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1.  Non-invasive assessment of atherosclerotic coronary lesion length using multidetector computed tomography angiography: comparison to quantitative coronary angiography 
Multidetector computed tomography angiography (CTA) provides information on plaque extent and stenosis in the coronary wall. More accurate lesion assessment may be feasible with CTA as compared to invasive coronary angiography (ICA). Accordingly, lesion length assessment was compared between ICA and CTA in patients referred for CTA who underwent subsequent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). 89 patients clinically referred for CTA were subsequently referred for ICA and PCI. On CTA, lesion length was measured from the proximal to the distal shoulder of the plaque. Quantitative coronary angiography (QCA) was performed to analyze lesion length. Stent length was recorded for each lesion. In total, 119 lesions were retrospectively identified. Mean lesion length on CTA was 21.4 ± 8.4 mm and on QCA 12.6 ± 6.1 mm. Mean stent length deployed was 17.4 ± 5.3 mm. Lesion length on CTA was significantly longer than on QCA (difference 8.8 ± 6.7 mm, P < 0.001). Moreover, lesion length visualized on CTA was also significantly longer than mean stent length (CTA lesion length-stent length was 4.2 ± 8.7 mm, P < 0.001). Lesion length assessed by CTA is longer than that assessed by ICA. Possibly, CTA provides more accurate lesion length assessment than ICA and may facilitate improved guidance of percutaneous treatment of coronary lesions.
PMCID: PMC3485532  PMID: 22271073
Coronary artery disease; Multidetector computed tomography; Quantitative coronary angiography
2.  Comprehensive assessment of spotty calcifications on computed tomography angiography: Comparison to plaque characteristics on intravascular ultrasound with radiofrequency backscatter analysis 
Journal of Nuclear Cardiology  2011;18(5):893-903.
The purpose of the study was to systematically compare calcification patterns in plaques on computed tomography angiography (CTA) with plaque characteristics on intravascular ultrasound with radiofrequency backscatter analysis (IVUS-VH).
Methods and Results
In total, 108 patients underwent CTA and IVUS-VH. On CTA, calcification patterns in plaques were classified as non-calcified, spotty or dense calcifications. Plaques with spotty calcifications were differentiated into small spotty (<1 mm), intermediate spotty (1-3 mm) and large spotty calcifications (≥3 mm). Plaque characteristics deemed more high-risk on IVUS-VH were defined by % necrotic core (NC) and presence of thin cap fibroatheroma (TCFA). Overall, 300 plaques were identified both on CTA and IVUS-VH. % NC core was significantly higher in plaques with small spotty calcifications as compared to non-calcified plaques (20% vs 13%, P = .006). In addition, there was a trend for a higher % NC in plaques with small spotty calcifications than in plaques with intermediate spotty calcifications (20% vs 14%, P = .053). Plaques with small spotty calcifications had the highest % TCFA as compared to large spotty and dense calcifications (31% vs 9% and 31% vs 6%, P < .05).
Plaques with small spotty calcifications on CTA were related to plaque characteristics deemed more high-risk on IVUS-VH. Therefore, CTA may be valuable in the assessment of the vulnerable plaque.
PMCID: PMC3175045  PMID: 21769702
Atherosclerosis; computed tomography (CT); vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque
3.  Quantitative T2 measurement of a single voxel with arbitrary shape using pinwheel excitation and CPMG acquisition 
Magma (New York, N.Y.)  2007;20(5-6):233-240.
The aim of this study is to present a new approach for making quantitative single-voxel T2 measurements from an arbitrarily shaped region of interest (ROI), where the advantage of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) per unit time of the single-voxel approach over conventional imaging approach can be achieved.
Materials and methods
Two-dimensional (2D) spatially selective radiofrequency (RF) pulses are proposed in this work for T2 measurements based on using interleaved spiral trajectories in excitation k-space (pinwheel excitation pulses), combined with a summed Carr—Purcell Meiboom—Gill (CPMG) echo acquisition. The technique is described and compared to standard multi-echo imaging methods, on a two-compartment water phantom and an excised brain tissue.
The studies show good agreement between imaging and our method. The measured improvement factors of SNR per unit time of our single-voxel approach over imaging approach are close to the predicted values.
Measuring T2 relaxation times from a selected ROI of arbitrary shape using a single-voxel rather than an imaging approach can increase the SNR per unit time, which is critical for dynamic T2 or multi-component T2 measurements.
