An intervention to reduce insecticide exposure in Shogun orange farmers was implemented in Krabi Province, Thailand. Intervention effects on insecticide-related knowledge and attitude were evaluated in a quasi-experimental study in two farms about 20 kilometers (km) apart. The intervention was conducted at one farm; the other served as control. The study included 42 and 50 farmers at the intervention and control farms, respectively. The intervention included several components, including didactic instruction, practical demonstrations, use of a fluorescent tracer, and continuing guidance on insecticide use via a small, specially trained group within the overall intervention group. To the best of our knowledge, this was the first such intervention in Thailand. Knowledge and attitude were measured at baseline (pre-intervention), and at 2 and 5 months after the intervention (follow-up 1 and follow-up 2, respectively). Intervention effects were assessed with linear mixed models, specified to enable testing of effects at each follow-up time. The intervention was associated with substantial and statistically significant improvements in both knowledge score and attitude score (P < 0.001 for each score at each follow-up time). Intervention-related improvements in knowledge score and attitude score were equivalent to about 27% and 14% of baseline mean knowledge and attitude scores, respectively. Intervention-related benefits were similar at both follow-up times. Findings were similar before and after adjustment for covariates. These findings increase confidence that well-designed interventions can reduce farmers’ insecticide exposure in Thailand and elsewhere. In future research, it would be desirable to address long-term intervention effects on farmers’ health and quality of life.
insecticides; pesticides; intervention; farmers; knowledge; attitude
ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) transporter regulates cholesterol efflux and is an essential mediator of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) formation. In amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgenic mice, Abca1 deficiency increased amyloid deposition in the brain paralleled by decreased levels of Apolipoprotein E (ApoE). The APOEε4 allele is the major genetic risk factor of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we reveal the effect of Abca1 deficiency on phenotype in mice expressing human ApoE3 or ApoE4. We used APP/E3 and APP/E4 mice generated by crossing APP/PS1ΔE9 transgenic mice to human APOE3- and APOE4-targeted replacement mice and examined Abca1 gene dose effect on amyloid deposition and cognition. The results from two behavior tests demonstrate that lack of one copy of Abca1 significantly exacerbates memory deficits in APP/E4/Abca1−/+ but not in APP/E3/Abca1−/+ mice. The data for amyloid plaques and insoluble amyloid-β (Aβ) also show that Abca1 hemizygosity increases Aβ deposition only in APP/E4/Abca1−/+ but not in APP/E3/Abca1−/+ mice. Our in vivo microdialysis assays indicate that Abca1 deficiency significantly decreases Aβ clearance in ApoE4-expressing mice, while the effect of Abca1 on Aβ clearance in ApoE3-expressing mice was insignificant. In addition, we demonstrate that plasma HDL and Aβ42 levels in APP/E4/Abca1−/+ mice are significantly decreased, and there is a negative correlation between plasma HDL and amyloid plaques in brain, suggesting that plasma lipoproteins may be involved in Aβ clearance. Overall, our results prove that the presence of functional Abca1 significantly influences the phenotype of APP mice expressing human ApoE4 and further substantiate therapeutic approaches in AD based on ABCA1–APOE regulatory axis.
Brain plasticity and cognitive compensation in the elderly are of increasing interest, and Alzheimer's disease (AD) offers an opportunity to elucidate how the brain may overcome damage. We provide neurophysiological evidence of a short-latency ERP component (C145) linked to stimulus relevancy that may reflect cognitive compensation in early-stage Alzheimer's disease (AD). Thirty-six subjects with early-stage, mild AD and 36 like-aged normal elderly (Controls) had their EEG recorded while performing our Number-Letter task, a cognitive/perceptual paradigm that manipulates stimulus relevancies. ERP components, including C145, were extracted from ERPs using Principal Components Analysis. C145 amplitudes and spatial distributions were compared among Controls, AD subjects with high performance on the Number-Letter task, and AD subjects with low performance. Compared to AD subjects, Control subjects showed enhanced C145 processing of visual stimuli in the occipital region where differential processing of relevant stimuli occurred. AD high performers recruited central brain areas in processing task relevancy. Controls and AD low performers did not show a significant task relevancy effect in these areas. We conclude that short-latency ERP components can detect electrophysiological differences in early-stage AD that reflect altered cognition. Differences in C145 amplitudes between AD and normal elderly groups regarding brain locations and types of task effects suggest compensatory mechanisms can occur in the AD brain to overcome loss of normal functionality, and this early compensation may have a profound effect on the cognitive efficiency of AD individuals.
