During the last decade considerable attention has been focussed upon the development of new technologies and methodologies for detection of drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. There is a growing acknowledgement that the redundancy in testing a full panel of first-line drugs is an unaffordable indulgence; since only resistance at baseline to either (or both) of the two most potent agents, isoniazid (H) and rifampicin (R), would usually prompt therapeutic modification there is a shift towards initial RH (or R alone for selected genotypic technologies) drug susceptibility testing (DST) followed, if necessary by further extended first and second line agent (currently phenotypic) DST. Most of the new drug susceptibility tests endorsed by the World Health Organization since 2007 deliver rapid RH (or R alone for selected genotypic technologies) DST. Targeting of patient groups with risk factors for drug resistance increases the proportion of tests that identify drug resistance, but in many settings at least as many patients with drug resistant disease will have no identifiable risk factors—equity of care demands that universal RH DST at baseline should be the goal. We review the bewildering array of choices facing TB program directors and attempt to provide objective information to help in deciding what tools may be best suited to different environments.
Difficulties with sustained attention have been found among both persons with HIV infection (HIV+) and bipolar disorder (BD). The authors examined sustained attention among 39 HIV+ individuals with BD (HIV+/BD+) and 33 HIV-infected individuals without BD (HIV+/BD−), using the Conners’ Continuous Performance Test–II (CPT–II). A Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score was also assigned to each participant as an overall indicator of daily functioning abilities. HIV+/BD+ participants had significantly worse performance on CPT–II omission errors, hit reaction time SE (Hit RT SE), variability of SE, and perseverations than HIV+/BD− participants. When examining CPT–II performance over the six study blocks, both HIV+/BD+ and HIV+/BD− participants evidenced worse performance on scores of commission errors and reaction times as the test progressed. The authors also examined the effect of current mood state (i.e., manic, depressive, euthymic) on CPT–II performance, but no significant differences were observed across the various mood states. HIV+/BD+ participants had significantly worse GAF scores than HIV+/BD− participants, which indicates poorer overall functioning in the dually-affected group; among HIV+/BD+ persons, significant negative correlations were found between GAF scores and CPT–II omission and commission errors, detectability, and perseverations, indicating a possible relationship between decrements in sustained attention and worse daily-functioning outcomes.
Leg exercise hemodynamics during single-leg knee extensions were compared among healthy groups of early perimenopausal (n = 15), late perimenopausal (n = 12), and early postmenopausal (n = 11) women. Femoral blood flow (FBF) and vascular conductance (FVC) at rest and during very light work rates (0 and 5 W) were similar among all three menopause stage groups. Vascular responses at 10 W (FBF) and 20 W (FBF and FVC) were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in early perimenopausal compared with late perimenopausal women. At 15 and 25 W, FBF and FVC were similar between late perimenopausal and early postmenopausal groups but higher (P < 0.05) in early perimenopausal women as compared with the other two menopausal groups. In the combined sample of all three menopause stage groups, follicle-stimulating hormone was significantly correlated with vascular conductance during submaximal (15 W) exercise (R = −0.56, P < 0.001), even after adjustment for age, fitness, LDL cholesterol, and abdominal fat (R = −0.46, P = 0.005). Collectively, these findings suggest that in middle-aged women, there is an association between menopause stage and leg vascular responsiveness during exercise.
exercise hyperemia; menopause transition; reproductive hormones
Estimates of the prevalence of lifetime suicidal ideation and attempt, and risks for new-onset suicidality, among HIV-infected (HIV+) individuals are not widely available in the era of modern combined antiretroviral treatment (cART).
Participants (n=1560) were evaluated with a comprehensive battery of tests that included the depression and substance use modules of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) as part of a large prospective cohort study at six U.S. academic medical centers. Participants with possible lifetime depression (n=981) were classified into five categories: 1) no thoughts of death or suicide (n=352); 2) thoughts of death (n=224); 3) thoughts of suicide (n=99); 4) made a suicide plan (n=102); and 5) attempted suicide (n=204).
