Bronchiolitis, one of the most common reasons for hospitalisation in young children, is particularly problematic in Indigenous children. Macrolides may be beneficial in settings where children have high rates of nasopharyngeal bacterial carriage and frequent prolonged illness. The aim of our double-blind placebo-controlled randomised trial was to determine if a large single dose of azithromycin (compared to placebo) reduced length of stay (LOS), duration of oxygen (O2) and respiratory readmissions within 6 months of children hospitalised with bronchiolitis. We also determined the effect of azithromycin on nasopharyngeal microbiology.
Children aged ≤18 months were randomised to receive a single large dose (30 mg/kg) of either azithromycin or placebo within 24 hrs of hospitalisation. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected at baseline and 48hrs later. Primary endpoints (LOS, O2) were monitored every 12 hrs. Hospitalised respiratory readmissions 6-months post discharge was collected.
97 children were randomised (n = 50 azithromycin, n = 47 placebo). Median LOS was similar in both groups; azithromycin = 54 hours, placebo = 58 hours (difference between groups of 4 hours 95%CI -8, 13, p = 0.6). O2 requirement was not significantly different between groups; Azithromycin = 35 hrs; placebo = 42 hrs (difference 7 hours, 95%CI -9, 13, p = 0.7). Number of children re-hospitalised was similar 10 per group (OR = 0.9, 95%CI 0.3, 2, p = 0.8). At least one virus was detected in 74% of children. The azithromycin group had reduced nasopharyngeal bacterial carriage (p = 0.01) but no difference in viral detection at 48 hours.
Although a single dose of azithromycin reduces carriage of bacteria, it is unlikely to be beneficial in reducing LOS, duration of O2 requirement or readmissions in children hospitalised with bronchiolitis. It remains uncertain if an earlier and/or longer duration of azithromycin improves clinical and microbiological outcomes for children. The trial was registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register. Clinical trials number: ACTRN12608000150347. http://www.anzctr.org.au/TrialSearch.aspx.
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).
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.
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.
Neither vitD nor L-arginine supplementation, at the doses administered and with the power attained, affected TB outcomes.
ClinicalTrials.gov. Registry number: NCT00677339
Indigenous children in Australia and Alaska have very high rates of chronic suppurative lung disease (CSLD)/bronchiectasis. Antibiotics, including frequent or long-term azithromycin in Australia and short-term beta-lactam therapy in both countries, are often prescribed to treat these patients. In the Bronchiectasis Observational Study we examined over several years the nasopharyngeal carriage and antibiotic resistance of respiratory bacteria in these two PCV7-vaccinated populations.
Indigenous children aged 0.5–8.9 years with CSLD/bronchiectasis from remote Australia (n = 79) and Alaska (n = 41) were enrolled in a prospective cohort study during 2004–8. At scheduled study visits until 2010 antibiotic use in the preceding 2-weeks was recorded and nasopharyngeal swabs collected for culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Analysis of respiratory bacterial carriage and antibiotic resistance was by baseline and final swabs, and total swabs by year.
Streptococcus pneumoniae carriage changed little over time. In contrast, carriage of Haemophilus influenzae declined and Staphylococcus aureus increased (from 0% in 2005–6 to 23% in 2010 in Alaskan children); these changes were associated with increasing age. Moraxella catarrhalis carriage declined significantly in Australian, but not Alaskan, children (from 64% in 2004–6 to 11% in 2010). While beta-lactam antibiotic use was similar in the two cohorts, Australian children received more azithromycin. Macrolide resistance was significantly higher in Australian compared to Alaskan children, while H. influenzae beta-lactam resistance was higher in Alaskan children. Azithromycin use coincided significantly with reduced carriage of S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae and M. catarrhalis, but increased carriage of S. aureus and macrolide-resistant strains of S. pneumoniae and S. aureus (proportion of carriers and all swabs), in a ‘cumulative dose-response’ relationship.
Over time, similar (possibly age-related) changes in nasopharyngeal bacterial carriage were observed in Australian and Alaskan children with CSLD/bronchiectasis. However, there were also significant frequency-dependent differences in carriage and antibiotic resistance that coincided with azithromycin use.
Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) has been used to demonstrate metabolic changes in the visual cortex on visual stimulation. Small (2% to 11%) but significant stimulation induced increases in lactate, glutamate, and glutathione were observed along with decreases in aspartate, glutamine, and glycine, using 1H-MRS at 7 T during single and repeated visual stimulation. In addition, decreases in glucose and increases in γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) were seen but did not reach significance. Changes in glutamate and aspartate are indicative of increased activity of the malate–aspartate shuttle, which taken together with the opposite changes in glucose and lactate, reflect the expected increase in brain energy metabolism. These results are in agreement with those of Mangia et al. In addition, increases in glutamate and GABA coupled with the decrease in glutamine can be interpreted in terms of increased activity of the neurotransmitter cycles. An entirely new observation is the increase of glutathione during prolonged visual stimuli. The similarity of its time course to that of glutamate suggests that it may be a response to the increased release of glutamate or to the increased production of reactive oxygen species. Together, these observations constitute the most detailed analysis to date of functional changes in human brain metabolites.
antioxidants; energy metabolism; lactate; MR spectroscopy; neurotransmitters
Secretory phospholipases A2 (sPLA2) hydrolyze phospholipids in cell membranes and extracellular structures such as pulmonary surfactant. This study tests the hypothesis that sPLA2 are elevated in human lungs during acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and that sPLA2 levels are associated with surfactant injury by hydrolysis of surfactant phospholipids.
Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid was obtained from 18 patients with early ARDS (<72 hours) and compared to samples from 10 healthy volunteers. Secreted phospholipase A2 were measured (enzyme activity and enzyme immunoassay) in conjunction with ARDS subjects’ surfactant abnormalities including surfactant phospholipid composition, large and small aggregates distribution, and surface tension function.
BAL sPLA2 enzyme activity was markedly elevated in ARDS samples relative to healthy subjects when measured by ex vivo hydrolysis of both phosphatidylglycerol (PG) and phosphatidylcholine (PC). Enzyme immunoassay identified increased PLA2G2A protein in the ARDS BAL fluid, which was strongly correlated with the sPLA2 enzyme activity against PG. Of particular interest, we demonstrated an average depletion of 69% of the PG in the ARDS sample large aggregates relative to the normal controls. Furthermore, the sPLA2 enzyme activity against PG and PC ex vivo correlated with the BAL recovery of in vivo PG and PC, respectively, and also correlated with the altered distribution of the large and small surfactant aggregates.
These results support the hypothesis that sPLA2-mediated hydrolysis of surfactant phospholipid, especially PG by PLA2G2A, contributes to surfactant injury during early ARDS.
Acute Lung Injury; Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome; Secretory Phospholipase A2; Pulmonary Surfactant; Phosphatidylglycerol
Bronchiectasis unrelated to cystic fibrosis (CF) is being increasingly recognized in children and adults globally, both in resource-poor and in affluent countries. However, high-quality evidence to inform management is scarce. Oral amoxycillin-clavulanate is often the first antibiotic chosen for non-severe respiratory exacerbations, because of the antibiotic-susceptibility patterns detected in the respiratory pathogens commonly associated with bronchiectasis. Azithromycin has a prolonged half-life, and with its unique anti-bacterial, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory properties, presents an attractive alternative. Our proposed study will test the hypothesis that oral azithromycin is non-inferior (within a 20% margin) to amoxycillin-clavulanate at achieving resolution of non-severe respiratory exacerbations by day 21 of treatment in children with non-CF bronchiectasis.
This will be a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, parallel group trial involving six Australian and New Zealand centers. In total, 170 eligible children will be stratified by site and bronchiectasis etiology, and randomized (allocation concealed) to receive: 1) azithromycin (5 mg/kg daily) with placebo amoxycillin-clavulanate or 2) amoxycillin-clavulanate (22.5 mg/kg twice daily) with placebo azithromycin for 21 days as treatment for non-severe respiratory exacerbations. Clinical data and a parent-proxy cough-specific quality of life (PC-QOL) score will be obtained at baseline, at the start and resolution of exacerbations, and on day 21. In most children, blood and deep-nasal swabs will also be collected at the same time points. The primary outcome is the proportion of children whose exacerbations have resolved at day 21. The main secondary outcome is the PC-QOL score. Other outcomes are: time to next exacerbation; requirement for hospitalization; duration of exacerbation, and spirometry data. Descriptive viral and bacteriological data from nasal samples and blood inflammatory markers will be reported where available.
Currently, there are no published randomized controlled trials (RCT) to underpin effective, evidence-based management of acute respiratory exacerbations in children with non-CF bronchiectasis. To help address this information gap, we are conducting two RCTs. The first (bronchiectasis exacerbation study; BEST-1) evaluates the efficacy of azithromycin and amoxycillin-clavulanate compared with placebo, and the second RCT (BEST-2), described here, is designed to determine if azithromycin is non-inferior to amoxycillin-clavulanate in achieving symptom resolution by day 21 of treatment in children with acute respiratory exacerbations.
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR) number http://ACTRN12612000010897. http://www.anzctr.org.au/trial_view.aspx?id=347879
Amoxycillin-clavulanate; Azithromycin; Bronchiectasis; Placebo; Pulmonary exacerbations; Randomized controlled trial
Less healthy diets are common in high income countries, although proportionally higher in those of low socio-economic status. Food subsidy programs are one strategy to promote healthy nutrition and to reduce socio-economic inequalities in health. This review summarises the evidence for the health and nutritional impacts of food subsidy programs among disadvantaged families from high income countries.
Relevant studies reporting dietary intake or health outcomes were identified through systematic searching of electronic databases. Cochrane Public Health Group guidelines informed study selection and interpretation. A narrative synthesis was undertaken due to the limited number of studies and heterogeneity of study design and outcomes.
Fourteen studies were included, with most reporting on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children in the USA. Food subsidy program participants, mostly pregnant or postnatal women, were shown to have 10–20% increased intake of targeted foods or nutrients. Evidence for the effectiveness of these programs for men or children was lacking. The main health outcome observed was a small but clinically relevant increase in mean birthweight (23–29g) in the two higher quality WIC studies.
Limited high quality evidence of the impacts of food subsidy programs on the health and nutrition of adults and children in high income countries was identified. The improved intake of targeted nutrients and foods, such as fruit and vegetables, could potentially reduce the rate of non-communicable diseases in adults, if the changes in diet are sustained. Associated improvements in perinatal outcomes were limited and most evident in women who smoked during pregnancy. Thus, food subsidy programs for pregnant women and children should aim to focus on improving nutritional status in the longer term. Further prospective studies and economic analyses are needed to confirm the health benefits and justify the investment in food subsidy programs.
