HCC is diagnosed in approximately half a million people per year, worldwide. Staging is a more complex issue than in most other cancer entities and, mainly due to unique geographic characteristics of the disease, no universally accepted staging system exists to date. Focusing on survival rates we analyzed demographic, etiological, clinical, laboratory and tumor characteristics of HCC-patients in our institution and applied the common staging systems. Furthermore we aimed at identifying the most suitable of the current staging systems for predicting survival.
Overall, 405 patients with HCC were identified from an electronic medical record database. The following seven staging systems were applied and ranked according to their ability to predict survival by using the Akaike information criterion (AIC) and the concordance-index (c-index): BCLC, CLIP, GETCH, JIS, Okuda, TNM and Child-Pugh. Separately, every single variable of each staging system was tested for prognostic meaning in uni- and multivariate analysis. Alcoholic cirrhosis (44.4%) was the leading etiological factor followed by viral hepatitis C (18.8%). Median survival was 18.1 months (95%-CI: 15.2–22.2). Ascites, bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, AFP, number of tumor nodes and the BCLC tumor extension remained independent prognostic factors in multivariate analysis. Overall, all of the tested staging systems showed a reasonable discriminatory ability. CLIP (closely followed by JIS) was the top-ranked score in terms of prognostic capability with the best values of the AIC and c-index (AIC 2286, c-index 0.71), surpassing other established staging systems like BCLC (AIC 2343, c-index 0.66). The unidimensional scores TNM (AIC 2342, c-index 0.64) and Child-Pugh (AIC 2369, c-index 0.63) performed in an inferior fashion.
Compared with six other staging systems, the CLIP-score was identified as the most suitable staging system for predicting prognosis in a large German cohort of predominantly non-surgical HCC-patients.
Sexuality is an important part of people’s physical and mental health. Patients with heart disease often suffer from sexual dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction has a negative impact on quality of life and well-being in persons with heart disease, and sexual dysfunction is associated with anxiety and depression. Treatment and care possibilities seem to be lacking. Studies indicate that non-pharmacological interventions such as exercise training and psychoeducation possess the potential of reducing sexual dysfunction in patients with heart disease. The CopenHeartSF trial will investigate the effect of a comprehensive sexual rehabilitation programme versus usual care.
Methods and analysis
CopenHeartSF is an investigator-initiated randomised clinical superiority trial with blinded outcome assessment, with 1:1 central randomisation to sexual rehabilitation plus usual care versus usual care alone. Based on sample size calculations, 154 male patients with impaired sexual function due to implantable cardioverter defibrillator or ischaemic heart disease will be included from two university hospitals in Denmark. All patients receive usual care and patients allocated to the experimental intervention group follow a 12-week sexual rehabilitation programme consisting of an individualised exercise programme and psychoeducative consultation with a specially trained nurse. The primary outcome is sexual function measured by the International Index of Erectile Function. The secondary outcome measure is psychosocial adjustment to illness by the Psychosocial Adjustment to Illness Scale, sexual domain. A number of explorative analyses will also be conducted.
Ethics and dissemination
CopenHeartSF is approved by the regional ethics committee (no H-4-2012-168) and the Danish Data Protection Agency (no 2007-58-0015) and is performed in accordance with good clinical practice and the Declaration of Helsinki in its latest form.
Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01796353.
CARDIOLOGY; REHABILITATION MEDICINE; SEXUAL MEDICINE
Cognitive problems are commonly reported by hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) survivors, and are associated with poorer physical and mental well-being. It was hypothesized that adverse effects of subjective cognitive impairment occur because cognitive difficulties reduce survivors’ confidence that they can manage HSCT-related symptoms—that is, self-efficacy for symptom management.
HSCT survivors (n = 245) 9-months to 3-years post-HSCT completed measures of subjective cognitive functioning, self-efficacy for symptom management, and clinically important outcomes: depressed mood, anxiety, and quality of life. Mediation analyses using bootstrapping were conducted to investigate whether effects of subjective cognitive impairment on these outcomes were mediated by self-efficacy for cognitive (SE-Cognitive), emotional (SE-Emotional), social (SE-Social), and physical (SE-Physical) symptom management.
Self-efficacy mediated relations between subjective cognitive impairment and depressed mood (total indirect effect = −.0064 and 95% confidence interval [CI] −.0097 to −.0036), anxiety (total indirect effect = −.0045, CI −.0072 to −.0021), and quality of life (total indirect effect = .0952, CI .0901 to .2642). SE-Emotional was a unique mediator when the outcome was depressed mood and anxiety. SE-Social, SE-Physical and SE-Emotional were specific mediators when outcome was quality of life.