Event-Related Potentials (ERP); Electrophysiology; Alzheimer's disease (AD); EEG; Principal Components Analysis (PCA); Short-latency ERP component; Compensatory mechanisms; Brain plasticity; C145
Epidemiological studies have correlated arsenic exposure in drinking water with adverse developmental outcomes such as stillbirths, spontaneous abortions, neonatal mortality, low birth weight, delays in the use of musculature, and altered locomotor activity. Killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) were used as a model to help to determine the mechanisms by which arsenic could impact development. Killifish embryos were exposed to three different sodium arsenite concentrations and were collected at 32 h post-fertilization (hpf), 42 hpf, 168 hpf, or < 24 h post-hatch. A killifish oligo microarray was developed and used to examine gene expression changes between control and 25-ppm arsenic-exposed hatchlings. With artificial neural network analysis of the transcriptomic data, accurate prediction of each group (control vs. arsenic-exposed embryos) was obtained using a small subset of only 332 genes. The genes differentially expressed include those involved in cell cycle, development, ubiquitination, and the musculature. Several of the genes involved in cell cycle regulation and muscle formation, such as fetuin B, cyclin D–binding protein 1, and CapZ, were differentially expressed in the embryos in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Examining muscle structure in the hatchlings showed that arsenic exposure during embryogenesis significantly reduces the average muscle fiber size, which is coupled with a significant 2.1- and 1.6-fold upregulation of skeletal myosin light and heavy chains, respectively. These findings collectively indicate that arsenic exposure during embryogenesis can initiate molecular changes that appear to lead to aberrant muscle formation.
arsenic; Fundulus; muscle; embryonic; CapZ; development; microarray
Xuanwei, China, experiences some of the highest rates of lung cancer in China. While lung cancer risk has been linked to the household use of bituminous coal, no study has comprehensively evaluated the risk of lung cancer associated with the mining of this coal in Xuanwei. In Xuanwei, coal is typically extracted from underground mines, without ventilation, and transported to the surface using carts powered by manpower or electricity.
We evaluated the risk of lung cancer and working as a coal miner, in the absence of diesel exhaust exposure, in a population-based case-control study of 260 male lung cancer cases and 260 age-matched male controls with information on occupational histories. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for working as a coal miner and years of working as a coal miner were calculated by conditional logistic regression, adjusting for potential confounders, such as smoking and household coal use.
We observed an increased risk of lung cancer among coal miners (OR=2.7; 95%CI =1.3–5.6) compared to non-coal miners. Further, a dose-response relationship was observed for the risk of lung cancer and the number of years working as a coal miner (ptrend=0.02), with those working as miners for more than 10 years experiencing an almost 4-fold increased risk (OR=3.8; 95%CI=1.4–10.3) compared to non-coal miners.
These findings suggest that coal mining in Xuanwei may be a risk factor for lung cancer.
Coal mining; lung cancer; occupation; Xuanwei; China
We analyzed verbal episodic memory learning and recall using the Logical Memory (LM) subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale-III in order to determine how gender differences in AD compare to those seen in normal elderly and whether or not these differences impact assessment of AD. We administered the LM to both an AD and a Control group, each comprised of 21 men and 21 women, and found a large drop in performance from normal elders to AD. Of interest was a gender interaction whereby the women’s scores dropped 1.6 times more than the men’s did. Control women on average outperformed Control men on every aspect of the test, including immediate recall, delayed recall, and learning. Conversely, AD women tended to perform worse than AD men. Additionally, the LM achieved perfect diagnostic accuracy in discriminant analysis of AD vs. Control women, a statistically significantly higher result than for men. The results indicate the LM is a more powerful and reliable tool in detecting AD in women than in men.