Food subsidy; Disadvantaged families; Health outcomes; Dietary intake; Nutritional status
Otitis media is endemic in remote Indigenous communities of Australia’s Northern Territory. Alloiococcus otitidis is an outer ear commensal and putative middle ear pathogen that has not previously been described in acute otitis media (AOM) in this population. The aims of this study were to determine the presence, antibiotic susceptibility and bacterial load of A. otitidis in nasopharyngeal and ear discharge swabs collected from Indigenous Australian children with AOM with perforation.
Paired nasopharyngeal and ear discharge swabs from 27 children with AOM with perforation were tested by A. otitidis quantitative PCR (qPCR). Positive swabs were cultured for 21 days. Total and respiratory pathogen bacterial loads in A. otitidis-positive swabs were determined by qPCR.
A. otitidis was detected by qPCR in 11 ear discharge swabs from 10 of 27 (37%) children, but was not detected in paired nasopharyngeal swabs. A. otitidis was cultured from 5 of 11 qPCR-positive swabs from four children. All A. otitidis isolates had minimum inhibitory concentrations consistent with macrolide resistance. All A. otitidis qPCR-positive swabs were culture-positive for other bacteria. A. otitidis bacterial load ranged from 2.2 × 104-1.1 × 108 cells/swab (median 1.8 × 105 cells/swab). The relative abundance of A. otitidis ranged from 0.01% to 34% of the total bacterial load (median 0.7%). In 6 of 11 qPCR-positive swabs the A. otitidis relative abundance was <1% and in 5 of 11 it was between 2% and 34%. The A. otitidis bacterial load and relative abundance measures were comparable to that of Haemophilus influenzae.
A. otitidis can be a dominant species in the bacterial communities present in the ear discharge of Indigenous children with AOM with perforation. The absence of A. otitidis in nasopharyngeal swabs suggests the ear canal as the likely primary reservoir. The significance of A. otitidis at low relative abundance is unclear; however, at higher relative abundance it may be contributing to the associated inflammation. Further studies to better understand A. otitidis as a secondary otopathogen are warranted, particularly in populations at high-risk of progression to chronic suppurative otitis media and where macrolide therapies are being used.
Alloiococcus otitidis; Otitis media; Acute otitis media with perforation; Indigenous Australian children; Bacterial load
Despite bronchiectasis being increasingly recognised as an important cause of chronic respiratory morbidity in both indigenous and non-indigenous settings globally, high quality evidence to inform management is scarce. It is assumed that antibiotics are efficacious for all bronchiectasis exacerbations, but not all practitioners agree. Inadequately treated exacerbations may risk lung function deterioration. Our study tests the hypothesis that both oral azithromycin and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid are superior to placebo at improving resolution rates of respiratory exacerbations by day 14 in children with bronchiectasis unrelated to cystic fibrosis.
We are conducting a bronchiectasis exacerbation study (BEST), which is a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, parallel group trial, in five centres (Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Melbourne, Auckland). In the component of BEST presented here, 189 children fulfilling inclusion criteria are randomised (allocation-concealed) to receive amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (22.5 mg/kg twice daily) with placebo-azithromycin; azithromycin (5 mg/kg daily) with placebo-amoxicillin-clavulanic acid; or placebo-azithromycin with placebo-amoxicillin-clavulanic acid for 14 days. Clinical data and a paediatric cough-specific quality of life score are obtained at baseline, at the start and resolution of exacerbations, and at day 14. In most children, blood and deep nasal swabs are also collected at the same time points. The primary outcome is the proportion of children whose exacerbations have resolved at day 14. The main secondary outcome is the paediatric cough-specific quality of life score. Other outcomes are time to next exacerbation; requirement for hospitalisation; duration of exacerbation; and spirometry data. Descriptive viral and bacteriological data from nasal samples and blood markers will also be reported.
Effective, evidence-based management of exacerbations in people with bronchiectasis is clinically important. Yet, there are few randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in the neglected area of non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. Indeed, no published RCTs addressing the treatment of bronchiectasis exacerbations in children exist. Our multicentre, double-blind RCT is designed to determine if azithromycin and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, compared with placebo, improve symptom resolution on day 14 in children with acute respiratory exacerbations. Our planned assessment of the predictors of antibiotic response, the role of antibiotic-resistant respiratory pathogens, and whether early treatment with antibiotics affects duration and time to the next exacerbation, are also all novel.
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR) number ACTRN12612000011886.
Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid; Azithromycin; Bronchiectasis; Placebo; Pulmonary exacerbations; Randomised controlled trial
The prevalence of chronic suppurative lung disease (CSLD) and bronchiectasis unrelated to cystic fibrosis (CF) among Indigenous children in Australia, New Zealand and Alaska is very high. Antibiotics are a major component of treatment and are used both on a short or long-term basis. One aim of long-term or maintenance antibiotics is to reduce the frequency of acute pulmonary exacerbations and symptoms. However, there are few studies investigating the efficacy of long-term antibiotic use for CSLD and non-CF bronchiectasis among children. This study tests the hypothesis that azithromycin administered once a week as maintenance antibiotic treatment will reduce the rate of pulmonary exacerbations in Indigenous children with bronchiectasis.