Findings support the conclusion that subjective cognitive impairment reduces HSCT survivors’ confidence in their ability to manage common post-HSCT symptoms, with implications for physical and mental well-being. Interventions that help enhance survivors’ self-efficacy are likely to benefit HSCT survivors who report subjective cognitive impairment.
cancer; oncology; cognitive functioning; self-efficacy; quality of life; distress
A strong therapeutic alliance has been found to predict psychotherapeutic treatment success across a variety of therapeutic modalities and patient populations. However, only a few studies have examined therapeutic alliance as a predictor of psychotherapy outcome among cancer survivors, and none have examined this relation in telephone administered cognitive behavioral therapy (T-CBT). This study evaluated the extent to which therapeutic alliance affected psychotherapy outcomes in survivors of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), a treatment for some cancers.
Forty-six patients enrolled in a randomized clinical trial of T-CBT for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) completed a baseline assessment (including self-report measures of PTSD symptoms, depression, and general distress), 10 individual T-CBT sessions, and follow-up assessments at 6, 9, and 12 months post-baseline. Therapeutic alliance was assessed after the third T-CBT session with the Working Alliance Inventory, which yields overall and subscale (task, bond, and goal) scores.
Analyses revealed that higher total therapeutic alliance scores prospectively predicted decreased depressive symptomatology; higher task scores predicted decreased overall distress, depressive symptomatology, symptoms of re-experiencing, and avoidance; and higher bond scores predicted decreased depressive symptomatology and symptoms of re-experiencing.
These results suggest that assessments of therapeutic alliance should be incorporated into routine clinical care, and therapeutic alliance should be specifically cultivated in interventions to maximize psychotherapeutic benefits involving vulnerable populations such as cancer survivors.
therapeutic alliance; cancer; telephone administered CBT; PTSD
Biofilm formation on biomedical devices such as dental implants can result in serious infections and finally in device failure. Polymer coatings which provide antimicrobial action to surfaces without compromising the compatibility with human tissue are of great interest. Copolymers of 4-vinyl-N-hexylpyridinium bromide and dimethyl(2-methacryloyloxyethyl) phosphonate are interesting candidates in this respect. These copolymers form ultrathin polycationic layers on titanium surfaces. As the copolymerization reaction is almost ideal statistical, copolymers with varying compositions can be synthesized and immobilized onto titanium surfaces for comprehensive screening concerning antimicrobial activity and biocompatibility. Copolymer films on titanium were characterized by contact angle measurements, ellipsometry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Antibacterial properties were assessed by investigation of adherence of S. mutans which represents a strain found in the human oral cavity. Biocompatibility was rated based on human gingival fibroblast adhesion, proliferation and cell morphology. Depending on polymer composition the coatings displayed a behavior ranging from biocompatibility equal to titanium but no antibacterial action to highly antimicrobial activity but poor biocompatibility. By balancing these two opposing effects by tailoring chemical composition, copolymer coatings were fabricated, which were able to inhibit the growth of S. mutans on the surface significantly but still show a sufficient attachment of gingival fibroblasts.
antimicrobial polymer coatings; biocompatibility; copolymerization; medical implants; cell adhesion
Animal experimental studies and previous randomized trials suggest an improvement in mortality and neurological function with temperature regulation to hypothermia after cardiac arrest. According to a systematic review, previous trials were small, had a risk of bias, evaluated select populations, and did not treat hyperthermia in the control groups. The optimal target temperature management (TTM) strategy is not known. To prevent outcome reporting bias, selective reporting and data-driven results, we present the a priori defined detailed statistical analysis plan as an update to the previously published outline of the design and rationale for the TTM trial.
The TTM trial is an investigator-initiated, multicenter, international, randomized, parallel-group, and assessor-blinded clinical trial of temperature management in 950 adult unconscious patients resuscitated after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest of a presumed cardiac cause. The patients are randomized to a TTM of either 33°C or 36°C after return of spontaneous circulation. The primary outcome is all-cause mortality at maximal follow-up (until end of the trial and a minimum of 180 days). The main secondary outcomes are the composite outcome of all-cause mortality and poor neurological function (Cerebral Performance Category (CPC) 3 and 4, and modified Rankin Scale (mRS) 4 and 5) at hospital discharge and at 180 days; and assessment of safety and harm: bleeding, infections, electrolyte and metabolic disorders, seizures, cardiac arrhythmia, and renal replacement therapy.
