Rapid allograft infection complicates liver transplantation (LT) in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Pegylated interferon-α and ribavirin therapy after LT has significant toxicity and limited efficacy. The effect of a human monoclonal antibody targeting the HCV E2 glycoprotein (MBL-HCV1) on viral clearance was examined in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study in patients infected with HCV genotype 1a undergoing LT. Subjects received 11 infusions of 50 mg/kg MBL-HCV1 (n=6) or placebo (n=5) intravenously with three infusions on day of transplant, a single infusion on days 1 through 7 and one infusion on day 14 after LT. MBL-HCV1 was well-tolerated and reduced viral load for a period ranging from 7 to 28 days. Median change in viral load (log10 IU/ml) from baseline was significantly greater (P=0.02) for the antibody-treated group (range −3.07 to −3.34) compared to placebo group (range −0.331 to −1.01) on days 3 through 6 post-transplant. MBL-HCV1 treatment significantly delayed median time to viral rebound compared to placebo treatment (18.7 days vs. 2.4 days, P <0.001). As with other HCV monotherapies, antibody-treated subjects had resistance-associated variants at the time of viral rebound. A combination study of MBL-HCV1 with a direct-acting antiviral is underway.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01121185 funded by MassBiologics
Hepatitis C virus; Monoclonal Antibody; HCV RNA titer; Liver Transplantation
The combined pressures of the European Working Time Directive, 4 h waiting time target, and growing rates of unplanned hospital attendances have forced a major consolidation of eye casualty departments across the country, with the remaining units seeing a rapid increase in demand. We examine the effect of these changes on the provision of emergency eye care in Central London, and see what wider lessons can be learned. We surveyed the managers responsible for each of London's 8 out-of-hours eye casualty services, analysed data on attendance numbers, and conducted detailed interviews with lead clinicians. At London's two largest units, Moorfields Eye Hospital and the Western Eye Hospital, annual attendance numbers have been rising at 7.9% per year (to 76 034 patients in 2010/11) and 9.6% per year (to 31 128 patients in 2010/11), respectively. Using Moorfields as a case study, we discuss methods to increase capacity and efficiency in response to this demand, and also examine some of the unintended consequences of service consolidation including patients travelling long distances to geographically inappropriate units, and confusion over responsibility for out-of-hours inpatient cover. We describe a novel ‘referral pathway' developed to minimise unnecessary travelling and delay for patients, and propose a forum for the strategic planning of London's eye casualty services in the future.
eye casualty; paediatric eye casualty; ophthalmic accident and emergency
Empirical evidence supports an inverse relationship between physical activity (PA) and adiposity, but studies using detailed measures of both are scarce. We described the relationship between regional adiposity and accelerometer-derived PA in men and women.
Design and Methods
Cross-sectional analysis included 253 participants from a weight loss study limited to ages 20–45 years and BMI 25–39.9 kg/m2. PA data were collected with accelerometers and expressed as total accelerometer counts and average amount of time per day accumulated in different intensity levels (sedentary, light-, and moderate- to vigorous- intensity PA (MVPA)). Accumulation of time spent above 100 counts was expressed as total active time. Computed tomography (CT) was used to measure abdominal and adipose tissue (AT). Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to assess the relationship between regional adiposity (dependent variable) and the various PA levels (independent variable), and were executed separately for men and women, adjusting for wear time, age, race, education, and BMI.
Among males light activity was inversely associated with total AT (β=−0.19; p=0.02) as well as visceral AT (VAT) (β=−0.30; p=0.03). Among females sedentary time was positively associated with VAT (β=0.11; p=0.04) and total active time was inversely associated with VAT (β=−0.12; p=0.04).
Findings from this study suggest that PA intensity level may influence regional adiposity differently in men and women. Additional research is needed in larger samples to clarify the difference in these associations by sex, create recommendations for the frequency, duration and intensity of PA needed to target fat deposits, and determine if these recommendations should differ by sex.
