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1.  Ethnobotanical appraisal and cultural values of medicinally important wild edible vegetables of Lesser Himalayas-Pakistan 
The association among food and health is momentous as consumers now demand healthy, tasty and natural functional foods. Knowledge of such food is mainly transmitted through the contribution of individuals of households. Throughout the world the traditions of using wild edible plants as food and medicine are at risk of disappearing, hence present appraisal was conducted to explore ethnomedicinal and cultural importance of wild edible vegetables used by the populace of Lesser Himalayas-Pakistan.
Data was collected through informed consent semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, market survey and focus group conversation with key respondents of the study sites including 45 female, 30 children and 25 males. Cultural significance of each species was calculated based on use report.
A total of 45 wild edible vegetables belonging to 38 genera and 24 families were used for the treatment of various diseases and consumed. Asteraceae and Papilionoideae were found dominating families with (6 spp. each), followed by Amaranthaceae and Polygonaceae. Vegetables were cooked in water (51%) followed by diluted milk (42%) and both in water and diluted milk (7%). Leaves were among highly utilized plant parts (70%) in medicines followed by seeds (10%), roots (6%), latex (4%), bark, bulb, flowers, tubers and rhizomes (2% each). Modes of preparation fall into seven categories like paste (29%), decoction (24%), powder (14%), eaten fresh (12%), extract (10%), cooked vegetable (8%) and juice (4%). Ficus carica was found most cited species with in top ten vegetables followed by Ficus palmata, Bauhinia variegata, Solanum nigrum, Amaranthus viridis, Medicago polymorpha, Chenopodium album, Cichorium intybus, Amaranthus hybridus and Vicia faba.
Patterns of wild edible plant usage depend mainly on socio-economic factors compare to climatic conditions or wealth of flora but during past few decades have harshly eroded due to change in the life style of the inhabitants. Use reports verified common cultural heritage and cultural worth of quoted taxa is analogous. Phytochemical analysis, antioxidant activities, pharmacological applications; skill training in farming and biotechnological techniques to improve the yield are important feature prospective regarding of wild edible vegetables.
PMCID: PMC3853161  PMID: 24034131
Ethno-medicinal; Cultural values; Wild edible vegetables; Lesser Himalayas
2.  Irrational use of antimalarial drugs in rural areas of eastern Pakistan: a random field study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:941.
Prescription of antimalarial drugs in the absence of malarial disease is a common practice in countries where malaria is endemic. However, unwarranted use of such drugs can cause side effects in some people and is a financial drain on local economies. In this study, we surveyed the prevalence of malaria parasites in humans, and the prevalence of the malaria transmitting mosquito vectors in the study area. We also investigated the use of antimalarial drugs in the local people. We focused on randomly selected rural areas of eastern Pakistan where no malaria cases had been reported since May 2004.
Mass blood surveys, active case detection, passive case detection, and vector density surveys were carried out in selected areas of Sargodha district from September 2008 to August 2009. Data pertaining to the quantities and types of antimalarial drugs used in these areas were collected from health centers, pharmacies, and the district CDC program of the Health Department of the Government of the Punjab.
Seven hundred and forty four blood samples were examined, resulting in a Blood Examination Rate (BER) of 3.18; microscopic analysis of blood smears showed that none of the samples were positive for malaria parasites. Investigation of the mosquito vector density in 43 living rooms (bedrooms or rooms used for sleeping), 23 stores, and 32 animal sheds, revealed no vectors capable of transmitting malaria in these locations. In contrast, the density of Culex mosquitoes was high. Substantial consumption of a variety of antimalarial tablets, syrups, capsules and injections costing around 1000 US$, was documented for the region.
Use of antimalarial drugs in the absence of malarial infection or the vectors that transmit the disease was common in the study area. Continuous use of such drugs, not only in Pakistan, but in other parts of the world, may lead to drug-induced side effects amongst users. Better training of health care professionals is needed to ensure accurate diagnoses of malaria and appropriate prescription of antimalarial drugs delivered to communities.
PMCID: PMC3577451  PMID: 23116148
Malaria; Plasmodium; Eastern Pakistan; Antimalarial drugs; Mosquito vectors; Diagnosis; Blood Examination Rate (BER)
3.  Hypofractionated Radiotherapy as Local Hemostatic Agent in Advanced Cancer 
Indian Journal of Palliative Care  2011;17(3):219-221.