PMCID: PMC2634838  PMID: 17999101
T2 measurement; Arbitrary shape localization; Interleaved spiral trajectory in k-space; CPMG
4.  DC-SCRIPT is a novel regulator of the tumor suppressor gene CDKN2B and induces cell cycle arrest in ERα-positive breast cancer cells 
Breast cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths in women. The estrogen receptor (ERα) is well known for having growth promoting effects in breast cancer. Recently, we have identified DC-SCRIPT (ZNF366) as a co-suppressor of ERα and as a strong and independent prognostic marker in ESR1 (ERα gene)-positive breast cancer patients. In this study, we further investigated the molecular mechanism on how DC-SCRIPT inhibits breast cancer cell growth. DC-SCRIPT mRNA levels from 190 primary ESR1-positive breast tumors were related to global gene expression, followed by gene ontology and pathway analysis. The effect of DC-SCRIPT on breast cancer cell growth and cell cycle arrest was investigated using novel DC-SCRIPT-inducible MCF7 breast cancer cell lines. Genome-wide expression profiling of DC-SCRIPT-expressing MCF7 cells was performed to investigate the effect of DC-SCRIPT on cell cycle-related gene expression. Findings were validated by real-time PCR in a cohort of 1,132 ESR1-positive breast cancer patients. In the primary ESR1-positive breast tumors, DC-SCRIPT expression negatively correlated with several cell cycle gene ontologies and pathways. DC-SCRIPT expression strongly reduced breast cancer cell growth in vitro, breast tumor growth in vivo, and induced cell cycle arrest. In addition, in the presence of DC-SCRIPT, multiple cell cycles related genes were differentially expressed including the tumor suppressor gene CDKN2B. Moreover, in 1,132 primary ESR1-positive breast tumors, DC-SCRIPT expression also correlated with CDKN2B expression. Collectively, these data show that DC-SCRIPT acts as a novel regulator of CDKN2B and induces cell cycle arrest in ESR1-positive breast cancer cells.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10549-015-3281-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4326655  PMID: 25663546
DC-SCRIPT; ZNF366; CDKN2B; Breast cancer; Cell cycle; G1 arrest
6.  Insights into the structure of class B GPCRs 
The secretin-like (class B) family of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are key players in hormonal homeostasis and are interesting drug targets for the treatment of several metabolic disorders (type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity) and nervous system diseases (migraine, anxiety, depression). The recently solved crystal structures of the transmembrane domains of the human glucagon receptor and the human corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 1 have opened up new opportunities to study the structure and function of class B GPCRs. The current review shows how these structures offer more detailed explanations to previous biochemical and pharmacological studies of class B GPCRs, and provides new insights into their interactions with ligands.
PMCID: PMC3931419  PMID: 24359917
Class B G Protein-Coupled Receptor (GPCR); Glucagon receptor (GCGR); Corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 1 (CRF1); crystal structure; ligand binding
7.  Extremes of Age Are Associated with Indeterminate QuantiFERON-TB Gold Assay Results 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(7):2694-2697.
Results from 3,263 QuantiFERON-TB Gold in-tube (QFT-GIT) assays were analyzed to determine the impact of age on test performance. The proportion of indeterminate results was significantly higher in pediatric and elderly (9.1% and 7.4%, respectively) than in adult (2.6%; chi-square test, P < 0.0001) patients. A detailed analysis of indeterminate QFT-GIT assay results is presented.
PMCID: PMC4097686  PMID: 24829238
8.  Spatially specific vs. unspecific disruption of visual orientation perception using chronometric pre-stimulus TMS 
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over occipital cortex can impair visual processing. Such “TMS masking” has repeatedly been shown at several stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs), with TMS pulses generally applied after the onset of a visual stimulus. Following increased interest in the neuronal state-dependency of visual processing, we recently explored the efficacy of TMS at “negative SOAs”, when no visual processing can yet occur. We could reveal pre-stimulus TMS disruption, with results moreover hinting at two separate mechanisms in occipital cortex biasing subsequent orientation perception. Here we extended this work, including a chronometric design to map the temporal dynamics of spatially specific and unspecific mechanisms of state-dependent visual processing, while moreover controlling for TMS-induced pupil covering. TMS pulses applied 60–40 ms prior to a visual stimulus decreased orientation processing independent of stimulus location, while a local suppressive effect was found for TMS applied 30–10 ms pre-stimulus. These results contribute to our understanding of spatiotemporal mechanisms in occipital cortex underlying the state-dependency of visual processing, providing a basis for future work to link pre-stimulus TMS suppression effects to other known visual biasing mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4311643
TMS; vision; awareness; orientation processing; masking; suppression; biasing; state-dependent