The TTM trial investigates potential benefit and harm of two target temperature strategies, both avoiding hyperthermia in a large proportion of the out-of-hospital cardiac arrest population.
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01020916
Cardiac arrest; Induced hypothermia; Mortality; Neurological function; Targeted temperature management; Randomized clinical trial; Statistical analysis plan
Just over a century ago, animal responses to injections of jellyfish extracts unveiled the phenomenon of anaphylaxis. Yet, until very recently, understanding of jellyfish sting toxicity has remained limited. Upon contact, jellyfish stinging cells discharge complex venoms, through thousands of barbed tubules, into the skin resulting in painful and, potentially, lethal envenomations. This review examines the immunological and toxinological responses to stings by prominent species of jellyfish including Physalia sp. (Portuguese Man-o-War, Blue-bottle), Cubozoan jellyfish including Chironex fleckeri, several Carybdeids including Carybdea arborifera and Alatina moseri, Linuche unguiculta (Thimble jellyfish), a jellyfish responsible for Irukandji syndrome (Carukia barnesi) and Pelagia noctiluca. Jellyfish venoms are composed of potent proteinaceous porins (cellular membrane pore-forming toxins), neurotoxic peptides, bioactive lipids and other small molecules whilst the tubules contain ancient collagens and chitins. We postulate that immunologically, both tubular structural and functional biopolymers as well as venom components can initiate innate, adaptive, as well as immediate and delayed hypersensitivity reactions that may be amenable to topical anti-inflammatory-immunomodifier therapy. The current challenge for immunotoxinologists is to deconstruct the actions of venom components to target therapeutic modalities for sting treatment.
Jellyfish; envenomation; sting; allergy; toxin; immunology
High fever and/or rash prior to neutrophil engraftment are frequently observed after umbilical cord blood (UCB) transplantation, and the condition is referred to as pre-engraftment syndrome (PES). Few studies have evaluated the risk factors for and treatment response to PES. Therefore, we retrospectively characterized PES in 57 consecutive engrafted patients (≥12 years old) who received myeloablative dual UCB transplantation. All patients received TBI (≥13.2Gy)-based myeloablative conditioning. Tacrolimus (n=35) or cyclosporine (n=22) combined with mycophenolate mofetil was used as GVHD prophylaxis. PES was defined as the presence of non-infectious fever (≥38.5°C) and/or rash prior to or on the day of neutrophil engraftment. The incidence (95% CI) of PES was 77% (66%–88%). The incidence of PES was significantly higher in patients who received cyclosporine as a GVHD prophylaxis than those who received tacrolimus (P<0.001), and this association was confirmed in the multivariate analysis. The occurrence of PES did not impact overall survival or tumor relapse, although it may have increased non-relapse mortality (P=0.071). The incidence of acute GHVD or treatment-related mortality was not influenced by the choice to use corticosteroids to treat PES. This study suggests that use of cyclosporine for GVHD prophylaxis increases the risk of PES following dual umbilical cord blood transplantation.
pre-engraftment syndrome; dual umbilical cord blood transplantation; myeloablative
Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) plays an essential role in degradation of extracellular dopamine in prefrontal regions of the brain. Although a polymorphism in this gene, COMT Val158Met, affects human behavior in response to stress little is known about its effect on dopaminergic activity associated with the human stress response, which may be of interest for stress-related psychiatric disorders such as psychosis. We aimed to investigate the effect of variations in COMT genotype on in vivo measures of stress-induced prefrontal cortex (PFC) dopaminergic processing and subjective stress responses. A combined sample of healthy controls and healthy first-degree relatives of psychosis patients (n = 26) were subjected to an [18F]fallypride Positron Emission Tomography scan. Psychosocial stress during the scan was induced using the Montreal Imaging Stress Task and subjective stress was assessed every 12 minutes. Parametric t-maps, generated using the linear extension of the simplified reference region model, revealed an effect of COMT genotype on the spatial extent of [18F]fallypride displacement. Detected effects of exposure to psychosocial stress were unilateral and remained restricted to the left superior and right inferior frontal gyrus, with Met-hetero- and homozygotes showing less [18F]fallypride displacement than Val-homozygotes. Additionally, Met-hetero- and homozygotes experienced larger subjective stress responses than Val-homozygotes. The direction of the effects remained the same when the data was analyzed separately for controls and first-degree relatives. The human stress response may be mediated in part by COMT-dependent dopaminergic PFC activity, providing speculation for the neurobiology underlying COMT-dependent differences in human behaviour following stress. Implications of these results for stress-related psychopathology and models of dopaminergic functioning are discussed.
Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is reduced in obese children and adolescents, especially in clinical samples. However, little is known regarding the HRQoL of moderately overweight youth. Moreover, several studies have indicated perceived overweight as a critical factor associated with lower HRQoL. Our main objective was to compare HRQoL between treatment-seeking overweight youth and the general adolescent population, whilst separating the effects of treatment-seeking status and perceived weight from those of objective weight status.
We compared the HRQoL of a clinical sample of overweight youth (N=137 patients, mean age±s.e.=11.24±0.15 years) with that of a representative population sample (N=6354, mean age=12.75±0.03 years). The population sample was subdivided into groups based on measured and perceived weight status. We used hierarchical linear models to compare HRQoL subscale scores (self- and parent-reported) between patients and population groups, adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics and taking into account clustering of the population sample.
The parent-reported HRQoL of the treatment sample was significantly lower than that of other overweight youth perceived as ‘too fat’ on two subscales: ‘self-esteem’ and ‘friends’ (effect sizes: d=0.31 and 0.34, respectively). On other subscales, patients scored lower than adolescents perceived as having a ‘proper weight’ by their parents. The patterns for self-reported HRQoL in adolescents were different: patients reported higher self-esteem than other overweight youth feeling ‘too fat’ (d=-0.39). Female patients also reported higher physical well-being (d=-0.48), whereas males scored lowest among all compared groups (d=0.42-0.95). Patients did not differ from other overweight youth who felt ‘too fat’ with respect to other HRQoL dimensions. In general, lower HRQoL was primarily associated with a perceived, rather than actual, overweight status.
The treatment-seeking status of overweight youth was notably associated with low social well-being, which may therefore be the main motive for seeking treatment. Other HRQoL domains were not consistently reduced in treatment-seekers. Our results further indicate that perceived overweight rather than actual overweight impacts HRQoL in youth with a modest excess weight. These results have implications for interventions in overweight youth and in individuals who are dissatisfied with their weight.
‘Obeldicks light’ is registered at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00422916).
Health-related quality of life; Overweight; Obesity; Weight perception; Body image; Children and adolescents; Treatment-seeking status
Every year in Europe about 25,000 infants are born extremely preterm. These infants have a 20% mortality rate, and 25% of survivors have severe long-term cerebral impairment. Preventative measures are key to reduce mortality and morbidity in an extremely preterm population. The primary objective of the SafeBoosC phase II trial is to examine if it is possible to stabilize the cerebral oxygenation of extremely preterm infants during the first 72 hours of life through the application of cerebral near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) oximetry and implementation of an clinical treatment guideline based on intervention thresholds of cerebral regional tissue saturation rStO2.
SafeBoosC is a randomized, blinded, multinational, phase II clinical trial. The inclusion criteria are: neonates born more than 12 weeks preterm; decision to conduct full life support; parental informed consent; and possibility to place the cerebral NIRS oximeter within 3 hours after birth. The infants will be randomized into one of two groups. Both groups will have a cerebral oximeter monitoring device placed within three hours of birth. In the experimental group, the cerebral oxygenation reading will supplement the standard treatment using a predefined treatment guideline. In the control group, the cerebral oxygenation reading will not be visible and the infant will be treated according to the local standards. The primary outcome is the multiplication of the duration and magnitude of rStO2 values outside the target ranges of 55% to 85%, that is, the ‘burden of hypoxia and hyperoxia’ expressed in ‘%hours’. To detect a 50% difference between the experimental and control group in %hours, 166 infants in total must be randomized. Secondary outcomes are mortality at term date, cerebral ultrasound score, and interburst intervals on an amplitude-integrated electroencephalogram at 64 hours of life and explorative outcomes include neurodevelopmental outcome at 2 years corrected age, magnetic resonance imaging at term, blood biomarkers at 6 and 64 hours after birth, and adverse events.
Cerebral oximetry guided interventions have the potential to improve neurodevelopmental outcome in extremely preterm infants. It is a logical first step to test if it is possible to reduce the burden of hypoxia and hyperoxia.
Randomized clinical trial; Preterm; Near infrared spectroscopy; Protocol
Graves’ hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disease causing hyperfunction of the thyroid gland. The concentration of selenium is high in the thyroid gland and two important groups of enzymes within the thyroid are selenoproteins, that is, they depend on selenium. Selenium may have beneficial effects on autoimmune hypothyroidism and on Graves' orbitopathy, but the effects of selenium on Graves' hyperthyroidism is unknown.