It is vital that surgeons undertaking oculoplastic procedures are able to show that the surgery they perform is of benefit to their patients. Not only is this fundamental to patient-centred medicine but it is also important in demonstrating cost effectiveness. There are several ways in which benefit can be measured, including clinical scales, functional ability scales, and global quality-of-life scales. The Glasgow benefit inventory (GBI) is an example of a patient-reported, questionnaire-based, post-interventional quality-of-life scale that can be used to compare a range of different treatments for a variety of conditions.
A cross-sectional study was undertaken using the GBI to score patient benefit from four commonly performed oculoplastic procedures. It was completed for 66 entropion repairs, 50 ptosis repairs, 41 ectropion repairs, and 41 external dacryocystorhinostomies (DCR). The GBI generates a scale from −100 (maximal detriment) through zero (no change) to +100 (maximal benefit).
The total GBI scores of patients undergoing surgery for entropion, ptosis, ectropion, and external DCR were: +25.25 (95% CI 20.00–30.50, P<0.001), +24.89 (95% CI 20.04–29.73, P<0.001), +17.68 (95% CI 9.46–25.91, P<0.001), and +32.25 (95% CI 21.47–43.03, P<0.001), respectively, demonstrating a statistically significant benefit from all procedures.
Patients derived significant quality-of-life benefits from the four most commonly performed oculoplastic procedures.
Glasgow benefit inventory; entropion; ectropion; ptosis; dacryocystorhinostomy
A set of spontaneous hunger sensations, Initial Hunger (IH), has been associated with low blood glucose concentration (BG). These sensations may arise pre-meal or can be elicited by delaying a meal. With self-measurement of BG, subjects can be trained to formally identify and remember these sensations (Hunger Recognition). Subjects can then be trained to ensure that IH is present pre-meal for most meals and that their pre-meal BG is therefore low consistently (IH Meal Pattern). IH includes the epigastric Empty Hollow Sensation (the most frequent and recognizable) as well as less specific sensations such as fatigue or light-headedness which is termed inanition. This report reviews the method for identifying IH and the effect of the IH Meal Pattern on energy balance. In adults, the IH Meal Pattern has been shown to significantly decrease energy intake by one-third, decrease preprandial BG, reduce glycosylated hemoglobin, and reduce insulin resistance and weight in those who are insulin resistant or overweight. Young children as well as adults can be trained in Hunger Recognition, giving them an elegant method for achieving energy balance without the stress of restraint-type dieting. The implications of improving insulin sensitivity through improved energy balance are as wide as improving immune activity.
energy intake; hunger; energy balance; food intake regulation; prevention; insulin resistance; obesity; diabetes; inflammation; risks
Banked biospecimens from a defined population are a valuable resource that can be used to assess early markers for illness or to determine the prevalence of a disease to aid the development of intervention strategies to reduce morbidity and mortality. The Alaska Area Specimen Bank (AASB) currently contains 266,353 residual biologic specimens (serum, plasma, whole blood, tissue, bacterial cultures) from 83,841 persons who participated in research studies, public health investigations and clinical testing conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service and Alaska Native tribal health organisations dating back to 1961. The majority (95.7%) are serum specimens, 77% were collected between 1981 and 1994 and 85% were collected from Alaska Native people. Oversight of the specimen bank is provided by a working group with representation from tribal, state and federal health organisations, the Alaska Area IRB and a specimen bank committee which ensures the specimens are used in accordance with policies and procedures developed by the working group.