9.  Evoked Emotions Predict Food Choice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115388.
In the current study we show that non-verbal food-evoked emotion scores significantly improve food choice prediction over merely liking scores. Previous research has shown that liking measures correlate with choice. However, liking is no strong predictor for food choice in real life environments. Therefore, the focus within recent studies shifted towards using emotion-profiling methods that successfully can discriminate between products that are equally liked. However, it is unclear how well scores from emotion-profiling methods predict actual food choice and/or consumption. To test this, we proposed to decompose emotion scores into valence and arousal scores using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and apply Multinomial Logit Models (MLM) to estimate food choice using liking, valence, and arousal as possible predictors. For this analysis, we used an existing data set comprised of liking and food-evoked emotions scores from 123 participants, who rated 7 unlabeled breakfast drinks. Liking scores were measured using a 100-mm visual analogue scale, while food-evoked emotions were measured using 2 existing emotion-profiling methods: a verbal and a non-verbal method (EsSense Profile and PrEmo, respectively). After 7 days, participants were asked to choose 1 breakfast drink from the experiment to consume during breakfast in a simulated restaurant environment. Cross validation showed that we were able to correctly predict individualized food choice (1 out of 7 products) for over 50% of the participants. This number increased to nearly 80% when looking at the top 2 candidates. Model comparisons showed that evoked emotions better predict food choice than perceived liking alone. However, the strongest predictive strength was achieved by the combination of evoked emotions and liking. Furthermore we showed that non-verbal food-evoked emotion scores more accurately predict food choice than verbal food-evoked emotions scores.
PMCID: PMC4270769  PMID: 25521352
10.  Transmission of influenza A/H5N1 viruses in mammals 
Virus research  2013;178(1):10.1016/j.virusres.2013.07.017.
Highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza A viruses occasionally infect humans and cause severe respiratory disease and fatalities. Currently, these viruses are not efficiently transmitted from person to person, although limited human-to-human transmission may have occurred. Nevertheless, further adaptation of avian H5N1 influenza A viruses to humans and/or reassortment with human influenza A viruses may result in aerosol transmissible viruses with pandemic potential. Although the full range of factors that modulate the transmission and replication of influenza A viruses in humans are not yet known, we are beginning to understand some of the molecular changes that may allow H5N1 influenza A viruses to transmit via aerosols or respiratory droplets among mammals. A better understanding of the biological basis and genetic determinants that confer transmissibility to H5N1 influenza A viruses in mammals is important to enhance our pandemic preparedness.
PMCID: PMC3838911  PMID: 23954580
Avian H5N1 influenza A virus; Airborne transmission; Mammalian model
11.  Validity of a questionnaire measuring the world health organization concept of health system responsiveness with respect to perinatal services in the dutch obstetric care system 
The concept of responsiveness, introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO), addresses non-clinical aspects of health service quality that are relevant regardless of provider, country, health system or health condition. Responsiveness refers to “aspects related to the way individuals are treated and the environment in which they are treated” during health system interactions. This paper assesses the psychometric properties of a newly developed responsiveness questionnaire dedicated to evaluating maternal experiences of perinatal care services, called the Responsiveness in Perinatal and Obstetric Health Care Questionnaire (ReproQ), using the eight-domain WHO concept.
The ReproQ was developed between October 2009 and February 2010 by adapting the WHO Responsiveness Questionnaire items to the perinatal care context. The psychometric properties of feasibility, construct validity, and discriminative validity were empirically assessed in a sample of Dutch women two weeks post partum.
A total of 171 women consented to participation. Feasibility: the interviews lasted between 20 and 40 minutes and the overall missing rate was 8%. Construct validity: mean Cronbach’s alphas for the antenatal, birth and postpartum phase were: 0.73 (range 0.57-0.82), 0.84 (range 0.66-0.92), and 0.87 (range 0.62-0.95) respectively. The item-own scale correlations within all phases were considerably higher than most of the item-other scale correlations. Within the antenatal care, birth care and post partum phases, the eight factors explained 69%, 69%, and 76% of variance respectively. Discriminative validity: overall responsiveness mean sum scores were higher for women whose children were not admitted. This confirmed the hypothesis that dissatisfaction with health outcomes is transferred to their judgement on responsiveness of the perinatal services.