Tumor bleeding continues to remain a challenge in an oncological setting, and radiotherapy has been studied as a local hemostatic agent. We studied the role of local radiotherapy in controlling bleeding at our center.
Materials and Methods:
We reviewed 25 treated cases (cancer urinary bladder: 12, lung cancer: 5, cervical cancer: 4, uterine cancer: 1, rectal cancer: 2, schwanoma: 1) at our center from March 2008 to December 2010. All patients had either an advanced or recurrent disease. Radiotherapy schedule was either 20 Gray in 5 fractions or 15 Gray in 5 fractions and was delivered with Cobalt 60.
Results and Conclusion:
Of 25 patients, 22 (88%) responded, and there was complete cessation of bleeding. Both 15 Gray and 20 Gray dose schedule had equal efficacy. Treatment was well tolerated without any intermission. Radiotherapy is a safe and effective option in controlling tumor bleeding.
PMCID: PMC3276819  PMID: 22346046
Hemostasis; Hypofractionation; Radiotherapy
4.  Descriptive distribution and phylogenetic analysis of feline infectious peritonitis virus isolates of Malaysia 
The descriptive distribution and phylogeny of feline coronaviruses (FCoVs) were studied in cats suspected of having feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) in Malaysia. Ascitic fluids and/or biopsy samples were subjected to a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) targeted for a conserved region of 3'untranslated region (3'UTR) of the FCoV genome. Eighty nine percent of the sampled animals were positive for the presence of FCoV. Among the FCoV positive cats, 80% of cats were males and 64% were below 2 years of age. The FCoV positive cases included 56% domestic short hair (DSH), 40% Persian, and 4% Siamese cats. The nucleotide sequences of 10 selected amplified products from FIP cases were determined. The sequence comparison revealed that the field isolates had 96% homology with a few point mutations. The extent of homology decreased to 93% when compared with reference strains. The overall branching pattern of phylogenetic tree showed two distinct clusters, where all Malaysian isolates fall into one main genetic cluster. These findings provided the first genetic information of FCoV in Malaysia.
PMCID: PMC2828449  PMID: 20053278
5.  Incidence of post myocardial infarction left ventricular thrombus formation in the era of primary percutaneous intervention and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors. A prospective observational study 
Before the widespread use of primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors (GP IIb/IIIa) left ventricular (LV) thrombus formation had been reported to complicate up to 20% of acute myocardial infarctions (AMI). The incidence of LV thrombus formation with these treatment modalities is not well known.
92 consecutive patients with ST-elevation AMI treated with PCI and GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors underwent 2-D echocardiograms, with and without echo contrast agent, within 24–72 hours.
Only 4/92 (4.3%) had an LV thrombus, representing a significantly lower incidence than that reported in the pre-PCI era. Use of contrast agents did not improve detection of LV thrombi in our study.
The incidence of LV thrombus formation after acute MI, in the current era of rapid reperfusion, is lower than what has been historically reported.
PMCID: PMC1458359  PMID: 16600036
6.  Effectiveness of halo-tolerant, auxin producing Pseudomonas and Rhizobium strains to improve osmotic stress tolerance in mung bean (Vigna radiata L.) 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2014;44(4):1341-1348.
Halo-tolerant, auxin producing bacteria could be used to induce salt tolerance in plants. A number of Rhizobium and auxin producing rhizobacterial strains were assessed for their ability to tolerate salt stress by conducting osmoadaptation assay. The selected strains were further screened for their ability to induce osmotic stress tolerance in mung bean seedlings under salt-stressed axenic conditions in growth pouch/jar trials. Three most effective strains of Rhizobium and Pseudomonas containing ACC-deaminase were evaluated in combination, for their ability to induce osmotic stress tolerance in mung bean at original, 4, and 6 dS m−1 under axenic conditions. Results showed that sole inoculation of Rhizobium and Pseudomonas strains improved the total dry matter up to 1.4, and 1.9 fold, respectively, while the increase in salt tolerance index was improved up to 1.3 and 2.0 fold by the Rhizobium and Pseudomonas strains, respectively. However, up to 2.2 fold increase in total dry matter and salt tolerance index was observed due to combined inoculation of Rhizobium and Pseudomonas strains. So, combined application of Rhizobium and Pseudomonas strains could be explored as an effective strategy to induce osmotic stress tolerance in mung bean.