Twenty-six percent (405/1560) of participants reported lifetime suicidal ideation and 13% (204/1560) reported lifetime suicide attempt. Participants who reported suicidal thoughts or plans, or attempted suicide, reported higher scores on the BDI-II (p<0.0001), and higher rates of current major depressive disorder (p=0.01), than those who did not. Attempters reported higher rates of lifetime substance abuse (p=0.02) and current use of psychotropic medications (p=0.01) than non-attempters.
Study assessments focused on lifetime, rather than current, suicide. Data was not collected on the timing of ideation or attempt, frequency, or nature of suicide attempt.
High rates of lifetime suicidal ideation and attempt, and the relationship of past report with current depressed mood, suggests that mood disruption is still prevalent in HIV. Findings emphasize the importance of properly diagnosing and treating psychiatric comorbidities among HIV persons in the cART era.
HIV; depression; suicide
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remain prevalent despite improved antiretroviral treatment (ART), and it is essential to have a sensitive and specific HAND screening tool.
Participants were 200 HIV-infected US military beneficiaries, managed early in the course of HIV infection, had few comorbidities, and had open access to ART. Participants completed a comprehensive, seven-domain (16-test), neuropsychological battery (∼120 min); neurocognitive impairment (NCI) was determined using a standardized score derived from demographically adjusted T-scores (global deficit score ≥0.5). Restricting the estimated administration time of the screening battery to < = 20 minutes, we examined the sensitivity and specificity of detecting NCI for all possible combinations of 2-, 3-, and 4- tests from the comprehensive battery.
Participants were relatively healthy (median CD4 count: 546 cells/mm3) with 64% receiving ART. Prevalence of NCI was low (19%). The best 2-test screener included the Stroop Color Test and the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (11 min; sensitivity = 73%; specificity = 83%); the best 3-test screener included the above measures plus the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT; 16 min; sensitivity = 86%; specificity = 75%). The addition of Action Fluency to the above three tests improved specificity (18 min; sensitivity = 86%; specificity = 87%).
Combinations of widely accepted neuropsychological tests with brief implementation time demonstrated good sensitivity and specificity compared to a time intensive neuropsychological test battery. Tests of verbal learning, attention/working memory, and processing speed are particularly useful in detecting NCI. Utilizing validated, easy to administer, traditional neuropsychological tests with established normative data may represent an excellent approach to screening for NCI in HIV.
For drug-compliant patients, poor responses to tuberculosis (TB) treatment might be attributable to subtherapeutic drug concentrations. An impaired absorption of rifampin was previously reported for patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) or HIV. The objectives of this study were to determine whether TB drug pharmacokinetics differed in Peruvian TB patients with DM or HIV. In this cross-sectional study, TB patients, recruited from health centers in Lima, Peru, had blood samples taken at 2 and 6 h after directly observed TB drug ingestion, to determine plasma concentrations of rifampin. Of 105 patients, 50 had TB without a comorbidity, 26 had coexistent DM, and 29 had coexistent HIV. Unexpectedly, the overall median 2- and 6-h levels of rifampin were 1.6 and 3.2 mg/liter, respectively, and the time to the peak concentration was 6 h (slow absorber) instead of 2 h (fast absorber) for 61 patients (62.2%). The geometric mean peak concentration of drug in serum (Cmax) was significantly higher in fast absorbers than in slow absorbers (5.0 versus 3.8 mg/liter; P = 0.05). The rifampin Cmax was significantly lower in male patients than in female patients (3.3 versus 6.3 mg/liter; P < 0.001). Neither slow nor fast absorbers with comorbidities (DM or HIV) had significantly different Cmax results compared to those of TB patients without comorbidities. An analysis of variance regression analysis showed that female gender (P < 0.001) and the time to maximum concentration of drug in serum (Tmax) at 2 h (P = 0.012) were independently correlated with increased exposure to rifampin. Most of this Peruvian study population exhibited rifampin pharmacokinetics different from those conventionally reported, with delayed absorption and low plasma concentrations, independent of the presence of an HIV or DM comorbidity.