We hypothesize that adjuvant selenium may be beneficial in the treatment of Graves' hyperthyroidism. The objective is to investigate if selenium supplementation plus standard treatment with anti-thyroid drugs versus standard treatment with anti-thyroid drugs will lead to a decrease in anti-thyroid drug treatment failure (that is, failure to remain euthyroid, without further treatment, one year after cessation of anti-thyroid drug treatment), faster and longer lasting remission (that is, anti-thyroid drug treatment success), and improved quality of life in patients with Graves’ hyperthyroidism.
Methods and design
The trial is an investigator-initiated, randomised, blinded, multicentre clinical trial. Inclusion criteria are: age 18 years or older; diagnosis of active Graves' hyperthyroidism within the last two months; and informed consent. Exclusion criteria are major co-morbidity; previous radioactive iodine treatment; ongoing anti-thyroid drug treatment for more than two months; treatment with immunomodulatory drugs; known allergy towards the components in the selenium and placebo pills; pregnancy or breast-feeding; and intake of selenium supplementation above 70 μg per day. We plan to include 492 participants, randomised (1:1) to two tablets of 100 μg selenium once daily for the 24 to 30 months intervention period versus two identical placebo tablets once daily.
The primary outcome is the proportion of participants with anti-thyroid drug treatment failure (see above) at the end of the intervention period (24 to 30 months). Secondary outcomes are: thyroid-specific quality of life during the first year after randomisation; level of thyroid stimulating hormone-receptor antibodies at 18 months after randomisation and at the end of the intervention period (24 to 30 months); hyperthyroid symptoms during the first year after randomisation; eye symptoms during the first year after randomisation, and at the end of the intervention period (24 to 30 months); adverse reactions during the intervention period; and serious adverse events during the intervention period.
It was of great importance to the initiators of this trial, that the results would be directly applicable to daily clinical practice. Therefore, it was designed as a pragmatic trial: the patients follow their usual treatment at their usual hospitals. In order to still collect high quality data on the clinical course and quality of life, an elaborate trial management system was designed to keep track of patient input, need for trial personnel input and action, and to collect data from medical chart systems. Meticulous follow-up on missing responses to the QoL measurements has been incorporated into the system, to minimise missing quality of life data. Monitoring of adverse reactions and events is achieved by thorough instruction of the participants, surveillance of patient-reported outcomes, and integration with national databases regarding hospitalizations. A very long intervention period was necessary, since patients are not considered in remission until one year after stopping anti-thyroid drugs. Usually, patients are treated for 12 to 18 months with anti-thyroid drugs, yielding a total intervention period of 24 to 30 months.
Graves' disease; Selenium supplementation; Pragmatic trial; Quality of life; ThyPRO
The cost-effectiveness of universal rotavirus (RV) vaccination is controversial in developed countries. As a result, RV vaccination programs do not currently exist in most European countries. Hospitalization is the main driver of RV disease costs, and prematurity, low birth weight (LBW) and underlying medical conditions have been associated with RV hospitalization and complications. We investigated the cost-effectiveness of targeted RV vaccination of high-risk infants and universal RV vaccination versus no vaccination.
Disease burden, mortality and healthcare costs of RV hospitalization for children with and without prematurity, LBW and congenital pathology were quantified in two hospital-based observational studies in the Netherlands. Cost-effectiveness analysis was based on an age-structured stochastic multi-cohort model of the Dutch population comparing universal RV vaccination and targeted vaccination of high-risk infants to no vaccination. The primary endpoint was the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER), with a threshold of €35,000/quality-adjusted life year (QALY) from the healthcare provider perspective. Sensitivity analyses included vaccine price and coverage, herd-immunity and QALY losses.
A total of 936 children with RV infection were included. Prematurity, LBW and congenital pathology were associated with increased risks of RV hospitalization (relative risks (RR) ranging from 1.6 to 4.4), ICU admission (RR ranging from 4.2 to 7.9), prolonged hospital stay (1.5 to 3.0 excess days) and higher healthcare costs (€648 to €1,533 excess costs). Seven children succumbed due to RV complications, all belonging to the high-risk population. Targeted RV vaccination was highly cost-effective and potentially cost-saving from the healthcare provider perspective with ICERs below €20,000/QALY in all scenarios with total (undiscounted) annual healthcare costs between -€0.1 and €0.5 million/year. Results were most sensitive to mortality rates, but targeted vaccination remained highly cost-effective up to reductions of 90% compared to observed mortality. Universal RV vaccination was not considered cost-effective (mean ICER: €60,200/QALY) unless herd-immunity and caretaker QALY losses were included and vaccine prices were €60 at most (mean ICER: €21,309/QALY).