Gender differences; Alzheimer’s disease (AD); normal elderly; Logical Memory; Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS); verbal episodic memory; learning; sex; diagnosis
Predicting which individuals will progress to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is important in both clinical and research settings. We used brain Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) obtained in a perceptual/cognitive paradigm with various processing demands to predict which individual Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) subjects will develop AD versus which will not. ERP components, including P3, memory “storage” component, and other earlier and later components, were identified and measured by Principal Components Analysis. When measured for particular task conditions, a weighted set of eight ERP component_conditions performed well in discriminant analysis at predicting later AD progression with good accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity. The predictions for most individuals (79%) had high posterior probabilities and were accurate (88%). This method, supported by a cross-validation where the prediction accuracy was 70–78%, features the posterior probability for each individual as a method of determining the likelihood of progression to AD. Empirically obtained prediction accuracies rose to 94% when the computed posterior probabilities for individuals were 0.90 or higher (which was found for 40% of our MCI sample).
Event-Related Potentials (ERP); Biomarker; Neurophysiology; Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI); Alzheimer’s disease (AD); Diagnosis; Prediction; EEG; Principal Components Analysis (PCA); Discriminant Analysis; Posterior Probability; Early Detection
The use of tumor-derived proteins as cancer vaccines is complicated by tolerance to these self antigens. Tolerance may be broken by immunization with activated, autologous, ex vivo generated and antigen-loaded, antigen-presenting cells (APC); however, targeting tumor antigen directly to APC in vivo would be a less complicated strategy. We wished to test whether targeted delivery of an otherwise poorly immunogenic, soluble antigen to APC through their mannose receptors (MR) would induce clinically relevant immunity.
Two phase I studies were performed with CDX-1307, a vaccine composed of human chorionic gonadotropin beta chain (hCG-β) fused to a MR-specific monoclonal antibody, administered either locally (intradermally) or systemically (intravenously) in patients with advanced epithelial malignancies. An initial dose-escalation of single agent CDX-1307 was followed by additional cohorts of CDX-1307 combined with GM-CSF and the Toll-like receptor (TLR)-3 agonist poly-ICLC and TLR7/8 agonist resiquimod to activate the APC.
CDX-1307 induced consistent humoral and T cell responses to hCG-β when co-administered with TLR agonists. Greater immune responses and clinical benefit, including the longest duration of stable disease, were observed with immunization combined with local TLR agonists. Immune responses were induced equally efficiently in patients with elevated and non-elevated levels of serum hCG-β. Antibodies within the serum of vaccinated participants had tumor suppressive function in vitro. Toxicity consisted chiefly of mild injection site reactions.
APC targeting and activation induce adaptive immunity against poorly immunogenic self antigens which has implications for enhancing the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.
TLR agonist; cancer vaccine; hCG-β; T cell; B cell
Antiandrogen withdrawal is a potential therapeutic maneuver for patients with progressive prostate cancer. This study was designed to examine antiandrogen withdrawal effects within the context of a large multi-institutional prospective trial.
Eligibility criteria included progressive prostate adenocarcinoma despite combined androgen blockade. Eligible patients received prior initial treatment with an antiandrogen plus orchiectomy or luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist. Patients were stratified according to type of antiandrogen, type of progression (prostate-specific antigen [PSA] or radiographic), presence or absence of metastatic disease, and prior LHRH agonist versus surgical castration.
A total of 210 eligible and evaluable patients had a median follow-up of 5.0 years; 64% of patients previously received flutamide, 32% bicalutamide, and 3% nilutamide. Of the 210 patients, 21% of patients had confirmed PSA decreases of ≥50% (95% CI, 16% to 27%). No radiographic responses were recorded. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 3 months (95% CI, 2 months to 4 months); however, 19% had 12-month or greater progression-free intervals. Median overall survival (OS) after antiandrogen withdrawal was 22 months (20 and 40 months for those with and without radiographic evidence of metastatic disease, respectively). Multivariate analyses indicated that longer duration of antiandrogen use, lower PSA at baseline, and PSA-only progression at study entry were associated with both longer PFS and OS. Longer antiandrogen use was the only significant predictor of PSA response.
These data indicate a relatively modest rate of PSA response in patients who were undergoing antiandrogen withdrawal; however, PFS can be relatively prolonged (≥1 year) in approximately 19% of patients.
antiandrogen withdrawal; prostate cancer; PSA; prognosis; survival; secondary hormonal therapy; hormone-refractory prostate cancer
The striped bass and its relatives (genus Morone) are important fisheries and aquaculture species native to estuaries and rivers of the Atlantic coast and Gulf of Mexico in North America. To open avenues of gene expression research on reproduction and breeding of striped bass, we generated a collection of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from a complementary DNA (cDNA) library representative of their ovarian transcriptome.