Mild forms of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remain prevalent in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Although elevated LPS and immune activation are implicated in HAND pathogenesis, relationships of LPS and inflammatory markers to mild forms of HAND or impairment in specific cognitive domains are unknown. To examine these relationships, we compared plasma soluble CD14 (sCD14), CCL2, and LPS levels to neurocognitive test scores in a cART era cohort.
We analyzed plasma from HIV+ subjects (n=97) with nadir CD4 counts <300 and high frequency of HCV co-infection and illicit drug use for relationships between sCD14, CCL2, and LPS levels and neurocognitive test scores.
Plasma sCD14 levels were higher in subjects with test scores indicating global impairment (p=0.007), particularly in attention and learning domains (p=0.015 and p=0.03, respectively), regardless of HAND diagnosis. Plasma sCD14 levels correlated inversely with global, attention, and learning T scores (p=0.036, 0.047, and 0.007, respectively), and yielded higher AUROC values for predicting impaired scores than single-marker models based on plasma or CSF viral load or CD4 count (AUROC 0.71, 0.81, and 0.71, respectively), and in four-marker models based on plasma sCD14 and three conventional markers compared to the three-marker models.
Plasma sCD14 is a biomarker associated with impaired neurocognitive testing in attention and learning domains in HIV-infected individuals with advanced disease, suggesting involvement of cortical and limbic pathways by inflammatory processes in the cART era. Plasma sCD14 is a potential biomarker to monitor HAND progression and therapeutic responses.
HIV; AIDS; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders; HCV; biomarkers; drug abuse
Memory and executive functioning are two important components of clinical neuropsychological (NP) practice and research. Multiple demographic factors are known to affect performance differentially on most NP tests, but adequate normative corrections, inclusive of race/ethnicity, are not available for many widely used instruments. This study compared demographic contributions for widely used tests of verbal and visual learning and memory (Brief Visual Memory Test-Revised, Hopkins Verbal Memory Test-Revised), and executive functioning (Stroop Color and Word Test, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test-64) in groups of healthy Caucasians (n = 143) and African-Americans (n = 103). Demographic factors of age, education, gender, and race/ethnicity were found to be significant factors on some indices of all four tests. The magnitude of demographic contributions (especially age) was greater for African-Americans than Caucasians on most measures. New, demographically corrected T-score formulas were calculated for each race/ethnicity. The rates of NP impairment using previously published normative standards significantly overestimated NP impairment in African-Americans. Utilizing the new demographic corrections developed and presented herein, NP impairment rates were comparable between the two race/ethnicities and unrelated to the other demographic characteristics (age, education, gender) in either race/ethnicity group. Findings support the need to consider extended demographic contributions to neuropsychological test performance in clinical and research settings.
Tuberculosis (TB) disease remains one of the highest causes of mortality in HIV-infected individuals, and HIV–TB coinfection continues to grow at alarming rates, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Surprisingly, a number of important areas regarding coinfection remain unclear. For example, increased risk of TB disease begins early in the course of HIV infection; however, the mechanism by which HIV increases this risk is not well understood. In addition, there is lack of consensus on the optimal way to diagnose latent TB infection and to manage active disease in those who are HIV infected. Furthermore, effective point-of-care testing for TB disease remains elusive. This review discusses key areas in the epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management of active and latent TB in those infected with HIV, focusing attention on issues related to high- and low-burden areas. Particular emphasis is placed on controversial areas where there are gaps in knowledge and on future directions of study.
tuberculosis; HIV; diagnosis; management; epidemiology
According to the multi-process theory of prospective memory (ProM), time-based tasks rely more heavily on strategic processes dependent on prefrontal systems than do event-based tasks. Given the prominent frontostriatal pathophysiology of HIV infection, one would expect HIV-infected individuals to demonstrate greater deficits in time-based versus event-based ProM. However, the two prior studies examining this question have produced variable results. We evaluated this hypothesis in 143 individuals with HIV infection and 43 demographically similar seronegative adults (HIV−) who completed the research version of the Memory for Intentions Screening Test, which yields parallel subscales of time- and event-based ProM. Results showed main effects of HIV serostatus and cue type, but no interaction between serostatus and cue. Planned pair-wise comparisons showed a significant effect of HIV on time-based ProM and a trend-level effect on event-based ProM that was driven primarily by the subset of participants with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Nevertheless, time-based ProM was more strongly correlated with measures of executive functions, attention/working memory, and verbal fluency in HIV-infected persons. Although HIV-associated deficits in time- and event-based ProM appear to be of comparable severity, the cognitive architecture of time-based ProM may be more strongly influenced by strategic monitoring and retrieval processes.
