paper is to detail the development of the Chicago Food Allergy Research Surveys to assess food allergy knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs among these three populations.
From 2006–2008, parents of food-allergic children, pediatricians, family physicians, and adult members of the general public were recruited to assist in survey development. Preliminary analysis included literature review, creation of initial content domains, expert panel review, and focus groups. Survey validation included creation of initial survey items, expert panel ratings, cognitive interviews, reliability testing, item reduction, and final validation. National administration of the surveys is ongoing.
Nine experts were assembled to oversee survey development. Six focus groups were held: 2/survey population, 4–9 participants/group; transcripts were reviewed via constant comparative methods to identify emerging themes and inform item creation. At least 220 participants per population were recruited to assess the relevance, reliability, and utility of each survey item as follows: cognitive interviews, 10 participants; reliability testing ≥ 10; item reduction ≥ 50; and final validation, 150 respondents.
The Chicago Food Allergy Research surveys offer validated tools to assess food allergy knowledge and perceptions among three distinct populations: a 42 item parent tool, a 50 item physician tool, and a 35 item general public tool. No such tools were previously available.
γ-Secretase is a founding member of membrane-embedded aspartyl proteases that cleave substrates within transmembrane domains, and this enzyme is an important target for the development of therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease. The structure of γ-secretase and its precise catalytic mechanism still remain largely unknown. γ-Secretase is a complex of four integral membrane proteins, with presenilin (PS) as the catalytic component. To gain structural and functional information about the 9-transmembrane domain (TMD) presenilin, we employed a cysteine mutagenesis/disulfide-crosslinking approach. Here we report that native Cys92 is close to both Cys410 and Cys419, strongly implying that TMD1 and TMD8 are adjacent to each other. This structural arrangement also suggests that TMD8 is distorted from an ideal helix. Importantly, binding of an active-site directed inhibitor, but not a docking-site directed inhibitor, reduces the ability of the native cysteine pairs of PS1 to crosslink upon oxidation. These findings suggest that the conserved cysteines of TMD1 and TMD8 contribute to or allosterically interact with the active site of γ-secretase.
Background and Purpose
Apolipoprotein E genotype (APOE) is associated with cholesterol metabolism, ischemic heart disease, and cerebral amyloid angiopathy, and so may affect risk of both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.
We comprehensively sought and identified studies of the association of apoE with ischemic stroke (IS), intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). We did meta-analyses to assess the evidence for an association between APOE and the various pathological types and subtypes of stroke, and assessed the effects of several methodological criteria.
We analyzed data from 31 eligible studies (26 IS, 8 ICH, and 3 SAH) in 5961 cases and 17 965 controls. ∊4 allele-containing (∊4+) genotypes were significantly associated with IS (odds ratio [OR], 1.11; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.22) and SAH (OR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.99) and nonsignificantly with ICH (OR, 1.16; 95% CI, 0.93 to 1.44), whereas ∊2+ genotypes were associated with ICH (OR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.74). Associations appeared stronger with ∊4+ genotypes for large artery compared with other IS subtypes and for Asian compared with white populations, and with ∊2+ genotypes for lobar compared with deep hemorrhages. However, we found no association between ∊4+ genotypes and IS when we analyzed only larger studies (>200 cases; OR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.88 to 1.11) or studies without control selection bias (OR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.85 to 1.17).
Publication and selection biases make existing studies of APOE and stroke unreliable. Further, very large, methodologically rigorous studies are needed.
apolipoproteins E; genetics; meta-analysis; stroke
Food allergy prevalence is increasing in US children. Presently, the primary means of preventing potentially fatal reactions are avoidance of allergens, prompt recognition of food allergy reactions, and knowledge about food allergy reaction treatments. Focus groups were held as a preliminary step in the development of validated survey instruments to assess food allergy knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of parents, physicians, and the general public.
Eight focus groups were conducted between January and July of 2006 in the Chicago area with parents of children with food allergy (3 groups), physicians (3 groups), and the general public (2 groups). A constant comparative method was used to identify the emerging themes which were then grouped into key domains of food allergy knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs.
Parents of children with food allergy had solid fundamental knowledge but had concerns about primary care physicians' knowledge of food allergy, diagnostic approaches, and treatment practices. The considerable impact of children's food allergies on familial quality of life was articulated. Physicians had good basic knowledge of food allergy but differed in their approach to diagnosis and advice about starting solids and breastfeeding. The general public had wide variation in knowledge about food allergy with many misconceptions of key concepts related to prevalence, definition, and triggers of food allergy.
Appreciable food allergy knowledge gaps exist, especially among physicians and the general public. The quality of life for children with food allergy and their families is significantly affected.
The family of transcription factors Activating protein-2 (AP-2) are known to play important roles in numerous developmental events, including those associated with differentiation of stratified epithelia. However, to date, the influence of the AP-2 genes on endogenous gene expression in the stratified epithelia and how this affects differentiation has not been well defined. The following study examines the detailed expression of the AP-2α and AP-2β proteins in the stratified epithelia of the ocular surface, including that in the cornea and developing eyelids. The effect of altered levels of the AP-2α gene on ocular surface differentiation was also examined using a corneal epithelial cell line and AP-2α chimeric mice. Immunolocalization studies revealed that, while AP-2β was broadly expressed throughout all cell layers of the stratified corneal epithelium, AP-2α expression was confined to cell compartments more basally located. AP-2α was also highly expressed in the less differentiated cell layers of the eyelid epidermis. Overexpression of the AP-2α gene in the corneal cell line, SIRC, resulted in a dramatic change in cell phenotype including a clumping growth behavior that was distinct from the smooth monolayer of the parent cell line. Accompanying this change was an up-regulation in levels of the cell adhesion molecule, N-cadherin. Examination of the ocular surface of AP-2α chimeric mice, derived from a mixed population of AP-2α−/− and AP-2α+/+, revealed that a down-regulation in E-cadherin expression is correlated with location of the AP-2α−/− null cells. Together, these findings demonstrate that AP-2α participates in regulating differentiation of the ocular surface through induction in cadherin expression.
ocular surface; cell adhesion; transcription factors; AP-2; cornea; eyelids; differentiation