We recommend targeted RV vaccination for high-risk infants in developed countries.
Rotavirus vaccination; Cost-effectiveness; Cost-utility; High-risk population; Targeted prevention; Hospitalization; Nosocomial infection; Mortality
Heart valve diseases are common with an estimated prevalence of 2.5% in the Western world. The number is rising due to an ageing population. Once symptomatic, heart valve diseases are potentially lethal, and heavily influence daily living and quality of life. Surgical treatment, either valve replacement or repair, remains the treatment of choice. However, post surgery, the transition to daily living may become a physical, mental and social challenge. We hypothesise that a comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation programme can improve physical capacity and self-assessed mental health and reduce hospitalisation and healthcare costs after heart valve surgery.
A randomised clinical trial, CopenHeartVR, aims to investigate whether cardiac rehabilitation in addition to usual care is superior to treatment as usual after heart valve surgery. The trial will randomly allocate 210 patients, 1:1 intervention to control group, using central randomisation, and blinded outcome assessment and statistical analyses. The intervention consists of 12 weeks of physical exercise, and a psycho-educational intervention comprising five consultations. Primary outcome is peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak) measured by cardiopulmonary exercise testing with ventilatory gas analysis. Secondary outcome is self-assessed mental health measured by the standardised questionnaire Short Form 36. Also, long-term healthcare utilisation and mortality as well as biochemistry, echocardiography and cost-benefit will be assessed. A mixed-method design is used to evaluate qualitative and quantitative findings encompassing a survey-based study before the trial and a qualitative pre- and post-intervention study.
The study is approved by the local regional Research Ethics Committee (H-1-2011-157), and the Danish Data Protection Agency (j.nr. 2007-58-0015).
Heart valve surgery; Rehabilitation; Physical exercise; Psycho-education
This study presents serogroup 6 isolates from invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) before and after the recommendation for childhood pneumococcal conjugate vaccination in Germany (July 2006). A total of 19,299 (children: 3508, adults: 15,791) isolates were serotyped. Serogroup 6 isolates accounted for 9.5% (children) and 6.7% (adults), respectively. 548 isolates had serotype 6A, 558 had serotype 6B, 285 had serotype 6C, and 4 had serotype 6D. Among children, serotype 6B was most prevalent (7.5% of isolates) before vaccination, followed by 6A and 6C. After the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7), the prevalence of serotype 6B significantly decreased (p = 0.040), a pattern which continued in the higher-valent PCV period (PCV10, PCV13). Serotype 6A prevalence showed a slight increase directly after the start of PCV7 vaccination, followed by a decrease which continued throughout the PCV10/13 period. Serotype 6C prevalence remained low. Serotype 6D was not found among IPD isolates from children. Among adults, prevalence of both 6A and 6B decreased, with 6B reaching statistical significance (p = 0.045) and 6A showing a small increase in 2011–2012. Serotype 6C prevalence was 1.5% or lower before vaccination, but increased post-vaccination to 3.6% in 2011/12 (p = 0.031). Four serotype 6D isolates were found post-PCV7 childhood vaccination, and two post-PCV10/13. Antibiotic resistance was found mainly in serotype 6B; serotype 6A showed lower resistance rates. Serotype 6C isolates only showed resistance among adults; serotype 6D isolates showed no resistance. Multilocus sequence typing showed that sequence type (ST) 1692 was the most prevalent serotype 6C clone. Thirty-two other STs were found among serotype 6C isolates, of which 12 have not been previously reported. The four serotype 6D isolates had ST 948, ST 2185 and two new STs: 8422 and 8442. Two serogroup 6 isolates could not be assigned to a serotype, but had STs common to serogroup 6.
The role of natural selection in shaping adaptive trait differentiation in natural populations has long been recognized. Determining its molecular basis, however, remains a challenge. Here, we search for signals of selection in candidate genes for colour and its perception in a passerine bird. Pied flycatcher plumage varies geographically in both its structural and pigment-based properties. Both characteristics appear to be shaped by selection. A single-locus outlier test revealed 2 of 14 loci to show significantly elevated signals of divergence. The first of these, the follistatin gene, is expressed in the developing feather bud and is found in pathways with genes that determine the structure of feathers and may thus be important in generating variation in structural colouration. The second is a gene potentially underlying the ability to detect this variation: SWS1 opsin. These two loci were most differentiated in two Spanish pied flycatcher populations, which are also among the populations that have the highest UV reflectance. The follistatin and SWS1 opsin genes thus provide strong candidates for future investigations on the molecular basis of adaptively significant traits and their co-evolution.