Sequences of a total of 230,151 ESTs (51,259,448 bp) were acquired by Roche 454 pyrosequencing of cDNA pooled from ovarian tissues obtained at all stages of oocyte growth, at ovulation (eggs), and during preovulatory atresia. Quality filtering of ESTs allowed assembly of 11,208 high-quality contigs ≥ 100 bp, including 2,984 contigs 500 bp or longer (average length 895 bp). Blastx comparisons revealed 5,482 gene orthologues (E-value < 10-3), of which 4,120 (36.7% of total contigs) were annotated with Gene Ontology terms (E-value < 10-6). There were 5,726 remaining unknown unique sequences (51.1% of total contigs). All of the high-quality EST sequences are available in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Short Read Archive (GenBank: SRX007394). Informative contigs were considered to be abundant if they were assembled from groups of ESTs comprising ≥ 0.15% of the total short read sequences (≥ 345 reads/contig). Approximately 52.5% of these abundant contigs were predicted to have predominant ovary expression through digital differential display in silico comparisons to zebrafish (Danio rerio) UniGene orthologues. Over 1,300 Gene Ontology terms from Biological Process classes of Reproduction, Reproductive process, and Developmental process were assigned to this collection of annotated contigs.
This first large reference sequence database available for the ecologically and economically important temperate basses (genus Morone) provides a foundation for gene expression studies in these species. The predicted predominance of ovary gene expression and assignment of directly relevant Gene Ontology classes suggests a powerful utility of this dataset for analysis of ovarian gene expression related to fundamental questions of oogenesis. Additionally, a high definition Agilent 60-mer oligo ovary 'UniClone' microarray with 8 × 15,000 probe format has been designed based on this striped bass transcriptome (eArray Group: Striper Group, Design ID: 029004).
The study of the folding of single domains, in the context of their multidomain environment, is important because more than 70% of eukaryotic proteins are composed of multiple domains. The structures of the tandem immunoglobulin (Ig) domain pairs A164–A165 and A168–A169, from the A-band of the giant muscle protein titin, reveal that they form tightly associated domain arrangements, connected by a continuous β-strand. We investigate the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of these tandem domain pairs. While A164–A165 apparently behaves as a single cooperative unit at equilibrium, unfolding without the accumulation of a large population of intermediates, domains in A168–A169 behave independently. Although A169 appears to be stabilized in the tandem protein, we show that this is due to nonspecific stabilization by extension. We elucidate the folding and unfolding pathways of both tandem pairs and show that cooperativity in A164–A165 is a manifestation of the relative refolding and unfolding rate constants of each individual domain. We infer that the differences between the two tandem pairs result from a different pattern of interactions at the domain/domain interface.
► We investigate the stability and folding of titin Ig domains in a multidomain environment. ► Tandem A-band domains in A164–A165 and A168–A169 are linked by a continuous β-strand. ► At equilibrium, A164–A165 exhibits cooperativity, but A168–A169 domains do not interact. ► Modeling using kinetic data shows that an intermediate accumulates in A164–A165. ► Biophysical studies show that these homologous proteins exhibit very different properties.
multidomain; Beta sheet; titin A-band; tandem repeat; protein folding; FNIII, fibronectin type III
Behavioral markers measured through neuropsychological testing in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) were analyzed and combined in multivariate ways to predict conversion to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in a longitudinal study of 43 MCI patients. The test measures taken at a baseline evaluation were first reduced to underlying components (Principal Components Analysis, PCA) and then the component scores were used in discriminant analysis to classify MCI individuals as likely to convert or not. When empirically weighted and combined, episodic memory, speeded executive functioning, recognition memory (false and true positives), visuospatial memory processing speed, and visuospatial episodic memory were together strong predictors of conversion to AD. These multivariate combinations of the test measures achieved through the PCA were good, statistically significant predictors of MCI conversion to AD (84% accuracy, 86% sensitivity, and 83% specificity). Importantly, the posterior probabilities of group membership that accompanied the binary prediction for each participant indicated the confidence of the prediction. Most of the subjects (81%) were in the highly confident probability bins (0.70 – 1.00), where the obtained prediction accuracy was more than 90%. The strength and reliability of this multivariate prediction method were tested by cross-validation and randomized resampling.