PMCID: PMC3958208  PMID: 24688532
ACC-deaminase; Pseudomonas; Rhizobium; osmotic stress; salt tolerance index
7.  Ethnobotanical and antimicrobial study of some selected medicinal plants used in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) as a potential source to cure infectious diseases 
Present investigation deals with antimicrobial screening of ten medicinally important plants used by the inhabitants of district Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) for different infectious diseases.
Aqueous, n-hexane and ethanolic extracts of each plant were tested for their antimicrobial activity against both Gram positive and Gram negative strains of bacteria, as well as strain of yeast. Agar well diffusion and broth dilution methods were used to determine the antimicrobial activity of different plant extracts.
The results indicated that all plants exhibited antimicrobial activity against one or more test pathogens. Interestingly, extracts of three plants showed strong and broad spectrum activity as compared to rest of the extracts which demonstrated the moderate activity. On the whole ethanolic extracts exhibited maximum antimicrobial effect than their corresponding aqueous and n-hexane extracts, when compared with standard antibiotics i.e., Streptomycin and Tetracycline. Among various extracts, only ethanloic extract of Azadirachta indica and aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Eucalyptus globulus and Bergenia ciliata and ethanolic extract of Punica granatum were found to have potentially promising activity against test microorganisms.
Different plant extracts show promising antimicrobial activity justifying their usage in traditional medicines. This study will be continued to identify more plants with potential antimicrobial components.
PMCID: PMC3977958
Ethnobotanical; Antimicrobial; Medicinal plants; Infectious diseases; Pakistan
8.  Predictors of Two Months Culture Conversion in Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis: Findings from a Retrospective Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93206.
Various studies have reported culture conversion at two months as a predictor of successful treatment outcome in multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
The present study was conducted with the aim to evaluate the rate and predictors of culture conversion at two months in MDR-TB patients.
All confirmed pulmonary MDR-TB patients enrolled for treatment at Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar, Pakistan from 1 January to 31 December 2012 and met the inclusion criteria were reviewed retrospectively. Rate and predictors of culture conversion at two months were evaluated.
Eighty seven (53.4%) out of 163 patients achieved culture conversion at two months. In a multivariate analysis lung cavitation at baseline chest X-ray (P = 0.006, OR = 0.349), resistance to ofloxacin (P = 0.041, OR = 0.193) and streptomycin (P = 0.017, OR = 0.295) had statistically significant (P<0.05) negative association with culture conversion at two months.
A reasonable proportion of patients achieved culture conversion at two months. Factors negatively associated with culture conversion at two months can be easily identified either before diagnosis or early in the course of MDR-TB treatment. This may help in better care of individual patients by identifying them early and treating them vigorously.
PMCID: PMC3976287  PMID: 24705411
9.  Nitrite Reductase NirBD Is Induced and Plays an Important Role during In Vitro Dormancy of Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
Journal of Bacteriology  2013;195(20):4592-4599.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is one of the strongest reducers of nitrate among all mycobacteria. Reduction of nitrate to nitrite, mediated by nitrate reductase (NarGHJI) of M. tuberculosis, is induced during the dormant stage, and the enzyme has a respiratory function in the absence of oxygen. Nitrite reductase (NirBD) is also functional during aerobic growth when nitrite is the sole nitrogen source. However, the role of NirBD-mediated nitrite reduction during the dormancy is not yet characterized. Here, we analyzed nitrite reduction during aerobic growth as well as in a hypoxic dormancy model of M. tuberculosis in vitro. When nitrite was used as the sole nitrogen source in the medium, the organism grew and the reduction of nitrite was evident in both hypoxic and aerobic cultures of M. tuberculosis. Remarkably, the hypoxic culture of M. tuberculosis, compared to the aerobic culture, showed 32- and 4-fold-increased expression of nitrite reductase (NirBD) at the transcription and protein levels, respectively. More importantly, a nirBD mutant of M. tuberculosis was unable to reduce nitrite and compared to the wild-type (WT) strain had a >2-log reduction in viability after 240 h in the Wayne model of hypoxic dormancy. Dependence of M. tuberculosis on nitrite reductase (NirBD) was also seen in a human macrophage-based dormancy model where the nirBD mutant was impaired for survival compared to the WT strain. Overall, the increased expression and essentiality of nitrite reductase in the in vitro dormancy models suggested that NirBD-mediated nitrite reduction could be critical during the persistent stage of M. tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC3807446  PMID: 23935045
10.  Primary amyloidoma of chest wall – a rare condition 
BMJ Case Reports  2012;2012:bcr0120125552.