SNP; melanin; ultraviolet reflectance; outlier test; passerine bird
Brugada syndrome (BrS) is a rare and inherited primary arrhythmic syndrome characterized by ST-segment elevations in the right precordial leads (V1-V3) with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). Arrhythmias in BrS are often nocturne, and brady-arrhythmias are often seen in patients with loss-of-function mutations in SCN5A. In this case-report we present a 75-year old woman referred to our outpatient clinic for inherited cardiac diseases for a familial clinical work-up. Since childhood she had suffered from dizziness, absence seizures, and countless Syncope’s. In 2004 sick sinus syndrome was suspected and she was treated with implantation of a pacemaker (PM) at another institution. An inherited cardiac disease was one day suddenly suspected, as the patient had a 61-year old brother who was diagnosed with symptomatic BrS, and treated with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) after aborted SCD. A mutation screening revealed a SCN5A [S231CfsX251 (c.692-693delCA)] loss-of-function mutation not previously reported, and as a part of the cascade screening in relatives she was therefore referred to our clinic. In the 7 year period after PM implantation she had experienced no cardiac symptoms, although her electrocardiogram changes now were consistent with a BrS type 1 pattern. A genetic test confirmed that she had the same mutation in SCN5A as her brother. In this case-report we present a loss-of function mutation in SCN5A not previously associated with BrS nor presented in healthy controls. Sinus node dysfunction has previously been documented in patients with symptomatic BrS, which suggests it is not a rare concomitant. The only accepted treatment of BrS is today implantation of an ICD. In the future studies should evaluate if PM in some cases of symptomatic BrS can be used instead of ICDs in patients with a loss-of-function SCN5A mutations
Brugada syndrome; Pacemaker; Arrhythmias; Sudden cardiac death
Rates of self-reported psychotic experiences (SRPEs) in general population samples are high; however the reliability against interview-based assessments and the clinical significance of false-positive (FP) ratings remain unclear. Design: The second Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2, a general population study.
Trained lay interviewers administered a structured interview assessing psychopathology and psychosocial characteristics in 6646 participants. Participants with at least one SRPE (N = 1084) were reassessed by clinical telephone interview.
Thirty-six percent of participants with SRPEs were confirmed by clinical interview as true positive (TP). SPREs not confirmed by clinical interview (FP group) generated less help-seeking behavior and occurred less frequently compared with TP experiences (TP group). However, compared with controls without psychotic experiences, the FP group more often displayed mood disorder (relative risk [RR] 1.7, 1.4–2.2), substance use disorder (RR 2.0, 1.6–2.6), cannabis use (RR 1.5, 1.2–1.9), higher levels of neuroticism (RR 1.8, 1.5–2.2), affective dysregulation, and social dysfunction. The FP group also experienced more sexual (RR 2.0, 1.5–2.8) and psychological childhood trauma (RR 2.1, 1.7–2.6) as well as peer victimization (RR 1.5, 1.2–2.0) and recent life events (RR 2.0, 1.6–2.4) than controls without psychotic experiences. Differences between the FP group and the TP group across these domains were much smaller and less conclusive.
SRPEs not confirmed by clinical interview may epresent the softest expression of an extended psychosis phenotype that is phenotypically continuous with clinical psychosis but discontinuous in need for care.
diagnosis; schizophrenia; trauma; cannabis; epidemiology; false positive
Understanding precursors to distress and emotional well-being (EWB) experienced in anticipation of radiotherapy would facilitate the ability to intervene with this emotional upset (i.e., higher distress, lower EWB). Thus the present study tested an expectancy-based model for explaining emotional upset in breast cancer patients prior to radiotherapy. Women affected by breast cancer (N=106) were recruited and participants completed questionnaires prior to commencing radiotherapy. Structural equation modeling was used test a cross-sectional model, which assessed the ability of dispositional optimism (Life Orientation Test-Revised - two factors), response expectancies (VAS items), medical (type of surgery, cancer stage, chemotherapy history) and demographic (age, race/ethnicity, education, marital status) variables to predict both EWB (Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy - Emotional Well-being Subscale) and distress (Profile of Mood States - Short Version). The model represented a good fit to the data accounting for 65% of the variance in EWB and 69% in Distress. Significant predictors of emotional upset were pessimism, response expectancies, Latina ethnicity, cancer stage, and having had a mastectomy. These variables explained a large portion of emotional upset experienced prior to radiotherapy for breast cancer and are important to consider when aiming to reduce distress and improve EWB in this context.
distress; quality of life; breast neoplasm; radiotherapy; optimism; response expectancies
Atrial fibrillation affects almost 2% of the population in the Western world. To preserve sinus rhythm, ablation is undertaken in symptomatic patients. Observational studies show that patients with atrial fibrillation often report a low quality of life and are less prone to be physically active due to fear of triggering fibrillation. Small trials indicate that exercise training has a positive effect on exercise capacity and mental health, and both patients with recurrent atrial fibrillation and in sinus rhythm may benefit from rehabilitation in managing life after ablation. No randomised trials have been published on cardiac rehabilitation for atrial fibrillation patients treated with ablation that includes exercise and psychoeducational components.