AIDS dementia complex; Episodic memory; Executive functions; Neuropsychological assessment
HIV-negative individuals with a family history of dementia (FHD) are more likely to develop dementia than those without a FHD. Whether FHD increases risk for neuropsychological (NP) impairment in HIV+ persons is unknown. As part of a multi-site study into HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND), we captured FHD with a free-response, self-report question, and assessed NP performance with a comprehensive battery of tests. We examined HIV+ persons with (n=190) and without (n=916) self-reported FHD. Despite the fact that the FHD group had factors typically associated with better NP performance (e.g., higher CD4 counts and estimated verbal IQ [VIQ]), persons with FHD had significantly worse NP ability than those without FHD as measured by a Global Deficit Score (GDS) (FHD mean=0.66; No FHD mean=0.55; p<0.05). Thus, FHD appears to be a risk factor for HAND; the mechanism(s) underlying how FHD contributes to NP impairment among HIV+ persons warrants study.
HIV; AIDS; Cognition; Aging; Dementia
Mannose binding lectin (MBL) activates complement pathway that leads to pathogen opsonization and phagocytosis. MBL deficiency is linked to HIV transmission and disease progression. We sought to determine the role of MBL in HIV encephalitis (HIVE) by evaluating its presence and distribution in the HIV-1-infected brain and by assessing its association with monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) expression. This retrospective study utilized archived post-mortem brain tissues obtained from 35 individuals enrolled in a longitudinal study as part of the California NeuroAIDS Tissue Network. MBL, MCP-1 and brain cell markers in post-mortem brain tissues with or without HIVE were evaluated using immunocytochemistry, immunofluorescence, confocal microscopy, and western blots. MBL was expressed in neurons, astrocytes, microglia, and oligodendrocytes of the frontal cortex of the HIV-1-infected brain. Overall, there were 30% to 40% more MBL-positive brain cells in HIVE vs non-HIVE cases (P = 0.01, paired t-test). Specifically, there was an increased MBL expression in the neuronal axons of HIVE cases. Also, western blots showed 3- to 4-fold higher levels of 78 kD MBL trimers in HIVE vs non-HIVE cases. This MBL-HIVE link was further confirmed by MBL associated higher MCP-1 expression in HIVE vs non-HIVE cases. HIV negative healthy individuals and normal or the gp120 transgenic mice did not show any differential MBL expression. Increased MBL expression in the major brain cell types, specifically in the neuronal axons of HIVE brain, and MBL associated higher MCP-1 expression in HIVE suggest that MBL could cause neuroinflammation and neuronal injury through MBL complement activation pathway.
mannose binding lectin; HIV encephalitis; complement activation; neuroinflammation; neuroAIDS; MCP-1
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is neurovirulent and has been shown to be associated with neuropsychological (NP) deficits in a subset of infected individuals. Despite these previous findings, little work has been done to examine neurobehavioral symptoms associated with HCV infection. We examined 34 HCV seropositive (HCV+) individuals and 35 healthy comparison participants (HCV−) with the self-rating form of the Frontal Systems Behavior Scale (FrSBe). Results showed that at the group level, only the FrSBe apathy subscale mean was clinically elevated (T-score >65) among HCV+ persons; executive dysfunction, disinhibition, and total subscale means were not clinically elevated. At the individual level, a significantly higher proportion of HCV+ individuals reported clinically elevated FrSBe T-scores as compared to HCV− individuals. Moreover, HCV+ individuals were nearly 3 times as likely to report clinically elevated FrSBe T-scores of apathy, executive dysfunction, and disinhibition as compared to HCV− participants. A multiple regression that included substance use disorders, neuropsychological impairment and age indicated that HCV status was an independent predictor of self-reported FrSBe total T-scores. Across all participants, small, yet significant, correlations were found between elevated self-reported FrsBe T-scores and dependence in activities of daily living. These results show that a subset of HCV infected individuals report clinically elevated behavioral symptoms. Clinical implications for the assessment and management of elevated behavioral symptoms in HCV are discussed.