Neuropsychological tests; predict; multivariate; Alzheimer’s disease (AD); Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI); discriminant analysis; Principal Components Analysis (PCA); posterior probability
Neuropsychological assessment aids in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by objectively establishing cognitive impairment from standardized tests. We present new criteria for diagnosis that use weighted combined scores from multiple tests. Our method employs two multivariate analyses: Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and discriminant analysis. PCA (N = 216 subjects) created more interpretable cognitive dimensions by resolving 49 test measures in our neuropsychological battery to 13 component scores for each subject. The component scores were used to build discriminant functions that classified each participant as either an early-stage AD (N = 55) or normal elderly (N = 78). Our discriminant function performed with high accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity (nearly all >90%) in the development, a cross-validation, and a new subjects validation. When contrasted to two different traditional empirical methods for diagnosis (using cutscores and defining AD as falling below 5% on two or more test domains), our results suggested that the multivariate method was superior in classification (approximately 20% more accurate).
Discriminant analysis; neuropsychological tests; diagnosis; Alzheimer’s disease (AD); Principal Components Analysis (PCA); multivariate analyses; NINCDS-ADRDA criteria; posterior probability
Advances in informatics, particularly the implementation of electronic health records (EHR), in dentistry have facilitated the exchange of information. The majority of dental schools in North America use the same EHR system, providing an unprecedented opportunity to integrate these data into a repository that can be used for oral health education and research. In 2007, fourteen dental schools formed the Consortium for Oral Health-Related Informatics (COHRI). Since its inception, COHRI has established structural and operational processes, governance and bylaws, and a number of work groups organized in two divisions: one focused on research (data standardization, integration, and analysis), and one focused on education (performance evaluations, virtual standardized patients, and objective structured clinical examinations). To date, COHRI (which now includes twenty dental schools) has been successful in developing a data repository, pilot-testing data integration, and sharing EHR enhancements among the group. This consortium has collaborated on standardizing medical and dental histories, developing diagnostic terminology, and promoting the utilization of informatics in dental education. The consortium is in the process of assembling the largest oral health database ever created. This will be an invaluable resource for research and provide a foundation for evidence-based dentistry for years to come.
dentistry; dental education; informatics; education; research; evidence-based dentistry
Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who progress on standard chemotherapy have limited treatment options. New and effective drugs are needed for these patients. Depsipeptide is a histone deacetylase inhibitor that can alter chromatin structure and gene transcription leading to multiple changes in cellular protein production. This may result in cell cycle arrest and tumor growth inhibition. Depsipeptide has shown anti-proliferative activity in vitro against multiple mouse and human tumor cell lines and in vivo in human tumor xenograft models.
Patients and Methods
Patients were required to have pathologically verified, measurable, metastatic or locally advanced colorectal cancer that was surgically unresectable. They must have failed either one or two prior chemotherapy regimens, had performance status of 0–1, adequate bone marrow, renal and hepatic function, and no significant cardiac disease. Patients were treated with depsipeptide at a dose of 13 mg/m2 as a 4 hour iv infusion on days 1, 8, and 15 of a 28 day cycle. The study had a two stage design. The primary objective of the study was to determine the confirmed response probability in this group of patients treated with depsipeptide.
Twenty-eight patients were registered to the study, two of whom were ineligible. One eligible patient refused all treatment and was not analyzed. For the 25 remaining patients, performance status was 0 in 16 patients and 1 in 9 patients. Ten patients had received one prior chemotherapy regimen and fifteen 2 prior regimens. Out of the 25 eligible and analyzable patients accrued in the first stage of the protocol, no objective responses were observed and the study was permanently closed. Four patients had stable disease as the best response. Twenty-five patients were assessed for toxicity. No grade 4 or greater toxicities were seen. Fourteen of the 25 patients experienced grade 3 toxicities the most common of which were fatigue or anorexia.
Depsipeptide at this dose and schedule is ineffective in the treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer after prior chemotherapy. Future trials might evaluate combinations of depsipeptide with chemotherapeutic or other agents.
