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1.  Health-related quality of life in preschool children in five health conditions 
Quality of Life Research  2010;20(5):779-786.
To test the responsiveness of the Infant/Toddler Quality of Life Questionnaire (ITQOL) to five health conditions. In addition, to evaluate the impact of the child’s age and gender on the ITQOL domain scores.
Observational study of 494 Dutch preschool-aged children with five clinical conditions and 410 healthy preschool children randomly sampled from the general population. The clinical conditions included neurofibromatosis type 1, wheezing illness, bronchiolitis, functional abdominal complaints, and burns. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) was assessed by a mailed parent-completed ITQOL. Mean ITQOL scale scores for all conditions were compared with scores obtained from the reference sample. The effect of patient’s age and gender on ITQOL scores was assessed using multi-variable regression analysis.
In all health conditions, substantially lower scores were found for several ITQOL scales. The conditions had a variable effect on the type of ITQOL domains and a different magnitude of effect. Scores for ‘physical functioning’, ‘bodily pain’, and ‘general health perceptions’ showed the greatest range. Parental impact scales were equally affected by all conditions. In addition to disease type, the child’s age and gender had an impact on HRQoL.
The five health conditions (each with a distinct clinical profile) affected the ITQOL scales differently. These results indicate that the ITQOL is sensitive to specific characteristics and symptom expression of the childhood health conditions investigated. This insight into the sensitivity of the ITQOL to health conditions with different symptom expression may help in the interpretation of HRQoL results in future applications.
PMCID: PMC3102208  PMID: 21153564
Health-related quality of life; Preschool children; ITQOL; Variety of diseases
2.  Functional abdominal complaints in pre-school children: parental reports of health-related quality of life 
Quality of Life Research  2010;19(3):363-369.
The aim of this study is to assess the influence of functional abdominal complaints (FAC) on health-related quality of life in a group of Dutch pre-school children.
Parents of children aged up to 6.0  visiting the outpatient pediatric department, Erasmus MC-Sophia, Rotterdam, The Netherlands in the period January 2005–December 2006 for functional abdominal complaints during at least 3 months were asked to complete the Infant/Toddler Quality of life Questionnaire (ITQOL), and questions of the abdominal pain index for use by parents to report pain symptoms in pre-school children. ITQOL scale scores of children with FAC were compared against with Dutch reference values. The abdominal pain index was tested for internal consistency and test–retest reliability. Correlations between ITQOL scale scores and abdominal pain index were assessed by Spearman’s rank test.
Results are based on 81 questionnaires completed by parents of children with FAC (response rate 61%). Children had a median age of 46 months (interquartile range 27–59), 48% girls. A significant impact was observed on most aspects of quality of life, particularly for physical functioning, general development, bodily pain, temperament and moods, general health perceptions and parental emotional impact. Parents of children with functional constipation tended to report lower scores than those of children with other FAC. The abdominal pain index appeared to be valid and was significantly correlated with ITQOL scales bodily pain and general health perceptions.
A substantial lower health-related quality of life is reported in pre-school children with functional abdominal complaints, with effects on physical, emotional and parental domains. The 5-question severity index of abdominal pain appeared a valid tool and may be helpful to quickly assess the severity of abdominal pain in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC2836462  PMID: 20069377
Abdominal pain; Pre-school children; Health-related quality of life
3.  Reliability and validity of the short form of the child health questionnaire for parents (CHQ-PF28) in large random school based and general population samples 
Study objectives: This study assessed the feasibility, reliability, and validity of the 28 item short child health questionnaire parent form (CHQ-PF28) containing the same 13 scales, but only a subset of the items in the widely used 50 item CHQ-PF50.
Design: Questionnaires were sent to a random regional sample of 2040 parents of schoolchildren (4–13 years); in a random subgroup test-retest reliability was assessed (n = 234). Additionally, the study assessed CHQ-PF28 score distributions and internal consistencies in a nationwide general population sample of (parents of) children aged 4–11 (n = 2474) from Statistics Netherlands.