Biobanking; policy and procedures; Tribal and Federal Management
A growing body of evidence has demonstrated a role for group II metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in the reinforcing effects of cocaine. These receptors are important given their location in limbic-related areas, and their ability to control the release of glutamate and other neurotransmitters. They are also potential targets for novel pharmacotherapies for cocaine addiction. The present study investigated the impact of chronic cocaine self-administration (9.0 mg/kg/session for 100 sessions, 900 mg/kg total intake) on the densities of group II mGluRs, as assessed with in vitro receptor autoradiography, in the striatum of adult male rhesus monkeys. Binding of [3H]LY341495 to group II mGluRs in control animals was heterogeneous, with a medial to lateral gradient in binding density. Significant elevations in the density of group II mGluRs following chronic cocaine self-administration were measured in the dorsal, central and ventral portions of the caudate nucleus (P<0.05), compared to controls. No differences in receptor density were observed between the groups in either the putamen or nucleus accumbens. These data demonstrate that group II mGluRs in the dorsal striatum are more sensitive to the effects of chronic cocaine exposure than those in the ventral striatum. Cocaine-induced dysregulation of the glutamate system, and its consequent impact on plasticity and synaptic remodeling, will likely be an important consideration in the development of novel pharmacotherapies for cocaine addiction.
cocaine self-administration; non-human primate; striatum; group II metabotropic glutamate receptors
Limited proteolysis of APOBEC-1 Complementation Factor (ACF) and computational secondary structure modeling were used to guide the construction of a well-folded, truncation protein spanning residues 1-320 and containing three RNA Recognition Motifs (RRMs). ACF320 bound preferentially to apoB mRNA and supported APOBEC-1 dependent editing at 40% of the activity of full length ACF. Live cell FRET and immunoprecipitation assays revealed that ACF320 formed homomultimers in situ that were bridged by RNA. Our study predicted that the C to U editosome may be assembled on the mooring sequence of apoB mRNA as a dimer of ACF bound to a dimer of APOBEC-1.
Aims of investigation
The chronological age of the Caucasian population and their anthropometrical data have significantly changed within the last five decades. Therefore the question arises whether or not the commonly used reference values of the European Community (ECCS) for lung function may still be accepted today. Since these values were obtained in the 1960s from subjects in a limited age range. For the elderly, the measured values are deduced by extrapolation beyond the range of reference equations which had been obtained in a different population. Therefore decisions concerning elderly and smaller subjects concerning remuneration due to impaired lung function after industrial exposure on the basis of EGKS values are questionable.
Lung function tests were performed by pneumotachography, recording static lung volumes and flow-volume-curves in 262 asymptomatic non smoking males, aged 20 to 90 years. Measurements were performed with the MasterLab, or Pneumo-Screen systems (CareFusion, Höchberg). Results were compared to the reference values of ECCS, SAPALDIA and LuftiBus.
For simplicity analysis of age and height dependence of investigated respiratory parameters (VC, FVC, FEV1, FEV1%FVC, PEF, MEF75,50,25) can be described by linear functions (y = a * height - b * age + c). The forced expiratory vital capacity, FVC, was calculated by FVC = 0.0615*H - 0.0308*A - 4.673; r = 0.78. Mean FVC for younger subjects was found to be 104.7 ± 10.7% of the ECCS reference values and 96.5 ± 11.8% in older subjects. For most parameters investigated linear regressions on age were steeper than described by the ECCS reference values. The regression of lung function to height largely follows the ECCS prescriptions.
Bochum lung function values of younger healthy subjects were higher compared to the reference values of the ECCS and showed a steeper age descent. The alternatively discussed reference values of the SAPALDIA-, or LuftiBus-Study are higher, but do not cover all necessary parameters and/or the age range. A multi centre study for contemporary reference values is recommended.
