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1.  Impaired Pulmonary Nitric Oxide Bioavailability in Pulmonary Tuberculosis: Association With Disease Severity and Delayed Mycobacterial Clearance With Treatment 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;208(4):616-626.
Background. Nitric oxide (NO), a key macrophage antimycobacterial mediator that ameliorates immunopathology, is measurable in exhaled breath in individuals with pulmonary tuberculosis. We investigated relationships between fractional exhale NO (FENO) and initial pulmonary tuberculosis severity, change during treatment, and relationship with conversion of sputum culture to negative at 2 months.
Methods. In Papua, we measured FENO in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis at baseline and serially over 6 months and once in healthy controls. Treatment outcomes were conversion of sputum culture results at 2 months and time to conversion of sputum microscopy results.
Results. Among 200 patients with pulmonary tuberculosis and 88 controls, FENO was lower for patients with pulmonary tuberculosis at diagnosis (geometric mean FENO, 12.7 parts per billion [ppb]; 95% confidence interval [CI], 11.6–13.8) than for controls (geometric mean FENO, 16.6 ppb; 95% CI, 14.2–19.5; P = .002), fell further after treatment initiation (nadir at 1 week), and then recovered by 6 months (P = .03). Lower FENO was associated with more-severe tuberculosis disease, with FENO directly proportional to weight (P < .001) and forced vital-capacity (P = .001) and inversely proportional to radiological score (P = .03). People whose FENO increased or remained unchanged by 2 months were 2.7-fold more likely to achieve conversion of sputum culture than those whose FENO decreased (odds ratio, 2.72; 95% CI, 1.05–7.12; P = .04).
Conclusions. Among patients with pulmonary tuberculosis, impaired pulmonary NO bioavailability is associated with more-severe disease and delayed mycobacterial clearance. Measures to increase pulmonary NO warrant investigation as adjunctive tuberculosis treatments.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jit248
PMCID: PMC3719909  PMID: 23737604
tuberculosis; exhaled nitric oxide; L-arginine; M2 macrophages; biomarker
2.  Clinical trials in a remote Aboriginal setting: lessons from the BOABS smoking cessation study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:579.
Background
There is limited evidence regarding the best approaches to helping Indigenous Australians to stop smoking. The composite analysis of the only two smoking cessation randomised controlled trials (RCTs) investigating this suggests that one-on-one extra support delivered by and provided to Indigenous Australians in a primary health care setting appears to be more effective than usual care in encouraging smoking cessation. This paper describes the lessons learnt from one of these studies, the Be Our Ally Beat Smoking (BOABS) Study, and how to develop and implement an integrated smoking cessation program.
Methods
Qualitative study using data collected from multiple documentary sources related to the BOABS Study. As the project neared completion the research team participated in four workshops to review and conduct thematic analyses of these documents.
Results
Challenges we encountered during the relatively complex BOABS Study included recruiting sufficient number of participants; managing the project in two distant locations and ensuring high quality work across both sites; providing appropriate training and support to Aboriginal researchers; significant staff absences, staff shortages and high workforce turnover; determining where and how the project fitted in the clinics and consequent siloing of the Aboriginal researchers relating to the requirements of RCTs; resistance to change, and maintaining organisational commitment and priority for the project. The results of this study also demonstrated the importance of local Aboriginal ownership, commitment, participation and control. This included knowledge of local communities, the flexibility to adapt interventions to local settings and circumstances, and taking sufficient time to allow this to occur.
Conclusions
The keys to the success of the BOABS Study were local development, ownership and participation, worker professional development and support, and operating within a framework of cultural safety. There were difficulties associated with the BOABS Study being an RCT, and many of these are shared with stand-alone programs. Interventions targeted at particular health problems are best integrated with usual primary health care. Research to investigate complex interventions in Indigenous health should not be limited to randomised clinical trials and funding needs to reflect the additional, but necessary, cost of providing for local control of planning and implementation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-579
PMCID: PMC4064520  PMID: 24912949
Indigenous; Aboriginal; Torres Strait Islander; Smoking cessation; Be Our Ally Beat Smoking (BOABS) study; Qualitative; Randomised controlled trial
3.  The Be Our Ally Beat Smoking (BOABS) study, a randomised controlled trial of an intensive smoking cessation intervention in a remote aboriginal Australian health care setting 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:32.