We are conducting a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial in Australia and New Zealand. Inclusion criteria are: Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Maori or Pacific Island children aged 1 to 8 years, diagnosed with bronchiectasis (or probable bronchiectasis) with no underlying disease identified (such as CF or primary immunodeficiency), and having had at least one episode of pulmonary exacerbation in the last 12 months. After informed consent, children are randomised to receive either azithromycin (30 mg/kg once a week) or placebo (once a week) for 12–24 months from study entry. Primary outcomes are the rate of pulmonary exacerbations and time to pulmonary exacerbation determined by review of patient medical records. Secondary outcomes include length and severity of pulmonary exacerbation episodes, changes in growth, school loss, respiratory symptoms, forced expiratory volume in 1-second (FEV1; for children ≥6 years), and sputum characteristics. Safety endpoints include serious adverse events. Antibiotic resistance in respiratory bacterial pathogens colonising the nasopharynx is monitored. Data derived from medical records and clinical assessments every 3 to 4 months for up to 24 months from study entry are recorded on standardised forms.
Should this trial demonstrate that azithromycin is efficacious in reducing the number of pulmonary exacerbations, it will provide a much-needed rationale for the use of long-term antibiotics in the medical management of bronchiectasis in Indigenous children.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12610000383066
Azithromycin; Bronchiectasis; Child; Chronic suppurative lung disease; Indigenous health; Placebo; Pulmonary exacerbation; Randomised controlled trial; Antibiotic resistance
Hospitals are under pressure to provide care that not only shortens hospital length of stay, but reduces subsequent hospital admissions. Hospital readmissions have received increased attention in outcome reporting. We identified survivors of acute respiratory failure who then required subsequent hospitalization. A cohort of acute respiratory failure survivors, who participated in an early ICU-mobility program, was assessed to determine if variables from the index hospitalization predict hospital readmission or death, within 12 months of hospital discharge.
Hospital database and responses to letters mailed to 280 ARF survivors. Univariate predictor variables shown to be associated with hospital readmission or death (p<0.1) were included in a multiple logistic regression. A stepwise selection procedure was used to identify significant variables (p<0.05).
Of the 280 survivors, 132 (47%) had at least one readmission or died within the first year, 126 (45%) were not readmitted, and 22 (8%) were lost to follow-up. Tracheostomy [OR 4.02 (CI 1.72, 9.40)], female gender [OR1.94 (CI 1.13, 3.32)], a higher Charlson Comorbidity Index assessed upon index hospitalization discharge [OR 1.15 (CI 1.01, 1.31)], and lack of early ICU mobility therapy [OR 1.77 CI (1.04, 3.01)] predicted readmission or death in the first year post-Index hospitalization.
Tracheostomy, female gender, higher Charlson Comorbidity Index and lack of early ICU mobility were associated with readmissions or death during the first year. Although the mechanism(s) of increased hospital readmission are unclear, these findings may provide further support for early ICU mobility for acute respiratory failure patients.
Critical Care; Rehabilitation; Acute Respiratory Failure; Long Term Outcomes; Mobility
Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), an early mediator in the systemic inflammatory response to infection, is a potential therapeutic target in sepsis. The primary objective of this study was to determine the safety and tolerability of AZD9773, an ovine, polyclonal, anti-human TNF-α Fab preparation, in patients with severe sepsis. Secondary outcomes related to pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) parameters.
In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter Phase IIa study, patients were sequentially enrolled into five escalating-dose cohorts (single doses of 50 or 250 units/kg; multiple doses of 250 units/kg loading and 50 units/kg maintenance, 500 units/kg loading and 100 units/kg maintenance, or 750 units/kg loading and 250 units/kg maintenance). In each cohort, patients were randomized 2:1 to receive AZD9773 or placebo.
Seventy patients received AZD9773 (n = 47) or placebo (n = 23). Baseline characteristics were similar across cohorts. Mean baseline APACHE score was 25.9. PK data demonstrated an approximately proportional increase in concentration with increasing dose and a terminal half-life of 20 hours. For the multiple-dose cohorts, serum TNF-α concentrations decreased to near-undetectable levels within two hours of commencing AZD9773 infusion. This suppression was maintained in most patients for the duration of treatment. AZD9773 was well tolerated. Most adverse events were of mild-to-moderate intensity and considered by the reporting investigator as unrelated to study treatment.
The safety, PK and PD data support the continued evaluation of AZD9773 in larger Phase IIb/III studies.
The tissue factor (TF)-dependent extrinsic pathway has been suggested to be a central mechanism by which the coagulation cascade is locally activated in the lungs of patients with acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS) and thus represents an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. This study was designed to determine the pharmacokinetic and safety profiles of ALT-836, an anti-TF antibody, in patients with ALI/ARDS.
This was a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation Phase I clinical trial in adult patients who had suspected or proven infection, were receiving mechanical ventilation and had ALI/ARDS (PaO2/FiO2 ≤ 300 mm). Eighteen patients (6 per cohort) were randomized in a 5:1 ratio to receive ALT-836 or placebo, and were treated within 48 hours after meeting screening criteria. Cohorts of patients were administered a single intravenously dose of 0.06, 0.08 or 0.1 mg/kg ALT-836 or placebo. Blood samples were taken for pharmacokinetic and immunogenicity measurements. Safety was assessed by adverse events, vital signs, ECGs, laboratory, coagulation and pulmonary function parameters.