High fat diet and certain dietary patterns are associated with higher incidence of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cognitive decline. However, no specific therapy has been suggested to ameliorate the negative effects of high fat/high cholesterol levels on cognition and amyloid pathology. Here we show that in 9 month old APP23 mice, a high fat/high cholesterol (HF) diet provided for 4 months exacerbates the AD phenotype evaluated by behavioral, morphological and biochemical assays. To examine the therapeutic potential of Liver X Receptor (LXR) ligands, APP23 mice were fed HF diet supplemented with synthetic LXR agonist T0901317 (T0). Our results demonstrate that LXR ligand treatment causes a significant reduction of memory deficits observed during both acquisition and retention phases of the Morris Water Maze. Moreover, the effects of T0 on cognition correlate with AD-like morphological and biochemical parameters. We found a significant decrease in amyloid plaque load, insoluble Aβ and soluble Aβ oligomers. In vitro experiments with primary glia demonstrated that Abca1 is essential for the proper lipidation of ApoE and mediates the effects of T0 on Aβ degradation by microglia. Microdialysis experiments performed on awake freely moving mice showed that T0 decreased Aβ level in the interstitial fluid of the hippocampus, supporting the conclusion that this treatment increases Aβ clearance. The data presented conclusively shows that LXR activation in the context of a metabolic challenge has critical effects on AD phenotype progression by attenuating Aβ deposition and facilitating its clearance.
LXR; high fat diet; Aβ; behavior; ABCA1; ApoE; APP23
Lung cancer rates in Xuanwei County have been among the highest in China for both males and females, and have been causally associated with exposure to indoor smoky (bituminous) coal emissions that contain very high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. There are numerous coal mines across the County. Although lung cancer risk is strongly associated with use of smoky coal as a whole, variation in risk by smoky coal subtype has not been characterized as yet. We conducted a population-based case-control study of 498 lung cancer cases and 498 controls, individually matched to case subjects on age (±2 years) and sex, to examine risk by coal subtype. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for coal subtype were calculated by conditional logistic regression, adjusting for potential confounders. Overall, smoky coal use was statistically significantly associated with lung cancer risk, as compared to use of smokeless coal or wood (OR=7.7, 95% CI=4.5 to 13.3). Furthermore, there was marked heterogeneity in risk estimates for specific subtypes of smoky coal (test for heterogeneity: p=5.17 × 10−10). Estimates were highest for coal from the Laibin (OR=24.8, 95% CI=12.4 to 49.6) and Longtan (OR=11.6, 95% CI = 5.0 to 27.2) coal types, and lower for coal from other types. These findings strongly suggest that in Xuanwei and elsewhere, the carcinogenic potential of coal combustion products can exhibit substantial local variation by specific coal source.
Coal; lung cancer; indoor air pollution; Xuanwei; China
The aim of this research was to assess similarity in cognitive factor structures underlying neuropsychological test performance of elders belonging to three clinical groups: Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and normal elderly. We administered a battery of neuropsychological tests to 214 elderly participants in the groups. First, the underlying cognitive structure of a Combined-Set of AD, MCI, and Control subjects was determined by Principal Components Analysis (PCA), including quantitative relationships (loadings) between the test measures and the factors. The PCA resolved 17 neuropsychological test measures into 6 interpretable factors, accounting for 78% of the variance. This cognitive structure was compared with separate cognitive structures from an AD-Set, an MCI-Set, and a Control-Set (different individuals in each set) in additional PCA using Procrustes factor rotation. Analysis of congruence coefficients between each set and the Combined-Set by a bootstrapping statistical procedure supported the factor invariance hypothesis. These close similarities across groups in their underlying neuropsychological dimensions support the use of a common metric system (the factor structure of a Combined-Set) for measuring neuropsychological factors in all these elderly individuals.
Neuropsychological tests; Principal Components Analysis (PCA); cognitive structures; cognitive dimensions; common metric; Procrustes factor rotation; Alzheimer’s disease; Mild Cognitive Impairment; elderly controls; congruence coefficients
Heavy metals, such as copper, zinc and cadmium, represent some of the most common and serious pollutants in coastal estuaries. In the present study, we used a combination of linear and artificial neural network (ANN) modelling to detect and explore interactions among low-dose mixtures of these heavy metals and their impacts on fundamental physiological processes in tissues of the Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Animals were exposed to Cd (0.001–0.400 µM), Zn (0.001–3.059 µM) or Cu (0.002–0.787 µM), either alone or in combination for 1 to 27 days. We measured indicators of acid–base balance (hemolymph pH and total CO2), gas exchange (Po2), immunocompetence (total hemocyte counts, numbers of invasive bacteria), antioxidant status (glutathione, GSH), oxidative damage (lipid peroxidation; LPx), and metal accumulation in the gill and the hepatopancreas. Linear analysis showed that oxidative membrane damage from tissue accumulation of environmental metals was correlated with impaired acid–base balance in oysters. ANN analysis revealed interactions of metals with hemolymph acid–base chemistry in predicting oxidative damage that were not evident from linear analyses. These results highlight the usefulness of machine learning approaches, such as ANNs, for improving our ability to recognize and understand the effects of subacute exposure to contaminant mixtures.