Background
Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (Indigenous Australians) smoke at much higher rates than non-Indigenous people and smoking is an important contributor to increased disease, hospital admissions and deaths in Indigenous Australian populations. Smoking cessation programs in Australia have not had the same impact on Indigenous smokers as on non-Indigenous smokers. This paper describes the outcome of a study that aimed to test the efficacy of a locally-tailored, intensive, multidimensional smoking cessation program.
Methods
A randomised controlled trial of Aboriginal researcher delivered tailored smoking cessation counselling during face-to-face visits, aiming for weekly for the first four weeks, monthly to six months and two monthly to 12 months. The control (“usual care”) group received routine care relating to smoking cessation at their local primary health care service. Data collection occurred at enrolment, six and 12 months. The primary outcome was self-reported smoking cessation with urinary cotinine confirmation at final follow-up (median 13 (interquartile range 12–15) months after enrolment).
Results
Participants in the intervention (n = 55) and usual care (n = 108) groups were similar in baseline characteristics, except the intervention group was slightly older. At final follow-up the smoking cessation rate for participants assigned to the intervention group (n = 6; 11%), while not statistically significant, was double that of usual care (n = 5; 5%; p = 0.131). A meta-analysis of these findings and a similarly underpowered but comparable study of pregnant Indigenous Australian women showed that Indigenous Australian participants assigned to the intervention groups were 2.4 times (95% CI, 1.01-5.5) as likely to quit as participants assigned to usual care.
Conclusions
Culturally appropriate, multi-dimensional Indigenous quit smoking programs can be successfully implemented in remote primary health care. Intensive one-on-one interventions with substantial involvement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers are likely to be effective in these settings.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12608000604303).
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-32
PMCID: PMC3905726  PMID: 24418597
Indigenous; Aboriginal; Torres Strait Islander; Randomised controlled trial; Smoking cessation; Be Our Ally Beat Smoking (BOABS) Study
4.  High Morbidity during Treatment and Residual Pulmonary Disability in Pulmonary Tuberculosis: Under-Recognised Phenomena 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80302.
Background
In pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB), morbidity during treatment and residual pulmonary disability can be under-estimated.
Methods
Among adults with smear-positive PTB at an outpatient clinic in Papua, Indonesia, we assessed morbidity at baseline and during treatment, and 6-month residual disability, by measuring functional capacity (six-minute walk test [6MWT] and pulmonary function), quality of life (St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire [SGRQ]) and Adverse Events ([AE]: new symptoms not present at outset). Results were compared with findings in locally-recruited volunteers.
Results
200 PTB patients and 40 volunteers were enrolled. 6WMT was 497m (interquartile range 460-529) in controls versus 408m (IQR 346-450) in PTB patients at baseline (p<0.0001) and 470m (IQR 418-515) in PTB patients after 6 months (p=0.02 versus controls). SGRQ total score was 0 units (IQR 0-2.9) in controls, versus 36.9 (27.4-52.8) in PTB patients at baseline (p<0.0001) and 4.3 (1.7-8.8) by 6 months (p<0.0001). Mean percentage of predicted FEV1 was 92% (standard deviation 19.9) in controls, versus 63% (19.4) in PTB patients at baseline (p<0.0001) and 71% (17.5) by 6 months (p<0.0001). After 6 months, 27% of TB patients still had at least moderate-severe pulmonary function impairment, and 57% still had respiratory symptoms, despite most achieving ‘successful’ treatment outcomes, and reporting good quality of life. More-advanced disease at baseline (longer illness duration, worse baseline X-ray) and HIV positivity predicted residual disability. AE at any time during treatment were common: itch 59%, arthralgia 58%, headache 40%, nausea 33%, vomiting 16%.
Conclusion
We found high 6-month residual pulmonary disability and high AE rates. Although PTB treatment is highly successful, the extent of morbidity during treatment and residual impairment could be overlooked if not specifically sought. Calculations of PTB-related burden of disease should acknowledge that TB-related morbidity does not stop at 6 months. Early case detection and treatment are key in minimising residual impairment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080302
PMCID: PMC3843655  PMID: 24312209
5.  L-arginine and Vitamin D Adjunctive Therapies in Pulmonary Tuberculosis: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70032.
Background
Vitamin D (vitD) and L-arginine have important antimycobacterial effects in humans. Adjunctive therapy with these agents has the potential to improve outcomes in active tuberculosis (TB).