Organ specific amyloidosis has been shown to be confined to various organs like liver, lung, spleen, urinary bladder and gastro-intestinal tract, but amyloidoma or tumoural amyloidosis of chest wall with no evidence of systemic amyloidosis is an extremely rare presentation and only two cases have been reported till now. The authors report a case of chest wall amyloidoma with review of literature.
PMCID: PMC3316792  PMID: 22605798
11.  Effects of Wall Shear Stress on Unsteady MHD Conjugate Flow in a Porous Medium with Ramped Wall Temperature 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90280.
This study investigates the effects of an arbitrary wall shear stress on unsteady magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) flow of a Newtonian fluid with conjugate effects of heat and mass transfer. The fluid is considered in a porous medium over a vertical plate with ramped temperature. The influence of thermal radiation in the energy equations is also considered. The coupled partial differential equations governing the flow are solved by using the Laplace transform technique. Exact solutions for velocity and temperature in case of both ramped and constant wall temperature as well as for concentration are obtained. It is found that velocity solutions are more general and can produce a huge number of exact solutions correlative to various fluid motions. Graphical results are provided for various embedded flow parameters and discussed in details.
PMCID: PMC3951237  PMID: 24621775
12.  Spindle assembly checkpoint proteins are positioned close to core microtubule attachment sites at kinetochores 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2013;202(5):735-746.
Depletion analyses and nanometer-scale mapping of spindle assembly checkpoint proteins reveal how these proteins are integrated within the substructure of the kinetochore.
Spindle assembly checkpoint proteins have been thought to reside in the peripheral corona region of the kinetochore, distal to microtubule attachment sites at the outer plate. However, recent biochemical evidence indicates that checkpoint proteins are closely linked to the core kinetochore microtubule attachment site comprised of the Knl1–Mis12–Ndc80 (KMN) complexes/KMN network. In this paper, we show that the Knl1–Zwint1 complex is required to recruit the Rod–Zwilch–Zw10 (RZZ) and Mad1–Mad2 complexes to the outer kinetochore. Consistent with this, nanometer-scale mapping indicates that RZZ, Mad1–Mad2, and the C terminus of the dynein recruitment factor Spindly are closely juxtaposed with the KMN network in metaphase cells when their dissociation is blocked and the checkpoint is active. In contrast, the N terminus of Spindly is ∼75 nm outside the calponin homology domain of the Ndc80 complex. These results reveal how checkpoint proteins are integrated within the substructure of the kinetochore and will aid in understanding the coordination of microtubule attachment and checkpoint signaling during chromosome segregation.
PMCID: PMC3760617  PMID: 23979716
13.  DNA methylation of the filaggrin gene adds to the risk of eczema associated with loss-of-function variants 
Loss-of-function variants within the filaggrin gene (FLG) are associated with a dysfunctional skin barrier that contributes to the development of eczema. Epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation, are genetic regulatory mechanisms that modulate gene expression without changing the DAN sequence.
To investigate whether genetic variants and adjacent differential DNA methylation within the FLG gene synergistically act on the development of eczema.
A subsample (n = 245, only females aged 18 years) of the Isle of Wight birth cohort participants (n = 1,456) had available information for FLG variants R501X, 2282del4, and S3247X and DNA methylation levels for 10 CpG sites within the FLG gene. Log-binomial regression was used to estimate the risk ratios (RRs) of eczema associated with FLG variants at different methylation levels.
The period prevalence of eczema was 15.2% at age 18 years and 9.0% of participants were carriers (heterozygous) of FLG variants. Of the 10 CpG sites spanning the genomic region of FLG, methylation levels of CpG site ‘cg07548383’ showed a significant interaction with FLG sequence variants on the risk for eczema. At 86% methylation level, filaggrin haploinsufficient individuals had 5.48-fold increased risk of eczema when compared to those with wild type FLG genotype (p-value = 0.0008).
Our novel results indicated that the association between FLG loss-of-function variants and eczema is modulated by DNA methylation. Simultaneously assessing the joint effect of genetic and epigenetic factors within the FLG gene further highlights the importance of this genomic region for eczema manifestation.