The ReproQ interview-based questionnaire demonstrated satisfactory psychometric properties to describe the quality of perinatal care in the Netherlands, with the potential to discriminate between different levels of quality of care. In view of the relatively small sample, further testing and research is recommended.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12913-014-0622-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4265356  PMID: 25465053
Responsiveness; Psychometric properties; Quality of care; Perinatal care
12.  H2S mediated thermal and photochemical methane activation 
Sustainable, low temperature methods of natural gas activation are critical in addressing current and foreseeable energy and hydrocarbon feedstock needs. Large portions of natural gas resources are still too expensive to process due to their high content of hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) in mixture with methane, CH4, altogether deemed as sub-quality or “sour” gas. We propose a unique method for activating this “sour” gas to form a mixture of sulfur-containing hydrocarbon intermediates, CH3SH and CH3SCH3, and an energy carrier, such as H2. For this purpose, we computationally investigated H2S mediated methane activation to form a reactive CH3SH species via direct photolysis of sub-quality natural gas. Photoexcitation of hydrogen sulfide in the CH4+H2S complex results in a barrier-less relaxation via a conical intersection to form a ground state CH3SH+H2 complex. The resulting CH3SH can further be heterogeneously coupled over acidic catalysts to form higher hydrocarbons while the H2 can be used as a fuel. This process is very different from a conventional thermal or radical-based processes and can be driven photolytically at low temperatures, with enhanced controllability over the process conditions currently used in industrial oxidative natural gas activation. Finally, the proposed process is CO2 neutral, as opposed to the currently industrially used methane steam reforming (SMR).
PMCID: PMC3880144  PMID: 24150813
methane; H2S; CH3SH; C-H bond activation; DFT; light
13.  Endoscopic mucosal resection of large rectal adenomas in the era of centralization: Results of a multicenter collaboration 
Background and objective
Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) of large rectal adenomas is largely being centralized. We assessed the safety and effectiveness of EMR in the rectum in a collaboration of 15 Dutch hospitals.
Prospective, observational study of patients with rectal adenomas >3 cm, resected by piecemeal EMR. Endoscopic treatment of adenoma remnants at 3 months was considered part of the intervention strategy. Outcomes included recurrence after 6, 12 and 24 months and morbidity.
Sixty-four patients (50% male, age 69 ± 11, 96% ASA 1/2) presented with 65 adenomas (diameter 46 ± 17 mm, distance ab ano 4.5 cm (IQR 1–8), 6% recurrent lesion). Sixty-two procedures (97%) were technically successful. Histopathology revealed invasive carcinoma in three patients (5%), who were excluded from effectiveness analyses. At 3 months’ follow-up, 10 patients showed adenoma remnants. Recurrence was diagnosed in 16 patients during follow-up (recurrence rate 25%). Fifteen of 64 patients (23%) experienced 17 postprocedural complications.
In a multicenter collaboration, EMR was feasible in 97% of patients. Recurrence and postprocedural morbidity rates were 25% and 23%. Our results demonstrate the outcomes of EMR in the absence of tertiary referral centers.
PMCID: PMC4245307  PMID: 25452845
Rectum; adenoma; endoscopic mucosal resection; recurrence; morbidity
14.  Effect of Tea Theaflavins and Catechins on Microvascular Function 
Nutrients  2014;6(12):5772-5785.
Beneficial effects of flavonoid-rich black and green tea on macrocirculation have been well established. Theaflavins are unique to black tea as they are formed from catechins during the enzymatic oxidation of tea leaves. The study was performed to gain more insight into the effects of theaflavins on microcirculation and to compare effects with another important flavonoid class, the green tea derived catechins, which have been reported to improve vascular function. Twenty-four healthy subjects were included in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, cross-over study. On six different days, subjects received capsules with a single dose of catechins (500 mg), four varying doses of theaflavins (100 to 500 mg) or placebo. Microcirculation was assessed after each treatment by Pulse Amplitude Tonometry (EndoPAT) at baseline and 2, 4 and 6 h after test product intake. The EndoPAT reactive hyperemia response was improved by 500 mg catechins (reactive hyperemia index (RHI): 0.2; p = 0.04) and by 500 mg theaflavins (RHI: 0.19; p = 0.06) compared to placebo. Also, 300 mg theaflavins increased the RHI (0.28; p = 0.02), but no effects were observed at lower doses. The study suggests moderate effects of single doses of catechins and theaflavins on peripheral microcirculation.