Pharmacokinetic analysis showed a dose dependent exposure to ALT-836 across the infusion range of 0.06 to 0.1 mg/kg. No anti-ALT-836 antibody response was observed in the study population during the trial. No major bleeding episodes were reported in the ALT-836 treated patients. The most frequent adverse events were anemia, observed in both placebo and ALT-836 treated patients, and ALT-836 dose dependent, self-resolved hematuria, which suggested 0.08 mg/kg as an acceptable dose level of ALT-836 in this patient population.
Overall, this study showed that ALT-836 could be safely administered to patients with sepsis-induced ALI/ARDS.
Tissue Factor; Acute Lung Injury; Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome; Clinical Trial; Phase I
Functional connectivity (FC) between brain regions is thought to be central to the way in which the brain processes information. Abnormal connectivity is thought to be implicated in a number of diseases. The ability to study FC is therefore a key goal for neuroimaging. Functional connectivity (fc) MRI has become a popular tool to make connectivity measurements but the technique is limited by its indirect nature. A multimodal approach is therefore an attractive means to investigate the electrodynamic mechanisms underlying hemodynamic connectivity. In this paper, we investigate resting state FC using fcMRI and magnetoencephalography (MEG). In fcMRI, we exploit the advantages afforded by ultra high magnetic field. In MEG we apply envelope correlation and coherence techniques to source space projected MEG signals. We show that beamforming provides an excellent means to measure FC in source space using MEG data. However, care must be taken when interpreting these measurements since cross talk between voxels in source space can potentially lead to spurious connectivity and this must be taken into account in all studies of this type. We show good spatial agreement between FC measured independently using MEG and fcMRI; FC between sensorimotor cortices was observed using both modalities, with the best spatial agreement when MEG data are filtered into the β band. This finding helps to reduce the potential confounds associated with each modality alone: while it helps reduce the uncertainties in spatial patterns generated by MEG (brought about by the ill posed inverse problem), addition of electrodynamic metric confirms the neural basis of fcMRI measurements. Finally, we show that multiple MEG based FC metrics allow the potential to move beyond what is possible using fcMRI, and investigate the nature of electrodynamic connectivity. Our results extend those from previous studies and add weight to the argument that neural oscillations are intimately related to functional connectivity and the BOLD response.
► The utility of beamforming as a source space projection algorithm for use with functional connectivity (FC) measurements is explored. ► Simulations are described and prove to be a robust methodology to eliminate spurious FC from source space MEG measurements. ► The spatial signature of resting state FC between left and right sensorimotor cortices can be measured independently using MEG and fMRI. ► Excellent agreement between motor cortex FC measured using both MEG and fcMRI. ► Multiple MEG FC metrics exploit the direct nature of MEG.
MEG; fMRI; 7T; Functional connectivity; Neural oscillations; BOLD; Resting state; Coherence; Imaginary coherence; Envelope correlation
AIM: To discuss the advantages of ultra-high field (7T) for 1H and 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) studies of metabolism.
METHODS: Measurements of brain metabolites were made at both 3 and 7T using 1H MRS. Measurements of glycogen and lipids in muscle were measured using 13C and 1H MRS respectively.
RESULTS: In the brain, increased signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and dispersion allows spectral separation of the amino-acids glutamate, glutamine and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), without the need for sophisticated editing sequences. Improved quantification of these metabolites is demonstrated at 7T relative to 3T. SNR was 36% higher, and measurement repeatability (% coefficients of variation) was 4%, 10% and 10% at 7T, vs 8%, 29% and 21% at 3T for glutamate, glutamine and GABA respectively. Measurements at 7T were used to compare metabolite levels in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and insula. Creatine and glutamate levels were found to be significantly higher in the insula compared to the ACC (P < 0.05). In muscle, the increased SNR and spectral resolution at 7T enables interleaved studies of glycogen (13C) and intra-myocellular lipid (IMCL) and extra-myocellular lipid (EMCL) (1H) following exercise and re-feeding. Glycogen levels were significantly decreased following exercise (-28% at 50% VO2 max; -58% at 75% VO2 max). Interestingly, levels of glycogen in the hamstrings followed those in the quadriceps, despite reduce exercise loading. No changes in IMCL and EMCL were found in the study.
CONCLUSION: The demonstrated improvements in brain and muscle MRS measurements at 7T will increase the potential for use in investigating human metabolism and changes due to pathologies.
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy; 13C; 1H; 7 Tesla; Glutamate; Glutamine; γ-aminobutyric acid
Acute lower respiratory infections are the commonest cause of morbidity and potentially preventable mortality in Indigenous infants. Infancy is also a critical time for post-natal lung growth and development. Severe or repeated lower airway injury in very young children likely increases the likelihood of chronic pulmonary disorders later in life. Globally, bronchiolitis is the most common form of acute lower respiratory infections during infancy. Compared with non-Indigenous Australian infants, Indigenous infants have greater bacterial density in their upper airways and more severe bronchiolitis episodes. Our study tests the hypothesis that the anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties of azithromycin, improve the clinical outcomes of Indigenous Australian infants hospitalised with bronchiolitis.