PMCID: PMC3535679  PMID: 23003573
14.  Contractility of sphincter pharyngoplasty: Relevance to speech outcomes 
Sphincter pharyngoplasty has demonstrated time-tested results as a surgical treatment for velopharyngeal incompetence (VPI). However, controversy surrounding the contractility of the transposed muscles persists. Completely unaddressed in the literature is whether the dynamism of the sphincter affects speech outcomes.
To determine whether active sphincter contraction following sphincter pharyngoplasty influences velopharyngeal closure, nasal emission and hypernasality.
A prospective analysis of patients with VPI after cleft palate repair undergoing sphincter pharyngoplasty by a single surgeon was performed. Video nasendoscopy and videofluoroscopy were performed preoperatively and postoperatively at three and 12 months. Eighteen consecutive patients with cleft palate with or without cleft lip and VPI were reviewed. The average age of the patients at initial evaluation was 7.3 years, with a range of three to 19 years. Dynamicity of sphincter pharyngoplasty, velar closing ratio (VCR), and lateral wall movement (LWM) were assessed by nasendoscopy and videofluoroscopy. Nasal emission and hypernasality were assessed by perceptual speech examination.
For longitudinal comparison, three groups were created: dynamic at three and 12 months (n=12); adynamic at three months and dynamic at 12 months (n=4); and adynamic at three and 12 months (n=2). Perceived hypernasality scores significantly improved at three months (P=0.0001) and showed continued improvement at 12 months (P=0.03), despite no change in VCR and LWM from three to 12 months. There were no significant differences among the three groups at any time point.
Sphincter pharyngoplasty effectively treats VPI in appropriately selected patients. Although the VCR and LWM remained stable between three months and one year, four of six adynamic sphincters became dynamic. Considering all patients, hypernasality showed continued improvement from three months to one year.
There were no differences between dynamic and adynamic sphincters in terms of speech outcomes or the mechanical properties of velopharyngeal closure.
PMCID: PMC3891111  PMID: 24431930
Secondary speech surgery; Speech outcome; Sphincter pharyngoplasty; Velopharyngeal incompetence; Velopharyngeal insufficiency
15.  Pulmonary Aplasia with Unusual Associations in a Woman 
Failure of development of the primitive lung bud leads to an extremely rare congenital anomaly with a prevalence of 34 per 10 lac live births termed pulmonary aplasia. In half of such cases, associated congenital malformations of the cardiovascular, skeletal, gastrointestinal, or genitourinary systems are present. The Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome is defined as the congenital aplasia of the uterus and the upper two thirds of the vagina with normal secondary sexual characteristics, ovaries, and a normal karyotype (46, XX). We report an extremely rare association of right lung aplasia, MRKH syndrome, and right renal agenesis with left pelvic kidney, which to the best of our knowledge is the first such association reported.
PMCID: PMC3957016  PMID: 24644386
Lung agenesis; Renal agenesis; Müllerian anomalies
16.  Differential In Vitro Inhibition of Thrombin Generation by Anticoagulant Drugs in Plasma from Patients with Cirrhosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88390.
Treatment and prevention of thrombotic complications is frequently required in patients with cirrhosis. However anticoagulant therapy is often withheld from these patients, because of the perceived bleeding diathesis. As a result of the limited clinical experience, the anticoagulant of choice for the various indications is still not known.
We evaluated the in vitro effect of clinically approved anticoagulant drugs in plasma from patients with cirrhosis.
Thirty patients with cirrhosis and thirty healthy controls were studied. Thrombin generation assays were performed before and after addition of unfractionated heparin, low molecular weight heparin, fondaparinux, dabigatran, and rivaroxaban, to estimate anticoagulant potencies of these drugs.
Addition of dabigatran led to a much more pronounced reduction in endogenous thrombin potential in patients compared to controls (72.6% reduction in patients vs. 12.8% reduction in controls, P<0.0001). The enhanced effect of dabigatran was proportional to the severity of disease. In contrast, only a slightly increased anticoagulant response to heparin and low molecular weight heparin and even a reduced response to fondaparinux and rivaroxaban was observed in plasma from cirrhotic patients as compared to control plasma.