Lung function testing; reference values; elderly males; spirometry; forced expiration
We analyzed 1,042 Cryptosporidium oocyst-positive slides (456 from raw waters and 586 from drinking waters) of which 55.7% contained 1 or 2 oocysts, to determine species/genotypes present in Scottish waters. Two nested PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) assays targeting different loci (1 and 2) of the hypervariable region of the 18S rRNA gene were used for species identification, and 62.4% of samples were amplified with at least one of the PCR assays. More samples (577 slides; 48.7% from raw water and 51.3% from drinking water) were amplified at locus 1 than at locus 2 (419 slides; 50.1% from raw water and 49.9% from drinking water). PCR at loci 1 and 2 amplified 45.4% and 31.7% of samples containing 1 or 2 oocysts, respectively. We detected both human-infectious and non-human-infectious species/genotype oocysts in Scottish raw and drinking waters. Cryptosporidium andersoni, Cryptosporidium parvum, and the Cryptosporidium cervine genotype (now Cryptosporidium ubiquitum) were most commonly detected in both raw and drinking waters, with C. ubiquitum being most common in drinking waters (12.5%) followed by C. parvum (4.2%) and C. andersoni (4.0%). Numerous samples (16.6% total; 18.9% from drinking water) contained mixtures of two or more species/genotypes, and we describe strategies for unraveling their identity. Repetitive analysis for discriminating mixtures proved useful, but both template concentration and PCR assay influenced outcomes. Five novel Cryptosporidium spp. (SW1 to SW5) were identified by RFLP/sequencing, and Cryptosporidium sp. SW1 was the fourth most common contaminant of Scottish drinking water (3%).
To explore the predictive value of MRI parameters and tumour characteristics before neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) and to compare changes in tumour size and tumour apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) during treatment, between patients who achieved pathological complete response (pCR) and those who did not.
Approval by the Regional Ethics Committee and written informed consent were obtained. Thirty-one patients with invasive breast carcinoma scheduled for NAC were enrolled (mean age, 50.7; range, 37–72). Study design included MRI before treatment (Tp0), after four cycles of NAC (Tp1) and before surgery (Tp2). Data in pCR versus non-pCR groups were compared and cut-off values for pCR prediction were evaluated.
Before NAC, HER2 overexpression was the single significant predictor of pCR (p = 0.006). At Tp1 ADC, tumour size and changes in tumour size were all significantly different in the pCR and non-pCR groups. Using 1.42 × 10−3 mm2/s as the cut-off value for ADC, pCR was predicted with sensitivity and specificity of 88% and 80%, respectively. Using a cut-off value of 83% for tumour volume reduction, sensitivity and specificity for pCR were 91% and 80%.
ADC, tumour size and tumour size reduction at Tp1 were strong independent predictors of pCR.
Prediction; Breast cancer; DCE MRI; ADC; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy
To investigate the relationship between radiographic JIA disease course in the TMJs and mandibular growth rotation, compared with growth in healthy individuals.
From a larger series of JIA patients followed from childhood to adulthood, 26 were included; 11 without and 15 with bilateral radiographic TMJ involvement. Joint morphology and function were assessed at baseline, 2-, 4-, 6- and 27 years follow-up. Mandibular growth rotation (anterior, posterior or none) was assessed from cephalometric evaluations at childhood and adulthood, with observations from 16 healthy individuals as controls. TMJ disease course and mandibular growth rotation were assessed independently and their relationship analysed. Non-parametric statistical methods were applied to test differences between groups.
In the normal TMJ group of JIA patients the joint morphology was similar at the follow-ups and all patients had good function both in childhood and in adulthood. The mandibular growth rotation was similar to that of healthy controls, i.e. predominantly in anterior direction. In the abnormal TMJ group different JIA TMJ disease courses were observed and associated with changes in the mandibular growth rotation (p = 0.007).
Progressing JIA TMJ disease course was related to posterior mandibular growth rotation and improving disease course to anterior mandibular growth rotation.
A relationship was found between JIA disease course in the TMJs and mandibular growth rotation, suggesting that a favourable growth could be regained in patients with improvement in TMJ morphology and/or TMJ function. To confirm this, further research on larger patient series is needed.
Objective To assess the impact of different management strategies in urinary tract infections.
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Setting Primary care.
Participants 309 non-pregnant women aged 18-70 presenting with suspected urinary tract infection.
Intervention Patients were randomised to five management approaches: empirical antibiotics; empirical delayed (by 48 hours) antibiotics; or targeted antibiotics based on a symptom score (two or more of urine cloudiness, urine smell, nocturia, or dysuria), a dipstick result (nitrite or both leucocytes and blood), or a positive result on midstream urine analysis. Self help advice was controlled in each group.