Hepatitis; Executive functions; Prefrontal cortex; Apathy; Neuropsychology; Substance abuse
Beijing family strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis have attracted worldwide attention because of their wide geographical distribution and global emergence. Peru, which has a historical relationship with East Asia, is considered to be a hotspot for Beijing family strains in South America. We aimed to unveil the genetic diversity and transmission characteristics of the Beijing strains in Peru. A total of 200 Beijing family strains were identified from 2140 M. tuberculosis isolates obtained in Lima, Peru, between December 2008 and January 2010. Of them, 198 strains were classified into sublineages, on the basis of 10 sets of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). They were also subjected to variable number tandem-repeat (VNTR) typing using an international standard set of 15 loci (15-MIRU-VNTR) plus 9 additional loci optimized for Beijing strains. An additional 70 Beijing family strains, isolated between 1999 and 2006 in Lima, were also analyzed in order to make a longitudinal comparison. The Beijing family was the third largest spoligotyping clade in Peru. Its population structure, by SNP typing, was characterized by a high frequency of Sequence Type 10 (ST10), which belongs to a modern subfamily of Beijing strains (178/198, 89.9%). Twelve strains belonged to the ancient subfamily (ST3 [n = 3], ST25 [n = 1], ST19 [n = 8]). Overall, the polymorphic information content for each of the 24 loci values was low. The 24 loci VNTR showed a high clustering rate (80.3%) and a high recent transmission index (RTIn−1 = 0.707). These strongly suggest the active and on-going transmission of Beijing family strains in the survey area. Notably, 1 VNTR genotype was found to account for 43.9% of the strains. Comparisons with data from East Asia suggested the genotype emerged as a uniquely endemic clone in Peru. A longitudinal comparison revealed the genotype was present in Lima by 1999.
We examined neurocognitive functioning among persons with acute or early HIV infection (AEH) and hypothesized that the neurocognitive performance of AEH individuals would be intermediate between HIV seronegatives (HIV−) and those with chronic HIV infection. Comprehensive neurocognitive testing was accomplished with 39 AEH, 63 chronically HIV infected, and 38 HIV− participants. All AEH participants were HIV infected for less than 1 year. Average domain deficit scores were calculated in seven neurocognitive domains. HIV−, AEH, and chronically HIV infected groups were ranked from best (rank of 1) to worst (rank of 3) in each domain. All participants received detailed substance use, neuromedical, and psychiatric evaluations and HIV infected persons provided information on antiretroviral treatment and completed laboratory evaluations including plasma and CSF viral loads. A nonparametric test of ordered alternatives (Page test), and the appropriate nonparametric follow-up test, was used to evaluate level of neuropsychological (NP) functioning across and between groups. The median duration of infection for the AEH group was 16 weeks [interquartile range, IQR: 10.3–40.7] as compared to 4.9 years [2.8–11.1] in the chronic HIV group. A Page test using ranks of average scores in the seven neurocognitive domains showed a significant monotonic trend with the best neurocognitive functioning in the HIV− group (mean rank = 1.43), intermediate neurocognitive functioning in the AEH group (mean rank = 1.71), and the worst in the chronically HIV infected (mean rank = 2.86; L statistic = 94, p < 0.01); however, post-hoc testing comparing neurocognitive impairment of each group against each of the other groups showed that the chronically infected group was significantly different from both the HIV− and AEH groups on neurocognitive performance; the AEH group was statistically indistinguishable from the HIV− group. Regression models among HIV infected participants were unable to identify significant predictors of neurocognitive performance. Neurocognitive functioning was worst among persons with chronic HIV infection. Although a significant monotonic trend existed and patterns of the data suggest the AEH individuals may fall intermediate to HIV− and chronic participants, we were not able to statistically confirm this hypothesis.