PMCID: PMC4276998  PMID: 25514559
tea; theaflavins; catechins; polyphenols; vascular function; EndoPAT; reactive hyperemia response
15.  Shaping the oral microbiota through intimate kissing 
Microbiome  2014;2:41.
The variation of microbial communities associated with the human body can be the cause of many factors, including the human genetic makeup, diet, age, surroundings, and sexual behavior. In this study, we investigated the effects of intimate kissing on the oral microbiota of 21 couples by self-administered questionnaires about their past kissing behavior and by the evaluation of tongue and salivary microbiota samples in a controlled kissing experiment. In addition, we quantified the number of bacteria exchanged during intimate kissing by the use of marker bacteria introduced through the intake of a probiotic yoghurt drink by one of the partners prior to a second intimate kiss.
Similarity indices of microbial communities show that average partners have a more similar oral microbiota composition compared to unrelated individuals, with by far most pronounced similarity for communities associated with the tongue surface. An intimate kiss did not lead to a significant additional increase of the average similarity of the oral microbiota between partners. However, clear correlations were observed between the similarity indices of the salivary microbiota of couples and self-reported kiss frequencies, and the reported time passed after the latest kiss. In control experiments for bacterial transfer, we identified the probiotic Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium marker bacteria in most kiss receivers, corresponding to an average total bacterial transfer of 80 million bacteria per intimate kiss of 10 s.
This study indicates that a shared salivary microbiota requires a frequent and recent bacterial exchange and is therefore most pronounced in couples with relatively high intimate kiss frequencies. The microbiota on the dorsal surface of the tongue is more similar among partners than unrelated individuals, but its similarity does not clearly correlate to kissing behavior, suggesting an important role for specific selection mechanisms resulting from a shared lifestyle, environment, or genetic factors from the host. Furthermore, our findings imply that some of the collective bacteria among partners are only transiently present, while others have found a true niche on the tongue’s surface allowing long-term colonization.
PMCID: PMC4233210  PMID: 25408893
Intimate kiss; Oral microbiota; Tongue; Saliva; Next generation sequencing; Streptococcus; Lactobacillus
16.  Molecular Epidemiology of Seal Parvovirus, 1988–2014 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112129.
A novel parvovirus was discovered recently in the brain of a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) with chronic meningo-encephalitis. Phylogenetic analysis of this virus indicated that it belongs to the genus Erythroparvovirus, to which also human parvovirus B19 belongs. In the present study, the prevalence, genetic diversity and clinical relevance of seal parvovirus (SePV) infections was evaluated in both harbor and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) that lived in Northwestern European coastal waters from 1988 to 2014. To this end, serum and tissue samples collected from seals were tested for the presence of seal parvovirus DNA by real-time PCR and the sequences of the partial NS gene and the complete VP2 gene of positive samples were determined. Seal parvovirus DNA was detected in nine (8%) of the spleen tissues tested and in one (0.5%) of the serum samples tested, including samples collected from seals that died in 1988. Sequence analysis of the partial NS and complete VP2 genes of nine SePV revealed multiple sites with nucleotide substitutions but only one amino acid change in the VP2 gene. Estimated nucleotide substitution rates per year were 2.00×10−4 for the partial NS gene and 1.15×10−4 for the complete VP2 gene. Most samples containing SePV DNA were co-infected with phocine herpesvirus 1 or PDV, so no conclusions could be drawn about the clinical impact of SePV infection alone. The present study is one of the few in which the mutation rates of parvoviruses were evaluated over a period of more than 20 years, especially in a wildlife population, providing additional insights into the genetic diversity of parvoviruses.
PMCID: PMC4229121  PMID: 25390639
17.  Treatment of Infantile Hemangioma in Regional Hospitals With eHealth Support: Evaluation of Feasibility and Acceptance by Parents and Doctors 
JMIR Research Protocols  2014;3(4):e52.
Since beta blockers became the preferred treatment for infantile hemangiomas (IH), the number of patients eligible for treatment is increasing. Currently treatment of IH with beta blockers is mainly reserved for expert centers, where wait times are lengthening. This demonstrated the need for development of a more efficient and accessible way of providing care for children needing treatment for IH. An eHealth intervention, Hemangioma Treatment Plan (HTP), was developed to treat IH in regional hospitals with online support from an academic doctor.
Our goal was to evaluate the feasibility of the eHealth intervention by determining its use, acceptance, and usability. By evaluating the feasibility, usage can be predicted and points for improvement can be defined, thereby facilitating implementation of the intervention.