Main outcome measures Symptom severity (days 2 to 4) and duration, and use of antibiotics.
Results Patients had 3.5 days of moderately bad symptoms if they took antibiotics immediately. There were no significant differences in duration or severity of symptoms (mean frequency of symptoms on a 0 to 6 scale: immediate antibiotics 2.15, midstream urine 2.08, dipstick 1.74, symptom score 1.77, delayed antibiotics 2.11; likelihood ratio test for the five groups P=0.177). There were differences in antibiotic use (immediate antibiotics 97%, midstream urine 81%, dipstick 80%, symptom score 90%, delayed antibiotics 77%; P=0.011) and in sending midstream urine samples (immediate antibiotics 23%, midstream urine 89%, dipstick 36%, symptom score 33%, delayed antibiotics 15%; P<0.001). Patients who waited at least 48 hours to start taking antibiotics reconsulted less (hazard ratio 0.57 (95% confidence interval 0.36 to 0.89), P=0.014) but on average had symptoms for 37% longer than those taking immediate antibiotics (incident rate ratio 1.37 (1.11 to 1.68), P=0.003), particularly the midstream urine group (73% longer, 22% to 140%; none of the other groups had more than 22% longer duration).
Conclusion All management strategies achieve similar symptom control. There is no advantage in routinely sending midstream urine samples for testing, and antibiotics targeted with dipstick tests with a delayed prescription as backup, or empirical delayed prescription, can help to reduce antibiotic use.
Study registration National Research Register N0484094184 ISRCTN: 03525333.
Objective To assess the natural course and the important predictors of severe symptoms in urinary tract infection and the effect of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance.
Design Observational study.
Setting Primary care.
Participants 839 non-pregnant adult women aged 18-70 presenting with suspected urinary tract infection.
Main outcome measure Duration and severity of symptoms.
Results 684 women provided some information on symptoms; 511 had both laboratory results and complete symptom diaries. For women with infections sensitive to antibiotics, severe symptoms, rated as a moderately bad problem or worse, lasted 3.32 days on average. After adjustment for other predictors, moderately bad symptoms lasted 56% longer (incidence rate ratio 1.56, 95% confidence interval 1.22 to 1.99, P<0.001) in women with resistant infections; 62% longer (1.62, 1.13 to 2.31, P=0.008) when no antibiotics prescribed; and 33% longer (1.33, 1.14 to 1.56, P<0.001) in women with urethral syndrome. The duration of symptoms was shorter if the doctor was perceived to be positive about diagnosis and prognosis (continuous 7 point scale: 0.91, 0.84 to 0.99; P=0.021) and longer when the woman had frequent somatic symptoms (1.03, 1.01 to 1.05, P=0.002; for each symptom), a history of cystitis, urinary frequency, and more severe symptoms at baseline.
Conclusion Antibiotic resistance and not prescribing antibiotics are associated with a greater than 50% increase in the duration of more severe symptoms in women with uncomplicated urinary tract infection. Women with a history of cystitis, frequent somatic symptoms (high somatisation), and severe symptoms at baseline can be given realistic advice that they are likely to have severe symptoms lasting longer than three days.
Objectives To explore the views of women with urinary tract infection on the acceptability of different strategies for managing the infection, including delayed use of antibiotics, and the cause of infection.
Design Qualitative interview study with semistructured one to one interviews within a randomised controlled trial of different management strategies. Analysis drew on some of the principles of constant comparison to generate key themes grounded in reported experiences and understandings.
Setting Seven general practices across four counties in southern England.
Participants 21 women presenting to general practices who were taking part in the larger trial.
Results Women preferred not to take antibiotics and were open to alternative management approaches. With a strategy of “antibiotic delay” some women felt a lack of validation or that they were not listened to by their general practitioner. Women attributed urinary tract infection to lifestyle habits and behaviours, such as poor hygiene, general “negligence,” and even a “penalty of growing old.”
Conclusion A clear acknowledgment of women’s triggers to consult is needed. If women are asked to delay taking antibiotics, the clinician must address the particular worries that women might have and explain the rationale for not using antibiotics immediately.