HIV infection; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders; Acute or early HIV; Primary HIV
The number of older adults living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is growing and this subpopulation of the epidemic is at heightened risk for a variety of poor health outcomes including HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. The current study sought to examine the factors associated with freedom from neurocognitive impairment in older HIV-infected adults. Participants included 74 middle-aged and older (mean age 51 years), HIV-infected individuals with a mean estimated duration of infection of 17 years who underwent comprehensive neuropsychological, psychiatric, and medical evaluations. Successful cognitive aging (SCA) was operationally defined as the absence of neurocognitive deficits as determined by a battery of well-validated cognitive tests and self-endorsed cognitive complaints. Thirty-two percent of the cohort met these criteria. Compared to the group that did not meet these criteria, successful cognitive agers had significantly lower lifetime rates of major depressive disorder and current affective distress (e.g., depression, anxiety). Moreover, the SCA group evidenced better everyday functioning outcomes, including medication adherence, lower self-reported rates of declines in activities of daily living, and superior abilities related to medication management and dealing with healthcare providers. SCA was not related to demographic composition, HIV disease or treatment factors, medical comorbidities, or histories of substance use disorders. Findings from this preliminary study suggest that approximately one-third of older persons with HIV were free of cognitive impairments, which is associated with more favorable emotional, psychosocial, and everyday functioning.
Neuropsychological assessment; Aging; Treatment adherence; AIDS dementia; Depression
Members of the Family Bufonidae, true toads, are famous for their endogenously synthesized cardioactive steroids that serve as defensive toxins. Evolution of resistance to these toxins is not understood. We sequenced a key region of the toxin's binding site in the Na+/K+ ATPase for relevant taxa representing Hyloidea (including bufonids), Ranoidea and Archaeobatrachia and tested for positive selection in a phylogenetic context. Bufonidae were distinct from other Hyloidea at 4–6 of 12 sites and, with one exception, had a homologous amino acid sequence. Melanophryniscus stelzneri had a distinct sequence, consistent with other independent evidence for a differentiated toxin. Tests within Bufonidae detected positive selection within the binding region, providing, to our knowledge, the first evidence of this type for positive selection within Amphibia. There was no evidence for positive selection on Bufonidae or M. stelzneri lineages. Sequence change in Leptodactylus ocellatus, a leptodactylid predator of Bufonidae, provides a molecular basis for predator resistance possibly associated with gene duplication.
Bufonidae; positive selection; cardioactive steroids; Na+/K+ ATPase
Tests for pleural tuberculosis are insensitive and expensive. We compared nonproprietary microscopic-observation drug-susceptibility (MODS) culture with Löwenstein-Jensen culture for evaluation of pleural specimens. MODS culture was associated with greatly increased diagnostic sensitivity and shorter time to diagnosis, compared with Löwenstein-Jensen culture (sensitivity of culture of biopsy specimens, 81% vs. 51%; time to diagnosis, 11 days vs. 24 days; P < .001). The MODS technique is inexpensive, allows drug-susceptibility testing, and is a considerably improved diagnostic method for pleural tuberculosis.
Nosocomial transmission of tuberculosis remains an important public health problem. We created an in vivo air sampling model to study airborne transmission of tuberculosis from patients coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and to evaluate environmental control measures.
An animal facility was built above a mechanically ventilated HIV-tuberculosis ward in Lima, Peru. A mean of 92 guinea pigs were continuously exposed to all ward exhaust air for 16 months. Animals had tuberculin skin tests performed at monthly intervals, and those with positive reactions were removed for autopsy and culture for tuberculosis.
Over 505 consecutive days, there were 118 ward admissions by 97 patients with pulmonary tuberculosis, with a median duration of hospitalization of 11 days. All patients were infected with HIV and constituted a heterogeneous group with both new and existing diagnoses of tuberculosis. There was a wide variation in monthly rates of guinea pigs developing positive tuberculin test results (0%–53%). Of 292 animals exposed to ward air, 159 developed positive tuberculin skin test results, of which 129 had laboratory confirmation of tuberculosis. The HIV-positive patients with pulmonary tuberculosis produced a mean of 8.2 infectious quanta per hour, compared with 1.25 for HIV-negative patients with tuberculosis in similar studies from the 1950s. The mean monthly patient infectiousness varied greatly, from production of 0–44 infectious quanta per hour, as did the theoretical risk for a health care worker to acquire tuberculosis by breathing ward air.