Parents of children with an IH, presenting between October 2012 and November 2013 at the tertiary expert Center for Congenital Vascular Anomalies Utrecht, requiring treatment with a beta blocker, were asked to participate in the digital HTP. Both parents and regional doctors were sent a study questionnaire. Acceptance and usability of the HTP were evaluated by using the modified Technology Acceptance Model.
A total of 31 parents and 22 regional doctors participated in the eHealth intervention and received the questionnaire, and 25 parents and 15 doctors responded (response rates respectively 81% and 68%). A majority of the parents (96%, 24/25) and the regional doctors (87%, 13/15) considered the eHealth intervention useful in the care for IH. Most parents (76%, 19/25) and over half of the regional doctors (53%, 8/15) found the HTP easy to use. Technical problems using the HTP were reported by 28% (7/25) of the parents and 73% (11/15) of the doctors. The majority of parents (92%, 23/25) felt positive about usage of the HTP during treatment of their child. All regional doctors (100%, 15/15) felt positive about transition of treatment from the tertiary expert center to them, and 93% (14/15) felt positive about using the HTP.
Our eHealth intervention shows good feasibility, especially among parents. Improvement with respect to technical problems, training of regional doctors, and achieving organizational support might be needed for successful implementation in the future.
PMCID: PMC4259911  PMID: 25367558
eHealth; personal health record; e-consulation, tertiary teledermatology; Internet; acceptance, usability; infantile hemangioma; child
18.  In vivo 3D molecular imaging with BIRDS at high spatiotemporal resolution 
NMR in biomedicine  2013;26(11):1589-1595.
Spectroscopic signals which emanate from complexes between paramagnetic lanthanide III ions (e.g., Tm3+) and macrocyclic chelates (e.g., 1,4,7,10-tetramethyl 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetate, or DOTMA4−) are sensitive to physiology (e.g., temperature and/or pH). Because non-exchanging protons from these lanthanide-based macrocyclic agents have relaxation times on the order of a few milliseconds, rapid data acquisition is possible with chemical shift imaging (CSI). Thus Biosensor Imaging of Redundant Deviation in Shifts (BIRDS) which originate from non-exchanging protons of these paramagnetic agents, but exclude water proton detection, can allow molecular imaging. Previous 2D CSI experiments with such lanthanide-based macrocyclics allowed acquisition from ~12 µL voxels in rat brain within 5 minutes using rectangular encoding of k-space. Because cubical encoding of k-space in 3D for whole brain coverage increases CSI acquisition time to several tens of minutes or more, a faster CSI technique is required for BIRDS to be of practical use. Here we demonstrate a CSI acquisition method to improve 3D molecular imaging capabilities with lanthanide-based macrocyclics. Using TmDOTMA−, we show datasets from a 20×20×20 mm3 field-of-view with voxels of ~1 µL effective volume acquired within 5 minutes (at 11.7T) for temperature mapping. By employing reduced spherical encoding with Gaussian weighting (RESEGAW) instead of cubical encoding of k-space, a significant increase in CSI signal is obtained. In vitro and in vivo 3D CSI data with TmDOTMA−, and presumably similar lanthanide-based macrocyclics, suggest that acquisition using RESEGAW can be used for high spatiotemporal molecular mapping with BIRDS.
PMCID: PMC3800475  PMID: 23881869
methyl protons; chemical shift imaging; lanthanide; thulium; temperature; BIRDS; k-space; rat brain
19.  Multi-Coil Magnetic Field Modeling 
Journal of magnetic resonance (San Diego, Calif. : 1997)  2013;236:10.1016/j.jmr.2013.08.015.
The performance of multi-coil (MC) magnetic field modeling is compared to dedicated wire patterns for the generation of spherical harmonic (SH) shapes as these are the workhorse for spatial encoding and magnetic field homogenization in MR imaging and spectroscopy. To this end, an example 48 channel MC setup is analyzed and shown to be capable of generating all first through fourth order SH shapes over small and large regions-of-interest relevant for MR investigations. The MC efficiency for the generation of linear gradient fields shares the same order of magnitude with classic and state-of-the-art SH gradient coils. MC field modeling becomes progressively more efficient with the synthesis of more complex field shapes that require the combination of multiple SH terms. The possibility of a region-specific optimization of both magnetic field shapes and generation performance with the MC approach are discussed with emphasis on the possible trade-off between the field accuracy and generation efficiency.