Skin malignancy is an important cause of mortality in the United Kingdom and is rising in incidence every year. Most skin cancer presents in primary care, and an important determinant of outcome is initial recognition and management of the lesion. Here we present an observational study of interobserver agreement using data from a population-based randomised controlled trial of minor surgery. Trial participants comprised patients presenting in primary care and needing minor surgery in whom recruiting doctors felt to be able to offer treatment themselves or to be able to refer to a colleague in primary care. They are thus relatively unselected. The skin procedures undertaken in the randomised controlled trial generated 491 lesions with a traceable histology report: 36 lesions (7%) from 33 individuals were malignant or pre-malignant. Chance-corrected agreement (κ) between general practitioner (GP) diagnosis of malignancy and histology was 0.45 (0.36–0.54) for lesions and 0.41 (0.32–0.51) for individuals affected with malignancy. Sensitivity of GPs for the detection of malignant lesions was 66.7% (95% confidence interval (CI), 50.3–79.8) for lesions and 63.6% (95% CI, 46.7–77.8) for individuals affected with malignancy. The safety of patients is of paramount importance and it is unsafe to leave the diagnosis and treatment of potential skin malignancy in the hands of doctors who have limited training and experience. However, the capacity to undertake all of the minor surgical demand works demanded in hospitals does not exist. If the capacity to undertake it is present in primary care, then the increased costs associated with enhanced training for general medical practitioners (GPs) must be borne.
skin malignancy; minor surgery; general practice
The anthropometrical data of our aging population has significantly changed within the last five decades. Therefore the question arises whether or not the commonly used reference values of the European Community (ECCS) for lung function, may still be accepted today. Measured values for elderly are classified by extrapolation beyond the range of reference equations.
Materials and methods
Lung function was examined by pneumotachography for recording static lung volumes and flow-volume-curves in 257 asymptomatic non smoking males, aged 20-90 years. Results were compared to the reference values of ECCS, SAPALDIA, LuftiBus, and NHANES.
For analysis age and height dependence of investigated respiratory parameters (VC, FVC, FEV1, FEV1 %FVC, PEF, MEF75,50,25) can for simplicity be described by linear functions (y = a · height(H)-b · age (A)+c). The forced expiratory volume in one second, FEV1, was calculated by FEV1 = 0.0432 · H-0.0347 · A-2.114; where H - height, A - age; r = 0.78. Mean FEV1 for younger subjects was found to be 106.1 ± 11.2% of the ECCS reference values and 97.8 ± 11.7% in older subjects. For all parameters investigated linear regressions on age were steeper than described by the ECCS reference values. The regression of lung function to height largely follows the ECCS prescriptions.
Bochum lung function values of healthy subjects showed a steeper age descent compared to the reference values of the ECCS. The alternatively discussed reference values of the SAPALDIA-, NHANES- or LuftiBus-Study are higher, but do not cover all necessary parameters and/or the age range. A multi centre study for contemporary reference values is recommended.
lung function; reference values; elderly males; spirometry; forced expiration
In this paper a review is given of frequently used mastitis diagnostic methods in modern dairy practice. Methods used at the quarter, cow, herd and regional or national level are discussed, including their usability for performance monitoring in udder health. Future developments, such as systems in which milk-derived parameters are combined with modern analytical techniques, are discussed. It is concluded that, although much knowledge is available and science is still developing and much knowledge is available, it is not always fully exploited in practice.
bacteriological culturing (BC); diagnosis; mastitis control; monitoring; somatic cell count (SCC)
Major population movements, social structure, and caste endogamy have influenced the genetic structure of Indian populations. An understanding of these influences is increasingly important as gene mapping and case-control studies are initiated in South Indian populations.