HIV-positive patients with tuberculosis varied greatly in their infectiousness, and some were highly infectious. Use of environmental control strategies for nosocomial tuberculosis is therefore a priority, especially in areas with a high prevalence of both tuberculosis and HIV infection.
Sputum induction, bronchoalveolar lavage, or gastric aspiration are often needed to produce adequate diagnostic respiratory samples from people with HIV in whom tuberculosis is suspected. Since these procedures are rarely appropriate in less-developed countries, we compared the performances of a simple string test and the gold-standard sputum induction. 160 HIV-positive adults under investigation for tuberculosis, and 52 asymptomatic HIV-positive control patients underwent the string test followed by sputum induction. The string test detected tuberculosis in 14 patients in whom this disease was suspected; sputum induction detected only eight of them (McNemar's test, p=0·03). These preliminary data suggest that the string test is safe and effective for retrieval of useful clinical specimens for diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis, and is at least as sensitive as sputum induction.
HIV infection disturbs the central nervous system (CNS) through inflammation and glial activation. Evidence suggests roles for microRNA (miRNA) in host defense and neuronal homeostasis, though little is known about miRNAs' role in HIV CNS infection. MiRNAs are non-coding RNAs that regulate gene translation through post-transcriptional mechanisms. Messenger-RNA profiling alone is insufficient to elucidate the dynamic dance of molecular expression of the genome. We sought to clarify RNA alterations in the frontal cortex (FC) of HIV-infected individuals and those concurrently infected and diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). This report is the first published study of large-scale miRNA profiling from human HIV-infected FC. The goals of this study were to: 1. Identify changes in miRNA expression that occurred in the frontal cortex (FC) of HIV individuals, 2. Determine whether miRNA expression profiles of the FC could differentiate HIV from HIV/MDD, and 3. Adapt a method to meaningfully integrate gene expression data and miRNA expression data in clinical samples. We isolated RNA from the FC (n = 3) of three separate groups (uninfected controls, HIV, and HIV/MDD) and then pooled the RNA within each group for use in large-scale miRNA profiling. RNA from HIV and HIV/MDD patients (n = 4 per group) were also used for non-pooled mRNA analysis on Affymetrix U133 Plus 2.0 arrays. We then utilized a method for integrating the two datasets in a Target Bias Analysis. We found miRNAs of three types: A) Those with many dysregulated mRNA targets of less stringent statistical significance, B) Fewer dysregulated target-genes of highly stringent statistical significance, and C) unclear bias. In HIV/MDD, more miRNAs were downregulated than in HIV alone. Specific miRNA families at targeted chromosomal loci were dysregulated. The dysregulated miRNAs clustered on Chromosomes 14, 17, 19, and X. A small subset of dysregulated genes had many 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) target-sites for dysregulated miRNAs. We provide evidence that certain miRNAs serve as key elements in gene regulatory networks in HIV-infected FC and may be implicated in neurobehavioral disorder. Finally, our data indicates that some genes may serve as hubs of miRNA activity.
The microscopic observation drug susceptibility (MODS) assay for rapid, low-cost detection of tuberculosis and multidrug resistant tuberculosis depends upon visualization of the characteristic cording colonies of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in liquid media. This has conventionally required an inverted light microscope in order to inspect the MODS culture plates from below. Few tuberculosis laboratories have this item and the capital cost of $5,000 for a high-end microscope could be a significant obstacle to MODS roll-out.
We hypothesized that the precise definition provided by costly high-specification inverted light microscopes might not be necessary for pattern recognition.
In this work we describe the development of a low-cost artesenal inverted microscope that can operate in both a standard or digital mode to effectively replace the expensive commercial inverted light microscope, and an integrated system that could permit a local and remote diagnosis of tuberculosis.