Methods
In a 4-arm randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled factorial trial in adults with smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in Timika, Indonesia, we tested the effect of oral adjunctive vitD 50,000 IU 4-weekly or matching placebo, and L-arginine 6.0 g daily or matching placebo, for 8 weeks, on proportions of participants with negative 4-week sputum culture, and on an 8-week clinical score (weight, FEV1, cough, sputum, haemoptysis). All participants with available endpoints were included in analyses according to the study arm to which they were originally assigned. Adults with new smear-positive PTB were eligible. The trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00677339.
Results
200 participants were enrolled, less than the intended sample size: 50 received L-arginine + active vitD, 49 received L-arginine + placebo vit D, 51 received placebo L-arginine + active vitD and 50 received placebo L-arginine + placebo vitD. According to the factorial model, 99 people received arginine, 101 placebo arginine, 101 vitamin D, 99 placebo vitamin D. Results for the primary endpoints were available in 155 (4-week culture) and 167 (clinical score) participants. Sputum culture conversion was achieved by week 4 in 48/76 (63%) participants in the active L-arginine versus 48/79 (61%) in placebo L-arginine arms (risk difference −3%, 95% CI −19 to 13%), and in 44/75 (59%) in the active vitD versus 52/80 (65%) in the placebo vitD arms (risk difference 7%, 95% CI −9 to 22%). The mean clinical outcome score also did not differ between study arms. There were no effects of the interventions on adverse event rates including hypercalcaemia, or other secondary outcomes.
Conclusion
Neither vitD nor L-arginine supplementation, at the doses administered and with the power attained, affected TB outcomes.
Registry
ClinicalTrials.gov. Registry number: NCT00677339
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070032
PMCID: PMC3743888  PMID: 23967066
6.  The protocol for the Be Our Ally Beat Smoking (BOABS) study, a randomised controlled trial of an intensive smoking cessation intervention in a remote Aboriginal Australian health care setting 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:232.
Background
Australian Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders (Indigenous Australians) smoke at much higher rates than non-Indigenous people and smoking is an important contributor to increased disease, hospital admissions and deaths in Indigenous Australian populations. Smoking cessation programs in Australia have not had the same impact on Indigenous smokers as on non-Indigenous smokers. This paper describes the protocol for a study that aims to test the efficacy of a locally-tailored, intensive, multidimensional smoking cessation program.
Methods/Design
This study is a parallel, randomised, controlled trial. Participants are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers aged 16 years and over, who are randomly allocated to a 'control' or 'intervention' group in a 2:1 ratio. Those assigned to the 'intervention' group receive smoking cessation counselling at face-to-face visits, weekly for the first four weeks, monthly to six months and two monthly to 12 months. They are also encouraged to attend a monthly smoking cessation support group. The 'control' group receive 'usual care' (i.e. they do not receive the smoking cessation program). Aboriginal researchers deliver the intervention, the goal of which is to help Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders quit smoking. Data collection occurs at baseline (when they enrol) and at six and 12 months after enrolling. The primary outcome is self-reported smoking cessation with urinary cotinine confirmation at 12 months.
Discussion
Stopping smoking has been described as the single most important individual change Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers could make to improve their health. Smoking cessation programs are a major priority in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and evidence for effective approaches is essential for policy development and resourcing. A range of strategies have been used to encourage Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders to quit smoking however there have been few good quality studies that show what approaches work best. More evidence of strategies that could work more widely in Indigenous primary health care settings is needed if effective policy is to be developed and implemented. Our project will make an important contribution in this area.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12608000604303)
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-232
PMCID: PMC3349500  PMID: 22439653
Indigenous; Aboriginal; Torres Strait Islander; Randomised controlled trial; Smoking cessation; Study protocol; Be Our Ally Beat Smoking (BOABS) Study
7.  Lung Injury in Uncomplicated and Severe Falciparum Malaria: A Longitudinal Study in Papua, Indonesia 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2005;192(11):1966-1974.
Background
In patients with severe malaria, acute respiratory distress syndrome usually develops after the start of drug treatment and is a major cause of death. Its pathogenesis is not well understood.
Methods
Respiratory symptom, spirometry, and gas transfer analyses were performed longitudinally in adults in Papua, Indonesia, with uncomplicated (n = 50) and severe (n = 30) falciparum malaria; normal values were derived from 109 control subjects. Gas transfer was partitioned into its alveolar-capillary membrane (DM) and pulmonary vascular (Vc) components, to characterize the site of impaired gas transfer.