We report new data on 155 individuals from four Tamil caste populations of South India and perform comparative analyses with caste populations from the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh. Genetic differentiation among Tamil castes is low (RST = 0.96% for 45 autosomal short tandem repeat (STR) markers), reflecting a largely common origin. Nonetheless, caste- and continent-specific patterns are evident. For 32 lineage-defining Y-chromosome SNPs, Tamil castes show higher affinity to Europeans than to eastern Asians, and genetic distance estimates to the Europeans are ordered by caste rank. For 32 lineage-defining mitochondrial SNPs and hypervariable sequence (HVS) 1, Tamil castes have higher affinity to eastern Asians than to Europeans. For 45 autosomal STRs, upper and middle rank castes show higher affinity to Europeans than do lower rank castes from either Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh. Local between-caste variation (Tamil Nadu RST = 0.96%, Andhra Pradesh RST = 0.77%) exceeds the estimate of variation between these geographically separated groups (RST = 0.12%). Low, but statistically significant, correlations between caste rank distance and genetic distance are demonstrated for Tamil castes using Y-chromosome, mtDNA, and autosomal data.
Genetic data from Y-chromosome, mtDNA, and autosomal STRs are in accord with historical accounts of northwest to southeast population movements in India. The influence of ancient and historical population movements and caste social structure can be detected and replicated in South Indian caste populations from two different geographic regions.
We report a method for detecting Giardia duodenalis cysts on lettuce, which we subsequently use to examine salad products for the presence of Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts. The method is based on four basic steps: extraction of cysts from the foodstuffs, concentration of the extract and separation of the cysts from food materials, staining of the cysts to allow their visualization, and identification of cysts by microscopy. The concentration and separation steps are performed by centrifugation, followed by immunomagnetic separation using proprietary kits. Cyst staining is also performed using proprietary reagents. The method recovered 46.0% ± 19.0% (n = 30) of artificially contaminating cysts in 30 g of lettuce. We tested the method on a variety of commercially available natural foods, which we also seeded with a commercially available internal control, immediately prior to concentration of the extract. Recoveries of the Texas Red-stained Giardia cyst and Cryptosporidium oocyst internal controls were 36.5% ± 14.3% and 36.2% ± 19.7% (n = 20), respectively. One natural food sample of organic watercress, spinach, and rocket salad contained one Giardia cyst 50 g−1 of sample as an indigenous surface contaminant.
Objectives: To describe the components of an emergency and urgent care system within one health authority and to investigate ways in which patient flows and system capacity could be improved.
Methods: Using a qualitative system dynamics (SD) approach, data from interviews were used to build a conceptual map of the system illustrating patient pathways from entry to discharge. The map was used to construct a quantitative SD model populated with demographic and activity data to simulate patterns of demand, activity, contingencies, and system bottlenecks. Using simulation experiments, a range of scenarios were tested to determine their likely effectiveness in meeting future objectives and targets.
Results: Emergency hospital admissions grew at a faster annual rate than the national average for 1998–2001. Without intervention, and assuming this trend continued, acute hospitals were likely to have difficulty sustaining levels of elective work, in reaching elective admission targets and in achieving bed occupancy targets. General practice admissions exerted the greatest influence on occupancy rates. Prevention of emergency admissions for older people (3%–6% each year) reduced bed occupancy in both hospitals by 1% per annum over five years. Prevention of emergency admissions for patients with chronic respiratory disease affected occupancy less noticeably, but because of the seasonal pattern of admissions, had an effect on peak winter occupancy.
Conclusions: Modelling showed the potential consequences of continued growth in demand for emergency care, but also considerable scope to intervene to ameliorate the worst case scenarios, in particular by increasing the care management options available in the community.
Objective: To investigate patients' strength of preferences for attributes associated with modernising delivery of out of hours emergency care services in Nottingham.
Methods: A discrete choice experiment was applied to quantify preferences for key attributes of out of hours emergency care. The attributes reflected the findings of previous research, current policy initiatives, and discussions with local key stakeholders. A self complete questionnaire was administered to NHS Direct callers and adults attending accident and emergency, GP services and NHS walk-in centre. Regression analysis was used to estimate the relative importance of the different attributes.