The anticoagulant potency of clinically approved drugs differs substantially between patients with cirrhosis and healthy individuals. Whereas dabigatran and, to a lesser extent, heparin and low molecular weight heparin are more potent in plasma from patients with cirrhosis, fondaparinux and rivaroxaban showed a decreased anticoagulant effect. These results may imply that in addition to dose adjustments based on altered pharmacokinetics, drug-specific dose adjustments based on altered anticoagulant potency may be required in patients with cirrhosis.
PMCID: PMC3913782  PMID: 24505487
17.  The influence of fasting insulin level in post-gestational diabetes mellitus women receiving low-glycaemic-index diets 
Nutrition & Diabetes  2014;4(2):e107-.
Post-gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) women are recommended weight loss to manage increased cardio-metabolic risks. We investigated the effects of lowering diet glycaemic index (GI) on fasting blood glucose (FBG), serum lipids, body weight and composition of post-GDM women with varying fasting insulin levels (INS). Seventy-seven Asian, non-diabetic women with previous GDM (aged 20–40 years, mean BMI: 26.4±4.6 kg m−2) were recruited. At baseline, 20 subjects with INS <2 μIU ml−1 and 18 with INS ⩾2 μIU ml−1 received conventional dietary recommendations (CHDR) only. CHDR emphasised energy and fat intake restriction and encouraged increase in dietary fibre intakes. Twenty-four subjects with INS <2 μIU ml−1 and 15 with INS ⩾2 μIU ml−1, in addition to CHDR, received low-GI education (LGI). Changes in FBG, serum lipids, body weight and body composition were evaluated. Subjects with INS <2 μIU ml−1 had similar outcomes with both diets. After 1 year, subjects with INS ⩾2 μIU ml−1 who received LGI education had reductions in FBG and triglycerides. Subjects who received CHDR observed increase in both FBG and triglycerides (P<0.05). Among all subjects, diet GI was lower and dietary fibre intakes were higher in LGI compared with CHDR subjects (all P<0.05). Thus, in Asian post-GDM women with normal/higher INS, adding low-GI education to CHDR improved management of FBG and triglycerides.
PMCID: PMC3940829  PMID: 24535618
gestational diabetes mellitus; glycaemic index; type 2 diabetes mellitus; prevention; fasting insulin; diet
18.  Acute pancreatitis induced thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura 
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a rare syndrome of unknown cause with an estimated incidence of one case per million. The disease is characterized by a pentad of symptoms: Thrombocytopenia, microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, neurologic changes, renal dysfunction, and fever. It causes thrombosis in the microvasculature of several organs, producing diverse manifestations. Acute pancreatitis (AP) is a well-described consequence of TTP. Acute pancreatitis triggering TTP is uncommon.
PMCID: PMC3943117  PMID: 24678155
Microangiopathic hemolytic anemia; pancreatitis; thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
19.  Peste des Petits Ruminants Virus Tissue Tropism and Pathogenesis in Sheep and Goats following Experimental Infection 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87145.
Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a viral disease which primarily affects small ruminants, causing significant economic losses for the livestock industry in developing countries. It is endemic in Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. The primary hosts for peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) are goats and sheep; however recent models studying the pathology, disease progression and viremia of PPRV have focused primarily on goat models. This study evaluates the tissue tropism and pathogenesis of PPR following experimental infection of sheep and goats using a quantitative time-course study. Upon infection with a virulent strain of PPRV, both sheep and goats developed clinical signs and lesions typical of PPR, although sheep displayed milder clinical disease compared to goats. Tissue tropism of PPRV was evaluated by real-time RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Lymph nodes, lymphoid tissue and digestive tract organs were the predominant sites of virus replication. The results presented in this study provide models for the comparative evaluation of PPRV pathogenesis and tissue tropism in both sheep and goats. These models are suitable for the establishment of experimental parameters necessary for the evaluation of vaccines, as well as further studies into PPRV-host interactions.
PMCID: PMC3907444  PMID: 24498032
20.  Removal of Micrometer Size Morphological Defects and Enhancement of Ultraviolet Emission by Thermal Treatment of Ga-Doped ZnO Nanostructures 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86418.
Mixed morphologies of Ga-doped Zinc Oxide (ZnO) nanostructures are synthesized by vapor transport method. Systematic scanning electron microscope (SEM) studies of different morphologies, after periodic heat treatments, gives direct evidence of sublimation. SEM micrographs give direct evidence that morphological defects of nanostructures can be removed by annealing. Ultra Violet (UV) and visible emission depends strongly on the annealing temperatures and luminescent efficiency of UV emission is enhanced significantly with each subsequent heat treatment. X-Ray diffraction (XRD) results suggest that crystal quality improved by annealing and phase separation may occur at high temperatures.