MC shimming has been shown previously to outperform current SH shimming. Along with the efficiency gains of MC shimming shown here, the MC concept has the potential to 1) replace conventional shim systems that are based on sets of dedicated SH coils and 2) allow optimal object-specific shim solutions similar to object-specific RF coils.
PMCID: PMC3866212  PMID: 24095841
magnetic fields; modeling; efficiency; accuracy; spherical harmonic functions
20.  Novel Avian-Origin Influenza A (H7N9) Virus Attachment to the Respiratory Tract of Five Animal Models 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(8):4595-4599.
We determined the pattern of attachment of the avian-origin H7N9 influenza viruses A/Anhui/1/2013 and A/Shanghai/1/2013 to the respiratory tract in ferrets, macaques, mice, pigs, and guinea pigs and compared it to that in humans. The H7N9 attachment pattern in macaques, mice, and to a lesser extent pigs and guinea pigs resembled that in humans more closely than the attachment pattern in ferrets. This information contributes to our knowledge of the different animal models for influenza.
PMCID: PMC3993775  PMID: 24478425
21.  Embarrassment When Illness Strikes A Close Relative: A World Mental Health Survey Consortium Multi-Site Study 
Psychological medicine  2013;43(10):2191-2202.
This global study seeks to estimate the degree to which a family member might feel embarrassed when a close relative is suffering from an alcohol, drug, or mental health condition (ADMC) versus a general medical condition (GMC). To date, most studies have considered embarrassment and stigma in society and internalized by the afflicted individual, but have not assessed family embarrassment in a large scale study.
In 16 sites of the World Mental Health Surveys (WMHS), standardized assessments were completed including items on family embarrassment. Site matching was used to constrain local socially shared determinants of stigma-related feelings, enabling a conditional logistic regression model that estimates the embarrassment close relatives may hold in relation to family members affected by an ADMC, GMC, or both conditions.
There was a statistically robust association such that subgroups with an ADMC-affected relative were more likely to feel embarrassed as compared to subgroups with a relative affected by a GMC (p<0.001), even with covariate adjustments for age and sex.
The pattern of evidence from this research is consistent with conceptual models for interventions that target individual- and family-level stigma-related feelings of embarrassment as might be part of the obstacles to effective early intervention and treatment for ADMC conditions. Macro-level interventions are underway, but micro-level interventions also may be required among family members, along with care for each person with an ADMC.
PMCID: PMC4013530  PMID: 23298443
Family Embarrassment; Stigma; World Mental Health Surveys; Psychiatric Conditions
22.  Using brain stimulation to disentangle neural correlates of conscious vision 
Frontiers in Psychology  2014;5:1019.
Research into the neural correlates of consciousness (NCCs) has blossomed, due to the advent of new and increasingly sophisticated brain research tools. Neuroimaging has uncovered a variety of brain processes that relate to conscious perception, obtained in a range of experimental paradigms. But methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging or electroencephalography do not always afford inference on the functional role these brain processes play in conscious vision. Such empirical NCCs could reflect neural prerequisites, neural consequences, or neural substrates of a conscious experience. Here, we take a closer look at the use of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques in this context. We discuss and review how NIBS methodology can enlighten our understanding of brain mechanisms underlying conscious vision by disentangling the empirical NCCs.
PMCID: PMC4171988  PMID: 25295015
NIBS; TMS; TES; tDCS; visual awareness; consciousness; NCC
24.  Holistic screening of collapsing honey bee colonies in Spain: a case study 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7(1):649.
Here we present a holistic screening of collapsing colonies from three professional apiaries in Spain. Colonies with typical honey bee depopulation symptoms were selected for multiple possible factors to reveal the causes of collapse.
Omnipresent were Nosema ceranae and Lake Sinai Virus. Moderate prevalences were found for Black Queen Cell Virus and trypanosomatids, whereas Deformed Wing Virus, Aphid Lethal Paralysis Virus strain Brookings and neogregarines were rarely detected. Other viruses, Nosema apis, Acarapis woodi and Varroa destructor were not detected. Palinologic study of pollen demonstrated that all colonies were foraging on wild vegetation. Consequently, the pesticide residue analysis was negative for neonicotinoids. The genetic analysis of trypanosomatids GAPDH gene, showed that there is a large genetic distance between Crithidia mellificae ATCC30254, an authenticated cell strain since 1974, and the rest of the presumed C. mellificae sequences obtained in our study or published. This means that the latter group corresponds to a highly differentiated taxon that should be renamed accordingly.