Results: Response was 74% (n = 457) although 61% (n = 378) were useable. All attributes were statistically significant. Being consulted by a doctor was the most important attribute. This was followed by being consulted by a nurse, being kept informed about waiting time, and quality of the consultation. Respondents were prepared to wait an extra 2 hours 20 minutes to be consulted by a doctor. There were no measurable preference differences between patients surveyed at different NHS entry points. Younger respondents preferred single telephone call access to health care out of hours. Although having services provided close to home and making contact in person were generally preferred, they were less important than others, suggesting that a range of service locations may be acceptable to patients.
Conclusions: This study showed that local solutions for reforming emergency out of hours care should take account of the strength of patient preferences. The method was acceptable and the results have directly informed the development of a local service framework for emergency care.
To investigate the effect of UV light on Cryptosporidium parvum and Cryptosporidium hominis oocysts in vitro, we exposed intact oocysts to 4-, 10-, 20-, and 40-mJ·cm−2 doses of UV irradiation. Thymine dimers were detected by immunofluorescence microscopy using a monoclonal antibody against cyclobutyl thymine dimers (anti-TDmAb). Dimer-specific fluorescence within sporozoite nuclei was confirmed by colocalization with the nuclear fluorogen 4′,6′-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI). Oocyst walls were visualized using either commercial fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled anti-Cryptosporidium oocyst antibodies (FITC-CmAb) or Texas Red-labeled anti-Cryptosporidium oocyst antibodies (TR-CmAb). The use of FITC-CmAb interfered with TD detection at doses below 40 mJ·cm−2. With the combination of anti-TDmAb, TR-CmAb, and DAPI, dimer-specific fluorescence was detected in sporozoite nuclei within oocysts exposed to 10 to 40 mJ·cm−2 of UV light. Similar results were obtained with C. hominis. C. parvum oocysts exposed to 10 to 40 mJ·cm−2 of UV light failed to infect neonatal mice, confirming that results of our anti-TD immunofluorescence assay paralleled the outcomes of our neonatal mouse infectivity assay. These results suggest that our immunofluorescence assay is suitable for detecting DNA damage in C. parvum and C. hominis oocysts induced following exposure to UV light.
Background: Burkholderia pseudomallei is an important cause of acute fulminant pneumonia and septicaemia in tropical regions of northern Australia and south east Asia. Subacute and chronic forms of the disease also occur. There have been three recent reports of adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) who presumably acquired B pseudomallei infection during extended vacations or residence in either Thailand or northern Australia.
Methods: The clinical course, molecular characteristics, serology and response to treatment are described in four adult CF patients infected with B pseudomallei. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based methods were used to confirm B pseudomallei and exclude B cepacia complex. Genotyping was performed using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) PCR and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).
Results: Four patients are described with a mean duration of infection of 32 months. All but one patient lived in tropical Queensland. Two patients (with the longest duration of infection) deteriorated clinically and one subsequently died of respiratory failure. Both responded to intravenous treatment specifically targeting B pseudomallei. Another patient suffered two severe episodes of acute bronchopneumonia following acquisition of B pseudomallei. Eradication of the organism was not possible in any of the cases. PFGE of a sample isolate from each patient revealed the strains to be unique and RAPD analysis showed retention of the same strain within an individual over time.
Conclusions: These findings support a potential pathogenic role for B pseudomallei in CF lung disease, producing both chronic infection and possibly acute bronchopneumonia. Identical isolates are retained over time and are unique, consistent with likely environmental acquisition and not person to person spread. B pseudomallei is emerging as a significant pathogen for patients with CF residing and holidaying in the tropics.
Blastocystis cysts were detected in 38% (47/123) (37 Scottish, 17 Malaysian) of sewage treatment works. Fifty percent of influents (29% Scottish, 76% Malaysian) and 28% of effluents (9% Scottish, 60% Malaysian) contained viable cysts. Viable cysts, discharged in effluent, provide further evidence for the potential for waterborne transmission of Blastocystis.