Heavy metals; Artificial neural networks; Crassostrea virginica; Lipid peroxidation; Glutathione; Acid–base balance; Hemolymph PO2
The high incidence of lung cancer in Xuanwei County, China has been attributed to exposure to indoor smoky coal emissions that contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The inflammatory response induced by coal smoke components may promote lung tumor development. We studied the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in genes involved in innate immunity and lung cancer risk in a population-based case-control study (122 cases and 122 controls) in Xuanwei. A total of 1,360 tag SNPs in 149 gene regions were included in the analysis. FCER2 rs7249320 was the most significant SNP (OR: 0.30; 95% CI: 0.16–0.55; P, 0.0001; false discovery rate value, 0.13) for variant carriers. The gene regions ALOX12B/ALOX15B and KLK2 were associated with increased lung cancer risk globally (false discovery rate value < 0.15). In addition, there were positive interactions between KLK15 rs3745523 and smoky coal use (OR: 9.40; P interaction = 0.07), and between FCER2 rs7249320 and KLK2 rs2739476 (OR: 10.77; P interaction = 0.003). Our results suggest that genetic polymorphisms in innate immunity genes may play a role in the carcinogenesis of lung cancer caused by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-containing coal smoke. Integrin/receptor and complement pathways as well as IgE regulation are particular noteworthy.
lung cancer; innate immunity; single nucleotide polymorphism; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon; coal; FERC2; KLK
Tobacco and indoor air pollution from smoky coal are major causes of lung cancer in rural Xuanwei County, China. Tuberculosis has been suggested to increase lung cancer risk, but data from prior studies are limited. We conducted an analysis of data from a retrospective cohort study of 42,422 farmers in Xuanwei. In 1992, interviewers administered a standardized questionnaire that included lifetime medical history, including tuberculosis. Subjects were followed from 1976, with deaths from lung cancer ascertained through 1996. We used proportional hazards regression to assess the association between tuberculosis and subsequent lung cancer mortality. Tuberculosis was reported by 246 subjects (0.6%), and 2459 (5.8%) died from lung cancer during follow-up. Lung cancer mortality was substantially higher in subjects with tuberculosis than in those without (25 vs. 3.1 per 1000 person-years). The association was especially pronounced in the first five years after tuberculosis diagnosis (hazard ratios [HRs] ranging 6.7–13) but remained strong 5–9.9 years (HR 3.4, 95%CI 1.3–9.1) and 10+ years (HR 3.0, 95%CI 1.3–7.3) after tuberculosis. These associations were similar among men and women, and among smoky coal users (70.5% of subjects). Adjustment for demographic characteristics, lung disease, and tobacco use did not affect results. In Xuanwei, China, tuberculosis is an important risk factor for lung cancer. The increased lung cancer risk, persisting years after a tuberculosis diagnosis, could reflect the effects of chronic pulmonary inflammation and scarring arising from tuberculosis.
Indoor air pollution has been documented as an important risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and inflammation is central to the development and progression of COPD. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in some cytokine genes have been reported to be associated with COPD. We examined the association between 18 SNPs in 10 cytokine genes and COPD risk in a case-control study conducted in a population with high exposure to indoor smoky coal emissions. The study included 53 COPD cases and 122 healthy community controls. Carriers of the CSF2 117Ile allele had a 2.4-fold higher risk of COPD than the wild type (Thr/Thr) carriers (OR: 2.44; 95% CI: 1.10 – 5.41), and the AA genotype at IL8 -351 was associated with an increased risk of COPD (OR: 2.71; 95% CI: 1.04 – 7.04). When the combined effects of CSF2 117Ile and IL8 -351A were examined, individuals carrying at least one variant in both genes had a five-fold increased risk of COPD (OR: 5.14, 95% CI: 1.32 – 29.86). This study suggests that polymorphisms in both CSF2 and IL8 may play a role in the pathogenesis of COPD, at least in highly exposed populations. However, in view of our relatively small sample size, this study should be replicated in other populations with substantial exposure to indoor air pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and particulate matter.