The results of this study demonstrate that the drivers of colony collapse may differ between geographic regions with different environmental conditions, or with different beekeeping and agricultural practices. The role of other pathogens in colony collapse has to bee studied in future, especially trypanosomatids and neogregarines. Beside their pathological effect on honey bees, classification and taxonomy of these protozoan parasites should also be clarified.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-649) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4180541  PMID: 25223634
Honeybee; Colony collapse; Viruses; Parasites; Neonicotinoids; Palinology
25.  Genome-wide association study identifies a sequence variant within the DAB2IP gene conferring susceptibility to abdominal aortic aneurysm 
Gretarsdottir, Solveig | Baas, Annette F | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Holm, Hilma | den Heijer, Martin | de Vries, Jean-Paul P M | Kranendonk, Steef E | Zeebregts, Clark J A M | van Sterkenburg, Steven M | Geelkerken, Robert H | van Rij, Andre M | Williams, Michael J A | Boll, Albert P M | Kostic, Jelena P | Jonasdottir, Adalbjorg | Jonasdottir, Aslaug | Walters, G Bragi | Masson, Gisli | Sulem, Patrick | Saemundsdottir, Jona | Mouy, Magali | Magnusson, Kristinn P | Tromp, Gerard | Elmore, James R | Sakalihasan, Natzi | Limet, Raymond | Defraigne, Jean-Olivier | Ferrell, Robert E | Ronkainen, Antti | Ruigrok, Ynte M | Wijmenga, Cisca | Grobbee, Diederick E | Shah, Svati H | Granger, Christopher B | Quyyumi, Arshed A | Vaccarino, Viola | Patel, Riyaz S | Zafari, A Maziar | Levey, Allan I | Austin, Harland | Girelli, Domenico | Pignatti, Pier Franco | Olivieri, Oliviero | Martinelli, Nicola | Malerba, Giovanni | Trabetti, Elisabetta | Becker, Lewis C | Becker, Diane M | Reilly, Muredach P | Rader, Daniel J | Mueller, Thomas | Dieplinger, Benjamin | Haltmayer, Meinhard | Urbonavicius, Sigitas | Lindblad, Bengt | Gottsäter, Anders | Gaetani, Eleonora | Pola, Roberto | Wells, Philip | Rodger, Marc | Forgie, Melissa | Langlois, Nicole | Corral, Javier | Vicente, Vicente | Fontcuberta, Jordi | España, Francisco | Grarup, Niels | Jørgensen, Torben | Witte, Daniel R | Hansen, Torben | Pedersen, Oluf | Aben, Katja K | de Graaf, Jacqueline | Holewijn, Suzanne | Folkersen, Lasse | Franco-Cereceda, Anders | Eriksson, Per | Collier, David A | Stefansson, Hreinn | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Rafnar, Thorunn | Valdimarsson, Einar M | Magnadottir, Hulda B | Sveinbjornsdottir, Sigurlaug | Olafsson, Isleifur | Magnusson, Magnus Karl | Palmason, Robert | Haraldsdottir, Vilhelmina | Andersen, Karl | Onundarson, Pall T | Thorgeirsson, Gudmundur | Kiemeney, Lambertus A | Powell, Janet T | Carey, David J | Kuivaniemi, Helena | Lindholt, Jes S | Jones, Gregory T | Kong, Augustine | Blankensteijn, Jan D | Matthiasson, Stefan E | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Stefansson, Kari
Nature genetics  2010;42(8):692-697.
We performed a genome-wide association study on 1,292 individuals with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) and 30,503 controls from Iceland and The Netherlands, with a follow-up of top markers in up to 3,267 individuals with AAAs and 7,451 controls. The A allele of rs7025486 on 9q33 was found to associate with AAA, with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.21 and P = 4.6 × 10−10. In tests for association with other vascular diseases, we found that rs7025486[A] is associated with early onset myocardial infarction (OR = 1.18, P = 3.1 × 10−5), peripheral arterial disease (OR = 1.14, P = 3.9 × 10−5) and pulmonary embolism (OR = 1.20, P = 0.00030), but not with intracranial aneurysm or ischemic stroke. No association was observed between rs7025486[A] and common risk factors for arterial and venous diseases—that is, smoking, lipid levels, obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Rs7025486 is located within DAB2IP, which encodes an inhibitor of cell growth and survival.
PMCID: PMC4157066  PMID: 20622881

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