Results
Cough was frequent in both patients with uncomplicated malaria (50%) and those with severe malaria (30%) and resolved by day 14. Reduced midexpiratory flow indicated obstruction of the small airways. Gas transfer was significantly impaired in patients with severe malaria. DM was reduced in patients with severe malaria but not in those with uncomplicated malaria and only returned to normal levels after 2 weeks. In patients with uncomplicated malaria, Vc was reduced at presentation but improved thereafter. In patients with severe malaria, Vc decreased with treatment and was lowest at day 7.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that pulmonary vascular occlusion occurs in both patients with uncomplicated malaria and those with severe malaria, likely from sequestration of both red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells. There was also impaired alveolar-capillary membrane function in patients with severe malaria but not in those with uncomplicated malaria. Persistent impairment long after clearance of parasitized RBCs suggests prolonged posttreatment inflammatory alveolar-capillary injury.
doi:10.1086/497697
PMCID: PMC2566801  PMID: 16267769
8.  Lung Injury in Vivax Malaria: Pathophysiological Evidence for Pulmonary Vascular Sequestration and Posttreatment Alveolar-Capillary Inflammation 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2007;195(4):589-596.
Background
The mechanisms underlying lung injury in vivax malaria are not well understood. Inflammatory responses to Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax, to our knowledge, have not previously been compared at an organ level.
Methods
Respiratory symptoms and physiological aspects were measured longitudinally in Indonesian adults with uncomplicated vivax (n = 50) and falciparum (n = 50) malaria. Normal values were derived from 109 control subjects. Gas transfer was partitioned into its alveolar-capillary membrane (DM) and pulmonary capillary vascular (VC) components, to characterize the site and timing of impaired gas transfer.
Results
Mean baseline VC volume was significantly reduced in vivax and falciparum malaria, improving with treatment in each species. Baseline DM function was not impaired in either species. The progressive deterioration in DM function after treatment was statistically significant in vivax malaria but not in uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Oxygen saturation deteriorated after treatment in vivax but improved in falciparum malaria.
Conclusions
The baseline reduction in VC volume but not in DM function suggests encroachment on VC volume by parasitized erythrocytes and suggests that P. vivax–infected erythrocytes may sequester within the pulmonary microvasculature. Progressive alveolar-capillary dysfunction after treatment of vivax malaria is consistent with a greater inflammatory response to a given parasite burden in P. vivax relative to that in P. falciparum.
doi:10.1086/510756
PMCID: PMC2532499  PMID: 17230420
9.  Antibodies to Plasmodium falciparum Glycosylphosphatidylinositols: Inverse Association with Tolerance of Parasitemia in Papua New Guinean Children and Adults  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(9):5052-5057.
Individuals living in regions of intense malaria transmission exhibit natural immunity that facilitates persistence of parasitemia at controlled densities for much of the time without symptoms. This aspect of immunity has been referred to as malarial “tolerance” and is thought to partly involve inhibition of the chain of events initiated by a parasite toxin(s) that may otherwise result in cytokine release and symptoms such as fever. Antibodies to the candidate Plasmodium falciparum glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) toxin have been viewed as likely mediators of such tolerance. In this study, the relationship between antibodies to P. falciparum GPIs, age, and parasitemia was determined in asymptomatic children and adults living in Madang, Papua New Guinea. The prevalence and intensity of antibody responses increased with age and were lowest in children 1 to 4 years old with the highest-density parasitemias. In children of this age group who were tolerant of parasitemia during the study, only 8.3% had detectable immunoglobulin G (IgG) and none had IgM antibodies to GPI. This suggests that anti-GPI antibodies are unlikely to be the sole mediator of malarial tolerance, especially in children younger than 5 years. Following antimalarial treatment, clearance of parasitemia led to a fall in anti-GPI IgG response in children and adolescents within 6 weeks. As anti-GPI antibodies potentially play a role in protecting against disease progression, our results caution against the treatment of asymptomatic parasitemia and suggest that generation of a sustained antibody response in children poses a challenge to novel antitoxic vaccination strategies.
doi:10.1128/IAI.70.9.5052-5057.2002
PMCID: PMC128285  PMID: 12183552

Results 1-9 (9)