We are conducting a dual centre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group trial in northern Australia. Indigenous infants (aged ≤ 24-months, expected number = 200) admitted to one of two regional hospitals (Darwin, Northern Territory and Townsville, Queensland) with a clinical diagnosis of bronchiolitis and fulfilling inclusion criteria are randomised (allocation concealed) to either azithromycin (30 mg/kg/dose) or placebo administered once weekly for three doses. Clinical data are recorded twice daily and nasopharyngeal swab are collected at enrolment and at the time of discharge from hospital. Primary outcomes are 'length of oxygen requirement' and 'duration of stay,' the latter based upon being judged as 'ready for respiratory discharge'. The main secondary outcome is readmission for a respiratory illness within 6-months of leaving hospital. Descriptive virological and bacteriological (including development of antibiotic resistance) data from nasopharyngeal samples will also be reported.
Two published studies, both involving different patient populations and settings, as well as different macrolide antibiotics and treatment duration, have produced conflicting results. Our randomised, placebo-controlled trial of azithromycin in Indigenous infants hospitalised with bronchiolitis is designed to determine whether it can reduce short-term (and potentially long-term) morbidity from respiratory illness in Australian Indigenous infants who are at high risk of developing chronic respiratory illness. If azithromycin is efficacious in reducing the morbidly of Indigenous infants hospitalised with bronchiolitis, the intervention would lead to improved short term (and possibly long term) health benefits.
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR): ACTRN12610000326099
To determine the prevalence of carriage of respiratory bacterial pathogens, and the risk factors for and serotype distribution of pneumococcal carriage in an Australian Aboriginal population.
Surveys of nasopharyngeal carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae, non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis were conducted among adults (≥16 years) and children (2 to 15 years) in four rural communities in 2002 and 2004. Infant seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (7PCV) with booster 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine was introduced in 2001. Standard microbiological methods were used.
At the time of the 2002 survey, 94% of eligible children had received catch-up pneumococcal vaccination. 324 adults (538 examinations) and 218 children (350 examinations) were enrolled. Pneumococcal carriage prevalence was 26% (95% CI, 22-30) among adults and 67% (95% CI, 62-72) among children. Carriage of non-typeable H. influenzae among adults and children was 23% (95% CI, 19-27) and 57% (95% CI, 52-63) respectively and for M. catarrhalis, 17% (95% CI, 14-21) and 74% (95% CI, 69-78) respectively. Adult pneumococcal carriage was associated with increasing age (p = 0.0005 test of trend), concurrent carriage of non-typeable H. influenzae (Odds ratio [OR] 6.74; 95% CI, 4.06-11.2) or M. catarrhalis (OR 3.27; 95% CI, 1.97-5.45), male sex (OR 2.21; 95% CI, 1.31-3.73), rhinorrhoea (OR 1.66; 95% CI, 1.05-2.64), and frequent exposure to outside fires (OR 6.89; 95% CI, 1.87-25.4). Among children, pneumococcal carriage was associated with decreasing age (p < 0.0001 test of trend), and carriage of non-typeable H. influenzae (OR 9.34; 95% CI, 4.71-18.5) or M. catarrhalis (OR 2.67; 95% CI, 1.34-5.33). Excluding an outbreak of serotype 1 in children, the percentages of serotypes included in 7, 10, and 13PCV were 23%, 23%, and 29% (adults) and 22%, 24%, and 40% (2-15 years). Dominance of serotype 16F, and persistent 19F and 6B carriage three years after initiation of 7PCV is noteworthy.
Population-based carriage of S. pneumoniae, non-typeable H. influenzae, and M. catarrhalis was high in this Australian Aboriginal population. Reducing smoke exposure may reduce pneumococcal carriage. The indirect effects of 10 or 13PCV, above those of 7PCV, among adults in this population may be limited.
An extremely well-preserved dinosaur (Cf. Edmontosaurus sp.) found in the Hell Creek Formation (Upper Cretaceous, North Dakota) retains soft-tissue replacement structures and associated organic compounds. Mineral cements precipitated in the skin apparently follow original cell boundaries, partially preserving epidermis microstructure. Infrared and electron microprobe images of ossified tendon clearly show preserved mineral zonation, with silica and trapped carbon dioxide forming thin linings on Haversian canals within apatite. Furthermore, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) of materials recovered from the skin and terminal ungual phalanx suggests the presence of compounds containing amide groups. Amino acid composition analyses of the mineralized skin envelope clearly differ from the surrounding matrix; however, intact proteins could not be obtained using protein mass spectrometry. The presence of endogenously derived organics from the skin was further demonstrated by pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry (Py-GCMS), indicating survival and presence of macromolecules that were in part aliphatic (see the electronic supplementary material).
hadrosaur; Hell Creek; soft tissue
Hospitalized patients are often unable to ingest or tolerate oral antipyretics and recently an aqueous formulation of intravenous (IV) ibuprofen was approved by the US-FDA for the reduction of fever in adults.
We evaluated IV ibuprofen to reduce fever exceeding 101.0°F, measured as the percentage of subjects achieving a temperature <101.0°F at four hours after a single dose of IV ibuprofen vs. placebo. Secondary evaluations included the effect on temperature at 24 hours. Nine sites randomized patients to receive either a placebo or IV ibuprofen (100, 200, or 400 mg), and patients were given four hours for six doses. Subjects were excluded for platelet count <30 k and/or creatinine >3.0 mg/dL.