To test the effects of an integrated cardiac rehabilitation programme versus treatment as usual for patients with atrial fibrillation treated with ablation.
Methods and analysis design
The trial is a multicentre parallel arm design with 1:1 randomisation to the intervention and control group with blinded outcome assessment. 210 patients treated for atrial fibrillation with radiofrequency ablation will be included. The intervention consists of a rehabilitation programme including four psychoeducative consultations with a specially trained nurse and 12 weeks of individualised exercise training, plus the standard medical follow-up. Patients in the control group will receive the standard medical follow-up. The primary outcome measure is exercise capacity measured by the VO2 peak. The secondary outcome measure is self-rated mental health measured by the Short Form 36 questionnaire. Postintervention, qualitative interviews will be conducted in 10% of the intervention group.
Ethics and dissemination
The protocol is approved by the regional research ethics committee (number H-1-2011-135), the Danish Data Protection Agency (reg. nr. 2007-58-0015) and follows the latest version of the Declaration of Helsinki. The results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and may possibly impact on rehabilitation guidelines.
Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01523145.
Atrial Fibrillation ; QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
This report describes the baseline characteristics of patients in the Reduction of Events with Darbepoetin alfa in Heart Failure trial (RED-HF) which is testing the hypothesis that anaemia correction with darbepoetin alfa will reduce the composite endpoint of death from any cause or hospital admission for worsening heart failure, and improve other outcomes.
Methods and results
Key demographic, clinical, and laboratory findings, along with baseline treatment, are reported and compared with those of patients in other recent clinical trials in heart failure. Compared with other recent trials, RED-HF enrolled more elderly [mean age 70 (SD 11.4) years], female (41%), and black (9%) patients. RED-HF patients more often had diabetes (46%) and renal impairment (72% had an estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/min/1.73 m2). Patients in RED-HF had heart failure of longer duration [5.3 (5.4) years], worse NYHA class (35% II, 63% III, and 2% IV), and more signs of congestion. Mean EF was 30% (6.8%). RED-HF patients were well treated at randomization, and pharmacological therapy at baseline was broadly similar to that of other recent trials, taking account of study-specific inclusion/exclusion criteria. Median (interquartile range) haemoglobin at baseline was 112 (106–117) g/L.
The anaemic patients enrolled in RED-HF were older, moderately to markedly symptomatic, and had extensive co-morbidity.
Heart failure; Anaemia
Degenerative aortic valve (AV) stenosis is the most prevalent heart valve disease in the western world. Surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) has until recently been the standard of treatment for patients with severe AV stenosis. Whether transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) can be offered with improved safety and similar effectiveness in a population including low-risk patients has yet to be examined in a randomised setting.
This randomised clinical trial will evaluate the benefits and risks of TAVI using the transarterial CoreValve System (Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis, MN, USA) (intervention group) compared with SAVR (control group) in patients with severe degenerative AV stenosis. Randomisation ratio is 1:1, enrolling a total of 280 patients aged 70 years or older without significant coronary artery disease and with a low, moderate, or high surgical risk profile. Trial outcomes include a primary composite outcome of myocardial infarction, stroke, or all-cause mortality within the first year after intervention (expected rates 5% for TAVI, 15% for SAVR). Exploratory safety outcomes include procedure complications, valve re-intervention, and cardiovascular death, as well as cardiac, cerebral, pulmonary, renal, and vascular complications. Exploratory efficacy outcomes include New York Heart Association functional status, quality of life, and valve prosthesis and cardiac performance. Enrolment began in December 2009, and 269 patients have been enrolled up to December 2012.
The trial is designed to evaluate the performance of TAVI in comparison with SAVR. The trial results may influence the choice of treatment modality for patients with severe degenerative AV stenosis.
Aortic valve stenosis; Aortic valve prosthesis; Transcatheter aortic valve implantation; Surgical aortic valve replacement; Randomised clinical trial design