PMCID: PMC3904914  PMID: 24489725
21.  An ethnobiological study in Kala Chitta hills of Pothwar region, Pakistan: multinomial logit specification 
This paper constitutes an important ethnobiological survey in the context of utilizing biological resources by residents of Kala Chitta hills of Pothwar region, Pakistan. The fundamental aim of this research endeavour was to catalogue and analyse the indigenous knowledge of native community about plants and animals. The study is distinctive in the sense to explore both ethnobotanical and ethnozoological aspects of indigenous culture, and exhibits novelty, being based on empirical approach of Multinomial Logit Specifications (MLS) for examining ethnobotanical and ethnozoological uses of specific plants and animals.
To document the ethnobiological knowledge, the survey was conducted during 2011–12 by employing a semi-structured questionnaire and thus 54 informants were interviewed. Plant and animal specimens were collected, photographed and properly identified. Distribution of plants and animals were explored by descriptive and graphical examination. MLS were further incorporated to identify the probability of occurrence of diversified utilization of plants and animals in multipurpose domains.
Traditional uses of 91 plant and 65 animal species were reported. Data analysis revealed more medicinal use of plants and animals than all other use categories. MLS findings are also in line with these proportional configurations. They reveal that medicinal and food consumption of underground and perennial plants was more as compared to aerial and annual categories of plants. Likewise, medicinal utilization of wild animals and domestic animals were more commonly observed as food items. However, invertebrates are more in the domain of medicinal and food utilization. Also carnivores are fairly common in the use of medicine while herbivores are in the category of food consumption.
This study empirically scans a good chunk of ethnobiological knowledge and depicts its strong connection with indigenous traditions. It is important to make local residents beware of conservation status of species and authentication of this knowledge needs to be done in near future. Moreover, Statistically significant findings impart novelty in the existing literature in the field of ethnobiology. Future conservation, phytochemical and pharmacological studies are recommended on these identified plants and animals in order to use them in a more sustainable and effective way.
PMCID: PMC3914733  PMID: 24467739
Ethnobotany; Ethnozoology; Multinomial logit; Kala Chitta hills; Pothwar region; Pakistan
22.  Effects of Delayed Metamorphosis on Larval Survival, Metamorphosis, and Juvenile Performance of Four Closely Related Species of Tropical Sea Urchins (Genus Echinometra) 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:918028.
We report here, the effects of extended competency on larval survival, metamorphosis, and postlarval juvenile growth of four closely related species of tropical sea urchins, Echinometra sp. A (Ea), E. mathaei (Em), Echinometra sp. C (Ec), and E. oblonga (Eo). Planktotrophic larvae of all four species fed on cultured phytoplankton (Chaetoceros gracilis) attained metamorphic competence within 22–24 days after fertilization. Competent larvae were forced to delay metamorphosis for up to 5 months by preventing them from settling in culture bottles with continuous stirring on a set of 10 rpm rotating rollers and larval survival per monthly intervals was recorded. Larval survival was highest at 24 days, when competence was attained (0 delayed period), and there were no significant differences among the four species. Larvae that had experienced a prolonged delay had reduced survival rate, metamorphosis success, and juvenile survival, but among older larvae, Em had the highest success followed by Ea, Eo, and Ec. Juveniles from larvae of all four species that metamorphosed soon after becoming competent tended to have higher growth rates (test diameter and length of spines) than juveniles from larvae that metamorphosed after a prolonged period of competence with progressively slower growth the longer the prolonged period. Despite the adverse effects of delaying metamorphosis on growth parameters, competent larvae of all four species were able to survive up to 5 months and after metamorphosis grew into 1-month-old juveniles in lab condition. Overall, delayed larvae of Em showed significantly higher larval survival, metamorphosis, and juvenile survival than Ea and Eo, while Ec showed the lowest values in these performances. Em has the most widespread distribution of these species ranging from Africa to Hawaii, while Ec probably has the most restricted distribution. Consequently, differences in distribution may be related to differences in the ability to delay metamorphosis.