At entry, there were no significant baseline differences between the IV ibuprofen group and placebo, n = 120. At four hours, the number (percentage) with T<101.0°F was: Placebo n = 9/28 (32%); 100 mg IV ibuprofen n = 19/31 (61%), P = 0.0264; 200 mg IV ibuprofen n = 21/30 (70%) P = 0.0043; 400 mg IV ibuprofen n = 24/31 (77%) P = 0.0005. A total of 53/120 patients (44%) were prospectively defined as critically ill at baseline and similar temperature reductions were observed in this subgroup. There were no statistically significant differences between treatment groups or when compared to placebo in transfusion, bleeding, renal failure or mortality.
All doses of IV ibuprofen tested reduced fever at four hours and throughout the first 24 hours of dosing. The 400 mg dose was effective in lowering temperature to normal and maintaining this over the first 24 hours of dosing. IV ibuprofen was effective in reducing fevers in critically ill and non-critically ill groups. Following 24 hours of administration of IV ibuprofen, no clinically significant differences in any safety parameter including renal function or bleeding occurred through the 28-day follow-up period.
Clinicaltrials.gov registration number: NCT01131000.
Acute respiratory illness (ARI) is the most common cause of acute presentations and hospitalisations of young Indigenous children in Australia and New Zealand (NZ). Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) from household smoking is a significant and preventable contributor to childhood ARI. This paper describes the protocol for a study which aims to test the efficacy of a family-centred tobacco control program about ETS to improve the respiratory health of Indigenous infants in Australia and New Zealand. For the purpose of this paper 'Indigenous' refers to Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when referring to Australian Indigenous populations. In New Zealand, the term 'Indigenous' refers to Māori.
This study will be a parallel, randomized, controlled trial. Participants will be Indigenous women and their infants, half of whom will be randomly allocated to an 'intervention' group, who will receive the tobacco control program over three home visits in the first three months of the infant's life and half to a control group receiving 'usual care' (i.e. they will not receive the tobacco control program). Indigenous health workers will deliver the intervention, the goal of which is to reduce or eliminate infant exposure to ETS. Data collection will occur at baseline (shortly after birth) and when the infant is four months and one year of age. The primary outcome is a doctor-diagnosed, documented case of respiratory illness in participating infants.
Interventions aimed at reducing exposure of Indigenous children to ETS have the potential for significant benefits for Indigenous communities. There is currently a dearth of evidence for the effect of tobacco control interventions to reduce children's exposure to ETS among Indigenous populations. This study will provide high-quality evidence of the efficacy of a family-centred tobacco control program on ETS to reduce respiratory illness. Outcomes of our study will be important and significant for Indigenous tobacco control in Australia and New Zealand and prevention of respiratory illness in children.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12609000937213)
As a result of the continuous evolution of microbial pathogens towards antibiotic-resistance, there have been demands for the development of new and effective antimicrobial compounds. Since the 1960s, the scientific literature has accumulated many publications about novel pharmaceutical compounds produced by a diverse range of marine bacteria. Indeed, marine micro-organisms continue to be a productive and successful focus for natural products research, with many newly isolated compounds possessing potentially valuable pharmacological activities. In this regard, the marine environment will undoubtedly prove to be an increasingly important source of novel antimicrobial metabolites, and selective or targeted approaches are already enabling the recovery of a significant number of antibiotic-producing micro-organisms. The aim of this review is to consider advances made in the discovery of new secondary metabolites derived from marine bacteria, and in particular those effective against the so called “superbugs”, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE), which are largely responsible for the increase in numbers of hospital acquired, i.e., nosocomial, infections.
marine bacteria; MRSA; VRE; hospital superbugs; new scaffolds; antibiotic resistance; nosocomial infection
This study shows that the spatial specificity of MEG beamformer estimates of electrical activity can be affected significantly by the way in which covariance estimates are calculated. We define spatial specificity as the ability to extract independent timecourse estimates of electrical brain activity from two separate brain locations in close proximity. Previous analytical and simulated results have shown that beamformer estimates are affected by narrowing the time frequency window in which covariance estimates are made. Here we build on this by both experimental validation of previous results, and investigating the effect of data averaging prior to covariance estimation. In appropriate circumstances, we show that averaging has a marked effect on spatial specificity. However the averaging process results in ill-conditioned covariance matrices, thus necessitating a suitable matrix regularisation strategy, an example of which is described. We apply our findings to an MEG retinotopic mapping paradigm. A moving visual stimulus is used to elicit brain activation at different retinotopic locations in the visual cortex. This gives the impression of a moving electrical dipolar source in the brain. We show that if appropriate beamformer optimisation is applied, the moving source can be tracked in the cortex. In addition to spatial reconstruction of the moving source, we show that timecourse estimates can be extracted from neighbouring locations of interest in the visual cortex. If appropriate methodology is employed, the sequential activation of separate retinotopic locations can be observed. The retinotopic paradigm represents an ideal platform to test the spatial specificity of source localisation strategies. We suggest that future comparisons of MEG source localisation techniques (e.g. beamformer, minimum norm, Bayesian) could be made using this retinotopic mapping paradigm.
MEG; Spatial specificity; Spatial resolution; Source localisation; Linearly constrained minimum variance beamformer; Retinotopic mapping; Regularisation; Information content
Objective To determine the effectiveness of the provision of whole food to enhance completion of treatment for tuberculosis.
Design Parallel group randomised controlled trial.
Setting Three primary care clinics in Dili, Timor-Leste.
Participants 270 adults aged ≥18 with previously untreated newly diagnosed pulmonary tuberculosis.