COPD; Cytokine; CSF2; IL8; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Indoor air pollution
Selective lowering of Aβ42 levels (the 42-residue isoform of the amyloid-β peptide) with small-molecule γ-secretase modulators (GSMs), such as some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, is a promising therapeutic approach for Alzheimer’s disease1. To identify the target of these agents we developed biotinylated photo-activatable GSMs. GSM photoprobes did not label the core proteins of the γ-secretase complex, but instead labelled the β-amyloid precursor protein (APP), APP carboxy-terminal fragments and amyloid-β peptide in human neuroglioma H4 cells. Substrate labelling was competed by other GSMs, and labelling of an APP γ-secretase substrate was more efficient than a Notch substrate. GSM interaction was localized to residues 28–36 of amyloid-β, a region critical for aggregation. We also demonstrate that compounds known to interact with this region of amyloid-β act as GSMs, and some GSMs alter the production of cell-derived amyloid-β oligomers. Furthermore, mutation of the GSM binding site in the APP alters the sensitivity of the substrate to GSMs. These findings indicate that substrate targeting by GSMs mechanistically links two therapeutic actions: alteration in Aβ42 production and inhibition of amyloid-β aggregation, which may synergistically reduce amyloid-β deposition in Alzheimer’s disease. These data also demonstrate the existence and feasibility of ‘substrate targeting’ by small-molecule effectors of proteolytic enzymes, which if generally applicable may significantly broaden the current notion of ‘druggable’ targets2.
In Xuanwei County, China, unvented indoor coal burning is strongly associated with increased risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, the impact of coal burning and stove improvement on risk of pneumonia is not clear.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study among all farmers born 1917 through 1951 and living in Xuanwei as of 1 January 1976. The analysis included a total of 42,422 cohort members. Follow-up identified all deaths in the cohort from 1976 through 1996. Ages at entry into and at exit from follow-up ranged from 24 to 59 years and from 25 to 80 years, respectively. The record search detected 225 deaths from pneumonia, and 32,332 (76%) were alive as of 31 December 1996. We constructed multivariable Cox models (time variable = age) to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Use of coal, especially smokeless coal, was positively associated with pneumonia mortality. Annual tonnage and lifetime duration of smoky and smokeless coal use were positively associated with pneumonia mortality. Stove improvement was associated with a 50% reduction in pneumonia deaths (smoky coal users: HR, 0.521; 95% CI, 0.340–0.798; smokeless coal users: HR, 0.449; 95% CI, 0.215–0.937).
Our analysis is the first to suggest that indoor air pollution from unvented coal burning is an important risk factor for pneumonia death in adults and that improving ventilation by installing a chimney is an effective measure to decrease it.
coal; cohort study; indoor air pollution; pneumonia
A pattern of components from brain Event-Related Potentials (ERP) (cognitive non-invasive electrical brain measures) performed well in separating early-stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD) subjects from normal-aging control subjects and shows promise for developing a clinical diagnostic for Probable AD. A Number-Letter task elicited brain activity related to cognitive processes. In response to the task stimuli, brain activity was recorded as ERPs, whose components were measured by Principal Components Analysis (PCA). The ERP component scores to relevant and irrelevant stimuli were used in Discriminant Analyses to develop functions that successfully classified individuals as belonging to an early-stage Alzheimer’s disease group or a like-aged Control group, with probabilities of an individual belonging to each group. Applying the discriminant function to the developmental half of the data showed 92% of the subjects were correctly classified into either the AD group or the Control group with a sensitivity of 1.00. The two crossvalidation results were good with sensitivities of 0.83 and classification accuracies of 0.75–0.79. P3 and CNV components, as well as other, earlier ERP components, e.g. C145 and the memory “Storage” component, were useful in the discriminant functions.
Event-Related Potentials (ERP); Neurophysiology; Alzheimer’s disease; Diagnostic; EEG; Principal Components Analysis (PCA); Discriminant Analysis; P3; CNV; “Storage” Component