Main results: Response was 70%. In the school and general population samples seven scales showed ceiling effects. Both CHQ summary measures and one multi-item scale showed adequate internal consistency in both samples (Cronbach's α>0.70). One summary measure and one scale showed excellent test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient >0.70); seven scales showed moderate test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.50–0.70). The CHQ could discriminate between a subgroup with no parent reported chronic conditions (n = 954) and subgroups with asthma (n = 134), frequent headaches (n = 42), and with problems with hearing (n = 38) (Cohen's effect sizes 0.12–0.92; p<0.05 for 39 of 42 comparisons).
Conclusions: This study showed that the CHQ-PF28 resulted in score distributions, and discriminative validity that are comparable to its longer counterpart, but that the internal consistency of most individual scales was low. In community health applications, the CHQ-PF28 may be an acceptable alternative for the longer CHQ-PF50 if the summary measures suffice and reliable estimates of each separate CHQ scale are not required.
PMCID: PMC1763365  PMID: 15598731
4.  Effects of nutrition and growth rate on Lrp levels in Escherichia coli. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1996;178(23):6930-6936.
Lrp (leucine-responsive regulatory protein) activates some Escherichia coli operons that function in anabolism and represses others involved in catabolism (for a review, see J. M. Calvo and R. G. Matthews, Microbiol. Rev. 58:466-490, 1994). This overall pattern suggests that Lrp may help cells adapt to changes in the nutritional environment. Here, we tested the idea that the nutritional richness of the medium determines the amount of Lrp in cells. Lrp was measured directly by Western blotting (immunoblotting) in cells grown in a chemically defined rich medium or in a minimal medium. In addition, transcription from the lrp promoter was assessed with a lacZ reporter gene. The results with these two different measurements were nearly the same, indicating that under the conditions employed, beta-galactosidase measurements can accurately reflect Lrp levels. For cells in a minimal medium, Lrp levels were consistently lowest during the logarithmic phase of growth, but overall, there was not much variation in levels as a function of growth phase (1.3-fold difference between highest and lowest values). However, for cells in a rich medium, Lrp levels dropped 3- to 4-fold during the lag phase, remained constant during the log phase, and then rose to starting levels upon entry into the stationary phase. When cells in the log phase were compared, Lrp levels were 3- to 4-fold higher in cells growing in a minimal medium than those in a rich medium. The levels of lrp expression were the same or slightly higher in strains containing mutations in rpoS, cya, or crp compared with wild-type strains, suggesting that neither RpoS nor the cyclic AMP (cAMP) receptor protein-cAMP complex is required for expression. On the other hand, lrp expression was severely restricted in cells that could not make ppGpp because of mutations in relA and spoT. The reduced expression of lrp during logarithmic growth in a rich medium may be due to low ppGpp levels under these conditions. The repressive effects of rich medium and the stimulatory effects of ppGpp were also observed with a construct having only a minimal lrp promoter (-57 to +21). The results of other experiments suggest that Lrp levels vary inversely with the growth rate of cells instead of being determined by some component of the medium.
PMCID: PMC178595  PMID: 8955316
5.  Positive somatostatin receptor scintigraphy correlates with the presence of somatostatin receptor subtype 2. 
Gut  1996;38(1):33-39.
Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SRS) is positive in approximately 75% of all patients with neuroendocrine gastroenteropancreatic tumours. This study aimed to identify specific somatostatin receptor (sstr) subtypes, which are responsible for the in vivo binding of the widely used somatostatin analogue, octreotide in human neuroendocrine gastroenteropancreatic tumours. Twelve patients underwent SRS with radiolabelled octreotide. After surgical resection, tumour tissues were analysed in vitro for somatostatin and octreotide binding sites by autoradiography. In addition, for the first time, sstr subtype mRNA expression was examined by semiquantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Tumour tissues from all SRS positive patients were positive by autoradiography. Semiquantitative RT-PCR revealed most prominently sstr2 expression in scintigraphically positive tumours. Two SRS negative tumours contained in vitro octreotide binding sites as well as high levels of sstr1 and sstr2 mRNAs. Positive SRS is mainly due to sstr2. sstr1, 3, 4, and probably 5 are less important for in vivo octreotide binding. False negative scintigraphic results seem to be influenced by factors independent of the expression of specific sstr.
PMCID: PMC1382976  PMID: 8566856

Results 1-5 (5)