PMCID: PMC3927581  PMID: 24624048
23.  Helicobacter pylori in humans: Where are we now? 
Helicobacter pylori has been associated with colonization of gastro duodenal mucosa of humans from millions of years. The main burden of the disese is in the developing countries, due to overcrowding and poor hygiene. If left untreated it leads to lot of sequlae from minor to sinister diseases over a period of time. The main challenges that remain are prevention of H. pylori-related diseases by effective treatment and screening procedures and development of a vaccine, which can address all these issues including beneficial aspects of H. pylori. The literature pertaining to different aspects of H. pylori were scrutinized from Pubmed. Material on clinical behavior, complications of chronic gastric involvement, and prevention besides role of H. pylori in nongastric diseases and the latest trends of management was collected for research and review. We continue to face many challenges. The prevention of cancer of the stomach, a worst sequlae of H. pylori continues to be a big challenge despite population screening and prevention surveys being underway in many countries. On the other hand continued scientific work has now unfolded involvement of H. pylori in extragastric diseases like cerebrovascular, cardiovascular, idiopathic thrombocytopenia, sideroblastic anemia, mental diseases, and collagen vascular diseases. In contrast, the beneficial effects of H. pylori with respect to allergic diseases and obesity are now clear. Moreover, problem of drug resistance for eradication of H. pylori has arisen for which novel treatments are being tried. Lactobacillus reuteri having anti H. pylori action is emerging as one of the promising treatment.
PMCID: PMC3950841  PMID: 24627871
Beneficial aspects; extra gastric diseases; gastric-cancer and its prevention; H. pylori; lactobacillus reuteri; novel clinical behavior; research questions; treatment challenges; vaccination
24.  Neuroprotection in Stroke: Past, Present, and Future 
ISRN Neurology  2014;2014:515716.
Stroke is a devastating medical condition, killing millions of people each year and causing serious injury to many more. Despite advances in treatment, there is still little that can be done to prevent stroke-related brain damage. The concept of neuroprotection is a source of considerable interest in the search for novel therapies that have the potential to preserve brain tissue and improve overall outcome. Key points of intervention have been identified in many of the processes that are the source of damage to the brain after stroke, and numerous treatment strategies designed to exploit them have been developed. In this review, potential targets of neuroprotection in stroke are discussed, as well as the various treatments that have been targeted against them. In addition, a summary of recent progress in clinical trials of neuroprotective agents in stroke is provided.
PMCID: PMC3918861  PMID: 24579051
25.  Genetic variants conferring susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease in the general population; do they also predispose to dementia in Down’s syndrome 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:42.
Down’s syndrome (DS) is caused by either complete or partial triplication of chromosome 21, affecting approximately 1/1000 live births, and it is widely accepted that individuals with DS are more likely to develop dementia of Alzheimer’s disease (DAD) compared with the general population. Recent collaborative genome-wide association studies of large case control data sets of individuals with and without Alzhemier’s disease (AD) have revealed new risk variants for dementia, as well as confirming previously identified risk variants. In this study, nine AD-derived SNPs, near or within the CR1 (rs3818361), BIN1 (rs744373), CD2AP (rs9349407), EPHA1 (rs11767557), CLU (rs1532278), MS4A6A/4A (rs610932), PICALM (rs561655), ABCA7 (rs3764650) and CD33 (rs3865444) genes were genotyped in 295 individuals with DS.
There were no significant associations between these nine GWAS-derived SNPs and DAD in British Caucasian individuals with DS. Interestingly the CR1 rs3818361 variant appeared to be associated with mortality in our cohort, particularly in the subjects without dementia. To our knowledge, this is the first time that this variant has been implicated as a determinant of mortality and the finding warrants further investigation in other cohorts with DS.
This study shows negative associations of nine AD-derived SNPs with DAD in DS. This may be due to the modest size of our cohort, which may indicate that our study is insufficiently powered to pick up such associations. We cannot conclusively exclude a role for these SNPs in DAD in DS. Clearly, efforts to investigate genetic variants with small effects on disease risk require a much larger cohort of individuals with DS. In fact, we hypothesize that a sample size of 4465 individuals with DS would be needed to determine the role in DAD in DS of the nine AD-derived SNPs investigated in this study. We therefore recommend that all national and international clinics with access to individuals with DS should contribute DNA samples to form DS consortia.
PMCID: PMC3929558  PMID: 24438528
Down syndrome; Dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; SNPs

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