Pyrazinamide is a first-line drug for treating tuberculosis, but pyrazinamide resistance testing is usually too slow to guide initial therapy, so some patients receive inappropriate therapy. We therefore aimed to optimize and evaluate a rapid molecular test for tuberculosis drug resistance to pyrazinamide. Tuberculosis PCR-single-strand conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) was optimized to test for mutations causing pyrazinamide resistance directly from sputum samples and Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates. The reliability of PCR-SSCP tests for sputum samples (n = 65) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates (n = 185) from 147 patients was compared with four tests for pyrazinamide resistance: Bactec-460 automated culture, the Wayne biochemical test, DNA sequencing for pncA mutations, and traditional microbiological broth culture. PCR-SSCP provided interpretable results for 96% (46/48) of microscopy-positive sputum samples, 76% (13/17) of microscopy-negative sputum samples, and 100% of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates. There was 100% agreement between PCR-SSCP results from sputum samples and Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates and 100% concordance between 50 blinded PCR-SSCP rereadings by three observers. PCR-SSCP agreement with the four other tests for pyrazinamide resistance varied from 89 to 97%. This was similar to how frequently the four other tests for pyrazinamide resistance agreed with each other: 90 to 94% for Bactec-460, 90 to 95% for Wayne, 92 to 95% for sequencing, and 91 to 95% for broth culture. PCR-SSCP took less than 24 hours and cost approximately $3 to $6, in contrast with the other assays, which took 3 to 14 weeks and cost $7 to $47. In conclusion, PCR-SSCP is a relatively reliable, rapid, and inexpensive test for pyrazinamide resistance that indicates which patients should receive pyrazinamide from the start of therapy, potentially preventing months of inappropriate treatment.
Acromegaly, an orphan disease usually caused by a benign pituitary tumour, is characterised by hyper-secretion of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1). It is associated with reduced life expectancy, cardiovascular problems, a variety of insidiously progressing detrimental symptoms and metabolic malfunction. Treatments include surgery, radiotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Pegvisomant (PEG) is a genetically engineered GH analogue licensed as a third or fourth line option when other treatments have failed to normalise IGF-1 levels.
Evidence about effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of PEG was systematically reviewed. Data were extracted from published studies and used for a narrative synthesis of evidence. A decision analytical economic model was identified and modified to assess the cost-effectiveness of PEG.
One RCT and 17 non-randomised studies were reviewed for effectiveness. PEG substantially reduced and rapidly normalised IGF-1 levels in the majority of patients, approximately doubled GH levels, and improved some of the signs and symptoms of the disease. Tumour size was unaffected at least in the short term. PEG had a generally safe adverse event profile but a few patients were withdrawn from treatment because of raised liver enzymes. An economic model was identified and adapted to estimate the lower limit for the cost-effectiveness of PEG treatment versus standard care. Over a 20 year time horizon the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was £81,000/QALY and £212,000/LYG. To reduce this to £30K/QALY would require a reduction in drug cost by about one third.
PEG is highly effective for improving patients' IGF-1 level. Signs and symptoms of disease improve but evidence is lacking about long term effects on improved signs and symptoms of disease, quality of life, patient compliance and safety. Economic evaluation indicated that if current standards (UK) for determining cost-effectiveness of therapies were to be applied to PEG it would be considered not to represent good value for money.
Advances in the treatment of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have dramatically improved survival rates over the past 10 years, but HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remain highly prevalent and continue to represent a significant public health problem. This review provides an update on the nature, extent, and diagnosis of HAND. Particular emphasis is placed on critically evaluating research within the realm of cognitive neuropsychology that aims to elucidate the component processes of HAND across the domains of executive functions, motor skills, speeded information processing, episodic memory, attention/working memory, language, and visuoperception. In addition to clarifying the cognitive mechanisms of HAND (e.g., impaired cognitive control), the cognitive neuropsychology approach may enhance the ecological validity of neuroAIDS research and inform the development of much needed novel, targeted cognitive and behavioral therapies.
Human immunodeficiency virus; AIDS dementia complex; Neuropsychological assessment; Cognitive science; Cognitive impairment