Main outcome measures Completion of treatment (including cure). Secondary outcomes included adherence to treatment, weight gain, and clearance of sputum smears. Outcomes were assessed remotely, blinded to allocation status.
Interventions Participants started standard tuberculosis treatment and were randomly assigned to intervention (nutritious, culturally appropriate daily meal (weeks 1-8) and food package (weeks 9-32) (n=137) or control (nutritional advice, n=133) groups. Randomisation sequence was computer generated with allocation concealment by sequentially numbered, opaque, sealed envelopes.
Results Most patients with tuberculosis were poor, malnourished men living close to the clinics; 265/270 (98%) contributed to the analysis. The intervention had no significant beneficial or harmful impact on the outcome of treatment (76% v 78% completion, P=0.7) or adherence (93% for both groups, P=0.7) but did lead to improved weight gain at the end of treatment (10.1% v 7.5% improvement, P=0.04). Itch was more common in the intervention group (21% v 9%, P<0.01). In a subgroup analysis of patients with positive results on sputum smears, there were clinically important improvements in one month sputum clearance (85% v 67%, P=0.13) and completion of treatment (78% v 68%, P=0.3).
Conclusion Provision of food did not improve outcomes with tuberculosis treatment in these patients in Timor-Leste. Further studies in different settings and measuring different outcomes are required.
Trial registration Clinical Trials NCT0019256.
In Australia in June 2001, a unique pneumococcal vaccine schedule commenced for Indigenous infants; seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (7PCV) given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age and 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23PPV) at 18 months of age. This study presents carriage serotypes following this schedule.
We conducted cross sectional surveys of pneumococcal carriage in Aboriginal children 0 to 6 years of age living in remote Aboriginal communities (RACs) in 2003 and 2005. Nasal secretions were collected and processed according to published methods.
902 children (mean age 25 months) living in 29 communities in 2003 and 818 children (mean age 35 months) in 17 communities in 2005 were enrolled. 87% children in 2003 and 96% in 2005 had received two or more doses of 7PCV. From 2003 to 2005, pneumococcal carriage was reduced from 82% to 76% and reductions were apparent in all age groups; 7PCV-type carriage was reduced from 11% to 8%, and 23PPV-non-7PCV-type carriage from 31% to 25% respectively. Thus non-23PPV-type carriage increased from 57% to 67%. All these changes were statistically significant, as were changes for some specific serotypes. Shifts could not be attributed to vaccination alone. The top 10 of 40 serotypes identified were (in descending order) 16F, 19A, 11A, 6C, 23B, 19F, 6A, 35B, 6B, 10A and 35B. Carriage of penicillin non-susceptible (MIC > = 0.12 μg/mL) strains (15% overall) was detected in serotypes (descending order) 19A, 19F, 6B, 16F, 11A, 9V, 23B, and in 4 additional serotypes. Carriage of azithromycin resistant (MIC > = 2 μg/mL) strains (5% overall), was detected in serotypes (descending order) 23B, 17F, 9N, 6B, 6A, 11A, 23F, and in 10 additional serotypes including 6C.
Pneumococcal carriage remains high (~80%) in this vaccinated population. Uptake of both pneumococcal vaccines increased, and carriage was reduced between 2003 and 2005. Predominant serotypes in combined years were 16F, 19A, 11A, 6C and 23B. Antimicrobial non-susceptibility was detected in these and 17 additional serotypes. Shifts in serotype-specific carriage suggest a need more research to clarify the association between pneumococcal vaccination and carriage at the serotype level.
Aboriginal children in remote Australia have high rates of complicated middle ear disease associated with Streptococcus pneumoniae and other pathogens. We assessed the effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccination for prevention of otitis media in this setting.
We compared two birth cohorts, one enrolled before (1996–2001), and the second enrolled after introduction of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate and booster 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine (2001–2004). Source populations were the same for both cohorts. Detailed examinations including tympanometry, video-recorded pneumatic otoscopy and collection of discharge from tympanic membrane perforations, were performed as soon as possible after birth and then at regular intervals until 24 months of life. Analyses (survival, point prevalence and incidence) were adjusted for confounding factors and repeated measures with sensitivity analyses of differential follow-up.
Ninety-seven vaccinees and 51 comparison participants were enrolled. By age 6 months, 96% (81/84) of vaccinees and 100% (41/41) of comparison subjects experienced otitis media with effusion (OME), and by 12 months 89% and 88% experienced acute otitis media (AOM), 34% and 35% experienced tympanic membrane perforation (TMP) and 14% and 23% experienced chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). Age at the first episode of OME, AOM, TMP and CSOM was not significantly different between the two groups. Adjusted incidence of AOM (incidence rate ratio: 0.88 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.69–1.13]) and TMP (incidence rate ratio: 0.63 [0.36–1.11]) was not significantly reduced in vaccinees. Vaccinees experienced less recurrent TMP, 9% (8/95) versus 22% (11/51), (odds ratio: 0.33 [0.11–1.00]).
Results of this study should be interpreted with caution due to potential bias and confounding. It appears that introduction of pneumococcal vaccination among Aboriginal infants was not associated with significant changes in prevalence or age of onset of different OM outcomes or the incidence of AOM or TMP. Vaccinees appeared to experience reduced recurrence of TMP. Ongoing high rates of complicated OM necessitate additional strategies to prevent ear disease in this population.